Grace is one of the things we should pray for, says Yancey in his book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference. Enjoy these words from page 280.
Grace descends as the gentle rain from heaven. It does not divide, does not rank. It floats like a cloud high in the sky, and the thirsty pray for it as desert nomads pray for rain.
Prayer for grace offers the chance for a deep healing, or at least a way to cope with what cannot be fixed.
Guide Me into an Unclenched Moment by Ted Loder from Guerillas of Grace
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go
of heavy experiences
of shriveling anxieties
of dead certainties
that, softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery,
I may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy
that is you.
In the frenzy of our modern lives at home, in the market place, and in the church,
Keep before us your invitation to intimacy.
Help us to locate those safe places, where in still times you will speak into our spirits
from your Word, by your Spirit, through our special friends.
May we learn as a result how to live in pursuit of your wishes.
For all who are weary, empty of spirit, directionless or numb,
I pray for the restoration of spiritual passion.
The reason? To be a pleasure to you and a light to the world.
From “Restoring your Spiritual Passion” by Gordon MacDonald.
- We don’t pray for business because we don’t pray for business.
- We don’t pray for business because those who lead us in prayer have not been trained to do so.
- We don’t pray for business because our worship leaders have been trained in settings that are indifferent or negative to business.
- We don’t pray for business because Scripture does not command us to do so.
- We don’t pray for business because we don’t have a vision for how business could be part of God’s business in the world.
- We don’t pray for business because we divide reality into the sacred and the secular, with prayer falling on the sacred side, and business on the secular side, and never the twain shall meet.
Gracious God, thank you for creating the world and all that is in it. Thank you for creating us in your image, calling us to be fruitful and to be faithful stewards of your creation. Thank you for the opportunity to give us to serve you in the context of business, as we seek to fulfill our calling as human beings. Thank you for these who are standing today, for their desire to live out their faith in their workplace.
Give them wisdom, Lord, to know what it means to be your disciple at work. Help them as they face difficult decisions, sometimes wondering how to balance the priorities of business and your kingdom. Empower them in their relationships at work, so that they might treat all of their colleagues, including those they supervise and those who supervise them, with respect and love. Encourage them when they feel alone, when they struggle to serve you and be faithful in their jobs. Show these folks how they can bear witness to you at work, in both word and deed. Help them to do so in a way that is appropriate and respectful.
For those in leadership in their companies, may they know how best to implement your call to justice, for those they employ, for their customers, for their clients, and for the larger world. Help them to see how to be good stewards of all you have entrusted to them.
May this church, dear Lord, be a place of encouragement and support for these who seek to serve you at work. May we listen to them, bear their burdens, speak your truth in love, and continue to pray for them. Fill them now with your Spirit, so they might live for you in their workplaces.
We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Excellent sermon here from John Piper on the need for both a disciplined and a spontaneous prayer life. He does not equate spontaneity with freedom because in our acts of discipline, there can be “wonderful freedom and joy.”
He points out that neither does discipline equate with legalism as “though any intentionality that drives you to do a thing when you don’t feel like it can only be a work of the law, or an act of merit, or a way of earning salvation, or a strategy to get God on your side.” Piper points out that “steadfast opposition to discipline may reflect a heart of legalism.” His point is that both kinds of prayers are wrong if we are trusting in our own righteousness and not that of Christ.
More from Piper, “The opposite of legalism is not spontaneity. And the opposite of faith is not discipline. Spontaneity may be legalistic. And discipline may be an act of faith.”
Reflecting on Romans 8:32 and 2 Cor 1:20, Piper writes,
“In other words, every answer to prayer that would be good for us, Christ purchased by his blood. We did not and cannot purchase them. So when we go to our closet, we are not going to make a purchase. We are not going to negotiate. We are going because God has ordained that what Christ obtained for us, we receive by asking.”
And he ends the message with a challenge to be intentional about our praying, “Because Christ died for you, and through prayer God will give you what you need—mainly more of himself.” yes and yes again!
Saw this in ereflections from the Transforming Center. I highly recommend Ruth Barton’s books and I am going to order a book of Rev Loder’s poetry now!
I Hold Up My Life to You Now
Rev. Ted Loder
the clock struck midnight
and I partied with a strange sadness in my heart,
confusion in my mind.
Now, I ask you
to gather me,
for I realize
the storms of time have scattered me,
the furies of the year past have driven me,
many sorrows have scarred me,
many accomplishments have disappointed me,
much activity has wearied me,
and fear has spooked me
into a hundred hiding places,
one of which is pretended gaiety.
I’m sick of a string of “nice days.”
What I want is passionate days,
What I want is you!
Patient God, I hold up my life to you now,
as much as I can,
as high as I can,
in this mysterious reach called prayer.
Help me not to let my life slip away from me.
Come close, lest I wobble and fall short.
It is not days or years I seek from you,
not infinity and enormity,
but small things and moments of awareness,
awareness that you are in what I am
and in what I have been indifferent to.
It is not new time I seek,
but new eyes,
a new heart,
and you, always you.
O Patient God,
make something new in me,
in this year,
for you, for others,
for the abundance of this life lived in your presence.
My favorite video short from 24-7prayer.com Explores Tribe, a prayer group that uses percussion instruments to pray and pray and play they do!!! Is it possible for prayer to be a drumbeat or prayer to be art? Here are some favorite lines. Enjoy!
“Whatever language you speak, whatever comes from your heart, that becomes a prayer.”
“Wouldn’t it make sense that the God who made rhythm would understand what’s in our hearts and how that came out in this language called rhythm.”
“Prayer is about being with God and whatever kind of communication as long as it is authentic, as its honest, its sincere, its vulnerable, then that’s prayer.”
How you connect is really not the issue, the issue is really connecting with God is.
If passion moves you, watch the five short crazy wild videos on the 24-7 prayer movement. Thanks to missions catalyst e-magazine. Watched the first four of these already. You can go find info on their website and see the first video here.
Following are a few favorite quotes from the first short, Prayer as movement
In this short, you learn about the story of a prayer movement started by a missional prayer group in U.K. inspired by Moravians. They interviews a few people and asked them what words they would use to describe 24-7 prayer
- Subversive, foolish global
- Wild, passionate, radical
- Prayer, mission and justice
- Action, respect and responsibility
- Passion, fun, spirit
“It empowers people whoever they are, whatever circumstances young or old to step into the presence of God in a really fresh way.”
“It made me see how much God can use anyone.”
Great story about some American POWs who were committed to pray, no matter what it cost them. Thanks to my wife for this link.
Philip Yancey mentions in his book on Prayer on page 281 about what his wife Janet has learned about spending time with people in hospice care. Yancey says, “Imminent death offers a chance for old wounds to be healed, grudges forgiven, legacies passesd on. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it happens.
He then mentions that his wife found that “the obstacles to a good death were the very same obstacles to physical health: anxiety, tension, worry, guilt, fear.” Not sure exactly the difference between anxiety and worry. Came up with the following to help me remember this: WAGFiT . I wonder if another one for the A would be Anger–sure seems to keep people from living well as well as dying well.
I just read the last few pages of Philip Yancey’s book on Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? I have always enjoyed his books and this one was one of his best imho. Not so much new here but he is able to verbalize the questions that so many of us have about prayer. As is typical Yancey, he admits that he does not have all the answers and is willing to share where he is on his journey. Very quotable and as is also normal with Yancey for me, I now have another list of books to read.
My wife sent me a link on the Washington Post site to reactions on a statement about prayer that Sarah Palin made last week. As she said, very sad and revealing such a misunderstanding of prayer. I suspect that Palin was trying to express her own feelings of inadequacy in the light of what was before her and sought out someone who was like-minded and with whom she could trust to not quote her words in prayer. The reality is that most people are uncomfortble praying, especially out loud and in public. How odd that an expression of humility (I was desperate to pray) was turned into an expression of pride (no one else was good enough to pray with me)! The following quote from Yancey fits well here.
Indeed, any time spent in prayer seems wasted to someone who has other priorities than a relationship with God. For one who loves God, however, there is no more productive, or necessary act. 287
The last week has been tough week for me in a number of ways. Conflict in some key relationships, job frustration and the tension of not really knowing what should be doing and continuing computer problems. I have used these challenges as an excuse for my bad attitude and my lack of intimacy with the Lord Jesus.
But, there have been some good gifts in this week. Last Saturday, as I was sitting in our comfy chair and reading/journaling/praying, I started dreaming about the possibilities of ministry here. What a need there is with our men and I started thinking about various ways to get them together. But then I realized that I have not been praying for them, I mean really praying for them. I also realized that this is why my wife knows all the kids and names of our people–she prays for them weekly, by name. Duh! I remember Bobby Clinton saying once, “If God has called you to lead a group, he has called you to pray for them.” If I am only giving lip service to prayer, then who am I depending upon for my ministry and service? Hint–starts and ends with the ninth letter of the alphabet. The Lord kindly led me through a time of prayer for each of our men by name and the Lord again brought them to mind as I walked to work on Monday. I prayed for them as I walked, using the Jesus prayer and Psalm 44:7. A small but significant insight for which I am grateful.