A Prayer for My Son on His 12th and 21st Birthdays

The below is a part of a letter I wrote my son on his 12th birthday. His 21st birthday is coming soon. My prayers for him have not changed…

Son, you are beginning your journey towards manhood. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says:
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
According to this verse, becoming a man involves mental alertness, spiritual resolve, and strength of character. In light of this, I pray that you might become …

  1. A man in whose life Christ has the first place (Colossians 1:18)… that you would enthrone Him as King of your heart. I want you to love and treasure Him more than anything or anyone else. Also, I want you to marry a woman who loves Him more than she loves you. If that’s the case, your life will be greatly blessed.
  2. A man who listens to, delights in, and treasures God’s Word as a lamp for your feet and a light for your path (Psalm 119:105). May God’s Word and God’s holiness be the standard by which you evaluate your life and make your decisions. It will be easy to make what other people are doing the standard. You are going to experience temptations, trials, and joys. God’s Word will be a sure and reliable guide over the peaks and through the valleys!
  3. A man who wisely chooses friends who will sharpen you and not dull your sensitivity to the Lord and His leading in your life (1 Corinthians 15:33).
  4. A man who flees all forms of sexual immorality because you know that God’s Spirit inhabits your physical body. My prayer is that you please and glorify the Lord with your body by reserving the full expression of your sexuality for your wedding night (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
  5. A man who intentionally honors God with your mind (Philippians 4:8; Psalm 119:37 – Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word).
  6. A man who is committed not to awaken love until it’s time (Song of Solomon 8:4)…that you will guard your heart in your relationships with young women (Proverbs 4:23)…that you will resolve to help your friends who are women to protect their hearts as well.
  7. A man whose life is marked by radical humility, sacrificial service, and bold risk taking in the service of your Lord (Philippians 2:3-4; 5-8; 21-30).

A Resource for Praying the Psalms

In recent days, several wonderful devotional books have been written on the Psalms. One notable example that I am presenting using is Tim and Kathy Keller’s, The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms. I cannot too highly recommend this resource.

Below is a link of my own thesis I wrote a few years back on how to pray the Psalms. What I have learned has been a huge blessing in my own life and ministry and I hope it will be for you. I jokingly encourage folks that, if that have insomnia, that this book will serve as a cure. Seriously, I encourage folks who are interesting in this study to start by reading chapters 1 and 8 before diving into the other chapters.

All eight chapters of my thesis on Recovering One of the Lost Tools of Christianity Spirituality: Praying the Psalms may be downloaded by clicking on this link.

When Weakness Appeals to Strength

A dear friend of mine, who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story:

Rising early one morning, he said,
I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry.
Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me,
I saw a young fawn making its way across,
and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run.
Reaching the rails of the enclosure,
it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood.
A moment later two of the hounds came over,
when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs.
I lifted the little thing to my breast,
and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs.
I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not,
and should not capture that fawn
after its weakness had appealed to my strength.

So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God.
Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul,
until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.

– A. C. Dixon quoted by E.M. Bounds, Prayer.

2 Chronicles 20:12b – “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Why do we pray through the Lord’s Prayer regularly?

The Lord’s Prayer serves as a regular component of corporate worship. Why do we regularly use this prayer? Simply put, Jesus taught his followers to pray this prayer.

We avail ourselves regularly of the Lord’s Prayer because it instructs us:

  • That prayer should always begin with adoration before it moves to petition.
  • That prayer must be grounded in the Word of God.
  • That we live and pray best in community.
  • That the best attitude for approaching God in prayer is: Reverence, submission, dependence, and confidence.
  • Of our spiritual poverty without Jesus Christ. Life here on earth is miserable and perilous apart from the saving help of Jesus. Cyprian, the early church father and pastor, said apart from Jesus, “our lives here are nothing but blasphemy of God’s name, disobedience to his will, rejection of his kingdom, a hungry land without bread, an existence full of sin, a precarious sojourn, and an abounding in every evil.” This is why the Father sent the Son – to rescue us from this miserable condition and to lead us to know Him and enjoy life abundant and eternal.

One of the chief ways that we express our faith in God’s Word is by praying it back to Him. Therefore, let us resolve to use the richness of God’s Word to determine our specific requests of Him.

Thankful for the Holy Spirit

On Pentecost, we celebrate an important event in redemptive history:
The time when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to His followers who would live within them and empower them for service.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Almighty Father, we praise You for sending Your Holy Spirit
upon Your disciples at Pentecost in the upper room.
We ask You now to send Him to fill us with all of His fullness.

We thank you for:
• The power of Your Holy Spirit and ask You to strengthen us to serve You worthily.
• The wisdom of Your Holy Spirit and ask You to fill us with a greater knowledge of Your will.
• The peace of Your Holy Spirit and ask that He might cause us to flourish in every dimension of our lives and strengthen our confidence in Your love.
• The healing of Your Holy Spirit and ask You to bring reconciliation and wholeness where there is division, discord, sickness, and sorrow.
• The gifts of Your Holy Spirit and ask You to equip us for the tasks that You have assigned us.
• The fruit of Your Holy Spirit and ask You to ensure that the love of Jesus governs all of our relationships.

Breathe upon us now and renew our joy of eternal life.
Blow out the dust of sin in our lives
and, in Your mercy, fill us anew with Yourself.
Make us one in heart and mind to serve you for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

– Adapted from The Worship Sourcebook, p. 706

A Prayer for Good Friday

O Father, at Calvary’s cross,

Your grace removes my burdens and heaps them on your Son,

who is made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me.

There Christ was all anguish that I might have joy,

cast off that I might be brought in,

trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,

surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,

stripped that I might be clothed,

wounded that I might be healed,

thirsty that I might drink,

tormented that I might be comforted,

made a shame that I might inherit glory,

entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,

groaned that I might sing an endless song,

endured all pain that I might receive the crown of glory,

bowed his head to lift mine up,

experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,

closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on His unclouded brightness,

and expired that I might forever live.

All this transfer your love designed and accomplished.

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,

mighty to subdue, comfort and save. AMEN.

– Taken from “Love Lustres of Calvary,” The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers.

Praying for the Women in Your Church – A Simple Guide

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION FROM PROVERBS 31
1. Make them women of noble character (31:10— ‘An excellent wife, who can find? For her  worth is far above jewels.’) Make our women virtuous and morally excellent. May they hate sin and love Jesus more each day.

2. Develop our women into diligent workers (v.17— ‘She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.’) Give them strength for their tasks and the ability to discern the best from the good (Philippians 1:9 – making the excellent choice).

3. Sensitize them to meet the needs of others (v.20— ‘She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.’)

4. Give them a proper perspective of the future (laugh and smile at it) (v.25— ‘Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.’) Free them from undue anxiety and slavish fear.

5. Develop our women into faithful, wise and kind teachers (v.26— ‘She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.’) The word ‘kindness’ is the Hebrew word ‘hesed.’ It means covenantal, steadfast, loyal, unfailing, and persistent love.

6. Make those who have families faithful wives and godly mothers whose children bless them: ‘Many have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ (vv.28-29)

7. Cause our women to grow in their knowledge and fear of the Lord (v.30b – ‘But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.’) Give our women an affectionate reverence for You that would cause them to delight to do what you command.

8. Help our women to have a proper perspective on their outward appearance (v.30a— ‘Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain.’) Free them from the tendency to compare themselves with other women. Liberate them from an undue focus on externals for God does not look on the outward appearance but on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).