John Piper once said, “God brings books at their appointed times. The Hidden Life of Prayer arrived late but well-timed. This little jewel-strewn tapestry has done for me at 64 what Bounds’ Power Through Prayer did at 34. I could be ashamed that I need inspiration for the highest privilege. But I choose to be thankful.” For all the great classics we’ve read as part of the Reading Classics Together program, none of them have focused exclusively on prayer. For that reason, and based on its history and acclaim, we will turn next to The Hidden Life of Prayer.
It was back in 2007 that I had an idea that genuinely changed my life. I wanted to read some of the classics of the Christian faith, but I knew that without some measure of accountability I would never have the self-discipline to make it happen. I realized that this accountability could come by reading classics together in community. I decided to launch a reading program called Reading Classics Together. It was simple: We would choose a classic work and read it at a pace of one chapter per week until it was complete; along the way we would “gather” here at the blog for discussion.
In the years since this program began we’ve read some amazing classics from years gone by and from the present time. These include titles like Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, and, most recently, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. These books and others like them have benefited me immensely and I know the same is true of those who have read along with me. I am sure that The Hidden Life of Prayer will be a good fit in this program.
This classic was written by David McIntyre (sometimes spelled M’Intyre) who lived from 1859 to 1938. McIntyre was a Scottish preacher who succeeded Andrew Bonar as minister in Finnieston and later served as principal of the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow from 1913 to 1938. His book was first published in 1913. He describes the book’s purpose in his preface: “Books on secret prayer are without number; but it seems to me that there is still room for one in which an appeal may be taken, steadily, and from every point, to life—to the experience of God’s saints.”
One publisher’s introduction to the book says this: “Upon the foundation of biblical teaching, M’Intyre piles example after example of what has been helpful and effective in the prayer lives of many Christians, from Augustine to Spurgeon. The result is a handbook for prayer based both on Scripture and on the time-tested wisdom of God’s people through the centuries. Reading this book will, therefore, give you an abundance of counselors (Proverbs 11:14) to help you toward a victorious prayer life.”
There are many ways you can get a copy of the book, some of which are free and some of which will require just a few dollars.
- Westminster Books has kindly discounted a print edition to just $5.49. Click the link to take advantage.
- The Kindle edition is available for just $0.99.
- Chapel Library has the PDF for no charge.
- Granted Ministries has a nice new edition that also includes The Prayer-Life of Our Lord, a sequel of sorts. The cost is just $7.50.
- A Google search will turn up many online editions.
My plan is to begin discussing this book on May 31. That gives you two weeks to secure a copy and read the first chapter along with any introductory matter. Then you simply need to visit this site and we can discuss it together. We will read one chapter per week until it is complete. The chapters are short, but will require time and reflection in order to apply, so this seems like a good and manageable pace.
Will you read it with me? If so, get a copy of the book and visit the blog on May 31 so we can discuss it together. In the meantime, leave a comment to let me know that you’ll be reading along.
More in The Character of the Christian:
- Sunday Reflection
- Outsourcing Prayer
- Book Review – A Time of Departing
- Book Review – Praying Backwards (Don’t Skip This Review)