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“Every mighty move of the Spirit of God has had its source in the prayer chamber.”

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“Your preaching can’t possibly triumph without prayer”

~ David Eby, Power Preaching for Church Growth41.

Several months ago there was a kerfuffle over an advertisement in which the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by various people across the UK. It was banned because it could offend or upset people of other faiths or none.

The response was fairly predictable: secularists cheering because they think the Lord’s Prayer is offensive, and Christians lamenting because they don’t. Personally, I think the advertisement was great.

But as to whether it was offensive, I have to come out and say it: the secularists were right.

The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy, or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is deeply subversive, upsetting, and offensive—from the first phrase to the last.

‘Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed Be Your Name’

Not Allah’s, or anyone else’s: the Father’s. There is only one who is holy, and he is our heavenly Father. May your name be recognized as great by all the nations, including those (like ours) who dismiss, blaspheme, patronize, or ignore it.

‘May Your Kingdom Come’

One day, all the kingdoms of the earth will become the kingdom of God and his Messiah. In the meantime, as we wait for you to gather up all your enemies and turn them into your footstool, we cry to you: Let your reign be shown here as well. Dethrone the powers. Overturn empires. Destroy everything that opposes you. Rule everywhere.

‘Let Your Will Be Done, on Earth as It Is in Heaven’

May the content shown on our screens, and the civilization they represent, be subjected to your will, so only things that honor you are done—just like currently happens in heaven.

‘Give Us Today Our Daily Bread’

We depend on you—not the markets, the government, our security services, or our own ingenuity and talent—for every good gift. Please keep providing them all, because if you don’t, we’re in big trouble.

‘Forgive Us Our Sins’

We have all sinned against you, offended you, transgressed your law, and trespassed against our fellow humans. We desperately need forgiveness. None of us is righteous. Please, in your mercy, wipe out our sins.

‘As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us’

Including abusers, manipulators, jihadists, and the rest, since we deserve judgment just as they do.

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“The coming revival must begin with a great revival of prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundance of rain will first be heard. An increase of secret prayer with ministers will be the sure harbinger of blessing.”

 

by Brian Jones

pray before meals

That’s how many days I estimate our family prayed together at the dinner table when I was a kid.

Calculating that number was surprisingly easy.

I took out Friday nights because that was pizza night. Everyone was responsible for praying his or her own prayer on the way to sacking dad as he walked through the door with the warm Massey’s Pizza box under his arm.

Then I removed Saturdays and Sundays from the tally. Weekends were survival of the fittest. We ate between games, trips to the grandparents, etc. We prayed for sure, but it wasn’t routine. So no prayers counted for those days.

That left Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. On those days we prayed before dinner every night, without fail. Except for the time when I was 14 and tried to back the car down the driveway to shoot basketball and accidentally ran over the mailbox. We didn’t pray that night. But that was it.

Usually dad prayed, but we’d all take turns.

That means that all together we prayed:

4 days a week
x 52 weeks a year
x 18 years
= 3744 days
– the day I killed the mailbox
= 3743 total times we prayed as a family before dinner

Some Christians don’t place a high value on praying before a meal. That’s a mistake. I believe that praying before dinnertime ranks second only behind going to church as the most important thing parents can do to impact their children spiritually.

5 Things That Happen When You Pray Before Meals As A Family

1. Praying Before Meals Gives Parents The Chance To Model That God Is Important.

In his book Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller wrote, “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.” I agree. For 3,743 days I had the privilege of watching my parents close their eyes, bow their heads, and say, “Let’s pray.”

2. Praying Before Meals Marks Your Meal Together As A Sacred Pause In Your Family’s Day.

Flip through the gospels and it becomes apparent rather quickly that sharing a meal together entailed more than the consumption of food. Stories were shared. The day was recounted. Prayer simply invites God to be a part of the conversation that follows.

3. Praying Before Meals Prompts Lively Discussions About God And The Bible.

After praying I remember my sisters and I asking questions like, “How do you know God can even hear us? How do we know there is a God? If God answers prayer, what about the people who _______ (insert tragic accident that happened that day)?” No question was out of bounds.

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“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”

~ Corrie Ten Boom

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

~ Martin Luther

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“You must go forward on your knees.”

~ Hudson Taylor

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Andrew Hess

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Billy Graham just posted a very timely word on his Facebook page:

“I’m absolutely convinced that no matter who’s elected America is not going to be saved unless we have a moral and spiritual revival.”

You might think Billy said these words recently, but this quote actually comes from an old episode of “Hour of Decision.”

Billy’s words are as true today as they were when he first said them.

“No nation has ever improved morally without a revival of religion … and America needs a revival today!”

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Prayerlessness is the great enemy of true happiness. If we give up on prayer, or refuse to pray, we surrender our seat at the very source of the highest and fullest joy. “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2).

But even those of us who do pray can find ourselves in danger of forfeiting prayer’s fullness as we fall into stale ruts of familiar words and repeated requests. We wake up each day, say the same prayers, and wonder why it doesn’t feel more real and life-changing.

As we walk through the valley of the shadow of rut, many of us just put our heads down and hope for better days. But the Bible speaks too often and too highly of prayer for us to stay here long. Yes, we may know the Lord’s Prayer by heart, but those five verses are not the only guide we have to help us pray. God has given us all kinds of routes out of daily ruts in prayer. Take Psalm 86, for example. Here are seven simple daily prayers drawn from David’s prayer.

1. Listen to my prayer.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. (Psalm 86:6)

David wrote an entire book of divinely inspired song-prayers to God, so you would think he might know that God hears all our prayers. But over and over again, he still pleads with God to listen (Psalm 4:1, 17:6, 27:7, 28:2, 30:10, and more). Do you ever ask God to hear your prayer — or do you just assume he will?

The ever-present help of God can make us prone to take him for granted. We hear, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you,” and quietly, even subconsciously, we begin to presume that God exists to meet our needs. That kind of entitlement, though, robs God’s promise of its power and empties our prayer-life of its wonder.

God Almighty, the sovereign and infinite Maker of heaven and earth, hears your prayers. Don’t ever, ever take God’s ear for granted. Know his holiness, and your sin, well enough not to presume he will listen, but for Jesus’s sake. Ask him to hear one more prayer.

2. Save me, and keep me.

Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you — you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. (Psalm 86:2–3)

In the face of all his enemies, David looked to our God for protection and deliverance. He was often surrounded on every side, threatened in every way imaginable. But he found hope and confidence in his sovereign, unchanging Father in heaven (Psalm 18:2).

We have an enemy far greater and more fearful than all of David’s enemies combined (1 Peter 5:8). He has planted his mercenaries at every turn (Ephesians 6:12). And we are helpless against his schemes without a warrior fighting for us (Ephesians 6:11).

You were saved, and you are being saved every day (1 Corinthians 15:2). You are being kept (1 Peter 1:5). But not without prayer (Ephesians 6:18). Each day is another new confident plea for protection and keeping:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24–25)

3. Make my heart happy in you.

Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. (Psalm 86:4)

Humans were not created just to be rescued from sin, but to be flooded with joy in the Rescuer. Sin disrupted God’s ultimate plan for you; it didn’t create it. Jesus is not only a get-out-of-jail card, but a get-into-eternal-joy Savior and Treasure. God made you to demonstrate his worth by making you happy in him — not just by placing you in heaven, but by giving you himself.

God commands us to have that kind of joy in him (Psalm 32:11; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:4). But any of us who have tried know we cannot put on joy like we put on a pair of pants. Something supernatural has to happen in our hearts, and the supernatural only happens one way: with God’s help.

No matter what you’re going through or how far away happiness feels, never settle for anything less than joy in the Christian life, and never assume you’ll find it without asking God for it.

4. Teach me your ways.

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. (Psalm 86:11)

Knowing the truth is not the end of God’s plans for everything you learn about him. He wants to see the truth come alive in you — in your priorities, in your relationships, and in your heart. A Christian is saved apart from our doing (Ephesians 2:8), but we are delivered into a life filled with doing, good works prepared specifically for us before we were even born (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:10).

But the dots between what we know and what it means for our daily lives are not always clear. The dots between the One we love and the way we should live can often be foggy at best.

As un-American as it may seem, God doesn’t expect us to just figure it out on our own. He wants us to ask him for wisdom and guidance — “God, teach me your way” — and he wants to do the work himself, by his Spirit, through our working. Paul says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13).

5. Give me your strength.

Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant. (Psalm 86:16)

Some of us do not need to be convinced to work. We wake up ready to tackle our to-do list and take on the world. We just forget to ask for help, or to serve in anyone’s strength but our own. That kind of effort may work for a while, but eventually we are out of gas and left with small, short-lived returns. “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil” (Psalm 127:2).

Along with our prayers for guidance and direction, we need the physical and spiritual resources to walk and work well. Nothing of any real, spiritual, lasting value happens in our strength. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

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