Monday, August 30, 2010

Toward Delicious Prayer

In 1974 Banner of Truth reprinted Austin Phelps excellent book on prayer called The Still Hour or Communion with God.  They said it was the best they had found on the subject.  Phelps longs for prayer to be delicious to his readers.  If it is not, it is not God's fault.
Be ready for some self-examination.  For example, Phelps says:
Many of the prime objects of prayer enchant us only in the distance.  Brought near to us, and in concrete forms,...they very sensibly abate the pulse of our longing to possess them, because we cannot but discover that, to realize them in our lives, certain other darling objects must be sacrificed, which we are not yet willing to part with. The paradox is true to the life, that a man may even fear an answer to his prayers.

For example, a Christian who is a lover of ease  prays for a "spirit of self-denial; that he may endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ; that he may take up the cross and follow Christ....."   But, says Phelps, conscience pricks him.  He is not willing to be like Him who had no place to lay his head.  And so his prayer "collapses."

This book is less than 100 pages. If you long for prayer to be delicious, consider letting Phelps be the tool to plow your heart toward that sweet end.

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