Category Archives: People

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.


cannot end with a prayer

Matthew speaks of more than personal repentance; he evokes the Old Testament hope of the salvation of God’s people, including the justice and peace of God’s kingdom. For Matthew, and for us, salvation from sin cannot end with a prayer. Matthew promises salvation not only from sin’s penalty but also from its power. Christ’s followers are not merely heirs of his coming kingdom but servants of the King, committed to exemplifying the values of that future world in the midst of this present evil age.

Craig S. Keener, Matthew, p. 63-64.


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.


growing up is an ugly endeavor

My friend and I stuck my sister in a garbage can. When crabs were biting my other sister’s feet in the bay and she was crying for help, rather than lend her a hand I sat on the dock and laughed. Both times they looked at me shocked that I could turn on them like that, and I was a little shocked too, and the fact that I’m writing about it now shows that I still carry the regret. But growing up is an ugly endeavor at times and we can only try to be good when we know how awful it feels to be bad.

Tom Papa, your dad stole my rake . . ., page 224.


i think it’s called a belief system

I’m a bit of a chameleon. I’ll change, adapt, and make stuff up just to avoid any tension. Maybe it’s the performer in me, but I aim to please. My wife aims to kill. Not out of ill will or a desire to hurt, but she is going to stick to her position no matter what. I think it’s called a belief system. When I am uncomfortable, the only thing I believe is that I should be going.

Tom Papa, your dad stole my rake . . ., page 219


the unreceived gift

Uncle Bruce was the youngest of seven children and my Mom kind of looked after him. Bruce was not always the happiest person – the word grumpy comes to mind actually. But Mom was fond of him and looked after him a bit.

Bruce had returned from serving overseas with the Army and was living with my grandmother in her house. As Christmas approached, my mother was looking for the perfect gift for Bruce. Since she owned a gift shop, she was able to shop and get whatever she chose for wholesale – what a deal! And she found the perfect gift for Bruce. It was a real sword, about three feet long, with a nice scabbard. Even at wholesale pricing, it was still expensive, and we didn’t have much money. But Mom wanted Bruce to have this sword. So she bought it and wrapped it up in glitzy Christmas paper with a big bow on top.

On Christmas, we headed over to Grandma’s to exchange gifts with extended family. Of course, the special present for Bruce came along, and we were all eager to see his reaction when he got it. (I know I would have been thrilled to have a real sword! Although I probably would have hurt myself with it…)

When the time came, Mom picked up the glitzy package, walked over to Bruce and handed it to him. We were all shocked at his reaction. He growled, “I told you I didn’t want you to get me anything for Christmas” and he refused to take the gift. My mom was rather upset that he wouldn’t accept the special gift she had chosen for him.

When we getting ready to leave that night, Mom talked with Grandma, and we left the still unopened gift at Grandma’s house for Bruce.

A few years later, Grandma passed away. Bruce had been living with her until shortly before she died. When Mom and her sisters started cleaning out Grandma’s house, they found that Bruce had left many of his things behind. And in the back of the closet, my mother found the Christmas sword, still in the box, wrapped and untouched.

Now here’s the lesson. The gift had been acquired and given especially for Bruce, it was in his possession, but he never opened it. He didn’t even know what the gift was. In essence, he had never received the gift, although it had been there for him anytime he wanted it.

In the same way, the gift of life is freely available and already given to every man, woman, boy and girl on this earth. It is Jesus’s gift, that he chose for us, and paid for with his own blood. Each one of us must decide if we will receive the gift. Choose whether we are going to take it, open it and make it our own.

If we don’t actively receive the gift, we miss out on all the benefits that come from it. In this case, forgiveness, being made right with God, being accepted into God’s family both now and forever. If we assume the gift is there and it will be ours even if we don’t accept it, we will miss the opportunity – forever.Image result for receive gift

Don’t leave the gift of God in the corner of your life, unopened and unappreciated. Don’t save it for some other day. Receive it gladly today. Make it yours. Enjoy the new life that Jesus has freely given to you!


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.


not believing is an act of faith

Ultimately, nonbelief in God is an act of faith, because there is no way to prove that the world and all that is within it and its deep mathematical orderliness and matter itself all simply exist on their own as brute facts with no source outside of themsnot believing is an act of faithelves. If the theory that God exists leads us to expect what we find, whereas the belief that there is no God odes not, why not move ahead, at least tentatively, but adopting the theory that God is there?

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 227.


sad logical conclusion of evolutionary biology

Francis Crick, a leading molecular biologist and neuroscientist, famously wrote: “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” If there is no God or spiritual dimension, that is pretty much the logical conclusion.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 224.