A Simple Prayer through Psalm 23

shepherd-sheep-10Gracious Father,
at birth we are all launched into a world
that is ringed with terror –
conflicts, accidents, assaults, disease, violence and death.

How easy it is to allow fear to dominate our lives:
The fear of rejection, failure, condemnation, pain and death.
Thank You that Your sword was awakened
against our Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us
so that we might experience
the certainty of your care.

Your lamb was slain to save wayward, stubborn sheep like us.
Grant us grace to trust
that everything is necessary that You send into our lives
and nothing is needful that You withhold.
May all our days be full of praise and delight in You
our Shepherd, King and God.
For we make our prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

My Dissertation on Praying the Psalms

Some of you have asked recently about how to access online my dissertation I wrote on Recovering One of the Lost Tools of Christianity Spirituality: Praying the Psalms It can be downloaded by clicking on the above link. Chapters one and eight are the chapters most frequently downloaded.

Prayer of Confession by Martin Luther

Behold, Lord, I am an empty vessel
that needs to be filled.
My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in faith; Strengthen me.
I am cold in love; Warm me and make me fervent
that my love may go out to my neighbor.

I do not have a strong and firm faith;
at times I doubt and am unable to trust You altogether.
O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in Thee.

In You I have sealed the treasures of all I have.
I am poor; You are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner; You are upright.
With me there is an abundance of sin;
In You is the fullness of righteousness.
Help and forgive me, O Lord,
for my only hope is in You. Amen.

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.