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Prayer Is Its Own Reward

The primary purpose of prayer is not to get from God, but to glorify him and bring us into communion with him.


Prayer is answered when it is accepted, though there be no other effect of it visible. Prayer is not in vain, if the person be accepted, and the service approved. Do you think it is nothing to please God, to do that wherein his soul delights, to offer that which ascends to him as the odour of a sweet smell? Is it nothing to obey God, to honour him, to give a testimony to his glorious perfections? Is it nothing, to be admitted to such sweet intimate communion with God in such a familiar way, to speak to him as a man to his friend, as a child to his father? Suppose you should reap no other benefit by prayer, is not here as much as will amount to an answer? If you will not measure the return of your prayers by lower inferior advantages, these are the most blessed returns. It should be more desirable in your account to please him, than to be happy yourselves. His glory should be more valuable than your salvation, or all the means that tend to it. And such society with him should be esteemed the first-fruits of heaven. Yet these are the privileges of every accepted prayer; and therefore, if it be accepted, though it obtain nothing more, it is abundantly answered.

He sometimes makes prayer an answer to itself, answers when you are praying: Isa. lxv. 24, ‘While they are yet speaking, I will hear;’ not only hears, but answers, answers the prayer by enabling us to pray, Dan. ix. 20, 21. While Daniel was speaking in prayer, an angel was sent in answer to his desires. You will judge this is a sweet return. But how much more is it for the Holy Ghost to be sent into the heart, and thereby to have powerful assistance, comfortable enlargements, heavenly affections, and vigorous exercise of graces; to have the soul winged with holy affections, to fly into the bosom of Christ; to have heaven as it were opened, and the veil withdrawn, that the light of God’s countenance may break out and shine upon the soul! These are the greatest, the sweetest of spiritual blessings, and infinitely transcend all outward enjoyments, Ps. iv. 6–8. Well then may they be accounted most blessed answers.

—David Clarkson, Faith in Prayer, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:218–219.

Posted 2017·09·25 by David Kjos
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Posted in: David Clarkson · Prayer · Works of David Clarkson

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