Practicing prayer

Daily Reading for October 2 • George Kennedy Allen Bell, Bishop of Chichester, and Ecumenist, 1958, and John Raleigh Mott, Evangelist and Ecumenical Pioneer, 1955 (transferred)

Never have there been such extensive and such convincing evidences of the poverty and inadequacy of human means and agencies for furthering the welfare of humanity; never has there been such a widespread sense of the need of superhuman help; never have there been such challenges to Christians to undertake deeds requiring Divine cooperation; never has there been such a manifest desire to discover the secret of the hiding and of the releasing of God’s power. Interest in prayer is world-wide. This is shown in the prominence of this subject in addresses and sermons in all lands, as well as by the growing volume of books and pamphlet literature in different languages. The multiplication of Calls to Prayer and of Prayer Cycles, and the formation of Prayer Bands and of Leagues of Intercession, constitute similar testimony. Among Christians everywhere, and even among many who would not call themselves believing Christians, there is being manifested an earnest desire to understand what prayer is and to engage more fully in its exercise. . . .

Prayer is something the reality and power of which can be verified only by praying. An alarming weakness among Christians is that we are producing Christian activities faster than we are producing Christian experience and Christian faith; that the discipline of our souls and the deepening of our acquaintance with God are not proving sufficiently thorough to enable us to meet the unprecedented expansion of opportunity and responsibility of our generation. These studies and spiritual exercises in helping men and women to form that most transforming, most energizing, and most highly productive habit—the habit of Christlike prayer—will do much to overcome this danger.

From the Introduction by John Raleigh Mott to The Meaning of Prayer by Harry Emerson Fosdick (New York: Association Press, 1915).

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