Archive for the 'Prayer' Category

Partial Puritan Prayer – Freedom

Who can fathom immeasurable love?
As far as the rational soul exceeds the senses,
so does the spirit exceed the rational in its
knowledge of thee.
Thou hast given me understanding to compass
the earth,
measure the sun, moon, stars, universe,
but above all to know thee, the only true God.
I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite,
here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth;
Now I know but a small portion of what
I shall know,
here in part, there in perfection,
here a glimpse, there a glory.
To enjoy thee is life eternal,
and to enjoy is to know.
Keep me in the freedom of experiencing
thy salvation continually.

From The Valley of Vision

How To Pray Better – Guaranteed

I was going to repost the most read post on this blog, which has a link to the book I’ve gotten by far the most commission for as an Amazon Associate, but I’d rather link to it and leave it dated as it is so the search engines continue to find it where it is.

It’s important to pray using the language of the Bible. It’s also important to pray according to God’s will. One way to learn this is by looking at Paul’s prayers and comparing them to our own:

Paul’s Prayers

You can see that this was back when people used to comment more on blogs–or mine anyway.

Puritan Prayer

Here is the first part of a prayer called The Saviour from the book, The Valley of Vision:

Thou God of all grace,
thou hast given me a Saviour,
produce in me a faith to live by him,
to make him all my desire,
all my hope,
all my glory.
May I enter him as my refuge,
build on him as my foundation,
walk in him as my way,
follow him as my guide,
conform to him as my example,
receive his instructions as my prophet,
rely on his intercession as my high priest,
obey him as my king.

Puritan Prayer: The Awakened Sinner

Here is a partial prayer that I especially like from The Valley of Vision.

I confess that thou hast not been in all my thoughts,
That the knowledge of thyself as the end of my being
Has been strangely overlooked,
That I have never seriously considered my heart-need.

But although my mind is perplexed and divided,
My nature perverse,
Yet my secret dispositions still desire thee;
Break the fatal enchantment that binds my evil affections,
And bring me to a happy mind that rests in thee,
For thou hast made me and canst not forget me.

Let thy Spirit teach me the vital lessons of Christ,
For I am slow to learn;
And hear thou my broken cries.

Praying Spiritually

“Spiritual prayers are best. Have you a diseased body? Pray more that the disease of your soul may be removed than of your body. “Heal my soul, for I have sinned.” Psalm 41:4. The plague of the heart is worse than a cancer in the breast. Have you a child that is lame? Pray more to have its unholiness removed than its lameness. Spiritual prayers are more pleasing to God, and are as music in his ears. Christ has here taught us to pray against sin, “Deliver us from evil.”

Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer

I will harp on this idea of praying spiritually until the day I die.

Regarding the quote: Praying for someone’s temporary comfort and not praying for their salvation, if it’s in doubt, is the meanest thing anyone can do.

As far as the subject of healing, when praying for Christians, pray for that, but more importantly for perseverance, faith, hope, that God would use whatever the situation to bring them closer to Him, to know His character better, to become more Christlike, etc. We don’t know if healing is God’s will or not, but we know those other things are in fact God’s will for believers. It’s all over the Bible. We can’t go wrong by imitating the prayers of Jesus and Paul.

Also see:
Complete List of Paul's Prayers | Scripture Zealot blog
Praying for the Soul | Desiring God by John Piper, Daily Devotionals Online

We must be careful what we attribute to God

This is a very interesting part of a prayer from the Valley of Vision. I’m still pondering its meaning. In any case, we need to be careful when we get a feeling inside or a random thought and assume it’s God whispering things that only our corrupt imagination could decipher.

When my mind acts without thee,
it spins nothing but deceit and illusion;

[…]

Keep me from the error of thinking
thou dost appear gloriously
when some strange light fills my heart,
as if that were the glorious activity of grace,
but let me see that the truest revelation of thyself
is when thou dost eclipse all my personal glory
and all the honour, pleasure and good of this world.

The Son breaks out in glory
when he shows himself as one
who outshines all creation,
makes men poor in spirit,
and helps them to find their good in him.

Grant that I may distrust myself,
to see my all in thee.

The Valley of Vision, “Love to Jesus”

Also see:
Mumblings from God

Conforming to Jesus

I’ve always felt that Christians, especially men, are rather homogeneous in the USA. We’re supposed to conform to Christ, but if we look and act like most of the other Christian men, then we’re probably doing it right. If we live in suburbia, wearing a suit and tie to church, or at least one of those shirts with a little alligator on it, we’re probably doing it right. If we’re clean cut, don’t swear (I’m actually very strict about that one, but just using it as an example), and don’t get angry, then we’re probably doing it right. And you know what we’re also doing? Conforming to the image of corporate America.

If I were to conform to this, I would feel like I’ve lost myself, not being a fan of corporate culture. (This isn’t a negative commentary on business.) Thank God he gave us a Person to conform to who’s looks are a secret. We’re to conform to his character, not the look of certain contemporary people in our supposed center of the world. This frees us to be ourselves as He made us to be. The more different a person is from the “norm”, the more difficult it can be, unless they care so much more about pleasing God than men. Which is how it should be.

This is a portion of the prayer ‘The Love of Jesus’ from The Valley of Vision. At first it almost sounds like one of those ‘love song’ type praise choruses. I like the various wordings and the message. It’s reassuring. When I’m thinking this way, I’m know I’m probably doing it right.

My heart melts at the love of Jesus,
my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,
married to me, dead for me, risen for me;
He is mine and I am his;
given to me as well as for me;
I am never so much mine as when I am his,
or so much lost to myself until lost in him;
then I find my true manhood.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8:29 NIV (all)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If you love the world, love for the Father is not in you. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful people, the lust of their eyes and their boasting about what they have and do–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17

They Poured Out A Prayer

They Poured Out A Prayer

(Thomas Brooks, “A Word in Season to Suffering Saints“)

The greatest antidote against all the troubles of this life, is fervent prayer.

“Lord, in trouble have they visited You; they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.”
Isaiah 26:16

“They poured out a prayer.” Before, they would say a prayer—but now, they poured out a prayer.

Saints never visit God more with their prayers—than when He visits them most with His rod. Saints never pray with . . .

that seriousness,
that spiritualness,
that heavenliness,
that humbleness,
that brokenness,
that fervency,
that frequency—as they do, when they are under the mighty chastening hand of God!

A sincere Christian never prays so sweetly—as when under God’s rod. When a Christian is in trouble—then prayer is his food and drink.

Oh, what a spirit of prayer was . . .
upon Jonah—when he was in the whale’s belly; and
upon Daniel—when he was among the lions; and
upon David—when fleeing in the wilderness; and
upon the dying thief—when he was on the cross; and
upon Jacob—when his brother Esau came to meet him with four hundred bloody cut-throats at his heels!

When a Christian is under great troubles, deep distresses, and most extreme dangers; he
should pray …
more for the sanctification of affliction—than its removal;
more to get off his sins—than to get off his chains;
more to get good by the rod—than to get free from the rod;
that his afflictions may be a purifying and refining fire,
that his heart may be low and his graces high,
that he may be more weaned from this world,
that he be more ripe for eternal glory.

Puritan Prayer: Christ Alone

This is the second half of a Puritan prayer from The Valley of Vision. I especially like the first paragraph.

I’ve always liked study and discipline and being confident in what I believe. I love worshipping God in all of those ways (spiritual disciplines) and in meditating on Him. The daily care of it has always been a big concern. Sundays and ‘quiet times’ (and a Puritan prayer on Sundays nights) are for worshipping with others and for concentrated prayer and time in Scripture, being but a part of our lives lived before God.

I like how he says “to seek and know his will from love, to hold it in love”. Lately, I’ve been seeing God’s will as mainly something to submit to. I suppose with a lot of hardship, this is easy to fall into. I’ve been trying to see it more as “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Not that it’s either or; not that it’s only those two ways of looking at it. To hold it in love is a little different way of seeing it for me, and I’m not sure if I’m able to completely embrace it that way yet with the losses I’ve had, even as God has grown me so much closer to him.

Christ Alone (second half)
Let me study and stand for discipline,
and all the ways of worship,
out of love for Christ;
and to show my thankfulness;
to seek and know his will from love,
to hold it in love,
and daily to care for and keep this state of heart.

Thou hast led me to place all my nature and happiness
in oneness with Christ,
in having heart and mind centred only on him,
in being like him in communicating good to others;

This is my heaven on earth,
but I need the force, energy, impulses of thy Spirit
to carry me on the way to my Jerusalem.

Here, it is my duty
to be as Christ in this world,
to do what he would do,
to live as he would live,
to walk in love and meekness;
then would he be known,
then would I have peace in death.

Prayer for God’s Strength

I confess that I often worry about not having enough money someday for whatever reason. God doesn’t promise that we’ll be prosperous financially or materially, contrary to what some Christians believe. But God promises grace and that he’ll be enough for us, however much he decides to provide for us and in what forms. I can imagine that some people are in this situation and wonder what God is up to.

The NLT Study Bible notes have this about Habakkuk 1:2-4:

“To Habakkuk, God seemed indifferent to the evil permeating society in Judah (Habakkuk 1:3-4) and unresponsive to his complaints about it (Habakkuk 1:2).”

“Habakkuk’s prophecy concludes with a psalm-like prayer.” The last part is below. I don’t normally post notes from study Bibles, but I think these are very helpful.

Habakkuk 3:16

“Although the full realization of God’s mighty power sapped Habakkuk’s strength to the point that he trembled, he would wait quietly (see Habakkuk 2:3) for God’s judgment to descend. • My legs gave way beneath me: Literally Decay entered my bones.

Habakkuk 3:16-19 NLT
I trembled inside when I heard this;
my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,
and I shook in terror.
I will wait quietly for the coming day
when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
17Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

“After recounting God’s mighty acts of redemption (Habakkuk 3:2-15), and pausing to consider them (Habakkuk 3:16), Habakkuk now reaffirms his trust in God as he closes his prayer. • Even though . . . yet I will rejoice: Even if God never pours out material blessing on his people again, he is still worthy of all the trust and praise they can give. Come what may, the prophet could rejoice, knowing that the LORD is not only Israel’s Redeemer, but also the source of his own salvation.”

Philippians 4:11-13 TNIV
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Puritan Prayer For The Week

Here are portions of a Puritan prayer I thought would be nice to start off the week if you’re reading it on a Monday, or whenever you happen to see this. It’s from God Honoured in The Valley of Vision:

Praise waiteth for thee,
and to render it is my noblest exercise;
this is thy due from all thy creatures,
for all thy works display thy attributes
and fulfill thy designs;

May my religion be always firmly rooted in thy Word,
my understanding divinely informed,
my affections holy and heavenly,
my motives simple and pure,
and my heart never wrong with thee.

Deliver me from the natural darkness of my own mind,
from the corruptions of my heart,
from the temptations to which I am exposed,
from the daily snares that attend me.

Until I finish my course with joy may I pursue it with diligence,
in every part display the resources of the Christian,
and adorn the doctrine of thee my God in all things.

God Speaking In Prayer – Part 1

Don’t worry, I’m not imagining that God is telling me what socks to wear.

Often when I’m in the praise phase of my praying, God brings to light something new to praise him for. He’s been doing this almost once a week for a very long time now. These are always things that can be found or confirmed in Scripture. While I have a sort of mental list of things I pray for, I always sort of meditate as I’m praying, and let prayers evolve over time. I use the ATCS model. (Many use ACTS, but I just can’t seem to be like everyone else.) Adoration (Praise for who the triune God is), Thanksgiving (for what God has done), Confession, and Supplication (asking for stuff, mainly spiritual though). Sometimes I think it may be best to do confession first, which I may try.

These are quick, unedited things I’ve tried to write in Evernote. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten to write down as many as have been written.

  • Saw a song book of my wife’s named “Light” just when I was praising God for sending his Son into the world. I hadn’t thought about Christ being the “light of the world” in a while.
  • We have what Job badly wanted–a mediator
  • We receive benefits of the different aspects of the Trinity, as if they were made for us
  • If you don’t believe that God has you where He wants you, and that He owns you and can do whatever He wants with you, then it’s very difficult to trust Him when something worse comes along.
  • We are part of the Israelite lineage because of being grafted in
  • Christ with the Father for eternity (past), and then has broken fellowship on the cross
  • Reading the Bible chronologically and getting to Luke and feeling like getting to the top of a mountain similar to Hebrews reaching Canaan?
  • God our Father is like someone we most respect in the world becoming our Father x (times) infinity
  • The OT gives us a shadow of the temple. When I look at my shadow, it’s just an outline. That’s hardly anything. The level of detail we see in the OT is very fine–and that’s just a shadow. How much more is where he really is. And we will inhabit that place someday. As we are now, it would be too overwhelming.
  • The joy Jesus must have felt when he was raised from the dead
  • It’s amazing how much God has given us. While praising God He helped me realize another level of how much He’s given us in our inheritance–The Kingdom itself, heaven with a place for us there, triumph and judgment of evil at the end, the fruits of the Spirit, knowledge, strength, and on and on. This is in addition to Christ and the cross, which is praised for all of the time and has also been increasing in awareness and ramifications.

Also see:
God Speaking in Prayer – Part 2 of 2

A Rambling Prayer

your will be done
Matthew 6:10

According to the risen Lord Jesus Christ,
Help us to do your will and be obedient to you.
Guide us in praying according to your will more and more.
Help us to gain spiritual knowledge and wisdom.
Compel us to highly value it.
Remind us to pray for it.
Energize us to enjoy seeking it.
Convey it to us, realizing that it comes from you.

Help us to meditate on your words in Spirit and in truth.
I confess that I sometimes go the way of my own earthly theories and introspection.
We know you long to bring us back when we go off your path.
Help our thoughts and ideas, private and verbal,
to be confined to those of Christ, the Word of truth.

Then let us continually go back to Scripture,
so that our rambling musings on things of You are always enlightened and corrected by Scripture.

We praise you for your word–for being living and active through it.
Remind us that we can hear you speak to us by just reading our Bible.
What an indescribably great thing!

Puritan Prayer: God Enjoyed

I pray through a Puritan prayer every Sunday night. (I’m not sure if I got this one at Amazon or not. The Kindle or other ebook edition was very inexpensive. It’s not the Valley of Vision book.) I like this prayer. It’s a little different. I hope you do.

God Enjoyed

Thou Incomprehensible
But Prayer-hearing God,

Known, but beyond knowledge,
revealed, but unrevealed,
my wants and welfare draw me to thee,
for thou hast never said, ‘Seek ye me in vain’.

To Thee I come in my difficulties, necessities, distresses;
possess me with thyself,
with a spirit of grace and supplication,
with a prayerful attitude of mind,
with access into warmth of fellowship,
so that in the ordinary concerns of life
my thoughts and desires may rise to thee,
and in habitual devotion I may find a resource
that will soothe my sorrows,
sanctify my successes,
and qualify me in all ways for dealings with my fellow men.

I bless thee that thou hast made me capable.
of knowing thee, the author of all being,
of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,
of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.

O God, attend me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage;
I need the same counsel, defense, comfort I found at my beginning.
Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience,
more perceptible to those around.
While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect him on earth,
While he pleads my cause, may I show forth his praise.

Continue the gentleness of thy goodness towards me,
And whether I wake or sleep, let thy presence go with me,
thy blessing attend me.

Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,
fearful, but thou hast delivered me,
despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.
Thy vows are ever upon me,
And I praise thee, O God.

Prayer for the Day/Week/Year

I love this one, along with the other Puritan Prayers.

Openness

Lord of immortality, before whom angels bow and archangels veil their faces, enable me to serve Thee with reverence and godly fear. Thou who art Spirit and requirest truth in the inward parts, help me to worship Thee in spirit and in truth. Thou who art righteous, let me not harbour sin in my heart, or indulge a worldly temper, or seek satisfaction in things that perish.

I hasten towards an hour when earthly pursuits and possessions will appear vain, when it will be indifferent whether I have been rich or poor, successful or disappointed, admired or despised. But it will be of eternal moment that I have mourned for sin, hungered and thirsted after righteousness, loved the Lord Jesus in sincerity, gloried in His cross. May these objects engross my chief solicitude! Produce in me those principles and dispositions that make Thy service perfect freedom.

Expel from my mind all sinful fear and shame, so that with firmness and courage I may confess the Redeemer before men, go forth with Him hearing His reproach, be zealous with His knowledge, be filled with His wisdom, walk with His circumspection, ask counsel of Him in all things, repair to the Scriptures for His orders, stay my mind on His peace, knowing that nothing can befall me without His permission, appointment and administration.