Archive for the ‘Prayer’ category

Not by my experience, nor by my resolutions, but by the grace of Jesus

June 4, 2012

I have been especially helped this Monday morning with this prayer and petition. I encourage you to consider it and meditate on it. May our strength not be in our experiences or our resolve, but in the grace of Jesus.

Grant that I may never trust my heart,
depend upon any past experiences,
magnify any present resolutions,
but be strong in the grace of Jesus:
that I may know how to obtain relief
from a guilty conscience
without feeling reconciled to my imperfections.

Sustain me under my trials
and improve them to me;
give me grace to rest in thee,
and assure me of deliverance.

May I always combine thy majesty
with thy mercy,
and connect thy goodness
with thy greatness.
Then shall my heart always rejoice
in praises to thee.

– Taken from “Self-Noughting” in The Valley of Vision

The Gospel Prayer

January 5, 2012

This month with ROOTS, we are reading Gospel by J.D. Greear.  As an outline for his book, J.D. provides four statements in the form of a prayer intended to internalize and rehearse the gospel on a regular basis.  Here’s the Gospel Prayer.  I encourage you to reflect on these statements and continue to rediscover the bottomless depths of the glorious gospel.

The Gospel Prayer

“Father, there is nothing I can do today that would make you love me more; nothing I failed to do yesterday made you love me less.”

“Father, your presence and approval are all I need today for everlasting joy.”

“Father, as you have been to me, so I will be to others.”

“Father, I’ll measure your compassion by the cross and your power by the resurrection and pray accordingly.”

J.C. Ryle on a Sinner’s Prayer

August 3, 2011

One of my favorite devotional authors is J.C. Ryle, and I have often gone to his trilogy of books, namely Practical Religion, Old Paths, and The Upper Room for personal encouragement and rebuke.  In his chapter on prayer, Ryle addresses a sinner who has yet to come to Christ in repentance and faith. Consider his counsel:

When does the building of the Spirit really begin to appear in a man’s heart? It begins, so far as we can judge, when he first pours out his heart to God in prayer.

If you desire salvation, and want to know what to do, I advise you to go this very day to the Lord Jesus Christ, in the first private place you can find, and earnestly and heartily entreat him in prayer to save your soul.

Tell him that you have heard that he receives sinners, and has said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” Tell him that you are a poor vile sinner, and that you come to him on the faith of his own invitation. Tell him you put yourself wholly and entirely in his hands; that you feel vile and helpless, and hopeless in yourself: and that except he saves you, you have no hope of being saved at all. Beseech him to deliver you from the guilt, the power, and the consequences of sin. Beseech him to pardon you, and wash you in his own blood. Beseech him to give you a new heart, and plant the Holy Spirit in Your Soul. Beseech him to give you grace and faith and will and power to be his disciple and servant from this day forever. Oh, reader, go this very day, and tell these things to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you really are in earnest about your soul.

Tell him in your own way, and your own words. If a doctor came to see you when sick you could tell him where you felt pain. If your soul feels its disease indeed, you can surely find something to tell Christ.

Doubt not his willingness to save you, because you are a sinner. It is Christ’s office to save sinners. He says himself, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

Wait not because you feel unworthy. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Waiting comes from the devil. just as you are, go to Christ. The worse you are, the more need you have to apply to him. You will never mend yourself by staying away.

Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you. Just as a mother understands the first lispings of her infant, so does the blessed Saviour understand sinners. He can read a sigh, and see a meaning in a groan.

Despair not because you do not get an answer immediately. While you are speaking, Jesus is listening. If he delays an answer, it is only for wise reasons, and to try if you are in earnest. The answer will surely come. Though it tarry, wait for it. It will surely come.

Oh, reader, if you have any desire to, be saved, remember the advice I have given you this day. Act upon it honestly and heartily, and you shall be saved.

I am one, like many of you, who have a strong reaction to the way sinners are counseled in praying the “sinner’s prayer.”  However, a reaction from the wrong-headed decisional regeneration should not lead us to counsel sinners away from praying!  In calling sinners to repent and believe, and to express that in prayer to God, I think J.C. Ryle’s counsel is a good one to follow.

The Deeps

July 27, 2011

It still amazes me how much a particular prayer from The Valley of Vision resonates with my soul at various seasons or periods in my spiritual journey.  This particular prayer, called “The Deeps”, has been the source of meditation and supplication for me recently, and I thought I’d pass it along.  BTW, if you are looking to pray the prayers from The Valley of Vision, be sure to see Joe Thorn’s excellent guide.

The Deeps

Lord Jesus,
Give me a deeper repentance,
a horror of sin,
a dread of its approach;
Help me chastely to flee it,
and jealousy to resolve that my heart shall be thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in thee,
the ground of my rest, the spring of my being.

Give me a deeper knowledge of thyself as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King.

Give me deeper power in private prayer,
more sweetness in thy Word,
more steadfast grip on its truth.

Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,
and let me not seek moral virtue apart from thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly Husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide,
until thou alone art seen in me,
thy beauty golden like summer harvest,
thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no Master but thee,
no law but thy will,
no delight but thyself,
no wealth but that thou givest,
no good but that thou blessest,
no peace but that thou bestowest.

I am nothing but that thou makest me,
I have nothing but that I receive from thee,
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.

Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

Trinitarian Prayer

April 30, 2011

The April 26th devotion from Octavius Winslow’s Morning Thoughts really encouraged me in prayer.  I thought I’d post it here to make it more accessible.  You can read his devotional thoughts daily on the official Winslow website or you can also purchase the book or get the Kindle version for only $0.99.  Highly recommended.

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“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

What is prayer? It is the communion of the spiritual life in the soul of man with its Divine Author; it is a breathing back the divine life into the bosom of God, from where it came; it is holy, spiritual, humble converse with God. That was a beautiful remark of a converted heathen- “I open my Bible, and God talks with me; I close my Bible, and then I talk with God.” Striking definition of true prayer!

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Praying With My Eyes Wide Open

April 16, 2011

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. – Colossians 4:2

I know that we are taught from childhood to pray with our eyes closed.  It is intended to be a sign of reverence, focus, and submission to God.  I understand that.  And while that should certainly be our posture, it should not be our practice.  Rather, we should pray continually with our eyes wide open.  What do I mean by that?

Paul exhorts the Colossian believers to “continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it.”  Paul is telling us that we should be on the lookout when we are engaged in prayer.  Our eyes should be wide open to certain things.  But what are they?  Allow me to offer a few suggestions.

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Triperspectival Prayer: Daily Communion Rhythms Through the Mediatorial Offices of Christ

April 1, 2011

So that has to be the most Puritan-ish title I’ve ever given a blogpost, and I hope I haven’t lost you already.  🙂 I realize that some of you may not be familiar with triperspectivalism, and if you are in that category, here’s a good list of resources to check out.  The purpose of this blogpost is to show how I am learning to practically apply triperspectivalism to my prayer life in order to create a more balanced, continual communion with God throughout the day.

Triperspectivalism focuses on the three offices of Christ’s mediation, namely that of prophet, priest, and king and shows how those offices functionally relate to Christian life and ministry.  What I want to do is the make the case how appropriating the triperspectival model can encourage prayer rhythms while at the same time directing us to revel in Christ our mediator.  Makes sense?

The way this is unfolding in my day is to break down my prayer times in three specific periods: early morning, noontime/mid-day, and late evening.  While there is spontaneous prayer throughout the day, these periods are intentionally set aside for communion with God and to lay of Jesus who is my prophet, priest, and king. Doing this causes me to remain awestruck in wonder of my Savior and cultivates communion in a manner not centered on me and my needs but God and the beauty of His manifold perfections.

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We cannot ask too much!

January 15, 2011

Octavius Winslow nailed me hard October 12 in his Morning Thoughts.  He does this often, but given that this was the day I was coming back from Haiti, it came with particular force.  God has opened many doors and done many amazing things over the past six months.  It is as if he is giving far more than we are asking, and this to our shame.

Insert Winslow, commenting on Psalm 36:9 . . .

What stinted views, unjust conceptions, and wrong interpretations have we cherished of Him, simply because we overlook His character as the Fountain of living waters! We “limit the Holy One of Israel.” We judge of Him by our poor, narrow conception of things. We think that He is such a one as we ourselves are. We forget, in our approaches, that we are coming to an Infinite Fountain. That the heavier the demand we make upon God, the more we shall receive, and that the oftener we come, the more are we welcome. That we cannot ask too much. That our sin and His dishonor are, that we ask so little. We forget that He is glorified in giving; and that the more grace He metes out to His people, the richer the revenue of praise which He receives in return. How worthy of such an infinite Fountain of love and grace is His “unspeakable gift.” It came from a large heart; and the heart that gave Jesus will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly.

Father, forgive me for dishonoring you because of my unbelief. Enlarge my heart to believe your promises and fetch from your omnipotent hand the good that you are so readily desirous to impart.  Had I longed for your glory as I should, I would have asked for what only you can do.  But I have beckoned so seldom and have asked so little, and this to my shame.  Turn me into the kind of beggar who is familiar with riches flowing from your abundance, and never let me believe that you withhold any good thing because you have given me your Son.

Amen.

 

The Greatest Gift – The Incarnation

December 13, 2010

O Source of all good,

What shall I render to You for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on
wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mind and I am his.

In him, you have given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

~ “The Gift of Gifts”
taken from The Valley of Vision

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

November 14, 2010

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  Below are four videos created for this designated day of prayer (we are showing the bottom one at Grace during our services).  Please commit to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and partner with them by identifying wit their struggle to endure and persevere with joy.

IDOP Official Video

Open Doors Video

Voice of the Martyrs Video

Here is the backstory to Salavat, mentioned in the VOM video:

The Most Amazing Medium of Communication

November 5, 2010

The age of telecommunication has taken some amazing strides in my generation.  I remember growing up with the 50-foot telephone cord in the kitchen that could stretch to every corner of the house.  Then came the answering machine and “cordless” phone.  It was always fun to see how far in your front yard that you can go before you loos the signal.  Then came the pagers.  I still can’t figure out that one.  Perhaps we can chalk that one up as a step backwards, but don’t tell that to the tweenager in the 90’s who was convinced that having at least two of them qualified you for being a really important person. 🙂

With the advent of the cellular phone, things picked up rather quickly.  We moved from being able to talk over the cell phone to being able to communicate through instant messaging, text messaging, and phone calls through the Internet.  Speaking of the Internet, not only could you call, but you could video chat, including conference calls, and livestream from anywhere in the world.  Of course, the world of social media opened up ways of communicating through Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter, turning our lives into a communications hub for the world around us.  If I factored all the ways I communicate on a weekly basis, it is truly remarkable (cell phone, text, email, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, livestream, and video chat).

But this morning it hit me.  I’m talking about the most amazing medium of communication.  What am I referring to?

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New Edition of Operation World Coming This October

July 20, 2010

I first caught wind of this while breezing through Twitter updates and confirmed it on Amazon.  Operation World is coming out with a new edition this October.  While I have been grateful for the directional prayer this book has offered in years past, I have become especially fond of it since coming to Grace as I have share with our congregation each week ways to pray for a particular nation and the work of the gospel among the people groups.  It is so important that Christians in the West have a global mindset and guard against myopic vision that we can easily succumb to.  I look forward to picking up this 7th edition of one of the most significant tools for gospel advance in the world today.

Resurrection

April 4, 2010

O God of my Exodus,

Great was the joy of Israel’s sons,
when Egypt died upon the shore,
Far greater the joy
when the Redeemer’s foe lay crushed
in the dust.

Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might;
He bursts the bands of death,
tramples the powers of darkness down,
and lives forever.

He, my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt,
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
free, and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.

Show me herein the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil’s sceptre is shivered,
that his wrongful throne is levelled.

Give me the assurance that in Christ I died,
in him I rose,
in his life I live,
in his victory i triumph,
in his ascension I shall be glorified.

Adorable Redeemer,
Thou who was lifted up upon a cross
art ascended to the highest heaven.
Thou, who as Man of sorrows
wast crowned with thorns,
art now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.

Once, no shame more deep than thine,
no agony more bitter,
no death more cruel.
Now, no exaltation more high,
no life more glorious,
no advocate more effective.

Thou art in the triumph car leading captive
thine enemies behind thee.

What more could be done than Thou hast done!
Thy death is my life,
Thy resurrection my peace,
Thy ascension my hope,
Thy prayers my comfort.

– “Resurrection” from The Valley of Vision

Father

March 30, 2010

For the Christian in prayer, the most powerful word is his first word – Father.

Far too often, if not always, we hurry past the fact that we are addressing God as Father to get on to the things on our mind and heart.  But when was the last time that you were staggered by the reality that, if you are in Christ, you have been adopted by God and given the rights and privileges that come with being in the family of God?

Lest we forget, our sinful disposition did not put us in a favorable position for God to want us.  In fact, our blatant rebellion is the outward manifestation of idolatrous hearts that prefer lesser lovers.  We have offended God not only in what we have not done (giving Him glory) but also by what we have done (seeking satisfaction in other things besides Him).  If there would be any who are children of God, it would be by sheer mercy and grace.  What kind of Father would want to make His enemies to be sons and daughters?  Moreover, what Father would give His own son for those enemies so that their offense would be judged and their acceptance paid in full in the divine exchange at the cross?

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In Prayer

March 28, 2010

This prayer from the Valley of Vision is working me over. Had to pass it along to you.

“In Prayer”

O LORD,

In prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality.
Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments, never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing;
I find my heart going after thee with intensity,
and long with vehement thirst to live to thee.
Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit
that speeds me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish,
and nothing seems important
but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear,
and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts
at what thou art doing for thy church,
and I long that thou shouldest get thyself a great name
from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life,
and taste heavenly joys;
entering into the eternal world
I can give myself to thee with all my heart,
to be thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in thy hands,
to be entirely at thy disposal,
having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners,
the church, thy kingdom to come, with great freedom, ardent hopes,
as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.