Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday in Pentecost, Proper 9: The grace of prayer

Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1

Collect of the Day
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to your with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 1, 2, 3

Lessons: Numbers 32:1-6, 16-27Romans 8:26-30Matthew 23:1-12

There is a great difference between the skill and the grace of prayer. The skill is but the outside, the shape, the carcass of our responsibility. The grace is the soul and spirit that gives it life, vigor and efficacy, that renders it acceptable to God and of real advantage to ourselves. The skill consists chiefly  in a readiness of thought consistent with the various aspects of prayer, and a facility for expressing those thoughts in speaking to God. The grace consists in the inward workings of the heart and conscience toward God and our life of faith. The skill has a show and appearance of holy desires and affections, but holy affections, sincere desires, and real conversation with God belong only to the grace of prayer. The skill and the grace are often separated from each other, and it has often been found that the skill of prayer has been attained in great measure by study and practice and by the common workings of the Spirit of God  communicated to some persons that have known nothing of true grace. Conversely, there may be a lively exercise of the grace of prayer in some souls who have a very small measure of skill--who hardly know how to form their thoughts and desires in a methodical or regular way, or to express those desires in tolerable language.

Isaac Watts
On Prayer

Sweet Hour of Prayer