Prayer, for some it’s really easy and they have no struggles at all, but for others maintaining a healthy prayer life can be difficult. Thoughts of unanswered prayers and confusion about apparent silence from God fill the mind. Questions about lack of zeal and whether or not we’re worthy of having God’s ear. All of these, and many more factors can contribute to people feeling like maintaining a prayer life simply isn’t worth it. But in steps Thomas Goodwin to teach us a little bit…
This is a very short book (79 pages) but the impact that it can have on your understanding of prayer, and how to think about some of the many questions you may have, is sizeable.
The book is split into three parts. Part one is a practical study on Psalm 85:8 Goodwin draws out practical aids and wise advice for the Christian to see the importance of prayer and persevering in it. Part two is about the peace of God that will come, even if it might not come as we think and according to our desired timeline. Part three Goodwin shows his pastoral heart and speaks directly about the foolishness of turning from God.
This book tackles some of the big questions that many Christians have about prayer, for example;
Q – How we may know what influence our own prayers have had in bringing events to pass
- If you whole heartedly joined with others in praying, then it is certain that your voice helped to make it effectual.
- God often provides evidence in several ways that a person’s prayers have contributed to the fulfilment of something.
a) God may so order it that a person who has prayed most for a matter has the first news of its fulfilment.
b) God may fill the heart with much joy in the fulfilment of what has been prayed for.
c) God may stir you up to pray for yourself and incline others to do the same for you.
This book is a call for Christians to return to wholehearted prayer. It asks and answers questions that Christians have been wrestling with for a very long time. I like how Goodwin talks with clarity, he doesn’t use complicated logic or language. I also like that Goodwin doesn’t just give you a pat on the back. He lays out the serious foolishness of turning away from God and running from Him. Goodwin pastorally, yet firmly, tells you how important it is to pray to the Lord.
One of the things that comes up again and again in this short book is the importance of keeping a record of what the Lord has done and the prayers that He has answered. This is definitely something that I will start making more of a conscious effort of after reading this book. You can buy a copy here, this is a good little book that get you interested in reading some of the really good old material that’s out there. I’m thankful to Grace Publications for reprinting this book and drawing together these three parts in one place, as they were previously three different works.
Thomas Goodwin (1600 – 1679), was born in Rollesby, Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge. This English Puritan theologian was a contemporary of Richard Baxter and John Owen was known as ‘the Elder’. He was a Preacher of the Council of State; President of Magdalene College, Oxford; Member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines; and chaplain to Oliver Cromwell.