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Specific means are established in the kingdom of nature, for the production of the fruits of the earth. The showers of rain, and the rays of the sun, are indispensable to their growth and perfection. Prayer may be a means, indispensable in the kingdom of grace, for the conversion of sinners, and the ultimate triumph of the Redeemer's kingdom. The Lord himself affirms, "For this will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."
As the millennial day approaches, the prayers of the church will undoubtedly be more frequent, more united, more fervent, and more manifestly successful, till the Spirit shall be granted in such copious effusions, that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth, and all men shall know him, from the least to the greatest.
The increased associations for social and public prayer, demand of Christians a more particular effort to render them interesting and edifying. All who take a part in these exercises are required to seek the gift and grace of prayer; to avoid, in manner and expression, what might naturally be repulsive, and to aspire after an elevated piety, and thus render these seasons of a deeply interesting and impressive character.
Dr. Watts' Guide to Prayer has proved peculiarly beneficial, and is justly held in the highest estimation by the most judicious ministers and Christians. On presenting a new edition of the work, it has been con
ceived that great benefits may result from combining with it the peculiar excellences of other treatises on prayer.
The present publication, therefore, consists of Three Parts.
In the First Part is condensed a large portion of Bickersteth's excellent treatise on the nature, duty, and privilege of prayer, with various other topics, which form an appropriate Introduction to a work of this nature.
The Second Part consists of the entire treatise of Dr. Watts, entitled a Guide to Prayer; in which he most judiciously guards the reader against many errors, and points out most ably and satisfactorily, the means for acquiring a holy freedom and pious elevation in the exercise.
The Third Part comprises devotional' exercises. selected principally from the passages of Scripture; arranged by Mr. Henry, in his Method of Prayer, and from Mr. Bickersteth's Forms of Prayer. The selections from Scripture are expressed as they stand in the sacred word, which may be varied in prayer to the case of an individual, or of a social meeting, as the occasion requires.
The following suggestions are submitted to the attention of the reader.
1. All aids to devotion are to be considered as hints for improvement, and not as specific and uniform rules