Posted tagged ‘Prayer’

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

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.

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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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.

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.

The Gospel and Satanic Oppression

March 21, 2010

Some very sobering words from the pen of John Stott:

The world’s opposition is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on ‘taking men alive’ and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advanced beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it.

–From “The Message of 2 Timothy” (The Bible Speaks Today series: London and Downers Grove: IVP, 1973), p. 126.

Pray that I/you wold:

1.  Clearly proclaim the gospel in its simplicity
2.  Boldly proclaim the gospel in spite of opposition
3.  Remain in the gospel as my only message to the world (and to myself)
4.  Give myself to the preeminence of the gospel call above everything else

Stott calls this “Satanic oppression” and I believe he is right.  The devil would want nothing more than for us to minimize the work of the gospel in our lives, to destroy it, to have us get beyond it, to ignore it, to change it, to be silenced as bad stewards of it, and simply pretend that it does not matter.

Matt Chandler MRI Update

March 17, 2010

Many of you (including my family and church) have been praying for Matt Chandler.  Last night, he posted an update on the MRI results and the future plans of chemotherapy.  Let’s continue to keep this brother lifted up in prayer that God would indeed increase his joy in Jesus during these days of physical suffering.

Praying in the New Year

January 1, 2010

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

– Valley of Vision

Shafia’s Story – What’s Yours?

November 10, 2009

This past Sunday was dedicated as the International Day of Prayer.  Take four minutes to watch Shafia’s story.  Please.  And then take four minutes to replay the story of your life.  Does being a Christian mean anything different here than in the land of our slain brethren?

We do pant for this.

August 8, 2009

On March 24, 1878, Charles Spurgeon prayed over his congregation, and included in that prayer are the following requests for renewal:

“O Lord, give us more and more to have the new life, yea, and to have it more abundantly, for this is one of the objects of His coming.  May the new life always rule us, may we walk by its power, may we have strength through its influence, may we be elevated by its energies, may we be indeed entirely subjugated, as to our own entire manhood, to the control of the Holy Spirit through the new-born life.  We do pant for this.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon, The Pastor in Prayer, 31.