What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray to him?
I. THE EXERCISE ASSUMED. "If we pray," etc. Prayer implies four things -
1. A consciousness of want. Man is a needy creature. They are best qualified to pray who know most of themselves.
2. Prayer supposes an object capable of supplying our wants. This Being must know our necessities, and possess sufficient benevolence and power to supply them. Such is the Almighty, who is considered in this verse as the object of prayer. Prayers to saints of angels are impious, as they transfer the homage from the Creator to the creature; and absurd, as angels are as dependent as men.
II. THE INQUIRY INSTITUTED. "What profit should we have?" etc. Selfishness is universally prevalent in the world. There is no exercise under heaven attended with so much profit as prayer.
1. Prayer con. tributes to the removal of evil. Of moral evil. Jabez prayed that God would keep him from evil; and God granted him that which he requested. David said, "I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." Of natural evil. Affliction. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray." "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them," etc. (Psalm 107:6). Hezekiah prayed, and wept in his affliction, and God said, "Behold, I will heal thee" (1 Kings 20:5). Sorrow. "I found," said David, "trouble and sorrow: then called I upon the name of the Lord," etc. (Psalm 116:1-4).
2. Prayer is instrumental in procuring good. All good, for body and soul, for time and eternity, is promised to prayer. And the profit of prayer infinitely outweighs all other profit. It is Divine. Worldly profit consists in flocks, herds, money, etc. This, in faith, grace, love, happiness, etc. It is mental. Worldly profit is sensual, all for the outward man; but he who prays is enriched inwardly; all his intellectual powers are profited. It is comprehensive. Worldly profit is circumscribed and bounded by time; the profit of prayer illimitable. It is universal. Worldly profit affects us partially; this, in body, and soul, and substance.And the profit arising from prayer is secured without risk, and retained without any fears of deprivation.
1. The conduct of the wicked is impious. They not only live without prayer, but live as if God had no right to exact this duty of them.
2. The conduct of the wicked is erroneous. They consider prayer a profitless exercise, and therefore neglect it. But this calculation is totally unfounded. Prayer avails much.
3. The conduct of the wicked is ruinous. Without prayer salvation is unattainable (Proverbs 1:24-31).
Parallel VersesKJV: What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?