Monday, August 11, 2008

Old School Prayers

Saturday we took our kids to the mall for some back to school shopping, and I got to spend three hours in a big bookstore, just browsing and reading and sipping Starbucks. It was a really good day. I love books and I watch for the latest novels from two or three of my favorite authors. And, as a pastor, I try to keep up with the latest books on leadership and theology and preacher stuff.

But sometimes the latest is not the best. It seems to me that on some subjects the old books are better, deeper, richer than the new stuff. One such subject is prayer. For me the old school guys knew more about the practice of prayer, its purpose, its passion, its power than most of the recent books I have read. When it comes to prayer I treasure the older books on my shelf, some passed down to me from my father and other mentors and friends. Authors such as John Baillie, E. Stanley Jones, Thomas Kelly, Richard Foster, Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, and Oswald Chambers have often stirred my thoughts and challenged my shallow prayerlessness.

So, let me share an old school prayer with you on this Monday morning, a prayer that I keep taped to my monitor to help me begin each new day. It's a morning prayer from John Baillie's "A Diary of Private Prayer."

O Holy Spirit of God, visit now this soul of mine, and tarry within until eventide. Inspire all my thoughts. Pervade all my imaginations. Suggest all my decisions. Lodge in my will's most inward citadel and order all my doings. Be with me in my silence and in my speech, in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude, in the freshness of the morning and in the weariness of the evening, and give me grace at all times to rejoice in Thy mysterious companionship. My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.