Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17
The closet and solitary prayer is a necessary duty, and a profitable one. It does much for the enlightenment of the heart. When a man seeks to deal most earnestly with God, he should seek retirement, to be alone. Christ in his agonies went apart from his disciples. It is notable that when Jacob sought to wrestle with God, it is said, ‘And Jacob was left alone’ (Gen. 32:24). When he had a mind to deal with God in great earnestness, he sent away all his company. A hypocrite finds a greater flash of gifts in his public duties; but he is slight and superficial when he is alone with God. Usually God’s children are able to most affectionately pour out their hearts before him in private. Here, they find their affections free to wrestle with God. Here, one finds most communion with God, and enlargement of heart. In private we are wholly at leisure to deal with God in a child-like liberty. Now, will you omit this duty where you may be most free, without distraction, to let out your heart to God? The sweetest experiences of God’s saints are when they are alone with him. Without seeking God often, the vitality of the soul is lost. We may as well expect a crop and harvest without sowing, as living grace without seeking God. God is first cast out of the closet, and then out the family, and within a little while, out of the congregation. Omit secret prayer, and some great sin will follow. A man who is often with God, does not dare to offend him so freely as others do. Religion, as it were, dies by degrees. Whatever else is forgotten, God must not be forgotten. Make God a good allowance. Make a prudent choice yourselves, and consecrate such a part of time as will suit with your occasions, your course of life, and according to your abilities and opportunities.
Over the past fifty years there has been a great resurgence of interest in the writings of the Puritans. The reading of their works has brought great benefit to the people of God in many lands. Christians from many different backgrounds and cultures owe a great debt of gratitude to those faithful pastors and preachers who continue to speak through their writings even though they have long since entered into their heavenly reward. The Puritans really knew how to teach and apply God’s Word in the Spirit’s power!
Richard Rushing has compiled this book of daily devotional readings from his favorite Puritan authors because of the great help he has gained from their works. “How thrilling it has been for me to read the Puritans on the glory and attributes of God, divine providence, fellowship with God, holiness of life and the mortification of indwelling sin, heavenly mindedness, prayer, evangelistic zeal, and trust in the Lord during times of affliction. At every turn these truths are eloquently taught, faithfully applied, and kindly offered as the subject of sweet spiritual meditation.”
This book is sent forth with the prayer that it will open a door to the vast stores of treasure to be found in the writings of the Puritans and that it will stimulate further exploration of this rich spiritual inheritance.