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.