Renewed day by day

Prayer for Christians is a means and moment of daily renewal.  It is a kind of spiritual “recharging” that in the long run is more important than any of the other things that insist on our immediate attention.  Paul describes the experience, “though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day“. (2 Corinthians 4:16)  When we pray, we remember the subjects that ought to be foremost in our minds.  ( Our Father, His kingdom, His help, His forgiveness etc).  When we pray we regain an eternal perspective on life and, as a consequence of this renewed mind, the inflowing power of God that is necessary for living.  My prayer for you today is that you will seek the Lord in prayer.  Do not rush this time!  If we need daily bread, we also need daily renewal.

Why Pray?

“He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7).  The most convincing answer to the question “Why pray?” is Jesus did.  Despite my unresolved questions (If God already knows my needs, why do I need to express them? If God is wise, why should I ask Him to change His plan?) the example of the Lord at prayer convinces me that I am to follow Him into this conversation with the Father.  It isn’t magic.  It is mercy.  It is a friendship that offers to let me stand with Him and look at people and problems from God’s point of view.  Jesus knew that there is power in prayer.   When I ask myself, “Why pray?”, the best answer is “because Jesus did”.

Prayer and the Spirit

The most compelling answers to the question, “Why should we pray?” are: 1) Jesus did and 2) The Holy Spirit does.  So familiar we almost miss the point, the words of Romans 8 declare that, “the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings too deep for words”.  I don’t know whether this means that He prays for me ( in my place, when I cannot because I am so confused or discouraged), or that he prays for me (for God’s will and my benefit).  Either way the fact that the Holy Spirit prays is significant.  With an infinite number of things that He could do, it is amazing to me  that His ministry is prayer.  He cries out!  No wonder that we who are “filled” with His life learn to do the same.

Thine is the Power

One of the things that I cannot do is to generate LIFE.  I woke yesterday to find that the nagging and negative parts of my soul were “already up”.  These parts of me are not strangers, but not friends, either.  As I prayed, I remembered that God has power.  He has LIFE.  Infinite.  Clean.  Flowing from His heart into mine.  Ezekiel pictures a river that gets wider and deeper as it goes.  Jesus promised the woman at the well  “a fountain springing up” within her.  When Jesus taught us to pray “Thine is the power”, He was insisting that I look at God rather than self, think about His plan rather than my circumstances.  How grateful I am that prayer is part of His new path for me.   “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength”.

Take heed

“Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  Part of God’s wisdom in having me pray daily about sin and temptation is to remind me of my weakness.    The Israelites at Ai thought that the victory at Jericho would make the next battle easier, that somehow they would get stronger and stronger as they went along.  Christians, sometime, think that years of faithfulness to God will  take away the danger of real failure toward God.   The truth is that all of us are still vulnerable and always will be.  The longer I follow, the more I realize that “no good thing dwells in me” and that I can never grow overconfident about my desperate weakness and daily need for his guidance and protection.  Lord, lead me not into temptation!

Talking about temptation

Christians are very aware of a battle within ourselves.  “The Spirit wars with the flesh and the flesh wars with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:17).  The child of God is caught in the conflict.  When we pray, “lead us not into temptation” we bring the things that tempt us “out into the open”.  Rather than waiting until we have failed again, we speak in advance, honestly, sincerely about the “sins that so easily beset us” (Hebrews 11:1).  Doing so fortifies us!  It involves Him in the equation and leads to a victory that was impossible when we relied on our own strength.  Friend, are you being open and honest with yourself and with your Father on this subject?  How wise of God to teach us to talk about temptation.

Healthy Fear

When Jesus said, “lead us not into temptation”, He was teaching a healthy fear of sin.  “Not only are we sinners, but we are desperately afraid that we should be even more sinful”–Alan Redpath.  Today, ask God for His leadership!  Confess your attraction to things and people that are contrary to His will.   Ask Him to guide you in a path that avoids contact with the things that drag you down.  “Make NO allowance for the flesh” Roman 13:14.  Don’t “get as close as you can without stepping over the line”. If sin is the enemy, treat it as such!  This prayer teaches us to be honest with the Father (and with ourselves) about the need for a new intentionally innocent path.  Lead me, Lord!  I will follow.

Family Courage

At first glance, lead us not into temptation seems like an unnecessary prayer.  The Bible says that God never tempts us.  Isn’t this a given? It helps me to remember that  the word for temptation is the same for trial and God does lead us on a path that tests and purifies our faith.  “If we are to share His glory we must also share His suffering” (Romans 8).  “He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil”  (  Matthew 4:1).   So, our attitude toward problems and pressure should be, “Lord when I can and should avoid a situation( ie when it is a temptation) help me to do so.  When I can and should face a situation (ie when it is a trial), give me the family courage to do so with dignity and uncomplaining joy”. When I pray to be spared, it is because this is the default position that God wants for me.  When I get something else, I realize that I am in one of those situations when what I asked for is not what is best.  Either way, it is an answer to this prayer.

Thinking about prayer

I’m thinking this morning about thinking. Time-consuming, life-giving, the secret work of the mind.  Pondering, questioning, understanding, feeling.  Who has time?  Who doesn’t?  “As I mused, the fire burned” (Psalm 39:3). “Mary pondered  these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19).  I am grateful that you are joining me in thinking about the Lord’s prayer.  It gives me joy to think about you thinking about the words of Christ. Thank you for your comments too!  I believe that correct thinking, deep thinking is one of the Lord’s ways of fueling our passionate love for Him and for others.  Sunday night I will lecture on the words of Jesus in His prayer.  God willing, it will give us alot to think about.  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19:14)


“Do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of” — Ben Franklin . I was praying this morning, thinking about this day.  How God made it the basic unit of time. (“there was evening, there was morning, one day”, Genesis 1)  I was thinking how satisfying it would be if I could focus my expectations and energies on just the next 24 hours.  What would happen if tomorrow I could report to the Lord that today I looked up,  didn’t worrry, served others, was generous with my time and my words.   And isn’t life, ultimately,  just the aggregate of many days?  When I pray the Lord’s prayer, I ask Him to give me what I need. I am wondering what life would be like if I gave Him what He deserved . . .just for today.