On the Advantages of Prayer
Psalm 5:2
Listen to the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for to you will I pray.

Prayer is the pulse of the soul. To be prayerless, or little inclined to pray, is the most dreadful state in which a human being can possibly be. But it is nearly as lamentable to pray under the influence of improper sentiments and feelings, as not to pray at all. It is by no means the province of prayer, to inform the Deity of what we need, or to induce Him to alter His purposes, or to prevail upon Him to bestow upon us whatever we may think fit to solicit from Him. To the omniscient God all our wants must be well known; even better than they are to ourselves. Nor can He be supposed, in consequence of our prayers, either to deviate from the course which He had determined to pursue, or to submit the disposal of His favours to our direction. The advantages of prayer must be considered as confined to ourselves; and we have only to reflect for a moment on the state and temper of mind which it is instrumental in cherishing, to be convinced that it is eminently calculated to promote our real improvement and happiness.

1. Prayer, in consequence of the dispositions which it excites and cherishes in the mind of the suppliant, is well calculated to produce the happiest effects upon his conduct and condition. There is not an error in the understanding, a wrong propensity in the will, or a blemish in the outward conduct, which may not, either directly or indirectly, be traced to a temper of mind, the reverse of that of the Christian suppliant, and which a similar temper to his would not tend either to prevent or remove.

2. Prayer qualifies the suppliant for receiving the enlightening, sanctifying, and comforting influences of the Divine Spirit. That the Spirit of God can communicate direction, energy, and purity to the soul in a secret and incomprehensible manner, cannot be denied. That it is chiefly by means of prayer such communication is made, is a truth, which the experience of every genuine Christian sufficiently corroborates. Prayer is the means God has appointed to be used for obtaining the influences of the Spirit, and for cherishing that frame and temper of mind which peculiarly qualify him for receiving them.

3. Prayer is happily fitted to fortify against temptation Our temptations chiefly arise from the world, and the things of the world. The influence which worldly objects produce upon the different tempers and circumstances of men is so great, that it is not to be described. The best way to counteract this influence, is to avert the mind as much as possible from earthly things, and in the frequent exercise of prayer to lay it open to the impression of things invisible and eternal. Prayer renders us independent of the world, by fixing and strengthening our dependence upon God.

4. Prayer imparts to the Christian such a serenity, strength, and stability, as fit him for all that is truly amiable, and great, and good. It renders him serene, composed, and cheerful. Seeing, then, that prayer is attended with such important and blessed effects, how gladly ought we to avail ourselves of this precious privilege!

(J. Somerville, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

WEB: Listen to the voice of my cry, my King and my God; for to you do I pray.

Objections to Prayer Answered
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