Christianity 201

July 4, 2021

Prayer Scripture Medley

With our U.S. readers pre-occupied today with their big national holiday, I thought we’d keep today’s devotional shorter.

If you’re open to it, sometimes people who have left us can still speak to us. Before you panic as to what that means, let me explain. Although it’s been 18 years since my father died, I often find his words speaking to me through notes left in various books and notebooks. When my son asked if I had a copy of Practice of the Presence of God, I found a two-in one edition containing With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray, with these scripture references tucked inside, which probably are verses on which Murray based his text.

Today I share them with you.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
 – Luke 11:1 NIV

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
 – John 4:23,24 NLT

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
– Matthew 6:6 CSB

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
 – Matthew 6:9 ESV

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
– Matthew 7:7,8 NIV

And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
– James 4:3 NLT

Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
– Matthew 7:9-11 NKJV

Give us day by day our daily bread.
– Luke 11:13 KJV

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
– Mark 10:51 NLT

Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for —believe that you have received it and it will be yours.
-Mark 11:24 CSB

Next to each verse some key words were highlighted. I want to share these as a separate list, extrapolating a little from the notes:

  1. Ask God to help teach you to pray
  2. Pray in spirit and in truth
  3. Don’t make your prayers a public spectacle, pray in secret and let God provide the answer in public
  4. Pray to God as a father and use the principles from what we call The Lord’s Prayer as a guide
  5. You only get what you’ve asked for. If you don’t ask you don’t receive.
  6. God is positively disposed and favorably inclined to give you good gifts.
  7. At the absolute minimum, pray daily and ask God to meet daily needs; don’t take that provision for granted.
  8. Check your motives. Ask with right intentions.
  9. Prayer should be definite. Make your requests specific where possible.
  10. Pray with faith anticipating an answer.

This is based on my father’s notes. I believe that Murray has twelve major points or lessons and I encourage you to read the book, is available everywhere and doesn’t take long to read.

 

February 23, 2020

Quotations: Andrew Murray

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Although we’ve featured excerpts of his writing several times here, Andrew Murray has never been part of our quotations series.

Andrew Murray was a native and pastor to many South African churches. He was raised by Dutch Reformed missionaries and was educated in Scotland with his brother. He and his brother went on to study Theology in the Netherlands. He lived to be nearly 89 years old. He was best known for his leadership in the South African Revival of 1860. He was an eloquent speaker and left many quotes before he went on to be with the Lord in 1917.

As always with these, don’t rush through them. Read one, pause, think about it, and then move on to the next.


Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.


Let it be your business every day, in the secrecy of the inner chamber, to meet the holy God. You will be repaid for the trouble it may cost you. The reward will be sure and rich.


One verse chosen to meet our needs, read ten times and then laid up in the heart, is better than ten verses read once. Only so much of the word as I actually receive and inwardly appropriate for myself, is food for my soul.


It is out of the grave of the flesh and the will of self that the Spirit of holiness breaks out in resurrection power.


There is no pride so dangerous, none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness.


A congregation without a prayer meeting is essentially defective in its organization, and so must be limited in its efficiency.


Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what he can do.


Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as God’s messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.


We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.


A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.


Answered prayer is the interchange of love between the Father and His child.


Do not confound work and fruit. There may be a good deal of work for Christ that is not the fruit of the heavenly Vine.


In linking holy and without blemish (or without blame) so closely, the Holy Spirit would have led us to seek for the embodiment of holiness as a spiritual power in the blamelessness of practice and of daily life.


Humility is simply acknowledging the truth of [our] position as creature and yielding to God His place.


However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine. So be it with us too.


Sources: GoodReads, Logos.com, PrayerQuotes, GraceQuotes, HeartStoneJourney, LiveAtTheWell, AZQuotes, FlowingFaith, WhatChristiansWantToKnow (biography, above); see also QuoteFancy and HippoQuotes for Andrew Murray quotations you can use on social media.

August 7, 2012

Waiting on God

Andrew Murray (1828-1917), was born in Cape Town, South Africa and became a revered missionary leader in the late 1800s and early 1900s, promoting and establishing missions in South Africa. His devotional writings are considered classics of the Christian faith. This devotional is taken from Murray’s series of writings titled, Waiting on God.

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways, And He shalt exalt thee to inherit the land.” Psalms 37:34.

If we desire to find a man whom we long to meet, we inquire where the places and the ways are where he is to be found. When waiting on God, we need to be very careful that we keep His ways; out of these we never can expect to find Him.

“Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness; those that remember Thee in Thy ways.” Isa 64:5.

We may be sure that God is never and nowhere to be found but in His ways. And that there, by the soul who seeks and patiently waits, He is always most surely to be found. “Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways, and He shall exalt thee.”

How close the connection between the two parts of the injunction, “Wait on the Lord”, – that has to do with worship and disposition; “and keep His ways”, – that deals with walk and work. The outer life must be in harmony with the inner; the inner must be the inspiration and the strength for the outer. It is our God who has made known His ways in His Word for our conduct, and invites our confidence for His grace and help in our heart. If we do not keep His ways, our waiting on Him can bring no blessing.

The surrender to full obedience to all His will is the secret of full access to all the blessings of His fellowship.

Notice how strongly this comes out in the psalm. It speaks of the evildoer who prospereth in his way, and calls on the believer not to fret himself. When we see men around us prosperous and happy while they forsake God’s ways, and ourselves left in difficulty or suffering, we are in danger of first fretting at what appears so strange, and then gradually yielding to seek our prosperity in their path.

The psalm says, “Fret not thyself; trust in the Lord, and do good. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Depart from evil, and do good; the Lord forsaketh not His saints. The righteous shall inherit the land. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” And then follows – the word occurs for the third time in the psalm – “Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways.”

Do what God asks you to do; God will do more than you can ask Him to do.

And let no one give way to the fear: I cannot keep His ways; it is this that robs one of every confidence. It is true you have not the strength yet to keep all His ways. But keep carefully those for which you have received strength already. Surrender yourself willingly and trustingly to keep all God’s ways, in the strength which will come in waiting on Him. Give up your whole being to God without reserve and without doubt; He will prove Himself God to you, and work in you that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ.

Keep His ways, as you know them in the Word. Keep His ways, as nature teaches them, in always doing what appears right. Keep His ways, as Providence points them out. Keep His ways, as the Holy Spirit suggests. Do not think of waiting on God while you say you are not willing to work in His path. However weak you feel, only be willing, and He who has worked to will, will work to do by His power.

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways.” It may be that the consciousness of shortcoming and sin makes our text look more like a hindrance than a help in waiting on God. Let it not be so.

Have we not said more than once, the very starting-point and ground-work of this waiting is utter and absolute impotence?

Why then not come with everything evil you feel in yourself, every memory of unwillingness, unwatchfulness, unfaithfulness, and all that causes such unceasing self-condemnation? Put your power in God’s omnipotence, and find in waiting on God your deliverance. Your failure has been owing to only one thing: you sought to conquer and obey in your own strength.

Come and bow before God until you learn that He is the God who alone is good, and alone can work any good thing. Believe that in you, and all that nature can do, there is no true power. Be content to receive from God each moment the inworking of His mighty grace and life, and waiting on God will become the renewal of your strength to run in His ways and not be weary, to walk in His paths and never faint.

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His ways” will be command and promise in one.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”

sourced at CBN.com devotional page

September 23, 2011

Our Image Determines Our Destiny

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It’s really unfortunate that there are not modern language editions of the classic works of Andrew Murray.   Last night I was reading the “eighteenth lesson” of With Christ in the School of Prayer and was amazed again at the depth of his writing.

He begins with Jesus interacting with the Pharisees over the paying of the tribute tax, and Jesus’ question, “Whose image is on this coin?” (Matt 22:29) But then he quickly moves to Genesis 1, and talks about the fact that we were created in God’s image and that even post-fall, we still bear that image.

Our destiny was to fill, to subdue and to have dominion over the earth.  As God’s representatives, we were to rule here on earth.  The idea was that we were God’s representatives here on earth, and that there was a certain power that went with that responsibility.

Then, Andrew Murray points out that God’s relationship with man, and man’s relationship with creation underwent a great change when sin was introduced; but with redemption, we have “the beginning of a glorious restoration.”  This is also seen as God introduces what we could call ‘the road back’ through Abraham.

This road extends to us, where we have the opportunity to be new creations in Christ, and be brought back to our original destiny as God’s image is restored, and with it, the power to have dominion.  He then states that this will allow us to be bold in prayer.

There is much more in this lesson, but Murray concludes with the reminder that we, the church, have no idea of the high calling we have been given as we begin to understand, and move in, our original destiny.

…There’s no way I’ve done this justice in a few short words;  as good as paraphrasing Andrew Murray would be, trying to summarize him robs the text of its original depth and richness.  I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of With Christ in the School of Prayer and dedicate yourself to taking very small sections at a time, i.e. a chapter a day and slowing your reading speed to half its normal pace so you can absorb all that this great writer is saying.

 

 

March 21, 2011

Andrew Murray’s Concept of “The Branch Life”

Today’s devotional is from Jeff Honnold’s blog, The Water’s Edge, where this first appeared under the title Living the Branch Life.

Two weeks ago I began a Thursday morning study with four other guys that has already been challenging me in ways I’m not sure I’ve been challenged before – and I am loving it.

We are currently working through John 15 one verse at a time.  Now, I’ve done Bible studies before but never to this depth – spending this much focused time on a single verse at a time. This week we are looking at verse 2:

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

– John 15:2 (NIV)

As we do this study we are reading Andrew Murray’s book, “The True Vine” that helps us to dig into this.  My reading today was looking just at the word “fruit”.  Here’s what Murray writes with regards to the purpose of the existence of a vine  is to bear fruit for it’s owner:

It is because Christians do not understand or accept this truth that they so fail in their efforts and prayers to live the branch life.  They often desire it earnestly; they read and meditate and pray, and yet they fail, and the wonder why.  The reason is very simple:  They do not know that fruitbearing is the one thing they have been saved for. (emphasis Murray)

I just keep re-reading this section.  As I read that I look at my own life and I keep asking myself, “Am I truly living the branch life”?

As if that weren’t enough to chew on he then goes on to say this:

The one object God had in making you a branch is the Christ may through you bring life to men.  Your personal salvation, your business and care for your family, are entirely subordinate to this. (emphasis Murray)

Wow.  Put those two together and I keep asking myself how much time to I spend trying to care for myself as the branch and not worry or even think about the fruit.

How about you?  Does this hit anyone else hard?

~Jeff Honnold

November 16, 2010

With Christ in the School of Prayer: Paraphrased

Your Father knows what things you need before you ask Him

At first, this might seem to make prayer less necessary:  God knows far better about what we need than we do.   But as we get deeper into understanding what prayer really is, this truth will strengthen our faith.

It will teach us that we do not need, as in other religions, a multitude of words or urgency, to try to compel an unwilling God to listen.

It will lead us to a holy thoughtfulness and quietness in prayer as it begs the question: Does my Father really know that I need this?

It will, once we have been led by the Spirit to the certainty that our request is indeed something that, we do need for God’s glory, give us wonderful confidence to say, “My Father knows I need it and must have it.”

And then, should there be a delay in getting the answer, it will teach us in quiet perseverance to hold on…

Oh, the blessed freedom and simplicity of a child that Christ our teacher would desire to cultivate in us, as we draw near to God; we should look up to the Father until His Spirit works that freedom and simplicity in us.

We should, at times when we’re praying, when we’re in danger of being preoccupied with our fervent, urgent requests — so much that we forget that the Father knows and hears — we should hold still and just quietly say:  My Father sees, My father hears, my father knows.   It will help our faith to accept the answer and to say that we know that we have the requests we have asked of Him.

from Lesson 3 of With Christ in The School of Prayer by Andrew Murray

July 29, 2010

Andrew Murray on Psalm 51

In our family prayer time, we’ve started reading Confession and Forgiveness which Andrew Murray wrote in 1896.   He takes 33 chapters to go through Psalm 51 phrase-by-phrase.

If you’re not familiar with this Psalm, take a moment to read it now…

This is from the second chapter:

The reason then why I would have you learn to understand and take this psalm to your heart is that I think its lessons are so necessary and, indeed, indispensable.  We are taught in our [Heidelberg] Catechism that there are three elements in the spiritual life that we must know if we would live and die as saved  souls.   These three elements are:

  • how great our sin and misery are
  • how we can be delivered from them, and
  • how we should live in thankfulness to God for this deliverance.

And nowhere do we find these great lessons concerning mercy, deliverance, and thankfulness more clearly explained than in this psalm…