Dear church family,
I am so excited about what the Lord is going to do this year. And my excitement is not primarily about entering into and using the new facility (Although make no mistake, I am very enthused about the prospect of worshiping together in that space). My real source of excitement is in the following three things: 1) watching the activity of the Lord unfold in the lives of our people; 2) seeing others come to know Christ and walk with him; and 3) growing personally and corporately in our prayer lives. Now do I have that in the correct order? Probably not, it is more likely that as we pursue #3, we will have the eyes to discern #1 and the hearts to reach out to others (#2). Today, I want to discuss prayer by looking at some definitions of prayer drawn from church history. Here are four definitions for your consideration:
- What is prayer and the nature of it? Prayer is the pouring out of the soul to God; not the pouring out of words nor pouring out of expressions, but the pouring out of the soul to God.
William Bridge, Lifting Up, 115
- Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised or, according to His word, for the good of the church with submission in faith to the will of God.
John Bunyan, Prayer, 13
- Prayer is a duty performed unto God by sensible and believing souls in which they ask for things according to His will, in the name of Christ, with thanksgiving for what has already been received.
Nathaniel Vincent, Spirit of Prayer, 9
- Prayer is an earnest and familiar talking with God, to whom we declare our miseries, whose support and help we implore and desire in our adversities, and whom we laud and praise for our benefits received. So that prayer contains the exposition of our dolours [sorrows], the desire of God’s defense, and the praising of his magnificent name, as the Psalms of David clearly do teach.
John Knox, Treatise on Prayer, from Select Practical Writings, 31-32
These definitions are worth meditating on. Prayer is a pouring out of the soul to God. Words are not necessary. You may or may not employ your tongue in prayer, but true prayer employs the heart. This week pour your very heart out to the Lord in prayer. If you find yourself “stuck” and unable to pray then pull out your Bible and simply pray through a psalm. Pastor Charles recently gave us a demonstration of that during the worship service when he simply prayed through Psalm 130. We will discuss the use of the Bible in prayer in the weeks to come. May the Lord bless your 2021.
Love in Christ,