Confidence

O GOD, THOU ART VERY GREAT,

My lot is to approach thee with godly fear
and humble confidence,
for thy condescension equals thy grandeur,
and thy goodness is thy glory.
I am unworthy, but thou dost welcome;
guilty, but thou art merciful;
indigent, but thy riches are unsearchable.
Thou hast shown boundless compassion towards me
by not sparing thy Son,
and by giving me freely all things in him;
This is the foundation of my hope,
the refuge of my safety,
the new and living way to thee,
the means of that conviction of sin,
brokenness of heart, and self-despair,
which will endear to me the gospel.
Happy are they who are Christ’s,
in him at peace with thee,
justified from all things,
delivered from coming wrath,
made heirs of future glory;
Give me such deadness to the world,
such love to the Saviour,
such attachment to his house,
such devotedness to his service,
as proves me a subject of his salvation.
May every part of my character and conduct
make a serious and amiable impression on others,
and impel them to ask the way to the Master.
Let no incident of life, pleasing or painful,
injure the prosperity of my soul,
but rather increase it.
Send me thy help,
for thine appointments are not meant
to make me independent of thee,
and the best means will be vain
without super-added blessings.

-https://banneroftruth.org/us/devotional/confidence/?utm_content=bufferbfc99&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

A Prayer of Lament in Response to the Terror Attack in Paris

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:7-11 (ESV)

“Dear heavenly Father, another day of terror-making darkness, evil-doing madness, and life-taking sadness. How long, O Lord, how Lord before you send Jesus back to eradicate all evil? How long before the wicked will be no more? How much longer is “just a little while”?

It’s hard not to fret. It’s hard not to feel fearful and angry when women and children, the young and old are mercilessly slaughtered in the city of Paris; when restaurants, concert halls, and sports areas become the venue for the perversion of religion and the murder of your image bearers.

Father, we offer our prayer, not in self-righteous judgment, but as your weary children—longing for the Day when the knowledge of your glory will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14)—when perfect peace will replace every expression of evil.

Until that Day, free us from all bitterness and a lust for revenge. Vengeance belongs to you, not to us. Make us warriors of peace and agents of hope. Our labors in the Lord are never in vain. The gospel of the kingdom will prevail. Defeated evil will be eradicated evil. The devil is filled with fury for he knows his time is short (Rev. 12:12). Make it much shorter, Father, much shorter.

Grant us wisdom to know what loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly with you looks like in Paris, and in our own communities. Replace our frets and fears with faith and trust, and our rage and wrath with patience and courage. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and grace-full name.”

-Scotty Smith, http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/scottysmith/2015/11/14/a-prayer-of-lament-in-response-to-the-terror-attack-in-paris/

Continual Repentance

O God of Grace,

You have imputed my sin to my substitute,
and have imputed his righteousness to my soul,
clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;

I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for you always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, “Father, forgive me,”
and you are always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.

-Arthur Bennett, ed. The Valley of Vision, 320. (language modernized by Tim Challies) http://www.challies.com/quotes/continual-repentance

God’s Cause

SOVEREIGN GOD,

Your cause, not my own, engages my heart,
and I appeal to You with greatest freedom
to set up Your kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;

Glorify Yourself and I shall rejoice,
for to bring honor to Your name in my sole desire.

I adore You that You are God,
and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it.

O that all men might love and praise You,
that You might have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to You for Your dear name!

To the eye of reason everything respecting
the conversion of others is as dark as midnight,

But You can accomplish great things;
the cause is Yours,
and it is to Your glory that men should be saved.

Lord, use me as You will,
do with me what You will;
but, O, promote Your cause,
let Your kingdom come,
let Your blessed interest be advanced in this world!

O bring in great numbers to Jesus!
let me see that glorious day,
and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls;
let me be willing to die to that end;
and while I live let me labour for You
to the utmost of my strength,
spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness.

It is Your cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.
O, answer my request!

-Arthur Bennett, ed. The Valley of Vision, 320. (language modernized)

Spiritual Helps

Eternal Father,

It is amazing love,

that Thou hast sent Thy Son to suffer in my stead,

that Thou hast added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide,

that Thou hast allowed the ministry of angels to wall me round;

All heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm.

Permit Thy unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf,

and to rejoice when grace expands in me.

Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over,

and I stand victorious on salvation’s shore.

Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good,

resistance to Thy Spirit’s motions,

may never provoke Thee to abandon me.

May my hard heart awake Thy pity, not Thy wrath,

And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption,

let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell,

that those for me are greater than those against me.

Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings,

Keep me feeding in the pastures of Thy strengthening Word,

searching Scripture to find Thee there.

If my waywardness is visited with a scourge,

enable me to receive correction meekly,

to bless the reproving hand,

to discern the motive of rebuke,

to respond promptly, and do the first work.

Let all Thy fatherly dealings make me a partaker of Thy holiness.

Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees,

and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion.

May my every cross be sanctified,

every loss be gain,

every denial a spiritual advantage,

every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit,

every night of trial a song.

-Spiritual Helps, The Valley of Vision (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 242-243

Valley of Vision – 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 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, hast 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 hast 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.

-Choices, The Valley of Vision (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 192-193

Practical and Helpful Thoughts About Personal Devotions

George Müller, a man of deep and earnest prayer, gives some helpful advice on personal devotions and advice for time spent alone with God.

He found that “the most important thing was to concentrate on first reading the Bible [and] meditating on the chosen portion:

That thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by the means of the Word of God, whilst meditating upon it, my heart might be brought into [conscious or experienced] communion with the Lord….

The first thing I did (early in the morning), after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was, to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my soul.

The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer….

With this mode I have likewise combined the being out in the open air for an hour, an hour and a half, or two hours before breakfast, walking about in the fields, and in the summer sitting for a while on little [benches], if I find it too much to walk all the time.

I find it very beneficial to my health to walk thus for meditation before breakfast, and am now so in the habit of using up the time for that purpose, that when I get in the open air, I generally take out a New Testament of good-sized type, which I carry with me for that purpose, besides my Bible: and I find that I can profitably spend my time in the open air, which formerly was not the case for want of habit….

The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time….

But what was the result?

I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc; and often, having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then really began to pray.

I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into [conscious or experienced] fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point.”

– George Müller, as recorded in Delighted in God by Roger Steer (Christian Focus Publications, 1997), 91-92.

A Help to Self-Dedication

“I the Lord, will make an everlasting covenant with you” (Isaiah 5:3).

“One shall say, I am the Lord’s, and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord” (Isaiah 44:5).

Lord God of Hosts, You entered into covenant with Abraham, as he waited beside the sacrifices which he had prepared (Genesis 15:18), and You are now graciously waiting beside Jesus, the sacrifice which You have prepared, in order that sinners may come and enter into covenant with You (2 Corinthians 5:19). Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in Your sight, and I am no more worthy to be called Your child; but You, in Your rich mercy, are willing to receive me, and I, through Your grace, am willing to be Yours. I lay all my sin (Isaiah 53:6) — the sin of my nature (Psalm 51:5), the sin of my heart (Jeremiah 17:19), the sin of my life (Job 33:27), the sin of my lips (Isaiah 6:5), my secret sins (Psalm 139:3) — I lay all my sins, and iniquities, and unrighteousness, and transgressions, upon Jesus, the Lamb of God; and, cleansed by His blood, and made acceptable in his righteousness (Ephesians 1:6, 7), I desire now to give myself to You (2 Corinthians 8:5) in an everlasting covenant, never to be broken (Jeremiah 32:40).

I am not my own, I am Yours (1 Corinthians 6:19). My heart is not my own, it is Yours; I will endeavor to keep it for You, and to make it Bethel, a temple for the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 6:16). My thoughts are not my own, they are Yours; I will cultivate godly and heavenly meditations (Psalm 1:2 and 63:6). My words are not my own, they are Yours; I will avoid all idle, unprofitable, boastful, flattering, uncharitable discourse (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 3:8-9); and I will seek to have my conversation always savoring of Christ and heaven (Deuteronomy 6:7; Mathew 12:34-37; Colossians 3:16). My eyes are not my own, they are Yours; I will withhold them from looking upon sin and vanity (Habakkuk 1:13). My wealth is not my own, it is Yours; I am only Your steward; I will therefore lay it out prudently and faithfully for You, avoiding all unnecessary expense upon myself (Deuteronomy 24:19-21; Job 29:12-13; Proverbs 3:9, 10; Matthew 25:5, 36; Luke 21:2, 8, 4). My time is not my own, it is Yours; I will employ it for You, doing all I do as unto the Lord, striving each day to grow in grace and in knowledge, and to make myself useful to my fellow-men; I will redeem my time from too long or needless visits, idle imaginations, fruitless discourse, unnecessary sleep, and more than needful care about my worldly affairs (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). I desire to commit all I have to You; my friends, my family, my health, my business, my esteem in the world. I am willing to receive what You give, to lack what You withhold, to relinquish that You take, to suffer what You inflict, to be what You require!, and to do what You command.

Lord God of Hosts. I desire to deliberately, cheerfully, and with full purpose of heart, thus to surrender myself wholly and forever to You; I feel that this is my duty, my interest, my privilege, my glory; — I believe that You will receive what I thus give (2 Corinthians 6:17); I believe that You will keep what I have thus committed to You (2 Timothy 1:12); — I will trust in You for temporal provision (Psalm 23:1); I will trust in You for support under daily cares and labors (Isaiah 26:3); I will trust in You for pardon of daily sins (Ezekiel 36:25); I will trust in You for growth and fruitfulness (Hosea 12:5); I will trust to You for strength in the hour of death (Isaiah 43:2). If I sin, may I grieve without despair; if I walk uprightly, may I rejoice without pride.

Lord Jesus, I take You for my Prophet, my Priest, my King, my Life, my Light, my Rest, my Joy, my Glory, my All in All.

Spirit of Adoption, that proceeds from the Father and the Son, I desire to receive You into my soul, that You may abide with me. Convince me of sin, convince me of judgment, guide me into all truth; take of the things of Christ and show them to me; be as the dew and the rain of heaven to my soul, causing the Word of Life to take root and grow, and bear the fruits of peace, joy, love, gentleness; enable me to mortify the flesh with its affections and lusts — when the enemy comes in like a flood, lift up a standard against him; be in me as a well of living water — be in me as the earnest of the inheritance, as the first-fruits of heaven — sealing me unto the day of redemption. Holy and blessed Spirit, help me to distinguish between Your voice and the voice of the evil one — between Your suggestions and the impulses of the flesh — between Your leadings the stubbornness of my own heart. I will labor not to resist, nor grieve, nor dishonor, nor quench You; but, with a humble, broken, mortified, self-denying spirit, will endeavor to fall in with You in all things, and to think, and speak, and act in You.

-John Milne, The Life of John Milne by Horatius Bonar, Banner of Truth Trust, 452-454.
(Language updated by Erik Martin)

Hudson Taylor — A Man of Prayer and Trust

“In the year 1854 a sailing vessel was becalmed in the vicinity of New Guinea. Seeing the distressed look on the captain’s face as he peered intently into the sea, a young Englishman inquired as to the cause of his anxiety. This was the reply: “A four-knot current is carrying us swiftly toward some sunken reefs over there. Our fate seems to be sealed.” On the shores of the island, cannibals were rushing about and lighting fires in great glee. Presently the captain spoke again: “We have done everything that can be done.” “No,” responded the young man, “there is one thing we haven’t done. Four of us on board are Christians. Let each of us retire to his cabin and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us a breeze immediately.” This was agreed upon and done.
After a few minutes of earnest intercession, the young man came up on deck confident that the petition had been granted. Finding the first officer, a godless man, in charge, he requested him to let down the corners of the mainsail. “What would be the good of that?” he asked. The young man told him that he and three others had been asking God to send a wind, that it was coming immediately and that there was not a minute to lose, since they were so near the reefs. With a look of contempt, the officer replied with an oath: “Nonsense! You can’t pray up a wind.” Noticing a few moments later that the topmost sail was beginning to tremble, he said: “That is only a cat’s-paw — a mere puff of wind.” “Never mind what you think,” cried the young man. “Let down the mainsail quickly.”

This he was not slow to do. Hearing the heavy tread of the men on deck, the captain came up from his cabin and saw that the breeze had indeed come. In a few minutes they were sailing away from the dangerous reefs, much to the disappointment of the native cannibals on the beach.

Writing of this and similar experiences, the young man said: “Thus God encouraged me, ere landing on China’s shores, to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honor the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help which each emergency required.”

So we have been introduced to a remarkable man, J. Hudson Taylor, and to the text, John 14:13, which was woven into the fabric of his life and into the texture of his stupendous achievements: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

-Eugene Myers Harrison,  http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biotaylor3.html

Read the rest of this biography HERE.” thanks to: http://vassaloftheking.blogspot.com/2012/10/hudson-taylor-man-of-prayer-trust.html

Prayerlessness

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

“In her book A Place of Quiet Rest, Nancy Leigh DeMoss includes several chapters on prayer. In a chapter titled “The Privilege of Prayer” she discusses a period of prayerlessness in her life and her growing conviction that she had to get to the root of it. “As God opened my eyes to this matter of prayerlessness, I asked Him to let me see it from His point of view. Here is what I wrote in my journal one day when God first began to deal with my heart.” She does not attempt to provide a doctrine of prayer or prayerlessness as much as a reflection on what prayerlessness means in her own life. I found it very helpful.

Here is what she says:

I am convicted that prayerlessness …

  • is a sin against God (1 Samuel 12:23).
  • is direct disobedience to the command of Christ (“watch and pray,” Matthew 26:41).
  • is direct disobedience to the Word of God (“pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  • makes me vulnerable to temptation (“watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation,” Matthew 26:41).
  • expresses independence—no need for God.
  • gives place to the Enemy and makes me vulnerable to his schemes (Ephesians 6:10-20; Daniel 10).
  • results in powerlessness.
  • limts (and defines) my relationship with God.
  • hinders me from knowing His will, His priorities, His direction.
  • forces me to operate in the realm of the natural (what I can do) versus the supernatural (what He can do).
  • leaves me weak, harried, and hassled.
  • is rooted in pride, self-sufficiency, laziness, and lack of discipline.
  • reveals a lack of real burden and compassion for others.

 

-Nancy Leigh DeMoss, via Tim Challies,  http://www.challies.com/quotes/prayerlessness