John Paton on his father’s prayers

John G. Paton was a Scottish missionary to the South Sea cannibals commencing in the 1850s. The following quotation records some of his earliest remembrances of his father.

Thither daily, and oftentimes a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and “shut to the door”; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct (for the thing was too sacred to be talked about) that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place. We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice pleading as if for life, and we learned to slip out and in past that door on tiptoe, not to disturb the holy colloquy. The outside world might not know, but we knew, whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face: it was a reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived. … “He walked with God, why may not I”

My prayer: “Lord,  give me a passion for prayer and to dwell in your presence. Lord, manifest your glory in me.”

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