A Brief Book Summary from Books at a Glance
by Steve West
This book is part of the Banner of Truth’s box set of Puritan Classics.
This book includes two of Bunyan’s works: I. Praying in the Spirit (1662); II. The Throne of Grace (1692).
I. Praying in the Spirit
There are many facets to look at concerning prayer, but the focus now will be on the heart of the matter, which is the need of praying in the Spirit without which no prayer can succeed. “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.” As with all of our spiritual acts, sincerity is vital: God does not listen to hypocrites. When we sincerely open our hearts to God, we will feel emotions appropriate to our state (e.g., sorrow for sin, pain, or rejoicing). Real prayer is never cold and formal, but rather the affections are heightened and engaged. To pour out our soul is to go to God to give him all of our life and strength. Real prayer can only be addressed to the real God, and it is only through the righteousness of Christ our mediator that we can approach him. This approach must be in the power of the Spirit, rather than attempted in our own strength. Our prayers must be in accord with the revealed word and promises of God. We pray for the good of the church, meaning the honor of God, the advancement of Christ, and the good of the saints. It is in submission to God’s will that we pray, knowing that God knows best and will do what is right.
Paul said that he would pray with the Spirit, and there is no true prayer without this. Even the great apostle did not know what to pray for and was completely dependent on the Spirit for access to the Father through Christ. Many ask for things in folly, but the Spirit is needed to ask for the right things in the right way. In our sin, we are incapable of thinking even one right thing about God or praying anything good. David could pray as well as any, and yet he knew that God needed to open his mouth and give him the words to say. Without the Spirit, we will not be in the proper spiritual frame in which prayer can be effectual. The Spirit shows us our sin and misery, but he is also the Comforter to show us that we are the children of God. Only by the Spirit can we claim our share in Christ, apart from whom prayer is impossible. Only in Christ the Son can we properly call God our Father. God’s Spirit must lift our hearts up to him in prayer, allowing us to mean our petitions for God’s name to be hallowed, his kingdom to come, and his will be done. Without the Spirit we will not go to God, stay with him in prayer, or have proper expression of the heart (which is the real issue, rather than expression of the mouth). It is our duty to pray all through our lives, and we will never have the strength to do so unless the Spirit strengthens us. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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THE PURITAN CLASSICS: 10 VOLUME BOX SET