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The Secret Key to Heaven: The Vital Importance of Private Prayer by Thomas Brooks

$10.00 $7.25
(You save $2.75)

The Secret Key to Heaven: The Vital Importance of Private Prayer by Thomas Brooks

$10.00 $7.25
(You save $2.75)
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9780851519241
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The power of religion and godliness lives, thrives, or dies, as closet prayer lives, thrives, or dies.’ This was the deeply held conviction of Thomas Brooks, the author of The Secret Key to Heaven. As a pastor who knew his people well, he feared that many Christians do not understand the necessity, excellency, and usefulness of private prayer, and that many live ‘too great a neglect of this indispensable duty.’ Focusing on our Lord’s words about ‘closet-prayer’ in Matthew 6:6, Brooks gives us a masterful treatment of a vitally important aspect of Christian’s living. His aim is intensely practical, ‘to preserve and keep up the power of religion and godliness both in men’s houses, hearts, and lives.’

 

Table of Contents

Publisher’s Note xi
  Author’s Preface xiii
  PART ONE  
  The Doctrine of the Text (Matt. 6:6) Stated and Proved 1
  PART TWO  
  Twenty Arguments for Private Prayer  
1: The Most Eminent Saints Engaged in Private Prayer 7
2: Christ Engaged in Secret Prayer 13
3: Secret Prayer Distinguishes Sincerity from Hypocrisy 18
4: Secret Prayer Lets Us Unbosom Ourselves before God 20
5: Secret Duties Shall Have Open Rewards 23
6: God Most Manifests Himself in Secret 24
7: This Life Is the Only Time for Private Prayer 31
8: Private Prayer’s Prevailing Power 31
9: Private Prayer Is the Most Soul-Enriching of Duties 44
10: Secret Prayer and Secret Sins 46
11: Secret Prayer Delights Christ 47
12: Only Believers Share God’s Secrets 48
13: Private Prayer Is the Christian’s Refuge in Trouble 58
14: God Is Omnipresent 61
15: If We Neglect Private Prayer, God Will Not Hear Our Public Prayers 64
16: The Times Call for Private Prayer 66
17: Those Near to the Lord Should Engage in Secret Prayer 68
18: Special Marks of God’s Favour 71
19: Satan’s Enmity to Secret Prayer 72
20: The Lord’s Secret Ones Should Engage in Secret Prayer 75
  PART THREE  
  The Use and Application of the Doctrine  
  The Doctrine Condemns Five Ways in Which Private Prayer Is Neglected 79
  The Doctrine Exhorts Us to Be Frequent and Constant in Private Prayer 85
  PART FOUR  
  Six Objections Stated and Answered  
1: We Are Too Busy to Spare Time for Private Prayer 87
2: As Servants, We Have No Time That We Can Call Our Own 104
3: We Lack the Necessary Gifts and Abilities for Private Prayer 127
4: God Knows Our Desires and Needs Whether We Pray in Private or Not 156
5: We Lack a Convenient Place for Private Prayer 159
6: Our Weaknesses and Infirmities Hinder Us from Private Prayer 161
  PART FIVE  
  Eleven Instructions concerning Private Prayer  
1: Be Frequent in Private Prayer 183
2: Use the Best Times and Opportunities 188
3: Do Not Perform Closet Duties Merely to Still Your Conscience 191
4: Do Not Trust in Closet Duties 193
5: Put Your Heart into All Closet Duties 197
6: Be Fervent, Warm, and Importunate with God in All Closet Duties 201
7: Be Constant and Persevering in Closet Prayer 208
8: Thirst and Long after Communion with God in Private Prayer 212
9: Make the Glory of God Your Ultimate End 233
10: Always Pray in the Name of Christ Alone 235
11: Look for Answers to Your Closet Prayers 239
  PART SIX  
  Means, Rules, and Directions for Faithful Private Prayer  
1: Beware of an Idle, Slothful Spirit 243
2: Beware of Spending Precious Time on Small, Circumstantial Matters 248
3: Beware of Curious Questions 249
4: Beware of Engaging in Too Much Worldly Business 254
5: Beware of Secret Sins 256
  Closing Advice  
1: Mourn over Neglect of Private Prayer 273
2: Cultivate the Habit of Closet Prayer 274
3: Keep a Diary of Closet Mercies 274
4: Do Not Let Public Duties and Ordinances Crowd Out Private Prayer 277
5: Love Christ with a More Inflamed Love 278
6: Be Thoroughly Resolved in the Strength of Christ to Persevere in Closet Prayer 280
7: Strive for a Greater Measure of the Spirit 282
8: Be Frequent in the Serious Consideration of Eternity 284

 

About the Author

Little is known about Thomas Brooks as a man, other than can be ascertained from his many writings. Born, probably of well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1625. He was licensed as a preacher of the gospel by 1640 at the latest. Before that date he seems to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet. After the Civil War, Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle’s, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on 26 December, 1648. Three or four years later he moved to St Margaret’s, Fish-street Hill, London, but encountered considerable opposition as he refused baptism and the Lord’s Supper to those clearly ‘unworthy’ of such privileges. The following years were filled with written as well as spoken ministry. In 1662 he fell victim to the notorious Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached the Word as opportunity offered. Treatises continued to flow from his agile pen. In 1677 or 1678 he married for the second time, ‘she spring-young, he winter-old’. Two years later he went home to his Lord.

 

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