Presbyterians of the Past

Matthew Henry, A Method for Prayer

Several weeks ago I subscribed to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals email series, “Pray the Bible.” The source for this ministry is the more than three-centuries old book by Matthew Henry (1662-1714), A Method for Prayer, with Scripture Expressions, Proper to be Us’d Under each Head. Second Edition with Additions, London: Printed for Nath[aniel] Cliff and Daniel Jackson at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapfide near Mercers Chapel, 1710. A quick scan of a few library catalogs having antiquarian collections shows other editions were published in 1713, 1714, 1724, 1737, 1750, 1781, 1797, 1798, and 1882. Further searching would surely find other printings; I could not find a listing for the first edition which would date to 1710 or earlier. The point of this bibliographic information is that Henry’s book on prayer has enjoyed a long and prolific history including more recent titles using it as edited by O. Palmer Robertson, A Sampler from a Way to Pray, Banner of Truth, 2010, and the version used by the Alliance that was edited by J. Ligon Duncan III, A Method for Prayer-Matthew Henry, Christian Focus, 1994.

Matthew Henry is best known for his commentary on the whole Bible which has enjoyed a long publication history in multivolume and edited single volume editions, and his book on prayer takes his copious Bible knowledge and composes the Christian’s supplications with quotes from Scripture. As God has spoken to His people in the Word, so His people should speak to Him with his Word. Henry’s book is a fine work, however, as wonderful as the book is, the Alliance has done a great service by taking Method and putting it in form for daily prayers. The free subscription provides a daily prayer addressing any of a variety of subjects with their lengths running to three or four hundred words. For more on the project “Pray the Bible” program see “Behind the Project” on the Alliance website. If you would like to sign up for the daily emails, go to “Sign up for Daily Emails.”

The header image shows a building in Chester, England that pre-dates Matthew Henry’s time in the city. It is said that “God’s Providence is Mine Inheritance” painted on its timber-frame beam is because the household survived a visitation of the plague. The portrait is from, An Account of the Life and Death of … Mr. Matthew Henry, … who Died June 22d, 1714, … Chiefly Collected out of his Own Papers, and Faithfully Published by W. Tong, 1716. Henry was a Presbyterian minister for several years in Chester. One of my longer biographies is the one for Matthew Henry which can be accessed here, “Matthew Henry, Presbyterian Minister and Bible Commentator.”

I was prompted to tell my readers about “Pray the Bible” by the email that arrived in my inbox today (April 17, 2024). The current world situation with the war in Gaza, the recent drone and missile attack of Israel by Iran, and then here in the United States the impending presidential election by a polarized, angry electorate combine to give pause for thinking about praying for peace and the presidency, but as Matthew Henry points out, prayer needs to made for the world in general. Jesus called us to love our enemies, but the sinful flesh beckons us to hate them–we need to pray for the whole lost world.

Barry Waugh


To access this prayer on the Alliance site, click HERE.









Join the Mailing List

Be the first to know about the latest posts on Presbyterians of the Past.

Contact the Author

Subscribe to RSS