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Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.

By Lewis Bayly


      1. If, when thou art about to pray, Satan shall suggest that thy prayers are too long, and that therefore it were better either to omit prayers, or else to cut them shorter, meditate that prayer is thy spiritual sacrifice, wherewith God is well pleased (Heb. xiii. 15, 16;) and therefore it is so displeasing to the devil, and so irksome to the flesh. Bend therefore thy affections (will they, nill they) to so holy an exercise; assuring thyself, that it doth by so much the more please God, by how much the more it is unpleasing to thy flesh.

      2. Forget not that the Holy Ghost puts it down as a special note of reprobates, "They call not upon the Lord, they call not upon God." (Psal. xiv. 4; liii. 4.) And when Eliphaz supposed that Job had cast off the fear of God, and that God had cast Job out of his favour, he chargeth him that he restrained prayer before God (Job xv. 4;) making that a sure note of the one, and a sufficient cause of the other. On the other side, that God has promised that "whosoever shall call on his name shall be saved." (Rom. x. 13.) It is certain that he who makes no conscience of the duty of prayer, has no grace of the Holy Spirit in him, for the spirit of grace and of prayer are one (Zech. xii. 10:) and therefore grace and prayer go together. But he that can from a penitent heart morning and evening pray to God, it is sure that he has his measure of grace in this world, and he shall have his portion of glory in the life which is to come.

      3. Remember, that as loathing of meat, and painfulness of speaking, are two symptoms of a sick body; so irksomeness of praying when thou talkest with God, and carelessness in hearing, when God, by his word, speaks unto thee, are two sure signs of a sick soul.

      4. Call to mind the zealous devotions of the Christians in the primitive church, who spent many whole nights and vigils in watching and praying for the forgiveness of their sins, and that they might be found ready at the coming of Christ; and that David was not content to pray at morning, at evening, and at noon (Psal. lv. 16, 17), but he would also rise up at midnight to pray unto God (Psal. cxix. 62.) And if Christ did chide his disciples, because they would not watch with him one hour in praying {Matt. xxvi. 40), what chiding dost thou deserve, who thinkest it too long to continue in prayer but one quarter of an hour? If thou hast spent divers hours at a vain ball or play; yea whole days and nights in carding and dicing, to please thy flesh, be ashamed to think that praying for a quarter of an hour is too long an exercise for the service of God.

      5. Consider, that if the papists, in their blind superstition, do in an unknown, and therefore unedifying tongue, fit only for the children of mystical Babylon (1 Cor. xiv. 14; Gen. xi. 79; Rev. xvii. 5), mutter over upon their beads every morning and evening so many scores of ave-maries, paternosters, and idolatrous prayers, how shall they, in their superstitious devotion, rise up in judgment against thee, professing thyself to be a true worshipper of Christ? If that thou thinkest these prayers too long a task, being shorter for quantity than theirs, but far more profitable for quality, tending only to God's glory, and thy good; and so compiled of Scripture phrase, as that thou mayest speak to God, as well in his own holy words, as in thine own native language: be ashamed that papists, in their superstitious worshipping of creatures, should show themselves more devout than thou in the sincere worshipping of the true and only God (John xvii. 3.) And indeed a prayer in private devotion should be one continued speech, rather than many broken fragments.

      6. Lastly, when such thoughts come into thy head, either to keep thee from prayer, or to distract thee in praying, remember that those are the fowls which the evil one sends to devour the good seed, and the carcases of thy spiritual sacrifices; but endeavour with Abraham, to drive them away (Gen. xv. 11.) Yet notwithstanding, if thou perceivest at times, that thy spirits are dull, and thy mind not apt for prayer and holy devotion, strive not too much for that time, but humbling thyself at the sense of thine infirmity and dulness, knowing that God accepteth the willing mind, though it be oppressed with the heaviness of the flesh (Matt. xxvi. 41; 2 Cor. viii. 12), endeavour the next time to recompense this dulness, by redoubling thy zeal, and for the time present, commend thy soul to God in this, or the like short prayer:-

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See Also:
   Practice of Piety 1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.
   Practice of Piety 2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God
   Practice of Piety 3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ.
   Practice of Piety 4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
   Practice of Piety 5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
   Practice of Piety 6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
   Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate
   Practice of Piety 9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.
   Practice of Piety 10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
   Practice of Piety 14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself.
   Practice of Piety 15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety.
   Practice of Piety 16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety.
   Practice of Piety 17 - Meditations for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year
   Practice of Piety 19 - A Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 21 - Another short Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God
   Practice of Piety 25 - Secondly, for thy Words.
   Practice of Piety 26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions.
   Practice of Piety 27 - Meditations for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 28 - A Prayer for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.
   Practice of Piety 31 - Morning Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating.
   Practice of Piety 33 - Grace before Meat.
   Practice of Piety 34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening.
   Practice of Piety 35 - Evening Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
   Practice of Piety 37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.
   Practice of Piety 38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
   Practice of Piety 39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day.
   Practice of Piety 40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly.
   Practice of Piety 41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day.
   Practice of Piety 42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting.
   Practice of Piety 43 - Of the Public Fast.
   Practice of Piety 44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting.
   Practice of Piety 45 - Of Preparation.
   Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion.
   Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.
   Practice of Piety 56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform
   Practice of Piety 57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 58 - Duties After Communion.
   Practice of Piety 59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death
   Practice of Piety 60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick.
   Practice of Piety 61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine.
   Practice of Piety 62 - Meditations for the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy.
   Practice of Piety 66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him.
   Practice of Piety 68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness.
   Practice of Piety 69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death
   Practice of Piety 70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
   Practice of Piety 71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins.
   Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.
   Practice of Piety 73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior
   Practice of Piety 74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.

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