This past weekend, one of our pastors gave an excellent and challenging message on Prayer. His assertion was that God does nothing outside of prayer. If this is true, there is nothing more important we as Christians can do than devote time to prayer.
Even before I heard this message, the Lord had begun to stir up in me a desire to know what it is to live in unceasing prayer, which Paul writes about in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Since this weekend, I've been "stumbling across" many wonderful things about prayer...and I'd like to pass them along.
From "Valley of Vision"...
O Lord, in prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality. Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments never appears so inconsiderate as then.
In prayer I see myself as nothing; I find my heart going after Thee with intensity, and long with vehement thirst to live to Thee. Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit that speed me on my way to the New Jerusalem.
In prayer all things here below vanish, and nothing seems important but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.
In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear, and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.
In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts at what Thou art doing for Thy church, and I long that Thou shouldest get Thyself a great name from sinners returning to Zion.
In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life, and taste heavenly joys; entering into the eternal world I can give myself to Thee with all my heart, to be Thine for ever.
In prayer I can place all my concerns in Thy hands, to be entirely at Thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own.
In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners, the church, Thy kingdom to come, with greatest freedom, ardent hopes, as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.
Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.
Great God, in public and private, in sanctuary and home, may my life be steeped in prayer, filled with the spirit of grace and supplication, each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise. Urged by my need, invited by Thy promises, called by Thy Spirit, I enter Thy presence, worshipping Thee with godly fear, awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by Thy love.
I am all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee, but I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith, pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities, rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice. I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace, that, although the lest sin deserves infinite punishment because done against an infinite God, yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible, there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep. Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits, by causing Thy goodness to pass before me, by speaking peace to my contrite heart; strengthen me to give Thee no rest untiI Christ shall reign supreme within me in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens me to Thee, and ever clings to the cross.
Sent in one of our latest prayer e-mail updates from church...
“Praying men are God’s chosen leaders. The distinction between the leadersthat God brings to the front to lead and bless His people, and those leaderswho owe their position of leadership to a worldly, selfish, unsanctifiedselection, is this: God’s leaders are pre-eminently men of prayer.”
“The possibilities of prayer are found in its allying itself with thepurposes of God, for God’s purposes and man’s praying are the combination ofall potent and omnipotent forces.”
E. M. Bounds
I'd also like to encourage all of you to pray for the City of New Orleans. In some places, the work to rebuild has not even begun. Many decision face our leaders...our God appointed leaders...many of whom do not know the Lord in a personal way. Please pray for wisdom and that the Lord's sovereignty and grace would be clearly seen. Pray for the uniting of churches and for the success of an upcoming revival-type meeting, set to take place March 11 & 12. Pray that people would respond and be eternally changed and that churches would be prepared to receive and disciple new believers. Pray that the rebuilding would be purposeful, and not just about putting things back together again...that those things that need to go out with the debris would. Pray also for humility among believers and church leadership...humility and a desire to serve.