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Tag: prayer (page 1 of 3)

When we come to pray, we must remember not only what we want, but what we have received, acknowledging we have all from him; he is our father: Deut. 32:6, ‘Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people, and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee and established thee? ‘We must acknowledge the good we have, as well as that we expect to come from him. Therefore, if we would have a praying frame, and be eased of our solicitude, and that anxious care which is a disparagement to providence, it is good to take up God under the notion of a father, which makes us rest upon him for all things: Mat. 6:25, ‘Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.’ Why? ‘For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.’ You that are able fathers would think yourselves disparaged if that your children should filch and steal for their living, and beg and be solicitous, and go up and down from door to door for their maintenance and support, and not trust to your care and provision. A. believer which knoweth he hath a heavenly Father will not be negligent in his calling, but be active and industrious in his way, and use those lawful means which, by the providence of God, he hath been brought up in; and then, ‘be careful for nothing,’ as the apostle’s advice is, Phil. 4:6, and ‘in everything, by prayer and supplication, make your request known unto God.’ Oh, could we turn carking into prayer, and run to our Father, it would be happy for us. Care, and diligence, and necessary provision, that is our work and labour: but, for the success and event of things, leave it to God. When we are carking in the world with such anxiousness, and troubled with restless thoughts, how we should be provided for in old age, and what will become of us and ours, we take God’s work out of his hands. This is a disparagement to our heavenly Father, and a reproach to his providence and fatherly care.

—Thomas Manton
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 1:48–49.

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).

—Thomas Watson
All Things for Good, 20.

“Empty the bucket before you go to the fountain.”

Wise advice. If the pail be full of the best and cleanest water it is idle to carry it to the well, for its fulness disqualifies it for being a receiver. Those who think themselves full of grace are not likely to pray aright, for prayer is a beggar’s trade, and supposes the existence of need. What does a full bucket want with the well? Let it stay where it is. Fitness for mercy is not found in self-sufficiency, but in emptiness and want.

He can and will receive most of the Lord who has least of his own.

If the bucket is full of foul water, it is wise to throw it away as we go to the crystal spring. We must not come to the Lord with our minds full of vanity, lust, covetousness, and pride. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” He will not make his grace the medium of floating our unclean desires. Grace will cleanse out sin, but it will not mix with it, neither may we desire such a dishonorable compromising of the holy name of the Lord our God. Let the bucket of the heart be turned upside down and drained of the love of sin, and then prayer will be heard, and Jesus will come in and fill it.

Lord, empty me of self, of pride, of worldliness, of unbelief, and then fill me with all the fulness of God.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).

Day by day, dear Lord,
of Thee three things I pray:
to see Thee more clearly,
to love Thee more dearly,
to follow Thee more nearly.

—Prayer of Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)

He that runs from God in the morning will hardly find him at the close of the day; nor will he that begins with the world and the vanities thereof, in the first place, be very capable of walking with God all the day after. It is he that finds God in his closet that will carry the savour of him into his house, his shop, and his more open conversation.

—John Bunyan
A Holy Life, or: The Beauty of Christianity, 2:537.

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