Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
“Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the LORD.” Zechariah 8.22
An Humble Attempt
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“In the text we have an account how this future glorious advancement of the church of God should be introduced; viz. By great multitudes in different towns and countries taking up a joint resolution, and coming into an express and visible agreement, that they will, by united and extraordinary prayer, seek to God, that he would come and manifest himself, and grant the tokens and fruits of his gracious presence.”
As a pastor, Jonathan Edwards had known at least two extraordinary seasons of revival, in which many unbelievers were converted and many dormant Christians were renewed in faith and obedience. Yet he believed he saw in this text a coming day when God would send an even greater revival to His Church, and he was determined to be found of the Lord, praying for that glorious advancement, and urging others to join him in this endeavor. His instruction and example call us to consider our own attitude toward the world: Is this world a weed field, ready to be burned, or a wheat field, ready to be harvested? Since it is the latter, can we expect any significant increase of sowing, much less of fruit, unless we look first, often, and together to the Lord in prayer? Edwards’ ringing call to seek the Lord for revival inspired the generation of those who, hiding under haystacks, in secret dorm room gatherings, during seasons of weary worship, and in private homes throughout a spiritually destitute nation, were used of God to ignite the spark of the Second Great Awakening, which lasted for a generation. Dare we hope for – and seek – such an awakening in our day?
How would you describe your congregation’s attitude toward revival and awakening? Do the people you serve expect revival? Will you lead them in seeking it?
Ready for Revival?
Are you praying for revival? Are you gathering others to pray with you? Are you preparing your church for the coming harvest? You can, and you should. Two resources from our bookstore can help. The book, Restore Us!, can provide the rationale, resources, and encouragement you need to take up this calling as an ongoing aspect of your walk with and work for the Lord. Order your copy by clicking here. And our book, Preparing Your Church for Revival, shows you how to ready the hearts of church members and leaders for the work we look to God to do in our community. Order your copy by clicking here.
An Humble Attempt
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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 are from Jonathan Edwards, An Humble Attempt, &c. in Edward Hickman, ed. The Works of Jonathan Edwards(Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1834, 1995), Vol. Two, pp. 278ff.