10 Things to Pray for Your Wife

As my lovely wife celebrates a special birthday, the best gift I can give her is outlined here by Jonathan Parnell: Our hunger for God will not be confined to our closets. As we know him and delight in all that he is for us in Jesus, our joy in him reaches beyond personal experience on a quest to be reproduced in others. One of the simplest ways we realize this is by taking serious how we pray — by wanting and asking for others the same things we want and ask for ourselves. It is a beautiful thing — a miracle — when we become as invested in the sanctification of others as we are in our own. And, of course, the best place to start is with our spouses. So men, here are ten things to want from God (and ask from him) for your wife: God, be her God — her all-satisfying treasure and all. Make her jealous for

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9 Ways to Pray for Churches and Pastors

From the 9Marks 2013 report: 1. Expositional Preaching: pray that more pastors will commit to preaching the whole counsel of God, making the point of the passage the point of their sermons. 2. Biblical Theology: pray that more pastors will preach about the big God from the big Story of the Bible, protecting the church from false teaching. 3. The Gospel: pray that pastors will faithfully proclaim the gospel every chance they have. Pray their churches will ask for nothing more than the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. 4. Conversion: pray that more churches would grasp the doctrine of conversion rightly, and shape their practices to promote born-again believers, not nominal believers. 5. Evangelism: pray that churches will be bold and faithful in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. 6. Church Membership: pray that churches will take the biblical call to church membership seriously, and encourage the whole body of Christ toward holiness and active participation. 7. Church Discipline: pray that churches will grow in purity

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Let’s Pray for Revival

The Gospel Coalition Council members Kevin DeYoung, Bryan Chapell, and Richard Phillips recently sat down to tackle this knotty topic. “In a true revival, you’re not adding human manipulative techniques to a biblical ministry,” Phillips explains. Rather, you’re “doing biblical ministry, fortified by prayer, and the Holy Spirit is giving you a great harvest.” Moreover, Chapell points out, “True revival is often very disruptive to the traditional church.” As a result, many churches “want revival until it comes.” On the other hand, DeYoung adds, some don’t desire to see revival unless it occurs in their church. To be sure, the history of revivalism is shot through with examples of well-meaning people seeking to engineer what only God can do. As Lloyd-Jones warned: “Pray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it; it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make

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Why doesn’t God always heal the sick?

Sam Storms: God loved the Apostle Paul. Yet God sovereignly orchestrated Paul’s painful thorn in the flesh and then declined to remove it, notwithstanding Paul’s passionate prayer that he be healed (2 Cor. 12:8-9). We are not apostles. Yet, God loves us as his children no less than he loved Paul. We don’t know the nature of Paul’s thorn, but each of us has undoubtedly suffered in a similar way, and some considerably worse. We, like Paul, have prayed incessantly to be healed. Or perhaps knowing of a loved one’s “thorn,” we have prayed for him or her. And again, as with Paul, God declined to remove it. Why? It’s hard to imagine a more difficult, confusing, and controversial topic than why God chooses not to heal in response to the intercessory pleas of his people. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I think I’ve got a few. 1. FAITH Occasionally healing does not occur because of

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What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?

Justin Childers: Did you know that the Bible never commands us to say, “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers? So, why do we do it? Well, because Jesus commanded and encouraged us to pray in His name (John 14:13-14). But, He wasn’t commanding us to say, “in Jesus’ name.” He was commanding us to pray in His name. So, what does that mean?  Well, it means a whole lot more than simply saying 3 words at the end of our prayers. It is an attitude and recognition.  Here is my attempt to get at what it means: Praying in Jesus’ name means recognizing that it is only through Jesus that we can ask anything of God. We must come to the Father acknowledging that, without the atonement of Jesus, He would not even hear us. Praying in Jesus’ name means praying for what will bring Him most glory. “In Jesus’ name” is another way to say, “for

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Amen, and Amen!

Kevin DeYoung: What we mean when we say amen: The word amen is not Christianese for “prayer over.” It means something much more beautiful and significant. I had a friend in college who thought because of our freedom in Christ we shouldn’t say “amen” to conclude our prayers.  So he started ending his prayers with “groovy” (you would have thought I was in college in the 1970s). He thought it was pretty cool, a little bit of needed rebellion against tired old Christian cliches. But amen is not the same as groovy.  Amen means “let it be, “so be it,” “verily,” “truly.”  When you finish your prayer with “Amen” you are saying, “Yes Lord, let it be so. According to your will, may it be.” It’s a final note of confirmation at the end of our prayers. More than that, the Heidelberg Catechism reminds us that “amen” is also an expression of confidence. “Amen” means “This is sure to be!” It reminds

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When God puts himself “under the power of his people”

Sam Storms: Jonathan Edwards saw a direct cause and effect relationship between the faithful and fervent prayers of God’s people and the authenticity of heaven-sent revival. “When God has something very great to accomplish for his church, ’tis his will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of his people; as is manifest byEzek. 36:37, ‘I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them’; . . . And ’tis revealed that when God is about to accomplish great things for his church, he will begin by remarkably pouring out ‘the spirit of grace and supplication,’ Zech. 12:10” (Some Thoughts, 516). Again, “When God is about to bestow some great blessing on his church, it is often his manner, in the first place, so to order things in his providence as to shew [sic] his church their great need of it, and to bring ’em into distress for want of it, and

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5 lessons that Jacob’s wrestling teaches us about prayer

J.D. Greear: Genesis 32 contains the fascinating story of Jacob wrestling all night with God. The whole wrestling match comes about in the midst of Jacob praying, and his physical struggle teaches us 5 lessons about prayer. 1. The blessings of God are released into our lives through prayer. Before Jacob was even born God had prophesied that the blessing would be his and not his brother’s (Gen 25:23). But it was not until Jacob took it in a prayer-wrestling match with God that it really became his. He laid hold of the promise of God through a night of prayer. The Bible is a book full of promises—3,000 of them! And while many of them apply to specific and unique situations, Paul calls all the promises of God “Yes” in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20).  So in a Christ-centered way, every one of them is Yes for me and for you. So do not simply read through your Bible. Pray through it! The Bible is our primary prayer book,

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Five things not to say this Sunday

Adrian Reynolds: Many of us and people in our churches will have been praying about Tuesday’s vote on so-called gay marriage in the House of Commons. The Government’s success in the vote, and the sometimes empty arguments advanced, will have left many of us feeling a little cold, low and disappointed  – not just physically, but spiritually too. As preachers, we will have the pulpit on Sunday, so what must we say? Plenty. But I would like specifically to suggest five things we must not say, despite the temptation. 1. Our God is not sovereign None of us would say this, of course, but might some of our people think it? How can the God we worship and adore possibly be sovereign and allow this vote to have gone through? If ever there were a time for a Mount Carmel type intervention, wasn’t this it? Surely the only reasonable deduction (and one that opponents might well make) is that God is not

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How to Pray Using Scripture

Kevin DeYoung: Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference. For many years I’ve used the 3 R’s I learned from Ben Patterson to pray through Scripture. This simple tool has helped me pray the Bible more than any other single strategy. I’ve used in my devotional times and have employed it often in leading others in prayer. 1. Rejoice 2. Repent 3. Request With every verse in the Bible we can do one (or more likely, all three) of these things. We can rejoice and thank God for his character and blessings. We can repent of our mistakes and sins. We can request new mercies and help. Right now I just flipped opened my Bible and landed at Psalm 104. Verse 1 says “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” How might you pray through this verse? Well, at first blush you might

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To Hell with the Devil and His Destructive Lies

John Piper: But the hard truth is that most Christians don’t pray very much. They pray at meals—unless they’re still stuck in the adolescent stage of calling good habits legalism. They whisper prayers before tough meetings. They say something brief as they crawl into bed. But very few set aside set times to pray alone—and fewer still think it is worth it to meet with others to pray. And we wonder why our faith is weak. And our hope is feeble. And our passion for Christ is small.   The Duty of Prayer And meanwhile the devil is whispering all over this room: “The pastor is getting legalistic now. He’s starting to use guilt now. He’s getting out the law now.” To which I say, “To hell with the devil and all of his destructive lies. Be free!” Is it true that intentional, regular, disciplined, earnest, Christ-dependent, God-glorifying, joyful prayer is a duty? Do I go to pray with many of

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John Calvin’s 4 Rules of Prayer

From Joel Beeke: For John Calvin, prayer cannot be accomplished without discipline. He writes, “Unless we fix certain hours in the day for prayer, it easily slips from our memory.” He goes on to prescribe several rules to guide believers in offering effectual, fervent prayer. 1. The first rule is a heartfelt sense of reverence. In prayer, we must be “disposed in mind and heart as befits those who enter conversation with God.” Our prayers should arise from “the bottom of our heart.” Calvin calls for a disciplined mind and heart, asserting that “the only persons who duly and properly gird themselves to pray are those who are so moved by God’s majesty that, freed from earthly cares and affections, they come to it.” 2. The second rule is a heartfelt sense of need and repentance. We must “pray from a sincere sense of want and with penitence,” maintaining “the disposition of a beggar.” Calvin does not mean that believers should pray for every whim that

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Extraordinary Holiness Through Four Ordinary Means

Tony Reinke: In his new book, Kevin DeYoung writes, “It may sound boring or out-of-date, but it just happens to be true: the way to grow in your relationship with Jesus is to pray, read your Bible, and go to a church where you’ll get good preaching, good fellowship, and receive the sacraments” (134). It sounds ordinary, and it is, as Kevin explains in the following clip (4 minutes):  

Praying Past Our Preferred Outcomes

By Nancy Guthrie: It is one thing to be asked to pray for another person. I’m happy to do it. I want to do it. I must admit, though, I am not always faithful to do it. However, it is another thing to be told what to ask God for in the situation. I’ve noticed that often requests for prayer come with specific instructions on how to pray. I call it a “please pray for my predetermined positive outcome” request. And while I’m questioning our accepted methods of requesting prayer, I’ve got to ask, why do we seem to make it our goal to get as many people as possible praying toward our predetermined positive outcome? Is it that we think God is resistant to doing what is good and right but can be pressured by a large number of people to relent and deliver? Do we think that the more people we recruit to pray for the same thing

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Jesus’ primary concern

“The first two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer are perhaps the clearest statement of all in the teachings of Jesus that missions is driven by the passion of God to be glorified among the nations. ‘Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:9–10). Here Jesus teaches us to ask God to hallow his name and to make his kingdom come. This is a missionary prayer. Its aim is to engage the passion of God for his name among those who forget or revile the name of God (Psalm 9:17; 74:18). To hallow God’s name means to put it in a class by itself and to cherish and honor it above every claim to our allegiance and affection. Jesus’ primary concern — the very first petition of the prayer he teaches — is that more and more people, and more and more peoples, come to hallow God’s name. This is the reason the universe exists. Missions exist because this hallowing doesn’t.”

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A Prayer for 2012

  Adapted from the first 21 of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions:   Lord God Almighty, I understand that I am unable to do anything without your help, so I ask you to enable me by your grace to fulfill your will. Give me grace to do whatever brings most glory and honor to you, pleasure and profit to me, and life and love to others. Help me to number my days, spending my time wisely, living my life with all my might while I still have breath. Humble me in the knowledge that I am chief of sinners; when I hear of the sins of others, help me to not look upon them with pride, but to look upon myself with shame, confessing my own sins to you. When I go through difficulties and trials, remind me of the pains of hell from which you have already delivered me. Place people in my path who need my help, and give me

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Sunday’s Coming – Getting The Most Out Of Sermons

I like this from Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How to Get the Most Out of Your Pastor’s Preaching. Can’t help but think that this active (as opposed to passive, or non-preparation) preparation would yield far greater fruit in discipleship, and conversions, week by week. My thanks to Colin Adams for this. Here’s the abbreviated outline: Before the service 1. Pray for your pastor as he prepares for Sunday. 2. Take time during the week to read ahead and meditate on the text. 3. Prepare for public worship the night before. 4. Ask God to prepare your heart for the preaching of the Word. 5. Ask God to give you a sense of anticipation. During the service 1. Participate—you need to be there. 2. Spend a few minutes before the service quietly preparing your heartfor worship. 3. Don’t be a spectator. 4. Open your Bible and follow along. 5. Listen attentively to the reading and the preaching of the Word. 6. Listen humbly to the preaching of the Word. 7. Take notes. 8. Don’t

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How To Pray For Your Pastor

From R.W. Glenn: About nine years ago I developed the following list of prayer requests that I gave to every willing hand. I haven’t passed them out in at least four years, but I decided to resurrect them. Why? I need prayer…badly! And so does your pastor. As leaders in the church we have unique and often more intense temptations (“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter”). So will you consider praying for your pastor the way I ask my people to pray for me? 1. That the gospel would be the focal point of my life and identity – not manhood, not being a husband, not being a father, not being a pastor, but who I am in Christ. 2. That I would not fear man by desiring the admiration of people; that the Lord’s “Well done” would be ever before my eyes. 3. That the Lord would not allow me to go long between repentances; that I would

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