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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thinking about Prayer and Money

This "How to Overspiritualize Everything" comic is hilarious. (Hat tip Chris via Twitter; it comes from this blog.)

You probably think I do that all the time!

This morning my Scripture reading took me to Psalm 7, 2 Kings 5-6, and Matthew 7. What a combination!

Reading about Naaman and Elisha and Gehazi in 2 Kings 5 was especially meaningful because I recently listened to "Remember the Rich Man," a message given by John Piper to his church's 2009 graduates. Can you hold Christ as your treasure while you are gripping money? Is it hard or is it impossible to be rich and enter the Kingdom of God? Are you living like one at war or like one on a luxury cruise? Are you afraid of being rich? I hope you can take time to listen.

At the Children Desiring God conference, I missed a breakout session on prayer that several of my friends attended. Yesterday I listened to the audio recording of "Prayer-Utter Dependance upon God" by Bud Burk. Click here to listen, scroll down and select this session. Listening on my iPod made my housework much more bearable! This session speaks to the heart about prayer and then gives some nitty-gritty practical help.

Speaking of prayer, this quote from George Muller's autobiography helps us to understand how daily Scripture reading intertwines with prayer and meditation. His words describe my own experience as my morning devotions have become as routine as breakfast (or more so):
Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning. Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord. I began therefore, to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning, early in the morning.

The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer...

The difference between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer....But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.

I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word...And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do in the morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man.
As quoted in John Piper's Desiring God, p. 155-156.

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