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Pray for Everything, pt. 4
by Stephen Charnock (1628-1680)
[Here we continue a series on Prayer. This article continues a study by the great intellect of Stephen Charnock. In the study, he digs deep into Phil. 4:6. In the previous studies, he has been enumerating how we are to pray. He continues that here, by pointing out that we should pray in faith.]—Ed.
But in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. (Phil. 4:6, AV).
5. Pray in faith. This is frequently called for; and made the condition of effectual and prevailing prayers: “What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them” (Mark 11:24); “Ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6); “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21:22). Our whole life should be a life of faith. By virtue of this, we should walk with God and man too. “We walk by faith” (II Cor. 5:7). We should also hear with faith (see Heb. 4:2), if we are to hear with purpose. And so, pay in faith, if we would prevail. But what is it to pray in faith? It requires particular application, a fiducial remembrance, or a general persuasion.
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Since this is our duty, let us take notice of it, let us observe it, and make our requests known, and that “in everything”. Pray, and pray much and often, and pray carefully, and pray earnestly, pray spiritually, and in faith, and thus pray in everything. I might enforce this duty with many motives, but I intend not to stay on it. Mind these two:
1. It is most honorable to God.
2. It is advantageous to us.
1. It is most honorable to God, is as much for His glory as anything we can do. We can speak nothing more high and excellent, more noble and glorious or anything than this, that it honors God. This excels all, because it is the end of all. Everything is more valuable if it promotes this sovereign end, and therefore, prayer is most valuable because it most advances, and tends most to honor God. We can add nothing to the effectual and absolute glory of God; this is a glory which is infinite, to which nothing can be added. We have no way to glorify Him, but by declaring or acknowledging Him to be glorious, giving a testimony to His glorious perfections and excellencies.
Now, there is nothing we can do, does more declare the glory of God, than prayer; nothing that acknowledges more of His excellencies, and gives a clearer testimony to His glorious perfections. This gives Him the glory of: His immensity, and omnipresence, acknowledging He is everywhere, applying ourselves to Him, wherever we are; His omniscience, acknowledging He knows the desires of our hearts, and understands best of all what is best for us; His power, acknowledging He can do whatever we would have Him, exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think; His goodness, that He is willing to hear such vile creatures, to supply, relieve, support, deliver, save to the utmost; His dominion, that He has right to dispose of all things, as His own; His providence, that He rules and orders all, good and evil, small and great; His justice, that He is ready to revenge His elect that cry; His truth and faithfulness, that He is mindful of His word and promise, the ground of all our requests; His all-sufficiency, that there is enough in Him for us, to satisfy, enrich, whatever our condition at present happens to be, more in Him than in all things, since we seek to Him more. “Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me” (Ps. 50:23). That which is said of one part of prayer, is true of the whole; He that offers praise, glorifies Him. If we would honor Him much, glorify Him in everything, let us in everything make our requests known.
[We will conclude this study in the next issue, D.V.]