Prayer at All Times

“Forsake me not, O Lord.”
Psalm 38:21

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer today, “Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. Forsake me not, O Lord,’ now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood; do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.’ Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!'”


 

From: Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. An amazing thing about God is that He is the same today as he was yesterday, last year, and two thousand years ago. Quite contrary to what people today will try to tell you, He does not change. That’s why I pray this prayer, written in the last half of the nineteenth century, with a feeling of solidarity with all the Christians before me.

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The “One Anothers”

heartWhen asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God”. He went on to say that loving one’s neighbor as one’s self is the second greatest commandment (Matt 22:37-39). It is interesting that when asked about which was the first, He went on to add the second. From this we gather the importance of the second as well as the first. But loving unspecified others is hard, especially for an introvert like me. What does it even mean, to love others?

Last night while reading John MacArthur’s wonderful book Saved Without a Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation, I came upon a list of what he calls the ‘One Anothers’ that outlines the Biblical answer to the question of what God expects when He commands us to love our neighbors.

Here is what we are to do:

  • confess our sins to one another (James 5:16),
  • forgive one another (Col. 3:13),
  • bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2),
  • rebuke one another (Titus 1:13 NIV),
  • comfort one another (1 Thess. 4:18),
  • encourage one another to do good (Heb 10:24-25),
  • edify one another (Rom 14:19 NIV),
  • counsel one another (Rom 15:14),
  • submit to one another (Eph 5:21 NIV),
  • instruct one another (Col 3:16)
  • be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9-10),
  • bear with one another (Col 3:12-13),
  • pray for one another (James 5:16),
  • serve one another (Gal 5:13).

May God Bless your efforts.

A Prayer For Healing

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV, James 5:15-16)


Today two people requested prayers for a sick loved-one, which reminded me that I have been planning to share this, my favorite prayer for healing.

Being as I am a Christian with a long way to go on my spiritual journey, I rely heavily on my study Bible. It suggests that the message of verse 15 may be though of as “The prayer produced by that faith will heal.” Of course, we know God’s will is not always to heal, so we must discern God’s will and accept it. I especially like this prayer because it encompasses these points. I found it on the internet and unfortunately do not know the original source.


Dear Lord,

You know Eliot so much better than I do. You know his illness and the burden he carries. You also know his heart. Lord, I ask You to be with Eliot now as you work in his life.

Lord, let Your will be done in Eliot’s life. If there is a sin that needs to be confessed and forgiven, please help him to see his need and confess.

Lord, I pray for Eliot just as Your Word tells me to pray, for healing. I believe You hear this earnest prayer from my heart and that it is powerful because of Your promise. I have faith in You, Lord, to heal Eliot, but I also trust in the plan You have for his life.

Lord, I don’t always understand Your ways. I don’t know why Eliot has to suffer, but I trust You. I ask that You look with mercy and grace on Eliot. Nourish his spirit and soul in this time of suffering and comfort him with Your presence.

Let Eliot know You are there with him through this difficulty. Give him strength. And may You, through this difficulty, be glorified in his life and also in mine.

Amen.

Glorify Him Now

Someday we will join the saints in glorifying our Lord. But we are instructed to do our best to glorify him in our earthly lives as well. I love this prayer that I just came across in Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. I struggle to find my life’s purpose, so this is particularly meaningful for me.

“Lord, help me to glorify thee;

I am poor; help me to glorify thee by contentment;

I am sick; help me to give thee honour by patience;

I have talents; help me to extol thee by spending them for thee;

I have time; Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve thee;

I have a heart to feel; Lord, let that heart feel no love but thine, and glow with no flame but affection for thee;

I have a head to think; Lord, help me to think of thee and for thee; thou hast put me in this world for something; Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose: I cannot do much; but as the widow put in her two mites, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into thy treasury; I am all thine; take me, and enable me to glorify thee now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.”

Proof

“I’m not saying there isn’t the possibility of ‘God’, but I want PROOF…” This is a comment that was posted in response to a blog post by a self-proclaimed atheist. When I read that comment, my first thought was “Sure, who doesn’t?” As I have mentioned, I came to God later in life and, I believe as a result, I struggle tremendously with doubt. My daughter-in-law was raised in a Mennonite community and says she cannot remember a time when she did not believe. She tells me I’m lucky because I don’t take my faith for granted. Still, I long for the peace that I imagine must come from never having doubted.

Sometimes I think about the Apostles. They looked into his earthly face of God almost daily and after three years still did not know who they were looking at. At one point, Philip looked Him in the face and said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” (John 14:8) I can imagine Jesus staring back at him in amazement and then shaking His head. He answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9) So, I think maybe it is not an easy thing to recognize God, especially later in life.

In another blog post, I read a comment in which an individual described praying a prayer of redemption as “an experiment” to see if “anything would happen.” I remember distinctly when I prayed a prayer of redemption and believe me, something happened. I was trying to get through A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Everyone was reading it at that time and I was having a second go at it. The first time I put it down because I just didn’t find it very inspiring or insightful. This time I made it a little further into it and came across a prayer of redemption the author had included. I prayed it. I prayed it earnestly, after all I was reading Mr. Warren’s book seeking answers. Whatever happened after that is hard to describe and I feel like a ‘crazy church lady’ just writing about it. Suffice it to say that my life is almost unrecognizable to me now.

At any rate, the point I’m try to make is this: the proof of God’s existence is not something we can show to someone else. It’s not a thing they can look at or study and say ‘Oh, yeah, now I understand. Of course God must exist. That proves it.’ No, we have to look for that proof ourselves. God seeks a heart that seeks Him. We cannot just wait for some ‘proof’ to be shoved under our noses because even if it was, we wouldn’t recognize it. But if we look for it, then we will find it.

Wolves and Vipers

I’m not gonna lie; I didn’t always read the Bible much (or at all). I became a Baptist at the tender age of 35 and would read the Bible on occasion. Or maybe I’d start one of those ‘Read the Bible Through in a Year’ programs that kick off on New Year’s Day. I made it up to 1 Kings. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get much out of the meager amount of time and effort I spent with God’s Word. As shocking as it is to say, I just didn’t understand the utility of it.

Wolf SnarlingI bring this up because this morning in my WordPress feed I read a post about Christianity and (or versus) Feminism. The post drew on a number of different sources and provided thoughts on what Feminism is or isn’t and, of more interest, on what Christianity is or isn’t. This post was an illustration of one reason reading the Bible is important—and useful. We know the way is hard and the gate is narrow. We know there are few that find their way through. What is the effect of this? The effect is that there are a number of professing Christians running around “lost as a goose,” as the preachers use to say. How can we are we to identify these people or groups that misrepresent biblical teachings, either intentionally or through ignorance? The answer is that unless we read and understand the Bible, we can’t. The Bible is the measure by which we determine whether a particular teaching is sound. Snake (young)The Bible tells us that we are “sheep among wolves” and exhorts us to be “as wise as vipers” in response (Matthew 10:16). To recognize the wolves, we must have the wisdom that comes from knowledge of God’s Word.

So, how did I come to be a person that reads the Bible? Oddly (or perhaps not), it happened almost without me knowing it. As I have mentioned, I experienced a major step forward in my faith when I was 50. At the time, I was experiencing some pretty serious trials at work. I turned to God’s Word for answers and found that the more I read, the more I wanted to read.

Now, keep in mind that research is second nature to me. I never met a footnote I didn’t like. At work, I joked that I was paid by the pound of paper documents I produced. Although it may seem perfectly obvious, it took me fifteen years to understand that my primary spiritual gift is the pursuit of knowledge. I believe it is this spiritual gift, received (but insufficiently used) when I first became a Christian, that ultimately led me to desire to read the Bible. While the means by which each individual is drawn to the Word may vary according to gifts or circumstances, of one thing I am certain—knowledge of the Bible is a Christian’s protection during our earthly journey.

God Is Home

Earlier this week, I read a piece by Charles Spurgeon on Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge.” I tend to think of a refuge as some sort of fort or other protected place, but, in this particular piece, Spurgeon explains that the root of the word refuge goes more toward mansion or abiding place—the place where we live. As he says, “there is a fullness and sweetness” in the metaphor of God as a home rather than a fortress. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, so home has always been my safe place, the place where I feel most at ease, and I was immediately drawn to this idea of God as a home. Just as I take shelter in my home, I can take shelter in God. That’s right—in God.  As Spurgeon points out, God is our abode, our home, and we live in Him.

One of my favorite points is this: at home we can speak our hearts without worry about being misunderstood because we are with our loved ones who know us best and cherish us. It is even more so with God. We can communicate freely with Him because He understands us more deeply than any other and cherishes us more than any other.

The last point Spurgeon makes is that our home is what motivates us to get up and go to work in the morning. We work to maintain our home, to make it our cozy “refuge” from the troubles and trials of this world. Likewise, by thinking about God as our home, we desire to work harder to accomplish His work, to maintain our home in Him.

How warm and comforting it is to think of God this way. Yet, I struggle to keep this in mind as I enter the worldly fray each morning. As I pursue my Christian journey, in fits and starts, I feel myself diverging farther from the worldly path, the politically correct path, the publicly sanctioned path. I feel disconnected. I think that’s why it is so important to connect with other Christians—so that we can encourage each other and remind each other that God is home.