Unless I mistake, I have observed, from time to time, facts in regard to public prayer which satisfied me that there was a call for special counsel on the subject. It has even occurred to me to doubt whether the well known doctrine of our beloved Church, with regard of Liturgies, may not have been so rightly interpreted, and so unskillfully applied, as to lead to practical misapprehension and mischief in regard to the devotional part of the service of our sanctuaries.
I hope, in the following pages to satisfy every impartial reader, that public prayer is not only a divinely prescribed, but an unspeakably important ordinance; and that both the nature and the means of excellence in the dispensation of this ordinance, are such as not only to admit, but to demand appropriate study, and careful moral and mental culture.
Samuel Miller (1769-1850), was a faithful pastor, who became a founding father and a professor of Princeton Theological Seminary. He had a deep commitment to the church and an abiding interest in seeing ministers trained ably for her service — an interest which led to him writing this book. As Dr. Jonathan Master notes in his Foreword to this edition of Miller’s work, ‘public prayer is the priority on Paul’s mind when considering public worship.’ Despite this priority, today public prayer has in some churches a diminishing place in corporate worship. Ministers especially need instruction in public prayer — Samuel Miller understood this need in his day, and so much of what he wrote remains pertinent to the practice of an edifying ministry in the present. This volume is replete with insights into the vital place of public prayer in worship, and of sound advice as to how progress may be made in this aspect of pastoral ministry. This edition includes a Foreword by Dr. Jonathan L. Master, President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Taylors, South Carolina, USA.