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Archive | Prayer

Kill the Midweek Prayer Meeting?

“The church started to grow when we killed the midweek prayer meeting.” Those words might seem anathema to some, but this was the sentiment of the pastor of my youth. The late Dave Long looked back on three decades of ministry in one congregation with those words. His assessment was true because more people participated in the small group Bible studies that replaced the Wednesday prayer meeting. The small groups always included prayer, and the net result was a more prayerful congregation that prayed more specifically and personally for one another and others to whom we were ministering. For that to happen, a long-established tradition had to go.

Church leadership often laments a lack of participation in midweek prayer meetings because we know the power God gives through prayer. Perhaps we can overemphasize one good-but-not-required way of doing things. The one divinely ordained corporate prayer meeting is public worship on the Lord’s Day. On that appointed day, the congregation calls on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26, Psalm 65:2-4, 1 Corinthians 1:2), and God’s people gather at the house of the Lord which is a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7, Mark 11:17). Paul and Silas supposed that […]

Refreshment on Revival

At last…..  almost a month without proper internet access & the stress of moving to a new house. Which reminds me of a few thoughts I had some time ago on Revival from Zechariah 1.1-6….

Exile was now over. The people had returned. State-sponsored rebuilding of the House of Yahweh in Jerusalem had been decreed by Cyrus . The harsh reality of life in the Empire back in their homeland which had not, as yet, lived up to their dreams of restoration. The Jews as a consequence had grown spiritually gloomy and cold. So the Prophet of God is sent to stir up his returned Church. There are at least ten lessons or principles the Spirit gives us which help us think properly about revival…

1. The Church always tends to decline so is constantly in need of revival v4.

2. Church revival comes through the efficacious preaching of the Word of God v1, 3 & 6.

3. Church revival comes with messages which place a stress on sinful behaviour or practice & the need for the grace of repentance v2, 4 & 6.

4. Church revival comes after a period of chastening & acknowledgment of waywardness on the part of the people of God v6b.

5. Church revival is forgotten by previous generations […]

In This Election Cycle, Remember the Sabbath (and the rest of God’s moral law)

Need a break from election-season stress?  How about embracing the break God built into creation from the beginning?  The Sabbath day is such a beautiful gift from God.  Through it, the giver of every good and perfect gift calls us to “cease”, to step away from life as we live it Monday through Saturday, to rest our souls in our Savior through public and private worship, and to rest our bodies through laying aside the work and recreation appropriate to the rest of the week.  This election season especially, more than any I can remember, maybe more than any in our nation’s history – that’s for historians to decide – we are a stressed electorate.  We need a break.

You’re Invited: A Day of Prayer and Fasting

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,“return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:12-13

Our session (at Immanuel RPC in West Lafayette) has called for a day of fasting and prayer on Thursday, September 8th. I would like to use this opportunity to invite you and your congregations to join us. 

Browse Worthy: Prayer Helps

Noticed some prayer encouragements these past days being offered from a variety of sources. Here are a few links that may help you to pray with more strength, focus, and quantity.

Weep, Love, and Pray: A Christian Response to Dallas, Castille, and Sterling | David Murray

Though the news cycle can drive these tragedies to the back of our minds too quickly, praying in the manner set before us here helps keep them before us and the Lord in a godly way.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer | Melissa Edgington

Some great tips for mothers who have little uninterrupted time for prayer through the course of their days.

Five Things I Pray I Will Not Do as a Senior Adult in the Church | Thom Ranier

As the hair grays and the bones ache more, one can tend to become more cynical as well. Here are some good prayers to keep this from happening.

R.C. Sproul on the Other Comforter | Nathan Bingham

A short, comforting excerpt from a talk by Dr. Sproul that reminds us we always have strength and power available, which helps us when we pray.

Pray Continually | Titus Martin

One of my pastors preached this encouraging message from the familiar text of I Thessalonians 5:17.

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything […]

Prayer Societies

Encouraging God’s people to pray is one of the pastor’s most trying jobs. Three reasons exist for why this is so.

First, pastors often approach this difficulty mechanically. We find a passage on praying, talk about how God desires us to be praying, then tell people to get to praying. Then we get discouraged over the lack of response. We need to recognize the problem is not in making known the duty. Every Christian knows he should pray. Simply urging the church to pray more usually results in condemnation about our prayer life rather than consecration in this holy duty.

Another great struggle in praying, as one of my mentors regularly reminds me, is scheduling it. We simply do not make it the priority it should be. Sadly, the church does not always help its folks in this regard. Often the church has one weekly, corporate prayer meeting that can conflict with the full schedules of its members.

A third obstacle to prayer is that the motivation to sacrifice our own interests to pray is usually lacking. Note how when crisis strikes, people more naturally pray. Yet in seasons of congregational comfort, prayer usually lags in intensity. E.M. Bounds says, “Prayer is the oral expression of […]

Seeking His Spirit

Lately I have been reflecting on the prophets’ visions of revival. Many of the wondrous things they see in the days of Christ and promises they extend have to do with fuller manifestations of the Spirit of God. For three familiar examples:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army…And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:9-10, 13-14)

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the […]

A Little Help with the Psalms

A few resources to encourage your understanding of the Psalms.

Listen and watch David Murray explain briefly how the Psalms help us to sing to Jesus (as well as the Father and the Spirit), of Jesus, and with Jesus.

Tim Challies has a good reminder of why Christians can join David in singing as he did in Psalm 119, “O, How I Love the Law!”

In a catechism-style format, Pastor Brad Johnston has a helpful new book called 150 Questions About the Psalter: What You Need to Know About the Songs God Wrote.

The Bible Project released the video below with its vivid, engaging diagram that explains the structure of the Book of Psalms. The picture that emerges helps identify several important themes pointing to Christ that are carried through the Psalter. (Note: One error that somehow it maintains is that the Book of Psalms is not a hymnbook.)

Pray for Muslims

French bombs falling on ISIS strongholds and command centres.

The British Prime Minister preparing the case to Parliament for British air strikes against ISIS.

Facebook profile pictures with the French flag superimposed on top of them.

Wembley stadium lit up with blue, white and red and the words ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’ above the entrance, while English football fans sang the words of La Marseillaise at Tuesday night’s England-France soccer match, the teams linked arm-in-arm.

Spontaneous displays of respect in schools and workplaces across Europe as people observe a minute of silence for those slaughtered in the terrorist attacks.

In hundreds of ways, big and small, the world is reeling and responding to the unspeakably callous evil of the ISIS gunmen and bombers who, in the words of Psalm 10 ‘sat in ambush in the villages; in hiding places [they] murdered the innocent. [Their] eyes stealthily watched for the helpless; [they] lurked in ambush like a lion in his thicket… The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.’ (vv8-10).

What should our response be as Christians – to this and the ongoing ISIS atrocities throughout the Middle East? Several articles on this blog or linked to it in the last week have given helpful and biblical counsel […]