Cloud of Witnesses: A Treasury of Prayers and Petitions through the Ages

Edited by Jonathan W. Arnold, Zachariah M. Carter

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Cloud of Witnesses: A Treasury of Prayers and Petitions through the Ages

Edited by Jonathan W. Arnold, Zachariah M. Carter

... Show All

A Comprehensive Anthology of Prayers and Petitions throughout Church History

Throughout history, Christians have sought guidance to bolster their spiritual walk with Christ and life of prayer. Even Christ’s disciples would ask, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). But in our current individualistic culture, it’s almost too easy to neglect the wisdom of those who came before us. 

To restore a love of historic Christian tradition, theology, and practice, this comprehensive anthology combines prayers and petitions of the greatest figures throughout the formation of the church, continuing through the medieval, Reformation, and modern eras. Editors Jonathan W. Arnold and Zachariah M. Carter provide context for each prayer through expert introductions, commentary, and biographical explorations. Ultimately readers will be encouraged in their faith as they learn the importance of prayer and witness the hearts and struggles of the saints.

  • Helpful Historical Resource: A chronological anthology of prayers and petitions throughout church history
  • Features Church History’s Greatest Figures: Clement of Rome, Gregory of Nyssa, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, and more
  • Useful as a Devotional Aid: Helps readers strengthen their knowledge of prayer and develop their walk with Christ
  • Ideal for Church Leaders and Laypeople Alike: Pastors, historians, theologians, Bible teachers, and individual believers

Read Chapter 1


Jonathan W. Arnold

Jonathan W. Arnold (DPhil, University of Oxford) serves as associate professor of theological studies at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. He and his wife, Lindsay, have four children.

Zachariah M. Carter

Zachariah M. Carter (PhD, Southern Seminary) serves as the senior pastor of Redeemer Church in Huntsville, Alabama. He and his wife, Morgan, have three children.

Product Details

Category: History & Biography
Biblical Studies
Christian Living
Format: Fabric
Page Count: 344
Size: 5.0 in x 7.0 in
Weight: 13.9 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7058-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7058-2
ISBN-UPC: 9781433570582
Case Quantity: 36
Published: March 26, 2024

Table of Contents

​​List of Prayers

Part 1: Prayers
Chapter 1: Early Church (100–800)
Chapter 2: Medieval Church (800–1500)
Chapter 3: Reformation Church (1500–1700)        
Chapter 4: Modern Church (1700–1900)

Part 2: Historical Introductions
Chapter 5: Early Church (100–800)
Chapter 6: Medieval Church (800–1500)
Chapter 7: Reformation Church (1500–1700)
Chapter 8: Modern Church (1700–1900)

Appendix: Original Language Texts
Historical Figure Index
Topic Index


“In Cloud of Witnesses, Jonathan Arnold and Zachariah Carter offer a gift to the church today from the church of the past. For two thousand years, the Spirit has worked through this great cloud of historical witnesses as they sought to contemplate God and his goodness. As we contemplate God and his goodness alongside them, that same Spirit can work in us. I pray this wonderful collection will find its way into homes, churches, and classrooms far and wide!”
Brandon D. Smith, Chair of the Hobbs School of Theology and Ministry and Associate Professor of Theology and Early Christianity, Oklahoma Baptist University; Cofounder, The Center for Baptist Renewal

Cloud of Witnesses is a marvelous resource for assisting and strengthening the prayer life of Christ followers. Through the use of representative prayers from both well-known and lesser-known figures in the first nineteen centuries of the church, Jonathan Arnold and Zachariah Carter have provided readers with a well-designed and historically framed guide to refresh their communication and communion with the Trinitarian God. The modern translations and historical introductions are added benefits that greatly enhance this fine book. I am delighted to recommend Cloud of Witnesses and trust that it will be widely employed for both private and public use.”
David S. Dockery, President and Distinguished Professor of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; President, International Alliance for Christian Education

Cloud of Witnesses is exactly what its title suggests: a mighty, enveloping, transcendent, and present testament to the faith from the faithful. The beauty and power of this collection is in its variety, breadth, and depth. Presented chronologically rather than topically, these prayers illuminate the history of the church and her witnesses: each individual petition occurs in a particular time and context yet affirms the eternal and universal nature of the Christian faith. This is that rare book that is both richly instructive and deeply devotional.”
Karen Swallow Prior, author, The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images, and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis

“I find prayer difficult, and this book is extremely helpful. If you are like me and sometimes struggle with prayer in private or with others, this book will be a great help to your personal devotions and public prayers.”
Thomas White, President, Cedarville University

“Christians of any age can learn from their predecessors in the faith. Here is a range of prayers from the past that resonate with believers of the present, showing how our experience of praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition, and intercession can be enriched. The editors are historians who have supplied background information for each of the sources (nearly half of which come from the first third of the church’s history) and even the original texts of the translations. Scholarship has been put at the service of today’s church.”
David Bebbington, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Stirling, Scotland

“With both careful scholarship and spiritual discernment, Jonathan Arnold and Zachariah Carter collect and translate significant prayers from throughout church history. As you pray with the Latin father Cyprian, the medieval theologian Bede, the Reformer Martin Luther, and the evangelical hymn writer Isaac Watts, among others, your theology will deepen and your soul will commune intimately with God. This book also includes historical commentary that explains the lives of the prayer authors and the meaning of their prayers. This is a great gift to the church of Jesus Christ that you will want to use often in both private and public worship and for theological edification.”
Malcolm B. Yarnell III, Research Professor of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Teaching Pastor, Lakeside Baptist Church, Granbury, Texas; author, Special Revelation and Scripture and God the Trinity

“To be a Christian is to know God. And yet, most Christians struggle to know how to pray to God. But why should we climb this mountain alone? A great cloud of witnesses has come before us, faithful saints who show us the way up the mountain so that we can enjoy communion with our Lord. I have been looking for some time now for a single book that gives us prayers not only from the early church but also from the medieval church. At last, here it is—a treasury of prayers from the church universal. Pray them in your morning devotions. Pray them over your family. Pray them from the pulpit. And yes, pray them in the liturgy of your church. Retrieve the petitions of the ancient church, a church God has been so faithful to sustain, and do so for the sake of renewing your church today.”
Matthew Barrett, Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Simply Trinity and None Greater

“Prayer is essential in the life of the believer. It shows our dependence on a holy and righteous God. It also affords the believer the opportunity to commune with God and worship him for who he is. But as significant as prayer is, it can be difficult to know how and what to pray. Cloud of Witnesses will serve as a guide for both the new and mature saint. I have prayed each prayer in this book for my family, friends, and even believers around the world. If you want communication with God that will set your heart ablaze and lead to more fruitful prayer, I commend this work to you. Have you ever struggled to pray? Oh, how you love God and know the importance of prayer. Your heart wants to pray. You make time to pray. But at the very moment you set to pray, you cannot gather the words to say. For a myriad of reasons, each of us has been in this position. If you struggle with articulating adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and petition, this book will serve as a sweet gift to you. Take these prayers and use them as a means of revival in your life and in the lives of those in your family, church, and community. God loves to answer prayer. Pray with boldness.”
Kevin M. Jones, Dean of the School of Education and Social Work, Cedarville University

“Spiritual insight from spiritual giants is always powerful and rich. With so many prayers that are applicable to so many areas of one’s life, Cloud of Witnesses is a great joy to read and to model. All believers, no matter their call in the kingdom, will benefit from this work.”
Chris Osborne, Professor of Preaching, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

“I find prayer difficult, and this book is extremely helpful. If you are like me and sometimes struggle with prayer in private or with others, this book will be a great help to your personal devotions and public prayers.”

Thomas White

President, Cedarville University