(J.A. James, “Prayer and Practice”)
I need not prove to you that prayer, as a duty, is essential to Christian conduct; and, as a privilege, prayer is equally indispensable to Christian enjoyment. All Christians give themselves to this devout exercise. Their petitions are copious, comprehensive, and seemingly earnest.
Do you indeed ACT as you pray? Do you understand the import, and feel the obligation of your own petitions? Do you rise from your knees where you have asked and knocked–to seek? Do you really want, wish for, and endeavor to obtain an answer to your prayers? Are you really intent upon doing and being, what you ask for in prayer?
Our prayers are to act upon ourselves; they have, or ought to have, great power in the formation of character and the regulation of conduct.
It is plain, therefore, that much of prayer is mere words. We either do not understand, or do not consider, or do not mean–what we say.
Do we go from praying–to acting, and to live for Jesus, for Heaven, for eternity?
How often do we pray to have the mind of Christ, and to imitate the example of Jesus. But where is the assiduous endeavor, the laboring effort, to copy this high model in . . .
its self-denying condescension,
its profound humility,
its beautiful meekness,
its indifference to worldly comforts,
its forgiving mercy,
its devotedness to God?
How often do we pray to be delivered from evil tempers and irascible feelings; and yet we indulge them on every slight provocation, and take no pains to subdue them!
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