Posted on July 16, 2012 by Steve Weaver
In a recent book on prayer by J. I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom titled simply Praying, they give a few extracts from J. C. Ryle who published a booklet 150 years ago titled Do You Pray? (PDF). Below are a few excerpts which I shared at the conclusion of my sermon this past Sunday morning.
I ask again whether you pray, because a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.
All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of life in an infant when born into the world, is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again, is praying.
This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, “They cry unto Him day and night” (Luke xviii. 7). The Holy Spirit, who makes them new creatures, works in them the feeling of adoption, and makes them cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. viii. 15). The Lord Jesus, when He quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, “Be dumb no more.” God has no dumb children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They cannot do otherwise than they do. They must pray. . . .
Many, even of those who use good forms, mutter their prayers over after they have got into bed, or scramble over them while they wash or dress in the morning. Men may think what they please, but they may depend that in the sight of God this is not praying. Words said without heart are as utterly useless to our souls as the drumbeating of the poor heathen before their idols. Where there is no heart, there may be lip-work and tongue-work, but there is nothing that God listens to,—there is no prayer. . . .
Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer. I cannot forget this. I look at men’s lives. I believe that few pray. . . .
What is the reason that some believers are so much brighter and holier than others? I believe the difference in nineteen cases out of twenty arises from different habits about private prayer. I believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little, and those who are eminently holy pray much.
So I ask you, my reader, do you pray?
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Posted on July 3, 2012 by Steve Weaver
I recently completed an essay on Ambrose Dudley, early Kentucky Baptist pastor, for publication in a multi-volume series of books published by Particular Baptist Press: A Noble Company. Ambrose was himself a Captain in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War before resigning from his commission following his conversion and call to ministry. In researching Ambrose Dudley, however, I came across some fascinating details regarding his youngest brother, William. Since this year marks the bicentennial of the beginning of the War of 1812 and in honor of the approximately 25,000 Commonwealth citizens who served in the military during this period, I present the following brief sketch of Colonel William Dudley.
By 1778 William Dudley was under the guardianship of Ambrose after having been orphaned when he may have been as young as twelve. When Ambrose moved to Kentucky in 1786, William was apparently still a member of his household. In the first tax records for which the Dudleys were present in Fayette County, William was listed as a male above 21 in the household of Ambrose Dudley. By 1792, William had his own 150 acres. William would become a respected resident and a leading magistrate in Fayette County. He was received as a candidate for baptism at the Bryan Station Baptist Church (where his brother Ambrose served as pastor for nearly 40 years) in November of 1801. During the War of 1812, William served as a Colonel and courageously led a group of 800 men to silence a British battery of cannons at Fort Meigs (in Ohio) on May 5, 1813. This effort was successful, but in a subsequent engagement with British troops in the area he and his company were lured into the woods, surrounded by Indians and defeated. Early Kentucky historian Lewis Collins provides the gruesome details of the death of the Colonel. “Colonel Dudley was shot in the body and thigh, and thus disabled. When last seen, he was sitting in the swamp, defending himself against the Indians, who swarmed around him in great numbers. He was finally killed, and his corpse mutilated in a most shocking manner.” These events caused William Dudley to achieve infamy as this episode became known nationally as “Dudley’s Defeat.” In his death, Dudley joined fellow Kentuckians in disproportionately making up approximately 60% of all casualties in the war with England.
 Ambrose Dudley posted a £2,000 guardian bond on April 16, 1778 on behalf of “William Dudley, orph. of Robert Dudley.” This probably indicates that Ambrose and William’s mother, Joyce, died around this time leaving William an orphan indeed. William Armstrong Crozier, ed., Virginia County Records: Spotsylvania County 1721-1800 Being Transcriptions from the Original Files at the County Court House, of Wills, Deeds, Administrators’ and Guardians’ Bonds, Marriage Licenses, and Lists of Revolutionary Pensioners (Baltimore, Md: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1978), 78.
 Netti Schreiner-Yantis and Florene Speakman Love. The Personal Property Tax Lists for the Year 1787 for Fayette County, Virginia [Now Kentucky] (Springfield, Va: Genealogical Books in Print, 1985), 2.
 Fayette County Tax Records 1787-1804 [micro-film] Kentucky Historical Society.
 Collins, Historical Sketches of Kentucky, 293-294.
 Bryan’s Station Baptist Church Records, 1786-1901 (Fayette Co., KY) [manuscript] Kentucky Historical Society, 119.
 Edward J. Reilly, Legends of American Indian Resistance (Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2011), 57.
 Collins, Historical Sketches of Kentucky, 294.
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