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The Spirit of Prayer

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The Spirit of Prayer

7 minuten leestijd

Oh, labor to get this heavenly guest to come and dwell in your hearts. Better it were you had not the spirit of a man than to want the Spirit of God. If the Holy Spirit be not in you, assure yourself that the evil spirit is; and no way is there for you to turn this troublesome guest out of doors but by getting the Spirit of God in. You may know where your eternal mansion will be, in heaven or hell, hereafter, by the spirit that fills and acts your soul here.

If God takes not up your soul as a mansion for His Spirit on earth, it shows that He prepares no mansion for your soul in heaven, but leaves you to be entertained by him in the other world who is thy guest in this. Thus you see how thy soul hangs over the infernal pit. What course can you take to prevent this your endless misery that is coming upon you? Will you stand up as Haman did to make request for the life of your soul? Alas! you cannot pray, though your life lies on it; you want the Spirit of God that should help you to groans and sighs; you must live before you can breathe.

Prayer, you see, is not a work of nature, but a gift of grace; not a matter of will and parts, got by human skill and art, but taught and inspired by the Holy Ghost. At the bar of man the orator’s tongue may so smooth over a cause as to carry it. Rhetoric has a kind of spell in it that charms the ears of men; he is called the eloquent orator, he that is skillful in a charm. Thus Abigail charmed David’s passion with a well-set speech, and returned his sword into his scabbard that was drawn to cut off her husband and his family. But words, alas! how handsomely soever they chime, make no music in God’s ear; they avail no more with Him when His Holy Spirit is not in them than Esau’s prayers and tears did with old Isaac for the blessing.

The same rod which wrought miracles in Moses’ hand would have done no such thing in the hand of another, because not acted with the Spirit that Moses had. The same words put up in prayer by a man’s own private spirit are weak and ineffectual, yea, distasteful and abominable; which, delivered by the Spirit of God in another, are mighty with God and exceedingly acceptable to Him. Kings have their cooks, and eat not but what is dressed by their hands. The great God, I am sure, will not like that sacrifice which His Spirit does not prepare and offer. Those prayers which are highly esteemed and applauded by men are sometimes a great abomination to the Lord, who sees the heart to be naught and wholly void of His Spirit and grace.

On the contrary, those prayers which are despised and harshly censured by man may be highly pleasing to God. Eli was offended with Hannah and took her for a drunken woman; but God knew her better, that she was not drunk with wine, but filled with the Spirit in prayer, and therefore graciously answered her request. It was wisely done of the Grecian, who, being sent ambassador to a foreign prince, studied the language of the country that he might the more effectually persuade the king by delivering his embassy in his own tongue. Oh, get the Spirit of God, that you may pray to God in the language of heaven, and no fear but you shall speed.

If you would obtain the Spirit, labor to be deeply sensible of your deplorable state while without the Spirit. An unsavory sapless creature you are, God knows, unable for any duty, incapable of any comfort. The Spirit is often in Scripture compared to water, rain, and dew. As the earth is barren and can bring forth no fruit without these, so is the heart of man without the Spirit of God. Oh, get your soul affected with this! When the fields are burned up for want of rain, man and beast make a moan; yea, the very earth itself, cleft with drought, by opening its thirsty mouth expresses its extreme need of some kind of showers from the heavens to refresh it. And have you no sense of your woeful condition?

Which is worse, do you think — to have the earth iron, or your heart stone? that the fruits and beasts of the field should perish for want of water, or your soul for want of the Spirit? Oh, could you but be brought to lament your want, there were hope of having it supplied. “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed” (Isaiah 44:3).

When you are inwardly scorched with the sense of your spiritless, graceless condition, go and earnestly beg this gift of God. Now you go in a good time and may hope to speed. Possibly you have heretofore prayed for the Spirit, but so slightly and indifferently that you have grieved His Spirit while you have been praying for Him. But now that you see your need of Him, and yourself undone except you may get Him; therefore, I hope, you will not now shut the door upon your own prayers by being a cold suitor; which if you do not, you are sure to bring Him away with you. Christ Himself assures you as much.

Take it from His own mouth, “If ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13). A father may deny his wanton child bread to play with and throw under his feet, but not his starving child that cries for bread to preserve his life. God can, and will, deny him that asks the Spirit to pride himself with his gifts, but not the hungry soul, that, pinched with his want of grace, humbly yet vehemently cries, “Lord, give me Thy Spirit, or else I starve, I die.” Nay, let me tell you, your strong cries and earnest prayers for the Spirit would be sweet evidence to you that you have Him already with you.

Plant yourself under the Word preached. This is the Spirit’s chariot in which He rides, called therefore “the ministration of the Spirit.” The serpent, that evil spirit, wriggled into Eve’s heart by her ear; the Holy Spirit ordinarily enters in at the same door, for He is received “by the hearing of faith” (Galatians 3:2). They that cast off hearing the Word to meet with the Spirit do as if a man should turn his back off the sun that it may shine on his face. The poor do not stay at home for the rich to bring their alms to their house, but go to their door and there wait for relief. It becomes you, poor creature, to wait at the posts of wisdom, and not expect that the Spirit should be your servant after you.

The Two Malefactors

Sovereign grace has power alone
To subdue a heart of stone;
And the moment grace is felt,
Then the hardest heart will melt.

When the Lord was crucified,
Two transgressors with Him died;
One, with vile blaspheming tongue,
Scoffed at Jesus as He hung.

Thus he spent his wicked breath,
In the very jaws of death;
Perished, as too many do,
with the Savior in his view.

But the other, touched with grace,
Saw the danger of his case;
Faith received to own the Lord,
Whom the scribes and priests abhorred.

“Lord, (he prayed,) remember me,
When in glory Thou shalt be.”
“Soon with Me, (the Lord replies,)
Thou shalt rest in Paradise.”

This was wondrous grace indeed,
Grace vouchsafed in time of need;
Sinners, trust in Jesus’ name,
You shall find Him still the same.

But beware of unbelief,
Think upon the hardened thief;
If the gospel you disdain,
Christ, to you, will die in vain.

— J.N.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 maart 1994

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

The Spirit of Prayer

Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 maart 1994

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

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