Book Review: A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie

For the last 10 months I have been sing “A Diary of Private Prayer” by John Baillie to help guide and grow my prayer life. Baillie’s prayer classic not only provides a morning and evening prayer for 31 days, but also space to grow in one’s prayer life.

Here’s why I like this book:

1) It affirms God as the one we come to in prayer, and His agenda trumps my agenda. Praying to God seems obvious, praying God’s agenda for most people, not so obvious.

2) It recognizes the need to pray for others, not just myself. Not just the people I know, but the people I need to know to pray for — unnamed faces, but critical issues in the eyes of God — the poor, the lost, those in need.

3) It builds a pattern of prayer day and night that can be built into one’s life. I”m more morning person, but because it’s just a page to pray. I have time. I make time to pray morning and evening.

4) It improves my prayer life. I find myself praying these prayers, and saying God that’s who I want to be — one who follows Your will, one who builds his life on Your word.

The one potential downside, it is in more of a King James English. Not my cup of tea in prayer, but that too has led me to appreciate the use of language in prayer. In this case, to provide a prayer time that slowly looks at the words and even more learns to listen for Your spirit.

Part of the appeal of this book is his use of the : For that signals an invitation to personalize prayer for missionaries around the world or sins deep within my heart. He provides an initial thought, and I have opportunity to go deeper.

So why keep using the same prayer book for 10 months? Because the prayers Baillie shares are qualities I want God to build in my life. To work hard, to love well, to learn much, to grow in faith and so much more.

Baillie not only lifts up the virtues, he provides time to be honest with my vices. Both drive his prayer classic. Most of all its the work and wonder of God that Baillie lifts up and builds up as I use this prayer guide each day.

He also paints a bigger picture. I learn to pray not only for myself and my needs, but for friends, for family, for this incredible world God created and loves. Praying these prayers provides a good beginning each day, and an invitation to a good night’s sleep each night.

I give A Diary of Private Prayer 5 out of 5 stars. This great gift from a friend has helped me grow in my walk with God, helped me to become better at prayer, to sense God’s work in my life, and to make me a better leader today and God willing to impact eternity.


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