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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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MORE HELPS BY THE WAY. BY REV. ASHTO OXEDEPRIVATE PRAYER AD PRAISE. Besides those Public Helps whicli our hea- venly Father has provided for his children, He has also furnished other methods of a more Pri- vate kind, which they must diligently use, if they would grow in grace. One of these, and per- haps the most important, is Private Prayer. We are again and again charged, in God's word, to engage in this holy exercise. Our Lord himself says, to each one of his follow^ers, *'But tlioUy when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." (Matt. vi. 6.) When a person is first awakened, there is, as I have said, generally a hungering for public ordinances, especially 64 PRIVATE PRAYER. 55 preaching. But it is closet-ivork that, perhaps, we most need — the study of our Bibles — draw- ing near to God in secret, and feeling ourselves alone with Him. Doubtless, you have often said your prayers. You have, perhaps, been accustomed all your life regularly to say prayers morning and even-
ing; but can you not now look back and see that it was but a cold, formal service — the repeating a string of holy words, and but little more ? It was Zzp-work, and not heart-yfoik. You used words of prayer, but you did not pray. You went through the ceremony of certain devotions, as a soldier goes regularly through his exercises, but the siJirit of prayer was altogether wanting. Alas ! you have rea- son, indeed, to ask God to pardon this among your other sins — to forgive the sin you have so often committed on your knees. If, however, you have now a new life within you. Prayer will be one sure sign of the change. If the Holy Spirit is at work in your soul, you cannot but pray. AVhen a child is first born, we know that it is a living child, because it breathes. When a man has been nearly drowned, one of the first symptoms of returning life is that his bosom heaves. And so, if your soul 5Q HELPS BY THE WAY. has been quickened by tlie Spirit of God, and ''is passed from death unto life," you will surely breathe the breath of prayer. God has no dumb children: they all cry, ''Abba, Father." You may remember that it was said of Saul, when he was converted, " Behold ! he prayeth." (Acts ix. 11.) Others might not have seen him pray, but his God did. There he was, concealed from the eyes of men, pour- ing out his soul before the Lord. Like you, it may be, he had 2ised prayers all his life ; day after day he had offered up words to God; but never till then did he put up real prayer — prayer that came from his heart, prayer that
burst forth from a soul deeply conscious of its wants. Mark this — if you are a true Christian, you will be a man of prayer. Many a Christian has gone to heaven without the advantage of public ordinances; for he may have lain for years on a sick bed, and so have been debarred from them altogether. Some have reached that happy place, without ever being able to read a single page in a book. But never has any Christian struggled through this world, and gained the victory at last, without prayer; no, not one. Prayer is absolutely essential to PRIVATE PRAYER. 57 the Christian's life. It is the key, as it were, by which the door of heaven is unlocked. It is the watchword of every Christian soldier. Christians may differ from one another on many points. Some Christians are rich, and some poor; some are learned, and some have little or no learning ; some have many trials, and some have few. But all true Christians are alike in this one thing — they love prayer ; they feel the value of it ; they pray constantly, and from the heart. A man need not be a scholar to pray. It is not learning that is needed, but spiritual life and earnestness. It is very possible to have much knowledge of worldly things — yes, and even a head-knowledge of religion too — and yet a praying heart may be altogether wanting. It is not so much the words that God regards, as it is the heart that utters them. A cold

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