You Might As Well Not Pray

1024px-Worried_little_girlI don’t like being away from my kids, under pretty much any circumstances. One summer, my parents had taken them camping while I stayed with my grandparents. “You’re worried about them, aren’t you?” my grandmother asked. I nodded. “Well, have you prayed about it?” “Of course!” “Well then why are you still worried? You might as well not pray.”

Sensing my coming protest, she kept going: “Really. You can sit there and worry about them the whole time, or you can ask God to keep them safe and enjoy your time off. There’s no point in asking the Lord to handle it if you are going to sit here and fret.” Continue reading

The Praying Church

keep-calm-and-come-to-prayer-meeting-1This week’s guest post is by Rev. Peter Kemeny, pastor of Good News Presbyterian Church, Frederick, Maryland.

It is good to believe in God’s sovereignty but that is not enough. A true view of God’s sovereignty should lead you to pray, for God is pleased to accomplish his purposes through the instrumentality of prayer. Far from removing the need to pray, God’s sovereignty causes prayer to work. This is why Paul pleaded with the believers in Corinth, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (II Corinthians 1:11).

It is good for you to pray in private and as a family but that is not enough. Continue reading

The Gift of Fasting

Kitchenware_Melamine_Bati_Rezowan “Fasting” isn’t usually a word that conjours up ideas of blessing. In western cultures, it’s more associated with hair shirts, self-flagellation, and shaved heads. In the Protestant church, we look at it more as a tool to refocus. But it’s a whole lot more than that.

While “fasting” from facebook, a cell phone, etc., might be useful to an extent, it’s the voluntary abstention from food (either totally, or in usual quantities) that Scripture presents as the norm. That denial of a visceral need that must be fulfilled for life does something that other abstentions don’t. Even if you do seem addicted to your phone, you would not be dead by Christmas if someone took it away. It is fasting from food for a limited, particular time (24 hours, skip-a-meal, etc.) that reveals what a gift it is to our health as Christians. Fasting isn’t a hunger strike that makes God do what we’re asking; it’s a gift from our Creator that helps us increasingly recognize our true spiritual condition, enables us to pray for others, and aids in spiritual growth and development. Continue reading

How Prayer Impacts Lives

how-prayer-impacts-lives“Prayer has impacted my life more than I know. God has used prayer so pivotally to change me that I can only see part of it right now. But even the part that I can see is substantial.

He has used the prayers of my grandparents in my life. All four of them lifted me up before the Throne before I was born, pleading for my safe arrival in this world and a faithful pilgrimage to the next. Three of them still remember me daily in prayer, as they watch a granddaughter walk through stages of life that they mastered decades ago. This is so humbling. A praying grandparent is a powerful person. Continue reading

Time to Pray

220px-Greenwich_clockI’m not very good at praying. I need help not just with content, but also with making time to pray. Over the last few years, it’s amazed me how much time I actually have to pray – times in addition to personal devotions and before meals. Those times when I am doing something that does not require mental participation can become opportunities to offer thanksgiving and intercede for others before the Throne. Here are ten times that might just be chances to commune more with the Lord in prayer, as you already have the time and likely won’t be interrupted: Continue reading

Heart, Mind and Prayer

skyDo you ever find it hard to stay focused in prayer or in worship? Why is that? This paraphrase from Thomas Boston, a Scottish theologian, provides some insightful analysis of the pervasive sinfulness of the human heart and mind:

“When God is speaking to men by His Word, or they are speaking to Him in prayer, doesn’t the mind often leave them before the Lord, like so many ‘idols that have eyes, but see not, and ears, but hear not’? The body is bowed down before God, but the world gets the heart. Though his eyes are closed in prayer, a man sees a thousand things; the mind in the mean time, is like a bird escaped out of a cage, skipping from bush to bush, so that, in effect, the man never comes to himself till he is gone from the presence of the Lord. As you reflect on this, don’t say, it is impossible to keep the mind focused in prayer–it is hard, but not impossible. Grace from the Lord can do it (Psalm 108:1), and there are objects of our attention that easily do it. A pleasant idea easily captivates our minds; Continue reading

Our Father, in Heaven

When I was about five years old, my mother brought me along on a visit to a farmer’s wife. The old house was rambling and full of interesting things for a child to look at and touch; the woman gave me permission to wander about at will. After a while I suddenly realized that I was alone several rooms away from my mother, and I called out for her. I didn’t need anything in particular – I just wanted the security of knowing that she was there. She appeared almost immediately, not because she expected me to call her, but because her ear was open to my cry. She was busy doing other things, but the second I called for her, she answered.

This earthly experience reflects a heavenly reality Continue reading

Pray for North Korea

Watching this video and being moved again to pray for North Korea it struck me that in Western democracies like the United States we often are quick to complain about and criticize political leaders, but comparatively slow to be in prayer for them. “First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)