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SUBJECTS OF PRAYER.
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T has been the custom in the Old South Prayer-meeting to have seasons of prayer for specific objects. At one time, the
Foreign Missionary cause was the subject of prayer for about a week, and the attention of the meeting was directed to this particular point. Important intelligence from the foreign field was communicated, and the meetings were exceedingly interesting.
The General Government, with the rulers, have not unfrequently been especially remembered in prayers, and occasionally the wickedness of high places has been the theme of a whole meeting.
The subject of Temperance has sometimes been introduced in a very appropriate manner. The existence of more than two thousand liquor-shops in the city of Boston, and the general prevalence of intemperance, has called forth the most earnest petitions from God's people for their abatement. The entire hour of the morning has been devoted to the contemplation of this subject; and the feeling has seemed to exist that, if the liquor-shops could be closed, the way would be prepared for a general work of grace.
The conductors of the secular press have also had a place in the prayers of those who frequent the Old South Chapel. The important position which they occupied in influencing public sentiment has been commented upon freely, and many prayers have been offered up, that “holiness to the Lord might be written upon the secular papers."
While four prisoners, mutineers on board a New Bedford whaler, were on trial in Boston for their lives, one morning was devoted to their case, and special prayer was offered up for them. The following note was read : “ A person present, who feels an interest in the young mutineers who are now being tried for their lives, in this city, requests your prayers for them, that they may see the heinousness of their sins, and plead with Christ to have mercy upon their souls." ;
Harvard College was prayed for, morning after morning, during the revival of 1858; and the cheering intelligence was communicated, from time to time, of conversions among the students in that ancient seat of learning.
Among other subjects and classes of men that have been particularly remembered in prayer, are the City Missionary Society, the Jews, the sailors, the stable-keepers of Boston, &c., &c. We mean to be understood, that entire meetings have been devoted to prayer for these objects.
Rev. Dr. Jenks has had much to say, at different times, upon the necessity of confining the prayers to specific objects; and he, at one time, presented the following list of subjects to be prayed for at different
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“Grace to pray aright; personal salvation; growth in grace; families and friends; Christ's Church in the world, of all names and every branch ; sinners of mankind—all not truly converted ; efforts to save them, as missionaries abroad and at home; the
stated ministry; theological seminaries and colleges, officers as well as pupils ; Sabbath schools, teachers and superintendents as well as scholars ; public schools, the instructors and pupils; the young in general ; parents and guardians ; maternal associations ; Christian associations of young men; Bible, tract, and other Christian societies; directors of the public press; city missions ; all civil officers ; the rich; the poor; poor children, and whatever institutions exist for them ; prisons, penitentiaries, and hospitals for sick and insane, as also asylums for the aged; fulfilment of Scripture promises in the coming of God's kingdom ; also, the Jews, Mohammedans, Romanists, Deists, Mormons, and all errorists ; also the oppressed and ill-governed; the native Indians ; the seamen, and stable-keepers."
At another time, Dr. Jenks exhorted to prayer as follows :
PRAYER.-1. “Lest any permit themselves to ridicule.— 'Be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong.'
2. “Lest any neglect to avail themselves of the blessing now so freely offered, and apparently accepted by so many.-For, 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?
3. “ Lest any satisfy themselves with a false hope, either not realising the sinfulness of sin,' and God's justice in condemning it, or building on some other foundation than that which God has laid-even Christ-to be received by faith in all the characters and relations He bears in the Scriptures.
4. “Lest professing Christians should be remiss in the discharge of the obligations laid on them at this special season—their responsibility being great. “Without me,' said the Saviour, 'ye can do nothing? effectually.
5. “Lest anything be permitted to transpire which may 'grieve the Holy Spirit.'
6. “It is easier, apparently, in a time of revival, to embrace the Gospel, than in a time of declension in religion, as is obvious to every one; for ' now'and blessed be God for it !—' is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.' “ March 18th, 1858."
During periods of religious interest, written requests for prayer have been sent in, sometimes in large numbers. Some of the cases presented have been exceedingly interesting, and have called forth agonising prayers. We give below a few specimens of these notes :
“Prayers are requested for a husband who is a stranger to Christ.”
“A mother requests prayer for two sons, the subjects of many prayers, that they may be speedily converted.”
“ Prayers are requested for a church in that the Holy Spirit may be poured out, and a general revival prevail in the place.”
"A father requests prayers for a son at sea, that he may, while on the deep, give his heart to Christ.”
"Prayers are requested for three brothers in the meridian of life, who are still out of the ark of safety, that they may be brought into the fold of the Great Shepherd.”
“ Your prayers are earnestly requested for a young man of fine talents, who was dedictated to God in his infancy. His mother, now in heaven, prayed often and urgently for him. He now seems fast approaching a drunkard's grave. Nothing but the grace of God can save him. Pray for him, while his anxious father pleads with and prays for him.
A BELIEVER IN PRAYER." “Strangers from a town in Maine, whose hearts have long yearned towards these meetings, are here this week, and earnestly request your prayers for that place, where there has been no revival for more than twenty years, that God would now have mercy upon us, and pour out His Spirit in great measure, and gather in a great harvest of souls, who shall be to His praise and glory. Will it be too much to ask that this request may be remembered during the remainder of this week ?”
“A wife and mother begs your prayers for a husband and eight children, only one of whom gives evidence of piety."
“Special prayer is requested in behalf of a widow's son who is now taking the early steps in drunkenness, that he may be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“A lieutenant in the navy, at the Fulton Street Prayer-meeting, about to sail, requests prayers for himself and crew.”
“Prayers are desired for the head of a family, who is sceptical upon the subject of religion, that he may be led to the cross.”
“Pray for a young man who has gone home to — , to die. He has no hope in Christ.”
“ Your prayers are earnestly desired for a young woman who knows the way, but is yet careless and unconcerned.”
There is every reason to believe that many of the prayers offered up in the Old South Chapel have