Prayer

Tens of Thousands fill National Mall on day of prayer and repentance

"Tens of thousands packed the National Mall in Washington Saturday (Sept. 26) to cry out to God and repent. The gathering stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol." - BPNews

See also: 50K Pray for Nation ‘in crisis’ to Return to God at DC March

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Does Belief in Divine Sovereignty Deter Prayer?

Some Christians think that a belief in God’s absolute sovereignty discourages a healthy prayer life. In reality, though, God’s sovereignty provides us with some of the greatest motivations to pray. I’d like to highlight just two of those motivations from Proverbs 21:30-31:

There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.

God’s Sovereignty Keeps us from Despair.

At first glance, verse 30 appears to describe a sinless environment. Only in a world without sin can it be said, “There is no wisdom, understanding, or counsel against the Lord.” Such a condition existed prior to the fall and will exist after the return of Christ. In contrast, we see plenty of opposition to the Lord in our day. In the language of Psalm 2:2, “The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed” (NAS).

However, Proverbs 21:30 is not teaching the absence of opposition to God. Actually, it’s teaching the non-existence of human wisdom, understanding, or counsel that can prevail against the Lord (see NIV, NLT, ESV). It’s expressing the same truth expressed by the Scripture writer in Psalm 33:10-11: “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (NAS).

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Why We Should Wait!

Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are You not He, O LORD our God?
Therefore we will wait for You,
Since You have made all these. (Jeremiah 14:22)

We’ve all heard versions of the prayer that goes, “Lord, help me to be patient, and please hurry up about it.”  In my life the lesson on being patient has been probably the hardest one to learn.  In fact, I must confess that I have not learned the lesson very well, and have constantly to relearn it.  If I were to put my finger on the problem it would have to land on the truths brought out in the verse above.

Jeremiah knew a lot about having to wait.  During his ministry he had to preach for God to a people who had set themselves against the truth.  His words often seemed to bounce off the surface of the ears of his listeners.  Moreover, he had to contend with false prophets who would tell the eager hearers what they wanted to hear; the bad times were coming to an end; the Babylonians would be beaten back; God would come to the rescue of Israel.  These were not the messages that Jeremiah was given to proclaim.

Given that Jeremiah had an unpopular message to preach, he had to be a man of patience to continue, day in, day out, to be a herald of, this verse gets to the heart of why we can wait on the Lord, giving over to Him our propensity to rush things or to see matters change overnight. 

The prophet poses two questions about the way the world works. 

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Justice and Faith on the Earth

In Luke 18:1-8, we find a parable taught by Jesus that was uniquely recorded by Luke.

Interestingly, the parable revolves entirely around the concept of justice—perhaps the hottest topic going today.

… There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ (NKJV)

Social justice, racial justice, economic justice—it seems that everyone today wants to be (or, at least, appear to be) sold out for all of them! Some will even go so far as to attempt to say, or even do, the most radical things possible to show that they are a life-and-death-kind-of-serious about justice.

I just have a question about the types of justice mentioned above, as well as any other varieties being discussed: What do these terms mean? Can anyone actually define them, or are they just catchphrases designed to make us all feel and look better?

Furthermore—and much more importantly—are the definitions offered rooted in Biblical truth?

When Jesus spoke about justice, or righteousness, in this parable, He was obviously grounding His statements in the Mosaic Law. It is morally impossible to take the word justice and simply fill it with a meaning that is devoid of any Biblical roots. We must also be concerned lest we find ourselves uttering phrases—like social justice—which are packed with historical meaning of which we might not even be aware.

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From the Archives – Of God and Basketball Victories

On the evening of March 30, 2002, in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, the Indiana Hoosiers upset the Oklahoma Sooners in a “Final Four” contest of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Following the game, Indiana coach, Mike Davis, credited God for giving Indiana University the victory. “I have a lot of people praying for me,” he told the press, “God has placed His favor on me.”

Let me be the last to object to any praise going to God in the media. A man steps up to the microphone and declares that God factors into his view of the world, including the world of basketball—I’m with that! I lauded Mike Davis’ courage to proclaim his faith to the world on that occasion and I laud him still.

But I must admit, as a man of faith, that I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable with the array of athletes and coaches announcing through a microphone their euphoric gratitude to God moments after an athletic victory over their opponents. My discomfort has nothing to do with bringing God into the sports world—he’s there anyway, kudos to those who acknowledge reality. My discomfort stems more from the message that seems to be subtly communicated by such public expressions of divine adulation.

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Prayer for the George Floyd Aftermath

Lord, sometimes an injustice is so grievous that even the inattentive pay attention. Our nation is reeling at the merciless death of George Floyd. If that were not enough, it is tragic that so many have dishonored this man’s death by their rioting and looting, thus providing ammunition for the enemies of racial equality. More people have died or been injured because of such abuses, multiplying further injustices to business owners, by-standers, or peaceful protestors. Fighting injustice with further and greater injustice displaces addressing the real issue.

Father, we know we have a problem. Practical solutions, however, seem elusive. Your Word tells us that man sees the outward appearance, but You look at the heart. We ask Your help to change attitudes and hearts, and help us value the dignity of all people.

We have nearly 700,000 police officers in our nation, and it only takes a few to tarnish the image of the overwhelming majority who truly seek to protect and serve. Help us weed out the few who are prone to nurture racial hatred or are mentally unstable, and encourage the very many who expend themselves on our behalf.

We know these social eruptions evidence a greater build-up below the surface. We look to You for guidance, protection, and changed hearts. Help us remember that we are all human beings, and we pray, O Lord, that more and more of us would embrace the Golden Rule Your Son taught us, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

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Prayer vs. Science: How Mike Pence and Queen Victoria both started intellectual debates over these avenues of healing.

"These are just some examples of recent 'prayer shaming,' a term describing the ridicule toward people who offer their 'thoughts and prayers' for victims of tragedies. But they are also part of an old debate about the conflict between religion and science. A similar controversy raged on both sides of the Atlantic during the second half of the 19th century." - CToday

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