And It Must Be Said

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Prayer for Readers

I've been using John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer (1936) as part of my Bible Study this summer, and this afternoon the prayer I read included a little paragraph on reading. His prayer life is beautiful and inspiring. I love the way he uses language. He makes the simplest concepts seem elegant and honorable, and I suppose the most elegant and honorable concepts are indeed simple.

So for your readers out there, here's a prayer for, well, praying:

"Leave me not, O gracious Presence, in such hours as I may today devote to the reading of books or of newspapers. Guide my mind to choose the right books and, having chosen them, to read them in the right way. When I read for profit, grant that all I read may lead me nearer to Thyself. When I read for recreation, grant that what I read may not lead me away from Thee. Let all my reading so refresh my mind that I may the more eagerly seek after whatsoever things are pure and fair and true."

What I love about John Baillie's prayer life is that he invites God into every aspect of his life. He is detailed, he is gentle, he is honest. I don't know his theology completely, but I know he loves the Trinity. The book includes 31 morning and evening prayers, and a Sunday morning and evening prayer. He's Episcopalian and Scottish and died in 1960.