Saturday, 28 November 2015


Prayer, Lifting Up the Soul to God

“1.1.2. It is rather to be taken, as David’s promising God a constant attendance on him, in the way he has appointed. My voice shalt thou hear, i. e. I will speak to thee; because thou hast inclined thine ear unto me many a time, therefore I have taken up a resolution to call upon thee at all times, even to the end of my time. Not a day shall pass, but thou shalt be sure to hear from me. Not that the voice is the thing that God regards, as they seemed to think, who in prayer made their voice to be heard on high (Isa. 58:4). Hannah prayed and prevailed, when her voice was not heard; but it is the voice of the heart that is here meant; God saith to Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me, when we do not find that he said one word (Exod. 14:15). Praying is lifting up the soul to God, and pouring out the heart before him; yet as far as the expressing of the devout affections of the heart by words may be of use to fix the thoughts, and to excite and quicken the desires, it is good to draw near to God, not only with a pure heart, but with a humble voice; so must we render the calves of our lips.

“However, God understands the language of the heart, and that is the language in which we must speak to God; David prays here, verse 1, not only give ear to my words, but consider my meditation, and Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth, proceeding from the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight.

“This therefore we have to do in every prayer, we must speak to God; we must write to him; we say we hear from a friend whom we receive a letter from; we must see to it that God hears from us daily.

“ He expects and requires it. Though he has no need of us or our services, nor can be benefited by them, yet he has obliged us to offer the sacrifice of prayer and praise to him continually.

“ Thus he will keep up his authority over us, and keep us continually in mind of our subjection to him, which we are apt to forget. He requires by prayer that we solemnly pay our homage to him, and give honour to his name, that by this act and deed of our own, thus frequently repeated, we may strengthen the obligations we lie under to observe his statutes and keep his laws, and be more and more sensible of the weight of them. He is thy Lord, and worship thou him, that by frequent humble adorations of his perfections, thou mayest make a constant humble compliance with his will the more easy to thee. By doing obeisance we are learning obedience.

“ Thus he will testify his love and compassion towards us. It would have been an abundant evidence of his concern for us, and his goodness to us, if he had only said, let me hear from you as often as there is occasion; call upon me in the time of trouble or want, and that is enough; but to shew his complacency to us, as a father does his affection to his child when he is sending him abroad, he gives us this charge, let me hear from you every day, by every post, though you have no particular business; which shews, that the prayer of the upright is his delight; it is music in his ears; Christ saith to his dove, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely (Dan. 2:14). And it is to the spouse the church that Christ speaks in the close of that Song of Songs, O thou that dwellest in the gardens, (in the original it is feminine) the companions harken to thy voice, cause me to hear it. What a shame is this to us, that God is more willing to be prayed to, and more ready to hear prayer, than we are to pray.

“ We have something to say to God every day. Many are not sensible of this, and it is their sin and misery; they live without God in the world, they think they can live without him, are not sensible of their dependence upon him, and their obligations to him, and therefore for their parts they have nothing to say to him, he never hears from them, no more than the father did from his prodigal son, when he was upon the ramble, from one week’s end to another. They ask scornfully, what can the Almighty do for them? and then no marvel if they ask next, what profit shall we have if we pray unto him? And the result is, they say to the Almighty, depart from us, and so shall their doom be. But I hope better things of you my brethren, and that you are not of those who cast off fear, and restrain prayer before God, you are all ready to own that there is a great deal that the Almighty can do for you, and that there is profit in praying to him, and therefore resolve to draw nigh to God, that he may draw nigh to you.

“We have something to say to God daily.”

-From, A Method for Prayer, by Matthew Henry (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., Scotland; 1994); pp. 196-197.

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