Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

This past weekend, I finished reading through The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer with a group of men from my church. This is a book that just missed being on my list of the top 31 books that have influenced my life (although, he did have two other books on that list). This is a classic book and every time I read it, I want to move it higher on my list. There may not be a book that is more suitably entitled, as his calling in this book be that we pursue God.

I will not pretend that this book does not come with its difficulties. There are many portions of this book that are difficult to read. His language is verbose and his thoughts are deep. But I have found that I only grow when I am challenged. His articulation of the longing of the human heart for something greater is encouraging and drawing. I want what he pursued. 

That pursuit is visibly displayed in my favorite parts of the book, which were the prayers at the end of each chapter. When I read and pray these prayers, I am really moved to worship. They help set the focus of my heart. Here is an example of two of the ten prayers.
"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen." (20) 
"O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses, I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee. Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, 'Hosanna in the highest.' Amen." (101-102)
If you have never read this book, I would encourage you to grab it. You can get it on Amazon for really cheap. It will be better than any dollar menu item you purchase at any place.

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