319! 319! 319!

September 1, 2015

ABRAM AND HIS 318 MEN DELIVER LOT AND HIS FAMILY (Genesis 14; 319 warriors)

DAVID’S TABERNACLE OF PRAISE (1 Chronicles 25-26; 3 seers + 288 musicians + 28 gatekeepers=319 worshippers)

BIBLICAL RECORD OF TRUMPETS IN WAR
I. The Israelites execute the Lord’ vengeance on Midian–presumed two trumpets
Numbers 31:6
And Moses sent them to the war, 1,000 from each tribe, together with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, with the [sacred] vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets to blow the alarm in his hand.

This passage doesn’t say how many trumpets Phinehas took to war, but an earlier passage in Numbers gives a clue:
Numbers 10:1,2,9 (AMP)
And the Lord said to Moses,
Make two trumpets of silver; of hammered or turned work you shall make them, that you may use them to call the congregation and for breaking camp. . . .
When you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then blow an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.

II. The fall of Jericho–seven trumpets
Joshua 6:4 (AMP)
And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns; and on the seventh day you shall march around the enclosure seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

III. Ehud kills the King of Moab and the Lord delivers the Moabites into Israel’s hands–one trumpet
Judges 3:27 (AMP)
When he arrived, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down from the hill country, with him at their head.

IV. Gideon conquers the host of Midian–301 trumpets
Judges 7:16-18 (AMP)
And he divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers.
And he said to them, Look at me, then do likewise. When I come to the edge of their camp, do as I do.
When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, For the Lord and for Gideon!

V. Saul calls Israel to war against the Philistines–one trumpet
1 Samuel 13:3 (AMP)
Jonathan smote the Philistine garrison at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear!

VI. Joab calls Judah to stop pursuing Israel–one trumpet
2 Samuel 2:28 (AMP)
So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight any more.

VII. Joab calls David’s servants to stop fighting Absalom’s servants after Absalom is killed–one trumpet
2 Samuel 18:16 (AMP)
Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained and spared them.

VIII. Sheba calls Israel to rebel against David, and Joab calls off his pursuit after Sheba’s death–two trumpets
2 Samuel 20:1,14,15,22 (AMP)
There happened to be there a base and contemptible fellow named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjamite. He blew a trumpet and said, We have no portion in David and no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel! . . .
Joab went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Berites assembled and also went after [Sheba] ardently.
And they came and besieged Sheba in Abel of Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the men with Joab battered and undermined the wall to make it fall. . . .
And they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and cast it down to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his own home.

IX. Israel ambushes Judah
2 Chronicles 13:14-15 (AMP)–presumed two trumpets
When Judah looked, behold, the battle was before and behind; and they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets.
Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as they shouted, God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.

The number of trumpets is not recorded. Based on Numbers 10, I am surmising two.

X. Nehemiah prepares to fight the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites while the wall is being rebuilt–one trumpet, never sounded
Nehemiah 4:18,20 (AMP)
And every builder had his sword girded by his side, and so worked. And he who sounded the trumpet was at my side. . . In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.

The sum of the record of trumpets in war is 319.

O Lord, may there continuously be 319 intercessors warring for the establishment of Your kingdom in the United States as it is in heaven! Amen.


Excellent article on Prayer & Fasting (Justin Taylor / John Piper)

July 15, 2015

I tweeted about this earlier today, but think this is a really important article, deserving of a blog post.   In the wake of the brutally horrifying video exposé of Planned Parenthood’s butchery of babies to sell their body parts, Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition has posted a great call to prayer & fasting, reminding us of the role of spiritual warfare in the face of such evil.  There are battles in our culture that we cannot win by logical argument or legislative effort.  The battle against the evil of abortion may well be one of them.

His article largely draws upon writings from John Piper’s great (must read!) book A Hunger for God.

 

“Fasting,” Piper writes, “comes in alongside prayer with all its hunger for God and says,

We are not able in ourselves to win this battle.

We are not able to change hearts or minds.

We are not able to change worldviews and transform culture and save 1.6 million children.

We are not able to reform the judiciary or embolden the legislature or mobilize the slumbering population.

We are not able to heal the endless wounds of godless ideologies and their bloody deeds.

But, O God, you are able!

And we turn from reliance on ourselves to you.

And we cry out to you and plead that for the sake of your name, and for the sake of your glory, and for the advancement of your saving purpose in the world, and for the demonstration of your wisdom and your power and your authority over all things, and for the sway of your Truth and the relief of the poor and the helpless, act, O God.  […]

I appeal to you to seek the Lord with me concerning the place of fasting and prayer in breaking through the darkened mind that engulfs the modern world, in regard to abortion and a hundred other ills.

This is not a call for a collective tantrum that screams at the bad people, “Give me back my country.”

It is a call to aliens and exiles in the earth, whose citizenship is in heaven and who await the appearance of their King, to “do business” until he comes (Luke 19:13).

And the great business of the Christian is to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), and to pray that God’s name be hallowed and his kingdom come and his will be done in the earth (Matthew 6:9-10). And to yearn and work and pray and fast not only for the final revelation of the Son of Man, but in the meantime, for the demonstration of his Spirit and power in the reaching of every people, and the rescuing of the perishing, and the purifying of the church, and the putting right of as many wrongs as God will grant.

I join Piper in commending this practice to you. What looks foolish to the world (forgoing food to pray for the protection of the unborn) may look utterly foolish to the world, but it will be pleasing to the God who sees and rewards in secret.

Please read it all, and please pray in the face of the present darkness in our culture and world.


Quotable: Liturgy conforms our bodies to truth

April 10, 2015

From a FANTASTIC article “Omnivorous Liturgy” by Peter Leithart at First Things – must reading for understanding the role of liturgy in forming us as Christ-followers:

We stand, we kneel, we sit, we stand, we kneel. The postures of liturgy write “upon the bodies of those who perform it frequently a habit of acting as an unworthy recipient of a prevenient gift” (Paul Griffiths, Decreation, 232).

By developing the habits that the liturgy impresses on us, we become “agents whose bodies and words are conformed to the truth that [we] are simultaneously capable of receiving the divine gift, and utterly unworthy to receive it.” This isn’t the result of “trying or learning to feel unworthy-and-worthy” nor do “worshipers knowingly perform liturgically before a mirror lined with your own eyes.” That would be an accommodation to the modern obsession with the inner theater, the concept that the inner theater makes our actions sincere.

Rather, we simply say what the liturgy teaches us to say. We do what the liturgy leads us to do. And by doing and saying over and over again, we develop habits. We become “the kind of person who does and says these things” (233).

YES!!! This is SUCH a powerful image, and so helpful to me!


Malcolm Guite: Prayer Walk – excellent poem and reflection on prayer

March 5, 2015

Malcolm Guite’s blog is one of my new discoveries thanks to Twitter, and I’m very much enjoying his Lent entries. I really appreciated his “Prayer Walk” entry yesterday, and encourage readers to go enjoy it in full.  I won’t post his poem here, but rather a portion of his reflection on how prayer walking has strengthened his prayer life.

I have noticed how often interesting footpaths and bridleways start just beyond the brambles at the end of tarmacked roads marked ‘dead end’. And it seemed, for me at least, that is very often where prayer starts too. I am sure that prayer should be a first resort, but for me it is sometimes the last resort when I’ve tried everything else! I’ve also noticed that the places in life where I get stuck and come up as it were against a ‘dead end’ sign, are inevitably the important places, the places where there is real stuff to deal with and that is precisely why I get stuck or find it difficult to move forward. Too often one simply shies away from these personal dead-ends and goes for the first diversion (usually Facebook!) to try something easier. But when I’m walking, the opposite is true. It gives me pleasure to walk down the apparent dead-end and find the hidden path where the cars can’t go, strike out across the fields and leave the traffic behind, so I have tried to apply this to my prayer life.

The full entry is here.

It’s interesting that he mentions George Herbert’s poem “Prayer” as his inspiration for the poem he posted.  I too have been reading and reflecting on Herbert’s poem, especially since I’ve been reading Tim Keller’s excellent book on prayer.  I’m hopting I’ll find time in the next day or two to post Herbert’s poem and some of Keller’s reflections and insights about it.


Lent Quotes. Martin Luther – Unworthy to pray?

February 23, 2015

Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood.

We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.

So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness. Yes, everything depends on this alone. Don’t turn his faithful promise into a lie by your doubts. For your worthiness doesn’t help you, and neither does your unworthiness hinder you. A lack of faith is what condemns you, but confidence in God is what makes you worthy.

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Luke 18:13

Martin Luther; James C. Galvin, Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional


Picking up loose ends–a reflection on prayer for the Church of England

February 10, 2015

Remember when God didn’t let Moses enter the Promised Land because he struck the rock rather than spoke to it? (Numbers 20:2-20) The punishment seemed harsh, but I believe God was trying to teach Israel the power of the spoken word when instructed by God’s Holy Spirit. Joshua seems to have caught on, commanding the sun to stop in its course in the military campaign against the five Amorite kings. The speed of that military campaign was stunning. (Joshua 9-10)

Regarding the heroes and heroines of the faith, scripture says

Hebrews 11:39-40 (AMP)
And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].

God had us in mind for the completion of His promises to the heroes and heroines of the faith. In His eyes, we are connected to the generations.

In Revelation, John described golden bowls filled with incense, which are prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8, Psalm 141:2) Even though the saints have died, God can still use their prayers! The prayers have vitality. God says that when He sends out His word, it shall not return to Him empty, but accomplish what He purposed. (Isaiah 55:11) One wonders what the implications are for prayers guided by the Holy Spirit and birthed in scripture.

When we pray the prayer of St. Chrysostom, we cannot claim Chrysostom as a prayer partner because he is dead. What happens to prayers that have been prayed by many saints through the centuries? Is there a synergistic effect created by generations coming into agreement? Based on Hebrews 11:39-40, yes. When we join our voices to their prayers, we are helping to bring their prayers to completion, to perfection.

During the religious revival under King Hezekiah, the praise team was composed of the descendants of Samuel. The revival took place hundreds of years after Samuel died, not in Samuel’s life. The generations came into agreement, and a revival was born. Our God is a God of generations, of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

The prayers through the ages are like beautiful threads of gold and azure and scarlet waiting to be woven into the tapestry of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The Church of England has a full repository of prayers for the church. In this season when the church is sore pressed, join your voices with the prayers of days gone by.

From St. Anselm, theologian and Archbishop of Canterbury:

“Hope of my heart,
strength of my soul,
help of my weakness,
by your powerful kindness complete
what in my powerless weakness I attempt.”

May it be so for Your servants in the General Synod and throughout the Church of England, dear Lord. Amen.

Some thoughts in this reflection came from “The Synergy of the Ages” by Dutch Sheets.


“Prayer in the Facebook Age”

November 19, 2014

I strongly urge all our readers to read and reflect on this article.  I know that as much as I enjoy seasons of blogging at L&B, and have been finding Twitter helpful for identifying new resources and important prayer requests, they DO make it hard to really enjoy solitude with the Lord and have a quiet heart to listen to Him through His Word.

H/T to Pat Dague who posted this at Transfigurations.

These sections of the article rang true for me:

First Things: Prayer in the Facebook Age

Too often the world draws you away from him, and so you must slough off your circumstances and address him by yourself, oriented toward nothing else, no outside distractions or commitments. The first commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Loving your neighbor comes second.

We are in danger of losing these replenishing, corrective moments of solitary faith. Silence and seclusion are harder to find, and fewer people seek them out.  […]

People awash in ­social media can’t get past the paradox that the best salve for loneliness is ­properly applied alone. They look for answers in added connections, and more-­emotional ones, but God isn’t a closer contact and better friend. He transcends the social, and you must seek him beyond the medium of “share” and “like.” In solitary prayer, the secular pleasures dissipate and the successes of social media melt into nothingness. You drop your social self. […]

[Heavy social media users tend to] spend fewer minutes alone with God, and, more damaging, they acquire a sensibility less inclined to seek him out.

Read the whole article!

 


Some excerpts from Tim Keller’s interview on Prayer

November 1, 2014

I’m eagerly looking forward to reading Tim Keller’s about-to-be-released book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.

As part of the launch of the book, Tim Keller recently participated in a discussion about prayer hosted by John Piper and Desiring God ministries.  There are several audio files from that interview available, as well as a printed transcript.

Here are a few key excerpts from the transcript:

On why Keller finds the Psalms helpful in shaping his prayer life:

The Psalms, in a sense, give you the permission to pour out your complaints in a way that we might think inappropriate, if it wasn’t there in the Scriptures. But on the other hand, the Psalms demand that you bow in the end to the sovereignty of God in a way that modern culture wouldn’t lead you to believe.

The role of meditation on the Scriptures in warming our hearts and helping us adore God in prayer:

…take the truth that you have learned through good exegesis, and once you understand that, you need to learn how to warm your heart with it — get it into your heart.

And it diminishes our prayer life that our hearts are cold when we get into prayer. Without meditation, you tend to go right into petition and supplication, and you do little adoration or confession. When your heart is warm, then you start to praise God and then you confess. When your heart is cold, which it is if you just study the Bible and then jump to prayer, you are much more likely to spend your time on your prayer list and not really engage your heart.

On dealing with the issue of distractions:

How am I going to get to prayer? How am I going to deal with [distractions]? I say, maybe you don’t believe you need prayer. And that is a theological, spiritual problem, and there is nothing I can do except tell you to get your heart and your mind straight on that.

Having said that, once you determine you must do it, inside your prayer time, it is hard sometimes to keep from being distracted. That is where meditation helps. Martin Luther said that if you warm your heart through meditation on the Scriptures, so that your heart starts to really warm up, you go into prayer because you want to pray, because you want to praise him for what you see, and you want to confess your sins.

Meditation on a passage of Scripture keeps me from being distracted in prayer. You say: Okay, what does it mean to me? How do I praise God for this? How do I confess for this? How do I petition for this? Meditation warms the heart and absorbs the mind so I am not as distracted.

On the crucial importance of knowing God as “Our Father” as we pray:

And so if I forget that God is my Father, I may come to him in prayer in a mercenary way, saying: I am going to do this and this and this, and now you owe me this and this and this. First, that destroys the ability to adore God. You are basically in petition. Secondly, it makes prayer a way of manipulating God.  […]

So I would say calling God Father means, on the one hand, I’m assured of grace and assured that he is always going to hear me. So that makes my petitions stronger. But on the other hand, it also means that I have to confess my sins because this wonderful God who has done all this for me and has brought me into his family at infinite cost of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that I need to obey him because of his good grace.

So to call God Father enhances everything you do in prayer. If you don’t know that God is your Father, it flattens and reduces and thins out every prayer.

Read the whole interview!

Audio files can be found here:


Two ebook bargains on praying Scripture for children and teens

October 19, 2014

Tonight I discovered a sale on two books (Kindle eBook versions), on prayer that look very promising.

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie BerndtPraying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers: Discover How to Pray God's Purpose for Their Lives by Jodie Berndt

links here:

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children

Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers

Both books are currently on sale for $2.99 each.   I’ve not read either myself, but the author participates in a ministry called MomsinPrayer that I’ve been discovering since we’ve been on Twitter.  I’ve been impressed by these women and their hearts for prayer and their creative ways of continuing to fan into flame a commitment to pray for children and families.

We here at Lent & Beyond are BIG fans of praying the Scriptures!

 

 


Meditative Prayer for the Weary and Burdened

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.

Jesus said:

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!


Prayer Resources and Articles for Reflection (from recent Tweets)

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 KraftSeven 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.


Free Kindle Book: John Calvin – Praying through the Prophets (Jonah, Micah, Nahum)

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:

Jonah 1:4-7

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.


Altar of incense

February 7, 2014

From Wikipedia:

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.


ACNA Diocese of Mid Atlantic: Intercessory Prayer Workshop – Talks available online

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.

Fr. Dan Martins: On the Efficacy of Prayer

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.


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