THE ADVANTAGES OF PRAYER
To Miss Eling Venn
Yelling, Oct. 28th, 1779
My Dear Eling,
Much were we all excited to thankfulness by the good account we
received of your safe and agreeable journey to your excellent friends. I was making my prayer to the Lord our God, and had confidence He would hear and protect you.
Who can enumerate all the advantages of prayer? It is designed by our most merciful and gracious God as a relief, adequate to all the miseries we inherit as the sinful offspring of Adam. By prayer our sight is recovered; and though born blind, we have the light of heaven brought into our minds. By prayer, our fears and painful doubts, as to our eternal state, are removed; and peace, and lively hope from the Holy Ghost, given to us. By prayer the several ordinances of divine appointment are made effectual to our great edification and growth in grace, and everlasting benefit. Preaching, through the blessing of secret prayer, teaches, quickens, warms, melts, and overcomes our hearts. Public worship is indeed an entertainment in the banqueting-house of God, where His glory is felt, His presence enjoyed, access to Him as a Father experienced, and the overflowings of a heart, grateful for innumerable blessings, are poured out. By prayer we obtain the witness in ourselves that the Lord God interests Himself in our welfare, secures us in danger, supports us in adversity, and cheers us in the darkest hours; fights for us against our enemies; reconciles us to His own will; and is training us up in knowledge, faith, and love, to His own eternal kingdom, prepared for praying souls. Remember, therefore, my dear Eling, that all good is to be obtained by real prayer, and defence from all evil within and without. . .
At Bedford, you had your set time for prayer; which, probably, you observed very strictly, amongst those exemplary saints. At Yelling, peradventure, not having a room to yourself, you might be
less attentive. I would have you watch, and always examine yourself strictly about this most important matter. Remember, all, all depends upon this. None are, none can be, exemplary, but praying souls; who can no more live without stated times of drawing near to God, than their bodies can live without food.
I write this to you after a slight attack, on Saturday, of an ague or fever – I cannot say which. I am now better; but if it is an ague, probably it may return. I did not know, when it came upon me, what it was sent to do: however, I was exceedingly happy; and thought willing, should it please God, to live a few years, for the sake of my poor girls, yet far from unwilling to depart, knowing in whom I have never-failing, all-sufficient Friend. Our love to all the family with whom you dwell.
From your affectionate father,