John Bunyan on Prayer and Church

I’m rather challenged at present by what Bunyan had to say about church.  Bunyan spent about a third of his life in prison for his faith.  Writing from prison in 1662, he says of prayer and worship:

There is no subject of more solemn importance to human happiness than prayer.  It is the only medium of intercourse with heaven.  It is that language wherein a creature holds correspondence with his Creator; and wherein the soul of a saint gets near to God, is entertained with great delight, and, as it were, dwells with his heavenly Father.


God, when manifest in the flesh, hath given us a solemn, sweeping declaration, embracing all prayer — private, social, and public — at all times and seasons, from the creation to the final consummation of all things — “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH” (John 4:24).

And later he says that there is no man nor church in the world that can come to God in worship, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. “Without the Spirit, [even if] we had a thousand Common Prayer Books, we do not know how we should pray … One word spoken in faith, is better than a thousand prayers, as men call them, written and read, in a formal, cold, lukewarm way. ”  Or he puts it, “When you pray, rather let your heart be without words that your words without heart”.


Worship, he argues, is meaningless if the worshipper knows nothing of the dynamic inner work of the Spirit. Christians will always be non-conformists because they will always be open to the Spirit and the breaking in of the kingdom of God.

God’s people are, as it hath always been, looked upon to be a turbulent, seditious, and factious people (Ezra 4:12-16).

“A turbulent, seditious, and factious people”.  Love it!


John Bunyan on Prayer: Peace Makers, Christ’s Peace, Church Discipline

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