Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Monday, April 28, 2014

There Is No Drudgery in True Prayer

In the higher states of Christian experience, there is a blending of prayer and praise. This is noticeable in St. Paul. If he begins with thanksgiving, he ends in prayer; if he begins with prayer, he ends with praise. Phil. 1:3, 4, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy." There is no drudgery in true prayer. He to whom communion with God the Father is a task has not advanced far in grace. It is very evident that the fullness of the spirit of grace and supplication has not been poured upon him. All who through faith in Christ have boldness and access or introduction to God "make requests with joy." All who come in their own name approach the throne of grace with fear and servility. To them prayer is a sad necessity, and not a delight transcending all the pleasures of sense. Bishop Janes had full sympathy with St. Paul in the joyfulness of prayer. To his roommate who had slept an hour, and awakening saw the bishop still on his knees breathing out his silent supplications, and asked why he prayed so long, he replied, "I delight in prayer." It was the recreation of his soul and body after a day of toil in conference and cabinet. How far in the opposite extreme is the practice of the Papal priests to prescribe prayer as a penance and a penalty, imposing so many Pater Nosters and Ave Marias after the confession of sins.

There cannot be a more sad departure from the true spirit of prayer than to treat it as a punishment. We often feel like weeping over the millions of benighted souls to whom the gladness of prayer is perverted into sadness through sacerdotal despotism.

Yet young Christians to whom prayer is not a delight should be encouraged to persevere in the use of this means of grace, and to pray for such a baptism of the Spirit and fullness of love as will change its irksomeness into an unspeakable joy. Thousands can attest the possibility of such a sudden transformation. They have lived months and years in a state of communion with God so intimate and delicious that, whenever they bow the knee to pray, hallelujahs spontaneously burst from their lips. This shows that in the quality of their piety they are approaching the heavenly state where prayer will be completely lost in praise.

Half-Hours with St. Paul and Other Bible Readings Chapter 5.