Pure Prayer

Job 17.

My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.

They are undoubtedly wearied with this continual complaint of corruption on the part of Job. And so some theological student who should chance to look at this book would undoubtedly find his nice taste disturbed by the frequent recurrence to this subject of depravity. Should he be one who holds the doctrine of total depravity as a part of his system, yet he would think once stating that doctrine enough for one book. But he who is not merely studying or expounding doctrine, but experiencing it, as Job was, and as all God’s people are, will not be apt to talk or write in strict accordance with the fastidious taste of the polite theologian. Merely to state once that he regards himself as a sinner, and as corrupt with all of Adam’s race, will not satisfy him. One who is hurt does not merely utter one cry and let that suffice, but will very likely repeat the cry as the pain returns again and again. So those who truly feel the burden of their corruption will speak from that feeling quite differently from those who only accept it as a theory.

My breath is corrupt.

Job has said his prayer is pure, but what would it be if the virtues of prayer consisted in the form or words? The voice, the breath, literally, has no part to do in the essential prayer, else it would be corrupt. The nearer we try to come to God the more clearly is our deep depravity felt and seen by us. Even that which we looked upon as service to God, even what we thought was prayer, we find to be based in the vanity and corruption of our nature; and we are left silent and destitute, hardly daring to raise a breath or even a thought toward God’s holy throne, so polluted do we find every motion of our minds. But there is left the pure prayer, the cry for mercy, that manifests us as finally brought to lean alone upon Christ. That prayer that truly ascends through him, the prayer for mercy, is pure. – Silas Durand

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