Philip Ryken on Jeremiah 29:7

March 1, 2007

Alright, I have a confession to make: I’ve chosen the preacher and sermon for this week’s Workman Watch for selfish reasons. At the moment, I have the privilege of sharing the preaching through Jeremiah. Ryken has produced a most fantastic Jeremiah commentary, which offers so many lines of application it’s almost deadly to read! Therefore, I was interested to see what Philip Ryken did with this passage. Listen to the audio here. View the sermon here.


How long was the sermon? 35 mins 30 seconds

What was the main point? Pray for the redemption of your city.

What was the opening sentence? Well as many of you will know, this has been a month of considering the vision of Tenth Presbyterian Church.

What was the introduction about?
An illustration of a book called “prayer for the city.” Ryken went on to point out the priority of prayer – that before, during and after everything else, we are to pray for the city.

What was the sermon structure?
Q- How should the people pray for the city?
– Some other biblical examples of such praying (Abraham – a positive example; Jonah and Nineveh – a negative example)
– Jeremiah 29:7 (cf. Psalm 22)

Specifically, we should pray for peace of the city
– the total well being of the city
– for the sake of the people of God

Generally, we should pray kingdom prayers
– not just personal prayers

Conclusion – Jesus prayed for the city; and gave himself for it.

What illustrations were used? These were mainly biblical illustrations, particularly Abraham and Jonah.

What will you remember a week from now? Ryken’s description of the prayer walk that members of his church are involved in several times a year. Meeting early in the morning, the congregation break into groups and walk around town stopping at businesses, churches, and residential areas to pray for it. Also, Ryken’s comment that “if only we will pray, the city still has a prayer.”

What one aspect of Ryken’s preaching will you attempt to take over into your own? Ryken’s ability to give concrete examples of applying the prayer to Philadelphia. By this, it became evident that Ryken understood a great deal about the needs and demographics of the city, and this grounded the prayer in reality. I need to become a greater student of Edinburgh and its people.



  1. A helpful sermon, but what struck me most was how little it had to do with Jer. 29:7! Much of the first part is taken up with the examples of Genesis 18 and Jonah 4, and by 14m20s, Ryken is drawing on Psalm 122 (not 22) which becomes the focus for the rest of the sermon. I guess that’s what happens with a “vision series” rather than an “expository” series. But his aligning of Babylon and Jerusalem in the prayers of the saints was quite effective.

  2. That’s a very good point David. I think I realised after a while that this was not a typical example of Ryken’s expository preaching; and your right, he basically goes through Psalm 122 and relates it to praying for Bablyon. It might have been even more interesting if he had attempted to preach Jer 29:7 in the context of Jeremiah 29. It is fascinating to ponder what the prayer is driving at…

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