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wandering; and we must watch after prayer, and all the time, to keep our hearts in a praying frame. And this leads me to mention another thing that is necessary to prevailing prayer. The apostle Paul says, we must 'pray without ceasing continue instant in prayer;' and 'pray always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, watching thereunto with all perseverence.
"But how can anybody pray all the time, mother? We must do something else besides praying."
"The apostle does not mean that we must be all the time in our closets; but that we must keep our minds in a praying frame. We must always maintain a spirit of prayer, so that we could break off from our employments at any time, and pray with proper feeling. The things that we desire, must lie upon our hearts, so that we shall think of them, while about our work. And, we
must often send up short prayers to God in our hearts, while we are busy about other things. This is called ejaculatory prayer. You will find a beautiful example of this kind of prayer in the second chapter of Nehemiah. This good man was the cup-bearer to the king of Persia."
"I do not know what a cup-bearer is, mother."
"It was the custom among the kings; in that country, to have servants to wait on them; and it was esteemed a great honour to be appointed to such an office. The cupbearer was the person that gave the king his drink. Nehemiah was a Jew; and he heard that the people that were left in the land of Judea, were in great affliction; and that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and the gates burned with fire. This made him feel very bad; and he sat down and wept and mourned, a long time, and fasted and prayed. But,
Nehemiah was soon called to give the king his drink. Before this, he had always appeared cheerful in the presence of the king; but now he was sad; and the king said to him, 'Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart.' Then Nehemiah was afraid, and said to the king, 'why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?' Then the king asked him what he desired. So,' says Nehemiah, ‘I prayed to the God of heaven.' It would not have been possible for him to have gone away by himself to pray; yet he felt that he needed the help of God just at that moment. So he offered up his desires to God, in his own heart, without speaking the words; and the Lord heard his prayer, and inclined the heart of the
king to give him what he asked. And so you will find a great many cases, every day, in which you will need the help of God, when you cannot go away by yourself to pray. You will find evil thoughts coming into your mind, when you will want the help of God's Spirit to keep them out; you will find your heart inclined to do wrong, when you will want the Spirit of God to help you resist the temptation; and in a great many ways you will need the help of God's grace continually. And, if you keep your heart right, and maintain a spirit of prayer all the time, you can lift up your heart to God for help, at any time and in any place, even in the midst of company, and he will hear
"But there are two things more my dear, that are necessary to prevailing prayer: We must be earnest and importunate."
"I do not know what importunate means."
"If you come and ask me to give you a piece of bread, and I do not hear you the first time, and you keep on asking till you get it, you will be importunate. But, the examples which I am going to relate, will show what it means."
"Mother, do tell me first about being earnest in prayer.”
"Well, if you will turn to the first chapter of the first book of Samuel, you will find a very interesting story about Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She had no child; and she longed for one very much. And, when she went up to the house of the Lord, she wept, and would not eat. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, 'O Lord of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed, look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine