Monday, January 25, 2010

Advantages of Prayer

A selection from a letter by Henry Venn, Church of England minister, to his daughter, Eling, who had gone to visit friends. He spoke to her about prayer. He told her, “Remember, therefore, my dear Eling, that all good is to be obtained by real prayer, and defence from all evil within and without.” He also told her that the Lord’s people “can no more live without stated times of drawing near to God than their bodies can live without food.” Also, in this letter that was written October 28, 1779, he labored at length to set forth the advantages of prayer.

It is designed, by our most merciful and gracious God, as a relief, adequate to all the miseries we inherit, as the sinful offspring of Adam. By prayer, our sight is recovered; and though born blind, we have the light of heaven brought into our minds. By prayer, our fears and painful doubts, as to our eternal state, are removed; and peace, and lively hope from the Holy Ghost, given unto us. By prayer the several ordinances of Divine appointment are made effectual, to our great edification and growth in grace, and everlasting benefit.

Preaching, through the blessing of secret prayer, teaches, quickens, warms, melts, and overcomes our hearts. Public worship is indeed an entertainment in the banqueting house of God, where His glory is felt, His presence enjoyed, access to Him as a Father experienced, and the overflowing of a heart, grateful for innumerable blessings, are poured out.

By prayer we obtain the witness in ourselves that the Lord God interests Himself in our welfare, secures us in danger, supports us in adversity, and cheers us in the darkest hours; fights for us against our enemies; reconciles us to His own will; and is training us up in knowledge, faith, and love, to His own eternal kingdom, prepared for praying souls.

Letters of Henry Venn, by John Venn, first published in 1835, republished by the Banner of Truth, 1993, p. 280.

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