Prayer (Puritan paperbacks) Paperback – 1 Jan 1965
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About the Author
John Bunyan was an English Christian writer and preacher who is best known for his allegorical novel The Pilgrim' s Progress, published in 1678. Bunyan' s faith was profoundly influenced by two books owned by his wife: Arthur Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven and Lewis Bayly's Practice of Piety, and he turned to preaching following the death of his guide and mentor, John Gifford. The restoration of the monarchy of Charles II of England marked England' s return to Anglicanism, and Bunyan' s freedom to preach was curtailed. He was arrested numerous times for preaching without a licence, and was finally imprisoned for the offence in November 1660. Bunyan was released from prison in January 1672 and resumed preaching (as permitted under the Declaration of Religious Indulgence) until his death in 1688. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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John Bunyan is an English Puritan (approx 1650s) most famous for his book ,"Pilgrim's Progress". Unknown to many he also wrote some other books and a book on Prayer is one of them. This is a short book running for about 60 A5 sized pages, give or take, depending on the printing. Although Christianity is strictly speaking a, "mystery" religion, none the less, Puritan writings are more structured with subject matter divided into logical points. Some of these writers exhibit quite ornate sub-structures as well i.e. Thomas Manton. Being a, "Born Again" I have loved reading Puritan writings since I was introduced to them by a Christian friend in my late teens and I'm now retired, so for a long time in human terms.
I think that much of the modern Church would do well to acquaint themselves with these writers as IMO they were some of the most God fearing men to walk the earth and many ended up in an English jail for their efforts. This little book by John Bunyan starts with a wonderful 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."
Now with such a fantastic definition of Christian Prayer he then goes on in Puritan style (point by point) to explain what he means. One allowance that does need to be made, is that, just as we are victims of our age, so John Bunyan was of his and his expressions are "Olde English" in style.
This is a rewarding read and is a contrast to much of what goes on for prayer in our modern Churches that falls short of this ideal.
If you are interested in the continuum of Church across time to validate current experience with older writings and theological dispositions check out, "Light from the Christian East", I've written a review on that one too.
Suggestion when reading reviews; click on "newest first" to get the more up-to-date reviews.
Given my love for Bunyan and my lifelong pursuit on the topic of prayer, I expected a gem. I found a long and rambling case against the use of books of common prayer. Perhaps I'm being harsh.
It was not altogether bad. There were helpful bits. I found his definition of prayer up front to be the best I have ever heard consolidated. Also, the longer book (the second one which I didn't even know I was getting) had some helpful thinking points related to priesthood and priestliness.
Overall, I wish - I just wish I could give a higher rating...but cannot. He gets 3 solid stars because of some good pieces here and some still returning dividends from his allegories.
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