Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Common Thread

I have looked carefully over the lives of God's saints in the Bible. I cannot find one of whose history much is told us from Genesis to Revelation who is not a man of prayer. I find it mentioned as a characteristic of the godly, that they call on the Father and that they call on the name of the Lord Jesus. I find it recorded as a characteristic of the wicked that they do not call upon the Lord. I have read the lives of many eminent Christians that have been on earth since Bible days. Some of them, I see, were rich, some poor; some were learned, some unlearned; some of them were Episcopalians, some Presbyterians, some Baptists, some Independents, some were Calvinists and some Arminians, some have loved to use liturgy and some have loved to use none. But one thing I see they all had in common; they have all been men of prayer. I have studied the reports of missionary societies in our own times. I see with what joy the heathen men and women are receiving the gospel in various parts of the globe. There are conversions in Africa, New Zealand, in India and South America. The people converted are naturally unlike one another in every respect, but one striking thing I observed at all missionary stations, the converted people always pray.
I do not deny that a man may pray without heart and without sincerity. I do not for a moment pretend to say that the mere fact that a person is praying proves he is a child of God. As in every other part of religion, so also in this, there is plenty of deception and hypocrisy. But this I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins, he cannot love God, he cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ, he cannot long after holiness, he cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again, he has yet to be made a new creature, he may boast confidently of election, grace, hope and knowledge and deceive ignorant people, but you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray.
J.C. Ryle (10 May 1816 - 10 June 1900)
Practical Religion, pg 58

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