Posts tagged ‘prayer’

March 30, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 30th): Developing a Vibrant Prayer Life, part 2

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18

We considered yesterday the two points from which Patrick’s prayer life developed: self-sacrificing zeal and a love of God. Out of these twin graces Patrick discovered that as he developed in his prayer life the Lord helped him, first, through the answers to prayer. Second, the Lord helped him in prayer; grace was added to grace, and Patrick was greatly encouraged as he engaged in prayer that the Lord engaged in prayer with him. He “remembered the apostle’s words: ‘The Spirit helps the weaknesses of our prayer’ (Romans 8.26)” (Confession, sec. 25).

In those early days of Patrick’s Christian experience as he prayed on Slemish Mountain and grew into a man of prayer, the Lord began to answer his prayer and he says, “The Spirit was burning in me at that time” (Confession, sec. 16). It was there on that mountain alone with God that God met with him powerfully and that power became evident in subsequent occasions throughout his life.

But that power in the place of prayer was seen in another mark of a vibrant prayer-life: the spirit of prayer, not just the act of praying but living in the spirit of prayer, or, as Paul speaks of it “praying always” (Ephesians 6:18). Patrick found, as Nehemiah did, that in moments of great need and danger, he could pray effectively “to the God of Heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4). He speaks of an occasion when he was escaping from Ireland and he was refused passage on the merchant ship: “On hearing this I left them to go to the hut where I was staying, and on the way I began to pray and before I had finished my prayer I heard one of them; he was shouting loudly after me: ‘Come quickly!’” (Confession, sec. 18).

Christian, is this not the kind of vibrant Christianity you want, where prayer is intimate and powerful, fresh and attractive? Lord, teach us to pray!

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.”—C. H. Spurgeon 

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

March 29, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 29th) Developing a Vibrant Prayer Life

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18  

Do you ever feel discouraged with your prayer life? Do you feel that you can’t get any victory in prayer—no sustained interest and no specific answers? This age of instant meals, immediate credit, and high-speed Internet has undoubtedly affected the patience of the Christian for personal holiness: we expect too many results too soon. But spiritual life is not a magical zap of spiritual victory. It is growth and development, and it is hard, self-sacrificing work.

As you read through the Confession of Patrick you are struck with the power and presence of the Spirit in his life. One author wrote, “Patrick’s life was marked by intense and persistent prayer and from time to time he was conscious of an inner monition in which he recognized a divine response to his prayers” (F. F. Bruce). This ought to be my desire. But where did this prayer life come from and how did Patrick get it?

The first thing we learn from Patrick’s prayer life is that it developed out of a life of self-sacrifice. Patrick states, “I would even stay in the forests and on the mountain and would wake to pray before dawn in all weathers, snow, frost, rain” (Confession, sec. 16). God has told us that this earth and all in it is cursed, and we cannot expect the blessing of heaven if we hold onto the curse: “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).

But something else is noticeable in Patrick’s prayer life: it developed out of a love for Christ. “More and more did my love of God and my fear of Him increase, and my faith grew and my spirit was stirred, and as a result I would say up to a hundred prayers in one day, and almost as many at night” (Confession, sec. 16). Love for Christ was the breeding ground of prayer and the more Patrick prayed, the more he loved, and that in turn encouraged more prayer.

“Prayer is an art which only the Spirit can teach us. He is the giver of all prayer.”—C. H. Spurgeon 

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

May 21, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 21st): Prayer: The Language of Friendship

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

What a blessed friendship is that of which the natural language is prayer! We have many ways, thank God, of showing our love and of helping one another, but the best way is by praying for one another. All that is selfish and low is purged out of our hearts in the act of prayer, suspicions and doubts fade away when we pray for those whom we love. Many an alienation would have melted like morning mists if it had been prayed about. Added tenderness and delicacy come to our friendships also, through prayer, like the bloom on ripening grapes. We may test our loves [friendships] by this simple criterion—can we pray about them? If not, should we have them?

—Alexander MacLaren (adapted)

Reading: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.”—Philippians 1:9

May 18, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 18th): Praying for Our Friends

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

Matthew Henry comments on these verses;

“These verses contain the prayers Paul put up for his friends. Paul often let his friends know what it was he begged of God for them, that they might know what to beg for themselves and be directed in their own prayers, and that they might be encouraged to hope they should receive from God the quickening, strengthening, everlasting, comforting grace, which so powerful an intercessor as Paul asked of God for them. It is an encouragement to us to know that we are prayed for by our friends, who, we have reason to think, have an interest at the throne of grace. It was intended likewise for their direction in their walk, and that they might labour to answer his prayers for them; for by this it would appear that God had answered them. Paul, in praying thus for them, expected good concerning them. It is an inducement to us to do our duty, that we may not disappoint the expectations of praying friends and ministers.”

Reading: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”—Philippians 1:9-11

March 30, 2013

Daily Devotionals: (March 30th): Developing a Vibrant Prayer Life, part 2

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18

We considered yesterday the two points from which Patrick’s prayer life developed: self-sacrificing zeal and a love of God. Out of these twin graces Patrick discovered that as he developed in his prayer life the Lord helped him, first, through the answers to prayer. Second, the Lord helped him in prayer; grace was added to grace, and Patrick was greatly encouraged as he engaged in prayer that the Lord engaged in prayer with him. He “remembered the apostle’s words: ‘The Spirit helps the weaknesses of our prayer’ (Romans 8.26)” (Confession, sec. 25).

In those early days of Patrick’s Christian experience as he prayed on Slemish Mountain and grew into a man of prayer, the Lord began to answer his prayer and he says, “The Spirit was burning in me at that time” (Confession, sec. 16). It was there on that mountain alone with God that God met with him powerfully and that power became evident in subsequent occasions throughout his life.

But that power in the place of prayer was seen in another mark of a vibrant prayer-life: the spirit of prayer, not just the act of praying but living in the spirit of prayer, or, as Paul speaks of it “praying always” (Ephesians 6:18). Patrick found, as Nehemiah did, that in moments of great need and danger, he could pray effectively “to the God of Heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4). He speaks of an occasion when he was escaping from Ireland and he was refused passage on the merchant ship: “On hearing this I left them to go to the hut where I was staying, and on the way I began to pray and before I had finished my prayer I heard one of them; he was shouting loudly after me: ‘Come quickly!’” (Confession, sec. 18).

Christian, is this not the kind of vibrant Christianity you want, where prayer is intimate and powerful, fresh and attractive? Lord, teach us to pray!

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.”—C. H. Spurgeon 

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

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