Plea for Grace

Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Notice that the title is not “wrestling in prayer” (which may well be a title for another post) . . .

This is a reading from A. W. Tozer that my mind has been mulling over for several days:

At Home in the Prayer Chamber

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. — Daniel 6:10

Thomas a’ Kempis wrote that the man of God ought to be more at home in his prayer chamber than before the public….

No man should stand before an audience who has not first stood before God. Many hours of communion should precede one hour in the pulpit. The prayer chamber should be more familiar than the public platform. Prayer should be continuous, preaching but intermittent.

It is significant that the schools teach everything about preaching except the important part, praying. For this weakness the schools are not to be blamed, for the reason that prayer cannot be taught; it can only be done. The best any school or any book (or any article) can do is to recommend prayer and exhort to its practice. Praying itself must be the work of the individual. That it is the one religious work which gets done with the least enthusiasm cannot but be one of the tragedies of our times. (God Tells The Man Who Cares: God Speaks to Those Who Take Time to Listen, 70-71) (emphasis mine)

Just do a google search on “Prayer” or a book search on Amazon or CBD, and pages of entries result. Not just a few. Pages . . .so here is my “wrestling” —

For many, the hardest part of any task is the starting of the task. Planning, thinking, researching, asking opinions — they all have merit. But the room will not get painted until you actually pick up a brush, open the can, and start painting the walls. All the paint chips and interior decorator recommendations and HGTV shows and YouTube videos will not get the room painted. You have to actually do it.

But — if you don’t know how to paint, you will make a mess and the room will look awful! What kind of analogy is that for prayer? To which I reply . . . I said that planning and opinions and research all have merit. But nothing gets done without the doing of it. Period.

And here is the good, exciting news (it excited me, anyway) . . .

As a believer, I have the BEST mentor, the BEST teacher on prayer. The Author of prayer; the Creator of everything; my Savior, my Sovereign.

Psalm 25:4-5 ESV – 4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 16:7-8 ESV – 7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken

Psalm 32:8 ESV – 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

As well as the Holy Spirit being our ever-present Counselor on prayer and interceding for us (see Romans 8); Jesus also is interceding for us (Romans 8). And, we have God’s Word as our resource and source for prayer! Not only the psalms, but also the prayers recorded of the Old Testament saints and prophets; Jesus’ prayers in the gospels; the prayers of Paul and Peter, James and Jude and John in the epistles.

Here is how I just started “painting the room.” As I wrote before, I am reading through the psalms in a month, taking 5 psalms each day (the chapter of the day, and add 30. Today is January 6, so 6, 36, 66, 96, 126). Using these psalms as the starting place, I pray for whomever and whatever God brings to mind. So much of the time seems to be spent in confession and worship and sitting in awe of the majesty of God. There is no magic formula. For some it does help to keep a journal, write a list. For me, this time, I open my Bible, and cry out earnestly,

Psalm 119:10, 12, 15, 18 ESV – 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! … 12 Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! … 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. … 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

God is honestly “uniting my heart to fear [His] name (from psalm 86).” I am in wonder that the Sovereign of all creation has told me that He hears my prayers, and that He wants me to pray to Him. (see psalm 4, 57, 62, 86 which is just a start). What an opportunity; what steadfast love; what grace . . .

To echo Tozer, “. . .The best any school or any book (or any article) can do is to recommend prayer and exhort to its practice. Praying itself must be the work of the individual.” I highly recommend prayer; I exhort all of us as believers to “open the can and start painting.”

Psalm 32:8-9 ESV – 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

Proverbs 3:5-7 ESV – 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

Wise words. Of course; yet how often I ignore this timeless truth because . . . (admit it — we don’t even need a ‘good’ reason to be self-willed)

I’m reading the psalms in a month, and the plan lines out five psalms each day. Since today is the 2nd, I started with Psalm 2, then 32, 62, 92, 122. While reading psalm 2, I was praying for those I know who have not submitted to God’s sovereign rule in their lives. How futile — they think they are throwing off the bonds and living independently — yet they don’t understand that God IS the sovereign of all creation, whether or not they acknowledge Him.

As I moved on to Psalm 32, and thanked God for the merciful gift of conviction and repentance, it struck me that God offers wisdom and instruction and counsel, and this ‘always’ presence. The Sovereign of all creation takes that kind of individual care for His children! So, why the warning of verse 9?

Because, despite the incredible gift of God’s counsel and presence and wisdom, I still am prone to “burst the bonds apart and cast away the cords” (from psalm 2). I have to be reminded to NOT be like a stubborn mule.

Which brings me to the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 62 — God alone is my rock and my salvation; God is my refuge; I can trust in Him at ALL TIMES; I can pour out my heart before Him; He is my refuge (and my source of wisdom and strength and counsel).

It is good to give thanks to the Lord . . .to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night . . .(Psalm 92). I need to constantly remind myself that God is the Sovereign, and I am His child, and everything comes by His merciful hand. Ponder this –. . .the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psalm 92:15) That’s why I can trust His sovereign rule over me; I am so prone to moods and change. God is completely consistent; completely righteous.

Finally, as well as praying for my heart to be clean before God, and that I would fear the Lord and submit to Him; praying for those who are still trying to “throw off the bonds and break the cords” would turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ].’ (from Acts 26:18) . . .

Psalm 122 calls us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to seek the good of the people. O God, open their eyes; turn their hearts back to You. Protect them from enemies that would seek their destruction.

Oh, God, unite my heart to fear Your name (from psalm 86)



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