Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

19
Jan

The Christian’s Daily Prayer

   Posted by: jmueller

(James Smith, 1865)

“O Lord, remember me, and visit me.” Jeremiah 15:15

The prophet was in great trouble! Life was almost a burden. Yet the Lord had promised to show him special favor. He had promised to be with him, and that it should be well with his remnant. But the promises which support us — do not always cheer us. We have always more wealth in our possession — than we turn to account. But he falls upon his knees, he looks up to his God. Oh, what a relief is prayer! We never value prayer — as we do in deep affliction, when the heart must find vent or burst!

He cries, “O Lord, you know my sincerity and deep suffering.” He had sincerely sought the people’s good, and done the Lord’s will. But sincerity often exposes to suffering — but while it does so, it soothes the spirit. “Lord,” he says, “remember me, and visit me.” How beautifully simple! How expressive! How suited to us! Let us look at this prayer, and make it our own.

It is a prayer for times of trouble. Most are suffering from one cause or another. Oh, that the Lord would sanctify the sorrows of his people, and make the sufferings of his foes — the means of their conversion!

“O Lord, REMEMBER me!” Who can bear to be forgotten? Especially by a kind, wealthy, and powerful friend. How could we bear to be forgotten by the Lord? But though he never will forget us — yet we may plead for a special remembrance:

“Lord, I am tried, troubled, and cast down! Remember that I am your child! You have put me among your children. I have called you, Abba, Father. You have owned me at your throne of grace, and I cannot live contented without your smile and your blessing. Lord, I am your weeping child. The sorrows of my heart are enlarged; oh, bring me out of my distresses!

Oh Lord, remember that I am your friend. I have been reconciled to you by the death of your Son. I have committed my all unto you. I have been familiar with you. I have poured out all my heart before you. I cannot be happy — except you think of me, send to me, and show me friendship.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your soldier, engaged in your cause and quarrel. I wear your armor. I fight under your banner. I am jealous of your honor. But I am wounded in the field. I find my foes too strong for me. My heart betrays me. My courage fails me. I cannot conquer — unless you appear for me, and strengthen me with strength in my soul.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your servant. I have been long in your family. I love your children. I sometimes enjoy your work. But I am weak, beset with fears, and discouraged in the path of duty! Lord, oh, remember me!

Oh Lord, remember me, for I am in an enemy’s land. It is not the country I love and long for. I am in a howling wilderness, where there are few friends, little pleasant food, or refreshing rest. I am in a house of disease and death. All are suffering, and many are dying around me.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my weakness — for it is great;
my fears — for they are many;
my temptations — for they are violent;
my infirmities — for they are numerous and painful; and
my present circumstances — for they are very trying.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my prayers — and answer them;
my desires — and grant them;
my needs — and supply them;
my sorrows — and sanctify them;
my labors — and crown them with your effectual blessing!

Oh Lord, remember me — though I am so sinful — though I am so unworthy. Remember me, for I do remember you, and long for your presence and your love.

Oh Lord, remember me, for Jesus did so when he suffered in Gethsemane, and died on the cruel tree.

Oh Lord, remember me, or I shall be miserable now, and wretched for evermore! Oh Lord, remember me, for it does not matter who else remembers me or who forgets me — if I only have the assurance of your love and favor. Remember me, O Lord, with the favor you bear unto your people. Oh, visit me with your salvation, that I may see the good of your chosen people, and glory with your inheritance.”

“O Lord, VISIT me!” What is life — without God’s presence! What would the world be — if God did not visit us! How could we bear it — if he were to say, “You have had the last visit — I will come to you no more!” But he will see us again, and our hearts shall rejoice. He will come unto us, and he will bless us. Still, promises are not enough — if we are really alive to God. We want their fulfillment. We cannot be satisfied unless the Lord comes, and manifests himself unto us.

O Lord, visit me — and soften my heart — it is hard and unfeeling! I have tried to melt it in vain. I have taken it to Sinai — there it grows harder. I have taken it to Gethsemane and Calvary — but no place, no scene, no subject will do. It must be your presence, your smile, the sense of your love. Only come unto me, and my hard heart will yield, and flow with streams of penitential tears.

O Lord, visit me — and sanctify my temper. It is harsh and unlovely. It is trying to myself and others. I have had a long and severe conflict with it — but it is unlovely still. But your presence will make me meek, gentle, loving, kind-hearted, and good-tempered with all about me. In my very worst moods, a visit from you fills me with shame, self-abhorrence, gratitude, and humility; and then I am good-tempered in a moment.

O Lord, visit me — and revive my graces. My faith is weak. My hope is languid. My love is unsettled and wandering. A visit from you will fill me with confidence, raise my expectations, and cause my whole soul to glow with love! Then zeal will burn, repentance will work, fortitude will spring up, and every grace that should adorn the Christian character — will be in lively act and exercise.

Oh Lord, visit me — and brighten my evidences. They are often so dim, so unsatisfactory, that I can derive no comfort from them. I want to feel sure that I am a Christian: to have no doubts, no misgivings; to have every satisfactory evidence in my heart and life; but unless you visit me, I feel certain that I shall not.

Oh Lord, visit me — and cheer my spirits. I am dejected and cast down. My comforts droop and die. I am low — in a low place.

Oh Lord, visit me — and confound my foes. They are many. They are powerful. They get access to my heart. They bewilder, confuse, and mislead me! They often cast me down wounded, and fill me with fear and dread.

Oh Lord, visit me — and perfect my resignation. I would yield to your will in everything. I would prefer your choice to my own. I would be perfectly satisfied with all your arrangements.

Oh Lord, visit me, and produce this blessed, this desirable state of mind.

Beloved, God’s remembrance is always fruitful, it always brings us good things. God’s visits are always beneficial. They check every evil, nourish every grace, revive every virtue, and satisfy every really good desire. In this short prayer — is all we shall need in life or in death.

Are you concerned that God should remember you? Could you bear to be forgotten of God? Did God ever visit you in mercy? Has he visited you lately? Can you be satisfied without his visits? Oh, make the prophet’s prayer your own, and daily cry, “O Lord, remember me, and visit me!”

“Lord, when I quit this earthly stage,
Where shall I fly, but to your breast?
For I have sought no other home,
For I have desired no other rest.

I cannot live contented here,
Without some glimpses of your face;
And Heaven without your presence there,
Would be a dark and tiresome place!

When earthly cares engross the day,
And hold my thoughts aside from thee,
The shining hours of cheerful light,
Are long and tedious years to me.

And if no evening visits paid,
Between my Savior and my soul,
How dull the night! how sad the shade,
How mournfully the minutes roll!

My God! and can a humble child,
That loves you with a flame so high,
Be ever from your face exiled,
Without the pity of your eye?

Impossible! for your own hands
Have tied my heart so fast to thee,
And in your book the promise stands,
That where you are — your friends must be!”

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12
Oct

Prayer Life Improvement

   Posted by: jmueller

I was going through my notebook that I use to keep notes in as I drive and listen to different things.  I think this list came from Todd Friel at WretchedRadio.com.

  • Start by asking God to help you.  Beg Him!  Ask Him for the desire to pray.
  • Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.  Listen to hard preaching, then you will want to talk to the kind, gracious God.
  • Make a plan.  Commit to it.  Pray until you feel like praying.
  • Consider your position – kneel, prostrate yourself, etc.
  • Read “Valley of Vision” – Puritan book on prayer and “Face To Face” by Ken Boa.
  • Do Evangelism – start witnessing.  It will horrify you and make you ask God for strength.
  • Don’t neglect prayer, but don’t pistol whip yourself over it, either.  Strive for concentration.
  • Read “A Call To Prayer” by JC Ryle.
  • If you are a Christian, you will pray.  If you don’t, you’re not a Christian.

The last statement may seem harsh and judgmental.  I don’t necessarily agree with the way it is worded, but I think I see what he means.  A Christian will gain and have a desire to communicate with our Lord.  It is a natural outpouring of Salvation.  I think some latitude is necessary here, though, especially for new believers, as they grow and learn about the Spiritual Disciplines.

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29
Sep

Wavering Faith

   Posted by: jmueller

For several weeks now,  I have been struggling with feelings that God is distant from me, or to be more precise, that I have been distant from Him. And that many of the things I do with the church are empty and pointless in regard to furthering the Gospel of Christ.

I received this Grace Gem this morning, and it is exactly the reading that I needed.  I have read it about a half dozen times whenever I have had a break in the action while visiting a customer in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  I felt the need to post it and share it with others.

The grand secret!

(Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”)

“This is real love. It is not that we loved God–but that He loved us and sent His Son as a  sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10

Deal much and closely with a crucified Savior! This is the grand secret of a constant ascending of the affections to God. If you find it difficult to comprehend the love of God towards you–then read it in the cross of His dear Son!

Dwell upon this amazing fact,
drink into this precious truth,
muse upon it,
ponder it,
search into it,
pray over it,
until your heart is melted down, and broken, and overwhelmed with God’s wondrous love to you, in the gift of Jesus!

Oh, how will this rekindle the flame that is ready to die in your bosom! How it will draw you up in a holy and unreserved surrender of body, soul, and spirit!

Deal much with Jesus!

Whenever you detect . . .
a waning of love,
a reluctance to take up the daily cross,
a shrinking from the precept
–go immediately to Calvary!

Go simply and directly to Jesus!

Get your heart warmed with ardent love by contemplating Him upon the cross–and soon will the frosts that gather round it melt away, and the congealed current shall begin to flow!

“Who loved me–and gave Himself for me!” Galatians 2:20

We must keep our eyes focused on the Cross of Christ and and what he did for us as the Holy wrath of the Father was poured onto him, utterly breaking him.  This needs to be so much more than just words, though it so often seems to fall into that.

Lord, please help me to keep the Cross centered in my vision and let it guide all that I do.  Amen.

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(By J. R. Miller: 1840 – 1912)

“Prayer in the Christian life” 1903
http://gracegems.org/Miller/prayer_in_the_christian_life.htm

What place should prayer have in a Christian’s life? Should we pray little or much? Should we confine our praying to certain days–Sundays, for example; or to certain hours or moments of our days–mornings, for example? Should we pray only about certain things, certain affairs, certain portions of our life? Are there things we have no permission to take to God in prayer? Should we pray only in certain places–in our accustomed room at home, or in places ‘set apart for divine worship’? Is there any place, where we may not pray?

There is a verse of Paul’s which seems to answer all these questions. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. That means, pray always and everywhere. There is nothing we may not take to God in prayer–asking for His help. There is no hour of the day when we may not turn to God–and find Him ready to hear and bless us. The gates of prayer are never shut!

To pray without ceasing–is to do everything with prayer. This does not mean that every piece of work we undertake, must be begun with a ‘formal act’ of prayer–stopping, kneeling down, and offering a spoken petition. To pray without ceasing is–to have the heart always in converse with God. It is to live so near to God–that we can talk with Him wherever we go–and seek His help, His wisdom, His guidance. God is our Father, with infinite love in His heart for us, ready and eager to help us and bless us in every way!

True prayer is not a matter of times and places. Wherever we go–we are with God. Whatever we are doing–our hearts may go out to Him. “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath–the Christian’s native air!”

There is no habit that we should more sedulously form, than that of talking with God about everything we do. We are often told that we should begin every day with prayer. That is very needful and beautiful. The first face our eyes see in the morning–should be Christ’s! His too, should be the first voice we hear; and to Him, our first words should be spoken! Ten minutes in the morning, yes, two minutes, spent really with Christ, will change all our day for us.

It is often said that we should ‘count that day lost’ in which no kindness is done, no deed of love to anyone, no help given. But sadder far–is a day without prayer! It is a day without God, without heaven’s light shining into it–a day unblessed! That morning you forget to pray–is a sad morning for you!

We should form the habit of praying at every step, as we go along through the day. That was part of Paul’s meaning when he said, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed–do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He would have us include every word we speak–as well as every deed we do. Think what it would mean to have every word that passes our lips winged and blessed with prayer–always to breathe a little prayer before we speak, and as we speak. This would put heavenly sweetness into all our speech! It would make all our words kindly, loving, inspiring words–words that would edify and minister grace to those who hear. We can scarcely think of one using bitter words, backbiting words, unholy words–if his heart is always full of prayer; if he has trained himself to always pray before he speaks.

But we are to do all our deeds, also, in the name of the Lord Jesus. That means that we should do everything for Him, to please Him. If we could get this lesson learned, if we would really pray without ceasing–how beautiful our lives would be! How well we would do all our work!

Only think of a man in business doing all his day’s business in a spirit of prayer–breathing a little prayer as he makes a bargain, as he writes a business letter, as he talks with other men. Think of a woman amid her household cares–taking everything to God for His blessing, for His approval, for His direction. These are not by any means, impossible suppositions. Indeed, this is the way a Christian is to live, should always live–doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus!

“In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“Pray at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18

It is well for us to learn this lesson–to take everything to God in prayer, to pray as we go from task to task. We may form the habit of putting up little ‘sentence prayers’ continually. When you feel an inclination to speak bitterly, or to answer sharply; when you have been stung by another’s speech or act; when you are tempted to refuse a request for help, to do some selfish thing, to pass by a human need, to speak an untruth–lift up your heart in the prayer, “Jesus, help me to do Your will.” Or if you meet a sudden temptation and are in danger of being swept away, look up and cry, “Jesus, save me!” We do not know what we miss–by leaving God out of so much of our life!

We often wonder . . .
why we fail,
why so little comes of our efforts,
why we do not get along better with people,
why we are not happy,
why joy is so lacking in our experience,
why we are so easily fretted and vexed,
why we are so discontented,
why we fall so easily into surliness and bad temper.
It is because we cease to pray!

It is impossible to tell of the blessing of such a spirit and habit of prayer. Those who have not learned to “pray without ceasing” have no conception of what they are missing. If we all had learned this lesson–what a company of overcoming Christians we would be! The world would have little power over us–we would tread it under our feet! We would be strong–where now we are so weak. We would be victorious over temptation, where now we fail so sadly. If you knew that Christ was always actually walking with you–how strong you would be! There is no lesson we need to take more to heart–than this lesson of unceasing prayer! All the best things of Christian living–are the fruit of silent meditation.

Life is not easy for any of us. We can live nobly, purely, Christly–only by being much with Christ! We will rob ourselves of Divine blessing, of beauty of character, of power in service–if we fail to make room in all our busy days–for quiet retreats from the noise and strife, where we may sit at Christ’s feet–to hear His words, and lie on His bosom that we may absorb His spirit, to prepare us for the toil of the day!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We have published J. R. Miller’s choice 10 page article, “Prayer in the Christian life”. Please forward this on to other serious believers.
http://gracegems.org/Miller/prayer_in_the_christian_life.htm

http://gracegems.org/Miller/SERMONS.htm

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