Page images

gregation of his people, on which occasions, pnblic forms of prayer were used by the Jews. The Israelites bad a form of tbanksgiving, when they offered the

first fruits of the ground. Deut. xxvi, 3--15. The prayer used by Solomon at the dedication of the temple, when

all Israel were assembled 1 Kings viii, 54-56. David's prayer, when the ark was brought back. 1 Chron, xvi,7--36. Jehoshapbat's prayer, when his country was invaded. 2 Chron.

Xx, 5--13, King Hezekiah commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord,

with the words of David and Asapb. 2 Chron. xxix, 29.-30. A form of prayer was used when the foundation of the second temple

was laid. Ezra. iii, 10, 11, The whole multitude were praying without at the time of incense.

Luke i, 10. Peter and tuhn went into the temple at the hour of prayer. Acts iii, 1.

2. Social prayer, the worship of God with our families, or friends. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in

the midst of them. Matt. xviii, 19, 20. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.

Acts i, 14. He came to the house of Mary, where many were gathered together

praying. Acts xii, 12. 3. Private prayer, or the worship of God in secret. All good men have agreed in the necessity of this. Religion consists in walking with God, and trying to please him, in striving against sin, and making progress in holiness. A life of prayer alone will enable us thus to devote ourselves to his service, and we therefore find, that all the saints of God have been men of prayer.'

We have a great many instances of our Saviour's retiring to pray alone. Mark i, 35; Luke xxii, 44. Abraham, Gen, xvii, 18, 20.--Eliezer, Gen. xxiv, 12, 56...Jacob,

Gen. xxxii, 21-30.-—-Moses, Exod. xvii, 11; xxxiii, 13, 14,
Hannah, 1 Sam. 1, 10,--Samuel, 1 Sam. viii, 6.-David, 2 Sam.
XV, 31.--Solomon, 1 Kings iii, 9.-Jabez, i Chron. iv, 10.-
Daniel, Dan. vi, 10.-— The woman of Canaan, Matt. xv, 25.-

Cornelius, 'Acis x, 2.-Paul, 2 Cor. xii, 8.
Should we not often be employed in the holy exercise of prayer?

Yes ; particularly in private prayer. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Isa. Iv, 6. Continuing instant in prayer. Rom. xii, 12. Praying always with all prayer. Eph, vi, 18, In every thing, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be niade

known unto God. Phil. iv, 6.

Coutinue in prayer, and watch in the same, Col, iv, 2.
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess. v, 17.
I will that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands. 1 Tim, ii, 8,
Be ye sober and watch onto prayer. 1 Pet. iv, 7.
What authority have you to expect that God will hear

prayer ? The Bible is full of encouragements to pray. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto bim, and he shall hear thee, · Job

xxii, 27. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open

unto their cry. Ps. xxxiv, 15; 1 Pet. iii, 12. Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou

shalt glorify me. Ps. 1, 15. He sball call upon me, and I will answer him. Ps. xci, 15. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will bear

their cry, and will save them. Ps. cxlv, 19. Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I

will bear. Isa. Ixv, 24. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and

I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me,

when ye sball search for me with all your heart. Jer. xxix, 12, 13. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them. Zech. xiii, 9. Ask, and it shall be given you: if ye then being evil, know how to

give good gifts unto your children, how much more sball your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask

him? Mat, vii, 7,11; Luke xi, 13. All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall

receive. Mat. xxi, 29. Jf any man be a worshipper of God, and doth his will, him he heareth,

John ix, 31. If ye abide in me, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done

unto you. John xv, 7. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

Rom. x, 13. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all

meu liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.

James i, 5. The effeciaal fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James v, 16. If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. 1 Jobn

V, 14. What time should you more especially set apart for private

prayer ? We should endeavour to live continually in a spirit of dependence upon God, looking up to him for protection and blessing ; but we should especially pray to him in

the morning, before we go to onr work and labonr, that we may be preserved from the spares and temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and at night, before we go to rest, that we may not lie down with ihe sins of the day unpardoned. My voice sbalt thou bear in the morning, O Lord. Ps. v, 3. Evening and moruing, and at roon, will I pray. Ps. Iv, 17. Be mercifal unto me; for I cry onto thee daily, Ps. Ixsxvi, 3, I have cried day and night before thee. Ps. Ixxxviii, i. In the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. Ps. Isssviii, 13. Let the lifting up of my bands be as the evening sacrifice. Ps. cxli, 9. Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and

gave thanks before his God. Dan. vi, 10. In which of the three kinds of prayer should that excellent

forin, called the Lord's Prayer, be used ? It was intended tor our use in each of them. Bishop Beveridge says, “ Although we may use many other words, there is nothing we can either want or desire, that is really good for us, or necessary either for life or godliness, but we ask it in this prayer of our Lord's composing; and that, too, in the same method, and in such terms, as he himself would have us ask it in, by whose mediation only it can be granted."

What a melancholy consideration is it, that we may justly fear there are so few families that pray.-Men are willing to do things that have the appearance of religion, while they neglect private prayer; or, if their consciences will not allow this, yet they pray in a formal, lifeless manner, without any serious impressions of the holiness of God, or of the vast number of their wants. May God quicken us to the performance of this important daiy. 1st Sunday after Trinity.- God, the strength of all them tbat

put their trust in thee, mercifully accept our prayers. 3d Sunday after Trinity.-Grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities.

10th Sunday after Trinity.-Let thy merciful ears be open to the prayers of thy bomble servants; and tbat they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee.

On the Lord's Praym. No. 2.

ON THE INTRODUCTION. Why do you call this prayer the Lord's Prayer?

We know not what we should pray for as we ought, (Rom. viii, 26.) therefore our blessed Lord gave it to his disciples, as a pattern, or direction, to teach them what should be the subject of their petitions, as in Matt. vi, 9. After this manner pray ye; and also as a form to be used in offering up their petitions to God. When ye pray, say, &c. Luke xi, 4. How many general parts are there in this prayer ?

1. The introduction or address.
2. The six petitions.

3. The doxology, which is the conclusion. What is the introduction or address ?

Our Father which art in heaven. In what sense are true Christians taught to call God their

Father? 1. He is their Father by creation. Thus saith the Lord, that formed thee from the womb, &c. Isa.

xliv, 24. Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Mal.

ii, 10. We are also his offspring. Acts xvii, 28. Tbere is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things. 1 Cor.

viii, 6.

2. He is their Father by regeneration. This is necessary in order to become a child of God in this exalted relation ; and must be wrought in us by the power of his Spirit. Israel is my son, even my first-born. Esod, iv, 22. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John iji, 3. Beloved, now are we the sons of God. 1 John iii, 2. Whosoever believeth is born of God. 1 John v, 1. Every good and perfect gift cometh from the Father of lights,

James i, 17. Blessed be God, &c. who bath begotten us again. 1 Pet. i, 3, 4. i

3. He is their Father by adoption.

Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? Dent. xxxii, 0.
Doubtless thou art our Father, &c. Isa. Ixiii, 16.
When ye pray, say, Our Father, Luke xi, 2.
Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba,

Father, &c. Rom. viii, 15, 16.
Ye are all the children of God, by faith, in Christ Jesus. Gal. jii, 26.
Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into

your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Gai. iv, 6 Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son. Gal. iv, 7. Predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ. Eph. 1,5. Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is narced.

Eph, iii, 14, 15.
What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we

should be called the sons of God. 1 John iii, 1.
They are admitted to all the privileges of children.

A Father provides for his child,
Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask

him. Matt. vi, 8. If his son ask bread, will a man give him a stone? Matt. vii, 9. If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,

how much more shall your Heavenly Father? Luke xi, 13. He chastens his children. As a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.

Deut. viii, 5. Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth. Heb. xii, 6. We have bad fathers of our flesh, wbich corrected us, &c. how much

rather, &c. Heb. xii, 9.

Yet, be pities them. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord, &c. Ps. ciii, 13.

Honour is due from the son to his Father. A son bonoureth bis father. If, then, I be a father, where is mine

honour? Mal, i, 6. Children bear a likeness to their parents, and endeavour to resemble them. If we, then, be the children of God, we shall make it our study and delight to conform ourselves to his image. ' Adam begat a son in his own image. Gen. v, 3. Be ye boly, for I am holy. Lev, xi, 44 ; xix, 2; 1 Pet. i, 16. Be ye followers (imitators) of God, as dear children. Eph. v, 1.

The privilege of sonship is given to all who receive the Lord Jesus. John i, 12. Ask yourselves, Are you the children of God?

If you are living in sin, like the world around you, you have no right to the title of children of God, for ye are of your father the Devil, yet hear the exhortation; ,

« PreviousContinue »