Tuesday, June 22, 2010

strengthened with a holier might...

I very often contemplate a deeper prayer life which in itself explains why my prayer life doesn't seem to get much deeper.  Like just about everything else, its in the doing.  John Emery Abbot says much in this excerpt from his sermon, "PRIVATE PRAYER."

"Prayer is always impressive and affecting in proportion as it is particular, and comes home to our peculiar feelings and wants. Now the petitions which are offered in secret are naturally particular, they are the simple expressions of our own desires, the solitary aspirations of our own hearts. There must then be more circumstantial recollection of wants, and mercies, and weaknesses, and sins; there must be an earnestness which will not often be felt when we join with others to express those general wishes to God in which all have an equal interest. It is in private, too, that our own intimate connexion and entire dependence on God is most deeply felt. It is when we approach him in secret to commend to him our little interests, to acknowledge our gratitude for those minute and unceasing benefits his hand is ever bestowing on ourselves, to implore his support to the frailties we feel, and his guardianship in dangers yet to come, that we most realize how inexpressibly tender and gracious is that providence, which watches for our good, and, amidst the immensity of the dependent universe, overlooks not our little wants, listens to our faintest sighs, provides with more than parental kindness for our protection and enjoyment. It is the views, often repeated, which private prayer thus presents, which form in the heart of the sincere suppliant those habitual feelings of childlike confidence, of affectionate gratitude, and cheerful and tender devotion, which more than any other feelings are acceptable and blest. When in the retirement of our closets we have communed with our own heart, and remembered our past conduct, and have numbered our sins before God, and confessed them in penitence, we cannot then turn away to tread again the same path of unworthiness; we cannot immediately rush into the scene of temptation from which we have implored to be peculiarly delivered, or neglect the duties in which we have particularly sought God's grace to aid us, or repeat the transgressions over which the tears of contrition have just been shed. The particularity of private prayer has thus a powerful effect in giving a greater tenderness to the conscience, and adding strength to the motives and feelings from which a holy obedience springs. And when we have in solitude thus seriously reflected on ourselves and our condition, our duties and our temptations, our present character and our prospects hereafter, and have commended ourselves to God's care and support, we make all the preparation in our power for the services of the christian life, and may go forth again to its trials, strengthened with a holier might."


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