A hero of the faith who encourages me to draw near to God and pray as we wade through difficult seasons is John Bunyan.
John Bunyan served as a Puritan pastor and early in his ministry, he was imprisoned when he refused to stop preaching and submit to the laws against nonconformity with the Church of England. Consequently, Bunyan served 12 years in prison where he was separated from his second wife and four children.
However, his time in prison was not wasted—God provided time for him to study the Bible, pray, and to write, including his most famous work The Pilgrim’s Progress. Prison provided Bunyan the opportunity to cultivate a deep intimate fellowship with Christ. His suffering drove him to cling to God’s Word and pray, which gave him strength and sustained him to persevere until he was pardoned by Charles II in 1672.
John Bunyan’s perspective on prayer, which he wrote while in prison, is summed up in his classic statement, “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for such things as He has promised, for the good of the church with submission in faith to the will of God.” 1
As we come together to pray let us reflect on the perspective of John Bunyan and pray with a heart that is “sincere, sensible, and affectionate pouring out of our soul to God.”
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14–19 ESV)
Bill Gemaehlich is the EVP/COO operations at Insight for Living Ministries
1 Bunyan, John. Prayer. Waymarks Books, 2010