I read this the other day and have been deeply affected by it and I have taken up the writers challenge to test all matters as to their reality. Already producing much brokenness concerning humilty (or lack thereof). Read this and take up the test also for the next month. I believe there will be much fruit for His glory...
A TOUCHSTONE OF REALITY
I will here give you an infallible touchstone that will test all matters as to their reality. It is this: Step back from the world and all social contacts; stop all the former activities of your heart and mind; and with all the strength of your heart stand all this month as continually as you can in this one form of prayer to God. Offer it frequently on your knees: but whether sit-ting, standing or walking, be always inwardly longing and earnestly praying this one prayer to God. Ask that, in His great goodness, He might reveal to you, and take from your heart, every kind and form and degree of pride, whether it be from evil spirits or your own corrupt nature; and that He might awaken in you the deepest and most genuine depths of that humility which can make you capable of enjoying His light and His Holy Spirit.
Reject every thought but that of wishing and praying in this matter from the bottom of your heart, with such sincerity and earnestness as people in torment wish and pray to be delivered from it.
The painful sense and feeling of what you are, kindled into a working state of awareness by the light of God within you, is the fire and light from which your spirit of prayer proceeds. In its first kindling nothing is found or felt but pain, wrath and darkness, as is to be seen in the kindling of every heat or fire. And therefore its first prayer is nothing else but a sense of penitence, self-condemnation, confession and humility. It feels nothing but its own misery, and so is all humility.
This prayer of humility is met by the Divine Love, the mercifulness of God embraces it; and then its prayer is changed into songs and thanksgiving. When this state of fervor has done its work, has melted away all earthly passions and affections and left no inclination in the soul but to delight in God alone, then its prayer changes again.
It has now come so near to God, has found such union with that it does not so much pray as live in God. Its prayer is not any particular action, not limited to set times, words or places, but is the work of the whole being which continually stands in fullness of faith, in purity of love, in absolute resignation to do, and be, what and how the Beloved pleases. This is the last state of the spirit of prayer and is its highest union with God in this life.