Category Archives: Prayer

Slow Down

Turn off the radio. I don’t care if it is a sermon. Turn off the television. I don’t care if it is the latest episode of 24. Put the book away. Put the computer away (and yes, I don’t care if you’re reading this…although you may want to wait to see why you should). 

If you’re like me, you have a to-do list of about ten things…constantly. If you’re also like me, you have a to-do list that is full of have-to’s rather than if-i-get-around-to’s. If you’re even more like me (don’t get too scared), then you suffer from discontentment until you have knocked out your to-do list. Not just that you have knocked it out, but that you have smote it and cut off its head.

Yesterday I was forced to turn it all off…and might I say it has been the most rewarding 30 minutes I have had in quite a while. My daughter and I played outside while my wife fixed our supper. As I sat there looking at my beautiful daughter, I had five or six things running through my mind that I should be doing. But I repented and breathed in the air-after-the rain smell and was taken back to my childhood days. How often have I longed for the days when I was 12 and 13 just running around my yard with my dog without a to-do list. For this short moment I delighted in the fact that the measure of a man does not consist in the length of his to-do list. Rather it resides in the content of that list. 

So much of what I think needs to be done is merely an accessory. I would do well to sit down each morning and remind myself what are my priorities in life. Much like Jonathan Edwards (and several fathers in the Early Church) who measured his life by his resolutions each day, I should sit down and look at my priority list – God, family, work, school, etc. 

Some of you may retort that I should just have a scheduled time in my day for down time. Sure, it could be that easy. But I want to challenge myself, in the middle of knocking out my to-do list, to intentionally stop hammering that nail and sit down. I want to challenge us to stop whatever it is we are in the middle of and remind ourselves that he gives rest to his beloved; we need to remember that he gives strength to my arms; he has even given me arms in the first place. 

So the challenge (beyond merely planning downtime in your life) is to go through your day today and intentionally stop whatever it is you are doing and be quiet. To be still and know who is your God.

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Filed under Christian Living, Ethics, Prayer, Sanctification, Solitary Life

“Morning Needs”

O God, the Author of all good,

I come to thee for grace another day will require for its duties and events.

I step out into a wicked world, 

I carry about with me an evil heart,

I know that without thee I can do nothing, 

   that everything with which I shall be concerned, 

   however harmless in itself,

   may prove an occasion of sin or folly,

   unless I am kept by thy power.

Hold thou me up and I shall be safe.

Preserve my understanding from subtilty of error,

   my affections from love of idols,

   my character from stain of vice,

   my profession from every form of evil.

May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing,

   and in which I cannot invite thy inspection.

Prosper me in all lawful undertakings,

   or prepare me for disappointments;

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

Feed me with food convenient for me,

   lest I be full and deny thee

   and say, Who is the Lord?

   or be poor, and steal, and take thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and thy will;

Teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it,

   to improve my talents,

   to redeem my time,

   to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within,

   to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians.

And to thee be the glory.

The Valley of Vision

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Filed under Books & Media, Christian Living, Ethics, Prayer

Give Us Wisdom

Lord, teach us to number our days so that we might get a heart of understanding…

As I watched the news last night and this morning about Minneapolis, I couldn’t help but thnik of the numerous times I have sat under a bridge in my car waiting for a light to turn green. So many times I move throughout my day without giving second thought to whether this building will come crashing down like the tower of Siloam or Babel. You sustain the sparrows in the air as well as suspension bridges that tower in the city skyline. You have ordained for each of us a day on which our foot shall not step. ou have set boundaries and times for us. Space shuttles cannot leave the bounds of your purview. You have set the Challenger in flight and the 35-W bridge to come down.

Forgive us and our generation for thniking that it is wrong to speak of you in such a way. We have believed a lie. We have bought into the consumerism of our day. We do not acknowledge that you own us because you made us. We do not believe that you are the only one who has rights. Our paltry clamorings for justice are mere mist. Our hearts are set against you because we have not feared the one who gave us life and will, one day, take it back. We do not fear you, who will cause us to give an account with what we have done with our 75, or if by grace, 80 years.

As we drive, we are seconds from catasrophe. As we play, we are one move away from destruction. As we sit and read, our breath may be stopped in the next…

Life is fragile, we are puffed up like a toad. Puncture our billows and make us see that we are small. You are te Creator of all and we are pottery for your use. So that you might receive glory in the pain and in the laughter. Help your people to proclaim your excellencies. Help us sing that you are more than a charm. Help us to live as though you are our God.

In Jesus’ Name I pray…The one who suffered for no wrong he had done. For his hands were clean of sin and wickedness. He loved you completely…and yet our rebellion was counted to him through faith. Help us not to diminish the greatest tragedy in human history. The torture and murder of our Righteous One. Amen.

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Filed under Christian Living, Current Events, Prayer

American Heart Association Study on Prayer

What did it find? Intercessory prayer seems to have benefits. Although the confident Christian might answer, “Of course it works,” I wonder if such a study should be done. That is, there are so many presuppositions that guide the people who are studying. It seems even by the name of the study that it is seeking to show the positive effects of prayer for the mind. Can there be more said as regards prayer and healing?

Find the article here.

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Filed under Books & Media, Christian Living, Current Events, Prayer

Non-Christian Prayer?

Mark D Roberts has a series of posts where he meditates on the National Prayer Breakfast. It may not sound exciting, but he gives a fresh perspective to how we should view prayer.

I would recommend taking some time to read these brief posts and begin thinking how Christians can engage people where they are at without compromising belief in Jesus.

Excerpts:
Part of what would make interfaith prayer not okay is if we were asked to check our faith in Christ at the door of the prayer gathering. This would be unacceptable to me. Yet I would argue that if Christians don’t contradict core Christian theology in what they say in interfaith prayer meetings, then praying with non-Christian folk can be a good thing. In fact, it might build important bridges between Christians and people from other religions…[In reference to Acts 17], Praying with non-Christian folk, it seems to me, can be rather like this. It’s a way to affirm the genuineness of their effort and desire to communicate with God, even if they do not think of God in Christian terms.

Table of Contents
Part 1
Praying with Bush and Bono
Part 2
Praying with People Who Aren’t Christians
Part 3
Should Christians Pray with People Who Aren’t Christians?
Part 4
Should Christians Pray with People Who Aren’t Christians? (continued)
Part 5
What Does It Mean to Pray in Jesus’s Name?
Part 6
What Does It Mean to Pray in Jesus’s Name? (continued)
Part 7
Do Christians and Muslims Pray to the Same God?
Part 8
Bono’s Sermon
 
Note: The rest of this series exists as a stand alone series called: Reflections on the ONE Campaign. The content in this series and that one is identical.
Part 9
Bono’s Sermon: His ONE Point
Part 10
The ONE Campaign: Some Facts, Including Some Surprising Ones
Part 11
Is God on the Side of the Poor?
Part 12
God and the Poor: Biblical Testimonies
Part 13
Reflections on the ONE Campaign
Part 14
Further Reflections on the ONE Campaign
Part 15
A Bit More on the ONE Campaign
Part 16
Why the ONE Campaign is So Important
Part 17
Introducing the EIGHTY Campaign

[HT: Tod Bolsinger]

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Filed under Christian Living, Church, Culture, Current Events, Prayer, Theology, World