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our Lord ea » we appeal in favour of prayer , we have his example also in the most direct and decisive mauoer . Upon the eve of the most important event of his history , when we cannot but suppose that he saw the horrors of to
a violent and ignominious de ^ th be apparently inevitable , and while he acknowledges that his " soul is exceeding sorrowful , " still does he open his heart to his heavenly Father , and entreat that his afflictions may be averted :
" Father , if it be possible let this cup pass from me : nevertheless * , not as I will , but as Thou wilt . " With these memorable words before us , coming from such an authority , and uttered at such a moment , how insignificant do the doubts , the suspicions and the
speculations of the sceptic appear \ Here we have an example how we may pray , and how we ought to feel when we pray . Though our Lord knew that the hour of the sufferings he had predicted was drawing near ; though he knew that submission to death would
be required of him , we find him expressing the wish that the cup might pass from him , but accompanying the wish with the most submissive acquiescence in the wisdom of all the appointments of his Father . Can we
desire a stronger encouragement to pray than this ? In the moment of mental anguish , when all worldly succours appear to fail us , we have the example of Christ to breathe our wishes in the ear of our heavenly Father , and with unlimited confidence in the
wisdom and goodness of him who knows what is fit for us better than we do , to pray for what we , in our ignorance , may think best for us . In the chapter of St . Luke , ( the xi . ) where Christ gives the Lord's prayer as a model for praying to his 4 iaeiple& , who requested one , we find a further
encouragement to the petitionary part of devotion in a parable . Though the language in this , as well as in other parables , is highly metaphorical , I cannot but consider the spirit of it as affording very strong evidence , in favour < rf the propriety of petitions to the throne of mercy .
It is supposed by-some that our requests in prayer should be confined to what are called spiritual blessings , as wisdom , virtue , &c . To me , Uawev ^ r , ft appears that ail the arguments which support this opinion , may be extended
ate © to petitions for those teinporal blessings wliieh are innocent in themselves , and which we believe to be good for us . Our Lord prayed for deliverance from the sorrows which awaited him , and instructed his" disciples to
pray for the supply of their €€ daily bread / ' It does not follow that we must be dissatisfied or discontented , because our prayers are not answered . It is the duty of a Christian , whenever he pours out before his heavenly Father the humble desires of his heart , to
acknowledge Iris ignorance of what is best for him , and to hope for an answer to his supplications , only so far as they may be conducive to his real interest , and agreeable to the
dispensations of unerring wisdom and unlimited goodness . With these views and feelings , whether we pray for spiritual assistance , or for those temporal blessings in which the welfare < rf ourselves and of those who are dear to us is
intimately involved , our addresses cannot be injurious to ourselves , or unacceptable to that Being who is constantly watching over us , and who has graciously permitted us to look up to him with the reverential affection of children to a kind Father .
Whatever we may consider the efficacy of prayer to be , it is not necessary for us to suppose that we can inform the Deity of what is proper far us , or that any alteration will be made in his
plans in consequence of our prayers . We are ignorant of alljtxis plans , and of the methods by which he brings them about : it is enough for us to know that he has commanded us to
pray to him for the blessings which we think will be conducive to our real interest , while , with perfect resignation , we leave to his wisdom the degree and mode in which they are to be grafted . Some have supposed that the efficacy of prayer is confined solely to ourselves , and that it is of lm ¥ se farther than as it acts upon ot * r minds , and readers us more diligent in the discharge of our duties . To meditate upoa tfce
perfections of the Deity , tp co ^ t ^ plate the stupendous effeets of his boundless power , to mark tjie harmonious operations of his wiadoin , & 04 L to dwell upon the b € « woteftce which shines forth through nil his works , must refine , expand mud e&evstfe the mind : but , it is white \ fie < ypag him under the character of n Parent , while
Mr . Mstlin en ZHvfne Influences . 25
YOU , XV . B
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1820, page 25, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2484/page/25/