Many prayers fail of their errand because there is no faith in them. Prayers which are filled with doubt are requests for refusal. Imagine that you wrote to a friend and said, “Dear Friend, I am in great trouble and I, therefore, tell you, and ask for your help because it seems right to do so. But though I thus write, I have no belief that you will send me any help. Indeed, I should be mightily surprised if you did and should speak of it as a great wonder.”
Will you get the help, do you think? I should say your friend would be sensible enough to observe the little confidence which you have in him and he would reply that, as you did not expect anything, he would not astonish you. Your opinion of his generosity is so low that he does not feel called upon to put himself out of the way on your account.
When prayers are of that kind you cannot wonder if we “have not, because we ask amiss.”
Read the entire sermon.
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