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Others may think that there is too great a disproportion between the personal and intercessory supplications. The mode pursued has been intentionally adopted, so as to give a greater degree of unity to the work. Although intercessory prayer is introduced in lesser proportions than might seem consonant with the petitioner's strong yearnings of heart for the best welfare of mankind; yet it was known that but little more than the mere substitution of pronouns, would make nearly the whole language of the book available in supplicating blessings on others.
It has been a sedulous desire throughout these pages, to keep them free from sectarian peculiarities, and to furnish a volume which would (without offence to any) contribute to the devotion of every evangelical denomination. If any bias should be discovered in it, the reader may be assured that it was wholly unintentional.
This work is principally designed to furnish an assistant to closet devotion. But the plan it suggests, is not intended to end with this advantage. It is well known that the business of leading in public prayer is limited to a few, who are gifted with more courage, capacity, or zeal, than the large majority of the church; which is thus left without employment in that particular sphere of Christian duty. The hope is entertained that the system of devotional thought, presented in these pages, will
assist in bringing out into this service, some who, having been intimidated by its difficulties, are now relying supinely on the gifts of their more favoured brethren. It should be a prominent object with every church to have a numerous band, who are able intelligently and fervently to lead its devotions: but the great body of church-members will not be able to discharge this important duty without diligent attention to the gifts and graces of supplication.
It should not be understood that the author regards the machinery of prayer as possessing more value than its spirit. Far, very far otherwise. It would be infinitely better to employ the broken and disjointed sentences of untutored but craving religious want, than to use with heartless formality the most finished liturgy. Still it is true, on the whole, that the excellency and efficacy of prayer will depend very much on our knowing, definitely and thoroughly, what we want, and how to express our desires THE AUTHOR.