July 28, 2014
Just discovered an interesting book by John Calvin among the latest free offerings for Kindle:
Praying through the Prophets: Jonah, Micah & Nahum [Kindle Edition]
It’s part of a series. (Here are the links for each individual book)
There are short prayers compiled from John Calvin’s commentaries.
Here’s an example of a prayer from Jonah 1:
Grant, Almighty God, that though we are here disquieted in the midst of so many tossings, we may yet learn with tranquil minds to recumb on thy grace and promise, by which thou testifiest that thou wilt be ever near us, and not wait until by a strong hand thou drawest us to thyself, but that we may be, on the contrary, ever attentive to thy providence: may we know that our life not only depends on a thread, but also vanishes like the smoke, unless thou protectest it, so that we may recumb wholly on thy power; and may we also, while in a cheerful and quiet state, so call on thee, that relying on thy protection we may live in safety, and at the same time be careful, lest torpor, which draws away our minds and thoughts from meditating on the divine life, should creep over us, but may we, on the contrary, so earnestly seek thee, morning and evening, and at all times, that we may through life advance towards the mark thou hast set before us, until we at length reach that heavenly kingdom, which Christ thy Son has obtained for us by his own blood. Amen
Wow! I’m very excited to have found this book, and the whole series… What a great resource to help us pray through the Scriptures.
February 7, 2014
On this altar incense was burned daily at the time of the morning and the evening sacrifices. The coals used on this altar had to be taken from the Altar of Burnt Offerings. The incense used had to be made according to a specific formula (Exodus 30:34-35), and no other incense was permitted (Exodus 30:9). According to Jewish tradition, the incense was made by the Avtinas family, who closely guarded its secret.
The Talmud relates that the priestly family of Avtinas knew a secret ingredient — Maaleh Ashan — that had the ability to make the smoke from the incense rise straight up in a column.
Psalm 141:2 (ESV)
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
Revelation 5:8 (ESV)
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 8:3-4 (ESV)
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
We thank You, Father, for the golden altar of incense in the tabernacle, for the golden bowls full of incense in the throne room of heaven and the golden censer at Your altar. We thank You, Father, for the gift of prayer. Amen.
November 15, 2012
A while back, I posted a notice here about an Intercessory Prayer workshop in the ACNA Diocese of the Mid Atlantic.
The talks from that workshop are now online. You can get more details and find all the links here.
Here’s a partial listing of what’s available:
- A full listing of all the workshop talks and Q &A’s are here.
October 26, 2012
Yesterday I came across an excellent reflection about prayer from Bp. Dan Martins of the Diocese of Springfield (who happens to be one of the Bishops charged in the whole “Bishopsgate” mess for which Jill is posting regular prayers.) He reflects on our attitude about prayer. Do we view it as a “tool” – something that either “works” or “doesn’t work?” Or is it something much deeper / greater? I found it a very challenging question, and a helpful reflection. I am praying for Bp. Dan, Bp. Mark Lawrence and all the other orthodox bishops charged with offenses by TEC that they will find much comfort and strength in prayer in these days. That in their times of prayer, and as we pray for them, that God will minister lavish strength and grace and wisdom and joy to each of them, causing them to more perfectly reflect and shine forth the Glory of Jesus. – Karen
Here’s an excerpt from Bp. Dan’s blog entry:
Is prayer a tool? Is prayer something available for us to use, like a lawn mower or Blue Emu ointment? Would we say to someone, “Hey, try praying. If it works, great. If not, move on to something else.”?
These questions are difficult to answer with a flat out No, because it just doesn’t feel right to demean something as sacred and precious to so many people as prayer. But it also doesn’t feel right to cheapen prayer by putting it in the same category as Blue Emu ointment–just one more thing to try, and see if it works.
I suspect that, if we’re going to talk about prayer as a tool, we would do well to think of it as a tool for God’s use, not ours. God’s pet project is to redeem the universe, and that includes the defeat of pain and suffering, from the trivial to the substantial to the cosmic. Blue Emu ointment is one small thread in the grand tapestry of redemption. Prayer is another one, though, I think it’s safe to say, a much larger and more significant one. How all these threads fit together is something we can only catch rare glimpses of from our human point of view this side of Eternity. The virtue of humility, ever an aspirational virtue, seems to call for a certain degree of reticence in our statements about just how God is accomplishing his purposes.
I shall keep praying. “While I breathe, I pray” (Andrew of Crete in the 7th century, via the magisterial translator John Mason Neale). I shall also keep an eye peeled for “God sightings”–miracles. But I’m still going to be uneasy about thinking of prayer as a tool at my disposal.
The full entry is here.
October 4, 2012
I recently came across an encouraging and challenging reminder about the centrality of prayer in seeing spiritual transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
James Fraser was a pioneer missionary to the Lisu people in Western China. He would labor more than five years before seeing his first convert. It would be an accurate assessment to call him a “prayer missionary.” He understood the essential nature of prayer if the Gospel was to reach and change the world. He understood that anything lasting and eternally significant would be the result of waves of prayers that believed God to do something great for his glory. Fraser wrote, “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees. … The Spirit must be continually maintained in strength by unceasing prayer, especially against the powers of darkness. All I have learned of other aspects of the victory-life is useless without this.”
The work of reaching and changing the world is, indeed, a work done on our knees. And, it is a work that takes on the nature of fierce and intense warfare. After all, one of Satan’s chief weapons is to cut off communication with God, communication that takes place in prayer. John Piper is certainly correct when he writes, “Prayer is meant by God to be a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom … not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.”
The full article is here.
July 14, 2012
In the wake of General Convention, this article spoke to me.–JW
From Francis Frangipane:
It is right that we should be troubled by the sins of our nation. But we must remember, all nations sin. All cultures have seasons of moral decline and spiritual malaise. Yet these periods can become turning points if, in times of distress, leaders and intercessors cry to the Lord for mercy. Thus, Christlike prayer brings redemption out of disaster.
The church was created not to fulfill God’s wrath, but to complete His mercy. True prayer is born of love and comes in the midst of sin and need. It comes not to condemn, but to cover.
Jesus said His Father’s house would be a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17). Consider passionately this phrase: “prayer for.” Jesus taught His disciples to “pray for” those who would persecute or mistreat them (Matt. 5:44). When Job “prayed for” his friends (Job 42:10), God fully restored him. We are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), and “pray for” each other so that we may be healed (James 5:16). Paul wrote that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, he urged “that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (vv. 1-2).
The nature of our calling is to pray for people in difficulty, in sin, in sickness, and in need of God. . . .
Our goal is not merely the exposure of sin, but also the unveiling of the sacrifice for sin. Our great commission is to bring healing and the message of God’s mercy to the nations. . . . May the Lord give us a clear vision of this truth: intercession is the essence of Christ’s life. Not only is He now at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Rom. 8:34), but His coming to earth and dying for sins was one extended act of intercession. Jesus beheld the depravity of mankind’s sin. He examined it carefully in all of its offensiveness, perversity, and repulsiveness. Yes, He rebuked it when necessary, but the wonder of the Gospel is that, in spite of mankind’s sin, God so deeply loved the world that He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16-17).
We are called to follow this same amazing pattern of mercy.
We are not minimizing sin when we maximize Christ’s mercy. There is a difference between whitewashing sin and bloodwashing it. The reality that compels God’s heart—that is an underlying principle of life—is “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). To live a life of mercy corresponds perfectly with God’s heart. Mercy precisely fulfills the divine purpose: to transform man into the Redeemer’s image.