In 2012 we moved our Vancouver Conference from Cloverdale to Chilliwack and spent the weekend looking at one our favorite topics, Revival. We have looked at this topic before as strictly an exercise in history. We did this again but added two historic events that are not normally associated with Revival.
Heinz Dschankilic and Michael Haykin continue their exploration of prayer. Today they examine the priority or prayer in the life of the Apostle Paul.
In the weeks and months ahead, Lord willing, I would like for us to think together about the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians.
I am struck by two recurring concerns in this letter. The first is the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things. We are, I trust, familiar with the stirring words of Col 1:15-20. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” As the creator of the world, he is supreme over the works of his hands. As the redeemer of his people, he was raised from the dead “that in everything he might be preeminent.” Paul can summarize the Christian life in this way – “as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith…” What does this look like in daily life? “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Paul cannot think about marriage, parenting, or work without putting them under the Lordship of Christ (Col 3:18-4:1).
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.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of leading our congregation through a brief study on the history of Revivals. The focus was on the major three in North America starting with the First Great Awakening, 1738-1742 under Jonathan Edwards. The Second Great Awakening starting around 1795 and ending around 1840. We concluded our exploration of the past with a quick look at a portion of the Third Great Awakening during the turbulent years of 1861-1865 in the American Civil War.
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.
John Bunyan’s (1628–88) pursuit in all of life—especially in preaching and in writing—was personal piety. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he made every effort to “be a pattern, and example of piety.” From Bunyan’s own testimony: