Pray Expecting Answers

IMG_0923We have the Psalms, the prayers of the apostles, the prayers of many saints in Church history recorded for us; we know that Jesus himself taught us how to pray and we still feel that we don’t know how to pray.  We still feel inadequate and that our words are never the right ones. We don’t know what to ask for or how to ask for some things. We are Reformed Christians, we believe in God’s sovereignty and so we try our best not to sound like those who name and claim promises and demand answers from God as if they had the power to do so.

But I am afraid that because of this idea of wanting to pray aright -according to each of the points on which our theology stands – the prayer life of many has lost all fervency. The words that come out from our mouths are as dry as our hearts. Our eyes never cry because we don’t let them do so. We are more worried about controlling our emotions than the Psalmist. We know the motions and so we pray the Lord’s prayer not daring to be specific in our prayers. Our favorite prayer is “Let your will be done, Lord” and often pray it holding back, like in a strong dam, all that we really want to say.

Friends, it will do us good to read more of  what the Puritans, Spurgeon, Ryle, Pink, Owens, have written and learn from them how to be good theologians on our knees. The secret I have found in the writings of these men is that the main thing that ruled their prayer life was this: they all knew God and knew that God hears our prayers and answers His children. They prayed with fervency and much confidence. They knew that no Christian prays in vain, that no Christian waits in vain, that no Christian claims to God in vain. They all prayed expecting answers from God.

We should take our Bibles and pray the Scriptures back to God, and do it fervently, trusting that our prayers do reach the ear the Lord. But along with the Scriptures, we must also bring our anxieties, our own individual petitions -big and small-, our fears, our longings before God. We can earnestly plead to Him and ask for His divine intervention and trust that He will come and meet us in our needs. This is not arrogance, this is what coming boldly before the throne of grace in Jesus’ name looks like (Heb. 4:16).

O, how we need to pray more from the heart. How we need to expect more answers from the Lord. Why do we come to prayer more often than not, thinking that God will not answer us? Or why when we pray we think that He will always say no to our petitions? Haven’t we forgotten that God is our good Father who LOVES (yes, all caps!) to give good gifts to His children (Mt.11)? Haven’t we forgotten that He will never withhold from His people good gifts (Ps.84:11)? How we need to be reminded in our prayer closet of the words of the apostle Paul, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)!

Let us be praying people, but let us pray knowing that our God hears us and rewards those who seek Him: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb.11:6)

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky

Recommended book: The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life, a collection of sermons by C.H. Spurgeon edited by Robert Hall.

A Prayer and a Reflection for the Week -Based on Psalm 143:8-11

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should walk, for to You I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God; may your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.”    Psalm 143:8-11

J.R. Miller wrote a wonderful reflection on this Psalm which I would like to encourage you to read today, the Lord’s Day, and mediate on it through out all the week (you can find it here).

“He who lives without prayer—lives without God. He who lives a life of prayer—walks with God by day and by night. The more we have to do, and the more care we have—the more do we need to begin our days with prayer! No day starts well without its morning prayer. We need to get the touch of Christ’s hand upon us, to give us calmness and strength as we go forth” J.R. Miller

Praying that the Lord will help us to abide in Him today, tomorrow, and the days to come.

Becky

Praying the Psalms -Psalm 138-

 

Psalm 138
Of David
 
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
    my strength of soul you increased.

 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
    but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Abba Father, I give you thanks with my whole heart. I give you thanks because out of love, you have given me so many wonderful things and have brought me through different situations in which I have learned how faithful you are and how much I need you.

Father, I give thanks not generally; I am not trying to be a grateful woman for the sake of being grateful. As your child I want to give thanks to you. Not to the gods of this world, not to fate, but you, Lord.

As I come to offer you a prayer of thanksgiving, remind me that bowing down is good for my soul. It reminds me that I am low, that I do not deserve anything and yet you bless me in so many ways. I am crowned with new mercies each morning and that is because it pleases you to do so.

Thank you for your steadfast love, your faithfulness. Thank you because you have exalted your Name and your Word above all things. Thank you because Your Name is powerful and your Word is a conquering sword. Thank you, Lord, because you promised that anything we ask so that the Father may be glorified in the Son, if we ask in your Name you will give it to us. Thank you, Lord.

Thank you for your Word, Father. It is there that we learn how to ask according to your will and not according to our selfish desires. Thank you for giving us your Word to show us the way, to live, to fight, to conquer over our enemies. Thank you, Father. Please, Oh please, may your Holy Spirit teach us to understand it and draw us to it every day.

Father, how many times I have called on you, and you have always answered me. How many times when I am weary or someone else in the body of Christ is weary and we pray you always answer us by giving us grace to endure the trials. You delight in increasing the strength of the soul of the weary ones. You always show strong when we are weak. You renew the strength of your people as the eagle’s.

Lord, thank you for the hope we have in the days that are yet to come. Thank you because we will see one day all the kings of the earth giving you thanks and bowing down before you. They will all know that the words of your mouth are all true and wise. They will all sing of your ways for great is your glory.

Father, give me this day, this week, a humble and meek heart; give me a quiet heart that knows that you are Sovereign and merciful, and that in such a grand truth my heart may learn to rest and hold its peace. Deliver me from all haughtiness, from all pride, from all self-righteousness, and forgive me, O Lord, for the many times I have sinned in this. Renew me, cleanse me. Give me a humble heart, which is always a grateful heart.

Lord, I don’t know what lies ahead of me this week, but I know that even if your will for me is that I may walk in the midst of trouble, you will most certainly preserve my life. You will stretch your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your hand will deliver me.

I know that you are faithful and you will fulfill your purpose for me, for my family, for my church because your steadfast love endures forever. Oh Father, do not forsake the work of your hands.

I pray this in the name that is above all names, the name of Jesus.

Amen

Becky

As For Me, I Will Meditate on Your Precepts.

If you need encouragement to purposely meditate on God’s Word, please read Psalm 119 -today-.

I have been reading it and the more I read it and the more I consider it, I keep seeing that there really is no other way to meditate on God’s Word all day if we are not purposely doing something about it. It has to happen in real time. And how do we do it?

We could carry verses in our purses, inn our car, put them on the fridge, or hang them on our walls, and then we should not forget that they are there, but instead it would be good if we could make halts during the day to read and consider them, and pray them and then, live them while driving through the busy streets, or the moment we cook breakfast, or when we explain Math to our children or talk with them about their future, or when we are at Starbucks having coffee with our friends, or the times when we are with our husband in our room with the door closed.

Or we could also start (or continue) memorizing the Scriptures. This is a perfect way to meditate on the Scriptures all day; and yes, it is challenging, but so rewarding!

Consider what the Psalmist says, and after reading each verse ask yourself, “What am I purposely doing to -keep, seek, meditate, etc… ?”

 

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with his whole heart…” (v.2)
“I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.” (v.7)
“With my whole heart I seek you,
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I may not sin against you.”  (v.10-11)
“With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.” (v.13)
“I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your Word” (v.15-16)
“Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.” (v.24)
” [I] find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
I will lift up my hands toward your
commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.” (v.47-48)
“When I think of your rules from old,
I take comfort, O LORD.” (v.52)
“When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies.” (v.59)
“…as for me, I will meditate on your
precepts.” (v.78b)
“I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.” (v.93)
“Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.” (v.97)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.” (v.105)
“You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.” (v.114)
“I open my mouyh and pant,
because I long for your commandments.” (v.131)
“I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.” (v.147-148)
“Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.” (v.165)

Let us encourage one another to abide in the Word.

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky

*Please, feel free to download the image on this post for your personal usage (including your blog). I just ask that you don’t modify it and link to this blog. Thanks.

Praying the Psalms -Psalm 101-

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Psalm 101 (ESV)
A Psalm of David

 

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.
 I will ponder the way that is blameless.
    Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
    within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
    anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
    it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;
    I will know nothing of evil.

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly

    I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
    I will not endure.

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,

    that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
    shall minister to me.

No one who practices deceit
    shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
    shall continue before my eyes.

Morning by morning I will destroy
    all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
    from the city of the Lord.

Father in Heaven, what a beautiful thing it is to wake up this morning with a song of praise and worship in my mouth. Help me keep this song through the day, and help us, your Church, today to sing of your steadfast love and justice in the assembly of the saints with a glad heart. Help us make music to you and rejoice in doing so.

Father, as I sing your praises through the day, as I consider your steadfast love and justice, I pray that you help me ponder the way you have showed us to follow.  Help me consider how to love kindness, and do justice, and walk humbly before you, my God. Let this be the hard motivation behind all I do.

My Father, help me to walk in integrity of heart within my house. Help me to live this day, this week, this life, with integrity everywhere I go, but always starting within the walls of my house, within my room. God, it is in our homes where we take off our shoes and show who we really are. Help me be true to the gospel when no one else is seeing me, when I do the dishes and read a book with my children under the covers. Help me to live in integrity in my marriage, to honor my Man and bless him every moment. Help me love my precious family,  those with whom I share a roof, those with whom I share the meals; Help me also to love the stranger and the foreign; give me eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to do, and feet to walk.

God, help us to honor you with our eyes. Help us not to set our eyes before anything that is worthless. Lord, that we may choose wisely this week which books to read, which websites to visit. Father, help us to hate the work of the evil One. Lord, thank you, thank you because you have made us free from the bondage of sin, now we are free not to cling to the sins of our past. O what a glorious truth this is!

This week I will fight many battles, some big and other small, but I pray that in each one your name may be glorified. That my heart will be purified as a refined silver in the oven.  Help me overcome all the perverse desires in my heart that rise against your Holy Name. Help me fight against all arrogance. Lord, I want to be poor in spirit, always depending on you. Some prayers are not easy to say, but God, I pray, keep me humble. Remind me always that the arrogant, the one with a haughty look can not stand before you.

This week help me, Lord, to choose my company, my friends wisely. Help my children, my Man, help us all to dwell with those who love Truth, who are faithful to you, who honor your Word and fear your Name.

Morning by morning I will fight my enemies in your name, Jesus, and because of You, I will stand firm.

I love you Lord, because you loved me first…

Amen

Becky

Praying the Psalms -Psalm 61-



Psalm 61
To the Choirmaster: With stringed instruments. 
Of David
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!
                                                          Selah
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
So will I ever sing praises to your name,
as I perform my vows day after day.

Father, sometimes you bring us to situations in our lives in which we feel like we are at the very end of the earth, in a desolate land, where not only our body feels weary, but also where our heart faints. But right there, in the middle of our sadness and our confusion, your Spirit within us draws us to call to you, and You hear us.

God, our God, where shall we go when our little ones are fighting cancer, when we bury our spouses and our children? Where do we go when our daughters are in a hospital bed asking questions? Where do we go when there are tears we want to wipe off but they keep coming back? Where do we go when the marriage vows seem to be crumbling down? Where do we go when our songs are not anymore? Where do we go when we see injustice in this world?

We go to You.
We run to You.
We go to you:
our Rock,
our refuge,
our strong tower.

Oh God! That we may dwell in your tent forever! Safe from our thoughts, our own doubts, our fears, our own foolishness. Safe from the enemy of our souls that wants to devour our trust in You.

Oh God! Let us take refuge under the shelter of your wings! There and only there can we be safe. No enemy will be able to find us when our lives are hidden with Christ in You.

Thank you, that you hear our voice, Father.
Thank you because you have put in my heart a fear for your Name.
Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful promises that you have given us.
Thank you, because you look down to the ends of the earth
and see everything under the heavens.
Thank you because your dominion knows no limits.
Thank you, Father because even from the end of the earth,
You bring us to you,
and you wipe our tears,
and heal our diseases,
and mend our broken hearts

Father, let my praises to you reach to the end of the earth!

Amen

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

Becky