May 21: Praying the Scriptures: Why & How

We’re on our 17th Minute of prayer – examining Scripture Praying.

One pastor has an interesting warning against not praying Scripture:

If we don’t form the habit of praying the Scriptures, our prayers will almost certainly degenerate into vain repetitions that eventually revolve entirely around our immediate private concerns, rather than God’s larger purposes.

John Piper

So what can we learn from the Scripture that can help our prayer life?

The Scriptures either tell us something about God and Christ when we are reading so that we can praise him. Or, they tell us something about what God and Christ and the Holy Spirit have done so that we can thank him and express faith in it. Or, they tell us what God expects from us so that we can cry out for his help. Or, they tell us about something we failed to do so that we can confess our sins. So, it seems to me that virtually all the Bible is doing one or more of those four things: something about God, something about what he has done, something about what he expects, something about how we have failed, so that they naturally lead into praise to God, thanks to God, crying for help to God, and confession of sin to God.

John Piper

May 20: Praying with Scripture

Today let’s look at using Scripture in our prayer!

Read or quote a psalm of praise to the Lord. Pray through a psalm. Ask God to give you understanding as you read His Word. Let the Scriptures fill your mind and impact your heart. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16–17).

https://iblp.org/questions/how-can-i-spend-hour-prayer

Today perhaps take a section of the longest Psalm – Psalm 119. Let’s start with the Aleph section:

[1] Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
[2] Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
[3] They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
[4] Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
[5] O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
[6] Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
[7] I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
[8] I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Meditate on these verses and ask God for this blessing that He offers, for the ability to keep His testimonies, for the power to seek Him. Seek protection from iniquity, and to stay in His ways. And did you notice the last verse? It isn’t until the New Testament that we find the words never and forsake in proximity!

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13:5

May 18: Confession – Psalm 51

We’re on our fifth day of looking at Confession in our Hour of Prayer:

Let’s look on our final day at Psalm 51. Often we look at confession as something insignificant. But David saw his sin as an offense against God. How severe did David see His sin as?

[1] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
[2] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
[3] For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
[4] Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
[5] Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
[6] Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
[7] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
[8] Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
[9] Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
[10] Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
[11] Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
[12] Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
[13] Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
[14] Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
[15] O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
[16] For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
[17] The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
[18] Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
[19] Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

David took his sin seriously – and so should we!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RT9AbjICqY

May 17: Confession – Sins committed against others

As we’re progressing on our hour of prayer, we’re focusing on confession.

Some sins we need to seek God’s forgiveness for, while other sins we need man’s forgiveness for as well.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Acts 24:16

Is there someone you need to seek forgiveness from?

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 5:23-24

May 16: Confession – Self-interrogation

As we continue through our “Hour of Prayer” let’s continue building up our “Confession” time to a 12th minute of prayer.

The Revival We Need book by Oswald J Smith
The Revival We Need book by Oswald J Smith

Oswald J Smith wrote a book, The Revival We Need. In it he encourages the reader to ask himself if he is guilty of sin:

Now let us take our sins one by one and deal with each transgression separately. And let us ask ourselves the following questions. It may be we are guilty and God will speak to us.

Oswald J. Smith, The Revival We Need, pp. 63-65
  1. Have we forgiven everyone? Is there any malice, spite, hatred or enmity in our hearts? Do we cherish grudges; and have we refused to be reconciled?
  2. Do we get angry? Are there any uprisings within? Is it true that we still lose our tempers? Does wrath hold us at times in its grip?
  3. Is there any feeling of jealousy? When another is preferred before us does it make us envious and uncomfortable? Do we get jealous of those who can pray, speak and do things better than we can?
  4. Do we get impatient and irritated? Do little things vex and annoy, or, are we sweet, calm and unruffled under all circumstances?
  5. Are we offended easily? When people fail to notice us and pass by without speaking does it hurt? If others are made much of and we are neglected how do we feel about it?
  6. Is there any pride in our hearts? Are we puffed up, do we think a great deal of our own position and attainments?
  7. Have we been dishonest? Is our business open and above reproach? Do we give a yard for a yard and a pound for a pound? Are we honest in our statements. or do we exaggerate and thus convey false impressions?
  8. Have we been gossiping about people? Do we slander the character of others? Are we talebearers and busybodies?
  9. Do we criticize unlovingly, harshly, severely? Are we always finding fault and looking for the flaws in others?
  10. Do we rob God? Have we stolen time that belongs to Him? Has our money been withheld?
  11. Are we guilty of the sin of unbelief? In spite of all He has done for us do we still refuse to believe the promises of His Word?
  12. Have we committed the sin of prayerlessness? Are we intercessors? Do we pray? How much time are we spending on our knees? Have we crowded prayer out of our lives? 
  13. Are we neglecting God’s Word? How many chapters do we read each day? Are we Bible students? Do we draw our source of supply from the Scriptures? 
  14. Are we burdened for the salvation of souls ? Have we a love for the lost ? Is there any compassion in our hearts for those who are perishing ? 
  15. Have we failed to confess Christ openly? Are we ashamed of Jesus? Do we keep our mouths closed when we are surrounded by worldly people? Are we witnessing daily?
  16. Are our lives filled with lightness and frivolity? Is our conduct unseemly? Would the world by our actions consider us on its side?
  17. Have we wronged any one and failed to make restitution? Or, has the spirit of Zacchaeus possessed us? Have we restored the many little things that God has shown us?
  18. Are we worried or anxious? Do we fail to trust God for our temporal and spiritual needs? Are we continually crossing bridges before we come to them?
  19. Are we guilty of lustful thoughts? Do we allow our minds to harbor impure and unholy imaginations?

(These questions are also included in the Christ-Walk Journal, and The School of Biblical Evangelism)

For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

Psalm 38:18

May 15: Confession brings mercy!

We’ve been building our “Hour of Prayer” one minute at a time:

Today, as we continue to look at confession, God says that this is not just you beating yourself up, this is how God demonstrates His mercy!

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: 
but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

We see the two requirements to obtain mercy: confession & forsaking. Confession is declaring it to God – but how do we forsake?

Let’s go to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:


Forsake

FORSA’KEverb transitive preterit tense forsook; participle passiveforsaken. See Seek .]

1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.

Forsake the foolish, and live. Proverbs 9:6.

2. To abandon; to renounce; to reject.

If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments – Psalms 89:30.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Psalms 37:8.

3. To leave; to withdraw from; to fail. In anger, the color forsakes the cheeks. In severe trials, let not fortitude forsake you.

4. In scripture, God forsakes his people, when he withdraws his aid, or the light of his countenance.


Forsaking is not just abandoning – we must leave our sin, and cleave to God!

Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:7

May 14: Hour of Prayer: Confession

As we jump back to the hour of prayer, we enter the 3rd section of the clock (If you look at the 12 hours on a clock – each hour can be a reminder for a different category of prayer!) [BTW – this clock idea of prayer comes from The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman. But let’s quick review where we’ve been:

We’ve posted once for each minute – to give you ideas on how to stretch your prayer time with God. Now we enter the third “section” – confession – here’s something to stretch your prayer time into the 11th minute!

An awareness of our past failures especially tends to buffet the mind as we pray. Suddenly we feel hopelessly unworthy of offering our petitions. The devil has gained a victory and soon we stop praying altogether.

To combat these spiritual attacks we must take at face value all the promises of God concerning confession. “If we confess our sins,” declared the apostle John, “He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If unrighteousness renders our praying ineffective, then confession is the solution to the problem of sin-guilt in prayer.

The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman

While you’re praying – search your heart for sin that needs to be confessed, so that there’s nothing between your soul and the Saviour!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlTvJpE3Yd4

As you’re looking for sin that needs to be confessed, browse the list of Biblical commands we’ve put together. We’ve found over 800 commands in the New Testament alone!

May 8: Yielding to His Authority

We’ve looked at how to Praise the Lord in prayer time, and for the last few days we’ve looked at waiting on Him:

I don’t like the idea of being under anyone’s authority. Abraham Lincoln is my hero – he was a self-made man, born in a log cabin he built with his own two hands!

We operate under God’s delegated authority!

For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

Mark 13:34

Not only that – but we’re to submit to humans that God placed in authority!

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Romans 13:2

God commands us to submit ourselves to other humans!

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:21


Its not as easy for others to see us submitting to the Lord. It’s a lot easier for others to see submission when we submit to other humans (whether it’s Nero, the President, your boss, or a supervisor you struggle to respect). God wants to use you as a picture of submission.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Interesting – submitting to God is tied to victory over the devil….

Let’s submit to God, and to those God told us to submit to, and yield our self-rule during our prayer time!

May 7: Waiting on God’s Peace

We’re on day 4 of meditating on how to wait for God. We’ve looked at:

116 times in the New Testament we see the word peace.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

John 14:27

You have a choice as to whether your heart will be troubled or not!

But, but, there’s so many things wrong in the world! There’s so many people who don’t like me. There’s so much I have to do.

Yes, but there’s still a choice we have:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25CW4yhB3tI

In your prayer time today, Yield to His peace today!

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world

John 16:33

May 6: Waiting on God’s Will

As we’re focusing on how to wait on God in our prayer time, let’s look at what it means to wait on God’s Will.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

The perfect will of God is worth waiting for! God is transforming us – our choice is whether we want the world’s will or God’s will!

Take some time today to yield God your will, and let His will be done!

My stubborn will at last hath yielded
I would be Thine and Thine alone
And this the prayer my lips are bringing
Lord, let in me Thy will be done

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer
Til I am wholly lost in Thee

I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary
The darksome path hath dreary grown
But now a light has ris’n to cheer me
I find in Thee my Star, my Sun

Thy precious will, O conqu’ring Savior
Doth now embrace and compass me
The storms have ceased, my peace a river
My soul a prisoned bird set free

Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What pow’r from Thee my soul can sever?
The center of God’s will my home.

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer
Til I am wholly lost in Thee

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer
Til I am wholly lost in Thee

Lelia Morris