Work at Your Prayers!

Praying, and especially praying in public, represents a challenge to most Christians. It represents a challenge to the one praying–a challenge to pray humbly and clearly before others. Too often it represents an even greater challenge to the ones who hear that prayer–a challenge to follow a too-long and too-rambling prayer interspersed with filler words like “I just…” and “Father God.” D. A. Carson provides some timely counsel in his book A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and …

The Circle Maker

I didn’t know what The Circle Maker was about until I began to read it. Neither did I know anything about Mark Batterson, its author. I knew the book only as a Christian bestseller and its author only as a name that often appears in my inbox as people ask if I know anything about him or have read his books. “My pastor gave everyone in the church a copy of this book. Have you reviewed it?” Finally I read …

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Prayerlessness Is Selfishness

I have said it often and said it recently, that prayer has always been a struggle for me. It’s not that I don’t pray—I do!—but that I find it a battle to put my theology into action day-by-day and to live out my deepest convictions about prayer by actually praying. I experience little of the joy and sense of fulfillment that so many of the great pray-ers speak of. As often as not, I have to rely on the objective …

The School of Prayer

Is there any area of the Christian life in which we feel more inadequate than in prayer? Is there any area of the Christian life that exposes greater feelings of helplessness and shame? I know some true prayer warriors, people who dedicate themselves to hours and hours of prayer, yet even they confess to knowing so little about it and having so little confidence in what they do and what they pray. It should come as no surprise that the …

Pray For Your Pastor!

If the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “You also must help us by prayer” (2 Corinthians 1:11) so that he could endure the hardships of ministry, how much more do you think your local church pastor needs your prayerful support? I’ve been noticing a lot (an awful lot!) of articles lately that call on people to do this very thing. What interests me is that nearly all of these have been written by pastors. The point is clear: Pray for …

Praying With Your iPhone

As long as there have been notebooks and index cards, Christians have been using them as a means of organizing their prayer requests. Without some form of organization, most of us pray only for what is urgent, leaving out those things that do not so easily come to mind. With mobile phones and other digital devices has come a wave of apps that seek to take the place of notebooks. Here are three iPhone apps that are meant to assist …

My Naughty Heart

John Flavel was one of the great Puritan preachers and authors. Much of Flavel’s ministry was toward sailors, so he often relied on nautical metaphors and terminology. In An Honest, Well Experienced Heart, Adam Embry shares a poem titled “My Naughty Heart.” “Naughty” rhymes with “knotty,” a play on words that falls in the middle of the piece. Flavel writes of a heart that is so often steered in the wrong direction. A ship of greatest burthen will obey The …

How Do We Keep Our Prayers Fiery?

I have been reading Jeremy Walker’s The Brokenhearted Evangelist and in that book he includes a powerful section dealing with the importance of prayer in the practice of evangelism. After quoting John Sutcliff, who cries out against lukewarmness, Walker asks and answers this question: How do we keep our prayers fiery? How do we keep our prayers fiery? By engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Satan’s hosts, for those who are yet under his dominion. Why do we keep our spiritual …

Prayer for the Ministry of the Word

There are a few hymns–just a few–that have been written to be sung as a petition to God immediately before the minister opens God’s Word. A favorite of mine is John Newton’s “Prayer for the Ministry of the Word.” It can be sung to any number of tunes including “Amazing Grace.” The best lines come right at the end. After asking that God would bless both the preacher and the hearers, the song concludes that if God is to do …

Making Our Requests Known to God

In last week’s reading in David McIntyre’s The Hidden Life of Prayer we looked at praising God in prayer. This week we were to read two chapters, one that looked at supplication and one that looked at confession–two other integral components of prayer. I found the chapter on supplication–making requests of God in prayer–particularly helpful. Though I shared a few elements of that chapter in a blog post yesterday, I want to share them again today. They have already proven very helpful …