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Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Prayer

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:7

Unless you’re really into church history, you’ve probably never heard of John Chrysostom. In addition to being Archbishop of Constantinople from 398 to 407 AD, he was known to be an eloquent and passionate preacher of the Gospel of Christ. “Chrysostom” was, in fact, his nickname. It means “Golden Mouth.” He was the Spurgeon or John Piper of his day.

And, therein,comes my interest in introducing him to you who may never have heard of him before today. Once, while preaching on prayer from Mark 11:22-26, the same passage I’ll be preaching from this coming Sunday morning (9/20/09) at Rockport, Chrysostom had this to say:
Prayer is an all-efficient panoply (something that gives you everything you need), a treasure undiminished, a mine never exhausted, a sky unobstructed by clouds, a haven unruffled by storm. It is the root, the fountain, and the mother of a thousand blessings. It exceeds a monarch’s power. . . . I speak not of prayer which is cold and feeble and devoid of zeal. I speak of that which proceeds from a mind outstretched, the child of a contrite spirit, the offspring of a soul converted – this is the prayer which mounts to heaven. . . The power of prayer has subdued the strength of fire, bridled the rage of lions, silenced anarchy, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, enlarged the gates of heaven, relieved diseases, averted frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. In sum, prayer has power to destroy whatever is at enmity with the good. I speak not of the prayer of the lips but of the prayer that ascends from the inmost recesses of the heart.
As I read these words and studied this passage this week, I have been deeply convicted about my own lack of prayerfulness. It is so easy, isn't it, to get "too busy" to pray the way we know we ought. And yet, as I consider the startling promises God makes about prayer, and all that He deems to do through it, I realize that I have made myself a spiritual pauper by my neglect. So I have resolved, yet again, that I will give a greater place to prayer in my daily life. There are so many things I must do, and more yet I choose to do, and yet this is the one thing I cannot do without. To draw near to God, daily; to rest my needs and those of others dear to me in His lap; to have Him redirect my heart and my thinking in every area so that by and by I am more conformed to Him! This is my great need.

Lord helping me, it will become my more consistent and joyful practice.

Soli Deo Gloria
(For His Glory Alone)

Scott Lee

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