Prayer resources

This is the list of prayer resources I spoke of yesterday in the afternoon sermon.

The Book of Common Prayer (Anglican)

Matthew Henry’s A Method of Prayer (Reformed)

John Haberman’s Morning and Evening Prayer for All Days of the Week (Lutheran)

Taking the lead

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, is taking the lead in the proper way.  Recently he led his people in a prayer of repentance.  This is the entire text of the prayer.  (Sorry for the formatting difficulties.)

“Father God in heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all your goodness to us.
I stand here today to close the evil past and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness. (more…)

A prophetic voice

Talk about a voice crying in the wilderness.  Archbishop Timothy Dolen, the Roman Catholic cardinal who offered the closing prayer of the Republican convention, also offered the closing prayer at the Democratic convention.  If you paid attention to the DNC, you would have noticed that it was, among other things, a celebration of abortion.  Dolen’s prayer didn’t pull any punches because of the crowd.  I’ve included the entire prayer here: (more…)

Lessons from outside brothers

I don’t often speak appreciatively of the Anglicans.  Between permitting sodomy, women priests, and being a little bit too cozy with Islam, there are plenty of reasons to call them out.  But they do have elements that should be valued in the body of Christ.  While at my in-laws house, the family turned on the royal wedding and two of these elements stood out. 

First of all, every time you turned around there was a reference to Scripture.  There were readings, quotations, and allusions throughout the service, much more than any wedding I’ve ever seen.  Then again, as a friend reminded me, most wedding ceremonies today are watered-down versions of the Anglican wedding liturgy.  

The second thing that made an impression on me was that they left no one in doubt as to whether or not they are Trinitarians.  The references to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were numerous.  It was refreshing to hear the work of the entire Godhead spoken of so often.   


 

Having said this, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m leading a procession to Canterbury.  But there are some good lessons to learn from this.  First of all, services in all churches, regardless of denomination, should be filled with Scripture.  It is a sad thing when God’s people only hear a little of God’s word read (and that only in preaching) when they come together for worship on Sunday.  Every part of the service, from beginning to end, should be saturated with God’s word.  When the congregation leaves, they should remember God’s word more than anything else.  Secondly, our prayers and preaching should drill the triune nature of God deep into the hearts of God’s people. Hearing a prayer that calls upon God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should be as natural as breathing, but to us it seems odd.  I’m not saying we’re not trinitarians, but that we don’t sound like trinitarians.  A visitor could come into many of our worship services and never know that we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

This doesn’t explain exactly what to do, but we’ve got to start somewhere.  

Prayer for the Church – 2

Pray for her sanctification – Hebrews 12:5-6, John 15:2-3, Acts 14:22

  • When we go through tribulations, we have a choice in how we respond.  We either react negatively or positively.  In other words, we trust God or we resist God.
  • We’re told that the Lord sends chastening at times for our benefit.  This isn’t always in response to open sin (as Brother Mike said when he preached through Hebrews). 
  • Sometimes God’s chastening is to help us in crucifying the flesh.  God sends it because He loves us.
  • We’re told that He brings it to allow the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
  • When He sends this to the body, it is for (more…)

Praying for unbelievers-3

Pray for boldness to proclaim the gospel yourself – Acts 4:29, II Cor. 5:20

  • It is interesting to note that the Bible contains more actual evangelism than there is praying for evangelism. 
  • There’s a reason for this: we have a harder time participating in evangelism than we have praying for it. 
  • That isn’t to say prayer is unimportant, but that it’s not all. 
  • We have been made ambassadors for Christ, we are responsible to offer peace with God by means of repentance. 
  • That person is God’s enemy and he needs to be reconciled to God.  That’s done through repentance and submission to God. 
  • We are responsible to proclaim this, but first we need to pray for boldness to do that very thing. 
  • This is particularly the responsibility of God’s ministers.  They must do the work of an evangelist. 
  • If you are afraid, pray for boldness, but also pray that they will hear the gospel. 
  • I can’t stress the importance that they hear the real gospel (which is not God loves them as has a wonderful plan for their life). 
  • Explaining the real gospel would take at least another sermon, but they need to hear it anyway (Romans 10:14). 

Finally, remind God of His plan to save the world – II Cor. 5:19, I John 2:2, Isa. 2:2-3

  • This is where a hearty belief of prophecy is important. 
  • If you believe that Jesus’ death was only to save a handful, then the chances are slim that that person is elect. 
  • But if you believe that that majority of people in history will be saved (which is what John saw in Revelation 7:9, the only time the Bible refers to a group as being greater than any man can number) then you should pray like it. 
  • Remember you are God’s friend, not a casual acquaintance. 
  • Remind Him of His promise to save the world when you are praying for another person. 
  • This leads to another type of evangelistic prayer, one that is not as specific, but exemplified in Scripture. 
  • We should pray that the world will come to Christ.  We should ask God to move in such a way that He will be exalted (the first line of the Lord’s prayer). 
  • Don’t get bogged down in just praying for one or two people; pray for city, state, and world-wide evangelism. 

Imprecatory Prayer – 5

What does it do?  It calls God to act on our behalf – Rev. 8:1-5. 

  • The prayers of the saints were offered to God, and He in turn poured out fire upon them. 
  • When did fire come upon God’s people?  At Pentecost. 
  • I believe here we have a heavenly picture of what happened in (more…)

Imprecatory Prayer – 4

Does praying these prayers mean we seek the death of God’s enemies? 

  • It could be misunderstood that we desire the death of all those who oppose us in this life, but we don’t. 
  • We don’t know who is elect and who isn’t.  The Lord is angry with the wicked, but He loves the righteous. 
  • How do we pray this properly?  Psalm 137:8-9.  This is one of the most often quoted verses by atheists to prove that the God of the Bible is vengeful. 
  • We know better, but as James Jordan points out, we have a bigger problem.  This passage, written during the exile in Babylon, contradicts Jeremiah’s command from God to pray for Babylon’s peace (Jer. 29:7). 
  • Is the Psalmist praying contrary to God’s command?     (more…)

Imprecatory Prayers – 1

Psalm 58

We come today to one of the most ignored types of prayer: imprecatory prayers.  These are the prayers your mother wouldn’t let you pray as a child.  They are the Psalmist praying God’s judgment upon His enemies.  Should these prayers have a place in the life of the Christian today?  If so, what should it be?   

Let’s begin by asking a question: was the psalmist right to pray these things? 

  • The tract liberal scholars take is that these prayers are were wrong for the Psalmist to pray as well as wrong for us to pray; God allowed them to stay there so we would see how not to pray. 
  • But that doesn’t work, because these men were inspired by God to pray this way.  God motivated them to pray in such a manner. 
  • Another option is that it was right for the Psalmist to pray this way, but not for us because we aren’t inspired by the Holy Spirit, sometimes it can be our flesh. 
  • It’s true we can pray these things with personal vengeance in mind instead of Godly justice, but we can take any other good example in the Bible and use it wrongfully. 
  • The potential to use Scripture wrongfully is not an excuse to ignore it. 
  • And let’s be real, when’s the last time you used Psalm 7, or 58, or 137 in your prayer time (or even heard it used by someone else)?  Probably never. 
  • The fact is we don’t know how to use these Psalms in worship or in private devotion. 
  • But all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and training in righteousness; that includes these passages.  So why don’t we use them?

Prayers of Penitence 3

This is the last in a series describing the qualities of biblical penitential prayer.

Trusting ourselves to God’s mercy – Ps. 51:1

  • Penitential prayers trust God to show mercy.  This is not the same as believing He will stop the consequences.  It means trusting that no matter what consequences he allows, he is good.
  • David did this in II Samuel 12, after his child died.  He had asked God to save him, but He allowed the child to die.  Praying this way means we look to God as the only fountain of mercy, knowing that whatever he allows is right.
  • Hebrews 12 reminds us that the chastening He sends is for our benefit.  We don’t like confronting consequences for sin, but that comes.
  • But this doesn’t mean we go despondently to God.  We go trusting that He will be merciful to us. 
  • This is the difference between us and others; while we humbly ask God’s mercy, because we go through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Ghost, we believe He will grant it.