Priests and Prophets in the Home: Cotton Mather and Parental Prayer

Volume
Volume 8
Issue
Issue 1, Spring 2015
Title
Priests and Prophets in the Home: Cotton Mather and Parental Prayer
Abstract

The theme of “family religion” has been a staple of Puritan historiography. Yet while scholars have traced many dimensions of family devotional life, they have largely neglected the role of prayer in familial spiritual formation. This article, therefore, looks at Cotton Mather’s recommendations and practices related to two critical parental tasks: prayer for children and the instruction of children in prayer. It looks first at Mather’s concern about the decline in both practices, locating this neglect in a loss of sensitivity to the supernatural dimensions of child faith. It then explores Mather’s attempts to shore up the “priestly” practice of parental prayer for children, analyzing his perspectives on intercession and his own practices within his family. Furthermore, it looks at parents’ “prophetic” role in teaching their children how to pray. The article concludes with reflections on how Mather’s proposals and practices can revitalize current thinking about the role of prayer in familial spiritual formation.

Author
Dr. David P. Setran
Pages
28 - 52
Price
Add to Cart $5.00