From “The Fourth Sermon,” The Sermons of Edwin Sandys. (1558).

“Prayer is a lifting up of the mind unto God, or a friendly talking with the Lord, from a high and kindled affection of the heart.  In the Word [i.e. Scripture] God speaks to us; in prayer we speak to him.  Prayer is the outpouring of a contrite heart, with a sure confidence that God will grant our requests and give ear… This prayer must only be to God.  It is only prayer to God that has promise… 

Paul divided prayer into four parts ‘requests,’ ‘supplications,’ ‘intercessions,’ ‘thanksgivings.’ 

Requests or petitions are when we pray for the increase of God’s good gifts in us, and that, out of his mercy and favor, he would give us whatever is needed for body or soul….Supplications are when we pray to be delivered from evil, as when we pray that the wrath of God, which we have deserved, may through his mercy be removed from us, as far as east is from west, that our sins may be remitted and blotted out…Thanksgivings are when we praise and thank God for the great mercies, graces, and gifts which we have received at his hands.  For we must acknowledge that ‘every good and perfect gifts comes down from above, from the Father of lights,’ James 1:7)… 

The next thing to be considered in prayer, is when, where, and how to pray.  When?  Always, ‘without ceasing,’ 1 Thess. 5:17.  Where?  In all places, especially that pace which, being sanctified to this use, is therefore called the hose of prayer.  How?  From the heart, 1 Tim 2:8, and with ‘lifting up pure and clean hands,’ that is to say, in faith and in love.  Our prayer, feathered with these two wings, flies straight into heaven.”

Edwin Sandys (1519-1588) was an English cleric and theologian. He became committed to the Reformation cause as a student at Cambridge, where he became master of Catherine Hall and vice chancellor of the university. During Queen Mary’s reign, he fled England for Strasbourg and Zurich, where he developed friendships with prominent Reformed theologians. He returned to England when Queen Elizabeth was crowned, and served as Bishop of Worcester and Archbishop of York, as well as one of the translators of the Bishops’ Bible. The text is slightly altered for modern readers.