Heinz Dschankilic and Michael Haykin continue their exploration of prayer. Today they examine the priority or prayer in the life of the Apostle Paul.
Heinz Dschankilic and Michael Haykin continue their discussion on prayer. Today they explore God’s providence in prayer.
In 1889 a little devotional work entitled Lile’s Golden Lamp was published by the New York Observer. The book consists of very brief daily devotional entries of one small page each, by various authors, one for each day of the year. The entry for January 13 is by B.B. Warfield — a little piece that has never seen the light of day since, and which should be of interest to our readers here.
Arnold Dallimore, in his enjoyable biography of Charles Spurgeon, recounts the following about the Prince of Preachers’ prayer life: “He talked with God in reverence but with freedom and familiarity.” Freedom and familiarity: watchwords of true prayer. These two words prove an example of what balanced prayer should look like for the Christian. Unfortunately such balance is often toppled leaving Christians to slide from one or the other of the two extremes.
Prayer, its power or the lack of it, gives testimony to the vitality and reality of the Christian’s faith. “Prayer,” Jonathan Edwards announced, “is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.” The Christian has faith. The Christian prays. Otherwise, he is no Christian at all.
I love to listen to the prayers of others. I listen to how they pray and what they say. The language they use reflects their understanding of God. Some refer to God as “Father” in their communication with him, reflecting a profound sense of intimacy. Others approach him as “Sovereign God” or “Lord,” titles which suggest a healthy dose of reverence or awe. The depth of some believer’s relationship with God saturates their prayers and lifts you up to heaven with them.
Something that is beautiful has its own attractive power. When I see a beautiful sunset, I do not need to be persuaded that what I am seeing is truly beautiful. The beauty of the sunset has its own attractive force that draws from me the willing confession that what I am seeing is truly awesome.
How many times have you been at church and the following has happened: You sit with eyes closed, the ushers have just passed you one of the elements of the Lord’s Supper, and you meditate on the gospel of Jesus Christ whose body was punished and his blood was spilt for your sin. A well-meaning elder or deacon begins to pray on behalf of the congregation. His prayer goes something like this: “Father, we thank you for your grace that you would care so much for us that you would die on the cross for our sins.” I have heard prayers like this by too many sincere Christians in churches across various denominations to make me think that they are uncommon. As soon as the words, “Father, thank you for dying on the cross” are uttered, my eyes habitually pop open and my ears cease to hear the prayer. You may think I am uncharitable in my judgment, but such a prayer, though sincere, is misguided and potentially dangerous.