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“ The prayer of faith shall save the sick. The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much.” (James v. 15, 16.)
Every one who reads these texts, must be convinced that God promises to hear prayer.
“ Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?"
2. GOD DOES HEAR PRAYER.
“O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Ps. lxv. 2.)
Gen. xviii. 23-32. Here, are recorded, six prayers of Abraham, for Sodom, and answers to them all. Gen. xxiv. 12.-15. We have here the
We have here the prayer of Abraham's servant, in reference to a wife for Isaac, and God's answer.
Gen. xxxii. 24-28. This passage shows us Jacob at Penuel, wrestling and prevailing.
Ex. iii. 11-15, and iv. 1-15. Moses at the burning bush, prays and receives answers six times.
Ex. viii. ix. X. These chapters contain an account of the plagues sent upon Eygpt. During these plagues, Moses often prayed, at Pharaoh's request, that the particular judgment might be removed, and was answered. Ex. xv. 24-26.
Moses prays that the bitter waters of Marah may be made sweet, and is answered.
Ex. xvii. 3-6. There was no water at Massah, and Moses prayed, and the Lord directed him to smite the rock, and waters gushed out.
Ex. xix. 8, 9, 24, 25. Moses on Sinai receives repeated answers to his prayers.
Ex. xxxii. 7-14, 31–36. God is about to slay Israel with a stroke, for making and worshipping the golden calf, but Moses intercedes, and they are spared.
Ex. xxxiii. 18, 19, and xxxiv. 4-8. Moses prayed for a sight of God's glory, and God granted him a gracious answer.
Num. xii. 13, 14. Miriam is healed of leprosy in answer to Moses prayer.
Num. xiv. 11--20. God was so displeased with Israel, at Kadesh Barnea, or Paran, that he was about to destroy them at once, for their wicked conduct, on the return of the spies from Canaan; but Moses stood in the gap, and interceded effectually for them.
Josh. x. 12–14. In answer to Joshua's prayer, the sun and moon stood still. Judges vi. 36 -40. God answered Gideon's
prayer, two or three times, in reference to the fleece.
Judges xiii. 8–12. Samson's father prays that he might
see the angel, which had appeared unto his wife, and his prayer is answered.
1 Sam. i. 11. Hannah prays for a man-child, and is answered.
1 Sam. vii. 3–10. Samuel prayed at Mizpeh, and is answered in a wonderful manner.
2 Chron. i. 7—12. Solomon's prayer, for wisdom, and God's gracious answer.
1 Kings xiii. 6. The prophet prayed that Jeroboam's hand might be restored, and it was immediately restored.
1 Kings xvii. 1, compared with James v. 17. Elijah prays for drought upon the land of Israel, and is answered.
1 Kings xviii. 36-38. Elijah, before the altar, prays that God would send down fire to consume the sacrifice, and his prayer is answered.
1 Kings xviii. 42—45. Elijah prays for rain, and is answered. 2 Kings xix. 14–20.
Hezekiah prays against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and God grants his request.
2 Kings xx. 1–6. Hezekiah prayed that his life might be prolonged, and it was prolonged fifteen years,
Jonah ii. 1, %, 10. Jonah prayed to be delivered from the whale, and was delivered. Dan. ix. 23. God sent a
to Daniel, while he was praying for the restoration of the capitive Jews.
Luke xxiii. 42, 43. The penitent thief on the cross prays, and receives a gracious answer.
Acts i. 13, 14, compared with Acts ii. 1541. Here we have a protracted prayer-meeting, and the glorious revival, and the day of Pentecost, as the result of this prayer-meeting
Acts iv. 23–31. In angwer to the prayer of the Apostles, the place is shaken, and they are filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts ix. 6. Paul, after his conversion, asks for divine direction, and is kindly answered.
Acts ix. 40. Dorcas is brought to life, in answer to Peter's prayer,
Acts 8. 4. Cornelius is assured, that his prayers and alms had come up as a memorial before God.
Acts xii. 5-12. The Church hold a prayer-meeting for the deliverance of Peter, from prison, and an angel is sent to deliver him.
Acts xvi. 23–26. In answer to the prayers of Paul and Silas, in the Philippian jail, God sends an earthquake, and releases them, and converts the jailor and his family.
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments.” (1 John iii. 22.)
" And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us : And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John v. 14, 15.)
When has God ever said to his people, “Seek ye me in vain ?” (Is. xlv. 19.)
Every revival that has taken place, from the Pentecost till the present time, is a new confirmation of the truth, that God hears prayer. He promises to do it, and he does do it. If God hears prayer, why do not Christians pray more and better? Is it because the Church is not in need of God's blessing? Is it because sinners are not perishing for want of those divine influences, which God sends in answer to prayer? Is it because human instrumentality can advance religion in the world without God's Spirit ?
O, that Christians would believe, that God not only promises to hear prayer, but that he always does hear it, when offered up in a proper manner.
If there was ever a time when prayer was needed, it is the present time. Iniquity rolls over the world like a desolating flood; the love of many professors of religion has waxed cold ; revivals are few and limited; the cause of benevolence moves on with tardy step; God is dishonoured in high places, and in low ; and sinners are rushing swift to destruction! Our only help is in God. He will not help, only in answer to prayer. “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” (Ezek. xxxvi. 37.)
If we have occasion for thanksgivings, we have far greater occasion for humiliation, and fasting, and prayer. Let us then pray, and pray in faith, and pray in the Holy Ghost, and pray and not faint.
“THOU HAST NOT LIED UNTO MEN, BUT UNTO GOD." How awful a character is a liar, and yet how many liars there are in the world. They either forget, or are regardless of the danger of telling lies. Who is the father of liars, and where do all liars have their portion—but in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone-which can never be quenched? There are those who would shudder at the thoughts of belonging to this class-wbilst all the time they are members of it-even though they may profess, to renounce the devil and all his works. Look at that man who wishes to deceive his neighbour; he may not, as he says, “tell a downright lie,” but his aim and wish is for his friend to be made to understand a meaning contrary to what is true, and this is quite as bad and as sinful in the eyes of a pure and holy God.
A servant will make excuses, or by some means will try to conceal his fault from his master-by giving an indirect answer, and yet boast “in not having told a lie.” Sometimes he makes excuses for forgetfulness, or not complying with his master's wishes, and these excuses are all false, and his desire is to deceive his master. How much better it would be, and how much more happy would it make him, were the man to come out
once with the honest truth, whatever the consequences might be! He might,
perhaps, get blamed by his master ; but his conscience being at ease for having told the truth, is a far greater happiness to the
Again-a person, when relating an anecdote, should keep strictly to the truth-in no way deviate from it-not even the slightest shade of a shadow-to add to the interest of the story. Ah! how many, even of professing Christians, there are who colour up their tales as much as possible to amuse their hearers the more, and thus, by not adhering to the strict truth, are classed among the number of those " who loveth and maketh a lie, and who shall in no wise enter into the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Has this thought never entered your mind? If not, think of your awful, your wretched condition, and pray, with the Psalmist, “ to be delivered from lying lips and a deceitful tongue."
How often friends, whilst attending the sick bed of a member of their family, are induced to err from the truth, and even the medi. cal attendants will give too flattering an opinion to the sufferer of his state. Oh! what false kindness is this, to try to make the poor patient believe he is in a more hopeful state than he is! How can such be happy in their own minds, when they are going counter to the command, "Speak every man truth to his neighbour, putting away lying"?
Visitors calling at a house where the servant is desired to say his “master and mistress are out," when they are not-is not this “deceiving every one his neighbour, and not speaking the truth," (Jer. ix. 5.) to say nothing of the awful and dreadful example of such conduct ? Children, also, are too often encouraged by their parents to conceal the truth, though in school they are taught a very different lesson. Many more instances might be brought be. fore you ; but surely there have been enough to shew how many there are who are guilty of this sad sin, without thinking of it; and not only is it sinning against man, but it is sinning against God : « Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." Think, then, whenever you are tempted to deviate in the least degree from the truth, “it is lying unto God.” You may succeed in deceiving a fellow-worm of the earth, but you cannot deceive God. He sees into the most inmost recesses of the heart. He hears every word you utter; and you cannot think you please him when he hears you going from the truth. “Lying lips are an abomination" unto a holy God. It is the wicked who delight in lies.” God's