Saturday, May 1, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
I am a huge fan of audiobooks. They helped me get through intimidating books like Moby Dick, Anna Karenina and Nicholas Nickleby. And literary classics are twice the fun when heard in a British accent. Occasionally I abandon an audiobook if the narrator isn't that great. Sometimes I'm frustrated at having to "rewind" the book in order to capture a choice quote. But these are small quibbles. Audiobooks are what got me out of my slump last year so I shouldn't criticize them, right?
Friday, April 9, 2021
Today the idea and ethics of dining are deteriorating into a hurried, harried, pre-packaged affair punctuated by interruptions. The very expression “fast food” is inimical to the most essential reason for meals, which arises not out of speed but out of care, consideration, and conversation. Just as Mass and prayer are not for hastening through, neither are meals. The current tendency, however, is not only to eat in a rush, which prevents the enjoyment of a meal and demeans the dignity of food, but also to eat alone, which diminishes the sense of community. When meals are sacred, the labor and leisure of communities will be sacred—and that sanctity is the basis of culture.
Friday, April 2, 2021
Friday, March 26, 2021
Friday, March 19, 2021
Friday, March 12, 2021
Feebleness and failure in prayer is a sign of feebleness in the spiritual life. If we lack in this area, we lack in many others. Prayer is meant to be as simple and natural as breathing to a healthy person. The reluctance we feel, and the failure to confess, are God’s own voice calling us to acknowledge our disease, and to come to Him for the healing He has promised…. To pray aright, the life of the Spirit must be right in us. For praying the effectual, much-availing prayer of the righteous man, everything depends on being full of the Spirit…. Beware of grieving him by sin, by unbelief, by selfishness, by unfaithfulness to His voice in your conscience. You can count on him to do in your heart all that ought to be done there.
That last sentence is crucial. Instead of loading us with guilt for not praying enough, Murray emphasizes over and over that when Christ calls us to do something, He also enables it. Rest assured that if Christ is calling you to prayer, he will heal your reluctance and your lethargy. You can trust Him to restore your spiritual strength. Pray with humility and yet with confidence that He will teach you.
I appreciated Murray’s thorough explanations of several key Bible passages on prayer, especially the one in Luke 11 that appears to teach that if we nag God long enough, He has to give in to us. I also appreciated his emphasis on the privilege of prayer: Christ has taken believers up into partnership with himself; He has honored them, and bound Himself, by making their prayers one of the standard measures of the working of His power.
The appendix of the book is a thirty-day plan for taking baby steps toward a deeper prayer life. I highly recommend this book if you want to grow in the area of intercession. I have one caveat though. If you are not familiar with Murray’s other books, which emphasize complete surrender to God and to His will, you could misconstrue several statements in this book that seem to reflect the “name it, claim it” mentality of the prosperity gospel.
This title was free at the time of posting. If you have never read Murray, I would suggest these other (more accessible) titles first. The True Vine (99 cents) and Humility (free) are two of my favorites.