Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I am fickle

fickle (fĭk'əl) adj. Characterized by erratic changeableness or instability, especially with regard to affections or attachments; capricious. (New American Heritage Dictionary)


Father, I confess my fickleness; while I know your calling on my life, to take up my cross and follow Jesus, to find myself by losing myself, I too often turn back and lose sight of your plan in my life. I lose sight of my mission on this earth and begin to think like those who do not know you, like I did before I came to know you. I begin to seek my own comfort and security. But, in your amazing grace and love, you remind me--sometimes gently and sometimes more forcefully, but always for my good--to get back on the right path.

I pray that you guard me from my own fickleness; through your Holy Spirit, guide me when I stray. May Jesus shepherd me, for like a sheep, I am prone to wandering off. Let your rod and your staff comfort me.

I praise you and ask your guidance in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, May 12, 2008


At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And He responded to them, "Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all Galileans because they suffered these things? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well! Or those 18 that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed—do you think they were more sinful than all the people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!"
Luke 13:1-5, CSB


Father, you were not caught off guard by today's earthquake. You are in control of all nature, including earthquakes. Nothing happens apart from your will. People will ask, why did this happen. But, Father, do not let us use this to blaspheme your name. For while we do not always understand your mysterious ways, we do know your ways are not our ways; your ways are so much greater than our ways. And we do know that not even a bird cannot die apart from your will; so in the midst of disaster, we can trust in you and put our faith in you.

And Father, we can use this disaster to cling to you and to share your good news. May your church in China seize this moment to reach out to their neighbors and show your mercy and compassion. And may your church around the world see this opportunity to be rich on every occasion for the purpose of bringing you praise by sharing with those in need.

I thank you for the time you give each of us; not one person deserves this moment alive, yet you spare us despite our sins. For while we were still sinners, you sent your Son to die for us. May your love be known by more and more people.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Challies evening

Earlier this evening I posted a prayer based on a Puritan prayer I found on Challies.com. Well, after thumbing through the site some more, I found a review on a new book titled "Praying Backwards." Apparently, part of the book focuses on the typical Christian's use of "in Jesus' name" in prayers.
[The words] "In Jesus name, amen!” [typically] close prayer and for most of us mean something along the lines of “well that’s done, open your eyes!” or “I really mean it!” Chapell premises his book on taking “in Jesus name” and placing it at the beginning of the prayer (hence “praying backwards”).
I have not read the book, so I will not try to critique its ideas in any meaningful way. Instead, I will put on my constructivist thinking cap (for all you educational theorists) and share what comes to my mind as I read the blog post.

I tend to end my prayers with "in Jesus' name," but I also try not to let that statement become a formula or trite conclusion. I try not to let it be a way of saying, "I'm done now Lord." For that reason, I sometimes try to adapt the statement to the specific prayer. For example, in my prayer for those affected by the cyclone in Myanmar, I closed with:

I ask all this in the name of Jesus, who suffered so much and now stands as a high priest who is able to sympathize with our needs. Amen.

And when I do not necessarily adapt the statement to the specific prayer, I often try to address some specific aspect of Jesus' character that gives me the freedom to approach God with my prayers. For example, in tonight's prayer on patience in the fruit of the Spirit, I closed with:

Father, I praise you and honor you in the name of Jesus whose death bought me the redemption my soul needed, and who became the firstborn among many children you have adopted into your family.

May all the glory and honor and praise be to you. Amen.

After all, the point of the statement is not to meet some prayer formula, that if we say it, forces God to respond in a certain way. This isn't the Prayer of Jabez. The point is to communicate our reliance on Jesus as the sole reason we have any claim to God. And we do have a glorious inheritance from God because, and only because, of the work of Jesus (Eph 1). Without Jesus, we approach God as defiled sinners who are repugnant to God. But, through Jesus, our Advocate (Zech 3), we approach God as pure and blameless. And this is true whether we put those statements at the beginning or the end of the prayer.

I have also heard of the ACTS method of prayer--Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I think the method is based on the Lord's Prayer, but seems to generally be found in many biblical prayers. In my prayers, I usually try to address those major themes, but again I try not to pray by formula.

In my mind, it makes sense to begin with adoration. It is good for me to remind myself why I am praying to God. He is great; he is in control; he can meet my needs; he deserves my worship. Obviously, confession is part of prayer. We all fall short of the glory of God and must rely on his eternal, unwarranted, free mercy and grace. That leads necessarily to thanksgiving. And supplication is a major aspect of prayer; you have not because you ask not.

Another quick idea I'll share is from the Autobiography of George Muller (highly recommended!). He wrote that he previously had trouble staying focused while reading his Bible. But, he found that if he prayed as he read, about the things he read, it helped him stay focused. I have tried this and find it to be an amazingly simple and profound concept. Actually, I just remembered that I previously posted on this idea.


Father, may I never treat prayer as a formula or an obligation. May I see prayer as a way of growing closer to you, and expressing my heart to you and learning your heart. May I always remember the glorious gift you have given me through Jesus that allows me to approach you with confidence. Because, I know that you who gave your Son for my salvation will not withhold any good thing from me. May your will be done and may I always have faith that you hear my prayers and answer them according to your loving kindness. Amen.

Puritan family prayer

In honor of Mother's Day, Tim Challies posted a Puritan prayer for family on his site. I liked the prayer, but in order to ensure I reflected on it, understood it, and meant it, I decided to rewrite it from its archaic language into my own language. I also found that as I wrote it, I expanded it a little to not only include prayer for my family but to ask God to give me a heart for more people.


Oh God, you are sovereign, so I come to you as the only sure hope in the universe.
You are the creator of all people; you made each person, carefully and wonderfully made each of us, and you sustain us.
You have chosen and adopted your people; you have chosen a small group out of the many to love and honor; your people are blessed, overflowing with your grace, and those who are willing to give up their entire lives to follow Jesus find that his burden his light and his calling and demands are good; your commands are wonderful and following your word we find joy and satisfaction.
But, I am a sinner still. Oh, how much I still rebel against you and despise your wonderful, amazing grace. How much of my nature is still constantly seeking to be its own god. I seek my own good above the good of others--my own glory above your glory. How often I turn from you and sin against you, many times willfully and many times without even considering you.
Father, have mercy on me and do not count my evil against me. Bring me to repentance, for my natural self is in rebellion to you and I cannot, on my own, submit myself to you.
Let me see the sin I commit as you see it; let me abhor it as you abhor it.
Let me know my weaknesses and find my redemption and model in Jesus.
Give me the spiritual discernment to turn from my evil thoughts and control my harsh words against my friends and neighbors.
Keep me from temptations and give me the strength to resist the Devil when he lies to me.
Through your Spirit, kill the sin living in my soul and complete the good work you have begun in me.
Give me a heart for the lost and dying world around me. Give me a heart for the needs of people, especially their greatest need--to know you are their God.
It is painful to think of the eternal suffering of those friends and family members who continue to reject you and die apart from you. Keep me from merely acting as if this fate is not real. Let me truly know your truth.
Let those people who I know and love come to know and love you. Choose them as those saved for your glory. Cleanse them, separate them from the sinful world, and make them your children. And give me a love for more people that I might pray for their salvation as well.
Make my personal relationship with you a pure, blameless and holy relationship so that I might be an example for those who know me.
Make me fruitful in my worship of you, and help me be a godly example and leader in my family, that I may one day present Jennifer to Jesus and teach Charlotte to love you with all her heart, all her soul, all her mind, and all her strength. May my home be a small church, teaching and doing your word.
Let me nurture and cultivate my family as a holy garden for your glory.
May no one I know ever be left believing that their own good deeds, their own morality, their own personality, their own intelligence, or their own anything, will get them into heaven. May all those I come into contact with, especially those who you have entrusted to my care, hear clearly the message that every one of us is a sinner who has exchanged your glory for idols and that our only hope is the redemption you offer through the blood of Jesus.
Give each of us the good fruits of a mind open to you, a receptive heart, and the hearing and understanding of your word.
Change the hearts of those who still reject you from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.
Save those who I love and make me love those who I do not.
I pray that your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. And I ask all these things in the name of Jesus.

He is patient

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience....
Galatians 5:22, CSB


Father, you are truly a patient God. Before you even created the universe, you made a plan for the entire future of mankind. You planned the first people and put them in the garden, knowing they would sin against you. But, in your mysterious plan, you already knew what they would do in rebellion, and you knew what you would do for redemption. From the beginning, your plan was to make your glory known through the redemption brought by your Son Jesus. Looking forward, across a thousand generations, you set your plan in motion and waited for the fullness of time, until the time was right to send your Son. And after your Son redeemed your people, you continued your plan and are patient through this day, for you still have more to come. You will one day send Jesus back to lay claim to his kingdom and set everything under his authority. You did these things patiently, according to your plan for your glory.

And you have taught your people patience. You chose Abraham, not when he was young and strong, but when he was old and without hope of anyone to carry on his name. Not only did you allow his name to continue, you made his name great. And you did it on your own timing, even though he and Sarah tried to form their own plan to accomplish your plan. We must be patient according to your promises.

And you sent Joseph ahead of his people to Egypt to prepare a place for them. You told him that one day his brothers would bow before him. And you sent him, not at the moment he was needed, but many years ahead. But, he was patient and saw your plan fulfilled when his family came to him for deliverance from the famine.

And your people found patience necessary as they were enslaved in Egypt. And when Moses ran into the desert, you called him. But, you did not send him back to Egypt right away. Again, like Abraham, you waited until Moses was old and had no strength but you. And when he pleaded his own incompetence to accomplish your mission, you assured him that it would never be him who accomplished anything. But, it is you who accomplishes through your people. And when Moses returned to Egypt, you did not immediately rescue your people. But, you showed your glory, patiently, to Pharaoh and to the people of Egypt. And, when the time was right, you led your people out of Egypt and on to the path of discipleship.

You gave Moses your law. And in your law, you gave a glimpse of your coming Son. You established a system of laws and rituals, sacrifices for atonement, that could never bring people redemption or sanctification. But, you set these in place to prepare the way for your Son.

And over the next centuries, you bore patiently with your rebellious people. You sent many prophets to warn them and teach them. And despite their continual rejection of your glory, you never failed to bring yourself glory through them.

And when the time was right, you took another old man and old woman and gave them a son to serve as Elijah and prepare the way for the coming Messiah. And you sent your messenger to a young woman to tell her you were finally going to bring salvation to your people. How glorious is your patience because no matter how long you wait, no matter how much time passes, no matter how many struggles occur in the meantime, your people can know, without fail, that nothing--absolutely nothing--ever stands in the way of your will. And when you promise, you make it come to pass.

And before the birth of your Son, religious men in the east had been watching the skies. And they saw the sign you placed there, a star to show the way.

And Jesus grew up in a simple family, in a simple hamlet. And he waited patiently for your timing. When he was at the wedding and his mother told him about the wine, he merely said that his time had not yet come. He was not in a hurry to move ahead of your plan, but he was content to wait patiently and follow your lead and your timing.

And when the time was right, you had your Son lifted up and glorified. And now he waits patiently for the timing of your plan for his return. For only you, Father, know the time when you will complete your plan.

In the meantime, you continue to work in your people, through your Son and your Spirit. And you continue to teach us patience. When Paul was walking on the road to Damascus, Jesus stopped him and saved him. But, Paul did not immediately become the missionary to the Gentiles. Instead, he waited patiently for many years as he learned about the real you. As a Pharisee, he thought he knew you. But, only time with you, by your Spirit, would allow him to really know you. And he waited before he appeared to the apostles and was commissioned to bring the good news to the Gentiles. And he waited patiently, through imprisonments and numerous trials, as you showed him your power and showed others your glory through him.

And Peter, the rock you built from a weakling, encouraged your people to never think you are slow in keeping your promises. You are not slow, but rather you are patient in bringing about your plan, because your patience allows more and more people to have time to come to you and be adopted into your family. Thank you, God, for being patient with your people and giving us time to find redemption in your Son and to grow by your Spirit. Thank you, God, for giving us time to share your good news with the world and enjoy the grace you have let overflow in us. May we, God, have the courage and passion to take every moment, not letting any go to waste, to bring you honor and glory and praise.

And even in Revelation, Father, when your martyrs cry out for deliverance, you tell them to wait patiently for the total number of them to join their ranks. For you have a plan, a great, mysterious, unfathomable plan. And what you plan you bring to completion.

Father, may we always remember that you are a God who controls everything and knows everything. Nothing escapes your notice. Nothing is too great for you to accomplish. And nothing is too small to enjoy your care. May we remember that your creation, while it groans for deliverance, is entirely your creation. We are yours because you made us and you chose us. We owe everything to you. May we not try to make ourselves gods and think we know better than you when the timing is right for anything. May we trust you completely; may we rely on you and find our security in you. And may we remember that your Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guarantee, to put your seal on us and mark us as your possession, so that we can know for certain you, who began a good work in us, will carry on to completion.

Father, I praise you and honor you in the name of Jesus whose death bought me the redemption my soul needed, and who became the firstborn among many children you have adopted into your family.

May all the glory and honor and praise be to you. Amen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

How Great is Our God!

Just this week, I received two amazing emails about God at work in our world. The first email is from M, who I have mentioned in previous prayers. M is a missionary in Asia; I use an initial because she is in a nation where missions are illegal. She recently sent out a prayer request for a young girl she called Gentle. She gave the girl that name in hope that it would become true. For, it was not true at the time. In fact, Gentle was a martial arts expert with a history of violence; and she came from a violent family. Yet, in this recent email, M tells of a miraculous change. Gentle has accepted Christ!

The second email is from Dr. Johnny Bley. He’s the director of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension program at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. They offer fully accredited bachelor’s degree in ministry to prison inmates who will lead churches within the prisons. Crazy you say? But, these men are often so completely changed by the gospel it is amazing. And this email will show some more examples.

Part of the email from M:

I was telling you in my last letter that [Gentle’s] mom was beaten and verbally abused many times by her Muslim husband. Her mom told Gentle and her two other brothers that if it weren’t for them she would have ended her life long time ago. Gentle grew up often seeing her father abusing and beating her mother and her heart became colder and colder, full of anger and bitterness toward him.

Gentle went home [for the weekend] and on Friday night, at 11 pm, she called me on my cell phone and she was crying desperately. She told me that her father beat her and she was running away from home. Our conversation got cut off and I couldn’t get a hold of her for the next couple of days. She did come back to school eventually but she didn’t want to meet me for a few days because she was too embarrassed. When we finally met it took her a long time to look into my eyes and start sharing what happened to her. We walked around the campus and she kept sharing. I just felt that her heart was ready that night to hear the gospel. It was late, I was tired and my [ability to speak the local language] was pretty bad that night but God gave me peace and reminded me that all I had to do was just to be there for this…girl and love on her. She said that she really wants to get rid of her anger, to start her personal relationship with…the One true God who loves her so much. At the end of our time together she asked me something that was very surprising, especially coming from a…person [of this culture]. She said, “Can I give you a hug?” and then she just cried for a few minutes. Here it was, this [Asian] Muslim girl whose heart used to be so closed and full of anger and who now started to warm up and receive God’s love for the first time in her life. That night, on my way back home, I was riding my bike, listening to P&W and just praising God.

Thank you, Lord for the miracle of another [person] stepping out of darkness into your Kingdom, for the miracle of witnessing how this girl is becoming…GENTLE.

Please continue to pray for Gentle, for her spiritual protection as she started her journey with God. She has lots of wounds in her heart and she needs serious counseling (she showed me on her left arm the scars from her cutting herself with a sharp pencil! She said she did that many times as her way to find relief from anger).

And here is part of the email from Dr. Bley:

One of our 15 inmates at unit 32 [the super-max prison unit] was witnessing to an inmate on his tier. After a Monday night class, he was excited about what we had been discussing and decided to try to witness to this inmate again. Instead of listening to him, the inmate pulled a shank and attacked our student, cutting him 9 times: twice in the chest, four cuts on his head and three on his arms. Our student not only survived the attack but is back in class and has forgiven the other inmate for the attack. Our student's prison moniker is "Killer," and another inmate, a non-Christian, exclaimed, "Killer, Jesus really has changed you hasn't he!" He is a walking witness to God's ability to completely change an inmate from a killer to a martyr. Can you say WOW?

…In the past academic year, our men have personally led 82 men to the saving knowledge of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Friends, personally there is no greater reason for me to shout "Wow" and "Hallelujah" for what our great God is doing in this place.


Oh God, you are so unbelievably, unimaginably, uncontainably, awesome! You are truly the Lord of hosts--God of all powers. Only you can change the hearts of men, and no man's heart is so evil or so strong as to resist your amazing grace. I praise you for your great mercy and love, your forgiveness that you have given to all those who you have called into your family for your glory. May every one stand and praise your name and bring you glory for all eternity.

From the beginning, you have reached out to a stubborn people. You called out to Adam in the garden and showed him that you would make things right. You called out to Abraham and promised him a nation when he was practically dead. You called Moses while he was on the run, and through him you rescued your chosen nation. You called Jonah to preach your forgiveness to an evil nation, and when he refused and ran, you caught him and led him to Nineveh. And when he grew angry over your forgiveness, you showed him and me that you care for people more than any of us.

You sent Jesus to live the life that brings you glory--the glory every person has exchanged for idols--and to die in our place for our idolatry. And when Paul tried to kill off your church, you grabbed hold of him and showed him how much he must suffer for your glory.

And even today, you are changing hearts and minds, turning them upside down and focusing them on your name and beauty. You are taking people whose hearts are filled with hate and replacing that hate with love. Who else could take a murderer and turn him into a loving martyr? Who else could take a man who killed his enemies and make him into a man who would die for his enemies. Your people are not like those who follow the Devil. Your people do not seek power and martyrdom through killing. Jesus told Peter to put away his swords and he told Pilot that he could call angels to defend him, but his kingdom was not of this world. Your people know that the greatest love is not being willing to kill in your name, but being willing to give one's self over to death, if need be, for your name and your glory and your honor.

Oh God, I pray that you would continue to work miracles in
Parchman, MS and Asia, and throughout the world. I pray that all your chosen people would hear the voice of their Shepherd and follow him. And I pray that all your people would take up their cross and follow him. Revive your church and give us power through your Spirit. Give us strength and courage to share your good news and to tell people-everyone--about their need of you and your offer of grace to them. And I pray that you would open their hearts to your word and write your law on their hearts. Remove their hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh.

I pray that you would bless Killer and his ministry and word spreads throughout
Parchman of how you changed him and made him new, how you removed his filthy clothes and gave him clean white clothes. And I pray for Gentle as she begins her new life as your child. May you bring her healing from the pain she has endured for so long and may you comfort her and show her what it feels like to have a loving father. Bless the ministries at Parchman and Angola, and in Asia; bless the missionaries who have carried your world into the parts of the world where you were not known, whether those places are in Asia, in maximum security prisons, or anywhere else in the world.

And may your church see these works of yours and now that you are God.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Baker's Dozen of Biblical 12s - 1st Thursday 13

A famous blogger has been posting her Thursday 13s for some time now; and wanting to be as famous, I thought I'd give it a try. This week's theme is "gross" (144). Well, here are 13 verses from the Bible mentioning 12 of something(s). OK, so it's not a gross, but it's the square root of a gross.

1. These are the tribes of Israel, 12 in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing. (Genesis 49:28)

2. This was the dedication gift from the leaders of Israel for the altar when it was anointed: 12 silver dishes, 12 silver basins, and 12 gold bowls. (Numbers 7:84)

3. Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps, one at each end. Nothing like it had ever been made in any other kingdom. (1 Kings 18:20)

4. Elijah left there and found Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing. Twelve teams of oxen were in front of him, and he was with the twelfth team. Elijah walked by him and threw his mantle over him. (1 Kings 19:19)

5. Summoning His 12 disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. (Matthew 10:1)

6. Then one of the Twelve—the man called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests…. (Matthew 26:14)

7. When evening came, He was reclining at the table with the Twelve. (Matthew 26:20)

8. While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. (Matthew 26:47)

9. He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, He gave the name Peter (Mark 3:16)

10. When He was alone with the Twelve, those who were around Him asked Him about the parables. (Mark 4:10)

11. Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)

12. Then He took the Twelve aside and told them, "Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that is written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. (Luke 18:31)

13. [The city] had a massive high wall, with 12 gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; [on the gates], names were inscribed, the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel. (Revelation 21:12)

* All verses are from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

fruit series #4

My next post in the Fruit of the Spirit series will be on patience.

But, you'll just have to wait for it.

Mt 6:7

When you pray, don't babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they'll be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:7, CSB

My wife informed me that when she reads my prayer blog, she just reads the first sentence of every paragraph. Let's see what she sees.


Father, when disaster strikes a land, you are in control.

Father, you are a loving God, and I pray for all the people directly affected by this disaster.

Father, I pray that people everywhere would see this and know that literally, "There but by the grace of God, go I."

I pray that your people in Myanmar will be able to use this disaster to share your glory as they trust in you and find joy in you.

I pray that your rich church in the Western world would wake up to the luxury and consumerism that plagues our spiritual lives.

Father, I pray that the great aspects of economic development, including good hygiene and the simple ability to communicate news of impending weather, could spread across the world.

May the world come to know you through this disaster.

I ask all this in the name of Jesus, who suffered so much and now stands as a high priest who is able to sympathize with our needs.



Since it's clear she would get the main points just from the first sentences, I am faced with two options to consider: either I am a babbler who thinks I'll be heard for my many words, or I am just a good writer who uses topic sentences well. Or, perhaps it's both. What say you?

That question was directed to you, Jennifer, since Google analytics tells me you're really the only one who reads my blog.

Lk 13:1-5

John Piper has posted about "6 ways to react to the cyclone."


Father, when disaster strikes a land, you are in control. You control whether a bird lives or dies, and you control whether a cyclone forms or not. You have set the laws of the universe in place, so even meteorology is at your hand. May you be praised and glorified in good weather and in bad.

Father, you are a loving God, and I pray for all the people directly affected by this disaster. I pray that those people who are undoubtedly trapped, but alive, would be found and saved. I pray for those people who have lost members of their families; comfort them and let them know that you are in control. I pray for the communities wrecked by this storm. May your will be done in those communities and your name be honored.

Father, I pray that people everywhere would see this and know that literally, "There but by the grace of God, go I." Because, Jesus told us not to be surprised when disaster strikes some people. Instead, we should be surprised you have not killed us all. You bear patiently with the human race, which is at war with you. You give us time to come to repentance. Every one of us is a sinner; we have rejected you and fought against you. But, you sent your Son to take our place and bring us to you. May this cause people to see they cannot find security in any thing but you and that, even though we are utterly undeserving of your mercy, you offer mercy and more--you offer your grace and eternal life.

I pray that your people in Myanmar will be able to use this disaster to share your glory as they trust in you and find joy in you. May their neighbors see their faith and come to realize that you are a treasure and you offer eternal life--reward that cannot be destroyed by moths, fire, or even cyclones.

I pray that your rich church in the Western world would wake up to the luxury and consumerism that plagues our spiritual lives. Sometimes, we feel we are rich and in need of nothing; we don't need a savior. Other times, we feel we are poor and need to be rescued, but we look toward government or products to give us a future. When we feel rich, we too often ignore the billions of people who lack so much. When we feel poor, we lose sight of the glorious blessings we have been given by you. May we realize that while a cyclone or a tsunami may hit and kill thousands, every day people are dying from living in absolute poverty, without adequate nutrition and clean water. We are rich in the physical world, and to those who much has been given, much is required.

Father, I pray that the great aspects of economic development, including good hygiene and the simple ability to communicate news of impending weather, could spread across the world. As nations develop, these disaster are less deadly. Yet, corrupt governments, war and other results of sin keep so many people mired in poverty. I pray that the benefits of development will come to the rest of the world; but I also pray that as economic progress spreads, these nations will not suffer the same consumerist idolatry found in the West. And, since all idols are an attempt to replace you, nations will only reject idols if they accept you. So, ultimately, the need of the entire world is a need for you. Nothing else matters without you.

May the world come to know you through this disaster.

I ask all this in the name of Jesus, who suffered so much and now stands as a high priest who is able to sympathize with our needs. Amen.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Word Cloud

Here is my most recent word cloud showing what's frequently in my prayers.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

peace and rest

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace....
Galatians 5:22, CSB


Father, I come to you in faith that you are the great and powerful God who created and sustains everything, and that you are the personal and loving God who has called me as an heir with Christ of your eternal fortune and reward. Because of your power and majesty, I can come with assurance that you are able to meet my every need. And because you are the personal God who called me as a son, I can come with assurance that you will hear me and bless me; I can come with the full assurance that you will make your face shine on me and give me peace.

Father, I thank you and praise you for sending Jesus to bring me peace through his death on the cross. For Jesus is my peace; he brings all your chosen people together and made us one in you (Eph 2:14). It was through his blood, shed on the cross, that everything has been reconciled to you (Col 1:20)—that I have been reconciled to you and made clean, washed of the filth that, in your eyes, covered me (Zech 3; Is 64:4). Now, it is through the justification that I have received by Jesus that I have been brought to peace with you (Ro 5:1). I am no longer your enemy, but can rest in your care. I was your enemy, but I am saved by Christ (Ro 5:10)! Now, through your Servant Jesus, you shepherd me and bring me peace (Ps 24). I can find harbor in your strength (Ps 36:7).

Father, help me set aside my old ways of selfish ambition, petty rivalry, jealousy, and whatever else put me at war with you and my neighbors. Let me love you will all my heart, all my strength, all my soul and all my mind so that nothing disturbs the peace I have in you. Show me how to be someone who brings peace to others (Mt 5:9). Give me the strength, wisdom and love to live at peace with everyone, as much as possible by your will (Ro 12:18). Give me peace through trials and challenges because I know that through Jesus I can overcome (Jn 16:33, Ro 8:37). And let me live at peace with others so that I might encourage them and show them your love, grace and mercy (Ro 14:19).

Father, keep me from the complacency and foolishness that leads people to find their security into the temporary things of the world (1 Thess 5:3). Let me always remember that you are in absolute control and nothing can thwart your plans (Job 42:2). May I always remember that my life is not guaranteed for another second, but I need to live every second you give me with an eternal focus on your glory and sovereignty (James 4:13-14). For, it is through my trust in your strength that I can have the peace that comes with assurance of my hope.

I pray that you would bring your peace to all your people throughout the world. Let us rise up as a church to sing your praises in a fallen world and to bring your good news of peace to all your chosen people. Let us glorify you and find our peace in your eternal rest.

Because there remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God, let us make every effort to enter that rest. Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess in Jesus, our high priest (Heb 4).