A Pastoral Prayer

One key element of our worship at Grace Fellowship Church is a pastoral prayer, in which one of the elders prays for the church and on behalf of the church. Every now and again I like to share one of those prayers. This was my prayer last Sunday. Father, at various times each one of us is faced with the reality of our weakness. There may be times when we feel strong and capable and self-reliant. But then we get …

A Prayer for Battling a Destructive Desire

At times each of us is faced with destructive desires—the kind of desires that, were we to act on them, would necessarily harm ourselves or others, and necessarily distance ourselves from the God we love. In Douglas Kaine McKelvey’s quirky book Every Moment Holy, I found a prayer that expresses the sorrow of such desire and pleads with God to elevate our minds to far better ones. Jesus, here I am again, desiring a thing that were I to indulge …

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Piercing Heaven: A Prayer Book You’ll Actually Use

I once met a prominent Christian—a Reformed Baptist theologian, even—who admitted something to me that sounded almost scandalous: He doesn’t care for The Pilgrim’s Progress. He read it as a student, he re-read it as an adult, and it just didn’t do much for him. And with that in view, here’s a confession of my own: I don’t really care for The Valley of Vision, that collection of Puritan prayers collected by Arthur Bennett. There are undoubtedly a few jewels …

A Prayer Before Listening to Sunday’s Sermon

I am very much enjoying Piercing Heaven, a wonderful collection of Puritan prayers. Here is one that seems especially suitable for a Sunday morning, before you listen to that sermon. Lord, I am now entering into your presence, to hear you speak from heaven to me, to receive your rain and spiritual dew, which never return in vain, but ripen a harvest either of corn or weeds, of grace or judgment. My heart is prepared, O Lord, my heart is …

A Prayer for a Sunday Evening

I am really enjoying Piercing Heaven, a wonderful collection of Puritan prayers. Here is one that seems especially suitable for a Sunday evening. Holy and eternal Lord, I confess those many weaknesses and imperfections which I have been guilty of today. I call on you for the pardon and forgiveness of my sins. I have heard your word, but with such deadness and distraction, that I have been a very unprofitable and forgetful hearer. I have done your work, but …

God Alone Can Save: A Prayer

A recent book titled Piercing Heaven shares favorite prayers from the Puritans. Many of them are amazing prayers. As an example, here is Joseph Alleine praying for the salvation of the lost. *** O Lord, how insufficient I am for this work. With what will I pierce the scales of Leviathan—or make my heart, hard as a millstone, feel what you desire it to feel? Will I go and speak to the grave, and expect the dead to obey me …

A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time, probably every month or so, I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer that was prayed at Grace Fellowship Church. The pastoral prayer is a time for one of the pastors or elders to pray on behalf of the congregation and to intercede on their behalf. It’s a precious element of a service. This particular prayer was prayed by Dwight, one of our pastors. *** O, great God, your word is true when it …

A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time I like to share an example of a Pastoral prayer that was prayed during a Sunday morning service at Grace Fellowship Church. This one comes from pastor Paul Martin. *** Lord, it is true. We faint for your salvation, and long for your help, because sin has messed up our lives. Our desires are out of line. We value what we shouldn’t. Our words are stained with anger, coarseness, stabbing at others. Some of us are only here to impress others, to get a …

A Pastoral Prayer

Father, your Word tells us that your blessings are not upon those who walk in the counsel of the wicked, who stand in the way of sinners, or who sit in the seat of scoffers. Your blessings are not upon those who deny you, or those who flagrantly disobey you, or those who forsake your will and your ways. Your blessings are not upon those who choose to embrace folly. No, your blessings are upon those who find their delight …

This Is Not Your Grandparents’ Church

One of the ugliest boasts of so many of the churches created during the era of the Church Growth Movement was this: This is not your grandparents’ church. This was a slogan they proudly broadcast on signs outside their churches multi-function ministry centers, a motto they printed on postcards and mailed to nearby homes. Just about every upper middle class neighborhood in North America got at least a few of these in the late 90s and early aughts. These churches …