Watson on Meditative Prayer

Continuing in the Puritan series, I am sharing a few thoughts from Thomas Watson again, I will be quoting from the Kindle version. 1. His chapter on prayer beautifully illustrates how meditation and prayer must go together (even though our Western minds are accustomed to separating things, putting them in separate boxes).  His words resonated with me, because in my own prayer life, when I pray apart from the Word my emotions can become inflamed as I focus on them. When this happens one is usually more concerned with ‘self’ than with God’s glory. The true prayer of a believer sounds different than the venting of an unbeliever.  We cry out in hope, in expectation, and from a heart that needs Him; not from a heart that justifies emotions run amok (i.e. emotions becoming my lord), or justifies ungodly reactions to circumstances. We come boldly, not arrogantly but as a child who rests assured of his Father’s love and mercy and power.

I found these words of Watson’s encouraging, I hope you do too!

“Meditation is like oil to the lamp, the lamp of prayer will soon go out unless meditation feeds it.  Meditation and prayer are like two turtledoves…” (Loc 876)

“Meditation first furnishes with matter to pray, and then it furnishes with a heart to pray.”  (Loc 882)

“Meditation is like the bellows of the affections.  Meditation hatches good affections…we light affections at this fire of meditation, ‘while I was musing the fire burned’ (Psalm 39:3).  The reason our affections are so chilled and cold in spiritual things is because we do not warm ourselves more at the fire of meditation.” (Loc 861)

To close, I present you with a string of verses to meditate on and turn into prayer for faith as you do:

O Lord, I am of “those who have received a faith of the same kind as [the apostles], by righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ…(2 Peter 1:1)  It is impossible to please You without faith (Hebrews 11:6) [I come to You believing] that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him…[I want the faith to] endure as seeing Him who is unseen (11:27).  Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham…and heirs according to promise (Galatians 3). [Abraham] grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, being fully assured that what God has promised He was able also to perform…(Romans 4:20-21).  [I have obtained my] introduction by faith into this grace in which [I] stand; and exult in hope of the glory of God.  (Romans 5:2) The righteous man shall live by faith (Romans 1:17). The Spirit gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The words You have spoken are Spirit and are life…to whom shall we go? You [alone] have words of eternal life! (John 6:63-69)  [I will not] lose heart, [and] have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth… (2 Corinthians 4:1-2). For [You] God, who said ‘light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)  [I want to] stand firm therefore, having girded [my] loins with truth…taking up the shield of faith…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)

  1. Thomas Watson, A Christian on The Mount: A Treatise Concerning Meditation, (Beth Maynard, 2012), Loc 927.

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