Over a decade ago, I picked up a copy of Matthew Henry’s book, A Way to Pray, which has been helping me to learn the discipline of praying biblical language back to God. A Way to Pray is not the sort of book you quickly read from cover to cover. Instead (at least for me), it’s the sort of book I simply pick up from time to time as part of my devotional life. That’s why I am eleven years into it and only halfway through!
This morning, the following prayer blessed me. Matthew Henry introduces it with these words: “Earnestly pray for the spread of the saving gospel of Christ among all nations and the expansion of his church by the constant conversion of many.”
Let the gospel of Christ be preached among all nations to all peoples. For how shall anyone believe in him if they have not heard? How shall they hear without preachers? How shall they preach unless they are sent? We pray for your sovereign help in the spread of the gospel, for who else can thrust forth labourers except you, the Lord of the harvest? Let the people who walk in darkness see a great light. Let light dawn on those who live in the regions of death’s gloomy shadow. Matt. 24:14; Rom. 10:14, 15; Matt. 9:38; Isa. 9:2; Matt. 4:16.
As the Lord of the harvest, add to your church every single day the ones being saved. Give us faith to enlarge the place of our tent, and expand the curtains of our dwelling. Make us bold to lengthen our cords even as we strengthen our stakes. Bring your saved seed from the east and gather them from the west. Say to the north, ‘Give them up, and to the south, Do not hold them back!’ Bring your sons from far-off places, and your daughters from the ends of the earth. Let their flocks be accepted on your altar, and let them bring glory to your magnificent house. Let them fly as clouds across the sky, and as doves to their nests. Acts 2:47; Isa. 54:2; 43:5, 6; 60:7, 8.
May sweet-smelling incense be presented to you along with their pure offerings. From the rising of the sun to its going down, let your name be great among the nations. Let the offering of the peoples be acceptable to you, having been sanctified by the Spirit. Let the earth be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Mal. 1:11; Rom. 15:16; Isa. 11:9.
*You can get a copy of A Way to Pray from Cumberland Valley Bible and Books.