Prayer: The Life of God in the Soul of Man

There is without doubt, to grow deeper in our walk with God and relationship with Christ, we must be like our Lord  be about His business. But how can we be such a people and do such things when the world and all it’s carnal desires seeks to drain the life out of us? How can we really “walk with God” like Enoch did, for he had no Bibles, no books, no men’s groups, no churches – yet he had so much more; he had God Himself.

Consider what Henry Scougal writes below regarding prayer. This comes to us from his book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, originally a letter to a friend that became a book in the mid 1600’s. This book has such an effect, through the power of God’s almighty hand, to the early pre-converted George Whitefield, that when beginning to set out in reading the book, Whitefield was convicted to say, “Lord, if I am not a Christian, if I am not a real one, God, for Jesus Christ’s sake, show me what Christianity is, that I many not be damned at last.”

Having said this, consider Scougal’s writing below, ponder it, take it in deeply and then open your Bible, on your knees, and set out to walk with God deeper, or for some, maybe for the first time, truly for the first time.

“There remains yet another means for begetting a holy and religious disposition in the soul; and that is, fervent and hearty prayer.

“Holiness is the gift of God, indeed the greatest gift he doth bestow, or we are capable to receive; and he hath promised his Holy Spirit to those that ask it of him. In prayer we make the nearest approaches to God, and lie open to the influences of heaven. Then it is that the sun of righteousness doth visit us with his directest rays, and dissipateth our darkness, and imprinteth his image on our souls.

“I cannot now insist on the advantages of this exercise, or the dispositions wherewith it ought to be performed; and there is no need I should, there being so many books that treat on this subject: I shall only tell you, that as there is one sort of prayer wherein we make use of the voice, which is necessary in public, and may sometimes have its own advantages in private, and another wherein, though we utter no sound, yet we conceive the expressions and form the words, as it were, in our minds; so there is a third and more sublime kind of a prayer, wherein the soul takes a higher flight, and having collected all its forces by long and serious meditation, it darteth itself; if I may so speak, towards God in sighs and groans, and thoughts too big for expression.

“As when, after a deep contemplation of the devine perfections appearing in all his works of wonder, it addresseth itself unto him in the profoundest adoration of his majesty and glory: or when, after sad reflections on its vileness and miscarriages, it prostrates itself before him with the greatest confusion and sorrow, not daring to lift up its eyes, or utter one word in his presence: or when, having well considered the beauty of holiness, and the unspeakable felicity of those that are truly good, it panteth after God, and sendeth up such vigorous and ardent desires as no words can sufficiently express, continuing and repeating each of these acts as long as it finds itself upheld by the force and impulse of the previous meditation.

“This mental prayer is of all the others the most effectual to purify the soul, and dispose it unto a holy and religious temper, and may be termed the great secret of devotion, and one of the most powerful instruments of the divine life; and it may be the apostle hath a peculiar respect unto it, when he saith, that ‘the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, making intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered’; or, the original my bear, ‘that cannot be worded’.

“Yet I do not so recommend this sort of prayer as to supersede the use of the other; for we have so many several things to pray for, and every petition of this nature requireth so much time, and so great an intention of spirit, that it were not easy therein to overtake them all – to say nothing, that the deep sighs and heavings of the heart, which are wont to accompany it, are something oppressive to nature, and make it hard to continue long in them. But, certainly, a few of these inward aspirations will do more than a great many fluent and melting expressions.”

pages 105-107

Jeremy B. Strang

Christian. Husband. Father. Author.

Grace Upon Grace / Foothills of True Grace / As Christ: A Man and Marriage / Realities of a True Christian

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