Thursday, November 1, 2012

A 7-Point Basic Theology of Prayer

1. Prayer is a great privilege. 

“Consider how august a privilege it is, when angels are present, and archangels throng around, when cherub and seraphim encircle with their blaze the throne, that a mortal may approach with unrestrained confidence, and converse with heaven’s dread Sovereign!  O, what honor was ever conferred like this?”  Chrysostom

NOTE: Prayer is a great privilege even when we do not get the answer we desire!

“The value of prayer lies most profoundly in just the sweet communion we have with God through it than in the answers we get from it.”  Joel Beeke
2. Our prayers are accepted by God only because of Jesus Christ.  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

“God’s hearing of our prayers does not depend upon sanctification, but upon Christ’s intercession; not upon what we are in ourselves, but what we are in the Lord Jesus; both our persons and our prayers are accepted in the Beloved.” Thomas Brooks

3. True Prayer springs forth from faith.  (Psalm 25:1-7)

            “You may as soon find a living man that does not breathe, as a living Christian that does not pray.”  Matthew Henry commenting on Matthew 6

            Note: Backsliding begins in the prayer closet!

“When our prayer lives begin to disintegrate, everything else does as well.  Soon the preacher isn’t preaching quite as well as he did before (so we think).  The Word of God seems more lifeless.  We don’t open the Bible then with any excitement either.  It no longer is critical to meet with God before we meet with people each day.  And soon it spills over into worldliness.  We creep closer to the world and further from God.”  Joel Beeke

4. Prayer is exceedingly powerful. (James 5:17-18)

            “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.”  J. Sidlow Baxter

5. Prayer is a Christian duty. (Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

            “From the fact that prayer is so urgently commanded, we ought to conclude that we should by no means despise our prayers, but rather prize them highly…You are to look closely at this command and stress it that you do not think prayer an optional work and act as if it were no sin for you not to pray.  You should know that prayer is earnestly enjoined, with the threat of God’s supreme displeasure and punishment if it is neglected.  It is enjoined just as well as the command that you should have no other gods and should not blaspheme and abuse God’s name but should confess and preach, laud, and praise it.”  Martin Luther

6. Prayer is hard work. (Galatians 5:16-17)

“[To pray is] the hardest work of all…a labor above all labors, since he who prays must wage a mighty warfare against the doubt and murmuring excited by the faintheartedness and unworthiness we feel within us.”  Martin Luther

7. Prayer has a sanctifying effect on our lives. 

“He did not believe in any shortcut to holiness and usefulness in the work of God.  He knew that the one and only way to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ was daily and hourly communion with the Father and the Son.” John Murray, describing Andrew Bonar

“There is something in every act of prayer that for a time stills the violence of passion, and elevates and purifies the affections.” Jeremy Taylor

“Sometimes a fog will settle over a vessel’s deck and yet leave the topmast clear.  Then a sailor goes up aloft and gets a lookout which the helmsman on deck cannot get.  So prayer sends the soul aloft; lifts it above the clouds in which our selfishness and egotism befog us, and gives us a chance to see which way to steer.”  Charles Spurgeon

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