A Method for Prayer was written by Matthew Henry, March 25, 1710. For ease of reading, the editors have sought to update some of the author’s language. http://www.matthewhenry.org/
About the author
Matthew Henry (1662-1714) is best remembered for his Commentary on the Whole Bible, which he began in 1704. He completed Genesis through Acts by the time of his death. He was born near Whitchurch (Salop), England. He began preaching at the age of 23 and spent most of his ministry as pastor of a church in Chester (1687-1712).
- (1) Comprehensive Petitions
- (2) Beg for the Acceptance of your Prayers for Christ’s Sake
- (3) Beg for the Forgiveness of What has been Amiss in your Prayers
- (4) Commend yourself to the Grace of God
- (5) Conclude with Solemn Praises of God
- (6) Sum up your Prayer with the Lord’s Prayer
Introduction and Comprehensive Petitions
Of the Conclusion of our Prayers
We are commanded to pray at all times, Luke 21:36(ESV) to pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17(ESV) to continue steadfastly in prayer, Colossians 4:2(ESV) because we must always have in ourselves a disposition to the duty, must be constant in it, and never grow weary of it or give it up; and yet, we cannot be always praying, we must come down from this mount. Nor may we be over long, so as to make the duty a task or toil to ourselves or those who join with us. We have other work that calls for our attendance. Jacob wrestles with the angel, but he must go for the day breaks. Genesis 32:24(ESV) We must therefore think of concluding. The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, must come to an end. Psalm 72:20(ESV) But how shall we conclude so as to have the impressions of the duty kept always in the imagination of the thought of our heart?
We may then sum up our requests in some comprehensive petitions, as the conclusion of the whole matter.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip us with everything good that we may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:20-21(ESV)
Now may the Lord direct our hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5(ESV)
And the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after we have suffered a little while, restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. 1 Peter 5:10(ESV)
And now, O Lord, what do we wait for? Truly our hope is in you; Psalm 39:7(ESV) and on you do we depend to be to us God Almighty, a God all-sufficient. Genesis 17:1(ESV)
Do for us far more abundantly than all that we are able to ask or think, according to the power at work within us: Ephesians 3:20(ESV) and supply all our needs according to your riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(ESV)
Beg for the Acceptance of your Prayers for Christ’s Sake
We may then beg for the audience and acceptance of our poor weak prayers for Christ’s sake.
Now may the God of Israel grant us the things we have requested of him. 1 Samuel 1:17(ESV)
Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer. Psalm 19:14(ESV)
Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servants and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you, for they are your people and your heritage. 1 Kings 8:51-52(ESV)
O our God, let your ears be attentive to the prayers that we have made: O do not turn away the face of your Anointed One; remember your steadfast love for David your servant, 2 Chronicles 6:40-42(ESV) even Jesus, who is at your right hand interceding for us. Romans 8:34(ESV)
Lord, you have assured us that whatever we ask the Father in Christ’s name, you will give it to us. John 16:23(ESV) We ask all these things in that name, that powerful name that is above every name; Philippians 2:9(ESV) that precious name which is as oil poured out. Song of Solomon 1:3(ESV) O make your face to shine upon us, Numbers 6:25(ESV) for the Lord’s sake, Daniel 9:17(ESV) who is the Son of your love, Matthew 17:5(ESV) and whom you always hear. John 11:42(ESV) Good Lord, enable us to hear him, and be well pleased with us in him. Matthew 17:5(ESV)
Beg for the Forgiveness of What has been Amiss in your Prayers
We may then beg for the forgiveness of what has been amiss in our prayers.
Lord, we have not prayed as we ought: Romans 8:26(ESV) who is there who does good and never sins? Ecclesiastes 7:20(ESV) Even when we want to do right, evil lies close at hand; and if we have the desire to do what is right, we seem not to have the ability to carry it out: For we do not do the good that we want, but the evil we do not want is what we keep on doing; Romans 7:18-21(ESV) so that you might justly refuse to hear, though we make many prayers. Isaiah 1:15(ESV) But we have a great High Priest, who bears the guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts; Exodus 28:38(ESV) for his sake, take away all that guilt from us, Hosea 14:2(ESV) even all the guilt and iniquity of our holy things, and receive us graciously and love us freely, Hosea 14:4(ESV) and deal not with us according to our folly. Job 42:8(ESV)
Commend Yourself to the Grace of God
We may then recommend ourselves to the conduct, protection, and government of the divine grace, in the further services that lie before us and in the whole course of our life.
And now, let us be enabled to go from strength to strength, until we appear before God in Zion; and while we pass through the valley of Baca, let it be made a place of springs, and let the rain of divine grace and blessing fill the pools. Psalm 84:6-7(ESV)
Now speak, Lord, for your servants hear. 1 Samuel 3:9(ESV) What does my Lord say to his servants? Joshua 5:14(ESV) Grant that we may not turn away our ear from hearing the law, for then our prayers will be an abomination; Proverbs 28:9(ESV) but may we listen to God, that he may listen to us. Judges 9:7(ESV)
And now, the LORD our God be with us, as he was with all our fathers; may he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to himself, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules. 1 Kings 8:57-58(ESV) And let our hearts be wholly true to the LORD our God all our days, 1 Kings 8:61(ESV) and continue so till the end; that then we may rest and may stand in our allotted place, and let it be a blessed place at the end of the days. Daniel 12:13(ESV)
Conclude with Solemn Praises of God
We may conclude all with doxologies or solemn praises of God, ascribing honor and glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and sealing up all our praises and prayers with an affectionate Amen.
Now blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. Psalm 41:13(ESV)
Forever blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things, and blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen. Psalm 72:18-19(ESV) Yes, let all the people say, “Amen! Praise the LORD!” Psalm 106:48(ESV)
To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:27(ESV)
Now to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5(ESV)
To God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:21(ESV)
To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17(ESV) To him be honor and eternal dominion; 1 Timothy 6:16(ESV) to him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:11(ESV)
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25(ESV)
Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to the LORD our God. Revelation 19:1(ESV) Amen, Hallelujah! Revelation 19:4(ESV)
And now, we prostrate our souls before the throne and worship God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to God forever and ever! Amen. Revelation 7:11-12(ESV) To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13(ESV) And let the whole creation say, “Amen. Amen.”
Sum up your Prayer with the Lord’s Prayer
It is very proper to sum up our prayers in that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13(ESV)