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blessings. It may be a heavy cross, a painful trial, a pressing want; it may be, a broken cistern, a cold look, an unkind expression, yet, if it leads you to prayer, regard it as a mercy sent from God to your soul. Thank God for an errand to him. It may be, thou hast felt no heart to pray for thyself-thou hast been sensible of no peculiar drawings to the throne for thine own soul, but, thou hast gone in behalf of another,—the burthen, the trial, the affliction, or the immediate want of some member of God's family has pressed upon thee, and thou hast taken his case to the Lord; thou hast borne him in thine arms to the throne of grace, and, while interceding for thy brother, the Lord has met thee, and blest thine own soul. Perhaps thou hast gone and prayed for the church, for the peace of Jerusalem, for the prosperity of Zion, that the Lord would build up her waste places, and make her a joy and a praise in the whole earth;-perhaps it has been to pray for thy minister, that the Lord would teach him more deeply and experimentally, and anoint him more plenteously with the rich anointing and unction of the Holy Ghost;-perhaps it has been to pray for Christian missions, and for laborious and self-denying missionaries, that the Lord would make them eminently successful in diffusing the knowledge of a precious Saviour
and in calling in his people, and thus, while for others you have been besieging the throne of grace, and pouring out your heart before the Lord, the Lord himself has drawn near to your own soul, and you have been made to experience the blessing that is ever the attendant and the reward of intercessory prayer. Then, let every event, every circumstance, every providence be a voice urging you to prayer. If you have no wants, others have; take them to the Lord. If you are borne down by no cross, smitten by no affliction, or suffering from no want, others are;for them, go and plead with your heavenly Father, and the petitions you send up to the mercy-seat on their behalf, may return into your own bosom freighted with rich covenant blessings. Turn everything into an occasion for prayer. Whether it is a dark providence or a bright one, let it take you to God. The falls, the weaknesses, the declensions of others, make them grounds for prayer. Thus, and thus only, can you expect to grow in grace, and grace to grow in you.
Above all, cultivate the habit of secret prayer. No other prayer can suffice for this. No other can supply its place. There are confessions that can be made, desires that can be expressed, sins that can be lamented, and wants that can be diselosed only in the closet, shut in with God.
that confines himself to the altar of the sanctuary, the family, or the social circle, will find leanness come into his soul. It must necessarily be, the very nature of the case proves it, that, there are states of mind which the believer can unfold to none but God. Sins, that can only be acknowledged in his presence. And wants that can only be poured into his ear. What a loser, then, is that professor, who lives in the daily and habitual neglect of closet prayer. It is the close and secret walk with God, that marks the true and advancing believer. It is in that walk, and that only, that fresh grace, and strength, and love, are poured into the soul. It is in secret communion with God, that the believer becomes girded for the conflict, strengthened for the hour of trial, and meetened for the joys of heaven.
Let it be remembered that, one essential and important part of the Spirit's work as the Author of prayer is, to unfold Jesus the medium of prayer. There is no access to God but through Jesus. If there be not an honouring of Christ in his person, blood, righteousness, intercession, in prayer, we can expect no answer to prayer. couragement to draw near to God is,
The great en
Jesus at the
right-hand of God. Jesus is the door. Coming through him, the poorest, the vilest, the most abject, may approach the throne of grace, and
ask what he will. The glorious Advocate is on the throne, to present the petition, and urge its acceptance, and plead for its answer on the basis of his own infinite and atoning merits. Come then, ye poor, come ye disconsolate, come ye tried and afflicted, come ye wounded, come ye needy, come and welcome to the mercy-seat, for Jesus waits to present your petition and press your suit. Ask nothing in your own name, but ask every thing in the name of Jesus; "ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." The Father may reject you, but his Son, he cannot reject. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near." Heb. x. 19—22.
Draw near, then, seeking soul with boldness. Not the boldness of a presumptuous, self-righteous man, but, that of one chosen, called, pardoned, and justified. Draw near with the lowly boldness of a child, with the humble confidence of a son. Dear art thou to thy Father. Sweet is thy voice to him. Precious is thy person, accepted in his Beloved. Thou canst not come too boldly-thou canst not come too frequently-thou canst not come with too large requests. Thou art coming
to a King, that King thy Father, that Father viewing thee in his beloved Son. O hang not back. Stand not afar off. He now holdeth out the golden sceptre, and saith, “ come near, what is thy request? Come with thy temporal want. Come with thy spiritual need. Ask what thou wilt, it shall be granted thee. I have an open hand, and a large heart." Is it thy desire"Lord, I want more grace to glorify thee. I want more simplicity of mind, singleness of eye. I want a more holy, upright, honest walk. I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, submission, I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of his glory, and feel more of his preciousness and to live more simply upon his fulness. I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit." Blessed, holy desires! It is the Spirit making intercession in thee according to the will of God, and, entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the Lord will fulfil the desires of thine heart, even to the half of his kingdom.
Watch diligently against the least declension in the spirit of prayer. If there be declension here, there will also be declension in every part and department of the work of the Spirit in your soul. It is prayer that keeps every grace of the Spirit in active, holy, and healthy exercise. It is the