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One of the most gratifying things to me has always been mowing the lawn. I can be outside and get a little bit of exercise, but also I can see immediate results. Next to the tall overgrown grass is the freshly cut lawn. Instant results are gratifying. However, there are areas in life where I don’t see results instantly. Gardening, learning new habits, and saving money are some examples. Prayer in worship is often more like the second example. A necessary work that rarely sees immediate results.
Consider the role of corporate prayer. We pray every week for results that we may not immediately see. Weekly we bring our same concerns to God. It may seem unimportant, but it’s one of the most important things the church does. Chores are not always fun, but they need to happen. I would take the statement even further if we don’t do this; everything else will fall apart. Imagine how chaotic our life can be if we never clean the house, wash clothes, or maintain the car. Corporate prayer in the w is more than but not less than maintenance. Our corporate prayer is essential. It communicates to us and those around us that we are dependent on God, a community of disciples, and the spiritual nature of our gatherings. (more…)
Calvin’s 1542 Genevan Catechism included a series of prayers. Prayers were meant to serve as models of prayers to be said. They were for training our minds and encouraging our souls to pray daily. Some prayers could be memorized others were longer and were inspirational because of the language taken from Scripture (mostly the Psalter). Here are some sample prayers:
When waking up:
My God, my Father, and my Savior, since you have been pleased to give me the grace to bring me through the night to the present day, may you also now grant me the gift of spending this day entirely in your service, so that I may not think, or say, or do anything except to please you and obey your good will, so that in this all my works be done to the glory of your name and to the edification of my neighbors. And just as you are pleased to make your sun shine on the earth to give us bodily light, so illuminate my understanding and my heart through the light of your Spirit, to guide me along the straight paths of your justice. Thus, whatever my undertaking, may my main goal and intention always be to walk in the fear of you, to serve and honor you, expecting that all good and prosperity comes to me from your blessing alone, so that I do not attempt anything that is not pleasing to you. Furthermore, while I work hard for the sake of my body and for the present life, may I always cast my gaze further, namely, toward the heavenly life that you have promised to your children. Yet may it please you to be the protector of both my body and my soul, strengthening me against all the devil’s temptations, and delivering me from all the earthly dangers that may threaten me. And because a good beginning is worthless without perseverance, please guide me onto your holy paths, not only for today but for my whole life, daily continuing and increasing your grace in me, until you bring me to full unity with your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the true Sun of our souls, shining endlessly and perpetually day and night. And in order that I may obtain these graces from you, please forget my previous faults, forgiving me for them according to your endless mercy, as you have promised to all those who wholeheartedly ask this of you. (more…)
A. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer.
The Christian is more than a sinner who has been forgiven. They are the sinner declared both righteous and a child of God. We could say “the forensic leads to the relational”. The relational aspect of worship and prayer fills the life of the Christian. And prayer isn’t only for the individual but for the corporate as well. Prayer is a command from God (“pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and thus sometimes we pray even when we don’t understand how it will turn out. We continue to be obedient in prayer and it fosters that fellowship with our heavenly Father. (more…)
The Blessed Estate of Those Saints Who Die in the Lord
Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
Below is the Invocation and Benediction I delivered to the 79th BSTB on December 4, 2010 for the Army Ball.
Father in heaven. We call on You, invoking the triune God where One is called all are called (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We call on you great Creator of heaven and earth. Sovereign and Holy God you alone create, provide and sustain. Who are we Lord that you would allow us to come before you in your holy throne room? Have you simply created us and then left us? Are we here alone? Is our suffering heard? You answer and your response is “I have come in the flesh, I have eaten with you and I will bring you to me” (more…)