It Pleases the Almighty Generally to Work through Prayer

It pleases the Almighty generally to work through prayer, as it is prayer that gives God, who is jealous of his honour, all the glory. When blessings come in answer to prayer, the praise is more generally ascribed to him, to whom alone all praise belongs. The time is hastening on, when one vast song shall fill the earth “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth;” when shall be heard, “as it were the voice of mighty thunderings, saving, Allelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth; let us be glad, and rejoice and give honour to him.” And, doubtless, when, through the prayers of many, this happy period arrives, the burden of the song will be, “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous works; and blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen.”

Edward Bickersteth, A Treatise on Prayer

Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness

We must worship God in the beauty of holiness. We do this, when approaching him, in the name of Jesus Christ, and through the assistance of his Spirit, all our faculties are fixed and engaged in this work; our expressions accompanied by suitable affections, by holy longings and thirstings of soul after God. In short, when the whole man is dedicated to the solemn act of worshipping God.

Edward Bickersteth, A Treatise on Prayer

Prayer as a Means of Grace

You cannot tell what the secret purposes of God are, but you know that God has appointed prayer as the means of obtaining good and averting evil. If you neglect the means which he has directed you to use, you have no reason to expect the blessing which you desire: but if you are induced by his grace to use the means, it is a good sign that you are likely to obtain the desired end.

Edward Bickersteth, A Treatise on Prayer

Is Your Prayer Request Your Own Curse?

We indeed feel our misery, but are not fully acquainted either with the cause, or the remedy…. If we know at all what to pray for, yet we have not adequate views of our original depravity, and our exceeding sinfulness and unbelief; nor of the fulness and power of Christ the Saviour. We do not regard the glory of God, but our own ease and pleasure. By nature we love outward good, and are ready to ask, in sickness for health, in pain for ease, in sorrow for comfort, in poverty for wealth, in disregard and contempt for honour and esteem; without considering God’s glory, or our eternal good. The mother of Zebedee’s children asked for a place of great honour for her sons; but our Lord said, “Ye know not what ye ask.” Matt. xx. Often those things which we are ready to ask for, would, if God were to give them to us, be our greatest curse.

Edward Bickersteth, A Treatise on Prayer

Prayer Draws Us to God

We do not say that prayer really changes the purpose of God, though it may be sometimes so expressed in condescension to our infirmities ; but we say his course of dealing is quite different with those who pray and those who do not. We may think, indeed, that we are drawing God nearer to us, when we in truth draw nearer to him, as a person with a boat-hook which he fixes to the shore is ready to think when he draws the boat, that he is moving the land towards him, when in fact he himself is coming nearer the land.

Edward Bickersteth, A Treatise on Prayer