Prayer

Churches unite in prayer for genuine Revival

 

pray4revivalmeme1_2

 

Several churches in the Presbytery of The Dakotas and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church have decided to unite in prayer for Revival at specific times. How to join in prayer:

Please share, and pray.  Details: http://pray4revival.info

Anyone paying attention in recent days can see the dire spiritual condition of the United States of America.  Men cannot help us, God is our only hope.  The great 18th century Presbyterian preacher: Samuel Davies said, “an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit is the only remedy for a ruined country.”  Several churches in our region have decided to unite together in prayer for a genuine, Spirit-wrought revival.  Would you please join us in prayer, in churches and other groups, and share the above link with others?

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A Desperate and Manly Cry for Help Brings Deliverance–Psalm 119 devotional (Qoph)

ק Qoph

145 I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O Lord!
I will keep Your statutes.
146 I cry out to You;
Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.
147 I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
148 My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
O Lord, revive me according to Your justice.
150 They draw near who follow after wickedness;
They are far from Your law.
151 You are near, O Lord,
And all Your commandments are truth.
152 Concerning Your testimonies,
I have known of old that You have founded them forever. Psalm 119 nkj

The Christian life is one of a struggle against the sinful flesh.  Even as redeemed children of God, trusting in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation, we commit sins daily, and these sins bring consequences.  God acts as a loving father to discipline his wayward children, and often it’s the cruel mercies of the wicked that come against us when we have failed to walk in obedience.  But the psalmist’s manly and desperate cry for help to God is our expression hope in Him for deliverance in these trials in life.  We cannot hope for deliverance from the cruelties of this world, or for victory over the sin that reigns in our bodies, unless we genuinely cry out to God for it.  Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Be like the psalmist, and cry out for help against sin reigning in your life today and everyday.  And go in faith that God will answer your desperate prayer.

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Can You Pray This Prayer?: Neither poverty nor riches

praying handsGive me neither poverty nor riches—

Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:8b-9 nkjv

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A Famine of God’s Word

season_droughtAs I look out the window of the parsonage, I can’t help but notice a dense, thick blanket of fluffy white snow layering over the lawns, cars, and buildings on this side of Burlington. And this big snow is come as an answer to prayer, about which there cannot be any doubt. In our numerous prayers offered during Sunday morning worship and during our monthly prayer meetings, we have asked the Lord to provide the moisture that this dry and thirsty land so badly needs, and we ought to be thankful for this small answer to prayer, in the snowstorm that came through. But as we consider the blessing of moisture to alleviate a period of drought, there is something even more important to consider. It is the blessing of the Word of God.

God has provided that His word is proclaimed to us week after week, as fresh manna falling from heaven. But how many are there who take it for granted? There may even be some folks reading this who have not attended church in the last few weeks, or more. But public worship in the church of God is vital to sustain the spiritual life of the Christian, especially the preaching of the word. In the Book of Amos, chapter 8, we read about the most terrible judgment of God which can come against a people. It is a famine, not of food, and not a drought of water, but a famine of God’s word. For in the Word of God proclaimed by his chosen mouthpieces, the precious promises of grace and the forgiveness of sins are offered. In the Word of God, His people get to know Him, to appreciate Him for who He is and what He has done. Can there be any judgment from the Lord, in this world, more fearsome than a withholding of that precious Word?

In the eighth chapter of Amos, that terrible judgment from God is spoken on His people. They had been unfaithful to Him, and instead of paying careful attention to those ordinances that He had commanded, they had set up other activities instead: particularly the worship at a shrine in Dan, toward the north of the land, and at the place in Beersheba where Abraham had worshipped God. This was directly contrary to God’s commandment to seek Him at Jerusalem. In punishment for the disobedience of His people, God declares that He will send upon them a famine of His word, when He would no longer speak to them.

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. 14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.

In this passage we learn, that when the Word fo the Lord is despised, neglected, and disregarded, He will sometimes take it away entirely as a judgment against those people. This means they will no longer hear of God’s mercy and grace, His covenant of salvation, His precious promises to be a God to them forever. When a people disregards God’s Word, it is only just that He take it away from them as a testimony and a judgment against their disobedience. And there is no judgment more terrible, for this withholding of God’s Word takes away from them His gracious promises of mercy and a means of salvation.

In history this same thing happened many times, for example with the Christian churches in North Africa, who lost their lamp posts, lost the opportunity to hear the Word of God, when the Islamic Arabs invaded in the 7th and 8th centuries, after a long period of decline and a gradual increase of worldliness in those churches. And I fear that the same withdrawal of God’s word is experienced in far too many American churches, where a desire for seeker-sensitivity, self-help, popularity, and pop psychology has replaced the serious proclamation of God’s Word in the ministry of the churches. This too is a famine of God’s Word.

Seeing this example from Scripture, and what has happened to other churches throughout history and in our own day, let us, therefore, as the body of Jesus Christ, be diligent to hear the Word when occasion permits. Let us give thanks to God for it, relish it, receive it with gladness and faith, and obey it. For His Word is light and life, it is nourishment for the hungry, and water for the thirsty. For if we continue to receive His Word with gladness, it will never depart from us. Let us also pray that God would not take away the blessing of His Word from the other churches in the community, in the region, and in this nation.

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John Calvin on confessing our sin in prayer

In fine, supplication for pardon, with humble and ingenuous confession of guilt, forms both the preparation and commencement of right prayer. For the holiest of men cannot hope to obtain any thing from God until he has been freely reconciled to him. God cannot be propitious to any but those whom he pardons. Hence it is not strange that this is the key by which believers open the door of prayer, as we learn from several passages in The Psalms. David, when presenting a request on a different subject, says, “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to thy mercy remember me, for thy goodness sake, O Lord,” (Psalm 25:7). Again, “Look upon my affliction and my pain, and forgive my sins,” (Psalm 25:18). Here also we see that it is not sufficient to call ourselves to account for the sins of each passing day; we must also call to mind those which might seem to have been long before buried in oblivion. For in another passage the same prophet, confessing one grievous crime, takes occasion to go back to his very birth, “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,” (Psalm 51:5); 2154not to extenuate the fault by the corruption of his nature, but as it were to accumulate the sins of his whole life, that the stricter he was in condemning himself, the more placable God might be. But although the saints do not always in express terms ask forgiveness of sins, yet if we carefully ponder those prayers as given in Scripture, the truth of what I say will readily appear; namely, that their courage to pray was derived solely from the mercy of God, and that they always began with appeasing him. For when a man interrogates his conscience, so far is he from presuming to lay his cares familiarly before God, that if he did not trust to mercy and pardon, he would tremble at the very thought of approaching him. There is, indeed, another special confession. When believers long for deliverance from punishment, they at the same time pray that their sins may be pardoned;465 for it were absurd to wish that the effect should be taken away while the cause remains. For we must beware of imitating foolish patients who, anxious only about curing accidental symptoms, neglect the root of the disease.466 Nay, our endeavour must be to have God propitious even before he attests his favour by external signs, both because this is the order which he himself chooses, and it were of little avail to experience his kindness, did not conscience feel that he is appeased, and thus enable us to regard him as altogether lovely. Of this we are even reminded by our Savior’s reply. Having determined to cure the paralytic, he says, “Thy sins are forgiven thee;” in other words, he raises our thoughts to the object which is especially to be desired—viz. admission into the favour of God, and then gives the fruit of reconciliation by bringing assistance to us. But besides that special confession of present guilt which believers employ, in supplicating for pardon of every fault and punishment, that general introduction which procures favour for our prayers must never be omitted, because prayers will never reach God unless they are founded on free mercy. To this we may refer the words of John, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). Hence, under the law it was necessary to consecrate prayers by the expiation of blood, both that they might be accepted, and that the people might be warned that they were unworthy of the high privilege until, being purged from their defilements, they founded their confidence in prayer entirely on the mercy of God.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Chapter XX, Section 9.

resourced from: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxi.html

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A Minister’s Strength

from The Valley of Vision

Unchangeable Jehovah

When I am discouraged in my ministry

and full of doubts about my self,

fasten me upon the rock of thy eternal election,

then my hands will not hang down,

and I shall have hope for myself and others.

Thou dost know thy people by name,

and wilt at the appointed season

lead them out of a natural to a gracious state

by thy effectual calling.

This is the ground of my salvation,

the object of my desire,

the motive of my ministry.

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