The Power of Prayer

Orate = The Power of Prayer

Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)

ōrāte

PART FIVE OF SIX

I hear a lot of talk about revival. I think we want it, although it is hard to tell sometimes. I know we pray for it. “Lord, give us revival in this city, in this state, in this nation.” The last true revival in the United States was in 1857. It started through the power of prayer. And it started with a pretty average man named Jeremiah Lanphier.

Lanphier was a single, middle-aged businessman with no children or family. He began to work with the Old Dutch North Church at Fulton and Williams streets (located near the former location of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center) in New York City as a lay minister doing church visitations. Without much success, Lanphier had an idea that local businessmen might like to get out of the office for prayer at noon once a week. So he started planning and passing out flyers for the first meeting.

I am sure Lanphier met the day with much anticipation on the morning of the first meeting, September 23, 1857. Noon came that day, not one person showed up. Lanphier looked at his watch at 12:10, still not one. 12:15 came and went, then 12:25. Finally at 12:30, Jeremiah heard steps. Six total men showed up that first day, and they agreed to meet the next Wednesday.

The next week twenty men showed up. Forty showed up the next week. Then Lanphier decided to make the prayer meeting daily instead of weekly. That very week a terrible financial panic happened; the worst in history. There were runs on banks, people were out of work, and food became scarce. There might have even been a run on toilet paper, who knows? Sound a little familiar?

Soon the meeting had 3,000 attendees, then 10,000 within six months. The meetings were moved to around twenty locations throughout the city. Then noon prayer meetings began to spring up all over the country, in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago. It is estimated that 150,000 people were saved in New York City through the Fulton Street Revival, and one million souls total.

This was a revival of prayer that united Americans as they prayed together. The format of the meeting was simple: a leader opened the meeting promptly at noon with a hymn, prayer, and Scripture reading not to last longer than ten minutes. Then the meeting was opened for prayer and exhortation. Prayer requests were taken, one by one. A request was given and someone in the meeting immediately prayed for that request. Each prayer was not to exceed five minutes. So it went a little something like this: request, prayer, request, prayer, request, prayer. This went on until 12:55, when the meeting was ended with a closing hymn.

Through this simple meeting and a country crying out to God, the world was changed. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Although I personally believe this country and this world is in dire straits spiritually, it is not too late. The God who saved a million souls through the Fulton Street Revival is still on the throne. Revival starts through the power of prayer. The revival starts with you. The revival starts with me. Let us hit our knees in prayer.

Just for today, start a revival in your own heart. You never know what can happen from there.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Five of Six……

https://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/577

CHAMBERS, TALBOT W. NEW YORK CITY NOON PRAYER MEETING: a Simple Prayer Gathering That Changed the World. ARSENAL PRESS, 2019.

https://www.tkc.edu/stories/new-york-city-landmark-sculpture-relocates-to-kings-lobby/ (Image also courtesy of)

Throwback Thursday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Regula Aurea = Be the Change

Regula Aurea = The Golden Rule in Latin

regyə lə aüreâ 

PART SIX OF SIX

If you have been following along, I talked about this week: defining a neighbor, how to deal with strife with a brother, building others up, the Golden Rule, and the Great Commandment.

The theme of this week is the Golden Rule, “do unto others as your would have them do unto you.” It is much easier to say than do, but as believers, we must strive every day to follow it.

We live in a time where everyone is looking for change in this sinful, fallen world. A famous quote, sometimes credited to Gandhi, says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Is not this the Golden Rule said in another way? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I cannot expect others to change if I am not willing to change. As Christians, we are to change; sanctification is “becoming holy,” trying to be a little more like Jesus each and every day. This is a lifetime process only achieved through submission and surrender to the Lord.

We are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, that by testing we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). You know what is not the will of God? Hating others, partiality, and discrimination.

We are to continue to grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10) and to draw near to Him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). As we see our need for Jesus, we are sensitive to sin in the world and those who do not know Him. The only road to repentance is through the message of the Gospel.

We must remember that the message of the Gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe, but the power of God to those who understand (1 Corinthians 1:18). Acts 4:11 says, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become our cornerstone.” The truth is that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We must look at the world through a gospel lens. Jesus looked at the crowds with compassion for “they were like a sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). We must do the same. We cannot expect godly living from people who do not know the One True King. People are searching for a remedy and it exists, it just does not come from the government or anything in this world.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness … for if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11). We have everything we need through His divine power.

As hard as we try, evil will not be eradicated from the earth. But when Jesus returns, He will restore all things and perfect justice will be executed. We are not to just sit and wait for that to happen, however. Change starts with me. It starts in my household. Then we can be the change together. It starts in my household and it starts in your household. It is looking for ways to be a neighbor to those that need it the most. It is handling disagreements biblically and respectfully. It is looking for ways to build up others and encourage them, not tear them down. It is treating others the way we want to be treated. It is loving my neighbor as myself. Before you know it change is multiplied.

No, we will never have complete peace on Earth until Jesus returns. But many others can be introduced and know Peace through us and the way we follow Jesus.

Be the change you want to see in your household. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you in your household. Be the change you want to see in your neighborhood. Be the change you want to see in your city. Be the change you want to see in your state. Be the change you want to see in your nation. Be the change you want to see in the world, to the end of the earth.. Be His witness in these places.

Just for today, YOU be the change you want to see. After all, you are the only person you can control. Treat others with love, see them through the eyes of Jesus, have compassion; as you want to be treated. Be His witness.

Throwback Wednesday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Evangelii = The Gospel in Latin

ēvangeliī

PART THREE OF SIX

What Jesus said about the Gospel (Part Two) – Repent and Believe in the Gospel

Robert Robinson was an 18th century English clergyman. He was a gifted poet and hymn writer, as well as a skilled pastor and preacher. After many years in the pastorate, however, his faith began to drift. He left the ministry and ended up in France caught up in sin. One night he shared a carriage with a woman from Paris who was a new convert to Christianity. She was interested in Robinson’s opinion of some poetry she was reading: Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace, Streams of mercy never failing, Call for hymns of loudest praise. The woman noticed Robinson was crying when she looked up from reading the poem. “What do I think of it?” he asked in a broken voice. “I wrote it. But now I’ve drifted away from him and can’t find my way back.” “But don’t you see,” the woman said gently, “The way back is written right here in the third line of your poem: Streams of mercy never ceasing. Those streams are flowing even here in Paris tonight.” That night Robinson recommitted his life to Christ (Reported in R Kilpatrick, “Assurance and Sin” in RC Sproul (editor), Doubt and Assurance (Baker, 1993)).

Robinson had forgotten the words of Christ, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” This is not a one time event. It is every day, or cotidie in Latin. As my good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard says, “We should speak the gospel to ourselves each day.”

Throughout the Bible, we find out a few things about the gospel:

  1. Galatians 2:5 says it is the good news of truth.
  2. Colossians 1:23 says the gospel is good news of hope.
  3. Ephesians 6:15 tells us it is good news of peace.
  4. Ephesians 3:6 says the gospel is good news of God’s promise, saying, “The mystery that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
  5. 2 Timothy 1:10 says it is good news of immortality.
  6. Ephesians 1:13 says the gospel is good news of salvation, the gospel is the power to live life victoriously and to conquer sin.

But first there is that word, repent, that must be dealt with. The Greek word used for repent literally means “a change of mind.” We can easily confuse two things: sorrow for the consequences of sin and sorrow for sin. The question is: if you escape the consequences of your sin will you return to it? We have to be careful, for in this case, it is the consequences of sin that are hated, not the sin itself. Real repentance means changing our mind to hate sin itself, not just its consequences.

Repentance is an action word. It is not about feelings. Jesus wants us to change our mind, not merely feel sorry for our sin. It’s about changing direction, doing a complete 180. We must leave the sin life and dwell in the Kingdom of God.

True biblical repentance includes four elements: 1. An awareness of one’s guilt, sinfulness, and helplessness, 2. It takes hold of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ, (believing Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again), 3. It is a change of attitude about sin, and 4. It results in seeking obedience to God’s command in the pursuit of living a holy life (Is He the Lord of your life?).

Jesus said Repent and Believe. Belief is about taking God at His word, trusting Him, and living a relationship that depends on Him.

There are many people who believe Jesus (they know who He is), they do not believe in Him though (they have not placed their hope in faith in Him and His claims or are apathetic in their faith). The Bible tells us, “Even the demons believe” (James 2:19). In the same way, we must believe in the gospel, not just say it is true intellectually.

His streams of mercy never cease, no matter where we are or what we have done. We must repent and believe in the gospel. We must return to the gospel, over and over again, never ceasing.

Just for today, speak the good news of the gospel to yourself. And therefore, call for hymns of loudest praise.

Throwback Tuesday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Sola Scriptura = The Tree Stump Prayer

Sola Scriptura = Scripture Alone in Latin

sōlā scrīptūrā

PART ONE OF SIX

Sola Scriptura. These two words have caused much division and debate over the past few centuries. I am not going to get into a lot of this debate this week; my main point is to show what a difference it can make in our lives if we submit to the authority of the Bible and accept it is true.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every work.” This will be the main verse for the week. For now, the beginning of the passage will be the focus, “All Scripture is breathed out by God…”

Everyone has no doubt heard the name Billy Graham. Will Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, tells us though, “What many people may not know is that it (his ministry) almost didn’t happen. Everything we know of the ministry of Billy Graham from the late 1940s on – the massive stadium events, the evangelistic movies, the radio programs, the counseling of presidents and kings – hinged on a singular moment in history that took place at the California retreat center of Forest Home.”

Billy Graham was discouraged and seeking God’s plan for him. His last crusade had “flopped” and he was questioning whether evangelism would be his focus. He was also the president of Northwestern College, so young Billy Graham was at a crossroads in his life. Should he commit to education, which would require him to get more education himself, or was evangelism what God was calling him to?

Will Graham shares, “At the same time, a very good friend and contemporary of my grandfather’s, a man named Charles Templeton, had begun challenging my granddaddy’s way of thinking. Mr. Templeton, who had preached with Youth For Christ as well, had gone on to study at Princeton, where he began to believe that the Bible was flawed and that academia – not Jesus – was the answer to life’s problems. He tried to convince my grandfather that his way of thinking was outdated and the Bible couldn’t be trusted. My grandfather had more questions than answers. Did he even believe the Bible from which he was preaching, or should he follow Templeton in questioning its validity? You see, while he was at Forest Home, he spent a great deal of time studying the Bible, and he kept seeing the same phrase pop up. “Thus sayeth the Lord… Thus sayeth the Lord…” While my grandfather had always accepted in his head the authority of the Scripture, this became the turning point as he realized in his heart that God’s Word is divinely inspired, eternal and powerful! One night at Forest Home, he walked out into the woods and set his Bible on a stump – more an altar than a pulpit – and he cried out: “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can’t answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising.” And then, my grandfather fell to his knees and the Holy Spirit moved in him as he said, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Paul tells us all Scripture is God breathed. The Bible does not just contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God. The Word of God is infallible, free from error, and is absolutely trustworthy.

I have a friend named Miguel, who I met at a conference in California. He and his wife, Clarice, were both attending. Miguel shared with me that his wife Clarice had accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, but he still was holding onto doubt. They were attending church as a family, but he just could not make the commitment to fully believe and follow. I was able to share my faith and go to dinner with my new friends and stayed in touch after the conference. A few weeks later, Miguel shared with me that he was going out to Joshua Tree, just he and God, for a few days to make a decision once and for all. He was going to spend his time in the Word and prayer, and ask God to remove his doubt. He texted me a few days later, “I leave the desert pledging my life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I think so much of my friend for admitting his doubt, and making such an important issue a priority in his life. He took much time and care to investigate his doubts and seek the truth. I think so much of Clarice for allowing her husband this time of solitude with God. I pray God does mighty things with their family.

We all come from different backgrounds and teachings. The Bible might be or mean different things to different people. Comparing ourselves to Billy Graham is a bit daunting. He was seemingly a spiritual giant who God used in many mighty ways. But I believe if we are to follow God properly, we all have to have our “tree stump moment.” We all have to say, in effect, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!” We all have to have our Joshua Tree moment, where we investigate the claims of the Bible and let God speak to us. We have to leave the doubt behind, once and for all, for that is the place the enemy wants us to remain.

We have to read what 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God..,” and answer for ourselves, “Is this true?”

Just for today, if you are holding onto any doubt, I encourage you to have your tree stump or Joshua Tree moment. Take the time and ask God to speak to you. Otherwise, think back to that moment in your life, and praise the Lord for it.

Source: Will Graham, https://billygraham.org/story/the-tree-stump-prayer-where-billy-graham-overcame-doubt/.

Throwback Monday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Adveniat Regnum = Glory Days

Adveniat Regnum = Kingdom Come in Latin

ad-vay-NEE-at REG-noom

PART ONE OF SIX

Glory days, well they”ll pass you by, Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye, Glory days, Glory days” (Lyrics from Glory Days by Bruce Springstein, the cover picture is the album Born in the U.S.A., in case you did not recognize). You are welcome. I know you are singing that song right now and just might have it stuck in your head all day.

When I say glory days, what do you think of?

Your mind might flash back to the football field, playing for a team like the Conroe Tigers or Mexia Blackcats. Maybe you were in the band, or the FFA, or student government, a cheerleader, or in drill team. We think back to our “glory days” with fond memories.

The first thing I think of is my first game on the varsity baseball team as a 15 year-old. I came in to pitch relief with the bases loaded and the other team’s all-state senior shortstop up to bat. I got him out and we got out of the inning, so I was probably feeling like pretty hot stuff at the time; you know, the stuff glory days are made of.

No matter what you think your glory days are, I want to tell you that God has something much bigger for you. Previously, I shared the story of Porter Barrington sitting with a dying friend (https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/cotidie.blog/432). Reverend Barrington did not name his friend, but for the purposes of this blog, we will call him Clarence (remember that name).

You see, Clarence had to go back to his glory days for an offering, back when he first met Christ. His spiritual birthday was the biggest accomplishment in his life. He accepted Jesus as Savior, but was saved “only as through fire,” as 1 Corinthians 3:15 says.

Let me ask you this…..Was your birthday the biggest achievement of your life? You really did not have much to do with it, did you? It was an important day, no doubt, for without being born nothing else would have been possible. In the same way, our spiritual birthday is of utmost importance. We can look back and celebrate what God has done for us and that date points squarely to Jesus. However, this is the starting line for us. It is the glorious day we met Jesus.

We cannot stay there, however. We cannot focus only on the starting line for there is a race still to run.

My good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard once preached on the Bema Seat of Christ, which is the judgment seat for believers, where believers will be judged not for their sins, but for all they have done or not done for the body of Christ, the Church.

Place your hand on your heart right now. Feel that beat? That is called a purpose. You are alive for a reason. Don’t give up! Don’t stay at the starting line. If you feel like you have no hope or no purpose; hope is still alive and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the reason-the sooner you realize that the better.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

We must have a Kingdom mindset and realize our day of salvation is but the starting line. And our time here on Earth is not all there is.

Just for today, meditate on this truth.

Song of Sunday 6/28/2020

Poems about Jesus.

Each Sunday, I plan on taking a break from devotional-type writing to share an original poem.

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

The pearl of great price

The most valuable thing in the world

The pearl of great price

I will sell all I have to possess

The pearl of great price

It’s no ordinary pearl

The pearl of great price

It defines my eternal address.

Throwback Saturday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Sicut Christus – Putting on the New Man

Sicut Christus = Christlike in Latin

SEE’koot ˈkrɪs.tʏs

PART FOUR OF SIX

Paul talks about putting off the old man and putting on the new man in Ephesians 4:20-24, “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

We are to put off the old man and put on the new man. This has the same idea as changing clothes. We are to change into a different kind of conduct.

Let me ask you this…..If a man is released from prison, what is the first thing he does? He changes clothes. Why? So people do not mistake him as a prisoner still. He is a free man now and his clothes reflect it.

This is where the “As-If” principle comes into play. If the prisoner has been out of prison for one minute, nothing about him has really yet changed. But putting on different clothes changes the way he thinks of himself and sees himself. He dresses “as-if” he were a free man, and a different conduct is also put on which starts to change his attitudes. He should not wait until he feels like the new man to put on the new man. It would be foolish of him to remain in his old clothes.

Jesus is not just merely added to our old life. He becomes our new life as the old life dies. There has to be a clean break from our past.

In Romans 13:14, Paul tells us to “clothe ourselves in Christ.” This metaphor of putting on clothing implies not just imitating the character of Christ, but being in close fellowship with Him. Even though as a believer we have new life, we must constantly renounce the flesh.

Every morning, we have a decision. You can decide to clothe yourself in Christ, or you can walk around in your old prison clothes. Everyone cannot see the old clothes, but you, you know what you are wearing. Therefore, we must clothes ourselves in Christ daily.

In verse 20, Paul says, “But you have not so learned Christ.” There is a characteristic of being a student to putting on the new man.

Charles Spurgeon said, “So, if you want to know the Lord Jesus Christ, you must live with him. First he must himself speak to you, and afterwards you must abide in him. He must be your choice Companion of your morning hours, he must be with you throughout the day, and with him you must also close the night; and as often as you may wake during the night, you must say, ‘When I awake, I am still with thee.'”

Verse 23 says to “be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” This transformation of our mind happens when believers begin to think in different, new, and right ways as they meditate on the truths of Scripture. Let the Lord teach you. Let the Lord transform you. This is a process; not just a one time thing. We must put off the old man and put on the new man each and every day.

Just for today, clothe yourself in Christ.

Throwback Friday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Timor Domini – The Beginning of Wisdom

Timor Domini = Fear of the Lord in Latin

PART ONE OF SIX

Charles Spurgeon said this about Proverbs:

“You have here before you the advice of King Solomon, rightly considered one of the wisest of men. It is worthwhile to listen to what Solomon has to say; it must be good for the most intelligent young person to listen; and to listen carefully, to what so experienced a man as Solomon has to say to young men. But I must remind you that One greater than Solomon is here, for the Spirit of God inspired the Proverbs! They are not merely jewels from earthly mines, but they are also precious treasures from the heavenly hills, so that the advice we have here is not only the counsel of a wise man, but the advice of that Incarnate wisdom who speaks to us out of the Word of God! Would you become the sons of wisdom? Come sit at the feet of Solomon! Would you become spiritually wise? Come and hear what the Spirit of God has to say by the mouth of this wise man!

Therefore, if you are seeking wisdom, Proverbs is one of the best places to find it. I wrote last week about my inclusion of Proverbs daily in my own personal Bible study (https://cotidie.blog/2020/04/16/the-power-of-imago-dei-4/). There is so much the Lord reveals through Proverbs; but first, we must deal with Proverbs 1:7 and understand what it means, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Forms of the words fear and afraid are found over 700 times in the Bible. I counted this myself-the term “fear of the Lord” is used 19 times in Proverbs alone. This should cause us to see the importance of fear of the Lord in our lives.

In The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, the author tells of two girls, Susan and Lucy, preparing to meet Aslan the Lion, who represents Christ. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, a talking beaver couple, get the children ready for the encounter.

“Oh,” says Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will deary,” said Mrs. Beaver. “And make no mistake. If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then isn’t he safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you!”

Following God is not safe, but it is good. He is good.

And fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

Just for today, meditate on this truth.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two..

Praying with Paul

Orate = Praying with Paul

Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)

ōrāte

PART FOUR OF SIX

As he wrapped up his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote the words, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Praying without ceasing is the theme of this week. What exactly does it mean? Oswald Chambers said of this verse (pray without ceasing), “We think rightly or wrongly about prayer according to the conception we have in our minds of prayer. If we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly. The blood flows ceaselessly, and breathing continues ceaselessly; we are not conscious of it, but it is always going on. We are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect joint with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life.”

Prayer is most often thought of as a spiritual discipline; I know I have defined it as such. But here, Chambers basically calls it our lifeline, as valuable as the air in our lungs and the blood in our veins. And he is correct.

Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” This does not mean to pray repetitiously or without a break, but persistently and regularly; to be in a spirit of prayer all day long. This tells us that it does not matter where we pray, what prayer posture we take, whether we speak aloud or silently, or when we pray: we can pray anytime, anywhere. It is the heart of worship and spirit of prayer that is most important.

We are to pray continuously. We are to always have the attitude of prayer and awareness of God’s presence in our life. Continuous prayer means continuous fellowship with God, and that is right where He wants us to be. Not only does a spirit of ceaseless prayer keep us in fellowship with God, this gives us peace in our soul. It is really difficult for the devil to get a foothold in our lives if we are in constant fellowship with the Lord through ceaseless prayer.

I can recall several great prayer days in my life. You know what my attitude was? A ceaseless attitude of prayer. I woke up, immediately praying to the Lord, rejoicing with a spirit of thanksgiving, regardless of the circumstances in my life. I kept my prayer “open-ended,” meaning I did not say “Amen” as is our custom, I kept the line open to God all day. I would make eye contact with someone on the street or see a car passing me, and would lift that person up in prayer. I would thank God often and ask for guidance when needed. I admit, I do not do this every day, but you know what, I am going to start!

Will you do it with me? Right now, where you are, begin to pray without ceasing. Open your prayer and fellowship with God through rejoicing in Him and thanksgiving, but do not say “Amen.” Keep the line open all day, remain in a spirit of prayer, praying often for those who cross your path and praying for His will in every circumstance that comes your way. Make eye contact with people (strangers and non-strangers), and silently say to yourself, “Jesus loves you and so do I,” and pray for God to draw them near. Ask for His will to be done in your life and around you over and over throughout the day. Then when you lay down for sleep, finish your prayer and say Amen. Try it. Who knows? It might even become a habit as important as the air you breathe.

Just for today, pray without ceasing.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Five…..

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Barbour, 1963.

Praying the Psalms

Orate = Praying the Psalms

Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)

ōrāte

PART THREE OF SIX

One of the most underutilized tools we have are the Psalms. They were designed to be prayed through and sung as worship. They teach us how to rejoice and how to lament when we do not understand God’s ways, and everything in between.

In Mark 15:34, Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

If we look back to Psalm 22:1, it reads, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus prayed a Psalm in His darkest hour. If we are a follower of Jesus, and He prayed the Psalms, should not we as well?

“Lord, teach us to pray!” is our cry this week. The Lord’s Prayer is the obvious first stop, but I say Psalms is the second. Luther said of the Psalms, “It penetrates the Lord’s Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer penetrates it, so that it is possible to understand one on the basis of the other and to bring them into joyful harmony” (Bonhoeffer).

Gordon Wenham wrote an excellent book on praying and praising with the Psalms called The Psalter Reclaimed. If you would like to read more on the subject of praying the Psalms, I would start here, as this book helped me see the Psalms in a completely different light. Here are a few things from the book that I would like to share:

Wenham shares a Bonhoeffer quote regarding the Psalms, “The only way to understand the Psalms is on your knees, the whole congregation praying the words of the Psalms with all its strength.”

Wenham says, “The gist of the letter (speaking of a letter from church father Athanasius to Marcellinus) is that the Psalms are the best part of the Bible, and we should use them for our prayers whatever our situation may be because there is a psalm that suits our every need.”

He goes on to list reasons we should pray the psalms including praise. But he shares two very practical reasons for praying the laments: “1. Not everyone who comes to church is full of joy and happiness. 2. By praying these psalms those who have no problems or difficulties in their lives can learn to sympathize with those in trouble and pray for those who are suffering or persecuted.”

Wenham also says, “This is how we should use the Psalms: read them out loud or recite them to ourselves. But we should also use them in family worship, with our spouse, and with our children.”

Here is my challenge to you: There are 150 total Psalms. For the next 30 days, pray 5 Psalms aloud each day and see how it transforms your prayer life.

Just for today, pray Psalms 1-5.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Four….

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, and Eberhard Bethge. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg Pub. House, 1974.

Wenham, Gordon J. 2013. The Psalter Reclaimed. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway.

Image: Courtesy of wikipedia, Gerard van Honthorst, King David Playing the Harp, 1622