Tag Archives: prayer

Happy, happy New Year !

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
unless the days are passed in thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids, every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith;
and give me a desire to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbor,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my hears full of love,
my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

Source: Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, seventh printing, p. 206.

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Object of your Prayer

How would you characterize your prayer life? What is your attitude towards prayer? Do you tend to see prayer as the vehicle to Jesus, who is like some genie in a bottle that we command to give us our wishes? Do seek God’s hand more than you seek his face?

Some though provoking questions to evaluate your prayer life. Below is letter attributed to a Civil War soldier. This note was found on his dead body after the Battle of Gettysburg.

This soldier expresses God’s prayer priorities and the ultimate desires of the heart shaped by the Holy Spirit.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
            I was made weak, that I might humbly learn to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
            I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
            I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
            I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
            I was given life, that I might enjoy all things
I got nothing that I asked for,
but everything that I hoped for
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered
            I among all men am most richly blessed.

Jesus doesn’t want to deny our desires, but as we seek His face, He helps us to remove the false objects of our affections so that we will have the greater blessings He longs to lavish on us.

Grow in Grace!

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Happy New Year!

A Puritan Prayer for 2015

O Lord,

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.

May Thy fear be my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service,
to Thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
and advance Thy kingdom.

From a collection of Puritan prayers in The Valley of Vision.

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Ask

A thought that has been going through my mind lately is “yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). Why is it that we do not ask God for the things that we desire? Why do we self-censor our prayers?

Jesus makes an extravagant promise about prayer. After the Last Supper, Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer. He tells them, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).

Later while they were walking to Gethsemane, Jesus tells them, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. . . .. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:5-7). Our fruit bearing will express itself in answered prayer: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16).

As Jesus comes to the end of his final teaching with His disciples, he drives home his point. “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24).

Six different times Jesus says, “Ask and I will give it to you. All of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the Gospels can be summarized with one word: Ask.

Are you asking? If not, why not? Jesus says to ask, and He will give, that is an extravagant promise about prayer. So ask!

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A Thought on Sanctification

“Pray not only against the power of sin, but for the power of holiness also. A haughty heart may pray against his sins, not out of any inward enmity to them, or love to holiness, but because they are troublesome guests to his conscience. His zeal is false that seems hot against sin, but is key-cold to holiness. A city is rebellious that keeps their rightful Prince out, though it receives not his enemy in.”

 

(William Gurnall, cited in THE GOLDEN TREASURY OF PURITAN QUOTATIONS, ed. I.D.E. Thomas, p. 139.)

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A Prayer for Holiness

Lawful blessings are the secret idols, and do most hurt;
the greatest injury is in the having,
the greatest good in the taking away.

In love divest me of blessings that I may glorify thee the more;
remove the fuel of my sin,
and may I prize the gain of a little holiness
as overbalancing the losses. . . .

Keep me from all things that turn to unbelief
or lack of felt union with Christ.

(From THE VALLEY OF VISION, p. 20.)

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