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towards me, which will deliver me from evil, and from being overcome in temptations ; (for Thou wouldest not have me to ask for that which I should not look for at Thy hands certainly :) by reason whereof Thou wouldest have me to be in a certainty of salvation for ever; for else I cannot believe my prayer to be heard, if that finally I should not be delivered from evil. And therefore Thou joinest hereto a giving of thanks, which with Thy Church I should say : “For Thine is the kingdom, Thine is the power, Thine is the glory for ever."
O be merciful unto me, dear Father, and for Christ's sake forgive me all my sins. Grant me Thy Holy Spirit to reveal to me mine infirmities, weakness, perils, and dangers, in such sort that as I may heartily lament my miseries, so I may ask and obtain Thy grace to guide me from all evil for evermore. Again, grant me the same Thy Holy Spirit to reveal to me Thy love and kindness towards me, and that in eternity: in such sort that I may be thoroughly persuaded of the same; become thankful unto Thee; and daily expect and look for the revelation of Thy kingdom, power, and glory, as one that for ever shall have the fruition of the same, through Thine own goodness and mercy in Christ, prepared for me before the beginning and foundation of the world was laid.
A GODLY PRAYER TO BE READ AT ALL TIMES.
Honour and praise be given to Thee, O Lord God Almighty, most dear Father of heaven, for all Thy mercies and loving-kindness showed unto us, in that it hath pleased Thy gracious goodness, freely and of Thine own accord, to elect and choose us to salvation before the beginning of the world : and even like continual thanks be given to Thee, for creating of us after Thine own image ; for redeeming us with the precious blood of Thy dear Son, when we were utterly lost; for sanctifying us with Thy Holy Spirit in the revelation and knowledge of Thy Holy Word; for helping and succouring us in all our needs and necessities; for saving us from all dangers of body and soul; for comforting us so fatherly in all our tribulations and persecutions; for sparing us so long, and giving us so large a time of repentance.
These benefits, O most merciful Father, like as we do acknowledge that we have received of Thy only goodness, even so we beseech Thee, for Thy dear Son Jesus Christ's sake, to grant us always Thy Holy Spirit, whereby we may continually grow in thankfulness towards Thee, to be “ Led into all truth, and comforted in all our adversities. 0 Lord, strengthen our faith ; kindle it more in ferventness and love towards Thee, and our neighbours, for Thy sake.
Suffer us not, dearest Father, to receive Thy Word any more in vain : but grant us always the assistance of Thy grace and Holy Spirit, that in heart, word, and deed, we may sanctify and do worship to Thy Holy Name; help to amplify and increase Thy kingdom ; and whatsoever Thou sendest, we may be heartily well content with Thy good pleasure and will. Let us not lack the thing, O Father, without the which we cannot serve Thee ; but bless Thou so all the works of our hands, that we may have sufficient, and not to be chargeable, but rather helpful unto others. Be merciful, O Lord, to our offences; and, seeing our debt is great which Thou hast forgiven us in Jesus Christ, make us to love Thee and our neighbours so much the more. Be Thou our Father, our Captain, and Defender in all temptations ; hold Thou us by Thy merciful hand, that we may be delivered from all inconveniences, and end our lives in the sanctifying and honour of Thy Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour. Amen.
Let Thy mighty hand and outstretched arm, O Lord, be still our defence, Thy mercy and loving-kindness in Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, our salvation, Thy true and Holy Word our instruction, Thy grace and Holy Spirit our comfort and consolation, unto the end and in the end. Amen.
O Lord, * Increase our faith.”
PRAYER is a lifting up of the mind unto God, or a friendly talking with the Lord, from a high and a kindled affection of the heart. In the Word God speaketh unto us; in prayer we speak unto Him. Prayer is the pouring out of a contrite heart, with a sure persuasion that God will grant our requests, and give ear to the suits which we make unto Him. This prayer must be only unto God. It is prayer unto God that only hath promise, that only hath example in the Scriptures. “Call upon Me,” saith God; “ Ask the Father in My name," saith our Saviour, “ Ask, and ye shall have.” “When ye shall pray,” saith Christ, “ Pray thus : Our Father, which art in heaven.” So, and none otherwise, prayed all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and Christ Himself, and all true Christians in
Thanksgivings are when we praise and thank God for the great mercies, graces, and gists which we have received at His hands. For we must acknowledge that “Every good and perfect gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights,” and is by His mercy freely given. Prayer generally may be divided into two parts, petition and thanksgiving: in the one we ask of God; in the other we offer unto God: both are accepted as sweet-smelling sacrifices; pure, and, through the merit of His Son, pleasant in His sight.
The next thing to be considered in prayer is when, where, and how to pray. When? Always, “Without ceasing.” Where? In all places, especially that place which, being sanctified to this use, is therefore called the house of prayer.
How? From the heart, “Lifting up pure and clean hands;" that is to say, in faith and in love. Our prayer, feathered with these two wings, flieth straight into heaven.
We are by the apostle willed to pray, before all things, with prayer.
according to the commandment of our Saviour, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” Let us begin all our works, our enterprises, our actions, our journeys, our lying down, our rising up, our eating, our drinking, and all our studies,
So our bread shall be multiplied, our oil increased, our meat sanctified; all our endeavours and actions blessed. If the very ethnicks, in the beginning of their books, first prayed unto their gods to prosper and give success to their labours, it were a shame for us not to pray to our God before all things, knowing that the prayer of the just is greatly available before Him. Prayer is a succour unto us, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Sątan. Examples are infinite. Israel in prayer groaned unto God, and was delivered out of Egypt. Moses by prayer so held God, that He could not destroy His idolatrous people. The blast of prayer overthrew the walls of Jericho. At the prayer of Josua the sun stood still. The young men prayed in the burning furnace, and their prayer took away the force of the fire. The Scriptures are full of examples of all sorts: kings, prophets, apostles, faithful Christians, have called upon the Lord in the time of their troubles ; He hath heard them, granted their requests, and delivered them from their distresses.
Our necessities should make us earnest suitors unto God that He would be our reliever. Our ship is in peril of tempest, the ragings of the sea do threaten it; yet who crieth “Help, Lord ?” What man is there that weepeth bitterly with Peter, or nightly watereth his couch with tears, as David ? Yet all have sinned, and offended the Lord of glory. It is high time, therefore, to call upon God, and that earnestly. The superstitious prayed without understanding. Wherein are we better, if our prayers be without feeling? The fountain of prayer is the feeling of the heart. Pour out that before the Lord: call upon Him from thence: cry from the depth, and He shall answer, “ Here I am, thy ready helper in time of need.”
WHAT PRAYER IS.
PRAYER, after the common definition of the doctors, is a lifting up of a pure mind to God, wherein we ask somewhat of Him.
This definition of prayer seemeth unto me so godly, and in every part agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, that I think it my bounden duty to search out every word of it in order, and to compare it with the most sacred Scriptures and the sayings of the ancient doctors.
First, it teacheth us that “ Prayer is a lifting up of a pure mind." Note, first of all, that it saith, “A lifting up.” What other thing meaneth this word,“ Lifting up,” than to show us that whosoever intendeth to pray must utterly seclude and put out of his heart all vain cogitations and worldly thoughts, all carnal fantasies, all ungodly imagina tions; to conclude, all such things as might make the heart of him that prayeth to creep upon the ground, to alienate and estrange his mind from the meditation of celestial and divine matters? And this is the very same thing that Christ teacheth in the Gospel of Matthew, where He saith : “When thou prayest, thou shalt not be like the hypocrites : For their manner is to stand praying in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that men may see them. Certes, I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast sparred thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." In these words Christ doth not only rebuke the false and feigned manner of praying which the hypocrites use, hunting only after vainglory, and seeking the praise of men more than the glory of God and the health of their own souls; but He also declareth how we shall prepare ourselves for to pray, that we may be heard. He commandeth us to