Thomas Brooks on Prayer

There is nothing like teaching lessons on prayer to make you examine your own prayer life. Pastors consistently list this as the aspect of their ministry that needs the most improvement. Unfortunately, it often takes tragedy or hardship to help us see our dependence on God. Many of us in the Midwest spent an uneasy evening watching weather reports and running to safety as tornado sirens urged us to find safe cover. My family was fortunate and only had a portion of our backyard fence knocked down, but many in our area were hit much harder and are in need of our prayers.

In 1665, during a time of plague in London, Thomas Brooks published a treatise called The Privy Key of Heaven. In it he urged believers to take up private, secret prayer with renewed passion. It was probably not hard to convince those who were experiencing the horrors of plague that they needed to pray, but consider how Brooks reminds us that our need is not confined to times of difficulty.

We are always needing; and therefore we had need be praying always. The world is always alluring; and therefore we had need be always a-praying. Satan is always a-tempting; and therefore we had need be always a-praying. We are always a-sinning; and therefore we had need be always a-praying. We are in dangers always; and therefore we had need be praying always. We are dying always, 1 Cor 15:31; and therefore we had need be praying always. Man’s whole life is but a lingering death; man no sooner begins to live—but he begins to die. When one was asked why he prayed six times a day, he only gave this answer, “I must die, I must die, I must die.” Dying Christians had need be praying Christians, and those who are always a-dying had need be always a-praying. Certainly prayerless families are graceless families, and prayerless people are graceless people, Jer 10:25.

Even when we are most prosperous and all seems right in the world, we are people of great need. Brothers and sisters let us turn in humility to the one who supplies every need.

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