Friday, February 28, 2014
John Owen on How Churches Support One Another In Prayer
While expositing Ephesians 6:18-24 at the Lynchburg RB Mission last Sunday evening, I was reflecting on Paul's call to the Ephesians that prayer be offered for "for all saints" and for his own apostolic ministry:
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
I made mention of a quote from a section in John Owen’s The True Nature of a Gospel Church and Its Government in which he describes the comfort and fellowship which all churches and all Christian have through prayer. I thought I had previously posted this but looks like I hadn’t. Here is the Owen’s quotation taken from Gospel Church Government, my 2012 abridgement and simplification of Owen’s original work (emphasis added):
The fellowship of churches in faith consists much in the principal fruit of that faith, namely, prayer. So, in Ephesians 2:18, it says, “For through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Paul continues the emphasis on prayer in vv. 19-22. Prayers in all churches have one object. They are directed to God, even the Father, that is, God as Father. They proceed from one and the same Spirit. A Spirit of grace and supplication is given to them to make intercession for them. All is continually offered to God by the same High Priest. He adds to it the incense of his own intercession. By him they have all access to the same throne of grace. They have a blessed fellowship in prayer continually. This fellowship is more evident in that the prayers of all are for all. There is not a single particular church or a single member of any of them that does not have the prayer support of all the churches in the world and all the members of them every day. Though this fellowship is invisible to the eyes of flesh, it is glorious to the eye of faith. It is a part of the glory of Christ the mediator in heaven. This fellowship in prayer gives to all churches a communion far more glorious than any outward rite or plan of men’s devising. If there are any persons or churches who pray to anyone other than God the Father, or who rely on any mediator other than Christ alone, or who renounce the aid of the Holy Spirit, they cut themselves off from fellowship with the universal church (pp. 100-101).