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16/02/2011 / Test All Things

Family Prayer

Family prayer should be constantly attended to. The worship of God ought to be maintained in all the families of the saints.

It cannot but be thought a duty incumbent on matters of families, to pray with, and for their children and servants, whom providence has put under their care and inspection; a faithful attendance hereon may, at least, strike their minds with an awe of God, and lay such a check upon them, which may prevent their sinning as others do. I doubt not but many can attest to the truth of this by their experience.

Besides, as we ought to endeavour the conviction of those under our immediate notice, we can’t tell how far God may please to succeed the discharge of our duty in this particular that way; however, whether or not the effect follows, which we should desire, that is to say, the spiritual good of those about us, we shall keep clear of their blood, if we are found in the practice of our duty towards them. It is not improbable but some may say, they are convinced it is their duty to pray in their families, but that they are not furnished with suitable gifts, and therefore they are obliged to omit it; such I would ask, if they have at all attempted it? If they have not they must allow me to say, it is trifling to urge their want of proper furniture, as an excuse for this neglect.

Besides, it can hardly be thought, that a person sensible, of himself, his state by nature, his need of Christ, and of his suitableness as a Saviour, can be utterly unable to perform this branch of religious worship in his own family, where strict method, proper coherence, and fluency of expression, are not absolutely necessary to the useful discharge of it. Again, gifts improve by using: I have known some who were not eminently furnished for such a work, that upon the exercise of the abilities they had, a blessing has attended, and their improvement has been very visible. I add, that since family prayer is a duty, we ought to be careful, lest we render ourselves unfit for it, or incapable of it, by conversation, or otherwise, when we are abroad.

By John Brine (1703–1765)

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