Method for Prayer – ESV edition

A few years ago, while I was in seminary, I heard an interview where Ligon Duncan recommended the book by Matthew Henry, A Method for Prayer. Henry’s book is his excellent example of what it means to pray in Scriptural language – to use the language of God’s own Word and use them in prayer back to God.

Since then, Dr. Duncan has written a chapter in a book on Puritan classics explaining the signficance of A Method for Prayer. Much of what he says has rung true for me as I have sought to use Henry’s book to help my own prayer life.

However, the Scriptural language of Henry’s day is not my language. It closely resembles the language of the King James Version. As a personal project, I have begun ‘revising’ Henry’s work, based on the English Standard Version. More than just changing the verses, I have also done some slight editing to reflect a more personal, singular praying rather than Henry’s plural language. (the singular is actually closer to the biblical texts themselves). Although, the plural language helps ministers learn to pray over their congregations, I am hoping to make Henry’s work more accessible as a personal devotional tool.

As I complete my work, I will post the chapters here. Although, this project is mainly for personal benefit and use in my congregation, there is a chance that it will one day be published (Lord willing). Therefore, if you download the files and find them helpful, please understand they are for personal use only.

Feedback and comments are welcome!


The original A Method for Prayer (with great editing by Ligon Duncan) can be ordered online here.

An older copy of the book can be downloaded as a pdf file here.


  1. Ever read Martin Luther’s booklet, “A Simple Way to Pray”? I highly recommend it for its accessible nature — he wrote it at the request of his barber who wanted to develop a better prayer life. I believe that it’s available in hard cover for under $10.

    Dave Sarafolean
    Midland, Michigan

  2. yes, i have read it and i love luther. while i haven’t found the hardcover for under $10 (!), i do use his basic principles when i disciple people, teaching them to pray. thanks for the comment, friend.

  3. John,

    Glad to hear that you know of Luther’s little book.

    We’ll have to get together sometime to talk theology. I pastor a PCA church here in Midland. Perhaps we can do something before the holidays. I’ll try to call next week.

  4. excellent! i have been looking for a reformed brother/pastor in the area. they have been hard to find around here!

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