Scudder: Cautions Concerning Morning Prayer

Scudder: Cautions Concerning Morning Prayer

From The Christian’s Daily Walk

Unto the directions both for preparation to prayer, and concerning prayer itself, take these cautions.

Pray as Soon as Possible after Waking

First, if possible, let prayer be the first work after you are up, Ps 5: 3. But if that cannot be, because of some necessary hindrance, yet perform them so soon as you can, and as well as you can. Even if you can do neither so soon or so well as you would [desire], yet omit them not altogether. Break through all seeming necessities which will daily come in your way to hinder and thrust out these duties. The devil, knowing that nothing undermines and overthrows his kingdom more than these duly performed (and also knowing that the spiritual performance of them is tedious to corrupt nature), will thrust upon you seeming “necessities” – so many, and so often – that if you be not watchful to gain and to take time, breaking through all such hindrances as are not truly necessary, you will often, by the circumvention of the flesh and of the devil, be brought to an omission of preparation, or of prayer, or both. Upon which will follow similar temptations, together with a proneness to the like neglect, and a greater indisposition to these duties afterward.

Do Not Become Excessive in Your Private Prayer Times

Secondly, lay not too great a task upon yourself in this preparation to prayer; I mean, so much as will take up more time than the works of your calling and other needful affairs will permit; but contrive and “husband” your time so that every lawful business may have its own time, Eccl 3:1. God has subordinated the works of your general and particular calling in such sort that usually the one shall not obstruct the other.

If, through taking up too much time in preparation to prayer, and in prayer, either of them grow necessarily tedious and burdensome, Satan will circumvent you by this means, causing you out of a true weariness of too much (even before you are aware), to omit them altogether.

Do Not Wander in Your Thoughts During Prayer Times

Thirdly, whereas when you prepare yourself to pray, and when you do pray, it is lawful to think of your worldly business, to the end that you might pray for direction and for good success therein (for you may ask your daily bread, Matt 6:11), you must take heed, when you think of these things, that your thoughts be not worldly through distempers and distractions about the same, Luke 12:29. For these will abate your spirituality and fervour in prayer and will shut the ears of God against your prayer.