21 July 2011

Praying for the World


Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

My soul is much more afflicted with the thoughts of the miserable world, and more drawn out in desire of their conversion than heretofore. I was wont to look but little further than England in my prayers, as not considering the state of the rest of the world; or if I prayed for the conversion of the Jews, that was almost all. But now as I better understand the case of the world, and the method of the Lord’s Prayer, so there is nothing in the world that lies so heavy upon my heart as the thought of the miserable nations of the earth. It is the most astonishing part of all God’s providence to me, that he so far forsakes almost all the world and confines his special favour to so few; that so small a part of the world has the profession of Christianity, in comparison of heathens, mahometans and other infidels! And that among professed Christians there are so few that are saved from gross delusions, and have but any competent knowledge: and that among those there are so few that are seriously religious, and truly set their hearts on heaven. I cannot be affected so much with the calamities of my own relations or the land of my nativity, as with the case of the heathen, mahometan, and ignorant nations of the earth. No part of my prayers are so deeply serious, as that for the conversion of the infidel and ungodly world, that God’s name may be sanctified, and his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven; Nor was I everbefore so sensible what a plague the division of languages was which hinders our speaking to them for their conversion; nor what a great sin tyranny is which keeps out the Gospel from most of the nations of the world. Could we but go among Tartarians, Turks, and Heathens, and speak their language I should be but little troubled for the silencing of eighteen hundred Ministers at once in England, nor for all the rest that were cast out here, and inScotland and Ireland. There being no employment in the world so desirable in my eyes, as to labour for the winning of such miserable souls: which maketh me greatly honour Mr. John Eliot, the Apostle of the Indians in New England and whoever else have laboured in such work.

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