We are still going through a summer sermon series on the Means of Grace in our church. One brother sent me this JC Ryle quote this past week, and I found it helpful:
From Holiness, JC Ryle, p. 20:
"Sanctification, again, is a thing which depends greatly on the diligent use of scriptural means. When I speak of means, I have in view Bible reading, private prayer, regular attendance in public worship, regular hearing of God's word and regular reception of the Lord's supper. I lay it down as a simple matter of fact, that no one who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in sanctification. I can find no record of any eminent Saint whoever neglected them. They are appointed channels through which the Holy Spirit conveys fresh supplies of Grace to the soul, and strengthens the work which he has begun in the inward man. Let men call this legal doctrine if they please, but I will never shrink from declaring my belief that there are no "spiritual gains without pains." I should as soon expect a farmer to prosper in business who contented himself with sowing his fields and never looking at them till harvest, as expect a believer to attain much holiness, who was not diligent about his Bible reading, his prayers and the use of his Sundays. Our God is a God who works by means, and he will never bless the soul of that man who pretends to be so high and spiritual that he can get on without them..."
I believe the Baptist Confession 1677/89 gives a clear picture of the ordinary means of grace:
"The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened." LBCF 1689 14.1