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while the most fervent prayer you ever made, if it fostered a self-righteous spirit, and was trusted in, instead of Christ, will only add to your guilt, and increase your condemnation. Regard his atonement. He has made peace by the blood of his cross; and "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” Here, then, is a sufficient ground of confidence in your approaches to God. Consider his purchase. All the blessings that you need, and for which you ask, were bought by his blood, and are laid up ready for you, to be received on asking. Heaven itself is a purchased possession. Eph. i, 14. Depend on his strength. Without Christ "you can do nothing;" but you may say, "I can do all through Christ strengthening me." You can only get near to God in and by Christ Jesus. Let this name of Christ encourage you to begin your prayer, notwithstanding all your sins; and quiet your mind after your prayer, notwithstanding all your defects. "Coming to the throne of grace in Christ's name," says Traill, is another thing than commonly men take it to be. Some think it is only to say in their prayers, for Christ's sake. To ask in His name is a higher business than to be reached by unbelievers, and men devoid of the Spirit of God. If "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost;" (1 Cor. xii, 3.) "how shall men call on him in whom they have not believed?" But can you take the Searcher of hearts to witness, that you build all your hopes of acceptance at the throne of grace in the name and mediation of Jesus. Can you say, I have no name to come to God in, but Christ's. Since all that came in his name were welcome, I will come also; having no plea but Christ's name, no covering but his robe of righteousness-I will expect answers of peace and

acceptance, only in that blessed beloved. As much as Christ is out of your minds in praying, so much are you out in praying, and your praying out of that it ought to be. That which we beg is out of Christ's store. In whose name do we beg it, but in his ? for whose sake, but for his? Out of whose hand do we receive what we ask and get, but out of his? It is marvellous that people should pretend to prayer, and think they pray, who yet forget Jesus Christ, who is all in all, in all right prayer."

3. BE WATCHFUL. Watch unto prayer. It is observable how frequently watchfulness and prayer are joined together by our Lord and his Apostles. Jesus Christ says, "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape." Luke xxi, 36. St. Paul says, Continue in prayer, and watch in the same; (Col. iv, 2.) and St. Peter, after saying, the end of all things is at hand, exhorts them, Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 1 Peter iv, 7.

You should watch FOR FAVOURABLE OPPORTUNITIES OF PRAYER. In some happy moments, when circumstances concur to call us to this duty, a more than ordinary divine influence seems to be granted to the Christian, disposing and inclining his heart to pray, and wonderfully assisting him with suitable thoughts, and desires. There is a full breeze, as it were, of spiritual aid vouchsafed. In this case, we should spread every sail, seize the happy opportunity, be instant in prayer, and make large advances towards the haven where we would be.

Watch AGAINST those HINDERANCES which have already been mentioned, and need not be repeated. Your hearts are evil, watch over them at all times. This is needful to keep them in a proper state for prayer.— Worldly-mindedness, or the indulgence of any sin in the heart, greatly unfits us for approaching Him, who

"is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Ps. lxvi, 18.

Watch also FOR MATTER FOR PRAYER. Maintain a temper always ready to converse with God. "A man should be careful," says Bishop Wilkins, " to keep a register of the most remarkable passages of his life, as to God's dealings with him, and his conduct towards God; his sins and defects; his sufferings and wants; his mercies and enjoyments. A common-place-book of this kind, arranged under the various heads of prayer, would be of great use."

Watch also OVER YOUR HEARTS IN PRAYER. If there be one time more than another, when the duty, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life," is incumbent on us, it is in the time of intercourse with the Majesty in Heaven. We should then specially take heed of uttering the words of penitence, faith, hope, and love, without a penitent, believing, hoping, and loving state of mind.

Lastly, watch for ANSWERS TO YOUR PRAYERS. Take notice how they prosper, and whether you really gain what you ask. It has already been observed, how much comfort we lose by negligence in this respect. "I know," said one, “that the Bible is true, because I pray to God, through Christ, and he hears me. I know also that God regards me and loves me, because he gives me those very blessings which I ask at his hand" and David found this a great means of increasing his love to God, and his spirit of prayer also. "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplication. Because he hath inclined his ear nto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." Ps. cxvi, 1, 2. In the morning you prayed for such and such blessings, to be enjoyed

in the day; at night then ask yourself, did I gain these blessings? If so, Praise the Lord: If not, you did not ask in faith, or according to the will of God; or the Lord delays an answer to try your faith. Here are reasons for humiliation, confession, and persevering prayer.

All this watchfulness requires great patience and perseverance. It is easy to go through the round of outward forms and duties, but it is another thing to be "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance." Hence, though the devout man be truly blessed, he is an uncommon character.

4. MEDITATE BEFORE YOU PRAY. This is a most important part of preparation for prayer. We do not work enough at our hearts before-hand, and therefore we have so little fervency, or divine unction in our prayers. "While I was musing, the fire burned; then spake I with my tongue." Previous to private prayer, endeavour to compose your thoughts, to attain a settled, calm, and attentive mind. Ask yourself, Why do I retire? what is my design? Examine yourself, and note down all that occurs in your mind as proper or advantageous to be said under each head of prayer. Self-examination should precede prayer. Consider before-hand the particular things which you wish to ask of God, so that you may ask freely, in order, and with method, those things which you need. And while approaching the house of the Lord for public worship, it is advantageous to meditate on the great work in which you are about to be engaged. The son of Syrach says, "before thou prayest, prepare thyself; and be not as one that tempts God." The musician sees that his instrument is in tune before he begins to play on it; and we should surely prepare our minds for

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prayer and praise. "Let your prayer," says the Rev. Mr. Adam, "be short, and think a long time before you begin, what you are going to say, and what you mean by it; that is, to speak plainly, whether you would be taken at your word, and put to the pain of having your prayers answered." "He who would pray," says Bishop Horne, "must first retire. Meditation, which is the mother of Devotion, is the daughter of retirement. They who do not meditate, cannot pray; they who do not retire, can do neither." Profitable subjects of meditation abound. Consider the promises of God made to prayer; the character of Him you approach; and your own sinfulness. In the morning, call to mind the duties which are before you in the approaching day, and ask for grace to fulfil them. In the evening, think on all that has occurred in the past day, and thus you will be better able to confess your sins, and to bless God for his mercies. And continue in meditation, says Bishop Taylor, "till you get some new arguments against sin, or some new encouragements to virtue, some spiritual strength and advantage, or some act of prayer to God, or praise of him." Gerson justly observes, that "Meditation is the nurse of prayer". "My mouth," says David, "shall praise thee with joyful lips, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." Ps. Ixiii, 6. The sickle must be sharpened before we reap ;-by meditation, sharpen the sickle of prayer.

(Rom. x, 12.) and is

5. ASK IN FAITH. The Scriptures insist much on this. James i, 6; Heb. x, 22; Matt. xxi, 22; Mark xi, 24. All true prayer comes from faith, the voice and expression of faith. You need, in order to gain the true spirit of devotion, an unwavering belief that God is, and that he is the rewarder of them


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