Prayer

Prayer

The Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte once said, “If you want to humble a man ask him about his prayer life.” Indeed, we all need help in this area of our religious lives. In my case, I take my inspiration from two primary sources. The first is the written Word of God. The second is the life’s experiences of one Brother Lawrence who was a 17th century lay monk in France. Brother Lawrence devised a lifestyle whereas it made no difference what activity he was involved in during the day…he was talking to God. A time of assigned prayer was no different to Brother Lawrence than the busiest moments in his kitchen (he was a cook), he was talking to God. I have devoted the twilight years of my life to the precepts of Brother Lawrence.

 

I cannot tell you how to pray. But, the following is a prayer I’ve developed over the years. Call it a work in progress. As you read it, I pray the Holy Spirit will use parts of it to reach out and touch your heart.

 

 Good morning my good and Holy Father and thank You for this new and holy day. A holy day Father because You are alive and well and active in my day.

 Please forgive me Father for anything that I have done in these past days that has offended You in even the slightest way. Forgive me Father for my lack of effort toward perfection, and I ask that You help me in this matter. I love You my Holy Father, I will feed Your sheep. I love You my Holy Father from the bottom of my heart, I will feed Your sheep. I love You my Holy Father from the bottom of my heart, I will feed Your sheep.

 And I thank You my Holy Father for all that has been good and holy in this world, from in the beginning to this very moment in time.

 Good morning my Lord Jesus and I thank You for this new and holy day. A holy day my Lord Jesus because You are alive and well and active in my day.

 Please forgive me Lord for anything that I have done in these past days that has offended You in even the slightest way. Forgive me Lord for my lack of effort toward perfection, and I ask that You help me in this matter. I love You my Lord Jesus, I will feed Your sheep. I love You my Lord Jesus from the bottom of my heart, I will feed Your sheep. I love You my lord Jesus from the bottom of my heart, I will feed Your sheep.

 And I thank You my Holy Jesus for all that has been good and holy in this world, from in the beginning to this very moment in time.

 Good morning my beloved Holy Spirit and thank You for this new and holy day. A holy day my Holy Spirit because You are alive and well and active in my day.

 Please forgive me my Holy Spirit for anything that I have done in these past days that has offended You in even the slightest way. Forgive me my Holy Spirit for my lack of effort toward perfection, and I ask that You help me in this matter. I love You my Holy Spirit, I will feed Your sheep. I love You my Holy Spirit from the bottom of my heart, I will feed Your sheep. I love You my Holy Spirit from the bottom of my heart, I will feed Your sheep.

 And I thank You my Holy Spirit for all that has been good and holy in this world from in the beginning to this very moment in time.

 My blessed Holy Spirit, please pray with me today in Spirit and in Truth and in accordance with the Fathers will. I also ask my Holy Spirit that You invite the saints and the angels to pray my prayers of intersession with me. Thank You my Holy Spirit.

 My Lord Jesus, I ask that You walk up the mountain with me now, holding my hand as we walk and teaching me to pray. I ask my Lord Jesus that You carry me where necessary. My blessed Holy Jesus, when we arrive, I ask that You allow me to kneel behind You and grasp hold of the hem of Your garment. I ask Jesus that You pray with me. And I ask my Lord Jesus, most importantly, that You give power to my prayer. Power my Lord, by who You are. Power my Lord by my total, utter and complete weakness; physical, mental and emotional. And power by my total, utter and complete spiritual impoverishment. Thank You my Lord Jesus.

 My good and Holy Father, praise, honor and glory are Yours. I am Yours. And Holy, Holy, Holy is Your name. The saints and the angels sing of Your holy name day and night in heaven with such beautiful majestic harmony. I sing of Your holy name from here on earth Father, but, ever so imperfectly.

 How do I ever thank You my Father for all that has been good and holy in this world from in the beginning to this very moment in time. How do I thank You my Father for creation, starting with the majestically beautiful heavens above with more stars than mankind could ever count. Yet You have a name for each and every one of them. How do I thank You for these heavens with all their suns and stars, planets and moons, cluster and gases, explosions and colors.

How do I thank You Father for the skies above my head. With their ever moving, majestically beautiful and always changing cloud formations, from which we get thunder and lightning and rain and snow.

How do I thank You Father for the wind. We don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. We don’t know what starts or stops it or what slows it down or speeds it up. We only know of its massive power and usefulness to mankind.

 How do I thank You Father for the oceans of the world. With all their beautiful rock, bolder and cliff shorelines, and more miles of beautiful beaches and surf than I could ever explore.

How do I thank You Father for the seas and the lakes and the ponds and the rivers and the streams and all bodies of water upon the earth. How do I thank You Father for the abundance of clean clear drinking water on this earth given for our health and welfare.

 How do I thank You Father for the mountains and the valleys and the plains and the deserts. How do I thank You for the trees and the plants and the foliage. How do I thank You Father for the flowers and the grass and the crops and all things that grow upon the earth.

How do I thank You Father for all the critters that You’ve put upon the earth, from the greatest of these to the most microscopic living organism. With all their wonderful colors and shapes and sizes and uniqueness’s. So very many for our use and so very many for our viewing pleasure. But all Father, to satisfy a most unique, miraculous and delicate biological system.

 How do I thank You Father for mankind and the way in which You have entreated us from the beginning of time with love, compassion, kindness and mercy and perhaps most importantly of all, with Your patience.  Having only ever given to us, one time what we truly deserve. And even then my Father, You spared our seed that we would repopulate the world, generation after generation after generation until finally, You gave me an opportunity at life.

Oh Father, please allow me to be the first one in line to confess and repent that I have scuttled my opportunity at life, perhaps worse than most. Nevertheless Father, I thank You for having given me the opportunity to live life and to live it to its fullest. For fifty plus long years, I believed that living life to its fullest meant grasping after all of the world’s instant gratifications and securing the happiness of number one. Only in my twilight years Father, have I learned that living life to its fullest meant serving You, and living my life for Your pleasure and not my own. Therein I have found happiness, therein I have found fulfillment and joy, and therein I have found peace.

But this go around Father, when You decided to repopulate the earth, You decided to take a nation to be Your own. So…a thousand years after Noah disembarked from his year long cruise, You took the seed of a hundred year old man and the dead womb of a 90 year old woman and You started Your nation.

 A nation that You grew and grew and grew. A nation that You loved and taught Your ways to. A nation that You traveled with, guided and protected, nurtured and mentored. Ah but alas Holy Father, nonetheless a nation of mere mortal men and women. Prone to the susceptibility of grasping after the worlds instant gratifications. Prone to the susceptibility of sin. Prone to the susceptibility of worshiping other gods. Prone to the susceptibility of worshiping idols.

Oh but Holy Father…when Your people realized that they had done wrong, they came back to You begging to be forgiven. And, thank You very much Father, each and every time, You took them back, and collected them under the fold in Your wings. Thank You Father.

 But You realized all the way back at the beginning of time, that if Your dream of sharing eternal salvation in heaven with mankind was to be realized, we would need a pure Sacrificial Lamb. We would need a Savior.

 So all the way back in the Garden of Eden Father, You began speaking of just such a Savior. And down through the ages, You sent prophets to remind Your people to be watchful. Until Father, the time was finally right…and You sent our Savior to us from heaven.

 Sadly, however, the intelligent and the religious elite of the time, even being well versed in the scriptures and having long awaited their Messiah, did not recognize Him when He came. As He was born a humble King in a small manger in the little town of Bethlehem.

 And then when the time was right Father, and this Holy Child had become a Holy Man, He left His home in Nazareth and began His ministry. A ministry of teaching Your people Your ways.

 Sadly, however, Father, the intelligent and religious elite of the time, did again, not recognize Him. They rejected His message and they rejected Him.

So our Lord Jesus took His ministry to the improvised, to the infirmed, and to the sinners. And Father, they did accept Him!

 But, even though our Lord explained to those closest to Him what the future would bring on several occasions, not a man breathing at the time understood what our Lord’s mission really was. Therefore, just as the people were about to forcibly make Jesus their King, He took upon Himself the sins of the world and surrendered Himself to His persecutors.

 And persecute Him they did Father, causing Him great physical and mental pain. But, through it all, He did not drop even one of those sins He had collected and He carried them all the way to His death. A death, on a wooden cross.

 But still not finished raining Your graces down on mankind Father, in three days You arose our Savior from the tomb, striking a death blow to the head of satan’s plans. Plans that included the eternal damnation of all of mankind.

 It took our Lord Jesus three years to complete His ministry. It took Him three days to complete His mission. A mission, that included a means of eternal salvation offered to all of mankind. Glory hallelujah my Holy Father!

 So for the next forty days, our Lord continued to teach His followers and prepare them for what was to come. Until, on the fortieth day, our Lord ascended into heaven on a cloud where He took His seat at Your right hand. On His throne of Kingship, on His throne of power and wisdom, on His throne of glory, on His throne of mercy and judgment over all that has been, all that is, and all that will be. Glory hallelujah Father!

 But still not finished raining Your graces down on mankind, 10 days later, You sent Your beloved Holy Spirit into our world. This Holy Spirit lived in the lives of those who had followed Jesus.

This same Holy Spirit used these same men and women to start Your Church. A church that grew and grew and grew and grew…until today, where there are one or more Christian Churches in nearly every city and town in this great nation. And well, well, well beyond, into the world.

 Sometime later, this same Holy Spirit inspired some of these same men to sit down and write out the Holy Scriptures.

Sometime later, this same Holy Spirit brought together other men, who put all of these scriptures into one book. The greatest book ever written Father. A book of Your own words. A book so great that it now sits anywhere from stagnant to thread barren in nearly every home in this great nation. And well, well, well beyond, into the world.

And then this same Holy Spirit stayed in this world where He now lives in every man, woman and child who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and is our own personal Savior.

 And in us, that same Holy Spirit gives us comfort, guidance, protection, spiritual growth and spiritual gifts. And, depending on how much our free will allows Him to work in us, He helps us to live our lives for Your pleasure Father, and not our own. Therein, we find happiness. Therein, we find fulfillment and joy. Therein, we find peace. Glory be to You my Holy Father.

 Dear Holy Father, how can I ever thank you for this rich history of love that you have shown mankind.

 I start to thank You my Holy Father by simply saying two of the most powerful words in the human language. “Thank You”. Two of the most powerful words in the human language because they come from my heart and not my lips. And, while I’m at it, please allow me add two equally powerful words: “I’m Sorry”.

 I continue to thank You Father by keeping the commands that You’ve put on my heart as much as is humanly possible. Knowing that I will fail often…I will repent and continue as best I can.

Finally Father, I will thank You by trying to live my life for Your pleasure and not my own.  Again, I know I will fail, but will continue to get back up seeking Your forgiveness. Only here, will I find happiness. Only here, will I find fulfillment and joy. Only here, will I find peace in my life.

Your most important commands are perfectly clear Father. I am to love You with all of my heart, mind and soul and to love others as myself. However, an interesting thing happens when I exercise the love that You have given me toward others. I realize almost immediately how incredibly weak I am. Physically, mentally and emotionally. But, most of all, how incredibly spiritually impoverished I am.

 Once I’ve discovered this realization Father, I mourn. I mourn for myself for my loss of innocence. I mourn for myself for my loss of righteousness. I mourn for myself for my loss of self-respect before You and before men.

Then Father, I mourn for You. For the tears You’ve shed on my behalf. For the tears You’ve shed for all Your people who have to live their lives in this world full of darkness and sin. For the tears that You’ve shed for all the lost souls in this world. Both those who have gone before us and those who are still with us (for whom You’ve given us some measure of responsibility). And I mourn for You Father for the tears that You’ve shed for the millions of prayers lifted up to heaven each day by the infirmed and those who love the infirmed.

 Then Father, we mourn for each other. I cry for those You’ve given me to love who have to live their lives in this world full of darkness and sin. I cry for those who are lost souls in this world, both those who have gone before us and those who are still with us (for whom You’ve given me some measure of responsibility). And I cry Father for all those that You’ve given me to love who are infirmed in so very many ways.

 Oh my Holy Father, from my weakness to my mourning I now turn to prayer. Prayer because, by now Father, I realize that it is only You who hold in Your hands all power and wisdom. Only You can make me a better person than I am. Only You can heal our bodies. Only You can forgive our trespasses. Only You can help me to live a life for Your pleasure rather than my own. A life I know therein, I will find happiness. Therein, I will find fulfillment and joy. Therein, I will find peace. And…only by Your grace my Father.

Now Father, I pray for peace and healing for just some of those who You’ve given me to love. I pray for peace Father for Sheri, and I thank You Father for the peace You’ve given her. I pray for peace Father for Sharron, and I thank You for the peace You’ve given her. I pray for peace Father for John, and I thank You for the peace You’ve given him.

 **(You get the idea by now. Here you add all those who are on your particular prayer list. On any given day, I lift up approximately 175 people in prayer. There is no self interest in me telling you this, but, by every means to express the importance of praying for people. Often, in the weaknesses I’ve described, prayers are all we can offer someone in pain. When this list is done, I continue with my prayer)**

 I now pray Father for our beloved church here in Boone Grove. I pray this prayer in unity with others: Dear Holy Lord, we love You from the bottom of our hearts. Please allow us Lord, to repent however, that the way we live our lives, the thoughts we think, the things we speak and the things we do, do not always reflect that professed love. Please accept our repentance as individuals and as a church and send to us the power of the Holy Spirit to infuse us with life for You and the renewal of Your Church…Amen

**(My prayer continues…)**

 Dear Father, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. Drive satan out of my mind, my lips and my heart. Out of my eyes, ears, body, home, family, friends, neighbors, this beautiful church and the beautiful ministry you have so lovingly given to me.

 Please Father, continue with my spiritual growth. Continue to rid me of pride and replace it with humility. And please, please, please Father, help me to totally and completely surrender my mind to my beloved Holy Spirit.

Thank you my Holy Father.

 My blessed Lord Jesus. How do I thank my incarnated God. How do I thank You for all that You’ve done for mankind prior to taking Your throne. How do I thank You for all that You’ve done for mankind since taking Your throne. How do I thank You for all that You’ve done for me.

Thank you my Holy Jesus for condoning my belief that each morning you walk up the mountain with me, teaching me to pray, praying with me and most importantly of all, giving power to my prayer.

Thank You for condoning my belief that after our prayers, You walk with me to Martha and Mary’s house where You allow me to take rest at Your feet. Thank You for allowing me to sit at Your feet next to Mary as we listen to our Rabboni teach us what is important in life. Thank You Jesus for allowing me to sit at Your feet while You mold me into the person You want me to be.

 Thank You for condoning my belief that we are of one heart. That You flow Your love from Your side to mine that I may give it away freely.

 Thank You for condoning my belief that we are of one flesh. Bound by an invisible barrier that makes me Your minion, Your slave, Your servant, Your cup-bearer, Your gofer. Not that You need any of these things Lord. It’s just that my heart lights up like a lighthouse when I know that You want me. When the world rejects me, You want me…You love me.

 Please continue my Lord Jesus to grow me spiritually. Please continue to rid me of pride and replace it with humility. Please my Lord Jesus, help me to surrender totally and completely my mind to my beloved Holy Spirit.

I love You my Lord Jesus from the bottom of my heart and I thank You from the bottom of my heart.

 My beloved Holy Spirit, how do I thank my God in me. How do I thank You for orchestrating each and every second of my day from the first breath I take in the morning, until the last breath I take before the first.

 I thank You my Holy Spirit for being me. For giving sermons through my lips. For giving wise counsel through my lips. For giving comfort through my lips and embraces.

I thank You my Holy Spirit for all that You do for me spiritually. Justifying me, sanctifying me and purifying me by my repentance.

 I ask my Holy Spirit that as we walk through this day, confronting each and every item on Your itinerary, that You use every fiber of who I am and every fiber of who I am not, to accomplish that task. Be it something as simple as a single thought or a single word spoken, as mundane as a repetitive activity, or as monumental as changing a life or even the world. I pray my Holy Spirit that You accomplish that task totally and completely in accordance with Your will and not my own. I pray that all results are Your results.

 And then I pray my Holy Spirit that You use each of these results, be it as they stand alone or in conjunction with other results, to bring glory to my Holy God.

I continue to pray my Holy Spirit that You would continue with my spiritual growth. That you would continue to rid me of pride and replace it with humility. I also ask my Holy Spirit that You please, please, please help me to totally and completely surrender my mind to You. Please allow Your holiness to replace the decrepitness that has always existed in my flighty mind.

 I love You my Holy Spirit from the bottom of my heart. And I thank You my Holy Spirit from the bottom of my heart.

 To my readers:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!

Amen