Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting… 1 Timothy 2.8
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“Thus abundantly the Scriptures insist upon it, that we should persevere in the duty of prayer; which shows that it is of very great importance that we should persevere. If the contrary be the manner of hypocrites… then surely we ought to beware of this leaven… Perseverance is not only a necessary concomitant and evidence of a title to salvation; but also a necessary prerequisite to the actual possession of eternal life… The apostle…directs us to pray with all prayer, watching thereunto with all perseverance, and to continue in prayer, and to watch in the same.”
Edwards returns to the need for perseverance in prayer, because perseverance is the opposite of drifting from prayer, which is the way of hypocrites. If we do not persevere, we will drift. That seems to be his point. So Paul also exhorts men to pray in all kinds of ways, at all times, for all kinds of people and needs, full of faith and without doubting that their prayers matter. This is abundantly plain. So why do we find it so hard to take up the life of watching, continuing, and persevering in prayer? Why do we have so little regard for prayer? Do we prefer to fill the time God allows us with things other than prayer? Is it because we do not know the teaching of Scripture? Or is it because we are well caught-up in that drift which keeps us from praying as we know we should?
What advice would you give to a fellow believer who asked you how to arrest his drift from prayer, and to become more consistent in this most important practice?
If Men Will Pray
Paul said that he wanted men everywhere to pray. But that won’t just happen. Someone will have to take the lead in showing men how to pray, enlisting them for the work, and helping them grow in consistency and power in their prayers. You have to start somewhere. Our booklet, If Men Will Pray, is a tool for learning to pray following Paul’s guidelines in 1 Timothy 2.1-8, and for enlisting another man for a 30-day prayer journey together. Watch this brief video, then order several copies of this booklet, and start enlisting your men for fuller, more consistent, and more satisfying lives of prayer (click here).
Revival Prayer Groups
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.All quotations from Jonathan Edwards, “Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer” in Edward Hickman, ed., The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1834, 1995), Volume Two, pp. 71 ff.
Watch, Continue, Persevere
- T.M. Moore
- March 24, 2017
You gotta stay after it.
Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore