Quotes from a book on Prayer

I read the book “Prayer” by William Watson tonight. It was written prior to 1923. I really enjoyed these quotes from the different chapters.

I. Nature

The Shorter Catechism says: “Prayer is the offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies.” (13)

(Of the OT saints) “Petition was the least part of their prayer. Prayer was such complete submission to the authority of God as would enable them to have His will done through them.” (26)

“The narrow survey of our own needs limits our supplications, and makes us less conscious of the wealth and willingness of God. The faith that can venture far is the faith that can carry the most to God.” (27)

II. Purpose

“To pray is to speak to God.” (32)

“Prayer is communion with God, the inward speech of the human heart with its Creator.” (33)

“It (prayer) is designed to raise us nearer to God, to stimulate our nature to larger achievements, to unfold that which is holiest within us. It often happens that the best result of our prayer is the awakening of our spirit to the presence of God as the satisfaction of our deepest need.” (35-36)

“Our prayers are governed and molded and inspired by our thought of God.” (38)

“Experience of prayer is needed to understand what prayer is. The deeper the experience of it the more valued is its strength.” (44)

“The purpose of prayer then is not to change the will of God, but to make us fulfill it.” (50)

III. The Conditions of Prayer

Being in secret, quiet places

“And as the mother comforts the child, as the father restores the son, so are we consoled and received when we turn from the rough highways of the world to the secret place of the Most High. The heart can be content with no lesser good than God.” (55)

“As Newman was wont to say, the only two facts in the universe are God and the soul. The prayerless life ignores both.” (57)

“All prayer is based on faith. It is the utterance of the soul’s confidence. It is the acknowledgment that weakness must rest on infinite strength, and that that strength will never fail.” (59)

“It costs us something to surrender ourselves completely to the guidance of God. We believe that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, but what if His reward comes to us in some unexpected and painful form?” (60)

“Now, whatever may be the apparent teaching of isolated verses, the general drift of Scripture is in the direction of showing that the answering of our prayers is made conditional, first, on our character as suppliants, and, second, on the nature of our prayer itself.” (62)

“If this is not an age of much prayer, it is because it is not an age of much faith.” (66)

“Humility is an accompaniment of all believing prayer, that wholesome self-abasement which carries with it not merely a strong sense of individual unworthiness and penitence, but a recognition of God’s surpassing holiness, and hatred of all in human character that wastes and degrades life. Sincerity too is a part of the life of prayer.” (69)

IV. Difficulties of Prayer

“The more personal difficulties that gather round the subject of prayer spring from our sense of doubt, and the feeling that we are of so little account that it is scarcely possible the Almighty can take any interest in us.” (75)

“Whether He answers your prayer or not, should not, after all, be your main anxiety, but whether you are keeping firmly and clearly in your mind the truth that He loves you as much as if there were no others in His world to love. You cannot exaggerate that love.” (77)

“The mere fact that one has difficulties with respect to prayer in no way invalidates the truthfulness or efficacy of prayer.” (90)

“We toil and suffer, we disbelieve and hope; but all the while, though we may not be conscious of it, our lives are helped in answer to the pleadings of God’s praying folk, and a blessing we never asked or sought has come.” (93)

V. The Gain of Prayer

We pray to be, not to get. Your prayer has its richest satisfaction in bringing you close to God.” (95)

“Our prayer has reached its fullest strength when we prefer the Father’s will to the most imperious demand of our wild desires.” (101-102)

“To pray in Christ’s name is to say that we seek just what He seeks and wish our life kept free from all that He does not approve.” (116)

“Work, even religious work, is no substitute  for prayer.” (117)

“The state of our own heart is revealed in our efforts to think of the needs of other hearts. And as prayer is love at work, our intercessions are the evidence we offer of our true devotion to Christ, our common Lord and Saviour.” (123)

“We may not always be able to speak. Prayer is often inarticulate, but He who inspires it can always interpret it. When we call He will answer. When we confide in Him He will honor our faith.” (125)

*All quotes taken from Watson, William. Prayer. Published by Eaton & Mains. New York.


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