“After Existentialism” redux!

Okay, this hiatus went longer than I expected. Thanks to those who commented and queried, and I will shortly get to those who commented on older posts (thanks to Google search).

I just needed to lower my internet intake for a while, so I could watch more TV…just kidding, I actually spent more time reading (though I am LOVING the final season of Lost!). Most of all, I wanted to pray more, and I needed time to re-orient my thoughts and self-discipline. Prior to this, I contemplated a lot, and I often used that as a substitute for real prayer, supplication and praise. Two books have been of enormous devotional aid: John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer and Arthur Bennett’s The Valley of Vision. I cannot recommend these enough. And, of course, some of my favorite theologians have fantastic things to say about prayer. Here is a snippet from P. T. Forsyth:

The worst sin is prayerlessness. Overt sin, or crime, or the glaring inconsistencies which often surprise us in Christian people are the effect of this, or its punishment. We are left by God for lack of seeking Him. The history of the saints shows often that their lapses were the fruit and nemesis of slackness or neglect in prayer. Their life, at seasons, also tended to become inhuman by their spiritual solitude. They left men, and were left by men, because they did not in their contemplation find God; they found but the thought or the atmosphere of God. Only living prayer keeps loneliness humane. It is the great producer of sympathy. Trusting the God of Christ, and transacting with Him, we come into tune with men. Our egoism retires before the coming of God, and into the clearance there comes with our Father our brother. …

Not to want to pray, then, is the sin behind sin. And it ends in not being able to pray. That is its punishment — spiritual dumbness, or at least aphasia, and starvation. We do not take our spiritual food, and so we falter, dwindle, and die. “In the sweat of your brow ye shall eat your bread.”

(“The Soul of Prayer,” in A Sense of the Holy, p. 137)

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