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A Call to Prayer

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A Call to Prayer was one of J.C. Ryle’s best received works in his day and has remained so ever since. It is a direct exhortation to pray fervently and without ceasing. “I want the times we live in to be praying times. I want the Christians of our day to be praying Christians. I want the church to be a praying church. My heart’s desire and prayer in sending forth this tract is to promote a spirit of prayerfulness. I want those who never prayed yet, to arise and call upon God, and I want those who do pray, to see that they are not praying amiss.”—from the Conclusion.

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According to J C Ryle, private prayer is the most neglected of all Christian duties. That is most unfortunate because private prayer is the true measure of a Christian’s walk before God and ‘the pith and marrow of practical Christianity’. To bestir his readers to the practice and privilege of private prayer, Ryle points out both the blessings of prayer and the grave dangers of prayerlessness.

Prayer under the blessing of God leads to the new birth, strengthens faith, moves mountains, and promotes spiritual growth and contentment that rises above circumstances. Prayerlessness, on the other hand, is the broad road leading to Hell for the unbeliever and the major cause of backsliding in the Christian. Ryle observes that ‘men fall in private long before they fall in public. His warning is surely a word in season to our contemporary evangelical church, whose witness during the last generation to a lost and perishing world has been sorely compromised by scandals involving so-called Christian leaders.

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