Octavius Winslow: What is prayer?

Octavius Winslow (1808–1878) was an English non-conformist who was once a Baptist pastor who later turned to the Anglican communion. He has numerous writings available through Banner of Truth here.

I recently ran across how Octavius defines prayer and wanted to share it here.

“True prayer is the aspiration of a renewed soul towards God; it is the breathing of Divine life, sometimes in the accents of sorrow, sometimes as the expressions of want, and always as the acknowledgment of dependence; it is the looking up of renewed, afflicted, needy, and depdent child to its own loving heavenly Father, in all consicousness of utter weakness, and in all the sweetness of loving trust.”

Murray G. Brett, Growing Up in Grace: The Use of Means for Communion with God, 123.

Note the following:

  1. True prayer is Godward.
  2. True prayer contains varied expressions (e.g. “want,” “sorrow”) and is always in “dependence.”
  3. True Prayer isn’t merely Godward, but Godward in the sense that it is towards God, our heavenly Father.
  4. True Prayer is aware of weakness.
  5. True prayer, though aware of weakness, contains a sweetness as it lovingly trusts in God our Father.

These are good thoughts and I hope they spur me (and you) on to approach our Father in prayer.

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