Christianity 201

September 21, 2019

Reading Other Peoples’ Prayers | Times in the Desert

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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NLT.Matt.4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’[e]

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Today and tomorrow I want to encourage you if you’re going through a desert experience, but I also want all of us to see the benefit in listening in (via reading, in this case) to the prayers of others. What follows is a smaller excerpt from one of the longer meditations appearing in Intense Moments with the Savior: Learning to Feel, a 1994 book by Ken Gire. Each of the readings begins with a scripture, and then there is meditation that is longer than we would include here. The last section is a prayer — again longer than those published by others who follow this format — and these are our focus in these devotionals.

An Intense Moment in the Desert

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Help me to trust you at all times, but especially in the desert experiences of my life. When I am tempted to live by sight rather than by faith. When I am tempted to depend on myself rather than you. When I am tempted to question your love. And when I am tempted to defect.

Give me the faith, I pray that Habakkuk had in his desert experience:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

Help me to see that the Father’s word is not only more nourishing than food, but more necessary. And that he decrees bread or stones according to which one at the moment provides the best nourishment for my soul.

Help me never to doubt your love for me, Lord. And keep me from the temptation of every putting that love to the test. Keep me from being enticed by whatever trinkets Satan dangles before me. And guard me from the temptation of wanting anything more than I want you.

Give me the thirst to study God’s word as you studied it. But help me realize that it was not knowledge of his word that delivered you — even Satan had that — but it was your obedience to his word that brought you safely through temptation.

Lead me not into temptation, Lord, but deliver me from the Evil One. You know how weak I am and how vulnerable to his deceptions. But should you ever lead me into some desert to be tempted by him, help me to realize that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. And that if I resist Satan he will flee.

Thank you that you have been tempted in every way that I am tempted, and are sympathetic to my struggles. Thank you that I can come boldly to your throne of grace and there find not only mercy but understanding…

 


  1. 4:3 Greek the tempter.
  2. 4:4 Deut 8:3.
  3. 4:6 Ps 91:11-12.
  4. 4:7 Deut 6:16.
  5. 4:10 Deut 6:13.

June 4, 2013

Making Paul’s Prayer for the Colossians My Prayer

This is a first-time feature for the blog Grow Deep by Jerrell Jobe. This piece appeared under the title Paul’s Colosssian Prayer — click the title to link — and is part of a current series. The author personalizes the prayers of Paul; I’ve added the link for those who wish to review the original text.

The New Testament letter’s penned by the Apostle Paul contain instruction and doctrine, but they are also very personal. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul writes, “we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

Paul saw prayer as a significant element of the on-going transformation within the life of those he discipled. Not only their prayers, but the prayers he prayed for them. In nearly every letter we have by Paul, he makes note that he has been praying continuously for them. In a few places Paul even gives us a glimpse into not only the constancy of his prayers, but the content as well. There’s much we can learn about prayer from simply reflecting on they types of things Paul prayed. The past couple of weeks in New Community, we’ve been reflecting on Paul’s prayers.

I’ve encouraged  everyone to take the passages/prayers that we’re studying and commit to pray them throughout the week for:

  • themselves/immediate family,
  • someone they are close to, and
  • someone they have a hard time being around (but must interact with on a regular basis).
In addition to studying and reflecting on Paul’s prayers as they are written, each week, I’ve offered a rewrite of the passage. A remix, if you will, of the passage, what it means and how we could practically pray it for ourselves and others.
The following is the rewrite for Colossians 1:9-14.
 
God I pray that you grant unto me an experiential encounter with Your truth – the knowledge of Your will. Renovate my mind and establish the blueprints to Your kingdom deep within my heart. God, help me to see things from Your perspective. Everything, from who I am to what I do. Invade every sphere of my life – private to public. May I live as if You were living through me. I pray the very minute details of my life will bring an unending smile to Your face.
 
God, more and more, let me learn how to keep in step with Your Spirit in every part of my life. As I follow Your leading, the way You want things to be done, may my life be marked by the out-flowing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
 
Father, expand the horizon of my vision, until I see Your present-activity in virtually every arena of my life. Strengthen me with the power of Your Spirit. As I’m empowered according to Your might, may I not bow down as a despondent coward in the face of adversity and difficult circumstances. No, in the power of Your might, may I find the wherewithal to stand and not give up. When I’m mistreated and in the midst of difficult people, may I be slow to anger and respond to others with love and grace.
Finally, I desire to be a wellspring of joy, giving thanks to you at every occasion. May I not get bogged down with the snares of this world to the point of my joy becoming strangled and my heart diminishing into decadence of complaining. May I never lose sight of the reality that I was once aimlessly wandering in sin, shrouded by death and held captive under the dominion of darkness. Not so any longer! I have been rescued out of darkness, snatched out of death and transferred into the kingdom of the Son of Your delight. I have been chosen, forgiven and redeemed because of Your never-ending love.
Amen!
…Here’s another example of taking scripture and making it personal that we looked at just over a year ago at Thinking Out Loud under the curiosity-inducing title A New Kind of Bible Translation.
…This passage from Colossians is one of my favorites. We’ve talked about it many times here, including some shorter earlier blog posts from 2010 here and here.

October 31, 2011

Abiding Eradicates Doubt

Yesterday we looked at spiritual complacency.  Another similar malady that manifests itself in the life of the believer is doubt.  Doug Wolter looks at this at his blog, So That Others May Know, in a short piece entitled, The Mystery of Abiding.

Why do I doubt God? Why do I expect so little from him? After all, if I really am his child, if I really do have access to his throne, if I really have his Son and his Spirit interceding for me, then why am I not asking more of God and believing he will answer? Jesus, you say, “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). Really? Are you serious? Do you really want me to ask and believe with that kind of boldness, with that kind of heart, expecting you will answer? 

I guess that’s where it starts – with my heart being united with your heart and my words in prayer sounding strangely familiar with your words in scripture. Is that what abiding is all about? When you and me are so intimately connected, so unified as one, that the process is as natural and effortless as a branch bearing fruit?

In the end, it’s a mystery–one that I can’t analyze and figure out, but only experience. Abiding, praying, and seeing the Holy Spirit move in my life is something I cannot comprehend but what I long for more and more for your glory and my good. So teach me to remain in you. Cause me to slow down. Remind me that you are a real Person that I am joined to. And set me free to believe you for great things.

~Doug Wolter