Pleading God’s Promises in Prayer

2 Peter 1:3,4; 2 Samuel 7:25
       According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.
       And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is by turning God’s promises into petitions that they are turned into performances.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): A believing pleading of the promises―And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. This is blessed, and most important for us to emulate. In these words the faith of David was expressed in two ways: in believing God’s word and in pleading its accomplishment. That should be the very heart of our petitionary prayers: laying hold of the divine promise, and pleading for its fulfillment. God is not only a Speaker, but a Doer as well: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19).

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Prayer must be founded upon the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promises. Hereby faith will be strengthened, and affection excited. Prayer is a putting the promises in suit.

A. W. PINK: Ah, but it is one thing to assent mentally to such a declaration, but it is quite another for the heart to be really influenced thereby, and for the praying soul to appropriate that fact. True faith looks to a promising God, and expects Him to be a performing God too: “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it,” I Thessalonians. 5:24. The business of faith in prayer is to appropriate God’s Word to our own case and beg for it to be made good unto us.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): All the promises are bonds made over to us, but prayer puts these bonds in suit.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Oh, that is the whole secret of prayer, I sometimes think. Thomas Goodwin in his exposition of the sealing of the Spirit in Ephesians 1:13 uses a wonderful term. He says, “Sue him for it, sue him for it.” Do not leave Him alone. Pester Him, as it were, with His own promise. Tell Him that what He has said He is going to do. Quote the Scripture to Him. And, you know, God delights to hear us doing it, as a father likes to see this element in his own child who has obviously been listening to what his father has been saying; it pleases him. The child may be slightly impertinent, it does not matter, the father likes it in spite of that. And God is our Father, and He loves us, and He likes to hear us pleading His own promises, quoting His own words to Him, and saying ‘in the light of this, can you refrain?’ It delights the heart of God. Sue Him!

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): He loves that we should wrestle with Him by His promises.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): We should cultivate the habit of pleading promises in our prayers. We should take with us some promise, and say, “Lord, here is Thine own word pledged. Do for us as Thou hast said.” This was the habit of Jacob, and Moses, and David. The 119th Psalm is full of things asked, “according to thy word.”

EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): Now the promises are the wings of prayer. Prayer without a promise is as a bird without wings. Therefore we read both of Jacob and Jehoshaphat, how they urged God in their prayer, with His promises, Genesis 32:9-12; 2 Chronicles 20:5-12. And certainly the prayers of the saints, winged with David’s promises, will quickly fly up to heaven, and draw down grace and comfort into their souls. And upon this account it is that the promises are so useful to a Christian, because they are so helpful in prayer. When we pray, we must urge God with His promises, and say, “Lord, hast Thou not said, Thou wilt circumcise our hearts to love thee, thou wilt subdue our sins, Thou wilt give the Spirit to those that ask it? Lord! Thou art faithful. Fulfill Thine own promises.”

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): Put your finger on the promise, and plead, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, I the Lord will hear them,” Isaiah 41:17. Tell him you are poor and needy. Spread out your wants before Him. Take your emptiness to His fullness. There is an infinite supply with Him for everything you need, at the very moment you need it.

EDMUND CALAMY: And we must remember this great truth, “that the promises God makes to us to mortify our sins for us, are greater helps against sin than our [own] promises to God to mortify sin.” Many people in the day of their distress vow and promise to leave sin and fight against it in the strength of their [own] promises, and instead of conquering sin, are conquered by sin. But if we fight against sin in the strength of Christ and of His promises, if we urge God in prayer with His own Word, we shall at last get victory over it, for He hath said that sin shall not have dominion over us, Romans 6:14.

A. W. PINK: Whatever may be our case, there is something in the Word exactly suited thereto, and it is our privilege to lay hold of the same and plead it before God. Are we groaning under sin’s defilement? then plead Isaiah 1:18. Are we bowed down with a sense of our backslidings? then plead Jeremiah 3:22. Do we feel so weak as to have no strength for the performance of duty? then plead Isaiah 40:29-31. Are we perplexed as to our path and in urgent need of divine guidance? then plead Proverbs 3:6 or James 1:5. Are you sorely harassed with temptation? then plead I Corinthians 10:13. Are you destitute and fearful of starving to death? then plead Philippians 4:19. Reverently urge that promise and plead, “Do as thou hast said.”

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The best praying man is the man who is most believingly familiar with the promises of God. After all, prayer is nothing but taking God’s promises to Him and saying, “Do as Thou hast said.” Prayer is the promise utilized. Prayer not based on a promise has no foundation.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Believing prayer never asks more than is promised.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): Prayer is nothing else but presenting God with His own promise, desiring Him to work that in us and for us what He hath promised to us.

C. H. SPURGEON: God’s promises were intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation; He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, “Lord, do as Thou hast said.” We glorify God when we plead His promises.

RICHARD SIBBES: When we hear any promise in the Word of God, let us turn it into a prayer. God’s promises are His bonds. Sue Him on His bond.


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