The returne of prayers A treatise wherein this case how to discerne Gods answers to our prayers is briefly resolved, with other observations vpon Psal. 85.8. concerning Gods speaking peace, &c. By Tho: Goodvvin. B.D.
Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.


Further Observations to be made, on the dispositi∣ons and carriage of our hearts, after Prayer: un∣till the issue of the thing prayed for.

NExt: after thou hast prayed, observe, what God doth towards thee.

*As first, how hee doth guide thy feet and heart after praying: there is much in that: that which was Page  120 the Spirit of supplication in a man when he prayed, rests upon him as the spi∣rit of obedience in his course; so as that depen∣dance hee hath upon God for the mercy hee seekes for, is a speciall motive, & meanes to keep him feare∣full of offending, and dili∣gent in duty; to looke to his paths to walke and be∣have himselfe as becomes a suitor, as well as to come and pray as a suitor. Thus David, he walked by this principle, Psal. 66. 18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not heare me; that consideration still came in as a curb unto sinne; and without this a man pro∣vokes God, and so casts Page  121 himselfe behind-hand a∣gaine, and by sinning lo∣seth what ground hee had got by praying. There∣fore David, Psal. 145. 8, 9, 10. when he was to pray, even as for his life, (as then he did, it being a de∣liverance from his ene∣mies he sought) he speci∣ally prayes God to direct him and keepe him, that hee might not sin against him; for he knew by sin∣ning hee should enervate and spoile all his prayers: not onely heare me speedily (sayes he) but also Cause me to know the way wherein I should walke; Teach me to doe thy will; this he especi∣ally prayes for, and more then for deliverance, for Page  122 else he knew God would not heare him. Therefore when thou art in treaty with God for any mercy, observe, doth God still af∣ter praying keep thee in a more obedient frame of spirit? it is a signe hee in∣tends to answer thee; as in like manner, when hee keeps thee from using ill meanes, &c. When hee meant to give David the Kingdome, hee kept him innocent, and his heart tender, that it smote him but for cutting off the lap of Sauls garment: he was not so tender after. Therefore in Psal. 18. when hee was delivered from all his ene∣mies, hee sayes, God dealt with him according to his Page  123 uprightnesse: for I kept my selfe from mine iniquity. So also Psal. 27. 11.

*2 When God after pray∣er strengthneth the heart to wait for the mercy. So Psal. 27. ult. David having prayed, sayes to his soule, Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he will streng∣then thy heart. Honest men, when they nourish hopes in one that is in depen∣dance on them, who wai∣teth and is obsequious up∣on the hopes he hath of a suite, use not to deny him: it were dishonesty in thē to keep a man underhand, and then frustrate his expectations; Therefore when God keeps thy soule after praying in such a de∣pendant Page  124 frame, looke for some good answer. And indeed when a man hath prayed long, in the end he begins to wait (as I may so say) rather thā pray (though he pray still) because now he looks God should per∣forme: before, and at first, he told the Lord he desi∣red it, but now he can with some boldnesse tell him, that he waits for it and ex∣pects it. The hope of a god∣ly man and his expectati∣on should make him ashamed if it were not answered, therefore in this case ans∣wers use to come.

Both these two last we have together joyned Psa. 37. 34. Wait on the Lord, & keep his waies, and he shal ex∣alt thee.