Category Archives: Church Life

praying to be praying

I had taken the liberty of timing her prayer the second time I’d heard her. And I had a reason. The prayer lasted one minute, and in that time she had used the name “God” thirty-three times! She had used His Name as a punctuation mark, and not as though she were speaking to a real, living Person.

I gave her an example of the way she prayed, so she would understand: “O God, we thank you, God, that we can come into Your Presence, God. God, we need you today, God. God, will you help us, O God, to live for you today, God.”

She was embarrassed and surprised, but fortunately very open. We had a comfortable talk on the subject, and then she asked, “Could we pray again now?” We did, and this time, by her own choice, she started, “Dear Lord Jesus. . .” instead of her habitual, “Dear God. . . .” She prayed slowly, thoughtfully, with many pauses, and used His Name meaningfully. She was speaking to Someone, and He was there!

Suddenly she looked up, with tears, “Oh, Ros, I feel as if I’ve become a Christian all over again! I didn’t know what I was doing before. I guess I was praying to be praying, if there is such a thing. I didn’t really know to whom I was praying. Now I know. It’s Jesus Christ!

Rosalind Parker, Prayer: Conversing with God, p. 31.

Advertisements

who listens to our prayers?

The little brown frame house was packed with people. My first thought was to get out, but the house was too small and too crowded.

I stayed. How did they know when to pray? Who told them? Should I pray, too?

Faster and faster went my heart.

An older lady began to pray, I sighed with temporary relief.

Why, I said to myself, she can’t even speak English! No one can understand a word she is saying, and here she is praying where people can hear her. I listened some more. A sentence or two in German, then a smattering of English, then more German.

I withheld further judgment and listened again. Suddenly I felt my heart was being held in God’s hand. The old German lady was crying! And she wasn’t ashamed to be praying or crying. And the tenderness in her voice told me that her tears were not those of frustration, but of real love for her Lord. She was speaking to Him. Not to us. And He was there. I knew it. He was there.

Rosalind Parker, Prayer: Conversing with God, p. 13-14.


if grace is on us, we will be gracious to others

With a mindset of unity we will view our economic resources as available to meet others’ needs. We will voluntarily, periodically supply our local assembly’s common fund for the poor. Such a structure should not bind the Spirit’s prompting to be generous as we encounter various needs, nor should it become a matter of obligation. If grace is on us, we will be gracious to others.

William J. Larkin, Acts, p.83.


holy spirit daring

What are we attempting which could not be accomplished without the Holy Spirit? What is there about our lives which demands an explanation? We will be “filled with the Holy Spirit” when we dare to do what could never be accomplished on our own strength and insight.

Lloyd Oglivie, Quoted by William Larkin, Acts, page 73.


prayer essential for revival

A. T. Pierson said, “There has never been a revival in any country that has not begun in united prayer, and no revival has ever continued beyond the duration of those prayer meetings.”

William Larkin, Acts, page 45.


revival dependent on confession

“Revival is impossible apart from confession of sin among believers. It must be confession to God, and it may be confession to one another. Every hindrance must go. Sin must be confessed in order that it may be cleansed…Judgement must begin at the house of the Lord.” Only a holy people, a repentant and restored people, are vessels fit to be revived.

William Larkin, Acts, page 47-48.


fight for other people’s children

We need to . . . think about what we can do in our everyday lives for the people who aren’t our neighbors. We should be fighting for opportunities for other people’s children as if the future of our own children depended on it. It probably does.

Matthew Stewart, The Atlantic: The 9.9 Percent
Is the New American Aristocracy
, June 2018


a fountain of love

Eighteenth-century philosopher and preacher Jonathan Edward wrote a famous sermon titled “Heaven Is a World of Love,” which conveys the Christian hope with power. Edwards understands the ultimate Christian hope not to be in abstractions such as radiance and immortality but in relationship. At the center of heaven is not merely a generic God but the triune Christian God, one God in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, “who are united in infinitely dear and incomprehensible mutual love.” There is “an . . . eternal mutual holy energy between the Father and the Son, a pure holy act whereby the Deity becomes nothing but an infinite and unchangeable act of love.” Pouring love into one another in degrees of unimaginable power and joy makes this three-in-one God into a “fountain of love.” In heaven this fountain “is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it,” and so it “overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.”

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, p 168.


civilian or soldier

“What we need to ask ourselves today is, ‘Am I a civilian or a soldier?” This is how a civilian thinks: ‘God, I want to do this for you. I have these gifts, these talents and I’m this old and I want to do this for you, God. I love to play music. I want to play music for you.’

“But a soldier says, ‘Tell me what to do with my life. I don’t care what it is. Whatever you want me to do, I will do it.’ There is a tremendous difference.”

David Pierce, Rock Priest, page 254


christianity the only worldwide religion

One of the unique things about Christianity is that it is the only truly worldwide religion. Over 90 percent of Muslims live in a band from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Northern Africa. Over 95 percent of all Hindus are in India and immediate environs. Some 88 percent of Buddhists are in East Asia. However, about 25 percent of Christians live in Europe, 25 percent in Central and South America, 22 percent in Africa, 15 percent (and growing fast) in Asia, and 12 percent in North America. Professor Richard Bauckham writes: “Almost certainly Christianity exhibits more cultural diversity than any other religion, and that must say something about it.” . . . It is no longer a Western religion (nor was it originally). It is truly a world religion.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 148.