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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Before sharing some reasons for giving thanks, I want to just express my prayers for the people in Mumbai, India, and those affected by the terrorist attacks there. My heart goes out to the people of Mumbai and the foreigners caught in that tragedy. I pray for a quick end to the situation.

At the same time, I want to express thanks to God for His grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. I am thankful for my wife and children. I am thankful that we are able to visit with family in the United States this year and spend some time with loved ones. I am appreciative that God has given us His Word in the Bible and the gift of prayer. I hope that all of you all have a great Thanksgiving day.

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Psalm 67 begins with a prayer for God’s blessings.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us

The prayer may seem self-centered to some, but for most of us such a prayer is natural. It is how we most often pray. We desire God’s blessings. We enjoy what He gives to us. However, the second and third verses to the Psalm gives us the proper reason for praying for God’s blessings.

that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
(The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Ps 67:1-3)

Prayers for God’s blessings must have God’s glory as their motive. His blessings are not for us alone, but for all humanity. We must share His blessings: especially, the spiritual blessings of the Gospel. Understanding this truth sheds light on a very familiar passage.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
(The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Jas 4:3)

When we ask for God’s blessings, we should take time to understand our motives. Are we asking for something for our own glory? Are we asking for something that we will be unwilling to share with others and use to bless others? Is God’s glory the purpose for which we pray?

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Please pray for people in Louisiana as they prepare for this hurricane. Also, lift up those in Cuba and others who have been impacted by this storm. For details about emergency preparations and conditions you can go to this site.

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If you are struggling with your prayer life here are some great thoughts about how to reboot your prayer life.

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“And although sin has for a time frustrated God’s plans, prayer still remains what it would have been if man had never fallen: the proof of man’s Godlikeness, the vehicle of his intercourse with the Infinite Unseen One, the power that is allowed to hold the hand that holds the destinies of the universe. Prayer is not merely the cry of the suppliant for mercy; it is the highest forth-putting of his will by man, knowing himself to be of Divine origin, created for and capable of being, in king-like liberty, the executor of the counsels of the Eternal.
“What sin destroyed, grace has restored. What the first Adam lost, the second has won back. In Christ man regains his original position, and the Church, abiding in Christ, inherits the promise: ‘Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ Such a promise does by no means, in the first place, refer to the grace or blessing we need for ourselves. It has reference to our position as the fruit-bearing branches of the Heavenly Vine, who, like Him, only live for the work and glory of the Father. It is for those who abide in Him, who have forsaken self to take up their abode in Him with His life of obedience and self-sacrifice, who have lost their life and found it in Him, who are now entirely given up to the interests of the Father and His kingdom. These are they who understand how their new creation has brought them back to their original destiny, has restored God’s image and likeness, and with it the power to have dominion. Such have indeed the power, each in their own circle, to obtain and dispense the powers of heaven here on earth. With holy boldness they
may make known what they will: they live as priests in God’s presence; as kings the powers of the world to come begin to be at their disposal. They enter upon the fulfilment of the promise: ‘Ask whatsoever ye will, it shall be done unto you.’”

Prayer is part of what it means to be created in God’s image.  His grace removes the sin that distorts the image allowing us to fulfill part of the purpose for our creation through prayer.

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Andrew Murray dealt with the importance of a right understanding of God and His nature as we pray. He particularly dealt with the seeming conflict between God’s perfection and sovereignty and the influence of our prayers.

In the New Testament we find a distinction made between faith and knowledge. ‘To one is given, through the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit.’ In a child or a simple-minded Christian there may be much faith with little knowledge. Childlike simplicity accepts the truth without difficulty, and often cares little to give itself or others any reason for its faith but this: God has said. But it is the will of God that we should love and serve Him, not only with all the heart but also with all the mind; that we should grow up into an insight into the Divine wisdom and beauty of all His ways and words and works. It is only thus that the believer will be able fully to approach and rightly to adore the glory of God’s grace; and only thus that our heart can intelligently apprehend the treasures of wisdom and knowledge there are in redemption, and be prepared to enter fully into the highest note of the song that rises before the throne: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’

He writes letter on in the lesson, “This perfect harmony and union of Divine Sovereignty and human liberty is to us an unfathomable mystery, because God as THE ETERNAL ONE transcends all our thoughts. But let it be our comfort and strength to be assured that in the eternal fellowship of the Father and the Son, the power of prayer has its origin and certainty, and that through our union with the Son, our prayer is taken up and can have its influence in the inner life of the Blessed Trinity. God’s decrees are no iron framework against which man’s liberty would vainly seek to struggle. No. God Himself is the Living Love, who in His Son as man has entered into the tenderest relation with all that is human, who through the Holy Spirit takes up all that is human into the Divine life of love, and keeps Himself free to give every human prayer its place in His government of the world.

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I have been studying Paul’s letter to the Philippians with my sons recently.  Looking back at my old study Bible I saw in the margin where I had listed five attitudes and actions that lead to joy found in Philippians 4:4-9.

They are:

  1. Be a gentle person.
  2. Do not worry about things.
  3. Pray about them instead.
  4. One of my sons added to the list that I had: Be thankful.
  5. Think about good things that are worthy of thought.
  6. Put into practice what Scripture teaches.

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