Category Archives: Prayer

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.


prayer can be like skiing

People who ski happen to enjoy skiing; they have time for skiing, can afford to ski, and are good at skiing. I have found that I often treat prayer as though it were a sport like skiing— something you do if you like it, something you do in your spare time, something you do if you can afford the trouble, something you do if you’re good at it. Otherwise, you do without it most of the time. When you get in a pinch you try it, and then you call an expert.

But prayer isn’t a sport. It’s work. Prayer is work because a Christian simply can’t “make a living” without it. The apostle Paul said we “wrestle” in prayer. In the wrestling of a Christian in prayer, “our fight is not against any physical enemy; it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen powers that control this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil” (Ephesians 6:12, PHILLIPS). Seldom do we consider the nature of our opponent, and that is to his advantage. When we do recognize him for what he is, however, we have an inkling as to why prayer is never easy. It’s the weapon that Unseen Power dreads most, and if he can get us to treat it as casually as we treat a pair of skis or a tennis racquet, he can keep his hold.

Elizabeth Elliot, The Elizabeth Elliot Newsletter, January 2002

http://www.elisabethelliot.org/newsletters/2002-01-02.pdf

 


most romantic places on earth

The two most romantic places on earth are the prayer closet and the pulpit.

Francis Chan, at Mission Connexion Northwest 2018
quoting someone he couldn’t exactly remember.


don’t skip steps

To further illustrate faith-sized requests, I’d like to give you the experience of a married couple who moved into a new neighborhood. One of the first requests Mary and Jack made was, “Lord, we’d like to get acquainted with our neighbors, and if they don’t know You personally as their Saviour, we’d like to introduce them to You.”

That was a fine request and right in line with what God wanted to do. But it was the description of a goal to be reached, not a step to take. They got down to business then, and took the first step.

“Lord,” prayed Jack, “I’d like to meet the fellow living next door in some casual way and begin to get acquainted with him. I’d like to begin today, and I believe You can arrange it for me. Thank you, Lord.” Mary agreed with Jack in her prayer, and gave thanks with Him.

The morning had scarcely turned to afternoon when the answer came. Their children got into a quarrel over a tricycle with the neighbor’s children. Both fathers rushed to the scene. Jack took all the blame for his children, and put out his hand, “I’m Jack M., just moved in, glad to meet you.” The first request had been answered. The first step had been taken.

The second step: “Lord, I’d like to know what that man is interested in, so we could become friends.” The answer came within two days. He was interested in football.

The third step: “Lord, I need two complimentary football tickets, and could I have them by this weekend, please.” The tickets came. The friendship grew.

The fourth step: “Lord, I’d like to invite this new friend to the Bible class I teach a few miles from here. Would You put it in his heart to accept when I ask him to go with me tonight?” He accepted. All the way over as they drove, they talked about football. All the way home they talked about Jesus Christ, and what it meant for Him to become one of us . . . God became a Man.

The fifth step: “Lord, Mary and I would like to invite my friend and his wife to our home some evening this week and have a little talk and Bible reading together.” The friends came, and they read and talked quietly together.

The sixth step, “Lord, next week when I ask them over again, will You prepare their hearts, so that they will be ready to accept You as their Saviour? I believe this is the time to ask for this, and I thank you for all You’ll be doing in the meantime to draw them to Yourself.” When the next week came, the neighbors willingly and gladly accepted Jesus Christ.

This method also works in matters of guidance about getting a job, taking a trip, buying or selling a house, getting married, writing a book, or anything you may think of yourself, large or small.

Rosalind Rinker, Prayer – Conversing with God, page 71-72.


what are you praying for?

About the time I began to be aware of honesty and simplicity and brevity in audible prayer, I listened carefully when others prayed, and also checked myself after I had prayed. I asked myself these questions:

For what definite thing had I prayed?

Did I believe that I would get it?

Could I picture myself receiving it?

The tragic answer was, that I wasn’t asking anything definite, and I wasn’t receiving anything definite. I was merely praying platitudes, “Lord, bless my family in America, and bless the Chinese pastors working in Shanghai, and bless . . . and bless . . . and bless . . . .” The words bless and blessing do get a workout when people pray! But what exactly are we asking for? Are we asking for anything? Are we talking to anyone? Are we expecting an answer from Him?

Rosalind Rinker, Prayer – Conversing with God, page 69.


we don’t learn to pray in six easy lessons

I was more convinced than ever that people do want to pray, and all that is needed is simple instruction at the personal level, and an opportunity to pray. We don’t learn how to pray in six easy lessons, we learn to pray by praying.

Rosalind Rinker, Prayer – Conversing with God, page 44.


satisfaction for people’s aching hearts

An implication of saying that the essence of worship is satisfaction in God is that worship becomes radically God-centered. Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when people are utterly persuaded that nothing-not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends or ministry-is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God. This conviction breeds a people who go hard after God on Sunday morning (or any other time).They are not confused about why they are there. They do not see songs and prayers and sermons as mere traditions or mere duties. They see them as means of getting to God or God getting to them for more of his fullness.

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 228


prayers and pains

One of those hope-filled Puritans who crossed the Atlantic in 1631 was John Eliot. He was twenty-seven years old and a year later became the pastor of a new church in Roxbury, Massachusetts., about a mile from Boston. But something happened that made him much more than a pastor.

According to Cotton Mather, there were twenty tribes of Indians in that vicinity. John Eliot could not avoid the practical implications of his theology. If the infallible Scriptures promise that all nations will one day bow down to Christ, and if Christ is sovereign and able by his Spirit through prayer to subdue all opposition to his promised reign, then there is good hope that a person who goes as an ambassador of Christ to one of these nations will be the chosen instrument of God to open the eyes of the blind and to set up an outpost of the kingdom of Christ.

And so when he was slightly over forty (not twenty but forty!) years old, Eliot set himself to study Algonquin. He deciphered the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax and eventually translated the entire Bible as well as books that he valued such as Richard Baxter’s Call to the Uncoverted. By the time Eliot was eighty-four years old, there were numerous Indian churches, some with their own Indian pastors. It is an amazing story of a man who once said, “Prayers and pains through faith in Christ Jesus will do anything!”

John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 53