Am I right to hate this line from Thomas Watson? What does he mean?

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Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
Prayer has a kind of omnipotency in it; it has raised the dead, overcome angels, cast out devils. It has influence upon God himself (Exod. 32:10). Jacob's prayer held God: "I will not let you go, except you bless me" (Gen. 32:26). Prayer finds God free—but leaves him bound.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
:2cents: The Lord has ordained certain prayers to bring about events. In this sense, the Lord has committed himself to bring about things with particular prayers. Since the Lord is never unfaithful, certain prayers will indeed be answered. To be certain “we” do not have power to bind God, but rather he has bound himself to certain things as He has seen fit. I don’t have a problem with the quote. However, I am sure I would have worded it differently.
 
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Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
:2cents: The Lord has ordained certain prayers to bring about events. In this sense, the Lord has committed himself to bring about things with particular prayers. Since the Lord is never unfaithful, certain prayers will indeed be answered.
Right, but God has ordained the prayers. He isnt being changed by them. He willed certain things and accomplishes His will through prayers which he decreed. It just seems sketch. prayer finds God free and binds him?

Thanks for response. I think I might just not like the wording.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Thomas Watson was a man who knew God like few others. He will have a closer view of Christ in heaven; that much is for sure. Still, I too confess to finding this language to be...odd. Even with Grant's helpful remark, I frankly find Watson's statement to be too strong. Perhaps I am weak in faith.

For those wondering about the reference, it comes from Thomas Watson, Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects, Being the Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, 2 vols. (Glasgow: Blackie, Fullarton, & Co., 1829), 1:467.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Every statement has to be interpreted within its own universe of discourse, and no small part of that is with reference to its intent. Thomas Watson's intent is to encourage us to pray.

He is speaking, as Scripture itself often does, from an experiential standpoint. Of course if you challenged him he could make all the necessary and proper qualifications from the standpoint of systematic theology. But the coherence of all truths into one grand system is not the only universe of discourse. From the standpoint of God's decree, does prayer find God free and leave him bound? Certainly not. From the standpoint of human interaction with God, does God give things and commit to give things in answer to requests? "Ye have not, because ye ask not." Consider Amos 7:1-6.
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
Thomas Watson was a man who knew God like few others. He will have a closer view of Christ in heaven; that much is for sure. Still, I too confess to finding this language to be...odd. Even with Grant's helpful remark, I frankly find Watson's statement to be too strong. Perhaps I am weak in faith.

For those wondering about the reference, it comes from Thomas Watson, Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects, Being the Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, 2 vols. (Glasgow: Blackie, Fullarton, & Co., 1829), 1:467.
This was from Godly Man's picture. Maybe you were referencing something else? :cheers:
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
I think Rueben nail’s it and I think the Watson quote should stir us all to prayer.

Brakel Vol. 3 TCRS, pg. 469-470:
Fifthly, prayer is the means whereby and upon which God fulfills the desires of believers. If they do not pray, they will also not receive. If God does not stir them up to pray for a desired matter, this is generally a sign that God does not intend to give it. ―... Ye have not, because ye ask not‖ (James 4:2). If, however, it is God‘s intention to give something to His children, He generally first grants them prayer for this. The promises are for those who pray. When God promises to give a new heart, to cause men to walk in His ways, and to grant all manner of temporal and spiritual blessings, the Lord states as an additional blessing, ―I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them‖ (Ezek 36:37). The promises relative to prayer being answered are numerous: ―And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee‖ (Ps 50:15); ―Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it‖ (Ps 81:10); ―Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened‖ (Matt 7:7-8).

How much the saints have already received by means of prayer! By means of Moses‘ prayer Amelek was defeated (Exod 17:11-12). By means of the prayer of Joshua the sun and moon were made to stand still (Josh 10:12). By means of prayer the barren Hannah received a son, Samuel (1 Sam 1:20). By means of prayer Asa defeated Zerah, the Ethiopian, and his thousand times thousand men (2 Chron 14:9-12), and Jehoshaphat defeated Moab and his confederates (2 Chron 20). Elijah unlocked heaven through prayer, so that it rained after three-and-one-half years of drought (1 Kings 18:42-45). Through prayer Elisha brought a dead person to life (2 Kings 4:35, etc). Through prayer Hezekiah received a fifteen-year extension of his life (Isa 38:5). What great things have believers received upon prayer! Moreover, God is still the same God. The promises upon prayer are still the same, and they were people of like passions as we were. Therefore, believers, if you desire or are in need of something, betake yourself to prayer.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
Right, but God has ordained the prayers. He isnt being changed by them. He willed certain things and accomplishes His will through prayers which he decreed. It just seems sketch. prayer finds God free and binds him?
From the perspective of Moses and Israel, God would indeed seemed to have changed his course of action during the golden cow festivities due to the intercession of Moses.
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
Thomas Watson was a man who knew God like few others. He will have a closer view of Christ in heaven; that much is for sure. Still, I too confess to finding this language to be...odd. Even with Grant's helpful remark, I frankly find Watson's statement to be too strong. Perhaps I am weak in faith.

For those wondering about the reference, it comes from Thomas Watson, Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects, Being the Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, 2 vols. (Glasgow: Blackie, Fullarton, & Co., 1829), 1:467.
Yeah some of his language I really do not like: "If the heart is sincere, God will wink at many failings." -Thomas Watson
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
From a purely human perspective, I think in the same way, we can say that we as parents can be bound to some of the request of our children. If my daughter cries out to me in the night saying “daddy help me”, “daddy I am in pain”….. I am bound to come a running wether I like it or not!
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
From a purely human perspective, I think in the same way, we can say that we as parents can be bound to some of the request of our children. If my daughter cries out to me in the night saying “daddy help me”, “daddy I am in pain”….. I am bound to come a running wether I like it or not!
I think Watson's root ideas are true important and he just uses language I find confusing at times. The infinite blessing within sincerity of heart and prayer cannot be understated.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
I think that line from Watson is very well stated. Some truths of God are so bursting with unimaginable grace that unless you say something that will cause the hearer to think, "No, no, it's going too far to say that!" you are bound to be saying something too weak. The extravagance of God in the power he assigns to our prayers is one of those truths.
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
I think that line from Watson is very well stated. Some truths of God are so bursting with unimaginable grace that unless you say something that will cause the hearer to think, "No, no, it's going too far to say that!" you are bound to be saying something too weak. The extravagance of God in the power he assigns to our prayers is one of those truths.
I agree with what you are saying. To me, binding God at first sounds like a bad thing and almost like man triumphing over God and twisting His arm, which is a terrible awful no good very bad image. But I think that Watson doesnt intend for some of his lines to be read in the most literal and systematic of spirits.
 

Pilgrim72

Puritan Board Junior
Here are a couple more Watson quotes that maybe could've been worded better:

"The meditation of God's holiness would have this effect; it would be a means to transform us into the similitude and likeness of God. God never loves us till we are like Him."

"The doctrine of contentment is very superlative, and until we have learned this we have not learned to be Christians."
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Here are a couple more Watson quotes that maybe could've been worded better:

"The meditation of God's holiness would have this effect; it would be a means to transform us into the similitude and likeness of God. God never loves us till we are like Him."

"The doctrine of contentment is very superlative, and until we have learned this we have not learned to be Christians."
Uuuggghhh
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
Here are a couple more Watson quotes that maybe could've been worded better:

"The meditation of God's holiness would have this effect; it would be a means to transform us into the similitude and likeness of God. God never loves us till we are like Him."

"The doctrine of contentment is very superlative, and until we have learned this we have not learned to be Christians."
I remember reading the first one
 

Anthony W. Brown II

Puritan Board Freshman
Bound in a sense of a father to his son. Or a husband to his bride. Bound as a soldier to his country and countryman. Bound as a farmer to his land. His bond is his Word.

The Lord is bound by his oath to provide, protect, and produce in the life of His elect. Our union with Christ is binding! And how grateful we should be that we are bound to him. We are bought with a price by His own blood. Not a drop was wasted.

How shall he collect it back? Shall he relent in shedding his most precious blood, that which he labored ever so greatly on that tree? May it never be! His blood was shed and given, as the Spirit Himself has been given and deposited in us. Yes, he is bound. Bound by a far beyond our comprehension. Praise God!

(Forgive me for my poor grammar. I'm a bit tired from yesterday's work. Blessings.)

Sent from my SM-A326U using Tapatalk
 

Anthony W. Brown II

Puritan Board Freshman
Bound in a sense of a father to his son. Or a husband to his bride. Bound as a soldier to his country and countryman. Bound as a farmer to his land. His bond is his Word.

The Lord is bound by his oath to provide, protect, and produce in the life of His elect. Our union with Christ is binding! And how grateful we should be that we are bound to him. We are bought with a price by His own blood. Not a drop was wasted.

How shall he collect it back? Shall he relent in shedding his most precious blood, that which he labored ever so greatly on that tree? May it never be! His blood was shed and given, as the Spirit Himself has been given and deposited in us. Yes, he is bound. Bound by a far beyond our comprehension. Praise God!

(Forgive me for my poor grammar. I'm a bit tired from yesterday's work. Blessings.)

Sent from my SM-A326U using Tapatalk
*Bound by a love far beyond our comprehension. Praise God!

Sent from my SM-A326U using Tapatalk
 

student

Puritan Board Freshman
While agreeing that God allows Himself to be bound in prayer, we are also taught to pray, "Thy will be done." Perhaps we could add, "Prayer binds God, but leaves Him free."
 
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