On the Nature 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 well defined as an offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies. Prayer may be considered as a generic term, including adoration, confession, petition, and thanksgiving. All these are equally the result of a devotional temper.

1. The true suppliant is deeply conscious of his being in a state of dependence, weakness, ignorance, and inability to promote his own happiness. Without this, there may be a form of prayer, but nothing of its spirit.

2. The true suppliant comes to God in the firm belief of His existence, and with a confidential application to Him, as both able and willing to help all who put their trust in Him. Without such faith and confidence, there can be no such thing as prayer.

3. The true suppliant draws near to God, with clean hands and a pure heart. In all ages and nations, rites of purification have usually preceded the immediate approaches to Deity. If we "regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us." But imperfection cleaves in a greater or less degree to the people of God in the present life; and as they are deeply conscious of this being the ease, and as such a consciousness naturally tends to weaken their confidence in God, observe —

4. That the true suppliant draws near to God, through the mediation of His Son, Jesus Christ. "Through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father." Nor is this a recent appointment.

5. The true suppliant, in all his requests at the throne of grace, is regulated by the word and will of God. The desires of mankind are as various as their imaginary wants. The will of God, and not his own will, is the Christian's guide in devotional duty. Let me remind yon of the glorious privilege of prayer; a privilege so great, that by improving it aright, dependent and sinful creatures like ourselves may lean with confidence on the Rock of Ages Himself. But such prayer as has been delineated is no natural attainment. The sentiments and feelings of the true suppliant are the produce of a Divine principle, specially engendered and nourished by Him who is denominated, "the Spirit of grace and supplications."

(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.

On the Advantages of Prayer
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