October 14, 2014
Being on Twitter has allowed me to discover some new blogs with good prayer resources and helpful reflections for spiritual encouragement. One such discovery is the blog Knoxpriest by Anglican priest Jack King, in Knoxville, TN.
He’s posted an excellent reflection / prayer resource: Meditative Prayer for the Weary and Burdened
Here’s an excerpt:
Some of the most comforting and beloved words that Jesus ever spoke in the Gospels are found in Matthew 11.28-30.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
One of the reasons these verses speak comfort to the heart is the invitation that Jesus extends to us. Christ calls us to accept this invitation in exchange for the peace and rest he gives.
I believe the best way to read the Bible is to pray the Scriptures. These well-loved words of Jesus can become a form of meditative prayer for us, a way of presenting our troubles to Christ as we learn the Lord’s way of bearing burdens.
Here’s a suggested rhythm for meditative prayer adapted from Matthew 11.28-30.
1. Place all circumstances and situations that burden you before the Lord
The first step is actually accepting the invitation to approach Christ with honesty about our heaviness of heart. Just as Hannah ‘poured out her heart’ before the Lord when she was burdened about having a child (1 Sam. 1.15), so we are invited to pour out our hearts before the Lord. A sense of rest may come instantaneously, it may not. Receive Christ’s promise regardless: ‘I will give you rest.’ Receive that promise in faith, whether or not you have accompanying emotions or feelings of peace. The peace of Christ is present even when we don’t feel it.
Read the whole entry!
October 1, 2014
A round up of recent links we’ve tweeted (prayers, teaching on prayer, articles for spiritual reflection…)
Now that we’re on Twitter (@anglicanprayer) I may from time to time send out a quick Tweet about an article or a blog entry that I found helpful, but which I did not immediately have time to write about here on the blog. Or there may be someone who Tweets us a link that is worth sharing. Both of those things happened in the past two days. From time to time, I will try to round up such links here on the blog to provide a more permanent record and a helpful resource.
In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.
As You are light,
may I walk in you.
Teach me to avoid darkness
so that all my thoughts and deeds are shadowless deeds
— no darkness at all —
which I gladly offer back to You.
- Fr. Tim Fountain, one of our past contributors here at L&B, tweeted us the link to a reflection by Dave Kraft: Seven Symptoms of Eternity Amnesia, a helpful article on how having an eternal perspective helps us have realistic expectations, and allows us to hold on to hope even in painful struggles. I found it relevant in helping me to examine my prayers and my attitude towards God as I pray. Am I praying from a human perspective or am I seeking God’s eternal perspective as I pray?
- I tweeted the link to a good short reflection on Intercessory Prayer from the Anglican Pastor blog. My favorite part is the last section, which reminds us that true intercession for others – like Christ’s intercession for us – is not just about words, but self-emptying love:
Jesus’ intercession isn’t just a prayer that He prayed, but the life He lived. Everything that He said and did was not for Him, rather it was all for us! The essential meaning of the cross is Christ’s mediation for all who would be saved. The Bible tells us “there is one God and Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ.” (1 Timothy 2:5). True intercession begins by following Jesus’ example of self-giving and then flows into fervent prayer for the lives of others.
It’s part of an excellent series of reflections on prayer by Dr. Winfield Bevins, which I should have posted about ages ago. The series is highly recommended!
- Lastly I tweeted the link to an excellent reflection on prayer from Desiring God blog: Pray for the Strength that God Supplies It’s a good reminder that God’s priorities and ours may be different. Here’s an excerpt:
We weak people frequently need to pray for strength. “Oh Father, please give me strength for ___” is a wonderful prayer. It’s a necessary prayer, and it’s a God-honoring prayer because it recognizes the true source of our strength (Exodus 15:2).
But when we ask God for strength, what are we asking for? Are we asking for the strength that God wants to give, or are we asking for the strength that we want to have?
The reason this is important to ask is because the two may not be the same. Highest on God’s agenda for us is strengthening our faith (Hebrews 11:6, Galatians 2:20). Highest on our agenda is frequently accomplishing something necessary or noble, or escaping affliction or humiliation. These may not be wrong desires, but they may be the wrong priorities.
That’s it for this round up. Hopefully we can make this a regular feature.
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.