Day by day

A diary of private prayerReview by Penny Mulvey
Book | A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie

John Baillie’s classic book of prayers has been given new life by editor Susanna Wright with the assistance of Rev Dr Robin Boyd, a student of Dr Baillie at New College Edinburgh.

A Diary of Private Prayer was first published in 1936 and is regarded as a seminal Christian devotional. More than a million copies have sat in bookshelves, second hand bookshops and bedside tables throughout the years.

This updated edition seeks to use more contemporary and accessible language to appeal to a new generation who value the discipline of daily prayer.

Dr Baillie’s original intention was to create a book of prayers for private use which could be used throughout the month, with a morning and evening prayer for each day and special prayers on Sundays.

The prayers are beautiful, challenging, personal and global. They bring us into the magnificence of God, a spirit of repentance, of thankfulness and of praise. Each prayer has a different flavour, but they all point to our dependence on the Almighty for sustenance.

These are big prayers and can be used in daily worship month after month, year after year.

“Lord, you are everywhere, and it is beneath your eye that all lives are lived; please grant that all my purposes and actions today may be honourable and gracious. May I be just and true in all my dealings. May no mean or unworthy thought have a moment’s place in my mind. May my motives be transparent to all…” (Eleventh Day Morning)

A Diary of Private Prayer is not only filled with meditative and reflective prayers, it is also a beautiful book, printed on paper that feels like old parchment, in hard copy and a ribbon to use to mark your place. If you are like me and lack discipline when it comes to your personal walk with God, this book of engaging and challenging prayers might just be the ticket.

Dr John Baillie was a teacher, preacher and author. He held academic posts in the UK, the US and Canada, was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the President of the World Council of Churches. He died in 1960.

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