A Brief Purpose of “The Very Heart of Prayer”

The purpose of my book is twofold:  first, to demonstrate that while John Bunyan (1628-1668) historically belonged to the sectarian world, he can still rightly be considered a Puritan; and Book on Bunyan (picture)second, to reclaim Bunyan from scholars who not only dispute his identity as a Puritan but also overlook his rich and peculiar spirituality.

The volume has only three chapters. Chapter 1 carefully explores Bunyan’s religious identity, leading to the conclusion that he may be labeled a sectarian Puritan. Chapter 2 critically examines his theology of prayer, one important aspect of his spirituality. In this segment, I particularly scrutinize Bunyan’s treatise I will pray with the Spirit (1662). The analysis of this treatise shows Bunyan’s radical emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s work in prayer. It also shows both Bunyan’s sectarianism and Puritanism. Chapter 3 probes his teaching on piety, as found in A Holy Life (1684). This chapter demonstrates that Bunyan’s goal in all of his life was the pursuit and promotion of piety. Sadly, some scholars who put Bunyan within a sectarian context not only suspect his identity as a Puritan but also slight his rich spirituality. Chapter 3 seeks to recover Bunyan from such scholars who depreciate his piety.

I hope my work will create a thirst among readers to pray more—to pray with the Spirit, which for Bunyan is “the very heart of Prayer.”

Note: If you purchase a copy of my book from Reformation Heritage Books, you save $5.00.

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New Book on Jonathan Edwards

Book Cover for Jonathan Edwards-His Doctrine of & Devotion to PrayerJonathan Edwards: His Doctrine of & Devotion to Prayer has finally arrived. If interested, you can purchase a copy from Reformation Heritage Books. All the proceeds from the book will go to my mother-in-law’s medical expenses. Please pray for her as she is battling with stage four breast cancer. Thank you!

Recommendations for the book:

“In giving Jonathan Edwards to the church, God did her an inestimable favor. In giving Jonathan Edwards to the reader, Brian Najapfour has done the Christian a great favor.

Edwards rightly stands at the fountainhead of a great theological tradition. The depth of Edwards’ theology, however, often overwhelms the uninitiated. In response, the reader turns to shallower streams and dies instead of theological thirst. The great riches of Edwards await those who will swim against the current. Those who persevere find not only the majesty of his thought on such great doctrines as the will and sin. They find on the far shores of their efforts the gems, ideas and doctrines directly related to God’s call upon every Christian. Edwards’ theology of prayer is such a gem. Given the chance, Jonathan Edwards and this volume, Jonathan Edwards: His Doctrine of & Devotion to Prayer, promise to change the way we pray.”

Dr. Peter Beck, Assistant Professor of Religion, Charleston Southern University

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“Thomas Shepard, the Harvard man, once quipped that there are times in his life when he’d rather die than pray. No doubt we sometimes feel this way. This book on the man from Yale by Brian Najapfour will help remedy the problem of prayerlessness. For that reason alone I am grateful for this enjoyable read on the prayer life of Jonathan Edwards.”

—Dr. Mark Jones, Minister of Faith Presbyterian Church (PCA), Vancouver, British Columbia and Research Associate, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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“Brian Najapfour weaves together a beautiful tapestry of theology and piety, of doctrine and devotion, from the life, sermons and writings of Jonathan Edwards. You’ll end up knowing much more about this godly man; but, if you follow his example, you’ll end up knowing even more about God.”

—Dr. David P. Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

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“Historically informed and contemporarily relevant, Jonathan Edwards: His Doctrine of & Devotion to Prayer equips one in the life of prayer.”

—Dr. Adriaan C. Neele, Associate Editor and Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center, Yale University Divinity School

 

 

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A DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH TO YOUTH EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP IN THE CONTEXT OF MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

By Dr. Richard A. Guion (guest blogger)

In August 2010, I began to offer free martial arts lessons at Christ Fellowship Church (CFC) to interested young people. This was in response to the big potential of being able to reach out to so many teenagers attracted to the field of martial arts training. The goal was to lead them to Jesus Christ and make them His disciples. In the succeeding months, a good number of students enrolled.

However, it was evident that the potential of martial arts training as a context for youth evangelism and discipleship was not being maximized. After every martial arts class, I invariably just preached a mini-sermon. Later, I realized that the youth have peculiar developmental characteristics that necessitate specific methods if one is to successfully get through them and impact their lives. Unfortunately, what I was doing in the club was devoid of any consideration of this. Moreover, there was the foundational question of whether or not it is spiritually and morally acceptable for Christians to train in the martial arts and to employ force in defending oneself from threats to one’s physical safety.

So I decided to write my doctoral dissertation on this topic, seeing its vast potential to significantly enhance CFC’s martial arts ministry. I embarked on a serious investigation on youth ministry, adolescent development, martial arts vis-à-vis Eastern religions, the compatibility of martial arts and Christianity, and martial arts ministry. After many months of painstaking research and writing, I was able to develop a program that promotes a well-rounded and balanced growth in the essential areas of the Christian life, utilizes various elements of martial arts training, and is well-informed by an accurate perspective on adolescent development.

Based on the foregoing study, I conclude that martial arts training is a spiritually and morally valid endeavor for Christians to undertake, provided that Eastern religious elements are banned from the class and the essential purpose behind the practice of the said arts is self-defense or physical fitness and not to harm others. With regards to martial arts ministry, it is a very potent tool in reaching out to numerous young people drawn to martial arts training. This is especially true if the program takes into consideration the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial makeup of the youth, thereby adopting strategies that resonate with them.

Note: Sensei Denny Holzbauer, the grandmaster and founder of American Bushido-Kai Karate Association, an international martial arts ministry based in Oklahoma, U.S.A, is planning to publish my dissertation soon. Should anyone of you be interested in my dissertation’s topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

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Rev. Dr. Richard A. Guion (B.Th., M.Div., D.Min.) is the Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church, a multiethnic congregation in Davao City, Philippines, which started out with Chinese-Filipinos and later on also attracted Filipinos and expats like Americans, Koreans, and Indians. His sermon videos are being broadcast daily on Skycable Davao Channel 39 (CFC) and Skycable Bacolod Channel 34 (MY Channel). His sermons can also be heard on The Edge Radio Davao 104.3 FM. Pastor Rich, as he is fondly called by church members, began learning martial arts when he was thirteen years old. He now has a black belt from American Bushido-Kai Karate Association (ABKA) and a black belt from Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA). He has also received varying degrees of training in other arts such as jeet kune do, traditional aikido, combat aikido, kali, muay thai, and jujitsu.

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New Book on John Bunyan (1628-1688)

The Very Heart of Prayer: Reclaiming the Spirituality of John Bunyan

 

“Najapfour advances a well-researched thesis that Bunyan was in fact a sectarian Puritan. While Bunyan was not a Puritan in the sense of a reformer within the Church of England, Najapfour demonstrates that Bunyan embraced a Reformed and Puritan spirituality—godliness empowered by biblical truth. Not only does Najapfour bridge the gap between scholarly and pious readings of Bunyan, but he also explores Bunyan’s view of prayer, the Holy Spirit, and godliness in a way that enriches our minds and souls.”

—Dr. Joel R. Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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“Brian Najapfour has provided the church with a helpful introduction to Bunyan’s spirituality. I commend this book, and more importantly Bunyan himself, as a conversation partner for all evangelicals who desire a Word-centered, Spirit-led, gospel-driven spirituality.”

—Dr. Nathan A. Finn, Assistant Professor of Church History and Baptist Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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“This new study by Brian Najapfour opens up to us Puritan views on what it means to pray in the Spirit and how deeper godliness is to be sought. Here we have solid help from some of Bunyan’s lesser known devotional writings. Those who are seeking serious godliness in our own times will find a good deal to help them in this book.”

—Rev. Maurice Roberts, Minister of Greyfriars Congregation, Inverness, Scotland, and former editor of Banner of Truth magazine.

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“A blend of history, biography, and practical theology, Najapfour’s book will be of profit to anyone who wants to learn more about either the life and times of the remarkable John Bunyan or about prayer.”

—Dr. Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

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To purchase this book, click here.

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FORTHCOMING BOOK: The Very Heart of Prayer: Reclaiming the Spirituality of John Bunyan

Forthcoming book: The Very Heart of Prayer: Reclaiming the Spirituality of John Bunyan

“Najapfour advances a well-researched thesis that Bunyan was in fact a sectarian Puritan. While Bunyan was not a Puritan in the sense of a reformer within the Church of England, Najapfour demonstrates that Bunyan embraced a Reformed and Puritan spirituality—godliness empowered by biblical truth. Not only does Najapfour bridge the gap between scholarly and pious readings of Bunyan, but he also explores Bunyan’s view of prayer, the Holy Spirit, and godliness in a way that enriches our minds and souls.”

—Dr. Joel R. Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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“Brian Najapfour has provided the church with a helpful introduction to Bunyan’s spirituality. I commend this book, and more importantly Bunyan himself, as a conversation partner for all evangelicals who desire a Word-centered, Spirit-led, gospel-driven spirituality.”

—Dr. Nathan A. Finn, Assistant Professor of Church History and Baptist Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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“This new study by Brian Najapfour opens up to us Puritan views on what it means to pray in the Spirit and how deeper godliness is to be sought. Here we have solid help from some of Bunyan’s lesser known devotional writings. Those who are seeking serious godliness in our own times will find a good deal to help them in this book.”

—Rev. Maurice Roberts, Minister of Greyfriars Congregation, Inverness, Scotland, and former editor of Banner of Truth magazine.

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“A blend of history, biography, and practical theology, Najapfour’s book will be of profit to anyone who wants to learn more about either the life and times of the remarkable John Bunyan or about prayer.”

—Dr. Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

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Brian G. Najapfour holds a Th.M. in Historical Theology from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS). From 2001 until his coming to PRTS in 2006, Najapfour served as a pastor in the Philippines. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is co-editor (along with Joel R. Beeke) of Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer. He is married to Sarah J. Najapfour.

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Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer

The book has finally arrived. Click here to order your copy.

In the words of Jerry Bridges, the book is “a veritable gold mine on the subject of prayer. Beeke and Najapfour have brought together in one volume the teaching on prayer of the giants of the Reformation and Puritan eras: Luther, Calvin, Knox, Perkins, Bunyan, Henry, Edwards, and others. I was personally encouraged and stimulated to take my own prayer life to a higher and hopefully more productive level. All believers who have any desire to pray effectively will profit from this book.”

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Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer

Reformation Heritage Books is scheduled to release a book this January- Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer

Contents

Preface

1. Martin Luther on Prayer and Reformation Brian G. Najapfour

2. John Calvin on Prayer as Communion with God — Joel R. Beeke

3. John Knox: A Theologian of Prayer — Brian G. Najapfour

4. William Perkins on the Lord’s Prayer — J. Stephen Yuille

5. Anthony Burgess on Christ’s Prayer for Us Joel R. Beeke

6. John Bunyan on Praying with the Holy Spirit Michael A. G. Haykin

7. The Puritans on the Help of the Holy Spirit in Prayer Johnny C. Serafini

8. Matthew Henry on a Practical Method of Daily Prayer Joel R. Beeke

9. Thomas Boston on Praying to Our Father — Joel R. Beeke

10. Jonathan Edwards on Prayer and the Triune God Peter Beck

11. Puritan Prayers for World Missions — Joel R. Beeke

12. Prayerful Praying Today — Joel R. Beeke

Bibliography

Scripture Index

Subject Index

Here are the endorsements of Jerry Bridges, Derek W. H. Thomas, Hughes Oliphant Old, Sinclair Ferguson, & Don Whitney for the book:

Taking Hold of God is a veritable gold mine on the subject of prayer. Beeke and Najapfour have brought together in one volume the teaching on prayer of the giants of the Reformation and Puritan eras: Luther, Calvin, Knox, Perkins, Bunyan, Henry, Edwards, and others. I was personally encouraged and stimulated to take my own prayer life to a higher and hopefully more productive level. All believers who have any desire to pray effectively will profit from this book.”

— JERRY BRIDGES, a longtime staff member of the Navigators and author of The Pursuit of Holiness


“Together, Beeke and Najapfour have produced a marvelously help­ful and instructive volume on prayer drawn from such giants as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, and Jonathan Edwards. It is a veritable potpourri of spiritual insight and godly advice. Books on prayer often induce more guilt than help. Taking Hold of God, as the title itself suggests, aims at doing the latter. It beckons us, allures us, into the challenge of prayer itself: laying hold of a gracious Father who longs for our presence and delights to commune with His children. If you aim to read just one book on prayer this year, choose this one.”

— DEREK W. H. THOMAS, John E. Richards Professorof Systematic and Practical Theology, ReformedTheological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi


“The Protestant Reformation brought a revolution to the life of prayer. This book opens up the story of how the Reformers like Luther and Calvin, followed by the Puritans like William Perkins and Matthew Henry, teach us a surprisingly new approach to the life of prayer.”

— HUGHES OLIPHANT OLD, John H. Leith Professorof Reformed Theology and Worship, ErskineTheological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina


“Here is a master stroke indeed! — a book on the prayer-filled lives and teaching of nine masters of the Christian life (plus others included for good measure).

“Many of us feel either infants in the school of prayer or intimi­dated and beaten down by those who accuse us of being prayer-less but do not teach us how to be prayer-full. But here can be found nourishment, example, instruction, encouragement, and, yes, deep challenge, all in one volume. May these pages serve as a tonic for our weakness, a remedy for our sickness, and an inspiration to greater prayerfulness in our churches!”

— SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON, senior minister of FirstPresbyterian Church of Columbia, South Carolina,and professor of Systematic Theology at Redeemer Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas


“Here is a great vault of spiritual riches for anyone who wants to learn more about prayer and be encouraged to pray whether you consider yourself Reformed or a student of the Puritans or not.

“But if some of the names in the table of contents are already favorites of yours, you will enjoy this book even more. This is a valuable book, and I am very grateful for those whose work made it possible.”

— DON WHITNEY, associate professor of BiblicalSpirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

 

Click here to view sample pages.

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