What to pray for on a Lord's Day morning (Thomas Watson)…

51XAQ3X7RWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Along with the previous thoughts on Lord’s Day meditation, Watson gives us some specific ways to pray each Sunday morning:

The things we should pray for in the morning of the Sabbath. Let us beg a blessing upon the word which is to be preached; that it may be a savour of life to us; that by it our minds may be more illuminated, our corruptions more weakened, and our stock of grace more increased. Let us pray that God’s special presence may be with us, that our hearts may burn within us while God speaks, that we may receive the word into meek and humble hearts, and that we may submit to it, and bring forth fruits. James i 21. Nor should we only pray for ourselves, but for others.

Pray for him who dispenses the word; that his tongue my be touched with a coal from God’s altar; that God would warm his heart who is to help to warm others. Your prayers may be a means to quicken the minister. Some complain they find no benefit by the word preached; perhaps they did not pray for their minister as they should. Prayer is like the whetting and sharpening of an instrument, which makes it cut better. Pray with and for your family. Yea, pray for all the congregations that meet on this day in the fear of the Lord; that the dew of the Spirit may fall with the manna of the word; that some souls may be converted, and others strengthened; that gospel ordinances may be continued, and have no restraint put upon them. These are the things we should pray for. The tree of mercy will not drop it’s fruit, unless it be shaken by the hand of prayer.

A prayer for Christians around the world (especially those in Iraq)…

Psa. 79:   A Psalm of Asaph.

1 O God, the nations have invaded Your inheritance;
They have defiled Your holy temple;
They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2 They have given the dead bodies of Your servants for food to the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your godly ones to the beasts of the earth.
3 They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem;
And there was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
A scoffing and derision to those around us.
5 How long, O LORD? Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which do not know You,
And upon the kingdoms which do not call upon Your name.
7 For they have devoured Jacob
And laid waste his habitation.
8 Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us;
Let Your compassion come quickly to meet us,
For we are brought very low.
9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name;
And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Let there be known among the nations in our sight,
Vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
11 Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You;
According to the greatness of Your power preserve those who are doomed to die.
12 And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom
The reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord.
13 So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture
Will give thanks to You forever;
To all generations we will tell of Your praise.

Do Roman Catholics pray to Mary?

The answer is “yes” but don’t ask a Roman Catholic. On numerous occasions I’ve been told by Roman Catholics that they do not pray to Mary. They explain their use of the Ave Maria and other prayers as requests for Mary to pray for them, not as prayers to Mary. So, what’s the deal?

Generally, I find that the average Roman Catholic (and your average Evangelical Protestant, to be fair) does not know the Bible or the particular teachings of his church. The Catechism of the [Roman] Catholic Church confirms my suspicion; the official teaching of the RCC is not confused about the question of whether her people pray to Mary… Continue reading

Another day of witness at the place in Greenville where you can kill your unborn child…

IMG_1424This time I’m posting before we make the 40-minute drive over to the Greenville abortuary [It turned out to be a little longer than normal because of a flat tire on I-85.]. Every day this week my younger children, ages 3 and 5, have been praying that the place would close down. Perhaps we’ll arrive this morning and the two hit-men who are protected by the unjust laws of this land will have closed up shop and settled in Florida (that’s where hit-men retire, right?).  As I gear myself up for calling people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, many other women are preparing themselves to arrive at the abortuary for a vastly different purpose. They’ve collected the $500 needed to pay for either type of abortion; they’ve arranged for someone to take them there and then home; they’ve silenced consciences screaming at them that this is a child in the womb. Each of these women will see us as they enter the parking lot. They will hear one last warning—God’s Word says do not murder—before they choose either to be a mother or a murderer.

Father, give these women, created in Your image, ears to hear. Give them love for their children. Allow them by Your Sovereign hand to take upon themselves the yoke of Jesus before they take upon themselves the heavy, destructive, hellish yoke of child-sacrifice. Allow us to see repentance and tears. Protect the orphans within their mothers’ wombs. Use us. In Jesus Name. Amen.


Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 2)…

If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):

1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.

Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading

Calvin's Prayer of Illumination…

Let us call upon our God and Father, beseeching Him, since all fullness of wisdom and light is found in Him, mercifully to enlighten us by His Holy Spirit in the true understanding of His word, and to give us grace to receive it in true fear and humility. May we be taught by His word to place our trust only in Him and to serve and honor Him as we ought, so that we may glorify His holy name in all our living and edify our neighbor by our good example, rendering to God the love and the obedience which faithful servants owe their masters, and children, their parents, since it has pleased Him graciously to receive us among the number of His servants and children.*

-from Songs of the Nativity: Selected Sermons on Luke 1 & 2 by John Calvin, translated by Robert White.

*Note on above text: “The Genevan liturgy of 1542 allowed, in the Sunday services, for a prayer of illumination to be said by the minister immediately before the sermon, but prescribed no set form of words. Calvin’s practice was to use a prayer which he had already employed in the French church in Strasbourg, and which was modeled on Bucer’s German liturgy. Text in CO 23.741-42; cf. OS 2.19-20.”

Tuesday Thomas Watson: "Prayer is the key of heaven, and faith is the hand that turns it."

How shall we know our prayers to be indited [dictated] by the Spirit, and so he is our Father?

When they are not only vocal, but mental; when they are not only gifts, but groans. Rom viii 26. The best music is in concert: the best prayer is when the heart and tongue join together in concert.

When they are zealous and fervent. ‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’ James v 16. The eyes melt in prayer, and the heart burns. Fervency is to prayer as fire is to incense, which makes it ascend to heaven as sweet perfume.

When prayer has faith mingled with it. Prayer is the key of heaven, and faith is the hand that turns it. ‘We cry, Abba, Father.’ Rom viii 15. ‘We cry,’ there is fervency in prayer; ‘Abba, Father,’ there is faith. Those prayers suffer shipwreck which dash upon the rock of unbelief. We may know God is our Father, by having his Spirit praying in us; as Christ intercedes above, so the Spirit intercedes within.

-Thomas Watson in The Lord’s Prayer

Even my world-weariness is worldly…

There is always a battle for me between having God as my delight and having the world as my delight. As I read what the Holy Spirit writes through John’s pen, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15), there is an aching in my heart…

There is a sense in which I am not caught up in the world. It’s not as if I’m able to enjoy the high life of a rich executive or a professional athlete. But here’s the question: Is that what I really want?

Am I satisfied with having Jesus Christ or do I desire the things that the worldling desires in order to be satisfied? Is my contentment based on the reliefs that the world can offer: more money, more medicine, more entertainments, more blog hits, more friends, more likes, more possessions, more promotions, more technology, more insurance, more attention, more time, more coffee? When do I have a bounce in my step…when things are “falling into place” and “working out” and “settling down”?

There is a weariness of the world that is godly. When the glory of Christ fills the mind and the world’s best is as filth…that is godly weariness. Even on the day of our wedding or the birth of a child, that weariness happily cries, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

There is also a weariness of the world that is worldly: When we seek to be free from the burden of this fallen world not by understanding and enjoying what we have in Jesus Christ but rather by turning to the balms of the world. That worldly world-weariness is shaped not by what we have in Christ but what we don’t have in this world. Many of us would find more relief in this life in having $20,000 in the saving account than we would in reading Scripture’s teaching on the glory of Jesus Christ, Who has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. Is that true of you?

Where are your thoughts at this moment? Are they fixed on the wonders and tragedies posted on Drudge? the next meal? the next episode? the next game? the cleanliness of the carpet? the next contract? the next therapy? the new scratch in the car door? even the glories of the ocean or the mountains?

…or are they fixed on the glory of Jesus Christ?

May Jesus’s prayer be for me and for you:

“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25-26).

Abortion: America's Holocaust…a prayer request…

WebBannerThis Friday on Indiana University’s campus, R.C. Sproul Jr. will be speaking about our nation’s sin of abortion. The event is being hosted by my dear friends at Clearnote Church. R.C. just made this request on his Twitter account:

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If you don’t know why he would make such a request, you need to check out the scene when Pastor Doug Wilson came to campus to speak on God’s design for sexuality…

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Do pray, please.

A Friday prayer…

51S-9ndd54LFather in Heaven! Our thought is turned toward Thee; again it seeks Thee at this hour, not with the unsteady step of a lost traveler but with the sure flight of a bird homeward bound. Grant then that our confidence in Thee be not a fugitive thought, a momentary leap, a mistaken appeasement of the heart and flesh. Grant that our aspirations toward Thy Kingdom, our hopes for Thy glory, be not unproductive birth pangs or waterless clouds, but that from the fulness of our heart they will rise toward Thee, and that being heard they will quench our thirst like the refreshing dew and satisfy us forever like Thy heavenly manna.

– Soren Kierkegaard (from LeFevre’s The Prayers of Kierkegaard)