God in control

When I think of prayer, I think of God being in control, even when my eyes do not tell me the truth based on what I see. For He is working behind the sences in areas that my eyesight does not allow me to engage.

When I read the story of David fighting against his own son, I thought of how difficult it must be for family to be fighting and killing each other because they happen to be on different sides. God must have known the sorrow in David’s heart. I knew this to be true when I read this verse.

The fighting spread over the countryside, and more men died in the forest than were killed in battle. – 2 Samuel 18:8 GNT

At first I ran by it, had to stop and re-engage. If there were 20,000 armed men, more than 10,000 died not because someone killed them, but because they came across a mishap in the woods. It was if the desire in David’s heart was prayer in the ears of God and He answered by making sure there was minimal damage when it came to the outcome of this civil war.

These are the stories that we never hear about because someone thought it unnecessary to share, but this one was, and I see the hand of God, His mercy and grace, where and when it mattered most. I have to remind myself that He is in control, He has a plan, it matters because I matter. I am so thankful He is engaged with me.

“While this book is on the doctrine of Scripture, and hardly touches on prayer, Ward maeks a case that the Bible is “the primary measn God has given us for coming to encounter him.” He argues for this as he expounds a very high view of the authority and inerrancy of the Bible. Teh implications of is definition are enormous for prayer. With this view of the Bible, prayer combined with scriptural meditiation can be a true dialogue or conversation with God.” – Timothy Keller: Ward, Timothy – Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God.

David prayed for both leader and nation

A few days ago I shared about David’s prayer to defeat the wise advice he knew would be coming from Ahithophel as he gave counsel to his son Absalom. Here is the result of that prayer.

Absalom and all the Israelites said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” The Lord had decided that Ahithophel’s good advice would not be followed, so that disaster would come on Absalom. – 2 Samuel 17:14 GNT

David prayed and God answered.

What an encouragement to me when I face impossible odds – I can pray and ask God to intervene – a prayer of honesty and in faith.

Even when I talk about spiritual warfare – it is God equipping me to fight against the evil one, filling me with His Holy Spirit, giving me the opportunity to pray and be in fellowship with Him and blessing me with His Word.

When I am in a fight against lies or temptation, I do rely on God’s word, prayer and people that God has placed around me. It comes down to speaking truth and life, it is about prayer and it is about encouragement.

Spurgeon commented on Psalm 72 as a prayer of David when many consider it a ‘psalm of Solomon.’ He believes it is a prayer from an ageing King passing on his crown to his son, Solomon, in the most gracious and powerful fashion – in prayer.

David prays for his rule, his spiritual journey, his enemies and his care for the needy. He prays that the people will pray for him and uphold him in his reign. He praises God for His mighty deeds and for God’s glory, that he prays, will fill the earth.

He is praying peace, loyal support and a mighty and just reign of power.

When I look at Solomon’s prayer later on, it sounds somewhat like this one.

“This book is based on a series of talks, so it is sometimes rambling and repetitious but, overall, it is the best single popularlevel treatment on prayer. This covers all the bases and directly invites, exhorts,and urges us into a life of prayer.” – Timothy Keller: Packer, J. I. and Carolyn Nystrom – Praying: Finding Our Way through Duty to Delight.

Prayer of blessing

The Corinthian church gives and Paul blesses them.

And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity. He will always make you rich enough to be generous at all times, so that many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 GNT

Paul recognizes God as the supplier – whatever I have to give was first given to me by God.

“Our translators render it in the form of a prayer; which yet being the prayer of the apostle, put up in faith, doth virtually contain a promise both of a temporal and a spiritual increase.” – Poole

The prayer is that God would give so that I may give and His promise is that He would even give more so that I can give more.

Ultimately, the prayer is that there would be growth and there would be a harvest that comes from such generosity.

What a prayer of blessing – I pray the same and that lives may be changed materially and spiritually.

“This compendium of prayers from the Puritans is edited and put into a more contemporary idiom. The collection has stood the test of time. One reason is that the prayers are so different from those in most current devotional literature. Sin is taken much more seriously and so glory and grace shine the brighter. – Timothy Keller: Bennett, Arthur G. – The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

By prayer, in the gap

I like David’s prayer when he heard who was giving counsel to his son. It was not long and it was real. He was also specific by naming the person he was praying about. The person was wise and David was asking God to either make him foolish or have foolish people reject the wise counsel. It was a prayer of faith.

When David was told[h] that Ahithophel had joined Absalom’s rebellion, he prayed, “Please, Lord, turn Ahithophel’s advice into nonsense!” – 2 Samuel 15:31 GNT

A great prayer to remember when I am in a place where those against me need to be countermined. I believe it starts with worship.

Prayer is what allows me to stand where I really do not have any skill in standing. Without any skills at all, I usually offer prayer. I think God does look for people who pray, stand in the gap if you will, between a holy God and a people goup who have turned their back on God.

I looked for someone who could build a wall, who could stand in the places where the walls have crumbled and defend the land when my anger is about to destroy it, but I could find no one. – Ezekiel 22:30 GNT

I cannot imagine not being able to find no one who could be in the place where I needed them the most.

Is this not what Jesus does for me now? This is the work He does on my behalf – He is my wall, my strength, my stability and my security. He lives to intercede for those who love Him.

If there was no one to pray, how much judgement would there be and how much grace and mercy could have been extended?

“Presents Thomas Cranmer’s collects as models for public and private prayer, with brief explanations of the theology of each prayer along with a historical note about Cranmer’s development of each. They are indeed priceless models for prayer – without peer, many think, outside of the Bible itself.” – Timothy Keller: Barbee, C. Frederick and Paul F.M Zahl – The Collects of Thomas Cranmer

Praying and watching the work of God

The expectation when I pray, is that either I am silent and He speaks first or after I say my piece, He responds.

The Lord spoke to me. – Ezekiel 21:18 GNT

I may not like what God has to say, especially if I have prayed amiss. In Ezekiel’s day, after praying for years for God to strike the people of Ammon, God answers their prayer but also strikes down the people of Judah for begin rebellious. I remember that if judgement were to come, it would come to the people of God first and then revival would sweep the land. If I even think that God will no longer endure someone’s disobedience or obnoxiousness, I need to be aware how He must be thinking about my own and added to that, my lack of beng sensible. A great reminder to bless my enemies, for in blessing them I, in effect, am blessing myself. It is my plan to pray such mercy into the lives of the people I meet.

I look at the prayers of the Psalms and in them find the turning of such matters to God. God then takes over and does what He needs to do.

God rises up and scatters his enemies. Those who hate him run away in defeat. Pslm 68:1 GNT

In fact, this may not be a prayer, but rather a prophecy. However, as a prayer, I turn matters over to God. I do so because I have no doubt and I am sure that God delivers. He answers my prayer – God will indeed rise up. It is like I can see through a glass and watch how God works in me and in those who follow Him.

Owen wasn’t easy to read even in his own day. His writing is even harder to digest now. But his works on spiritual experience are without equal. He combines exhaustive theological reflection with the strongest calls to go beyond doctrinal subscription into full-heart knowledge of God. Timothy Keller: Owen, John – A Discourse on the Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer; On the Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded; Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ.