Archive for the ‘Charles Finney’ Category

Do You Pray?

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Do you pray? “Of course I do,” you respond! “I’m a Christian. All Christians pray.”

Let me ask again, do you pray?

I ask because there is much prayer exercised that is nothing more than form and obligation–the appeasement of conscience, as highlighted in the paragraphs from Charles Finney.

I have just put three of his 1847 sermons on prevailing prayer at path2prayer.com. I hope you will carefully read them, relative to your evaluating whether you REALLY pray.

From Charles Finney:

“Much that is called prayer is not answered in any sense whatever, and is not real prayer. Much that goes under the name of prayer is offered merely for the form of it, with neither care nor expectation to be answered. Those who pray thus will not watch to see whether their prayers are answered in any sense whatever.

“For example, there are some who pray as a matter of cold duty—only because they must, and not because they feel their need of some specific blessing. Hence their prayer is nothing but a form. Their heart is not set upon any particular object. They only care to do what they call a duty; they do not care with anxious heart for any object they may specify in their prayers. Hence the thing they really care for, is not the thing they pray for. In words they pray for this thing; in heart for quite another thing. And the evidence of this is in the fact that they never look after the thing they pray for in words. If they prayed in heart for any thing, they would certainly look to see whether the blessing asked for is given.

“Suppose a man had petitioned for some appointment to office, and had sent on his application to the President or to the appointing power. Probably his heart is greatly set on attaining it. If so you will see him watching the mail for the reply to his communication. Every day you may see him at the office ready to seize his letter at the earliest possible moment. But if on the other hand, he applied only for form’s sake; and cares nothing about the office, or does not at all expect it, you will see him about other business or pleasure, which he does care for.

“The latter case rarely occurs in human affairs, but in religious things nothing is more common. Multitudes are engaged from time to time in what they call praying; their object being often only to appease their consciences—not to obtain any desired blessing. Of course the quiet of their conscience is the only thing they really seek by prayer, and it would be absurd in them to look after any other answer than this. They are not wont to be guilty of this absurdity.

“Of course those who pray thus are not disappointed if they are not heard. It would be so in case of petitions addressed to men; it is so naturally when petitions are addressed to God.

Do you agree with Charles Finney?

Do you pray? I hope so.

Read the three sermons he preached on prevailing in prayer in 1847. You learn more about praying and experiencing a happy, more abundant, Christian life at path2prayer.com.