Book Reviews: A Diary of Private Prayer AND Daily Light

Last week, I shared ways in which the Enneagram can assist us in our practice of solitude or in our times of prayer. I will return to the Enneagram in September with more ways it can help us in our spiritual formation journey. Today, I want to share two other resources which have become tools in my spiritual formation toolbelt.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I read from a prayer book by John Baillie during my time of solitude last week.  The book cover calls it a, “devotional classic.”  I’d say so, since Mr. Baillie first published his prayers in 1936.  After nearly a century, these prayers still effectively speak to my soul which means… it’s time for a Book Review.

Actually, it’s time for TWO Book Reviews.  I decided to share the other book I often grab during my times of prayer, Daily Light.  This is a book of specially compiled verses published in the 1800’s by Samuel Bagster.  What is it with me and really old books?

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Resources for Solitude

Why read something other than the Bible?  Strictly speaking, I don’t need to.  The Bible is enough.  Actually, I don’t even need that since I have hidden God’s Word in my heart.  But not all of it.  :)   So, I always take a Bible with me into my prayer times and times of solitude.

Taking other books with me is simply my personal preference.  I often read the Bible and one of these books.  Usually, I’m either working through an in-depth Bible study or I’m taking a high-level view of Bible, reading several chapters a day.  Either way, and this is just me being me, I can get pretty academic when my nose is buried in my Bible.  These two books help me to shift my heart’s posture.  They nudge me away from the academics and lead me back to soul connection with my friend Jesus.  That is not to say that I don’t have soul connection when I’m reading the Bible alone.  Truly, this happens all the time.  However, on days when my mind is racing ahead of my soul, reading or praying scripture in a different way slows me down and gives my soul time to catch up. 

So, if your soul needs a little help to catch up, you may like one or both of these books.

A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie

In this book, you will find a morning prayer and an evening prayer for every day of the month.  In other words, two prayers each day for 31 days.  There is also a special prayer for Sundays.   These prayers, rooted in scripture, were penned by Mr. Baillie but are useful for all.  Written in the first person, these prayers are easily spoken aloud.  Used as a prompt to your own prayers, they are a perfect way to begin and end your daily time of solitude.

Excerpt:

Day Sixteen - Morning

My SOUL yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.  For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

O God, give me today a strong and vivid sense that you are by my side.  In a crowd or by myself, in business and leisure, in my sitting down and my rising, may I always be aware of your presence beside me.  By your grace, O God, I will go nowhere today where you cannot come, nor seek anyone’s presence that wold rob me of yours.  By your grace I will let no thought enter my heart that might hinder my closeness with you, nor let any word come from my mouth that is not meant for your ear.  So shall my courage be firm and my heart be at peace.”


An appendix notes that the first paragraph comes from Isaiah 26:9.

Daily Light - compiled by Samuel Bagster

On each page of this book you will find a selection of only verses or phrases of verses for each morning and evening of the entire year.  The verses and phrases of verses are specifically chosen on a theme.  From Old Testament and New Testament, these verses and phrases all connect with the each other.   Sometimes, the connections are obvious, such as being on the theme of grace or resurrection.  Sometimes, the connections are more hidden and there is a bit of fun in deducing them.  I particularly enjoy this book in the evening, reading it just before going to bed.  It is an act of self-care to set the clutter in my mind to the side and direct my final thoughts on scripture alone.

Daily Light can be found in several translations of scripture. I read from the ESV version.

Excerpt:

March 8 - Evening

I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able.

Able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.

Able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Able to help those who are being tempted.

Able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.

Able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” … “Yes, Lord.” “According to your faith be it done to you.”

Each compilation ends with corresponding scripture references. For this day, the references include:

2 Tim 1:12; Eph 3:20; 2 Cor 9:8; Heb 2:18; Heb 7:25; Jude 24; 2 Tim 1:12; Phil 3:21; Matt 9:28,29

Easy Links

I hope these books aid you in your own walk with Jesus.

Because I have to say this: I have linked these books below. If you choose to use the links, I get a few pennies back as an Amazon Affiliate. Thanks.

Diary of Private Prayer

Daily Light (also titled Daily Light for the Daily Path)