Regular and answered prayer

regular and answered prayer

In my spiritual walk with God, I should be seeing signs of spiritual maturity – growing in how I look like my Father. I am finding this growth in my heart in regular praise and prayer. Praying the Psalms helps me because they strengthen my soul.

“But whoever has begun to pray the Psalter seriously and regularly will soon give a vacation to other little devotional prayers and say: ‘Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which I find in the Psalter. It tastes too cold and too hard’ (Luther)” (Bonhoeffer, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, 25).

I could use a little more “juice” in my worship and more strength in my prayer life.

In the ancient church it was not unusual to memorize “the entire David.” In one of the eastern churches this was a prerequisite for the pastoral office. The church father St. Jerome says that one heard the Psalms being sung in the field and gardens in his time. The Psalter impregnated the life of early Christianity. Yet more important than all of this is the fact that Jesus died on the cross with the Psalter on his lips. Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.- Bonhoeffer

Let’s look at just one verse —

In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me. – Psalm 120:1  GNT

There is a declaration of assurance here and I read it like this. First, there is a history of answered prayer that fuels my confidence to continue to pray. Secondly, that history has now become my testimony and is setting me up to anticipate God answering my prayer.

Consider, for example, Paul’s remarkable prayer for the Christians at Philippi in the opening section of his letter to them: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9–11). Notice the sequence of Paul’s prayer here. If you read it too quickly, you might come away with the impression that Paul is primarily concerned about knowledge. Indeed, at a glance, given our habits of mind, you might think Paul is praying that the Christians in Philippi would deepen their knowledge so that they will know what to love. But look again. In fact, Paul’s prayer is the inverse: he prays that their love might abound more and more because, in some sense, love is the condition for knowledge. It’s not that I know in order to love, but rather: I love in order to know. And if we are going to discern “what is best”—what is “excellent,” what really matters, what is of ultimate importance—Paul tells us that the place to start is by attending to our loves.

There is a very dfferent model of the human person at work here. Instead of the rationalist, intellectualist model that implies, “You are what you think,” Paul’s prayer hints at a very different conviction: “You are what you love.” – James Smith

 

 

Pray for God’s mercy

Pray for mercy

This calligraphic fragment includes a Persian poem seeking the mercy and assistance of God. The verse read: Oh Sun of the proud skies, / Oh Gem of the sea freed from need, / I have hope (to receive) your favour, / Kindness, generosity, and support of me.”

I am encouraged to praise God and to cry out to Him to ask Him to pour out His grace on those who follow Him.

Even though I myself have a dismal record, when it comes to obedience, the temptation is that my own shame would hinder me from spending any time in prayer. However, as I am praying for God’s mercy on others, I am also praying for His mercy on myself.

The source of salvation comes from only one place – God. Only God can save a sinner like me. My heart is so hardened by sin that it could never improve itself.

So I pray…

Remember me, Lord, when you help your people;
include me when you save them.
Let me see the prosperity of your people
and share in the happiness of your nation,
in the glad pride of those who belong to you. – Psalm 106:4-5  GNT

It is a prayer I want to pray when I think about revival, about genuine salavation to those enslaved by sin and for spiritual prosperity to those who follow God. It is all those things for me, personally, too.

“A visit from Christ is the cure for all spiritual diseases.” – Spurgeon (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit [Pilgrim Publications], 62:559)

May I experience the joy of His salvation on a daily basis for then I will bless His name.

Save us, O Lord our God,
    and bring us back from among the nations,
so that we may be thankful
    and praise your holy name. – Psalm 106:47  GNT

Time is short and so these hymns based on verses in Revelation might be the types of prayers to consider.

God’s Holy Ways Are Just and True

Then I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Lord God Almighty! True and just indeed are your judgments!” – Revelation 16:7  GNT

The Great Battle for Truth

They are the spirits of demons that perform miracles. These three spirits go out to all the kings of the world, to bring them together for the battle on the great Day of Almighty God. – Revelation 16:14  GNT

Ye servants of the Lord   and  Rise, My Soul, to Watch and Pray  and  Waiting, Watching, Working

“Listen! I am coming like a thief! Happy is he who stays awake and guards his clothes, so that he will not walk around naked and be ashamed in public!” – Revelation 16:15  GNT

 

“How long is the love of God? Jesus says in John 10, “I know my own. I give them eternal life . . . and no one can pluck them out of my hand.” In Philippians 1:6, Paul says ot the Christians, everybody he is writing to at Philippi, “I am convinced . . . that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day fo Christ Jesus.” Not “may.” Will. His love is infinitely long. And when did his love began? We are told in the book of Revelation that the Lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the world. God put his love on you in the depths of time, and he will never remove it from you. Why? Because salvation is by grace. It is not by works. It is not given toyou because of what you do. It has begun in the depths of time and will last into eternity. It is infinitely long.” – Timothy Keller