The Power of Prayerful ThinkingBy the Rev. Dr. Edward F. Hills
A.B. Yale University | Dip./Th.B. Westminster Theological Seminary
Th.M. Columbia Theological Seminary | Th.D. Harvard University
God commands us Christians to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). How do we do this? By always thinking prayerfully; not only when we are kneeling in some secret place of prayer, but also when we are out in the world engaged in business, or at the university studying science, or in a theological seminary working at New Testament textual criticism. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, our thinking must always be prayerful.
In this respect, many conservative Christians are seriously inconsistent. When they are on their knees in prayer, their thinking is prayerful because then God is more real to them than anything else. However, when they get off their knees and take up other pursuits, their thinking quickly loses this prayerful quality. Other things seem more real to them than God, and the opinions of unbelieving scientists and scholars become their guide rather than the teachings of God’s Holy Word. Soon, they begin to think like unbelievers.
Today, we conservative Christians are weak because our thinking is weak and unbelieving. How then can we regain lost power? Only in one way, namely, through prayerful thinking. Only prayerful thinking will be able to refuel our lamps and let our light sine in the midst of a dark and sin-cursed world (Matt. 5:14-16). Prayerful thinking gives us this power for three reasons:
1st Prayerful Thinking Leads to Absolute Certainty – Prayerful thinking is founded upon faith, and faith is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). Also, prayerful thinking unites us to Christ (Eph. 3:17) who in the holy scriptures reveals HIMSELF as our Prophet, Priest, and King (2 Cor. 4:6). Best of all, prayerful thinking is confirmed and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit, who bears witness with our spirits that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:16). Through prayerful thinking, therefore, we know that the Gospel is true (1 Tim. 1:15).
2nd Prayerful Thinking Follows the Logic of Faith – Because the Gospel is true and necessary for the salvation of souls, the Bible, which contains the Gospel, was infallibly inspired and has been preserved down through the ages by God’s special providence. This providential preservation of scripture was not accomplished secretly in hole and caves, but in a public way in the usage of God’s Church. Hence the text found in the vast majority of Old and New Testament manuscripts, in the King James Version, and other faithful translations is the true Bible text.
3rd Prayerful Thinking is Comprehensive – Science, philosophy, theology, textual criticism, and all other departments of knowledge are included in its scope. In all these areas we must take our stand on the divinely inspired and providentially preserved Scriptures and demonstrate the power of prayerful thinking. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Through prayerful thinking, we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in every aspect of life and thought (Rom. 10:9-10).
When you kneel in prayer and confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you are certain that the Gospel is true. Build, therefore, upon this certainty! Let it sink down into every fibre of your existence. Let it possess your being. Let the certainty of the Gospel guide your thinking in every department of knowledge!