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to ask you, when I wanted any thing. I want something now." think I should give you any thing?"
“No, mother; you would think I was trifling with you; and you would be displeased, and send me away.”
“But people often pray just in that way. The time has come for them to pray; and they think they must say something; and so they go and pray to God, without feeling sensible of their wants. In fact, they do not really desire any thing in particular. Such prayers are trifling with God, and he will not answer them."
“But, mother, should we let the time go by, without praying, when we do not feel sensible of our wants?"
No my dear; we ought to have a deep sense of our wants, all the time, and to maintain a spirit of prayer, so that we shall be prepared at any time to pray aright. But, if our stated time for prayer comes, and finds our hearts cold, so that we cannot tell what to pray for, we should think over our wants, and read God's word; and think how willing he is to give us what we need, till our hearts are warmed with holy desires, and we are prepared to ask God in earnest for things that we sincerely desire. But, suppose you come and ask me for some cakes, when I know you are not hungry, but only want them to please your taste, and gratify your appetite, do you think I would give them to you?”
“I think you ought not to give them to me mother; for they would only hurt me.”
Well, if you ask me for a new dress, when I know you want it only for the sake of gratifying your vanity, by appearing in fine clothes, ought I to give it to you?"
“No, mother; it would do me more hurt than good.”
“Well, God sees your heart, all the time; and he knows how you feel about every thing you ask. And if you ask for his blessing to grâtify your selfish feelings, or your vanity, he will not give you the things you pray for. He abhors such prayers. 'Lying lips,' says Solomon, "are an abomination to the Lord.' But, if I should promise to give you every thing you ask for, you would not think, I meant to say that I would give them to you, if you ask for them in any of these ways that I have mentioned."
“No, mother; and if I should ask so, and you should not give me what I ask for, you would not break your promise.
“Neither does the Lord break his promise, when he refuses to give people what they ask, when they do not ask åright.”
“Well, mother, do teach me how to pray aright, so that God will give me what I ask for."
"I will try to do so, my dear; but we have talked long enough this time.”
WE MUST PRAY IN THE NAME OF CHRIST, FOR THINGS
AGREEABLE TO THE WILL OF GOD.
“My dear mother, I want to hear more about prayer.
You told me you would teach me how to ask aright, for what I want."
Well, my dear, the first thing I have to tell you, is, that you must pray in the name of Christ; for there 'is no other way that you can come to God. Just before Jesus left his disciples, he said to them, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” And the apostle Paul says: “Giving thanks
always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
“But I do not understand that, mother. What does it mean, to ask in the name of Jesus ?''
My dear, if you wanted to ask a favour of some great man, perhaps you would not like to go to him yourself, but would get some kind friend, that was acquainted with him, to go and ask him for you. Judge Thomas is a great man, always full of business; and if I sent you to borrow a book of him, you might get his little Emily, whom he loves so well, that he never would deny her any thing, to go and ask her father to give you the book. You remember, you told me that little Jane Miller tore her Sundayschool book, and lost her right to take books from the library ; so that she got Emily Thomas to get one for her, on her own account.
Well, now this may give you