Thursday, March 20, 2008

What is Prayer?

Ever since she sent her kids off to college (regardless of the fact that we returned home at some point), my mommy has made the time to do a fair bit of reading. Occasionally she writes out quotes from what she reads. This is an anonymous (unless or until she remembers who said it) quote which has hung on our kitchen cabinet for a few years now.

"What is prayer but the breathing forth of that grace which is breathed into the soul by the Holy Spirit? When God breathed into man the breath of life, he became a living soul. So, when God breathes into the creature the breath of spiritual life, it becomes a praying soul. 'Behold he prayeth!' saith God of Paul ... Acts 9.11."

The Christian's Daily Walk by Henry Scudder

A few weeks back, my mommy handed me a book she read recently. In thinking about this blog, the recommendation written by Richard Baxter for the book stuck me as both informative and a guiding principle for what books I read should be. Perhaps another time I will divulge what Scudder himself has to say in this book, but for now, consider this.

by the
Rev. Richard Baxter.

Reader, I take it for some dishonour of our age, that such a book as this should need any man's recommendation, to procure its entertainment, having been so long known and so greatly approved by the most judicious and religious ministers and people, as it hath been; even to be practical Christians, the one instead of many, for the ordering of their daily course of life, and securing their salvation and well-grounded peace. And though I know that there are some few words, especially about perseverance, of which all good Christians are not fully of one mind, (and I never undertake to justify every word, in my own books, or any others, while we all confess that we are not absolutely infallible;) yet I must say, (without disparagement to any man's labours,) that I remember not any book which is written to be the daily companion of Christians, to guide them in the practice of a holy life, which I prefer before this: I am sure, none of my own. For so sound is the doctrine of this book, and so prudent and spiritual, apt and savory the directions, and all so fully suited to our ordinary cases and conditions, that I heartily wish no family might be without it; and many volumes (good and useful) are now in religious people's hands, which I had rather were all unknown than this. And I think it of more service to the souls of men, to call men to the notice and use of such a treasure, and to bring such old and excellent writings out of oblivion and the dust, than to encourage very many who overvalue their own, and to promote the multiplication of things common and undigested, to the burying of more excellent treatises in the heap.
Reader, if thou wilt make this book (after the sacred Scripture) thy daily counsellor, and monitor, and comforter, I am assured the experience of thy own great advantage, and increase of wisdom, holiness, and peace, will commend it to thee more effectually than my words can do.
Read, love, and practise that which is here taught thee, and doubt not of thy everlasting happiness.
Jan. 16th, 1673-4.

Taken from The Christian's Daily Walk, in holy Security and Peace. Henry Scudder, Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication.