John Knox’s Prayers | Religion


I’m a sucker for a good outsider story. Whether it’s the fact that we like to see the little guy win every now and then, or maybe we just feel overwhelmed in our own worlds and wish we could come out victorious, there is no such thing. As we prepare to celebrate another Reformation Sunday this year (October 31), I come to consider one of my favorite Reformation outsiders – John Knox.

John Knox (1514-1572 AD) was a Scottish priest turned bodyguard turned galley-keeper turned reformer. He grew up in a time and place where the gospel of the Lord Jesus was just beginning to resurface across the European landscape.

Scotland itself had the message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone come to its shores through people like Patrick Hamilton. Hamilton had visited Europe and heard this precious message. Unfortunately, when he returned home he quickly became the first Protestant martyr in Scotland. He would not be the last to shed his blood for the sake of the gospel.

Knox himself would become convinced of the Reformed Protestant faith, that need to be saved from the wrath of God by the shed blood of Christ which is made ours by faith alone. Knox’s love for this post wasn’t piecemeal, but he found himself fully engaged.

Historians have often compared him to the Old Testament prophets in the days of ancient kings. Roland H. Bainton wrote: “John Knox [Scotland’s] idolaters like Elijah the priests of Baal. Mark Galli also added: “Knox was a Hebrew Jeremiah established on Scottish soil. “

The problem with being like the Old Testament prophets is that rarely do such individuals happen to be popular. The same is true today for those who are bold enough to stand firm on the word of God. Knox found himself ridiculed by many for his zeal for the cross of Christ and his disdain for any form of idolatry that opposed the Word of God, especially on the part of the Church of Rome.

Knox is beneficial to us today because he teaches us that ordinary imperfect men and women, who are committed to Christ above all else, can be used to change the world. Scotland has never been the same after Knox. By the mercy of God, the message of the gospel has been faithfully proclaimed regularly at St. Gilles Cathedral in Edinburgh. Knox, even after his death, was immortalized under these words: “Here lies the one who never feared any flesh.”

What can we learn about this Scottish reformer? One lesson we can learn is the transformative power of prayer. One of the many works left by Knox’s quill includes a treatise on prayer. Knox was a man defined by prayer and speaks of the need for prayer in this way, “For if fire can be without heat, or a lighted lamp without light, then true faith can be without fervent prayer.” In other words, a Christian without prayer is a Christian in name only.

As a pastor, he went on to warn his flock that “Our adversary, Satan, who surrounds us at all times (1 Pet. 5), is never more busy than when we address and bow to prayer. ” The assault on heaven by the saints of God in prayer is a powerful tool in the hand of God that Knox taught. But this persistence in prayer always stirs up our sin, and that great tempter, the devil. Nonetheless, a Christian is called to earnest prayer because Christians have an enemy.

Knox added another reason why prayer is so crucial to the Christian, which gives us a window into their very heart. Knox wrote, “Let no one consider himself unworthy to call and pray to God. . . but may he bring to God a sad and repentant heart. Knox knew he was a great sinner, but knew even more that Christ was a great savior. His own prayer is appended to this very work: “in us. . . do not rest anything worthy of your mercies, for all are found barren, even the princes with the prophets like withered trees, fit and meet to be burned in the fire of your eternal displeasure. But, Lord, behold your mercy and goodness. . . May your love surpass the severity of your judgments.

Knox was such a self-aware man. When he was first elected as a preacher, he was overwhelmed by emotions and ran out of the room in tears. Yet this man would be fearless in the face of monarchs and bishops. Knox was not special in himself, but he served a mighty God. Knox wrote: “God has given His Holy Spirit to simple men in great abundance. He knew it himself.

We have barely scratched the surface of this titan of the Protestant Reformation and father of Scottish Presbyterianism. But I pray that these excerpts will inspire you to pray more earnestly and develop your curiosity for the life and teaching of this fiery preacher.

Let us end with the observation of Douglas Bond: “Knox is a model for the ordinary Christian, especially one who feels his own weakness but who nevertheless wants to serve Christ in a troubled world. Knox is eminently relevant to all Christians who have ever been forced to come face to face with their own littleness. May your weakness lead you to the cross of Christ, where you can be strengthened in Jesus Christ.

We invite you to join us for worship at Christ Reformed Church, 502 Main Street, Alexandria, Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and Sunday evening at 6 p.m. For more articles like this and to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ, check us out at In addition, we will have a special Sunday School at 11:45 am on John Knox.

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