Prayer is the bellows of the affections; it blows up holy desires and ardours of soul. Prayer has power with God. ‘Command me’ (Isaiah 14:11). Prayer is a key which unlocks the treasury of God’s mercy. Prayer keeps the heart open to God—and shut to sin. Prayer assuages the swellings of lust. It was Luther’s counsel to a friend, when he perceived a temptation begin to arise, to betake himself to prayer. Prayer is the Christian’s gun, which he discharges against his enemies. Prayer is the sovereign medicine of the soul. Prayer sanctifies every mercy (1 Tim. 4:5). Prayer is the dispeller of sorrow—by venting the grief it eases the heart. When Hannah had prayed, ‘she went away, and was no more sad’ (1 Sam. 1:18).
All Things for Good, 20.
We love the body more than the soul, and therefore have a quick sense of bodily mercies. But now, in soul concernments we are not the like affected. It is for want of observation to descry the progress of grace, and God’s dealings with the inward man. … And it is for want of affection. We are wrought upon by carnal arguments, mercies of flesh and blood, and showers of rain, food, and gladness. These things make us praise God; but that which we get from God in an ordinance, we are not so sensible of.
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 6:68.
A man goes to bed willingly and cheerfully, because he knows he shall rise again the next morning, and be renewed in his strength. Confidence in the resurrection would make us go to the grave as cheerfully as we go to our beds; it would make us die more comfortably, and sleep more quietly, in the bosom of the Lord than we rest in our own beds.
Cited by Charles H. Spurgeon, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).
Has Christ, and hath his resurrection such a potent and comfortable influence into the resurrection of the saints? Then it is the duty, and will be the wisdom of the people of God, so to govern, dispose, and employ their bodies, as become men and women, that understand what glory is prepared for them at the resurrection of the just.
Be not fondly tender of them, but employ and use them for God here. How many good duties are lost and spoiled by sinful indulgence to our bodies? Alas! we are generally more solicitous to live long, than to live usefully. How many saints have active, vigorous bodies, yet God hath little service from them. If your bodies were animated by some other souls that love God more than you do, and burn with holy zeal to his service, more work would be done for God by your bodies in a day, than is now done in a month. To have an able, healthy body, and not use it for God, for fear of hurting it, is as if one should give you a strong and stately horse, upon condition you must not work or ride him. Wherein is the mercy of having a body, except it be employed for God? Will not its reward at the resurrection be sufficient for all the pains you now put it to in his service?
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 1:497–498.