The two first and essential means of grace are the Word of God and prayer. Conversion comes through these, for we are born again by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever (1 Peter 1:23), and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
By the Word of God and prayer, we also grow. Scripture tells us we should desire, or crave, the pure spiritual milk of the Word so we may grow by it (1 Peter 2:2), and we cannot grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ unless we also speak to him in prayer.
It is by the Word that the Father sanctifies us (purifies and sets us apart) but we are also instructed to watch and pray to avoid falling into temptation.
These two instruments of grace must be applied in the right proportion. If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that builds others up.
If we pray without reading the Word, we will be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown around by every wind of doctrine.
The following chapters relate especially to prayer, but in order for our prayers to be about things that are aligned with the will of God, they must be based upon the revelation of his own will to us.
For of him and by him and in him are all things (Romans 11:36), and it is only by hearing God’s Word, where we learn his purposes toward us and toward the world, that we can pray acceptably.
This means praying in the Holy Spirit and asking the things which are pleasing in his sight. These essays are not to be considered exhaustive, but suggestive.
This great subject has been the topic of prophets and apostles, and of all good people in all ages of the world.
My desire in writing this little book is to encourage God’s children to seek by prayer “to move the arm that moves the world,” a phrase inspired by James Cowden Wallace’s hymn, “There Is an Eye That Never Sleeps.”