A Godly Person is a Thankful Person: The Godly Man’s Picture

The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil by Thomas Watson

“Praise and thanksgiving is the work of heaven and he begins that work here which he will always be doing in heaven…None but the godly can praise God aright.”

 

WATSON-Thomas
A painting of Watson by Gustavus Ellinthorpe Sintzenich

The Puritan preacher/writer Thomas Watson (1620-1686) is considered one of our church’s honorary elders (in absentia), since we enjoy reading and referencing his books and sermons so much. A few years ago, we went through his book The Godly Man’s Picture at our monthly ladies’ breakfasts at my church, because of course the term “godly man” in the book’s title doesn’t refer just to the male species but is relevant to women as well. The book was very profitable and stimulated good group discussion about what it means to be a godly person. Although written some 350 years ago, the topic and illustrations are still quite valid and applicable to the Christian life today. Watson is a master illustrator, and as the title of the book states, he uses the Word of God to draw in some detail a portrait of what a godly person looks like, as well as what he or she is not like. Continue reading “A Godly Person is a Thankful Person: The Godly Man’s Picture”

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace: Prayer

Prayer by John Bunyan

Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

This one little volume actually contains two works by John Bunyan on prayer. The first exposition on the subject, originally entitled A Discourse Touching Prayer, looks at what true prayer is, who should pray, what kinds of prayers are acceptable to God, and what we should pray for. He begins with making this statement about prayer:

Prayer is an ordinance of God to be used both in public and private; yea, such an ordinance as brings those that have the spirit of supplication into great familiarity with God.

Followed by this definition of prayer:

Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to his Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.

He then proceeds to expound on the points mentioned in this definition, and explains what it means to pray with or in the Spirit. Following this, he addresses what may serve as obstructions to prayer. Bunyan writes,

As prayer is the duty of every one of the children of God, and carried on by the spirit of Christ in the soul, so everyone that takes it upon him to pray to the Lord, had need to be very wary and go about that work especially with a dread of God, as well as with hopes of the mercy of God through Jesus Christ.

Prayer is indeed serious business, and it is a hard business. We cannot do it in our own strength; it requires the work of the Holy Spirit within us. As Bunyan explains,

Prayer is an ordinance of God, that must continue with a soul so long as it is on this side of Glory. But, as I said before, it is not possible for a man to get up his heart to God in prayer; likewise it is as difficult to keep it there, without the assistance of the Spirit. And if so, then for a man to continue from time to time in prayer with God, it must of necessity be with the Spirit.

Bunyan’s second discourse, originally published by the title The Saints’ Privilege and Profit, focuses on the idea of coming to the throne of grace – what does this mean and how are we to approach it? Bunyan demonstrates how it is that we are able to pray because Jesus Christ was himself the sacrifice, the altar, and the high priest who has provided the way for us to come. He also talks about the proper attitude and motives for prayer.

We have boldness, brethren, to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus. What can be more plain, more encouraging, more comfortable to them that would obtain mercy, ‘and find grace to help in time of need’! It is a dishonor to God, a disadvantage to you, and an encouragement to Satan, when you hang back and seem afraid to “come boldly to the throne of grace.

This book provides many blessed reminders of the wonderful privilege that prayer is and how detrimental and sinful it is when we neglect it.

Related Sites and Articles

What other books about prayer have you found to be helpful and encouraging?

A Godly Person is a Thankful Person: The Godly Man’s Picture

The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil by Thomas Watson

“Praise and thanksgiving is the work of heaven and he begins that work here which he will always be doing in heaven…None but the godly can praise God aright.”

 

WATSON-Thomas
A painting of Watson by Gustavus Ellinthorpe Sintzenich

The Puritan preacher/writer Thomas Watson (1620-1686) is considered one of our church’s honorary elders (in absentia), since we enjoy reading and referencing his books and sermons so much. A few years ago, we went through his book The Godly Man’s Picture at our monthly ladies’ breakfasts at my church, because of course the term “godly man” in the book’s title doesn’t refer just to the male species but is relevant to women as well. The book was very profitable and stimulated good group discussion about what it means to be a godly person. Although written some 350 years ago, the topic and illustrations are still quite valid and applicable to the Christian life today. Watson is a master illustrator, and as the title of the book states, he uses the Word of God to draw in some detail a portrait of what a godly person looks like, as well as what he or she is not like. Continue reading “A Godly Person is a Thankful Person: The Godly Man’s Picture”

Resolving to Kill Sin, Part One: The Who and Why of Mortification

The Mortification of Sin by John Owen

“The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business, all their days, to mortify the indwelling power of sin.”

A new year often inspires people to start fresh by making resolutions and setting goals for themselves – things they want to experience or accomplish, and often changes they determine to make for the better, such as breaking bad habits. In the past, I have challenged readers to consider reading through the entire Bible in the coming year, and I encourage you to do so again. This year I’d like to encourage you to consider developing another habit, if you haven’t done so: killing sin in your life. With that in mind, let me commend to you John Owen’s masterful, convicting, and helpful work, The Mortification of Sin.

Continue reading “Resolving to Kill Sin, Part One: The Who and Why of Mortification”

Learning Contentment in a Material World: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”


With Thanksgiving coming up this week, it seemed this would be an appropriate book to highlight. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (1648) was very profitable and helpful to me in this day of materialism, covetousness, and greed. Even though I have a very comfortable life, I still find myself complaining and worrying – whether outwardly or in my heart – about trivial matters, and this book really helped put everything into proper perspective.

Continue reading “Learning Contentment in a Material World: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”