Thomas Goodwin on Prayer

Rely on Graces, Not Gifts in Prayer:

“Men are mistaken in judging of the weakness of their prayers…

Praying_Hands016…They judge of the weakness of their prayers by their expressions, and gifts in performing them, or by the stirring and overflow of affections; whereas the strength and vigor of prayer should be estimated from the faith, the sincerity, the obedience, the desires expressed in it. As it is not the loudness of a preacher’s voice, but the weight and holiness of the matter, and spirit of the preacher, that move a wise and an intelligent hearer; so not gifts, but graces in prayers are they that move the Lord. The strength of prayer lies not in words, but in that which it is fitted to prevail with God. One prayer is not more strong than another, except in how it is so framed, it hath power with God more or less; as of Jacob it is said, ‘He had power with God,’ Hosea 12.” (p. 400)

 Wait on Him:

“Petitioners do not only put up their request, but they are used to waiting at great men’s doors, and inquiring, and listening as to what answer is to be given unto them, and it is part of an honour to a great men that we do so: and for the same end are we also to wait on God, as an acknowledgment of his greatness, and our distance from him, and dependence upon him; “As the eyes of the servants look to the hand of their masters, so do we (says David) on thee, till thou hast mercy on us,” Psalm 123:2.”

Listen and Observe:

Gerard Dou - The Prayer of the Spinner - WGA06643

“The observation is this: that when a man has put up prayers to God…

He is to rest assured, that God will in mercy answer his prayers; and he is to listen diligently, and observe how his prayers are answered. “I will hear what God will speak,” that is, how he will accomplish them; and withal, he confidently expresses an assurance, that “God will speak peace.” Thus does the church, “I will look to the Lord, I will wait; my God will hear me.” Mich. 7:7, 8.”

~Taken and adapted from, “The Return of Prayers.” Written by Thomas Goodwin, Puritan, Edited for thought and sense by Michael W. Pursley

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