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of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as
John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them,
when ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name : Thy kingdom come, thy will be
done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day, our
daily bread. And forgive us, our sins ; for we also
forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us
not into temptation ; but deliver us from evil. And he
said unto them, which of you shall have a friend, and
shall go unto him at o
lend me three loaves : For a friend of mine, in his journ-
ey, is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him,
And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me
not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me
in bed. I cannot rise and give thee. . I say unto you,
though he will not rise and give him because he is his
friend ; yet because of his importunity, he will rise and
give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you,
Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall ;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one
that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and
to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. If a son shall
ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him
a stone Or if he ask, a fish, will he for a fish give him
a serpent P Or, if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scor.
pion? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children; how much more 5. your
o ather give the Holy Spirit to them that ask
him -
What an illustrious sketch, or outline of the various
topics, belonging to the duty of prayer . The Lord Jesus,
fond of giving all needful instruction, on a subject so
important, not only taught his disciples the subject mat-
ter, but also the manner and spirit of prayer. He also
stated, by a striking similitude, the importance of im:
portunity and perseverance in prayer, and the assurance
of a gracious answer: All these things are contained in
this noted passage of instruction on the subject of prayer,
According to this lesson of instruction in the o of
prayer; we find that it is to be addressed, most respect.

t, and say unto him, Friend,

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fully and devoutly, to our heavenly Father, who is the
supreme Lord of the universe; and the great benefactor
of the children of men. Prayer itself consists in lifting
up our hearts and desires to God, in the name of Jesus
Christ; first of all for the displays of his glory; and
also for all things desirable in themselves; with a most
humble and unreserved submission to his holy will.— .
Accordingly, having devoutly addressed the Father of
mercies, the first petition is “ Hallowed be thy name.”—
Let thy great and holy name be honored and glorified
forever. The second petition is, “Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” In this is
contained a devout supplication for the accomplishment
of all the gracious promises, respecting the glory and
triumph of Christ's kingdom on earth. It is a petition,
that the earth may be filled with the knowledge and glory
of the Lord; and may, in some good measure, resemble
the heavenly state. The third petition is expressive of
absolute dependence on God for a supply of our daily
wants. “Give us day by day, our daily bread.” Give
us, daily, a competency of the necessaries of this life,
and hearts therewith to be content. The fourth petition
is for the forgiveness of our sins. “And forgive us our
sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted
to us.” In this we are taught to exercise a forgiving
temper; and we seem not to be allowed to ask God to
be merciful, on any other condition than this, that we
also be merciful. “And when ye stand praying, forgive,
if ye have aught against any ; that your Father also in
heaven may forgive your trespasses.” To ask forgive-
ness of God, implies a sense of sin and guilt; and to
ask it on such a condition implies, great humility of
heart; and in this consists the chief excellency of
prayer. -
The fifth petition, in this comprehensive prayer is,
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil.” To deprecate temptation, and all natural evils,
is as proper, and as important, as to pray for the blessings
of nature, or of divine grace. Conscious of the number-
less temptations and evils to which we are exposed, and

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under which we labour; how important is the privilege. of access to God, even to the throne of his grace, to pre: sent our humble plea in the name of Jesus Christ, for all needed succour and deliverance s • Finally; The example of prayer before us concludes as it begins, with ascriptions of glory to God, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.” This is the general instruction given us by the Saviour, on the great duty of prayer: and the

example before us is so comprehensive as to reach, more

or less distinctly, every important occasion. Having considered the nature and spirit of prayer, as they are exhibited by the Saviour, in his example and instructions to his disciples; we proceed, according to the noted o as a theme, from the 11th of Luke, to a view of the importance of importunity in prayer. The friend that made application at midnight, for three loaves, was successful, only by his importunity. His imo. was far more availing than his friend: ship. Be importunate at the throne of grace, day and night, and on all occasions; be instant in prayer; pray without ceasing; pray with all perseverance, abounding therein with thanksgiving; and you shall succeed. Christ, by another parable, urged, in particular, the importance of importunity in prayer. “He spake aparable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying “There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, nor regarded man. And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. . And he would not, for a while; but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet, because this woman troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily.” Perpetual application to the Father of mercies, pleading, with submission, for needed blessings, and praying for the prosperity of Zion, must be an acceptable sacrifice to

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God. We need not hesitate to pray every day we lives
for the same important blessings. How can we too often
repeat the Lord’s o How can we be too importu-
nate in pleading for the revival of religion, and for the
conversion of Jews and gentiles P Importunity is the
life and beauty of prayer. - -
We come now to the concluding part of the noted in-
structions of the Saviour, on the duty of prayer. These
instructions conclude with strong assurances of being
heard; and of being accepted and answered. “And I
say unto you, Ask and it shall be given you, seek,
and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto
you.” “For every one that asketh receiveth.” There is
no exception in this case. Not a faithful prayer was
ever left unanswered. A special characteristic of Jeho-
vah is, that He heareth prayer. “O thou that hearest
prayer! unto thee should all flesh come.” To hear, in
the emphatical sense, is to answer and do accordingly,
When the Saviour said to the Father, “I know that thou
hearest me always ;” the meaning was, that his prayers
were answered. That all faithful prayers are abundantly
answered, is evident from scripture promises, declara-
tions and facts. “Ask and ye shall receive,” is a re-
peated promise. “Ask and receive, that your joy may
be full.” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever
ye shall ask the Father in my name, I will do it.” God
promises to give the Holy Spirit, that most gracious gift,
the unspeakable gift, to them that ask him. The promi-
ses are particular, with respect to social prayer. “If
two of you shall agree on earth, as touching any thing
that they shall ask ; it shall be done for them, of my
Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst
of them.” From this we may conclude, that associa-
tions for special prayer, particularly for the revival of
religion, and for the increase and enlargement, and pu-
rity of the church, are pleasing to God, and are often
found to be presages of a work of divine grace.
... A very great part of the importunate prayer of Chris-
tians has respect to the divine promises; and in praying

for their fulfilment, there is the utmost assurance of being heard and answered. All the blessings promised in the covenant of redemption, and in the covenant of grace, are proper subjects of prayer, and will be granted in answer to special fervent prayer. The glorious Milleni. um of the church, which is fixed and established by the divine decree, will never take place, but in answer to fervent prayer. . The glorious restoration of God’s people foretold by the prophet Ezekiel, is strongly confirmed; “I the Lord have spoken it, and I will §oit.” Yet,

saith the Lord, “I will be enquired of, by the house of

Israel, to do it for them.” All divine and special blessings are in answer to the prayers of the upright which are God’s delight. Hence the only assignable reason why any ask and receive not is, because they ask amiss, that they may consume it upon their lusts. It is on the

round of God’s always hearing the prayer of the faithul, that it is said, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Not that the immutable Jehovah is swerved from his purposes, by the efficacy of prayer; but that he has wisely connected his purposes with the fervent prayer of his saints. It was the eternal purpose of God to visit the house of Israel, for the wickedness of Ahab, with a severe drought; and afterwards to grant a sudden and plentiful rain. But the drought . rain were according to the prayers of the prophet Elijah. “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth, by the space of three years

and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven

gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” Hearing the prayers of Elijah was not the only instance, in ancient ages, of God’s hearing and answering the prayers of his saints. Jacob wrestled in prayer at Bethel, and obtained the *; and with him the covenant of grace was established. oses was heard, at all times, when he interceded for the rebellious people; and by . he appeased the divine anger; and as a mediator, led the Israelites to the borders of the land of CanaanWhen Moses held up his hands in prayer, Israel pre

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