"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." -Matthew 6:33
Until we get our hearts out of the world, how easily our hearts are carried away with the thoughts of earthly concerns! Until we can separate and purge our spirits, how we mingle our prayers with many ridiculous thoughts!
It is too usual for us to deal with God as an unskilled person that will gather a posy for his friend, and put in as many or more stinking weeds than he does choice flowers. The flesh introduces, and our carnal hearts insert and interlace our prayers with vain thoughts and earthly distractions.
Then, when we come to offer incense to God with our censer, we mingle sulphur with our incense. Therefore, we should always labour to get our hearts above the world into the presence of God, as if we were by him in heaven, and wholly swallowed up with his glory.
Though our bodies are on earth, our spirits should be in heaven. Until we get above the mists of the world, we can see nothing of clearness and comfort; but when we can get God and our hearts together, then we can see there is much in the fountain, though nothing in the stream; and though little on earth, yet we have a God in heaven
This is our great aim, to be with God in heaven. His residence is there, and we seek that our hearts might be there. We have liberty to ask supplies for the outward life, but chiefly we should ask spiritual and heavenly things: ‘First, seek the kingdom of God’ etc..
If God is our heavenly Father, our first and main care should be to ask things suitable to his being, and his excellencies. When we ask supplies of the outward life, food and raiment, God may give it to us, but it is far more pleasing to him when we ask for grace.
In every prayer we should seek to be made more heavenly minded by conversing with our heavenly Father.
Manton, Works, i:60-62
Conrad Mbewe at the True Church Conference made a very succinct comment concerning the subtle forms of hyper-Calvinism when it comes to us loving sinners. Conrad Mbewe make the point that one way to spot hyper-Calvinism in the church is to look at it's PRAYER MEETING. He pointed out that any church which claims to be evangelistic but has a dead prayer meeting is hyper-Calvinistic. Likewise he said that any preacher who claims to have evangelistic preaching who's prayer closet is empty is a hyper-Calvinist.
Accurate? I think so!
Prayer is a means of grace which God has chosen to use in the salvation of souls
Prayer is also a means of grace to cause the believer to have more love towards the lost
Prayer is an expression of faith, especially to perform a miracle such as conversion
Prayer is also an expression of our true desires, we pray most for what we care about most
Prayer is also a united and unifying expression of the local church
Prayer is a means of deflecting glory from us and exalting God's grace