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Rule ii. Continual prayer for the prosperous state of the church, in God’s protection towards it.

Ps. cxxii. 6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”

Phil. iv. 5, “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”

Rom. i. 9, “Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.”

Acts xii. 5, “Peter was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

Isa. lxii. 6, 7, “Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

Eph. vi. 18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

Col. iv. 12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

Explication ii. Prayer, as it is the great engine whereby to prevail with the Almighty, Isa. xlv. 11, so it is the sure refuge of the saints at all times, both in their own behalf, Ps. lxi. 2, and also of others, Acts xii. 5. It is a benefit which the poorest believer may bestow, and the greatest potentate hath no power to refuse. This is the beaten way of the soul’s communion with God, for which the saints have many gracious promises of assistance, Zech. xii. 10, Rom. viii. 26; innumerable precepts for performance, Matt. vii. 7, 1 Thess. v. 17, 1 Tim. ii. 8; with encouragements thereunto, James i. 5, Luke xi. 9; with precious promises of acceptance, Matt. xxi. 22, John xvi. 24, Ps. l. 15; — by all which, and divers other ways, the Lord hath abundantly testified his delight in this sacrifice of his people. Now, as the saints are bound to pray for all men, of what sort soever, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, unless they are such as sin unto death,1 John v. 16, yea, for their persecutors, Matt. v. 44, and them that hold them in bondage, Jer. xxix. 7, so most especially for all saints, Phil. i. 4, and peculiarly for those with whom they are in fellowship, Col. iv. 12. The Lord having promised that “upon every dwelling-place of 65mount Zion, and upon her assemblies” there shall be “a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night,” Isa. iv. 5, it is every one’s duty to pray for its accomplishment. He is not worthy of the privileges of the church who continues not in prayer for a defence upon that glory. Prayer, then, for the good, prosperity, flourishing, peace, increase, edification, and protection of the church is a duty every day required of all the members thereof.

1. Estimation of the ordinances; 2. Concernment for God’s glory; 3. The honour of Jesus Christ; 4. Our own benefit and spiritual interest; with, 5. The expressness of the command, are sufficient motives hereunto.

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