It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.
Sometimes, perhaps, thou hearest another pray with much freedom and fluency, whilst thou canst hardly get out a few broken words. Hence thou art ready to accuse thyself and admire him, as if the gilding of the key made it open the door the better.
Satan cannot deny but that great wonders have been wrought by prayer. As the spirit of prayer goes up, so his kingdom goes down. Satan's strategems against prayer are three. First, if he can, he will keep thee from prayer. If that be not feasible, secondly, he will strive to interrupt thee in prayer. And, thirdly, if that plot takes not, he will labour to hinder the success of thy prayer.
Furnish thyself with arguments from the promises to enforce thy prayers, and make them prevalent with God. The promises are the ground of faith, and faith, when strengthened, will make thee fervent, and such fervency ever speeds and returns with victory out of the field of prayer. The mightier any is in the Word, the more mighty he will be in prayer.
Job's friends chose the right time to visit him, but took not the right course of improving their visit; had they spent the time in praying for him which they did in hot disputes with him, they would have profited him, and pleased God more.
How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assurance, that our petitions are heard even while we are making them; and how delightful to meet with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant of them.