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Circular Letter, 1819
The Duty of Prayer
By Robt. Gailbreath
of Little Flock Baptist Church

The Long Run Association of Baptists, met at Long Run Meeting House, on the first Friday in September, 1819, to the churches composing the same.

      DEAR BRETHREN - In recognizing the goodness of God, in thus permitting us, once more, to assemble together and in the peace and harmony which have pervaded the association, our hearts are impressed with sensations of gratitude. And as our usual practice is, we take the liberty of presenting to you, the following address; referring you to the minutes of the association, and your messengers for information on those subjects which came under our consideration. The subject to which we would particularly solicit your attention, is the duty of prayer; though this field of Christian exercise is so wide, that our letter would be extended beyond its usual length, were we only to touch on the many things, embraced in this subject: we will therefore just hint at some things, intended principally as excitements, to its frequent and earnest performance.

      Let us, dear brethren, frequently call to mind and dwell upon the character of the blessed God, as represented in the holy scriptures; and surely when our apprehensions are filled with the ideas of his glorious perfections, and especially, in their very glorious & illustrious display to us, in the plan of redemption, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, our hearts must be vividly animated to the most humble acts of adoration and thankfulness: elevated towards God in their disposition, and possessing pure enjoyment, sweet and refined felicity.

      Let us endeavor at all times to keep in mind, that salvation is of God that sheweth mercy: that our acceptance with him is through the righteousness of God our Saviour; to cherish the consciousness of our own weakness, helplessness, imperfections, unworthiness and dependance; of his readiness to hear, his power to help, and his willingness to save; and then we will not be wanting in the strongest excitements, to frequent, fervent, and importunate supplications.


      Christians are deeply and solemnty impressed, with the necessity and importance of this duty, from the scriptures of truth, as well as from an experimental knowledge of its efficacy as a means of grace, and is peculiarly enhanced and endeared to them, from those feelings of heavenly origin, with whlch they are frequently impressed, while engaged in this solemn, pleasing, & delightful exercise.

      Prayer is the great and powerful means of opposing the motions of corruption, the temptations of the world, and of satan; those powerful enemies of your righteousness, & peace, & joy; therefore, take your saviour's admonition, "watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;" lest you dishonor the cause of the blessed redeemer which you have espoused, wound the feelings of your brethren, and pierce yourselves through with many sorrows. We are also exhorted by an apostle of Christ, who knew and felt the importance of the exhortation, to pray without ceasing; and as a powerful motive to which, it may be urged what the same apostle has said elsewhere, "for," says he, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities; against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

      It is in the right exercise of this duty, that you are to build up yourselves on your most holy falth; that the Lord will grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might, by his spirit in the inner man; that you are to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and keep yourselves in the love of God. It is by this that you are to assimilate to the Lord Jesus, in the exercise of the personal and social virtues, justice, fortitude, patience, benevolence, &c. which shone in him, with such peculiar splendour and perfection: and as it respects yourselves, brethren, you Will be enabled to say, from a full conviction of your endearing relation to your redeemer, "my rock," "my fortress," "my deliverer;" and under the sanction of faith, look for, and ardently anticipate the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

      Let the devout aspirations of your hearts ascend to God, for the unity of the spirit in the churches, and for his gracious effusions in the enlargement and prosperity of the redeemer's kingdom. And as the heathen are given to the Lord Jesus, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession, and the blessings of grace augmented to those who love him, by the participation of others in their enjoyment; and as the heralds of peace are going forth, invading the habitations of cruelty; let our hearts be enlarged with the beams of the divine glory, in the prospect of the glorious extension of the redeemer's empire; and animated to the performance of the duties? [blurred] required of us, who possess such distinguishing privileges and advantages. Let our brethren who are engaged in this glorious cause, foregoing their domestic endearments, and induring many difficulties and privations, have the warmest sympathies of our hearts. Let the love of Christ constrain us to afford these devoted servants, "a cup of cold water," and their solitary families, a morsel of bread.

      That you may contiuue to abound in every good word, and work, to the glory of God, is the prayer of your brethren in Christ.


[From Long Run Association of Baptists, 1819, pp. 3-4; via Boyce Digital Repository; Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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