Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Quick Post: Scripture based Prayers

“They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in…The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters.” Genesis 7:15-16, 18

Heavenly Father, Thank you for rescue from the flood of judgment against my sin and guilt through the Ark of your Son. Keep me in the safekeeping of that ship; shut me in that I might be kept by you, for you. And bring me safely to the new earth in due time.

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

Heavenly Father, thank you for being well pleased with Your Son and His Work, so that you are well pleased with me. May I rest today in Your pleasure.

Quick Post: Prayer is inefficient

Why do I resist prayer? One reason is because it is inefficient. It doesn’t help me cross “to do” items off my list. It doesn’t fit into my GTD rubric. But we don’t pray because it is efficient or expedient (not to mention that the things I am praying about rarely have quick fixes or easy answers), but because it leads me to entreat my Heavenly Father to act in ways I can’t with a timing I won’t understand. Prayer does not lead to efficiency, rather it leads to deeper dependency.

Chemo Eve

Tonight is Chemo Eve.  That is, I start my chemotherapy treatments tomorrow (Wednesday morning).  Chemo Eve isn’t near as cool or exciting as Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.    I don’t even get to dress up like on All Hallow’s Eve (or better known Halloween).  Maybe I should dress up – that might make things more fun.  I’m taking suggestions, but keep in mind I don’t want to be kicked out of the place.   I think.

And that illustrates my emotional state leading into this.  I have actually had a hard time discerning what I am thinking and feeling the past few days.  Other than just feeling weighted down, bearing an awful load.  That’s especially how I felt Monday morning as I was on my way to the office.  Nothing a donut couldn’t fix, but then I actually become the awful load (Full disclosure:  I did eat a donut and it was really yummy).

With some more rumination, I do think I have ferreted out my predominant thought and it follows, in some ways, my previous thoughts about being on a bullet train to an unknown destination.  I am not primarily fearful, though it can’t be said that I am serene.  I am not primarily anxious, though it can’t be said that I am at complete peace.  I am not primarily worried, though it can’t be said that I don’t spend a good bit of times thinking (worrying?) about the list of potential side effects.

Nope, here it is:  I do not like being out of control.  Out of control of my body.  Out of control of my schedule.  Out of control of my future.   Out of control of my days and nights.  Out of control of my plans.  It is this that haunts and hounds me most, especially when I am not busy with work or the kids.

Some months ago, I called my friend and mentor in ministry after hearing about his diagnosis of cancer.  His is terminal.   I recall him telling me that one of the things he was wrestling with, and that we all have to do in some regard, is reconciling himself to the reality that he is not in control and never was.  Or some words to that effect.  I assented to that truth, as I agree and agreed then, in principle.   In principle, it sounds good and right.  And it is.  In practice, well, that’s another thing altogether.  Now, we are “cancer buddies”, as he says.   And the mentoring continues!

So, I wrestle with my dislike of feeling out of control.  Though I know the One who is in control.  Of all things.  Of this.  And so, what is left for me to do?  There is trust and dependence, but I will confess that those don’t come quite as easily as I would like.  What is left for me to do?  I must plunge myself in the waters of Scripture.  Let the words of Romans 8:28-29, 1 Peter 1, Psalm 121, and Psalm 46 wash over me.  I breathe the air of a dependence that is foreign, but ultimately life-giving, as this world is not my home and the air here is a bit polluted.   And while the water flows and I breathe deeply, I am also confronted, confounded and comforted with the reality that the Lord is not just doing this in me, but also through me. 2 Corinthians 4:11-12:  “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”   And, of course, I do none of this one my own.  But with and through the countless prayers of many – known and unknown.

Easter Prayer – 2013

Pastoral Prayer prayed on March 31st, 2013 (Easter) at North Hills Church  [Portion in italics is from The Worship Sourcebook]

Father, Let us live in the hope of the Resurrection of Christ and His complete and utter defeat of our enemies of sin, the evil One, and death.  Let us live in this hope despite the realities of our groaning and longing in this world.  Let us live in this hope when…

Our bodies groan, longing for restoration of health, a return to normal, or just the strength to carry on  another day.

When our hearts groan with a longing for loved ones lost, for reconciliation with a family member of friend, or to be free of fear and anxiety.

When our souls groan, longing for complete freedom from sin that indwells, that dogs our days & nights, and that draws us away from you, our Lord.

When we long to be renewed inwardly and outwardly.   When death seems to prevail, sin seems so powerful, and the Evil One so persuasive.

Renew our Resurrection hope this day, as we worship and reflect on the greater Reality – that Jesus Christ not only died for us, but truly Rose for us.  Renew our heart to know that Christ lives today, intercedes for us, and has completely defeated the Evil One.

And grant to us not just hope, but also gratitude.  That thanksgiving might well up in our hearts again and again, even as we await the completion of your work in us and in this world.

Thanksgiving that you would send your Son to live and die for us.

That you would settle our debt and forgive our transgressions.

That you would grant to us new life through faith in Your Son

That you would adopts us as sons & daughters

That you would give to us your Spirit, a guarantee of life to come and a guardian of life in you.

That you would give to us one another to show grace to one another, t0 encourage & edify, and to bear one  another’s burdens in times of need.

That you would use us as ambassadors and servants in this world.

That you would use North Hills Church to proclaim the excellencies of your mercy.

Living God, you have given us so much in Jesus Christ: hope, joy, and peace.
Above all, you have given us life!  What can we give in return?  If the whole world were ours, it would not be enough. What little we have we humbly offer to you. Thousand, thousand thanks are due, dearest Jesus, unto you.

Remind us that with you, life is never hopeless.  That disappointment, doubt, and despair are never final.  Remind us that though there are tears, there is day when you will wipe every tear from our eyes.  A place where sin, pain, and death have all been eradicated.  Remind us that it is our Risen & Returning Lord who takes us there.   This day, let hope reign and gratitude pour forth from our hearts and lips, regardless of the state we find ourselves in.   In you, we live and move and have our being.  And to you we pray.  In the name of Your Son, Our Savior, Jesus, the One who Rose, Amen

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

St Patrick is worthy of celebrating – just not in the way that this has come to be.

Read St. Patrick’s Breastplate here.

I enjoyed reading about St. Patrick in Thomas Cahill’s good book How the Irish Saved Civilization.

Christmas Prayer/Pastoral Prayer

I prayed this as part of the pastoral prayer at Calvary yesterday:

King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
We bow our hearts and heads before you this morning.
As Christmas nears, we pray for a sense of wonder
a sense of amazement at the way that you have chosen to enter into our sin-sick, wicked, and depraved world.
Heavenly Father, this Christmas we pray for:
The faith of Mary to trust your Sovereign will
The steadfastness of Joseph, though we may not understand your ways.
The wonder of the Shepherds who received the most amazing news
The endurance of the wise men, who journeyed from afar to give their gifts
The voice of a multitude of angels, to sing “Glory to God in the highest”

Father, in you, what once was an overwhelming flood of our guilt and sin, has become the ocean of your grace.  In Christ, born of Mary, suffering the pains of this world, and death on a Cross – we find our life.  Amidst all that we face this Christmas season:  uncertainty, guilt, loneliness, debt, disappointment, despair, grief….Would  you cause your star to rise, that once again we might follow, to see our King born to give us new life, new birth.

Christmas Prayer

Come and stand amazed, you people,
see how God is reconciled!
See his plans of love accomplished,
see his gift, this newborn child.
See the Mighty, weak and tender,
see the Word who now is mute.
See the Sovereign without splendor,
see the Fullness destitute;
the Beloved, whom we covet,
in a state of low repute.
See how humankind received him;
see him wrapped in swaddling bands,
who as Lord of all creation
rules the wind by his commands.
See him lying in a manger
without sign of reasoning;
Word of God to flesh surrendered,
he is wisdom’s crown, our King.
See how tender our Defender
at whose birth the angels sing.
O Lord Jesus, God incarnate,
who assumed this humble form,
counsel me and let my wishes
to your perfect will conform.
Light of life, dispel my darkness,
let your frailty strengthen me;
let your meekness give me boldness,
let your burden set me free;
let your sadness give me gladness,
let your death be life for me. Amen.

Source:  Worship Sourcebook (an indispenable resource for worship planning)

Praying for President-Elect Obama

Some good thoughts here from Ligon Duncan here.  (HT:  Ed)

Reflections upon the Election

Here are a few random thoughts on the Election from the perspective of this Christian

  • First and foremost, Obama is our new president because the Lord has placed him in this position (Daniel 4:17,25,32; Proverbs 8:15; Romans 13:1-2 to name a few).  This does not mean that I  understand God’s purposes, but I do take comfort in Romans 8:28-30.
  • I voted for McCain, but I never placed my hopes in him.  I do not think the same can be said for scores of people who voted for Obama.  There will never be a Savior in the White House.  This is the danger of the change rhetoric and there has already been moves by Obama’s campaign to temper expectations.
  • Christians have a great opportunity to point others to the true Savior and King – this is always our calling and would be true still if McCain had been elected.  Mark Driscoll has a great blog post along these lines here.
  • I think we have a great system of government in general and I do think that it is a privilege to vote.  And as I write, I think of our military men and women who courageously guard our freedom and protect those rights (thank you!)
  • McCain’s concession speech was great – I thought he was incredibly gracious and struck the proper tone despite the obvious disappointment.  I do not think any Republican was going to win this election given the perfect storm of recent events.
  • I also found Obama’s speech to be powerful and eloquent.  This is certainly one of his strengths, but that doesn’t mean he will or won’t be a great president.
  • The “Yes We Can” refrain very clearly draws on the call & response that is typical of African-American churches.  It was part of the power of his speech.
  • It is interesting that Obama’s white heritage has been subsumed by the African heritage of his father.  I suppose he truly is an African-American.  On this note, I do think we can rejoice with those who rights have been trampled simply because of the color of their skin.  That said, this in no means ends racism and may make things worse in some corners.
  • If you didn’t catch my drift in the first point…I do not despair because of my strong belief and hope in the sovereignty of God.  This does not mean that I am not concerned, especially for the unborn.
  • We should pray for the Obama presidency (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
  • I am preaching on Romans 13:1-7, so a lot more of my thoughts on this topic are going to be honed through my preparation these next few day.

What are your thoughts the day after?