On the Way to Doing Something Else


On the way to doing something else . . . isn’t that often how some of our best moments  come about?

Anyway, on the way to doing something else today I came across two lovely quotes from one of my favorite books: A  Diary of Private Prayer, a devotional classic by John Baillie (1886 -1960).  Baillie, raised in the Calvinist tradition, was a professor at Edinburgh University for 20 years.  This book was written in 1935 but is still in print. In browsing the internet to learn more about Baillie, I learned that this prayer book was written for his 15-year old son Ian.  The language is “old-fashioned” and “King Jamesian” but to me that is part of the beauty of the book.  If you are moved by these prayers, I encourage you to treat yourself to a copy of the book or as I used to tell my children, “Put it on your Christmas list.”

Here is a prayer about dealing with pain:  (Notice that Baillie does not ask to have the pain taken away):

Give me grace, I beseech Thee, to understand the meaning of all afflictions and disappointments as I myself am called upon to endure.  Deliver me from all fretfulness.  Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens.  Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others.  Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee.”

And here is a prayer about being awake to the world around us:

“Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes.

Forbid that the lure of the market-place should ever entirely steal my heart away from the love of the open acres and the green trees.

Forbid that under the low roof of workshops or office or study I should ever forget Thy great overarching sky.

Forbid that when all Thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face.

Let the energy and vigor which in Thy wisdom Thou hast infused into every living thing stir within my being, that I may not be among Thy creatures as a sluggard and a drone.

And above all give me grace to use these beauties of earth without me and this eager stirring of life within me as means whereby my soul may rise from creature to Creator and from nature to nature’s God.”

This entry was posted in Living as Apprentices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to On the Way to Doing Something Else

  1. This is a book you will use for the rest of your life – 30 days of morning and evening prayers. I sometimes take a break, but I always come back. Each time I see more and understand more because I have grown and changed.

  2. cody.raak says:

    I love this. Thanks for posting, I now have a new author on my “To Read” list.

  3. Ruth Evenhouse says:

    In “Breathing Under Water” Richard Rohr (and later Karen Bables) reminded me what prayer was and wasn’t… Prayer is NOT calling on God to focus on me, my hurts, my pain , etc., but it is the work of emptying my ego-centric mind and widening my lenses and filling my heart.
    And now, Baillie and Bables, thank you both, for providing examples of what Rohr was describing as prayer – a God-centered way to process life, while bearing (with HIS divine presence) the inevitable burdens that come.
    The “Breathing Under Water” study group needs to visit these examples of prayer given by Baillie, as a means to practice the meditative aspects of prayer.

Comments are closed.