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Prayers Washed by Christ


Extract from sermon vi of a series of xxvii sermons by Samuel Rutherford on the Syro-phenician woman who came to Christ for the healing of her daughter (Matthew 15, Mark 7)

Samuel Rutherford (c. 1600-1661) was the faithful pastor of Anwoth who suffered greatly during the “Killing Time” in Scotland, being persecuted and imprisoned for his adherence to the doctrine of his dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A Presbyterian who refused to countenance Prelacy (Episcopalianism), his preaching exalted Christ alone as Lord and King. Mr Rutherford was Professor of Divinity at St Andrews and one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly.


Object. 8. But are all my cryings in prayer, works of the Spirit?  Ans. The flesh may come in and join in prayer, and some things may be said in haste, not in faith; as in that prayer, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious?” (Psal. lxxvii, 9.) Nor is that of Jeremiah to be put in Christ’s golden censer, to be presented to the Father: “Wilt thou be altogether to me as a liar, and as waters that fail?” (Jer., xv, 18.) Nor that of Job, (xiii, 24,) “Wherefore holdest thou me for thine enemy?” Christ washeth sinners in his blood, but he washeth not sin: he advocateth for the man that prayeth to have him accepted, but not for the upstarts and boilings of corruption and the flesh that are mixed with our prayer, to have them made white. Christ rejecteth these things in prayer that are essentially ill; but he washeth the prayer, and causeth the Father to accept it. There be so many other things that are a pouring out of the soul in prayer; as groaning, sighing, looking up to heaven, breathing, weeping; that it cannot be imagined, how far short printed and read prayers come of vehement praying: for you cannot put sighs, groans, tears, breathing, and such heart-messengers down in a printed book; nor can paper and ink lay your heart, in all its sweet affectations, out before God. The service-book then must be toothless and spiritless talk.



“The Trial and Triumph of Faith,” published by The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. pp 72-73.