Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11.36
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“We cannot draw a breath without his help. You need his help every day for the supply of your outward wants; and especially you stand in continual need of him to help your souls… Seeing therefore you stand in such continual need of the help of God, how reasonable is it that you should continually seek it of him, and perseveringly acknowledge your dependence upon him, by resorting to him, to spread your needs before him, and to offer up your requests to him in prayer.”
Our generation has learned from the teaching of secular science that the universe and everything in it run by a set of physical laws. These laws, which describe the interactions of material things, govern all aspects of the physical cosmos, including our lives, and our health and wellbeing. So who would ever think of giving thanks to impersonal laws? Or supplicating such laws to provide for our needs this day as all the days before? In fact, no such laws exist. As Edwards elsewhere explains, what we call “laws of nature” are merely descriptions of the way our totally sovereign God rules, governs, and directs all things and situations, such that all that we are and have, and everything around us, are what they are by His personal care and sovereign good will. If we really understood this, this alone would fill our time with prayers of praise and thanks and rejoicing at the wonder of such comprehensive and personal care.
Spend ten minutes right now, thanking and praising God for all the ways He is blessing you at this moment.
Mission Partners Outreach
The Poetry of Prayer
It matters how we look at prayer. If we do not find prayer alluring, fraught with potential for knowing the Lord and growing in Him, and a resource for revival that can empower our daily lives, then we’re not likely to spend much time in prayer. Our book, The Poetry of Prayer, can help you look at prayer through new eyes. Following 17th century poet George Herbert, we meander through a showcase of illustrations designed to put prayer in a new and more appealing light, and to encourage us to make more of this great privilege. Along the way, exercises can help us appropriate George Herbert’s images for an enriched experience of prayer. Order your copy by clicking here.
The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.
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.
Sovereignty and Prayer
- T.M. Moore
- March 25, 2017
God gives us lots of reasons to pray.
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