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METHOD FOR PRAYER,
SCRIPTURE EXPRESSIONS PROPER TO BE USED
UNDER EACH HEAD.
BY MATTHEW HENRY,
LATE MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AT CHESTER, ENGLAND; AUTHOR OF A
COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, COMMUNICANT'S COMPANION, &c.
PITTSBURGH-D. M. HOGAN.
TO THE READER.
RELIGION is so much the business of our lives, and the worship of God so much the business of our religion, that what hath a sincere intention and probable tendency to promote and assist the acts of religious worship, I think, cannot be unacceptable to any that wish well to the interests of God's kingdom among men: for if we have our spiritual senses exercised, true devotion, that aspiring flame of pious affections to God, as far as in a judgment of charity we discern it in others (though in different shapes and dresses, which may seem uncouth to one another) cannot but appear beautiful and amiable, and as far as we feel it in our breasts, cannot but be found very pleasant and comfortable.
Prayer is a principal branch of religious worship, which we are moved to by the very light of nature, and obliged by some of its fundamental laws. Pythagoras's golden verses begin with this precept, “ Whatever men make a God of, they pray to;" Deliver me, for thou art my God, Isa. xliv. 17. Nay, what. ever they pray to, they make a God of,Deos qui rogat ille fecit. 'Tis a piece of respect and homage so exactly consonant to the natural ideas, which all men have of God, that it is certain, those that live without prayer, live without God in the world.
Prayer is the solemn and religious offering of devout acknowledgments and desires to God, or a sincere representation of holy affections, with a design to give unto God the glory due unto his name thereby, and to obtain from him promised favours, and both through the Mediator. Our English word Prayer is too strait, that properly signifies petition or request; whereas humble adoration of God, and thanksgivings to him, are as necessary in prayer as any other part of it. The Greek word proseuche, from Éuche, is a vow
directed to God. The Latin word Votum, is used for prayer; Jongh's mariners with their