Thinking is the mind’s speaking, and the Heart-searcher can, and does more easily take notice when the mind thinks impertinently, than we can observe when the tongue speaks so.
Anonymous quote in Edward Bickersteth, A Treatise on Prayer
You are not here asked to give your silver and gold, or your life, though these all belong to your Saviour; but the duty now pointed out is simply that of remembering a perishing world in your prayers. And in constantly, and faithfully discharging it, you are obeying the two great commands of love to God and love to man.
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.
Earth affords not a more impressive, affecting, and solemn sight, than that of a whole congregation uniting in acts of prayer and praise to the great Lord of all.
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.
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.
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.