In discussing the subject of prayer presented in our text, I propose to inquire,
I. WHY MEN SHOULD PRAY AT ALL;
II. WHY MEN SHOULD PRAY ALWAYS AND NOT FAINT;
III. WHY THEY DO NOT PRAY ALWAYS.
I. Our dependence on God is universal, extending to all things. This fact is known and acknowledged. None but atheists presume to call it in question.
Prayer is the dictate of our nature. By the voice of nature this duty is revealed as plainly as possible. We feel the pressure of our wants, and our instincts cry out to a higher power for relief in their supply. You may see this in the case of the most wicked man, as well as in the case of good men. The wicked, when in distress, cry out to God for help. Indeed mankind have given evidence of this in all ages and in every nation; showing both the universal necessity of prayer, and that it is a dictate of our nature to look up to a God above.
It is a primitive conviction of our minds that God does hear and answer prayer. If men did not assume this to be the case, why should they pray? The fact that men do spontaneously pray, shows that they really expect God to hear prayer. It is contrary to all our original belief to assume that events occur under some law of concatenation, too rigid for the Almighty to break, and which he never attempts to adjust according to his will. Men do not naturally believe any such thing as this.
The objection to prayer, that God is unchangeable, and therefore cannot turn aside to hear prayer, is altogether a fallacy and the result of ignorance. Consider what is the true idea of God's unchangeableness. Surely, it is not that his course of conduct never changes to meet circumstances; but it is this--that his character never changes; that his nature and the principles which control his voluntary action remain eternally the same. All his natural, all his moral, attributes remain for ever unchanged. This is all that can rationally be implied in Go ...
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