Overview: Matthew Henry's A Method of Prayer is essentially a user's guide to praying biblically. Based on the premise that the Scriptures themselves make for the best prayer content, Henry's work shows the reader how to pray the very words of Scripture under the following headings: (1) adoration, (2) confession, (3) supplication, (4) thanksgivings, (5) intercession for others, (6) addresses to God on particular occasions, (7) conclusions for prayer, (8) a paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, and (9) a short example prayer. In each of the above headings, Henry collects numerous Scriptures, binding them together in sheaves of like-themed orations, so that not only the manner of prayer is biblical, but its substance as well.
Critique: Henry's work does not necessarily make for a smooth read as each of the chapters are primarily bundles of Scriptures quotations. Nevertheless, the whole of each chapter does appear quite beautiful, like pearls on a string. For this reason, readers would do well to attempt to make such prayer compendiums on their own (especially in written form) in order to learn the style of prayer that Henry recommends. I doubt many readers will be able to do this type of praying "off the cuff." However, Henry's main drive in this work is well worth modeling, i.e. that our prayer life, and not just our preaching, should be primarily biblical through and through. One must marvel at the time and attention Henry must have taken to compose the beautifully ornate Bible prayers (with chapter and verse citations!) that he gives his readers in each chapter.
Application: In terms of applying the content of this work, I feel that the best application might be in the context of public and pastoral prayers. While extemporaneous and "ejaculatory" prayers might be difficult to summon with such a deeply biblical formation, nevertheless, pastors (myself included) would do well to use this type of style (updated of course for a modern audience) in our Sabbath Day pastoral prayers for our congregations. On these occasions where the pastor prays publicly and audibly--especially on behalf of the gathered saints--the minister is obliged to compose such Biblical intercessions with more attention to form and biblical content.
Best Quote: "And now we must affect our hearts with a deep sense of the need we have of those mercies which we pray for, that we are undone, for ever undone, without them; and with a high esteem and value for them, that we are happy, we are made ever happy if we attain them; that we may like Jacob, wrestle with him in prayer, as for our lives, and the lives of our souls" (p. 73).