A Diary of Private Prayer

A Diary of Private Prayer_ I recently ran across and bought this old classic devotional called A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie. I had never heard of this little gem before. It is divided by 31 chapters for each of the 31 days of the month and has two pages for each day, one entitled Morning and the other Evening. Sort of like Spurgeon’s devotional called Morning & Evening.  Each day has a morning prayer and an evening prayer that serves as an aide to your prayer time along with a blank page on the left so that you can write down your own prayers and intercessions to be prayed along with it.

I have always found such prayers of the old classics to be very inspirational to me, as if I was in a room praying beside  someone and their praying sets the tone for my own prayer and stirs  my heart to pray in one accord with them.  It primes the pump, so to speak and stirs up the deep wells in my own heart for the same things I want to praise and thank God for, or to be seen occur in my own life.  I build on them by adding to them my own prayers and petitions as I go along or adding more emphasis to any particular areas that I personally struggle with.

I wanted to share with you one day’s prayers so that you could pray along with me this morning or evening.


ETERNAL Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of Thee, let my first impulse be to worship Thee, let my first speech be Thy name, let my first action be to kneel before Thee in prayer.

For Thy perfect wisdom and perfect goodness:
For the love wherewith Thou lovest mankind:
For the love wherewith Thou lovest me:
For the great and mysterious opportunity in my life:
For the indwelling of Thy Spirit in my heart:
For the sevenfold gifts of Thy Spirit:
I  praise and worship Thee, O Lord.
Yet let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of Thee. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day:
Keep me chaste in thought:
Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech:
Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work:
Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself:
Keeping me honorable and generous in my dealings with others:
Keeping me loyal to every hallowed memory of the past:
Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Thine.
O God, who hast been the Refuge of my fathers through many generations, be my Refuge to-day in every time and circumstance of need. Be my . Guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my Guard against all that threatens my spirits welfare. Be my Strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with Thy peace; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.


O THOU who art from everlasting to everlasting, I would turn my thoughts to Thee as the hours of darkness and of sleep begin. O sun of my soul, I rejoice to know that all night I shall be under the unsleeping eye of One who dwells in eternal light.
To they care, O Father, I would now commend my body and my soul. All day Thou has watched over me and They companionship has filled my heart with peace. Let me not go through any part of this night unaccompanied by Thee.
Give me sound and refreshing sleep:
Give me safety from all perils:
Give me in my sleep freedom from restless dreams:
Give me control of my thoughts, if I should lie awake:
Give me wisdom to remember that the night was made for sleeping, and not for the harboring of anxious or fretful or shameful thoughts.
Give me grace, if as I lie abed I think at all, to think upon Thee.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
To Thy care also, O Father, I would commend my friends, beseeching Thee to keep them safe in soul and body, and to be present in their hearts tonight as a Spirit of power and of joy and of restfulness. I pray for…and…and…I pray also for the wider circle of all my associates, my fellow workers, my fellow townsmen and all strangers within our gates; and the great world of men without, to me foreign and unknown, but  dear to Thee; through Jesus Christ our common Lord. Amen.


  • Steven Huggins

    January 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm Reply

    I, too, stumbled upon this treasure about 12 years ago and it has become a vital part of my daily time of meditation, reading and prayer. I have mentioned to friends that if they took all my books away and would let me keep only three or four what would they be. I always mention this one.

  • James Vogelzang

    August 3, 2013 at 8:38 am Reply

    I too, discovered this gem when my brother sent me a copy. Since then, I use it every morning in devotions. I have also given it to my wife and children. And, to friends. It’s brilliant. Baillie is so real. You can sense his heart and inner struggles in the openness and transparency of his words. A classic!

  • paula

    September 28, 2013 at 7:09 am Reply

    My mother… who does not believe in God was kind enough to pass this little book in to me when an elderly friend of hers passed on at the age of 105. Miss Brooks had written in this sweet book from 1930’s through to the 60’s. So not only was I thrilled to have this gem of abook but I was able to read her notes through war times and onward as she made her own spiritual journey. It is a beautiful collection of prayers!

  • Paula

    August 28, 2014 at 7:26 am Reply

    Hi, isn’t it fun to find treasures when you least expect them. that is God at work always. This little book doubly blessed me. It came to me when a friend of my mother’s passed away that the age of 105. She was unmarried and had devoted her life to God’s work traveling all over the world as a missionary. My mother does NOT believe in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit… at all (sadly) so when she found this book in Alice’s possessions and no one else wanted it she thought to give it to me. Alice had written in it from 1032-1954 and the short little insights reflect a time of war and unrest. I loved the prayers as soon as I read the first one!!

  • Carol

    May 31, 2016 at 8:38 am Reply

    I was given this beautiful treasure as a wedding gift and loved it. Years later, I found it among my dear great aunt’s belongings after her death. It was tattered and torn from years of reading. On each blank page (backside of previous page) she had written in prayers that were important to her. They are beautiful also and I treasure her prayers and only wish she could know what an inspiration she has been to her great neice years after her death.

    • Rebekyah

      June 4, 2016 at 7:48 am Reply

      I wish WordPress had a love button. I have a well-worn small leather devotional, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers that belonged to a friend before he passed away. He kept it on his coffee table and its well underlined and aged from his daily use.It’s been a blessing and encouragement to me also. I love seeing his underlines and adding my own highlights. It’s almost as if we share our favorite parts as we read it together.

  • Chris DeSmit

    November 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm Reply

    This treasure of a book was given to me years ago by a woman I tended in a nursing home. It has accompanied me through the years, and it too would be one of the top 4 books I would want to keep forever.

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