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by Thomas Watson

Prayer includes confession of sin, petitions for the supply of our needs, and the homage of our hearts unto the Giver Himself. Principal branches are—humiliation, supplication, and adoration.

The apostles prayers were very explicit. They were not vague ramblings or mere generalizations, but specific requests for definite things. The things asked for are wholly of a spiritual and gracious nature. The apostles prayers were exceedingly brief, most of them comprised one or two verses, and the longest is only seven verses. Luther said: "When thou prayest let thy words be few, but thy thoughts and affections many; and above all let them be profound. The less thou speakest the better thou prayest...external and bodily prayer is that buzzing of the lips, that outside babble that is gone through without any attention, and which strikes the ears of men; but prayer in spirit and in truth is inward desire, the motions, the sighs, which issue from the depths of the heart. The former is the prayer of hypocrites and of all who trust in themselves. The latter is the prayer of the children of God who walk in His fear."

If the heart doth not go along in prayer, it is speaking, not praying. Prayer is called a wrestling, a pouring out the soul. Prayer without fervency, is like incense without fire. Spiritual prayer is believing prayer. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." The reason why so many prayers suffer shipwreck, is because they split against the rock of unbelief. Spiritual prayer is holy prayer. Prayer must be offered upon the altar of a pure heart. Spiritual prayer is humble prayer. Spiritual prayer is when we pray in the name of Christ—to pray in the hope and confidence of Christ's mediation. Spiritual prayer is when we have spiritual ends in prayer.

Prayer is the condition annexed to the promise; promises turn the hinge of prayer. Jesus Christ prays over our prayers again; he takes the dross out, and presents nothing but pure gold to his Father.

God has made sweet promises regarding prayer. "He will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry...Then shall ye go and pray unto me and I will hearken unto you...Before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." These promises keep the head of prayer above water; God is bound with his own promises.

If we want to pray aright—implore the Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost both indites prayer and inflames it. God understands no other language but that of his Spirit; pray for the Holy Ghost, that you may pray in the Holy Ghost. Let us be importunate suitors, and resolve that we will not come away from God, without God.

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