Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1962
I have read this inspirational little book at least three times, and I strongly recommend it to you if you are serious about your walk with Christ. I can truthfully say that The Hidden Life of Prayer is one of my two favorite works on prayer. The other is Power Though Prayer by E.M.Bounds.
The author, Dr. D. M. M’Intyre, was a pastor and director of a pastoral training college in Glasgow, Scotland in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the preface Professor Francis Davidson writes the following about him:
“It need not be here recorded that David M. M’Intrye was conspicuously a man of prayer. He walked and talked with God. As a writer he was voluminous. Himself a wide reader, he was essentially a book lover, and his contribution to biblical and devotional literature is still greatly prized. Apart from the living epistles in many a land today upon whom Dr. M’Intyre wrote with a gracious pen, his numerous books keep his name alive and impress his mystic mind upon thousands of grateful readers.”
The contents of this little volume of 94 pages can be summarized as follows:
- Chapter 1: The Life of Prayer – Close communion with God means waiting on Him and praying to Him without ceasing.
- Chapter 2: The Equipment – A hidden life of prayer requires a quiet place, a quiet hour, and a quiet heart, the latter being found only in the blood of Christ, the Spirit of God, and His Word.
- Chapter 3: The Direction of Prayer – We should come to God in acknowledgment of His presence with us, in honesty, and in faith.
- Chapter 4: The Engagement: Worship – Praise of God acknowledges His daily mercies, His great redemption, and His divine perfection.
- Chapter 5: The Engagement: Confession – We should confess our sins specifically and as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts us of them.
- Chapter 6: The Engagement: Request – The confidence we have that God will answer our prayers stems from the promises of His Word and His unchangeable character.
- Chapter 7: The Hidden Riches of the Secret Place – The rewards of spending time with God in prayer include “a singular serenity of spirit”, a dependence on Him, and a holy life.
- Chapter 8: The Open Recompense – “In a word, every gracious work which has been accomplished within the kingdom has been begun, fostered, and consummated in prayer.”
In my opinion, the best thing about The Hidden Life of Prayer is not the author’s teaching on prayer, as summarized above, but his numerous quotes on the devotional life of men of God. As one reviewer expressed it, “It is hard to believe that 94 pages could contain so many documented references to so many authorities and present such a wide, yet coordinated, array of spiritual truths.”
Reading about these men of God has touched me deeply. It’s given me a desire to be a godly man, a man of prayer, but it’s also made me realize how far I have to go!
A few powerful quotes from the book:
At one time, at least in his life, the late Hudson Taylor, was so fully occupied during the hours of the day with the direction of the China Inland Mission that he found it difficult to gain the requisite freedom for private prayer. Accordingly, he made it his rule to rise each night at two o’clock, watch with God till four, then lie down to sleep until morning.
George Whitfield frequently spent whole nights in meditation and prayer, and often arose from his bed in the night to intercede for perishing souls. He says, “Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent and vocal prayer.”
George Muller drew encouragement from the fact that he had been enabled to persevere in prayer daily, during twenty-nine years for a certain spiritual blessing long withheld: “At home and abroad, in this country and in foreign lands, in health and in sickness, however, much occupied, I have been enabled, day by day, by God’s help, to bring this matter before Him, and still I have not the full answer yet. Nevertheless, I look for it. I expect it confidently. … So fully assured am I that God hears me about the matter that I have often been able to praise Him beforehand, for the full answer which I shall ultimately receive to my prayers on this subject.”
Pastor and missionary Henry Martyn laments in his diary that “want of private devotional reading and shortness of prayer, through incessant sermon making, has produced much strangeness between God and his soul. Communion with God is the condition of spiritual growth. It is the soil in which all the graces of the divine life root themselves. If the virtues were the work of man, we might perfect them one by one, but they are the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.”
Martin Luther wrote: None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience. It is a great matter when in extreme need to take hold on prayer. I know, whenever I have prayed earnestly, that I have been amply heard, and have obtained more than I prayed for. God indeed sometimes delayed, but at last He came.
David Livingstone in the heart of darkest African, writes in his Journal, “My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All, I again dedicate my whole self to thee.”
An English scholar has told us that those who have helped him most were not learned divines nor eloquent preachers, but holy men and women who walked with God and who revealed unconsciously the unadorned goodness which the blessed Spirit had wrought in them. These saintly persons had looked on Christ until they were changed in His likeness; they had tarried on the Mount of God until the uncreated glory shown upon their brow.