Tag Archives: William Law

William Law’s View of Fasting

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 13, 2017

fasting, prayer, mountains

William Law’s View of Fasting

In the past, I loved classic religious and theological books. I read many of them in my teens, 20’s and 30’s. As soon as I picked up that book in my early 20’s, I found I loved A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. I’ve read it through completely three times, and dipped into it several more, for partial reads.

So, when I read William Law’s name next in the chapter list of this current book, I got legitimately excited.

Law’s view of Matthew 6 fascinates me. His take on it is so practical. (Just as is much of his writing.) “Therefore the privacy of fasting does not suppose such a privacy as excludes everybody from knowing it, but such a privacy as does not seek to be known abroad.” [1] Law compares Jesus’s words concerning fasting to the situation with Cornelius in Acts 10. The centurion’s fasting was well known within his family. By Cornelius’s devout example, “his household were made devout themselves by continually waiting upon him, that is, by seeing and partaking of his good works.” [2]

Law considered legalistic devotion to the secret strictures of fasting a clear violation of the spirit of the words of Jesus. He understood that many people in his time had that absurd attitude, and he wanted his teaching to be crystal clear. As Richard Foster said, “by using Cornelius as his illustration Law gently causes readers—you and me—to examine their own legalisms by considering whom they might find unacceptable to God.” [3]

God willing, I can take Law’s (and Foster’s) words to heart. Please, Lord, help me follow these excellent interpreters of Your words.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 74.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 76.

Introducing . . .

Hello. My name is Elizabeth Jones.

You may wonder why I’m writing on prayer. Great question! I hope my random musings serve as an introduction, a start, a boost, to your prayer.

People often have a desire for “how-to” books, or “self–help” study guides, or “change-your-life” videos. These books, study guides, and videos galore are already out there, on shelves in bookstores or online on YouTube and other vlog sites. I’ve read a number of these books on prayer, meditation, and the spiritual disciplines, it’s true.

I’ll be up front with you. I do not pray every day. I just don’t. It’s something God and I have been discussing for a long time. I strive to improve. So help me, God.

I do not want to come across as a guru of prayer, a maven of meditation. I am not. However, I have absorbed a number of things over the years. Techniques, tips, even different methods of doing prayer and meditation. Because of who I am and the type of person God made me to be, I don’t do any one thing forever. Instead, I cycle through a number of different ways and practices of prayer and meditation.

Some of these ways of prayer you may already know. Great! I am so glad! However, a few of these may be difficult for some individuals. I know that prayer is a very individual activity. I apologize ahead of time for anything, any specific manner of praying I may suggest that is not comfortable for you. I do have a suggestion: try it. And you might find you like it.

I know that God works with me in humorous ways, sometimes. And every now and then God takes a virtual two by four upside my head, especially if God wants to get my full attention. But that’s me. I do not consider myself anything close to an expert. However, I do have a deep desire within me to encourage people to get closer to God. And to pray. Or communicate. Or interface. Or whatever it is that brings God and us together.

Do you have a desire for more of God? Great! This blog has suggestions to free ourselves from the busyness of life, the frenetic pace of daily activities, and to grow closer to God.

I’ll close with a quote from one of my favorite authors on spiritual disciplines, William Law. He makes the point of the importance of intention in prayer and devotion [p.23]. Genuine, sincere intention. God is pleased when we draw near with sincerity in our hearts, no matter how imperfect our manner or method of prayer may be.Image

Let’s pray. God, thank You for a genuine, sincere beginning. Thanks for planting in our hearts the initiative to seek You and to find You. Help us as we all strive to learn more about prayer. Amen.