[ http://www.theologynetwork.org/unquenchable-flame/the-puritans/starting-out/praying-with-the-greats.htm ]
PRAYING WITH THE GREATS
Prayer begins with God
‘…composed into a very reverent serious frame, our thoughts gathered in, and that that is within us, charged in the Name of the great God, carefully to attend the solemn and awful service that lies before us, and to keep close to it, we must with a fixed attention and application of mind, and an active lively faith, set the Lord before us…’
‘Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come… O thou who are the true God, the living God… and the everlasting King, the Lord our God, who is one Lord’
Prayer means humility
‘If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord who should stand! But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared; with three there is mercy, yea, with out God there is plenteous redemption…’.
‘Thou has said it, and hast confirmed it with an oath, that thou hast no pleasure in the death of sinners, but rather that we should turn and live: Therefore we will rend our hearts… and turn to the Lord God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness… O that our heads were waters, and our eyes fountains of tears, that we might weep day and night for our transgressions, and might in such a manner sow in tears as that at last we may reap in joy…’
Prayer relies on God
‘Having opened the wounds of sin, both the guilt of it, and its remainders in it, we must next seek unto God for the remedy, for healing and help… And we must now affect our hearts with a deep sense of the need we have of those mercies which we pray for…’
‘We do not think that we shall be heard for our much speaking; for our Father knows what things we have need of before we ask him; but our Master hath told us that, whatsoever we ask the Father in his name, he will give it us.’
Prayer is thanksgiving
‘Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with his benefits… Many a time we have eaten and been filled, and have delighted ourselves in thy great goodness.’
Prayer is selfless
‘not only with, but for others… And we must not that when we are in this part of prayer, we may let fall our fervency, and be more indifferent, because we ourselves are not immediately concerned in it, but rather let a holy fire of love, both God and man here, make our devotion yet more warm and lively.’
‘Now to God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, hat he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father, be glory for ever and ever.’
Prayer is biblical and theological
O Lord, thou greatest and most true Light, whence this light of the day and of the sun does spring! O Light, which does lighten every man that comes into this world! O Light, which knows no night nor evening, but are always a midday, most clear and fair, without whom all is most dark darkness by whom all are most resplendent… Lighten mine eyes, O Lord! That I sleep not in death, lest mine enemies say, “I have prevailed against him.”
O Christ, clothe me with thine own self, that I may be so far from making provision for my flesh to fulfill the lusts of ... Be thou unto me a garment to warm me from catching the cold of this world if thou be away from me, dear Lord, all things will forthwith be unto me cold, weak, dead, &c. But if thou art with me, all things will be warm, lively, fireside &c. Grant therefore, that as I compass this my body with this coat, so thou would clothe me wholly, but especially my soul, with thine own self. Put upon me as the elect of God, mercy, meekness, love, peace, &c.
This is a wonderful mystery of thy work, O Maker and Governor of the world, that thou dost sustain the lives of men and beasts with these meats! Surely this power is neither in the bread nor food, but in thy will and word, by which word all things live and have their being… I therefore heartily pray thee, O most liberal Lord and faithful Father, that as thou by meat through thy word dost minister life to these our bodies, even so by the same word with thy grace do thou quicken our souls; that both in soul and body we may please thee till this our mortal body shall put on immortality, and we shall need no more any other food, but thee only, who then wilt be all in all.
O Lord Jesus Christ, my Watchman and Keeper, take me to thy care; grant that while my body is sleeping my mind may watch in thee, and be made joyful by some sight of that celestial and heavenly life wherein thou art the King and Prince, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost.
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath, the Christian's native air,
his watchword at the gates of death; he enters heaven with prayer.