About the Author
John Bunyan (1628-1688) was an English writer and Baptist preacher best known for his Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. He wrote more than 60 books and tracts in total. Buynan spent many years in prison because of his faith, and it was during this time that he began writing The Pilgrim’s Progress. Part One was published in 1678; Part Two in 1684.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is actually composed of two separate books. The first, Praying in the Spirit, was written in 1662 from a prison cell. As you could imagine, it is intensely practical. It is not known when the second book, The Throne of Grace, was written, nor from where. Its manuscript was discovered after Bunyan¿s death. It is more mystical (by Puritan standards) and is less practical. To say that Bunyan pastored and served in a difficult time is to be guilty of an understatement. In the late 1600¿s the Church of England began strictly regulating what their pastors were allowed to teach. Bunyan found himself alone and isolated; many like-minded pastors had been expelled or had fled to either the Netherlands or the United States on their own accord. Bunyan, who did not have a degree and thus was not allowed to preach, was imprisoned. While his congregation was deprived of a talented pastor, his family was deprived of their provider. Bunyon¿s time in prison left his wife to raise their daughter who was born blind. The constable reminded Bunyan continually that a simple promise not to preach would spring the jail door open. While the temptation to renounce his call must have been staggering, he remained in jail and chose to write. In addition to The Pilgrim¿s Progress and The Holy War, his time in jail produced Praying in the Spirit. It is regarded as one of the definitive Puritan works on prayer. He carefully walks believers through the process of prayer. He warns of hindrances, marks out obstacles, and lovingly encourages his readers to have a deep and intense prayer life. My what a contrast to our own day! His advice does not consist of ¿take a 10 minute walk with Jesus¿ or even ¿Pray, `Father expand my boundaries¿.¿ He instead counsels, ¿Take heed that your heart go to God as well as your mouth. Let not your mouth go any further than you strive to draw your heart along with it¿ (p. 53). The tone of the book is pastoral. It gives the impression that Bunyan is writing to his flock because he cannot preach to them. It is shocking that while he is in prison he is not focused on his own woes, but rather upon the prayer needs of his congregation. Praying in the Spirit is as biblical as it is practical. It surely must be one of the best expositions ever on 1 Corinthians 14:15. For Bunyan, ¿praying in the spirit¿ is not a sort of quasi-spiritual mystical experience. It is pleading passionitly before God. It is coming before the throne of Grace with boldness. Primarily it is praying within the will of God. He describes it as having his soul ¿cleaving to the dust¿ and asking for God to rescue it (p. 20). The second part of this work on prayer is The Throne of Grace, an exposition of Hebrews 4:16. This work explains how to pray boldly, and it gives a very powerful description of the splendor of God. While it may not have been his chief intent, the main result of the pages spent describing the throne room of God is a fuller understanding of the earnestness with which we should pray. After passionately painting a picture of the throne of God, Bunyan describes Christ at the throne, constantly making intercession for us. The majesty of God is made plain, and the importance of prayer is accentuated. Biblically, this section seems to go beyond what is written. Bunyan makes several assertions that would today be questioned. He says that God has more than one throne (throne of grace, throne of judgment, etc.), and he assigns spiritual elements to much that is unnecessary. For Bunyon, the fat of the levitical offering is a symbol for Christ¿s prayer, and the rainbow relates to Solomon¿s temple. A careful Bible student might be alarmed about some of his statements, but one also must remember that this work was possibly not meant for publication. Instead it may have been Bunyan¿s own study in preparation for preaching, if that opportunity would ever fall to him again. Bunyan¿s writings call the reader back to a