Note: Tips for Prayer is adapted from Richard Baxter’s Practical Religion, Chapter 23. Richard Baxter was a prolific writer and a prominent pastor in the 1600s. The Practical Works of Richard Baxter is a treasure trove of almost 1,000 pages, covering many useful topics relating to Christian living.
- Hate hypocrisy. Do not love sin, while seeming to pray against it. Truly desire the grace for which you ask. Do not be like those lazy wishers that pray to God for an increase at harvest time while they lie in bed, not willing to either plow nor sow. And don’t be like those who pray God will save them from fire, or water, or danger, while they run into it. Those who pray hypocritical, mock prayers blaspheme God, treating Him as if He were an idol, incapable of seeing their hypocrisy.
- Search your hearts and guard them carefully, so that your thoughts and affections are not turned away by some beloved treasure. If your mind is set on other things, prayer will be heartless and lifeless. The prayer of one who has his heart ensnared by the love of money is a dead and pitiful thing.
- Work hard to keep your heart reverent and serious, and don’t allow it to grow remiss and cold. Don’t turn prayer into lip service and lifeless formality, or into hypocritical fake fervency, in which the heart is senseless even though the voice is earnest.