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“Is it not the great end of religion, and, in particular, the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends; and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties?”

~ William Wilberforce

William wilberforce.jpg

 

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

C. H. Spurgeon

Yes! The very life of the church depends on it…

“The condition of the church may be accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if he be not there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be slothfulness in prayer”

~ Charles Spurgeon

by Discipleship Ministries…

     There has been a lot of talk in our country about the need for a national revival; the next great awakening. Some opinions are that we have fallen to the darkest valley of our country’s history. I agree that we are experiencing moral decay within the country and within the church, but I do not agree that we have reached the deepest pit. Further, as so many are calling for revival in the church, I disagree that we should be looking for that right now.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yes, the church ought to pray for our nation and lift up our leaders to the Lord. We should long for the Truth of Christ to become a revered and holy part of our lives once again. However, before God will heal the land through revival, we must show repentance first. This comes from our selfless humility. As one commentator states, in the sight of the Lord, humility is the willingness to take our appropriate place in the dust on account of our transgressions.

     Read James 4:1-10 and respond to these verses. If we follow our own fleshly desires and cravings, we are friends with the world. As such, we are enemies of God (vs 4). We are arrogant and proud rejecting His ways. From the passage we read that God opposes the proud (vs 6). But to the humble, He gives grace. Verses 7-10 go on to explain how we are to return to God. We are to submit and draw near to Him. We are to lament, mourn, and purify our hearts. At the conclusion we read, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

     The Greek word tapeinoó is a term for humility that means to be fully dependent on the Lord. A study of the Greek word hupsoó reveals the idea of being properly lifted up. Therefore we interpret this as a promise that God will exalt those who are penitent. A word of caution, though. Do not misinterpret this as prosperity to believing Christians. Those who ask with ill intent do not receive because they do so for selfish pleasures. As for our country, to be lift up by God, we must admit in humility that we need Him to do so.

Before our nation can experience revival, we must all humble ourselves and repent.

     The Lord speaks to Solomon concerning His people in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if they humble themselves, seek His face and repent, then He will hear, forgive and heal them. Do not be proud! For far too long the Western Church has pointed fingers at others in accusation and even judgment.

For the rest of the post…

St. Francis of Assisi

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

 

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray wrote:

“Do not strive in your own strength; cast yourself at the feet of the Lord Jesus, and wait upon Him in the sure confidence that He is with you, and works in you. Strive in prayer; let faith fill your heart-so will you be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”

J. C. Ryle

Words said without heart are as utterly useless to our souls as the drum beating of savages before their idols! Where there is no heart, there may be lip-work and tongue-work, but there is no prayer. Saul, I have no doubt, said many a long prayer before the Lord met him on the way to Damascus. But it was not until his heart was broken that the Lord said, “He prayeth.”

~ J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer

John Chrysostom

Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and, for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life. 

John Chrysostom

J. C. Ryle

Job thought he knew his heart—but affliction came and he found he did not. David thought he knew his heart—but he learned by bitter experience how woefully he was mistaken. Peter thought he knew his heart, and in a short time he was repenting in tears. Oh, pray, beloved, if you love your souls, for some insight into your own corruption; the truest saints of God do never quite discover the exceeding sinfulness of that old man which is in them.

~ J.C. Ryle, A Bad Heart

I still have my marble! And I continue to keep it my pocket! Terry Caffey spoke at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church on February 17th. During his sermon, he told the story of the marble he kept on him to remind to pray for his daughter, who is still in prison.

At the end of his sermon, Terry Caffey gave an invitation for anyone with a specific prayer request to come forward and take a marble out of a bowl. That marble then was a reminder to pray. Dozens of people came forward to take a marble or two out of the bowl. I also took a marble and it has been in my pocket ever since.

Each time I reach into my pocket and feel that marble, I immediately begin to pray. Prayer is to be like breathing. The Word of God is very clear that consistent prayer is to mark every follower of Jesus.

Colossians 4:2 says…Continue steadfastly in prayer… 1 Thessalonians 5:17 echoes that truth: Pray without ceasing!  Psalm 88:1 also says: O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you! Day and night, we are to cry out to God in prayer! Wesley L. Duewel, in his book, Ablaze for God writes:

All Christians believe in the duty of some prayer each day. Most, however, have an ordinary prayer life except in emergencies. Too often they have never realized the thrill and excitement of communion with Jesus and prevailing in prayer for others (183).

According to Duewel, the more consistent we are in prayer, the more “thrill and excitement” we will experience in our fellowship with Jesus. Moses is a good illustration of not only close communion with God through prayer but also the impact such fellowship with God has on the individual. Exodus 34: 29 says:

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

If it takes a marble to remind us to pray, so be it! What is important is that we actually prayer as often as we can and to pray about everything so that we can experience the joy and the peace of the Lord!

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Amen!

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