October 20, 2006

Never Did THAT


I had charge of our church's prayer meeting this week. While this probably never happens to you, each time I tried to prepare, something came up. So I did something I've never done before. I grabbed two dozen copies of J.C. Ryle's short booklet, "A Call to Prayer" from our packing room and headed out the door (this job does have its advantages but, for the record, they were charged to my account). I knew Ryle's message on prayer would far surpass my own thoughts, at that point in time. I was already familiar with the booklet, so I quickly chose sections to read since time wouldn't permit reading the whole thing. And that's what I did. Everyone had a copy. We sang "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." Then I began to read. And more people were pricked in their heart by that message than I was expecting, including me!
Throughout the booklet, multiple times, Ryle asks the question, "Do you pray?" "Do you pray?" "Do you pray?" not speaking of public or those before-the-meal prayers, but private, when-you're-alone prayer. He says:
(1) Prayer is absolutely needful to a man's salvation.
(2) A habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.
(3) There is no duty in religion so neglected as private prayer.
(4) Diligence in prayer is the secret of eminent holiness.
(5) Neglect of prayer is one great cause of backsliding.
(6) Prayer is one of the best means of happiness and contentment.
Ryle ends with this: "I offer these points for your private consideration. I do it in all humility. I know no one who needs to be reminded of them more than I do myself. But I believe them to be God's own truth, and I desire myself and all I love to feel them more. I want the times we live in to be praying times. I want the Christians of our day to be praying Christians. I want the church to be a praying church. My heart's desire and prayer in sending forth this tract is to promote a spirit of prayerfulness. I want those who never prayed yet to arise and call upon God, and I want those who do pray to see that they are not praying amiss."
So would you permit me to ask you Ryle's question? "Do you pray?"
Have a great weekend. I hope to have my "first take" on our new arrival, "The Hand of God," come next week, plus possibly some pictures from behind the scenes at Banner. I hope you'll stop back.
Grace & Peace!
Steve

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ryle is always humbling to me. What a great resource and an excellent idea in bringing copies of this helpful resource.

Thank you, Steve!

Tony - TSS

Anonymous said...

I just noticed Jonathan Edwards over your shoulder. You are the man!

Tony - TSS

Jason Button said...

Thanks for sharing this experience. It's an awsome thought to consider how a man can still minister beyond the grave. I've not read this booklet yet, but what you have shared reminds me of his little book, "How Readest Thou?" My former pastor used this during a few Wednesday services and made copies available in the church bookstore. This too was very edifying to us all.

Keep up the good work. Blessings!

Steve Burlew said...

Indeed, that is Jonathan Edwards, Tony. Actually, it is an enlargement of the cover of Iain Murray's book, "Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography," that, as you probably know, Banner publishes. I'm not sure that that makes me "the man," however, but if you say so! :-)

Steve Burlew said...

Jason, I have that thought most of my days here at Banner, as we pray almost daily for the books that are going out that day, as I walk through the warehouse, etc. "It's an awesome thought to consider how a man can still minister beyond the grave." But minister they do, as you well know! Thanks for your encouragement, Jason.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

If you were to list five of your favorite / most life impacting books that Banner of Truth publishes, what would you include?

Lisa

Steve Burlew said...

Well, Lisa, let me give that a little thought and probably work it into an upcoming post here, ok? Hmmmmm. Thanks for the challenge. You did limit me to five, right? :-)

Anonymous said...

I actually typed "three" initially, but knew that wasn't nearly enough! You can certainly list more than five since there are so many excellent books to choose from. I have some Banner books (like Murray's Edwards biography), but would like to begin reading more. A list from you would be a great starting place.

Lisa

Steve Burlew said...

OK, I'll get a list of some number up here soon. If you don't mind me asking, how did you find the blogsite?

Anonymous said...

I located your blog after Tony Reinke referenced it at The Shepherd's Scrapbook. I think I learned about Tony's blog from Justin Taylor. Over the past year I have been trying to learn more about the Puritans and Tony's blog (along with Banner's books and a few from Crossway) have been very helpful. The Puritians are certainly much more challenging than what I usually find at my local Christian bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

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