28 June 2011

Do You Pray?

Dear reader, do you pray? It is one thing for a person to say their prayer, but it is altogether another thing to pray. Do you know what it means to commune with God? To abase all of self before the foot of the Throne of grace? Oh, we speak much of “men of prayer” but we see little of “men made by prayer”! If you do not pray, dear reader, I plead with you to see if you really are in the faith! A Christian that does not pray is not Christian at all! Take heed, reader, lest you be deceived!

I have a question to offer you. It is contained in three words, DO YOU PRAY?

The question is one that none but you can answer. Whether you attend public worship or not, your minister knows. Whether you have family prayers or not your relations know. But whether you pray in private or not, is a matter between yourself and God.

I beseech you in all affections to attend to the subject I bring before you. Do not say that my question is too close. If your heart is right in the sight of God, there is nothing in it to make you afraid.

Do not turn off my question by replying that you say your prayers. It is one thing to say your prayers and another to pray. Do not tell me that my question is unnecessary. Listen to me for a few minutes, and I will show you good reason for asking it.

I. I ask whether you pray, because prayer is absolutely needful to a person’s salvation.

I say, absolutely needful, and I say so advisedly. I am not speaking now of infants or idiots. I am not setting the state of the heathen. I know where little is given, there little will be required. I speak especially of those who call themselves Christians, in a land like our own. And of such I say, no man or woman can expect to be saved who does not pray.

I hold to salvation by grace as strongly as anyone. I would gladly offer a free and full pardon to the greatest sinner that ever lived. I would not hesitate to stand by their dying bed, and say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ even now, and you shall be saved.” But that a person can have salvation without asking for it, I cannot see in the Bible. That a person will receive pardon of their sins, who will not so much as lift up their heart inwardly, and say, “Lord Jesus, give it to me,” this I cannot find. I can find that nobody will be saved by their prayers, but I cannot find that without prayer anybody will be saved.

It is not absolutely needful to salvation that a person should read the Bible. A person may have no learning, or be blind, and yet have Christ in their heart. It is not absolutely needful that a person should hear public preaching of the gospel. They may live where the gospel is not preached, or they may be bedridden, or deaf. But the same thing cannot be said about prayer. It is absolutely needful to salvation that a person should pray.

There is no royal road either to health or learning. Prime ministers and kings, poor men and peasants, all alike attend to the needs of their own bodies and their own minds. No person can eat, drink, or sleep, by proxy. No person can get the alphabet learned for them by another. All these are things which everybody must do for themselves, or they will not be done at all.

Just as it is with the mind and body, so it is with the soul. There are certain things absolutely needful to the soul’s health and well-being. Each must attend to these things for themselves. Each must repent for them self. Each must apply to Christ for them self. And for them self each must speak to God and pray. You must do it for yourself, for by nobody else it can be done.

To be prayerless is to be without God, without Christ, without grace, without hope, and without heaven. It is to be in the road to hell. Now can you wonder that I ask the question, DO YOU PRAY?
- J.C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer

HT: New Demonstration

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