Chapter 1: The Need For Prayer In Salvation.

Chapter 1: The Need For Prayer In Salvation.

A Call To Prayer, by J.C. Ryle. Chapter 1.

J. C. Ryle.
J. C. Ryle.

Your Soul is More Important Than Your Body.

I say, absolutely needful, and I say so advisedly. I am not speaking now of infants or idiots. I am not setting the state of the heathen. I know where little is given, there little will be required. I speak especially of those who call themselves Christians, in a land like our own. And of such I say, no man or woman can expect to be saved who does not pray.

I hold to salvation by grace as strongly as anyone. I would gladly offer a free and full pardon to the greatest sinner that ever lived. I would not hesitate to stand by their dying bed, and say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ even now, and you shall be saved.” But that a person can have salvation without asking for it, I cannot see in the Bible. That a person will receive pardon of their sins, who will not so much as lift up their heart inwardly, and say, “Lord Jesus, give it to me,” this I cannot find. I can find that nobody will be saved by their prayers, but I cannot find that without prayer anybody will be saved.

It is not absolutely needful to salvation that a person should read the Bible. A person may have no learning, or be blind, and yet have Christ in their heart. It is not absolutely needful that a person should hear public preaching of the gospel. They may live where the gospel is not preached, or they may be bedridden, or deaf. But the same thing cannot be said about prayer. It is absolutely needful to salvation that a person should pray.

There is no royal road either to health or learning. Prime ministers and kings, poor men and peasants, all alike attend to the needs of their own bodies and their own minds. No person can eat, drink, or sleep, by proxy. No person can get the alphabet learned for them by another. All these are things which everybody must do for themselves, or they will not be done at all.

Just as it is with the mind and body, so it is with the soul. There are certain things absolutely needful to the soul’s health and well-being. Each must attend to these things for themselves. Each must repent for them self. Each must apply to Christ for them self. And for them self each must speak to God and pray. You must do it for yourself, for by nobody else it can be done. To be prayerless is to be without God, without Christ, without grace, without hope, and without heaven. It is to be in the road to hell. Now can you wonder that I ask the question, DO YOU PRAY?

Don’s Notes on Chapter 1

Don Davis
Don Davis

It’s great that Ryle focuses upon argument, but that alone will not convince Christians, I think it needs to be backed up with the Spiritual convincing power of God’s Word. Bible quotations help us to really understand God’s perspective of the need for prayer in Salvation. There are many references in God’s Word to show that without prayer / speaking to the Lord God Almighty, it’s impossible to be saved. Apart from those that Ryle has already mentioned; children, mentally ill and simple people who can’t even speak. However, even some of these can exercise saving faith.

Peter commanded on the Day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:36-41 36  “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40  With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41  Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

This repentance involved: Confession of sins, turning away from sin and forsaking sin and turning towards Jesus Christ in faith. That’s the full meaning of ‘repentance’. Note also John the Baptist’s call to REPENTANCE in Matthew 3:1,6. Therefor my friends, Prayer is needed in Repentance:

But notice what happened afterward their Repentance and how devoted the new Believers in Jesus were;

Acts 2:42-47 42  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44  All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47  praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


Paul stated: Heart = Belief and Justification. Mouth = Confession and Salvation. (Both Are Required).

Romans 10:8-11 8  But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9  That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  11  As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Ryle’s strong argument that we can’t have it done for us is vitally important today. There is still the legacy of sacramental salvation in many parts of the world and folk religion here in the UK. People still believe that if you are baptised by a priest you’ll be saved, you’ll be made into a Christian. That’s nothing less than foolishness and totally un-Biblical. Each person is responsible for their own Salvation, we can’t save other people, no matter how hard we try or how much we want them to be saved. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit that leads a person to the point where they will turn in repentance from sin and put their trust in the living Lord Jesus Christ for their Salvation.

The Need For Prayer In Salvation.

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