Define prayer?

How might you define or describe the biblical concept of prayer?

John Bunyan, the puritan author of PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, wrote several works, including a fine little volume on prayer (reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust). His definition of prayer is one long sentence that’s hard to beat:

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.
[page 13]

Bunyan identifies several qualities/characteristics in his definition. Prayer is:

• sincere and sensible
• deeply affectionate
• Christ-centered, Christ-enabled
• Spirit-assisted and sustained
• in accord with God’s Word/promises
• benefiting the church, the cause of Christ in the world
• submissive to God by faith

May we ponder how we pray, and aim to do better…

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