Killing Sin Through Personal Prayer

"The activity by which the Christian directly secures the mortification of his sins is prayer," wrote J. I. Packer in his book A Quest For Godliness. But what does this practice of putting sin to death through personal prayer look like? We recently traveled to Vancouver to ask him to explain, and he kindly did in this 9-minute video clip.

J. I. Packer: "I never get to the end of mortifying sin because sin in my heart is still marauding, even though it is not dominant. Sin is constantly expressing itself in new disorderly desires, as bindweed is constantly expressing itself in fresh shoots and fresh blooms. Once bindweed has established itself in your garden or hedge it is very difficult to get out because it is always extending itself under the surface of the soil. And sin in the heart is rather like that. But as blooms of sin break surface and I recognize them, I am called to — indeed deep down in my heart I want to — go into action with this prayer procedure for draining the life out of them. And I think this is a discipline every Christian has to wake up to right at the beginning of the Christian life and continue with as long as we are in this world."

We will be tugging at the roots of bindweed at our National Conference this September. Visit the event page to learn more and register.

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Tony Reinke (@tonyreinke) is a content strategist and staff writer for Desiring God and the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011) and John Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015). He hosts the Ask Pastor John and Authors on the Line podcasts, and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and their three children.