A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Summary, Part 3
A Discourse of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer;
With a Brief Inquiry into the Nature and Use of Mental Prayer and Forms
Chapters I & II
Prayer is one of the most important duties in true religion—it makes us differ from animals and is the highest way in which we can converse with God. There are so many things that can be said about prayer, but the focus here will be on the operations and grace of the Spirit for believers in this duty of prayer. Today there are many who openly scoff at the idea that we are dependent on the Spirit in prayer. Despite this scoffing, those who pray in the Spirit will never give it up, since it is the greatest ministry. This discourse will chiefly prove that the New Testament promises and grants a special work of the Spirit in regards to our prayers, and then set forth the nature of this work and how the Holy Spirit operates in this capacity.
The great outpouring of the Spirit was prophesied, and it was fulfilled in the New Testament. The recipients of this outpouring are those who are regenerate and belong to God. This promised Spirit is called the Spirit of grace and the Spirit of supplications (i.e. he is the Spirit of prayer for grace and mercy). As deity, it is not that the Spirit himself prays for us, but he works in us by his grace so that we incline to this duty, and he gives us the spiritual grace and power to fulfill our duty properly. Where the Spirit is not at work in motivating our hearts to pray, our cries are not acceptable to God. It is vital that we see that this promise is given to the church, and it is for every one of God’s children. Prayer is a duty for all and not an extraordinary gift for a few, and so the Spirit is given to all. In Christ and the new covenant, there is a greater distribution of the Spirit, and also a greater communication of gifts and powers. Unlike prophecy, this work of the Spirit is common to every believer. “God hath promised under the New Testament to give unto believers, in a plentiful manner or measure, the Spirit of grace and supplications, his own Holy Spirit, enabling them to pray according to his mind and will.” . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THE WORKS OF JOHN OWEN, VOLUME 4: THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT