Brownlow North (3)

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You might be forgiven for thinking this prose reads like Jeremy Walker's and is of Walker-esque length but infact it dates from 1862 and is one of Brownlow North's prayers.


''His opening prayer always had a solemnizing effect on the congregation, and though the language was unconventional, it had no lack of real reverence and holy awe, and was the expression often of Jacob-like wrestling with the great God for a blessing upon the souls of men. We here insert one of those prayers, which was taken down in Elgin (in 1862);

''Lord God Almighty, Thou who dwellest in the heaven of heavens, Thou who revealest to us that 'Wherever two or three are gathered together in Thy name, there Thou are in their midst,' O God help us to pray! We have stood up before Thee in the attitude of prayer; we have ourselves invited Thine attention by our own act and deed in coming unto Thee; we have called upon Thee specially to regard us at this moment; and O God forbid, that when Thine eye is turned upon us thou shouldest see a single heart amongst us that is not endeavouring to pray. It is so hard a thing to pray, that, except Thou pour upon us the spirit of grace and supplication, we shall never pray. O God, before we can pray we must feel want, we must feel that we are poor and needy; O grant us then to feel our need! Grant us that hungering and thirsting which Thou hast promised to satisfy. O God, unless Thou create the desire, there will be no desire, for the natural man desireth not God. Is it witnessed of us all in heaven, 'Behold he prayeth'? Thou knowest, Thou knowest. O God, if there be one here who is not praying, we, Thy praying people, remembering Thy commandment to love our neighbour as ourselves, would join as one man and pray for the prayerless. We pray to thee to make the prayerless pray. May the prayerless be compelled to smite upon their breasts, and cry, 'O God be merciful to me.' May they join now, O God, with the praying ones, and may there not be one here of whom it is not witnessed, 'Behold, he prayeth.'

Now, Father, we want everything; we want thee to take away from us all our own things - everything we have got, so that we have nothing we can call or own, that all those things we have by nature may pass away. Then we pray that all things may become new, and that all these new things may be of Thee. And then we pray to Thee, Father, that being led by the Holy Spirit, we may sacrifice to Thee all Thine own. We pray that that we may have faith that we may have true love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. We pray Thee that we may have joy and peace in believing. We pray Thee that we may be filled with Thy Holy Ghost, that the fruit of the Spirit may be manifest in us - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance - so that men shall be obliged to take notice of us, that the Spirit that is within us is not the spirit of the world, but is a new spirit, even the Holy Spirit, and that we have been with Jesus.

Now, Father, we do not ask this of Thee as a mere form. We believe that Thou art. We believe that we have acess to Thee by one Spirit, through Jesus Christ, and we come through that new and living way; and though we cannot use proper words to express our need when we pray to Thee, O forgive us what we are, and make us what we ought to be. It is not for much speaking that we ask Thee to hear us. We do not feel our need when we pray to Thee, neither know we how to ask for anything as we ought; but what we ask Thee to do in the name of Jesus is to supply our need, to make us living members of the Lord Jesus Christ, producing very much fruit to Thy honour and glory, and to make us blessings to the land in which we live. We need thy blessing, Father -Thy blessing and the light of Thy countenance - that Thou teach the speaker to speak - that he speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, not in word only but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. O may the dead be awakened this night by the entrance of Thy word which giveth light, and may those who have it, have it more abundantly; and may it be evident that Thou canst take the weak things and the base things, and make them instruments in Thy hands, when it so pleaseth Thee, to do good. O may good be done, and no evil, and good above all we can ask or think. Accept us, not for our prayers, but because we ask it, most merciful Father in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.''

P60-63


You might be interested to read this article by Knox Hindman on North
Posted September 5, 2013 @ 6:09 AM by Paul Levy
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