When you pray, do you always pray to the Father in the name of the Son?

While I normally offer my prayer to the Father, in the name of Jesus, with the help of the Holy Spirit, sometimes I address my prayer to the Spirit and sometimes to the Son. The German Protestant Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) said that when we pray to Jesus, we “need not worry that the Father and the Holy Spirit will be angry on this account. They know that no matter which Person [we] call upon, [we] call upon all three Persons and upon the One God at the same time. For [we] cannot call upon one Person without calling upon the others, because the one, undivided divine Essence exists in all and in each Person.” In his treatise Communion with God (1657), the Puritan theologian John Owen (1616-1683) encouraged us to fellowship with each person of the Trinity. Indeed, our prayer should be trinitarian. In our prayer, we can say with the Puritan pastor Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) “I don’t know which Person of the Trinity I love the most, but this I know, I love each of them, and I need them all.”    


To learn more how to pray, see these books:

Co-edited with Joel R. Beeke, Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011).

The Very Heart of Prayer: Reclaiming John Bunyan’s Spirituality (Mountain Home: Ark.: BorderStone Press 2012)

John Owen Martin Luther Prayer Samuel Rutherford

‘That it might lead and direct men unto Christ’: John Owen’s View of the Mosaic Covenant

In this essay, I will examine John Owen’s (1616-1683) thought on the Mosaic covenant, which is generally understood as a bilateral covenant between God and Israel at the time when Moses was the human leader of the Israelites, thus termed the Mosaic covenant. Sometimes it is called Sinaitic covenant because this covenant was given at Mount Sinai. Owen however calls this covenant the old covenant in contrast to the new or better covenant of Hebrews eight.[2] This sometimes confuses readers because Owen also uses the same term to refer to the covenant of works.[3] However, while the designations Mosaic, Sinaitic, and old covenants may be synonymous, I will employ the former.


To continue reading the article, see Brian G. Najapfour, “‘[T]hat it might lead and direct men unto Christ’: John Owen’s View of the Mosaic Covenant,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 29, no. 2 (2011): 196-204.

      [2] Owen, Works, 22, pp. 49, 61.

      [3] Ibid., 61.


Covenant Theology John Owen Mosaic Covenant

A Book Review of Sinclair B. Ferguson’s John Owen on the Christian Life

John Owen on the Christian Life is one of Ferguson’s great works serving as an introductory guide to John Owen. Its first chapter provides a succinct summary of Owen’s life, while the rest of the chapters survey his Christian doctrine with a focus on his substantial teachings. Oftentimes, it is said that Owen is not easy to read, and thus many have tended to shun his works and consequently miss the treasures there. Thankfully, however, Ferguson has laboriously mined those treasures and made them accessible to those unable to mine for themselves. Even experienced researchers have benefited from Ferguson’s labor, in that many post-Reformation authors have been encouraged and motivated to write on Owen since the publication of his book in 1987. John Owen on the Christian Life has become a standard reference for twenty-first century Owen writers.


To continue reading my review, click here.

Book Review John Owen

“After this manner therefore pray ye”: Puritan Perspectives on the Lord’s Prayer

Let us have a great esteem of the Lord’s prayer; let it be the model and pattern of all our prayers.

                                                                                                                                                Thomas Watson

When Jesus says, “After this manner therefore pray ye,” what does He mean? Is He telling His disciples to pray the exact words of the Lord’s Prayer, is He telling them to just use this prayer as a pattern, or perhaps both? Is the Lord’s Prayer a set form (a set order of words to pray), a pattern (a sample of prayer), or both? This article, after briefly surveying some works on the Lord’s Prayer from patristic to Puritan periods, will deal with these questions, specifically focusing on how the Puritans understood Jesus’ words concerning how to pray.


Click here to read my entire article.

See also “‘After this manner therefore pray ye’: Puritan Perspectives on the Lord’s Prayer,” Puritan Reformed Journal 4, no. 2 (2012): 158-69.

John Bunyan John Owen Prayer Puritan The Lord's Prayer

The Fourfold Context of John Owen’s The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer (1682)

John Owen (1616–1683) considered prayer the heart of all religion: “All men will readily acknowledge that as without it [prayer] there can be no religion at all, so the life and exercise of all religion doth principally consist therein.”[1] For Owen, prayer was an indispensable element of religion, as he again said: “without it there neither is nor can be the exercise of any religion in the world.”[2] Owen discussed the subject of prayer at length in his treatise, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer, written in 1682.[3] In this treatise Owen thought and wrote inseparably as a theologian of the Holy Spirit, a polemicist, a Puritan Renaissance man, and a pastor.[4] Thus, this article will examine Owen’s discourse in light of these four contexts: (1) pneumatological; (2) polemical; (3) the Puritans as a Renaissance movement; and (4) pastoral.


To read my entire article, click here.

        [1] John Owen, “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer,” in The Works of John Owen, vol. 4, ed. William H. Goold (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust), 237.

        [2] Ibid., 251.

        [3] This discourse is Owen’s seventh book on his whole work on pneumatology in the edition of William H. Goold, volumes 3 & 4, first published by Johnstone & Hunter, 1850-53, then reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust in 1967.

        [4] Owen’s style in writing can be generally categorized into four aspects: (1) exegesis; (2) systematic theology; (3) polemics; and (4) practical application. He would first exegete the text, then draw theology out of his exegesis, and once the doctrine had been drawn, he deduced some practical applications, and oftentimes dialogued polemically with others who had different views of the doctrine he was studying. Hence, he wrote as an exegete, systematic theologian, polemicist, and pastor. This style is also seen in other Puritans.

Holy Spirit John Owen Piety Prayer Puritan