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Joel Beeke: Why Pray?

Dr. Joel R. Beeke

Dr. Joel R. Beeke

Dr. Joel R. Beeke serves at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary as President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics, as well as Academic Dean for students from the Heritage Reformed Congregations. He is currently a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position he has held for 20 years. He has been in the ministry for 28 years. He is also editor of the Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.

Prayer helps us cling to the altar of God’s promises by which we lay hold of God Himself. Failing to pray is the downfall of many Christians today. “A family without prayer is like a house without a roof, open and exposed to all the storms of heaven” wrote Thomas Brooks. If the giants of church history dwarf us today, perhaps it is not because they were more educated, more devout, or more faithful as much as because they were men of prayer. They were possessed with the Spirit of supplication. They were Daniels in the temple of God.

Let us cling to the refuge of the inner prayer chamber, for there experiential Christianity is either established or broken. Let us refuse to be content with the shell of religion without the inner core of prayer. When we grow drowsy in prayer, let us pray aloud, or write down our prayers, or find a quiet place outside to walk and pray. Above all, let us continue to pray.

We should not give up regular times of prayer, but we should also be open at the slightest impulse to pray. Conversing with God through Christ is our most effective antidote to spiritual backsliding and discouragement. Discouragement without prayer is an open sore ripe for infection, whereas discouragement with prayer is a sore lifted to the balm of Gilead.

Keep prayer a priority in your personal and family life. As John Bunyan said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed. … Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan”. (From: Puritan Reformed Spirituality)

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