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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Rejoicing in hope. That is, in the hope of eternal life and glory which the gospel produces. See Barnes "Ro 5:2,3".

 

Patient in tribulation. In affliction, patiently enduring all that may be appointed. Christians may be enabled to do this by the sustaining influence of their hope of future glory; of being admitted to that world where there shall be no more death, and where all tears shall be wiped away from their eyes, Re 21:4; 7:17. Comp. Jas 1:4. See the influence of hope in sustaining us ia affliction more fully considered in the Notes on Ro 8:18-28.

Continuing instant in prayer. That is, be persevering in prayer. See Col 4:2. See Barnes "Lu 18:1".

The meaning of this direction is, that in order to discharge aright the duties of the Christian life, and especially to maintain a joyful hope, and to be sustained in the midst of afflictions, it is necessary to cherish a spirit of prayer, and to live near to God. How often a Christian should pray, the Scriptures do not inform us. Of David. we are told that he prayed seven times a day, (Ps 119:164) of Daniel, that he was accustomed to pray three times a day, (Da 6:10) of our Saviour we have repeated instances of his praying mentioned; and the same of the apostles, The following rules, perhaps, may guide us in this:

(1.) Every Christian should have some time, allotted for this service, and some place where he may be alone with God.

(2.) It is not easy, perhaps not possible, to maintain a life of piety without regular habits of secret devotion.

(3.) The morning, when we have experienced God's protecting care, when the mind is fresh, and the thoughts are as yet clear and unoccupied with the world, when we go forth to the duties, trials, and temptations of the day; and the evening, when we have again experienced his goodness, and are about to commit ourselves to his protecting care, and when we need his pardoning mercy for the errors and follies of the day, seem to be times which commend themselves to all as appropriate seasons for private devotion.

(4.) Every person will also find other times when private prayer will be needful, and when he will be inclined to it. In affliction, in perplexity, in moments of despondency, in danger, and want, in disappointment, and in the loss of friends, we shall feel the propriety of drawing near to God, and of pouring out the heart before him.

(5.) Besides this, every Christian is probably conscious of times when he feels peculiarly inclined to pray; he feels just like praying; he has a spirit of supplication; and nothing but prayer will meet the instinctive desires of his bosom. We are often conscious of an earnest desire to see and converse with an absent friend, to have communion with those we love; and we value such fellowship as among the happiest moments of life. So with the Christian. He may have an earnest desire to have communion with God; his heart pants for it; and he cannot resist the propensity to seek him, and pour out his desires before him. Compare the feelings expressed by David in Ps 42:1,2,

"As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my

soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the

living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

Comp. Ps 63:1. Such seasons should be improved; they are the "spring-times" of our piety; and we should expand every sail, that we may be "filled with all the fulness of God." They are happy, blessed moments of our life; and then devotion is sweetest and most pure; and then the soul knows what it is to have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, 1 Jo 1:3.

(6.) In addition to all this, Christians may be in the habit of praying to God without the formality of retirement. God looks upon the heart; and the heart may pour forth its secret desires to Him even when in business, when conversing with a friend, when walking, when alone, and when in society. Thus the Christian may live a life of prayer; and it shall be one of the characteristics of his life that he prays! By this he shall be known; and in this he shall learn the way to possess peace in religion.

"In every joy that crowns my days,

In every pain I bear,

My heart shall find delight in praise,

Or seek relief in prayer.

 

"When gladness wings my favour'd hour,

Thy love my thoughts shall fill;

Resigned when storms of sorrow lower,

My soul shall meet thy will.

 

"My lifted eye, without a tear,

The gathering storm shall see;

My steadfast heart shall know no fear:

That heart shall rest on thee."

 

{c} "in hope" Ro 5:2,3 {d} "in tribulation" Jas 1:4 {e} "instant in prayer" Lu 18:1

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