It is plain, therefore, that much of prayer is mere
words. We either do not understand, or do not
consider, or do not mean--what we say.
Do we go from praying--to acting, and to live for
salvation, for heaven, for eternity?
How common is it for professors to pray for victory
over the world; to be delivered from the lust of the
flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; to be
enabled to set their affections on things above, and
not on things of the earth; and to be dead to seen
and temporal things. And yet all the while they are
as obviously eager to amass wealth, to multiply the
attractions of earth, and to enjoy as much luxurious
gratification as possible!
'Spirituality of mind' is the subject of innumerable prayers
from some who never take a step to promote it! But, on the
contrary, who are doing all they can to make themselves
carnally minded! How many repeat that petition, "Lead us
not into temptation," who, instead of most carefully keeping
at the utmost possible distance from all inducements to sin,
place themselves in the very path of sin!
How often do we pray to have the mind of Christ, and to
imitate the example of Jesus. But where is the assiduous
endeavor, the laboring effort, to copy this high model, in . . .
its self-denying condescension,
its profound humility,
its beautiful meekness,
its indifference to worldly comforts,
its forgiving mercy,
its devotedness to God?
How often do we pray to be delivered from evil tempers
and irascible feelings. And yet we indulge them on every
slight provocation, and take no pains to subdue them!
It is unnecessary to multiply the illustrations of the
inconsistency between our prayers and our practice.