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Make Time for Prayer—Adoniram Judson (1788 – 1850)

Adoniram Judson was among the first missionaries that American Baptists sent overseas. During a long career in Burma, he became noted for his commitment to evangelism and his translation of the Bible into Burmese. A master of languages, he also produced a Burmese grammar and dictionary. His preaching ministry resulted in thousands of conversions though it was interrupted by imprisonment for 17 months during a war between England and Burma from 1824-1825.

In this selection, Judson shows that his accomplishments did not come at the expense of prayer. While the specific routine he recommends is not feasible for all believers, the spirit behind such a regimen is surely a key to depth and endurance in ministry.

Arrange thy affairs, if possible, so that thou canst leisurely devote two or three hours every day, not merely to devotional exercises, but to the very act of secret prayer and communion with God. Endeavor, seven times a day, to withdraw from business and company, and lift up thy soul to God in private retirement. Begin the day by rising after midnight and devoting some time, amid the silence and darkness of the night, to this sacred work. Let the hour of opening dawn find thee at the same work; let the hours of nine, twelve, three, six, and nine at night witness the same. Be resolute in this course. Make all practicable sacrifices to maintain it. Consider that thy time is short, and that business and company must not be allowed to rob thee of thy God. At least, remember the morning, noon, and night seasons, and the season after midnight, if not detrimental to thy health.1

Footnotes:
1 Edward Judson, The Life of Adoniram Judson (New York: Randolph and Co., 1883), 572.

Stop Faking and Wake Up Your Walk with God

12/01/13

Author: Peter Scazzero

Don’t be deceived. We often settle for a defeated, complacent walk with God-even if we are supposed to be spiritual leaders. Self-examination is critical if we are to be the powerful people Christ calls us to be. Here are some valuable principles I learned to keep my faith fresh.

1. Be Yourself. I spent too much time in my early years trying to be someone I was not. As Rumi said, “To live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” David models this for us in 1 Sam. 17 as he takes off Saul’s armor. This takes great courage and faith.

2. Seek God First. Above all else, let your life be about dwelling in His presence and seeking His face (Ps. 27:4). We are not CEO’s or social workers. Our greatest gift is to bring people to an encounter with the living God in Christ.

3. Practice Sabbath-keeping.  The rhythm of a 24 hour period to stop, rest, delight and contemplate God is foundational to ensure we trust God to be in control and not us. This is as key to prayer and Bible study if we are to remain centered in Him amidst the demands of leadership.

4. Lead out of the Vow of Your Marriage (if applicable). Our earthly marriages are a pointer and sign of what it means to be in an eternal marriage with Jesus. There is no greater message we preach. If you are married, it is not an option to live as if you are single. Let this vow inform your decisions, pace, and priorities.

5. Embrace the Gift of Your Limits. Surrendering to God’s love, and not grasping or pushing beyond what He has given us to do, is one of my primary challenges as a leader. As John the Baptist says, “A person can receive only what is given from heaven” (Jn.3:27).

6. Wait on the Lord. This is our life — waiting on Him as a Person (not simply to help us get something done!).  Relax. See Ps. 37:7.

7. Be relational and relevant. Take seriously the model of the early church fathers (e.g. Athanasius, Basil, Gregory the Great) who led local churches and prayed their theology. They also engaged their culture with the gospel. Part of our calling now is to bring the gospel to our culture – that involves using all forms of social media.

8. Be a person of integrity. Like Jesus, we want to complete the Father’s work in and through us (Jn. 17:4). Regardless of the cost, there is nothing more important than being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside – with God, others and in our leadership.

For the rest of the post…

“Satan does not care how many people read about prayer if only he can keep them from praying.”

~ Paul E. Billheimer

by JOE CARTER

A young associate pastor accompanies his mentor to a private meeting of pastors from around the country. As they take their seats the host says, “To start us off, let’s have a few rounds of the best jokes.”

An elderly minister stands up and says “37,” and everyone laughs. Another yells “49,” and the crowd cackles hysterically. This goes on for a while, when the young pastor turns to his senior and says, “I don’t get it, numbers aren’t funny.” His boss explains that since the same folks attend this meeting every year, they know all the jokes. Instead of wasting time by telling the same jokes everyone has heard, they just tell the punch lines, which they’ve numbered to save time.

christanese-prayerThe associate, wanting to fit in with his colleagues, jumps up and yells “44.” When absolutely no one laughs, he sits down, embarrassed and confused. The old pastor leans over and says, “You told it wrong.”

Christianese Spoken Here

Whether we’ve been in the church for a few days or several decades, we often find—like this young pastor—certain terms or phrases that everyone but us seems to understand. Like most groups, we Christians have our own insider language, technical terminology, or characteristic idioms that only those in the know can comprehend. It can be frustrating when we hear such jargon and don’t know what exactly it means or where it came from. Too embarrassed to ask for a definition, we flip through our Bibles or search through a concordance to find elusive explanations.

As an aid in translating “Christianese” (and because we aren’t sure what the terms mean either), The Gospel Coalition is putting together an ongoing series to explain the meaning of obscure phrases that Christians use when we talk to our fellow believers. In this inaugural article, we’ll examine a few terms often associated with prayer.

Hedge of Protection

Example: “The congregation will be praying a hedge of protection around John and Jill as they go off to college this fall.”

Explanation: “If somebody didn’t know that Christianity’s roots began in a rural, agricultural area (such as the near Middle East),” says Tim Stewart, creator of theDictionary of Christianese website, “it wouldn’t take them long to figure it out, judging by the language we use when we pray.”

As Stewart explains, in the Bible hedges are mentioned as secure barriers around vineyards (Isaiah 5:5Mark 12:1), and Satan refers to God’s protection and favor on Job as “a hedge around him” (Job 1:10). Christians likely adopted this imagery and language from Job 1:10. The prayer is often invoked (e.g., a hedge around, about, or even over the person being prayed for) as a request for God to protect a person from threats both spiritual and physical.

Prayer Warrior

Example: “We’re going to ask Sister Betsy, one of the congregations most ardent prayer warriors, to pray a hedge of protection around Jill and John.”

Explanation: “Effective intercessors who are greatly used by God in prayer are at times referred to as ‘prayer warriors,'” former missionary Wesley Duewel says in his book Touch the World Through Prayer. “It is correct to use the term in this way, for great prayer demands doing battle with the forces of evil.”

The Bible doesn’t use the term “prayer warrior,” though the warfare imagery is biblical. In Ephesians 6, Paul tells believers to,

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and shaving put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

For the rest…

Prayer is a gift, a context for living our lives with God.

~ Del Fehsenfeld III. Revive, Fall 2013, 5.

Yesterday evening, I returned home to Omaha, NE from Michigan. I went deer hunting with five other men in the north, central part of the state. We set up “deer camp” which was a fifth-wheel RV. The living quarters were a little tight, but we had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, we did not see many deer. Thus, I was unable to fill my out-of-state deer tag. Oh well! There is always next time.

I did pray a lot during those many hours when I sat in my deer blind. I also prayed a lot when I laid in bed. I prayed myself to sleep and I prayed when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I prayed that Jesus would be glorified in my life!

I prayed that we would be kept safe as we hunted.

I prayed that revival would come to Harvey Oaks Baptist Church.

I prayed for the November 17th Sunday School and worship service.

I prayed for my wife and children.

I prayed my relatives who need Jesus in their lives.

I prayed that God would heal people.

I prayed that God would restore broken marriages.

I prayed for all the widows at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church.

It was  good to be away from the computer and television and for the most part, my phone (we used our phones to communicate with one another, but the reception was not always that good!)

Let us continue to seek the Lord through prayer.

“Continue steadfastly in prayer…” (Colossians 4:2).

The best way to strengthen your foundation is to go deeper in your relationship with God through continual prayer and study of the Word.

~ Nelson SearcyThe Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry70.

“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

~ Andrew Murray

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