Category Archives: Prayer

Praying Biblical Prayers for Your Spouse & Children

Praying Biblical Prayers for Those You Love

There is no discipline more important than prayer. Here’s a great guide for praying biblical prayers for your spouse (or future spouse), and/or brothers and sisters in Christ. There’s also a great guide for praying for your children. Andrew Case has done an incredible job of modeling how to use Scripture to inform the way that we pray for those most important to us. I recommend that you either pick up the books, or download the free pdf, kindle, or nook versions here: His Magnificence Prayer Guides.

Prayer Guide for Husbands:

Water of the Word: Intercession for Her

 

“Andrew Case has provided an ingenious and glorious tool for Christian husbands, one that has the potential of binding husbands and wives ever closer together while these prayers seek more intimate relationship between their wives and their God. By employing themes, principles, promises, and pleas from Scripture itself, Case has crafted hundreds of rich and meaningful prayers that any and every Christian husband can pray for his own wife.” -BRUCE A. WARE Professor of Christian Theology (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

 

Prayer Guide for Wives:

Prayers of An Excellent Wife: Intercession for Him 

“God sees when women kneel in prayer for their husbands, and Prayers of an Excellent Wife provides the reader with all the scriptural principles and language needed to cover a man with powerful intercession—prayers so effective, they’ll resonate throughout his life.”  -JONI EARECKSON TADA (Joni and Friends International Disability Center)

Prayer Guide for Parents:

Setting Their Hope in God: Intercession for Your Children

This book, drawn mostly right from Holy Scripture, can be a spur to your family to get off the couch and away from the television and on your knees praying for the salvation and welfare of your children.” -RUSSEL D. MOORE (Author of Adopted for Life; Senior Vice President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

“Andrew Case has provided parents with a powerful tool: the Word of God turned to prayer–specifically for their children…. this book will encourage, inspire, and strengthen anyone who wants to learn to grow in dependence on God, or–in other words–prayer.” SALLY LLOYD-JONES (Bestselling author of The Jesus Storybook Bible)

Being the servant that he is, Andrew Case has made the books available at a significant discount–as well as free pdf, kindle, or nook downloads. You can access them here: www.HisMagnificence.com.

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Purge Us, O Lord–Give Us Humility

Addison Alexander was a professor at Princeton Seminary in the 1830s and was known for his high expectations, as well as his anger and impatience toward those who failed to meet them due to laziness or apathy. While he was known for his impatience, he was equally known for his genuine repentance. The Lord grew him in grace and longsuffering toward his students. Here’s one of the prayers that he wrote in his journal following a moment of frustration toward his students:

“Mercy and help, O Lord, my sovereign Lord! Thou who lovest little children, make me a little child. Make me humble, simple-hearted, tender, guileless, and confiding. Kill my selfish pride. Shiver my hard heart. Break my stubborn spirit. Make me love my kind by making me to love Thee. O soften me, my Saviour, by showing me thy own tender, bleeding, melting heart. Purge envy from my heart by causing me to live and work for thee. O that this foul fiend were wholly dispossessed! I bless thee for trials: may they do me good. Compel me to remember that I am not my own. Save me from being the object of envy or ill-will. Save me from the wickedness of trying to excite it. Lord, I would give the world for true humility. O, make me–make me humble!”[1]

While I am not a professor and have no students, I understand his deep need for humility. Everyday I am reminded of how prideful and self-promoting my flesh actually is–it’s ugly and pathetic, but serves to point me toward the Cross. Pride keeps me from acknowledging my sin and responding humbly before God, and worst of all, it keeps me from treasuring Christ rightly as the greatest Treasure. In my heart, there is a deep-seated desire to please self and to find satisfaction in the things of this world. This cannot remain this way!! If there is no other way to purge me of pride, then I trust that God will graciously beat it out of me through the providence of suffering. However, I pray for His grace to purge me of my pride in less painful ways, but most of all, I want to be humbled so that I might honor Christ. May our lifelong mission be the same as John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30).

[1] David B. Calhoun, Princeton Seminary: Faith & Learning 1812-1868 (Volume 1) (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 204.

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Reviving Previous Posts: Edwards on Preaching & Prayer

In light of a full-week, I have decided to repost a couple of things I posted last year concerning Jonathan Edwards on preaching and prayer. They were written in my attempt to digest the things I was learning from reading what other men have written on Edwards’ ministry. For the sake of convenience, I have combined those posts into two pdfs, one on preaching and the other on prayer. Enjoy…

  • Edwards on Preaching: This is my summary of John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching where he draws forth 10 principles of preaching as demonstrated by the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.
  • Edwards on Prayer: This is my summary of ideas taken from Edwards’ sermon on Psalm 65 regarding prayer, along with Glenn Kreider’s analysis of that sermon.

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Comfort to a Mourning Heart

Choices

O God

Though I am allowed to approach thee

I am not unmindful of my sins,

I do not deny my guilt,

I confess my wickedness, and earnestly plead forgiveness.

May I with Moses choose affliction rather than enjoy the pleasures of my sin.

Help me to place myself always under thy guiding and guardian care,

to take firmer hold of the sure covenant that binds me to thee,

to feel more of the purifying, dignifying, softening influence of the religion I profess,

to have more compassion, love, pity, courtesy,

to deem it an honor to be employed by thee as an instrument in thy hands,

ready to seize every opportunity of usefulness, and willing to offer all my talents to thy service.

Thou hast done for me all things well,

has remembered, distinguished, indulged me.

All my desires have not been gratified,

but thy love denied them to me

when fulfillment of my wishes would have proved my ruin or injury.

My trials have been fewer than my sins,

and when I have kissed the rod it has fallen from thy hands.

Thou has often wiped away my tears,

restored peace to my mourning heart,

chastened me for my profit.

All thy work for me is perfect, and I praise thee.

Arthur Bennett, “Choices” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 105.

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Grieving Over Hell-bent Souls

The Sorrow of a Christ-less Eternity:

Leonard Ravenhill: “While millions were watching with thumping hearts, American scientists hurled a man into space in May of this year [1961]. The same day thousands of souls were launched into a Christless eternity and are in orbit forever in the regions of the damned. Few hearts thumped over their eternal misery; no banner headlines of the press screamed of the eternal woe of those who can never again pass this way.” (Ravenhill, Revival Praying, 15)

It is grievous how often my mind is consumed with the vanity of this temporal world while thousands enter into a Christless eternity each and every day. The horrors of hell and the fact that I deserve such torment, alone, should be enough to drive me to my knees in earnest prayer that God should save sinners. It should compel me to speak His truth with courage, conviction, and love. My momentary inconvenience or mild discomfort does not even compare to someone spending eternity without Christ. The lost have no greater need than to hear the gospel and see a life that displays its redemptive love and transforming power. Eternity is the only true reality, and seeing a Christless person ought to provoke me to compassion, prayer, and witness rather than complacency. Only God can give me a greater burden for the lost, and so I ask Him to graciously do so. He desires for all of His children to have compassion on those who are still children of wrath. Apart from Christ, that is what we would continue to be.  And without Him we would experience a Christless eternity.

The Need for Earnest Prayer:

Samuel Chadwick: “Brethren, the crying sin of the Church is her laziness after God.” Ravenhill further writes, “Praying people, however, are not lazy. Prayer demands will power. Prayer recognizes unfinished business with and for God. Prayer is a battle for full-grown men, fully armed and fully awake to the possibilities of grace. I write here by constraint, for my spirit is sore, my heart sick at the slothfulness with which we tarry in prayer. My head hangs low that Communists will give more for their dying cause than we will give for the living Christ… I write not for those who want a “bottle” (“I have fed you with milk”) but for those who want to battle. My heart is at rest–but I am restless for revival. I have peace–but yet am at war against principalities and powers and against everything in the Church that clutters up the blocked channel through which revival could come…” (Ravenhill, 1961).

The Holy Spirit alone can bring revival. He always begins such a work by reviving our hearts, and His means of doing so is by the living word of God. May He compel us to become a praying people who persevere in earnest prayer, both for our own souls and for the lost. May the burden of the Lord become our burning passion as we turn from sin and turn to God.

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(Un)Answered Prayers

A lesson in the glory of “(un)answered” prayers…

Luke 22:42-44: “And Jesus withdrew from [the disciples] about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying,’Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

The Point: God’s glory is often clearest in (un)answered prayers

Jesus prayed a prayer that seemed to go unanswered. The Cup did not pass from Him.  And yet, through that Cup, God secured the greatest act of redemption that the world has ever seen and it was all dependent upon this painful, solitary prayer.  That prayer demonstrated Jesus’ willingness to endure the wrath of God that would come upon Him at the Cross… Without that willing, trusting heart (as displayed in His selfless prayer) mankind would have eternally perished without ever having any hope of redemption.

The Father’s only Son willingly gave up His life to save a multitude of selfish, undeserving rebels. Jesus so deeply agonized over His coming death (and the separation from His Father that it would require) that His sweat was like stinging drops of blood.  Can you imagine a greater display of love and humility? Despite His righteous fear of His Father’s wrath, He selflessly consented to His own desecration and death in order to become the curse for us.  He was pierced for OUR transgressions… every single sinful thought and deed was nailed to His account so that He would endure the full extent of the damnation that we deserved.  And every ounce of His righteousness was credited to us

Jesus’ unwavering faith in the Father is completely astounding–He asked not for His will, but that of His Father.  That should leave us breathless that He would exchange His own account for ours.  Amazingly, the Father actually answered Jesus’ prayer by punishing the Righteous and pardoning many of the unrighteous.  The truth is, the Father always intended for Jesus to bear the burden that we could never carry.   Another glorious reality is that God always answers our prayers, too.  He does so, because He is gracious beyond all that we could ask or imagine.  Sometimes we feel like our prayers go unanswered, but God always answers our petitions according to the beauty of His glorious plan.

The attitude of Jesus’ heart is instructive for us.  His example reveals that we should pray with a similar exercise of faith and humility that culminates in seeking not our will, but the Father’s.  We will give God most glory when we submit to His counsel and resign our hearts to gratefully embrace that which His infinite wisdom deems best. And, like Jesus, we will see the great and (im)possible things that God will accomplish through our humble obedience in the midst of (un)answered prayers.  If the Savior of our undeserving souls could entrust Himself to the Father, then so can we… the gospel demands it.

Prayerfully Acknowledge His Promise of Glory: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

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Thomas Brooks on Prayer

“Christ choosing solitude for private prayer, doth not only hint to us the danger of distraction and deviation of thoughts in prayer, but how necessary it is for us to choose the most convenient places we can for private prayer.  Our own fickleness and Satan’s restlessness call upon us to get into such places where we may freely pour out our soul into the bosom of God [Mark 1:35].”

“God’s hearing our prayers doth not depend upon sanctification, but upon Christ’s intercession; not upon what we are in ourselves, but what we are in the Lord Jesus; both our persons and our prayers are acceptable in the Beloved [Eph. 1:6].”

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Edwards on Prayer

Jonathan Edwards was a man of persistent prayer, and for that reason, he was a man of profound influence.  God graciously used him in the Great Awakening, a season of revival throughout the eastern portion of colonial America. He knew, both in theory and in practice, that God is a God who hears and answers prayer (Psalm 65:2).  In fact, he preached an excellent sermon on prayer entitled “The Most High: A Prayer-Hearing God,” that elaborates on this topic.

Edwards believed that God not only hears, but answers prayer because it is consistent with His character.  Since He is immeasurably gracious, He allows His creatures to come to Him so that He may receive the prayers of His people.  Here are some tasty morsels of Edwards’ thoughts on prayer:

“God manifests his acceptance of their prayers, by doing for them agreeably to their needs and supplications.  He not only inwardly and spiritually discovers his mercy to their souls by his Spirit, but outwardly by dealing mercifully with them in his providence, in consequence of their prayers, and by causing an agreeableness between his providence and their prayers.”

God demonstrates His mercy toward His children through the inner working of the Spirit and the outward provision of their needs through the gracious gifts of His providence.  And both of these point to the richness of His promises.

He allows us free access to His presence so that we “may come with boldness… [He] indulges all kinds of persons, of all nations… the most vile and unworthy: the greatest sinners are allowed to come through Christ.”  Beyond that, “He not only allows, but encourages and frequently invites them, yea, manifests himself as delighting in being sought to by prayer.”

It is the grace of God that makes us able to come before Him, and it is His grace that causes Him to delight in our coming.  He often gives good gifts that are far more gracious than we ever wanted or imagined.

God is, “as it were, overcome by prayer… In such cases, God is, speaking after the manner of men, overcome by humble and fervent prayer.  ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,’ James 5;16.  It has a great power in it: such a prayer-hearing God is the Most High, that he graciously manifests himself as conquered by it.”

God has promised to be “moved” by our prayers.  This does not mean that God is persuaded by us, but rather He speaks in human terms that portray our prayers as the means by which He has chosen to deliver mercy to us.  Our prayers do not obligate God to us, but they demonstrate our dependence on Him and our willingness to submit to the kind intention of His heart. Whatever He has determined for us will come to pass, but He has promised to hear and answer our prayers according to our needs.  Thus, God is “overcome” by our prayers, in that He plants desires within us that He intends to provide for since He knows what we want and need before we even ask.  The struggle is knowing whether our desires are actually best for us (or simply tainted by sin), and in that regard we must submit to the One who knows all things infinitely more perfectly than we do.

God’s character is seen by the greatness of the things He has done in response to prayer.  When Jacob prayed, Esau’s heart was turned from vengeance (Gen. 32).  When Moses prayed, God brought terrible plagues on Egypt.  When Samson prayed, his strength was returned to him so that he was able to pull down the temple of Dagon on the Philistines.  When Joshua prayed, the sun stood still.  When Elijah prayed, it did not rain for three and a half years.  Then when Elijah prayed again, rain came.  When Asa prayed, God confounded the army of Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chron. 14:9-12).  When Hezekiah prayed, God sent an angel to kill 185,000 of Sennacharib’s army (2 Kings 19:14-16, 19, 35).  God’s power has been demonstrated in many miraculous works in response to the prayers of His people.  God not only hears the cry of His people, but He hears their silent longings, as in the case of Hannah (1 Sam. 1:13) whose prayer was but in her heart.

God’s faithfulness to His covenant people, both corporately and individually, ought to be inspiring to us.  It ought to encourage and strengthen our faith, and it should compel us to ask for things that are in the interest of His kingdom. When God blesses His people individually, it is always in line with His plan of advancing His kingdom through the blessing of His people at large.  As God gives mercy to us, He intends for us to use it, not only for our own pleasure, but for the purpose of His greater glory. God gives us good gifts so that we might better worship Him, serve His church, and reflect His love to a lost and dying world.  He receives glory as we take satisfaction in giving Him that glory.

Prayer has two purposes, one with respect to God and the other with respect to us: “First, with respect to God, prayer is but a sensible acknowledgement of our dependence on him to his glory.” God’s people gain the opportunity to come to him in order to express their faith in His faithfulness.  “Second, with respect to ourselves, God requires prayer of us in order to the bestowment of mercy, because it tends to prepare us for its inception… Fervent prayer many ways tends to prepare the heart.  Hereby is excited a sense of our need, and of the value of the mercy which we seek, and at the same time earnest desires for it, whereby the mind is more prepared to prize it, to rejoice in it when bestowed, and to be thankful for it.  Prayer, with suitable confession, may excite a sense of our unworthiness of the mercy we seek.  And the placing of ourselves in the immediate presence of God, may make us sensible of his majesty, and in a sense fit to receive mercy of him.  Our prayer to God may excite in us a suitable sense and consideration of our dependence on God for the mercy we ask, and a suitable exercise of faith in God’s sufficiency, that so we may be prepared to glorify his name when the mercy is received.”

God uses prayer to draw us to Himself, and for that end He sometimes withholds provision for a season.  It deepens our trust in Him, and fuels our desire to receive that for which we pray.  It prepares our hearts in humility and dependence so that when the mercy is given, unending gratitude will flow from our hearts.  When a petition has been agonized over long enough, the provision of that petition leaves an indelible mark of gratitude impressed upon the petitioner’s heart. Such an attitude of thanksgiving in the light of mercy will lead our hearts toward an extravagant procession of praise and worship every time that object of mercy reminds us of God’s lovingkindness toward us.  Persistent prayer prepares our hearts for persistent praise.

Let us, therefore, continue to pray as we prepare our hearts to receive the things that God has so faithfully prepared in advance to give us.  He is merciful and has promised to bless His children in their time of need.  He does so more abundantly than we could ever ask or imagine, but He calls us to prayer as a demonstration of our dependence and faith. We must simply trust Him and be prepared to continue seeking His will above our own, and praise Him even when He provides in a way different than we desired.

Thomas Watson wrote from his own experience, “We aim at God’s glory when we are content that God’s will should take place though it may cross our own.” Prayer brings us into position to bow before the Sovereign Lordship of God so that He may do whatever He pleases in and through us for our greatest good and His ultimate glory.

Lord willing, the next post will consider a few reasons why God doesn’t always answer prayer in the manner that we desire, and how it often serves to bring more glory to His Namesake.  Until then, let us be men and women of prayer.

{1} Excerpts from Edwards were taken from Glenn Kreider’s “Jonathan Edwards’s Theology of Prayer” in Bibliotheca Sacra (Oct-Dec 2003).  Anything in quote boxes is either from Edwards or Kreider, and all other comments and conclusions are mine.

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