The Weakness of Prayer Makes Strong Christians

Jared Wilson: We have to be very careful in how we wage spiritual war. Thanks to some fanciful fictions and inspirational clichés, a lot of bad theology has crept into the Church’s thinking on these matters. The way some people talk about prayer owes more to New Age spirituality than biblical Christianity. Many of us were even taught in our church classes about “spiritual warfare” in ways that seem foreign to the Bible! Sometimes God and Satan are cast as warring opposites, a kind of yin and yang balancing each other out, even while squaring off. Which side will win in the battle over your soul and the fate of the universe? Well, whichever side you support, of course. Obviously it sounds a little silly when put that way. But books, songs, and movies were made for the evangelical subculture that reflected just that kind of warped theology of the spiritual plane. Jesus sometimes sounds like a version of Tinkerbell, needing our “applause” to

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Stop Praying for Stuff (and Start Praying for God)

David Platt: In the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4), Jesus teaches his disciples about the priorities that should shape the prayer life of every believer. This model prayer is full of requests—for daily bread, forgiveness, leadership, and deliverance. But it also shows that our greatest need is not just to get stuff from God. Our greatest need is to know God himself. Our Misguided Prayers for Stuff We’ve all prayed for important things in the past and found our prayers weren’t answered; God didn’t do what we thought he should. When we view prayer as nothing more than a request and don’t receive what we ask for, we often start to doubt. We wonder why we should even bother praying in the first place. Even though the questions are honest, this kind of thinking misses the whole point of prayer. The point of prayer is not just getting God to do stuff. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 6:7–8: “When you pray,

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John Piper’s prayer during the Coronavirus pandemic

Father, At our best moments, by your grace, we are not sleeping in Gethsemane. We are awake and listening to your Son’s prayer. He knows, deep down, that he must suffer. But in his perfect humanity, he cries out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.” In the same way, we sense, deep down, that this pandemic is appointed, in your wisdom, for good and necessary purposes. We too must suffer. Your Son was innocent. We are not. Yet with him in our less-than-perfect humanity, we too cry out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.” Do quickly, O Lord, the painful, just, and merciful work you have resolved to do. Do not linger in judgment. Do not delay your compassion. Remember the poor, O Lord, according to your mercy. Do not forget the cry of the afflicted. Grant                                       

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If Jesus Is God, Why Did He Pray?

Mark Jones: Age-Old Question Why did Jesus pray? As in any answer to questions like these, one could find many sound reasons to explain why the God-man, Jesus Christ, prayed. Many theologians over the course of church history have wrestled with this question. I think the answer to this question is relatively simple: Jesus prayed because he needed to pray. 1. Jesus prayed because God infused in him a spirit of prayer. In Psalm 22 we catch some glimpses of the various details of Christ’s life, not just his crucifixion that so prominently features in this Psalm. Christ’s life of prayer began at birth. Psalm 22 finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ, though its immediate story is that of David. The Father prepared a body for Christ, which was formed by the Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. According to the natural limits of his humanity, Christ’s early prayer life was clearly not as developed as it would be at the end

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That you can pray

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.”   1 Peter 4:7 Paul wrote in the thirteenth chapter of his letter to the Romans that…”The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Rom.13:11)  Now, if that was true for first century believers how much more so for us who are well int the third millennium. Two thousand years have past since Paul gave this exhortation to vigilance in the light of Christ’s return, and we may be tempted to think that He will never come. Peter addresses this kind of mistaken thinking in his second epistle, explaining that the ‘delay’ in Jesus return has to do with God’s kindness and patience in bringing many people to salvation. (see 2 Peter chapter 3) So the exhortation remains relevant. We are to rouse ourselves from spiritual lethargy

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Five Marks of Effective Prayer

H.B. Charles: And a leper came to Jesus, imploring him, and kneeling to him said, “If you will, you can make me clean.”– Mark 1:40 The last passage of chapter 1 (verses 40-45), records the miracle of Jesus cleansing a leper. It is also recorded in Matthew 8:1-4 and Luke 5:12-15. Leprosy was the most dreaded disease in the Bible. The term “leprosy” was used to describe anything from a skin rash to Hansen’s Disease (the modern name for leprosy). Luke 5:12 says this man who came to Jesus was “full of leprosy.” This was no skin rash. It was full-blown leprosy in its advanced stages. In his desperation, he came to Jesus for help. And Jesus made him clean (Mark 1:41-42). This story is about the miracle-working and divine authority of Jesus. This leper is only a trophy of amazing grace. The priority of this passage it what it teaches us about Jesus. But there is a lesson about

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How to Pray in the Holy Spirit

Jason Meyer: I spent five years immersing myself in the sermons of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It was truly a transformative season in my life. What was the biggest takeaway? The answer may surprise you. He taught me how to pray. Those who really knew Lloyd-Jones will not find that answer surprising at all. His wife once said, “No one will ever understand my husband until they realize that he is first of all a man of prayer and then an evangelist” (Bethan Lloyd-Jones). In particular, Lloyd-Jones, as a man of prayer, taught me how to pray in the Holy Spirit. My hunger for learning how to pray in the Spirit came from a perplexing problem. I read Ephesians 6:18, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” This text really bothered me because I could parse the words and diagram the grammar, but I had this nagging sense that I was not experiencing the reality of it. Lloyd-Jones

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The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down

Al Mohler: This article is an excerpt from my new book, The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution. We long for revolution. Something within us cries out that the world is horribly broken and must be fixed. For centuries, the word revolution was scarcely heard, buried under ages of oppression. The word itself was feared and speaking it was treason. And then, revolutions seemed to appear almost everywhere. Some historians have gone so far as to identify our modern epoch as “The Age of Revolution.” Is it? Perhaps it is more accurate to refer to our times as “The Age of Failed Revolution.” Looking across the landscape it becomes clear that very few revolutions produce what they promise. Arguably, most revolutions lead to a worse set of conditions than they replaced. And yet, we still yearn for radical change, for things to be made right. We rightly long to see righteousness and truth and

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Having Jesus As Our Greatest Treasure – A Prayer

. Scotty Smith: Philippians 3:7 – I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. Lord Jesus, as I meditate on the Apostle Paul’s words, I smell the aroma of a free man, a joyful man, and a grace-man–a man I want to become more like. Things he once treasured became Paul’s “garbage.” Old stuff that used to consume him, no longer even amused him. Enjoying an intimate and robust relationship with you mean more to Paul that any other competing currency and treasure. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with

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The Key to Spiritual Breakthrough

Jon Bloom: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because we do not ask God for them? Jesus also says we do not have because we ask with such little faith (Matthew 17:19–20). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because our expectation is so small that prayer will result in anything? Jesus also says we do not have, because we do not ask long enough (Luke 11:5–13). All over the Bible we see, not in great detail but in sufficient detail, that we are involved in a great cosmic battle and that the prayers of the saints are crucial to the advancement of the kingdom of God (see Daniel 10:12–14 and Ephesians 6:18). We don’t need to know how it all works; we just need to know it

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10 Things You Should Know About the Necessity of Prayer

Sam Storms: There is a reason why I speak of the “necessity” of prayer and not simply ten things to know about prayer. I want us to consider the necessity of prayer in terms of what we stand to lose if we don’t pray. Sadly, prayer for many who profess faith in Christ has become a meaningless ritual. They have lost sight of the fact that God suspends great and glorious blessings on our asking for them. So let’s take a look at ten reasons why prayer is necessary. Or perhaps we could say, let’s consider what we otherwise stand to lose if we choose not to pray. (1) We must pray because otherwise God will not be glorified. Here is how Jesus put it: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Answered prayer isn’t the only way in which God may be glorified, but it

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How to pray for God’s favour

Denny Burk: This morning, I’ve been pondering and praying the words of Moses in Exodus 33:13: “If I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight.” –Exodus 33:13 Notice three crucial things about this prayer, each of which illuminate how we ought to pray as well. 1. The Basis: Even though the sentence begins with “If I have found favor,” God’s favor toward Moses is not in question. We know that because God has already told Moses that his favor rests on him (v. 12), and God will tell him again “you have found favor in my sight” (v. 17). God’s gracious disposition toward Moses is not in question, and so the basis for Moses’ request is God’s free grace. 2. The Request: Moses asks to know God’s “ways.” God’s “ways” refer to God’s behavior and manner of conduct. It is God’s behavior

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The Lord’s Prayer Advert Has Been Banned For Being Offensive – Which It Is

Andrew Wilson: There’s been a kerfuffle in the UK over this cinema advert, in which the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by various different people across the nation, being banned in cinemas. It was due to go out before the new Star Wars movie, but it has been pulled because it could offend or upset people of other faiths or none:   Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Not Allah’s, or anyone else’s: yours. There is only one who is holy, and he is our heavenly Father. May your name be recognised as great by all the nations, including those (like ours) who dismiss, blaspheme, patronise or ignore it. May your kingdom come. One day, all the kingdoms of the earth will become the kingdom of God and his Messiah. In the meantime, as we wait for you to gather up all your enemies and turn them into your footstool, we cry to you: let your reign be shown

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