God’s Power and Prayer

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

-Jesus

The sinfulness of man requires the power of God to overcome our nature, bringing us to Christ and setting us free from our sins, removing us from the kingdom of darkness and placing us into the kingdom of God, adopting us as sons of God and joint heirs with Christ, establishing both our ability to stand before the righteous throne of Almighty God as well as establishing our right to do so by virtue of Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to our account.

Therefore, our prayers are heard and answered upon this basis, seeing that God has opened up the doors of heaven, and by virtue of the cross of Jesus has welcomed us in.

In this post I’d like to briefly focus upon three prayer types: 1) Adoration and worship, Thanksgiving; 2) Confession; and 3) Supplication and Petition.

1. Adoration/Worship and Thanksgiving

The first prayer type (grouping three similar types together) is prayer of response. When we pray with thanksgiving and adoration, we are responding to the acts of God which reflect his power to redeem, provide, create and sustain. Some examples of these in the Scriptures are:

Adoration and Worship – Exodus 15, “Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said,“I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.“The Lord is my strength and song,And He has become my salvation;This is my God, and I will praise Him;My father’s God, and I will extol Him.“The Lord is a warrior;The Lord is His name.“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.“The deeps cover them;They went down into the depths like a stone.“Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.” (Exodus 15:1–6, NASB95)

Thanksgiving – Psalm 138, “I will give You thanks with all my heart;I will sing praises to You before the gods.I will bow down toward Your holy templeAnd give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.On the day I called, You answered me;You made me bold with strength in my soul.All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord,When they have heard the words of Your mouth.And they will sing of the ways of the Lord,For great is the glory of the Lord.” (Psalm 138:1–5, NASB95)

In your life God has shown you his mighty power, whether it has been through salvation, provision, guidance, providential care, healing or some other way. Does your prayer life reflect this?

2. Confession

Confession is made with the belief that:

  1. We have an omniscient God who knows our sin and we agree with him that we have transgressed his law. Prov. 5:21; Ps 51:3.
  2. We have sinned against our holy God who cannot look upon sin and is just in punishing our iniquity. Ps 51:4, 11.
  3. We have a merciful God who can remove the dark stain of sin through the blood of Christ’s substitutionary death upon the cross. Ps 51:7-10.

Some people, even Christians, live with the awful burden of past sins that they believe are unforgiven and unforgivable, even by God. 

First Corinthians 6:9-11 is the hope of Christ and the power of God demonstrated to the worst of sinners. It says:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Take your eyes off of your sin and put them on Christ! 

3. Supplication and Petition

Supplications and petitions can be placed roughly into two categories:

First, Personal prayer needs (for self and others). Biblical examples of such prayers include:

  1. For food (Matt 6:11)
  2. For healing/trials (2Cor 12:7)
  3. For persecution relief (Acts 12:6-19)
  4. For pain and suffering (Psalms of David, Job)
  5. For wisdom (James 1:5)

Second, Prayer for the Work of the Kingdom, including:

  1. For open doors of opportunity (Col 4:3)
  2. For strength in times of persecution (Acts 4:29)
  3. For boldness in the face of opposition (Acts 4:29)

In the area of supplications and petitions we can become reluctant to pray as we should. We need to answer the questions: Can he answer? and Will he answer? Consider the words of Jesus himself:

“And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mk 11:22-24)

“And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”” (Mk 9:23)

Do we use, “If the Lord wills” as an excuse for our lack of faith? Many things the Lord wills, but we often fail to ask (James 4:2).

Consider these verses:

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matt 21:22)

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” (James 5:17-18) 

Do these verses cause you to imagine what God could do? Do they set your heart racing? Or do you find yourself doubting, and adding exceptions? The ability for your prayers to be answered is not so much about who you are, as much as it is about who God is! Pray dear friend!

The Need for Modern Reformers in the Local Church (weekend repost)

Although we Protestants say that we don’t venerate the saints, you wouldn’t know it the way some pastors fawn over Luther, Calvin, Knox, Spurgeon, and other reformers. Don’t get me wrong, I think those men were used mightily of God, in spite of their flaws and personal sin.

But what I wonder about is how it is that so many pastors who would look up to these men and admire them for their courage and boldness are so cowardly in their own churches when they are called upon by the testimony of the Word of God to stand firm against a potential revolt by those who do not want biblical change.

Read the rest of the post here: The Need for Modern Reformers in the Local Church

The Need for Modern Reformers in the Local Church

“The problem with preachers today is that nobody wants to kill them anymore!”

Steven J. Lawson
Bishop Hooper burned at the stake for the gospel.

Although we Protestants say that we don’t venerate the saints, you wouldn’t know it the way some pastors fawn over Luther, Calvin, Knox, Spurgeon, and other reformers. Don’t get me wrong, I think those men were used mightily of God, in spite of their flaws and personal sin.

But what I wonder about is how it is that so many pastors who would look up to these men and admire them for their courage and boldness are so cowardly in their own churches when they are called upon by the testimony of the Word of God to stand firm against a potential revolt by those who do not want biblical change.

When Gideon was called to pull down the idols in his town, he may have been overcome by the fear of man, but at least he did it, even if under the cover of night. And when they found out what he did, they wanted to kill him.

When Josiah came to understand how far Judah had fallen away from obedience to the Law, he immediately began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of its idolatrous high places and reinstated the reform that was necessary to please the Lord. This led to a need to rebuild and reorder the temple so that proper worship could be restored.

And the church today is in need of men who are ready and willing to make the changes that are needed in their local churches where unbiblical practices have found a nesting place for ages. For fear of confrontation, loss of income, or prominent families, or a simple fear of losing your job, pastors remain silent in the face of unrepentant sin and all manner of false practices. Unregenerate men are allowed to remain on elder and deacon boards, unhealthy and unbiblical curriculum and programs continue to function so as to avoid a conflict with a women’s ministry head or the parents of the youth. The call for entertainment in church continues to ring louder as the Word of God is given less time to work in the hearts that need it.

Yes, we admire Luther’s stand at the Diet of Worms where he refused to recant. We applaud Spurgeon for being unwilling to give in to the New Measures that sought to entertain the goats. We are in awe of Whitefield who preached the gospel wherever he could garner an audience. We rejoice at the courage of John Rogers and the other Marian martyrs who refused to stop preaching under Bloody Mary of Tudor, and were burned at the stake for it. But will we stand today? Where is our courage? Where is our godly resolve to trust God in the face of angry adversity within and outside of the church? Brothers! Be strong and very courageous!