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on such occasions also as the Providence of God may minister. And we are further to cultivate a prayerful temper of mind, or habitual disposition to seek to heaven for a supply of all our wants, and to go to God on all occasions of trouble, as readily, cheerfully, and natuarlly, as a dutiful child to a kind parent. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. But ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
The things for which we are to pray, are the blessings of this life, and of grace, temporal and spiritual mercies. Life-health-food
raiment-friends--all that we have, or hope to enjoy proceed from the Supreme Being :-and in all, we entirely depend on his Providence. Every good and perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights. For the favors and bounties of God, in relation to the present life, we are earnestly and constantly to pray; and to acknowledge the divine hand, in all our ways, with a full submission to the divine will, in whatever a Holy Sovereign shall please to allot or order for us. But that for which we ought to be more especially concerned, and have still more need to beg the divine assistance, is the supply of our spiritual wants: that God would
bestow on us his eternal salvation and all the qualifications and prerequisites of it-would pity and bless, renew and forgive us--would enable us to fulfil all duty-believe his truths -obey his precepts-rest on his all-sufficiency-persevere in holiness-patiently to continue in well-doing-adopt us into his family--entitle us to the privileges of his children-to the promises of his word and glories of his kingdom-recieve us into his favor here, and accept of us, when we come to die. For spiritual life, peace, forgivness of sin, divine influence, justification, adoption, increase of grace, perseverance therein to the end we are to pray, particularly, earnestly, and absolutely, without any qualifications, because we know these things to be always proper for us to ask, and always agreeable to the will of God. The parts of prayer are invocation--adoration-confession-petitionthanksgiving-andintercession.-Invocation is making mention of one or more of the names or titles of God, expressing our purpose to worship him, and desiring his assistance and acceptance, under a sense of our insufficiency and unworthiness. Adoration is that part of prayer which contains the mention of the nature of God with the highest admiration and reverence, his infinite glories, unity of essence, and inconcievable subsistence in three persons, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit his several attributes, various works, and
relation to us.-Confession is that part of prayer which consists in a humble sense and acknowledgment of our low nature our depravity of heart-entire destitution of all ho. liness, as we come into the world our sins guilt-desert of punishment, and our wants. Petition or pleading, is that part of prayer which includes the desires of deliverance from all evil, temporal, spiritual, and eternal
and bestowment of all good, temporal, spiritual and eternal on ourselves and others. Thanksgiving is that part of prayer which gives unto God the honor and glory due unto his holy name, and ascribes blessing, and glory to him for all the benefits received from his infinite fulness. Intercession is that part of prayer which seeks favors and mercies for others.--Blessing God for what he is in himself, and for what he has done for us and wishing and ascribing honor and glory to him, is the proper conclusion of prayer. Such is the nature, and these are the several parts of prayer, a word used in scripture, in a very extensive sense, “ including not only a request and petition for mercies, but the whole address of a creature on earth to God in heaven, about every thing that concerns his God, his neighbor, or himself, in this world or the world to come." Doctor Watts, in his Guide to prayer, says, “I know not a more natural order of things than this is : To begin with invocation, or calling upon God;
then proceed to adore that God whom we invoke because of his various glories ; we are then naturally led to the work of confession, considering what little, contemptible creatures we are in the presence of so adorable a God; and to humble ourselves because of our abounding sins, and our many necessities. When we have given praise to a God of such holiness, and having spread our wants before him, petitions formercy, naturally follow, and pleading, with such divine arguments, as the Spirit and word of God put into our mouths, should accompany our requests ; after all we resign ourselves into the hands of God, and express our self-dedication to him ; then we recollect the mercies that we have received, and out of gratitude pay him our tribute of honor and thanks. And as he is glorious in himself, and glorious in his works of power and grace, so we bless him and ascribe eyerlasting glory to him.
“ I cannot but think it a very useful thing for young beginners in the work of prayer to remember all these heads, in their order--to dispose of their thoughts, and desires before God in this method, proceeding regularly from one part to another. And as this must needs be useful to assist and teach us to pray in public, so sometimes in our secret retirements, it may not be improper to pursue the same practice.” Yet it must be granted, there is no necessity for confining ourselves to this, or a. ny other set method any more than there is of confining ourselves to a form in prayer.
WE will next inquire into the foundation of prayer.
The foundation of this duty lies in our wants and weaknesses, and in a belief of the power and goodness of him, to whom we ad. dress ourselves, and of his particular as well as general Providence. Of him, through him, and to him are all things. In him we live, move, and have our beings. As possessed of all possible perfections—having an infinite fulness and standing in the relation to us, of creator, preserver, benefactor, law-giver, and judge, and as exercising a general and particular providence, we are to worship before him. He is absolutely independent and all-sufficient. He has an eye to pity--an ear to hear and an arm to save. Infinite wisdom and infinite power constitute his all-sufficiency. All his attributes and glories indeed combine in laying a proper foundation for the duty of prayer. Were he not omnipresent and omniscient ; did he not know all things, and had he not an infinite fulness, there would be no grounds to prefer our petitions and supplications to him. Had he not power to bestow, and goodness to incline him to bless and assist us, there would be no foundation