Friday, June 19, 2009

Reflections: "The Key to Holiness Is Prayer" - John Owen

From time to time, I will be posting some of the quotes/passages from the book that I am currently reading. I am currently going over and about to finish John Owen's book "The Holy Spirit". The following passage on prayer and holiness is something that struck me, and had me thinking and meditating on the whole day. John Owen's last sentence in the passage you are about to read is a simple truth, yet profound in its meaning and depth. Here is the passage:

"There are two kinds of prayer needed when dealing with sin and its power. The first kind is the prayer of complaint. This is the title of Psalm 102: 'A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord'. Faced with the prevailing power of sin and soul pours itself out in the complaints (Psalm. 55:2; 142:2; Rom. 7:24). What can be more acceptable to God than for his children, out of pure love to him and his holiness, out of fervent desires to please him by a life of holy obedience and conformity to the image of Christ , to come with their complaints to God? Their complaint is that sin keeps them from being holy. They complain of their weakness. They complain in deep humility of all the evils that still remain in them (Jer. 31: 18-20). The second sort of prayer is the prayer of petition. These are prayers to God for supplies of grace to fight and conquer sin. It is in our petition that the Holy Spirit helps us. Prayer excites all graces to produce the fruit of holiness and so weakens the power of sin. The soul of a believer is never raised to a higher determination of spirit than when it is in prayer. It is in prayer that the soul's love for and delight in holiness are increased . It is prayer that the believer grows more holy. The best way of abiding in holiness is to abide in prayer." (John Owen, "The Holy Spirit", ppg. 174-175, Banner of Truth)

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