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Rules for the Practice of Prayer

Age-old wisdom for approaching the throne of grace.

Jeremy Taylor was a highly regarded preacher, teacher, and counselor in 17th century England. He believed that life could be holy in every respect. His Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650) accentuates this fact; it is a plea to seek righteousness in every area of living. Following are excerpts from his practice of prayer. There are valuable for both personal and group reflection.

1. We must be careful, that we never ask anything of God that is sinful: for that is to ask of God to dishonor himself. Let us principally ask of God power and assistances to do our duty, to glorify God, to do good works, to live a good life, to die in the fear and favor of God, and eternal life.

2. We may lawfully pray to God for the gifts of the Spirit, such as preaching, good expression, a ready and unloosed tongue, good understanding, and learning, with these restraints:

• That we cannot be so confident of the event of those prayers as of the former.

• That we must be curious to secure our intention ...

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