Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"How the Spirit Enables Us to Pray" by Thomas Boston

Sunday, March 6, 2011
It is by the help of the Holy Spirit that we are able to pray, Gal 4:6, "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Rom 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

There Are Two Sorts of Prayers.

Firstly, A prayer wrought out by virtue of a gift of knowledge and utterance. This is bestowed on many reprobates, and that gift may be useful to others, and to the church. But as it is merely of that sort, it is not accepted, nor does Christ put it in before the Father for acceptance.
For, secondly, There is a prayer wrought in men by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Zech. 12:10, "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication," and that is the only acceptable prayer to God. James 5:16, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." The word "effective" is from the Greek word "inwrought." Right praying is praying in the Spirit. It is a gale blowing from heaven, the breathing of the Spirit in the saints, that carries them out in the prayer, and which comes the length of the throne.

Spirit Helps Us to Pray Two Ways

1. As a teaching and instructing Spirit, furnishing proper matter of prayer, causing us to know what we pray for, Rom. 8:26, enlightening the mind in the knowledge of our needs, and those of others. The Spirit brings into our remembrance these things, suggesting them to us according to the word, together with the promises of God, on which prayer is grounded, John 14:26,"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." Hence it is that the saints are sometimes carried out in prayer for things which they had no view of before, and carried by some things they had.
2. As a quickening, exciting Spirit, Rom. 8:26.; the Spirit qualifying the soul with praying graces and affections, working in the praying person sense of needs, faith, fervency, humility, etc. Psa 10:17, "Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,"
The man may go to his knees in a very unprepared attitude for prayer, yet the Spirit blows, he is helped. It is for this reason the Spirit is said to make intercession for us, namely, in so far as he teaches and quickens, puts us in a praying frame of mind, and draws out our petitions, as it were, which the Mediator presents.

Special Giftedness in Prayer?

This praying with the help of the Spirit is particular to the saints, Jam. 5:16.; yet they do not have that help at all times, nor always in the same measure; for sometimes the Spirit, being provoked, departs, and they are left in a withered condition. So there is great need to look for a breathing, and pant for it, when we are to go to duty: for if there be not a gale, we will tug at the oars but heartlessly.
Let no man think that a readiness and flowing of expression in prayer, is always the effect of the Spirit's assistance. For that may be the product of a gift, and of the common operations of the Spirit, removing the impediment of the exercise of it. And it is evident one may be scarce of words, and have groans instead of them, while the Spirit helps him to pray, Rom. 8:26. Neither is every flood of emotions in prayer, the effect of the Spirit of prayer. There are of those which puff up a man, but make him never a whit more holy, tender in his walk, etc. But the influences of the Spirit never miss to be humbling but sanctifying. Hence, says David, "But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You," 1 Chr 29:14; and, says the apostle, "We have no confidence in the flesh," Phil. 3:3.


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