Friday, 12 March 2010

Pleading the Promises in Prayer

I heard recently of a project within the Church of England recently whereby people were invited to text their prayers to the C of E assured that a bishop would pray for each one. (More here.)

I don’t have any strong objection to such a scheme, but it made me wonder how often our prayers are little more that short texts hastily fired heavenward. We’re used now to sending little abridged texts, twittering or facebooking brief status updates.

Real relationships however are only grounded in real communication.

There is certainly a time for short, direct, to-the-point prayers. Jesus often prayed this way. But he also carved out time to spend alone with his Heavenly Father, and we must too. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us of the importance of reading and reflecting on the promises of God, and then wrestling with our Heavenly Father in real, pleading, prayer:

"The Fathers used to use this great term- 'pleading the promises.' You never hear it now. Why? Because people do not really pray any longer, they send little telegrams to God. They think that that is the height of spirituality. They know nothing about 'wrestling' with God and 'pleading the promises'."

Who knows what the Lord might do in our individual lives, and the life of our fellowship, were we to read and to wrestle like that!


  1. Interesting post Ross, I don’t know if I directly disagree with it but doesn’t sit comfortably with me its sort of unintentionally implies that the Bishop is a greater mediator than the persons average parish minister.

    Once again the Doctors timeless truth speaks to us today!

  2. Yes I a bit uneasy about the C of E scheme for a similar reason- there is a danger that it reinforces the idea that bishops or ministers are the ones who do the work of prayer, whilst we get on with 'real' life.

    Overseers should pray for the flock, but should also be careful not to allow that flock to fail to understand 1 Tim 2:5, or Heb 10:19-22 for example.

  3. Yeah thats what i ment, i wasnt impling any papacy in that the minister was the mediatator. But rather if a person has an issue or struggle the should be able to bring it before the elsers not text the bishop. (just to clarify)