Posts Tagged ‘Prayer Thoughts’

This is from John Piper. We should never have any shortage of things to pray for if we read the New Testament and pray what they prayed for:

They called on God to exalt his name in the world: Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (Matthew 6:9).

They called on God to extend his kingdom in the world: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10 ).

They called on God that the gospel would run and triumph: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

They called on God for the fullness of the Holy Spirit:  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13; cf. Ephesians 3:19).

They called on God to vindicate his people in their cause: And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? (Luke 18:7).

They called on God to save unbelievers: Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved (Romans 10:1).

They called on God to direct the use of the sword: Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying through all prayer and supplication on every occasion .  (Ephesians 6:17-18)

They called on God for boldness in proclamation: Pray at all times in the Spirit . . . and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19)

And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness (Acts 4:29).

They called on God for signs and wonders: And now Lord . . . grant your servants to speak thy word with boldness . . . while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:30).

Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit (James 5:17 -18).

And the list is much longer

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When we cry out in prayer, God Himself– Creator, Sustainer, Life-giver, Life-taker– puts Himself within range of our voice. He does so not only in a way that is glorious and mighty (though He certainly is) but also in a way that is humble and truly offers us an inheritance and relationship beyond what we could ever dream. Thomas Brooks illuminates this characteristic of our Lord in the context of His wrestlings with Jacob, how He wrestled and because Jacob clung to him, found blessing and was forever changed by the Lord. He wrote of it this way:


When lovers wrestle, the strongest is willing enough to take a fall from the weakest; and so it was here. The father, in wrestling with his child, is willing enough, for his child’s comfort and encouragement, to take a fall now and then; and so it was between the angel and Jacob in the present case. Now in this blessed story, you may see the great power and prevalency of private prayer; it conquers the great conqueror…


Is our Father limited or somehow held captive by our prayers? Not in the slightest! But is He moved by them? Does He sometimes relent out of love? Mysteriously, it seems so. Why, then, do we not pound the door of Heaven day and night? The God of Heaven hears!


Sadly, our lack of desire and our lack of discipline keeps us from regular, deep communion with the Father. View article…

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Another motivation, Brooks writes, is that “you are the only persons in all the world that God has made choice of to reveal his secrets to.” Disciples of Christ are those to whom, in John 15:15, Christ promises to reveal the things of the Father.

He continues,

[Christ] cannot but open and unburden his heart to all his dearest friends. To be reserved and close is against the very law of friendship. Faithful friends are free in imparting their thoughts, their minds, their secrets, one to another.

… Though the devil be the greatest scholar in the world, and though he has more learning than all the men in the world have, yet there are many thousands of secrets and mysteries in the gospel of grace, that he doesn’t know…

Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)

So we come to this– we have an offer from the Almighty to come and abide with us, to hear our cries and our longings, and to not only show compassion but also to act… it is then up to us to respond to that, not as a rebellious son who runs from His Father’s offer of abundance and relationship… but as loving children who run into the arms of the Father and abide *with* Him.

Private prayer offers us the opportunity to do that very thing… and I’m sharing here that I want this, but I am not a a faithful practictioner of it. I long to be, and yet I fall short. And I don’t really know what else to write except that I am pressing on, striving, and trust that He will continue drawing me to Himself and teaching me more in this area. And I hope that this somehow encourages you to draw near to the Father as well. View article…

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If You Do Not Have A Prayer Life, You’re Not A Christian – Bob Jennings –The Prayer Meeting

“[Prayer] is a mark of true Christianity. If you do not have a prayer life, one thing you know for sure is, you’re not a Christian. Every Christian has a prayer life, he lives, he walks, he breathes in communion with God. It is a mark of true Christianity, it is a mark of a true church. Mark chapter 11, my house shall be called a house of what? Prayer. … If you see a church that is not devoted to prayer, you know one thing for sure, it is not a house of Jesus!”~Bob Jennings
Sermon: The Prayer Meeting – Bob Jennings- 36 min. (Worth listening to several times).

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Creative Connection

Letitia Suk

For years, my prayers were scattered. I’d start with the crisis of the day, then mentally spin off to groceries I needed or calls I had to make. Then I’d nod off for a short nap and wake with the resolution to “pray harder” next time.

That all changed the day I leafed through a stack of family photographs and found myself praying for each person pictured. As I looked at my children’s smiling, hope-filled faces, asking God to bless and protect them felt effortless. I prayed he’d put their dreams within reach, strengthen their relationships to him, and keep their hearts and actions pure.

This time I couldn’t stop praying. The next day I grabbed the photos and designed a system to motivate me in prayer.

Prayer Pages

I bought a small scrapbook and pasted a photo of a specific person on each left-hand page. On the corresponding right-hand page, I wrote broad prayer request categories of how I wanted to pray for that person.

I designated the first spread for me. So next to my smiling portrait, I listed all the ways I want God to work in and through me—to help me obey his nudges, be the best wife possible, maintain healthy relationships with my children, and spread Jesus’ love. Then I listed themes: health issues, church involvement, work goals, financial integrity, and other big-ticket items.

I placed my husband’s photo on the next spread. As I looked at him, I was easily able to focus and pray down my list: for his passion for God, for his mentoring of our children, for his wisdom and discernment at work, for his continued spiritual growth.

Next came my children. I created a different prayer list based on each child’s unique personality. But I gave them all these common themes: a strong relationship to God, wisdom for life choices, purity with the opposite sex, preparation for marriage and work, and involvement in Christian community.

After the family pages, I designated spreads for our extended family, my church small group, and a few close friends. The last section was for current prayer requests: the couple who were getting married, the guy from church who was fighting brain cancer, a friend’s daughter who was struggling with her faith. And often when people would ask me to pray for them, I’d say yes and ask for a photo. There in the back section, that photo would remind me to actually keep my promise.


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And here, Brooks encourages us to bring our tears and hurts before the One who sits on the throne of grace. Looking at examples like David (as in Psalm 6:6-8) and Peter (Matt. 26:75), he writes, “prayers and tears are not only very pleasing to God, but also very prevalent with God.

Bellarmine offered this commendation towards bringing one’s tears as prayers before God’s throne:

“Cry aloud, not with your tongue, but with your eyes; not with your words, but with your tears; for that is the prayer that makes the most forcible entry into the ears of the great God of heaven.”

Brooks reminds us that a discerning father can know the heart of his child if he listens to that child’s fervent tears. The sorrows of a child, whether right or wrong, or for good or ill reasons, are often accurate indicators of the state of the heart. And they tug on the heart of the loving parent. So, too, our loving Father ought to be the One to whom we bring our deepest sufferings and sorrows. When things are troublesome, as they so often are in this life as strangers and aliens to the world around us, it is then that we should look to our Father who knows and sees all things– even the things done in secret– and unburden ourselves before Him. View article…

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How to Pray in an Economic Crisis


During one of the most volatile periods of the current economic crisis—a week in which global stock markets declined by $7 trillion—Philip Yancey received a call from an editor at Time magazine. The editor’s question was simple: “How should a person pray during a crisis like this?” Here is a summary of what Yancey shared in response:

The first stage is simple, an instinctive cry: “Help!” For someone who faces a job cut or health crisis or watches retirement savings wither away, prayer offers a way to voice fear and anxiety. I have learned to resist the tendency to edit my prayers so that they sound sophisticated and mature. I believe God wants us to come exactly as we are, no matter how childlike we may feel. A God aware of every sparrow that falls surely knows the impact of scary financial times on frail human beings. …

If I pray with the intent to listen as well as talk, I can enter into a second stage, that of meditation and reflection. Okay, my life savings has virtually disappeared. What can I learn from this seeming catastrophe? …

A time of crisis presents a good opportunity to identify the foundation on which I construct my life. If I place my ultimate trust in financial security or in the government’s ability to solve my problems, I will surely watch the basement flood and the walls crumble.

A friend from Chicago, Bill Leslie, used to say that the Bible asks three main questions about money: (1) How did you get it? (Legally and justly or exploitatively?); (2) What are you doing with it? (Indulging in luxuries or helping the needy?); and (3) What is it doing to you? Some of Jesus’ most trenchant parables and sayings go straight to the heart of that last question. …

The same week that global wealth shrank by $7 trillion, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate hit a record 231 million percent. In other words, if you had saved $1 million Zimbabwean dollars by Monday, on Tuesday it was worth $158. This sobering fact leads me to the third and most difficult stage of prayer in crisis: I need God’s help in taking my eyes off my own problems in order to look with compassion on the truly desperate. …

What a testimony it would be if, in 2009, Christians resolved to increase their giving to build houses for the poor, combat AIDS in Africa, and announce kingdom values to a decadent, celebrity-driven culture. Such a response defies all logic and common sense — unless, of course, we take seriously the moral of Jesus’ simple tale about building houses on a sure foundation.

Philip Yancey, “A Surefire Investment,” www.christianitytoday.com/ct

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Your Father Knows What You Need

I love this from John Piper. I needed this today!

Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25-34 he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety.

One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:32).

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (vv. 31-32).

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.

I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’s in at least three ways.

  • Right now I don’t know where any of them is. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.
  • I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts.
  • I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.

This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason for not worrying. There are things that may be happening to them now or may happen tomorrow that I do not even know about.

But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of Matt. 6:30). Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do  (he feeds billions of birds hourly, Matt. 6:26).

So join me and my children in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

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From J. I. Packer’s Praying the Lord’s Prayer:

We need to see that the Lord’s Pray is offering us model answers to the series of questions God puts to us to shape our conversation with him. Thus:

What do you take me for, and what am I to you?

Our Father in heaven.

That being so, what is it that you really want most?

The hallowing of your name; the coming of your kingdom; to see your will known and done.

So what are you asking for right now, as a means to that end?

Provision, pardon, protection.

How can you be so bold and confident in asking for these things?

Because we know you can do it, and when you do it, it will bring you glory!

By the way, Packer also writes:

Three venerable formulae together add up to Christianity: the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer, summarizing respectively the Christian way of believing, behaving, and communing with God.

Toward that end he’s written three short studies: Affirming the Apostle’s Creed, Keeping the Ten Commandments, and Praying the Lord’s Prayer. I’d highly recommend all three. You can also find these studies in one volume: Growing in Christ.


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How to Pray

Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.

from Calvin’s Institutes.

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