Our Daily Bread

ODBI was sent a link to yesterday’s Our Daily Bread.  It was written by a member of our congregation, read by another member of our congregation and referenced Jim’s Christmas message last year.  It is wonderful to be part of a church that uses a variety of gifts to minister not only at Calvary but to Christians around the world.

Please be in prayer for our Christmas services this year, and especially for visitors that they may hear the good news spoken directly to their hearts.

All is well,

Lisa

Prayer Suggestions

Sunday was an important reminder about the power of prayer from the life of Hannah in 1 Samuel.

Some people have asked me how they could get started on improving their prayer life. Here are some steps that I would recommend:

1.  Ask God to teach you to pray!  This may seem strange, but the one thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them was how to pray.  And Jesus took it upon himself to answer that prayer and to teach them.  We are able to do the same thing today. If you ask God to teach you to pray, he will.

2. Type out your prayers.  This may not work for everyone, but I have found that writing out my prayers takes too long, but simply trying to think my prayers goes too fast (and my brain is all over the place).  Typing out my prayers is a happy medium.  It slows my brain down and allows me to engage more fully in prayer.

3.  Pray in paragraphs.  One of the most influential things on prayer I read was a sermon by Charles Spurgeon called “Order and Argument in Prayer.”  In his sermon, Spurgeon made the point that if you are going into the throne room to ask God for something – come prepared.  Lay out a good argument and present it in an orderly manner, just like you would if you were asking your boss for raise.  This has helped bring structure to my prayer life.  When it is time to pray for my children, I think through what I want to ask God for each child as well as why I am asking for that request.  After all, Hannah has thought long and hard about the vow she made to God – give me a son and I will give him back to you. She is giving God her best argument as to why God should answer her prayer.

4.  Pray a psalm.  Open your Bible to the Psalms and start reading until you find one that seems to be addressed to you and your situation. Or, pray through one each day.  Type the lines from the psalm as headers in your prayers and then react to each line.  Tell the Lord how you feel.  Ask him questions about things you don’t understand.  Thank him for the things in the psalm that reveal something to you about God and his grace to us.

There are other things that I could suggest, but these seem like a good first few steps to getting started. What questions might you have about being more serious about prayer that I could answer here?

Blessings,

Jim

Most Serious Work

Prayer is not a little habit pinned on us while we were tied to our mother’s apron strings; neither is it a little decent quarter of a minute’s grace said over an hour’s dinner, but it is a most serious work of our most serious years.

–E.M. Bounds, (1835 – 1913), Methodist clergyman and author of nine books on prayer

A Prayer for the First Day of School

Dear Lord,

On the first day of a new school year, we ask for your protection for our children.  Although we can’t go with them into their classrooms, the gym or the cafeteria, thank you that you are always with them.

We pray that you would protect them with your armor, which is much stronger and more effective than anything we could give them.

Thank you for providing the belt of truth.  As they learn in their classrooms, allow our children to discern what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and good.  Allow them to grow in knowledge and wisdom, realizing that all truth is found in you.

May our children experience the power of the breastplate of righteousness.  Protect their hearts as they encounter a world that wants to steal their hearts, and as a result take hold of their will to turn it away from you.   Give them a heart that is undivided in its desire to love and serve you.

Help our children to eagerly desire the gospel boots of community.  Encourage them to seek community with other Christians that they may grow up into the community of faith.  Provide them with friends to strengthen them in their faith journey, and to visually remind them that they do not stand alone against the evil one.

Satan’s attacks are real and fierce.  Please protect our children from the fiery darts of the evil one that can come at school, whether from friends or teachers.  Give them security behind your shield that can protect them from these external attacks.

Please give our children the reassurance that you are making all things new.  Thank you that you reign above and beyond time, and are already preparing eternity for them where you will crush Satan, and we will worship Christ forever.  Give them eyes of faith so that they can know your promised salvation can bring them hope and security now.

Please foster in our children a love for your word.  Thank you that you have reached down to us in the Bible to give us all we need for life and godliness.  Help them to never throw away or devalue the importance of your word.  May it take hold in their minds and hearts so that it is available to them whenever they need to resist evil, lies and sin.

Most of all, give them a undying love for Christ.

Thank you that you hold our children in the palm of your hand and that you love them beyond the depths of which even we love them.  Bring them home safely so that we can rejoice together in your goodness.

Amen.

Prayer Guide For Children

As I mentioned in the service this morning, I was given a copy of the March/April 2012 edition of PrayerConnect magazine this week.  Inside was the article, “31 Ways to Pray for Your Teen” that I thought would be really helpful for parents.

Although this is specifically aimed at teenagers, parents can easily adapt this guide when praying for their child(ren), regardless of their ages.

Prayer Article, Part 1

Prayer Article, Part 2

Blessings,

Jim