This week we have considered the biblical response to “all circumstances.” We are to pray earnestly and give thanks always. And as Janelle noted yesterday, we can rest in this truth: if we’ve repented and put our trust in Christ, our salvation is certain, no matter what our circumstances.
Among the countless blessings that flow from our salvation is the fact that we are now on the receiving end of our Savior’s prayers. Mr. Spurgeon comments on Luke 22:32: “I have prayed for thee:”
“How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers….We little know what we owe to our Saviour’s prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate!”
If our circumstances are difficult or challenging, this truth can provide immeasurable comfort—when we pray, and even when we don’t pray, our Savior never ceases to intercede on our behalf.
Prayer has always been a weak discipline in my life. I love to study, and therefore it is not uncommon for me to get so engrossed in whatever I am studying during my daily devotions that I don’t leave enough time for unhurried prayer. Whenever this happens, I simply resort to praying on the run—not a recommended prescription for a healthy prayer life!
So this past May during my planning retreat I came up with a new plan for daily prayer. I rearranged my morning routine to make sure I have ample time to pray. I also typed out numerous Bible verses and prayers that I have collected from others to further help me when I pray.
I shared one of these prayers with you last week and there is one more I want to share with you again today. It’s a prayer I pray for my 13 year old son, Chad, derived from Psalm 12:7—You will guard us from this generation forever:
Lord, may Chad rise above his age as the mountaintops above the clouds. Fulfill in Chad the faithful saying of this verse! Guard him from this generation, from being polluted by its evil influence. Thank you for those two assuring words that declare, “You will.” (Adapted from Psalms Volume I, Charles Spurgeon)
Our teenagers face a three-fold enemy (as do we all): the world, the flesh and the devil. With this prayer, I am specifically asking that God help Chad to resist the temptations of this ungodly world and instead live for the delights of following the Savior. I hope it inspires you to pray with faith for your sons and daughters.
I have two names. Most people know me as “Janelle,” but to a very special group of people I am “Mrs. B.” You see, my husband is the Children’s Ministry pastor at our church and somewhere along the way he became affectionately known to all the kiddos as “Mr. B.” It naturally followed suit that I be dubbed “Mrs. B.” I have to say that this name took some getting used to. For a girl who would like to think of herself as still somewhere around the age of 17, the title “Mrs. B” was a bit of a wake up call. But this name is totally worth the front row seat I get into the world of Children’s Ministry. There are many lessons to be learned there. One recent lesson stands out.
On the first Sunday of every month, Mike teaches the 2nd through 5th grade class, and I usually slip in and watch. One of my favorite parts of the morning is listening to the children pray. Have you ever heard a child pray? They pray with faith. There is no doubt in their little minds that the Lord hears and He will answer. Our church has recently been raising money for a new playground and the kids have been praying about this. Their prayers are simple and sincere, “Lord, please give us the money for the playground so that we can play on it after school tomorrow.” They aren’t contemplating all of the potential obstacles. They simply ask Jesus to meet their present need and expect Him to answer.
I want to pray like this. Recently, I found myself approaching the throne of grace with a heart full of unbelief. I was struggling to believe that the Lord was working in the midst of a difficult situation facing me. Does He really hear me? Will things ever change? I wasn’t voicing these questions, but my heart betrayed me. I could not hide the pride that was—and still is—present in my heart.
Mrs. B needs to spend a lot more time in children’s ministry. I want to learn, just like the kids, to approach God fully expecting Him to provide for my every need.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3
As I read this verse during my morning devotional time, I was struck by the last 2 words: and watch. It dawned on me that normally I only apply the first part of this verse: O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you. But rarely do I follow up my praying with “watching” – which to summarize Spurgeon means to be on the look out for the answer to our prayers; to expect that God’s grace will come.
So, I am asking for the Holy Spirit’s help not only to pray, but to be on the look out for God’s gracious response to my prayers. May I encourage you to pray and watch today?
Yesterday I wrote of the incredible blessing of a praying friend. But even more wonderful than a friend’s prayers on our behalf is the truth that our Savior is praying for us—today. Listen to what our favorite Mr. Spurgeon writes regarding the following verse:
“I have prayed for thee.” – Luke 22:32
“How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers…. We little know what we owe to our Saviour’s prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon His breasplate!”
—Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, page 23
My very dear friend of thirty years sent me the following email before my husband and I left for Arkansas this past weekend to speak at The Bible Church of Little Rock:
Please know my friend that I will be lifting you up to the “throne of grace” all weekend! May these thoughts from Mr. Spurgeon encourage you as you go to serve the church in Arkansas!:
“Some of you are called to some extraordinary duty and do not feel strong enough. Follow that call, for surely the Lord is in that place. He will help you.”
“...and is it not true that our weakness holds God’s strength, and leads Him to bow His omnipotence to our rescue?” May you be aware of His divine assistance, presence, and pleasure.
Love you! Betsy
After this email a card arrived in our mailbox signed by all the pastors of our church which read: “We were interceding for you, today.” How kind of God to send us into a weekend, bolstered by the prayers, encouragement and support of such friends! And what a weekend it was! CJ and I were asked to speak ten messages—he six times and I four. This gives you an idea of this church’s love for God’s Word (not to mention their stamina!). We were overwhelmed by their attentiveness, responsiveness and encouragement. As an aside—I want to highly recommend that those who live in the Little Rock area visit this God-glorifying church. But most meaningful of all for CJ and me was the new friendships that were formed—starting with the Pastor, Lance Quinn and his wife, Beth. Though we were only with them for three short days, we felt as if we had always known them. This enjoyable and fruitful time, no doubt, was the result of the prayers of our friends back home. So the next time someone says to us, “I’m praying for you,” let’s make sure that we thank them for this unselfish act from which we derive immeasurable benefit. And let’s be inspired to faithfully pray for others. What a meaningful expression of friendship! Thank you, Betsy. Thank you, Pastors of Covenant Life Church.
This is a prayer that I adapted from The Valley of Vision which I pray regularly for my four adorable nephews and look forward to praying for my little baby as well…
“Apply Your redemption to their hearts, by justifying their persons, and sanctifying their natures. Teach them to place their happiness in Thee, the blessed God, never seeking life among the dead things of earth, or asking for that which satisfies the deluded; but may they prize the light of Thy smile, implore the joy of Thy salvation, find their heaven in Thee.”
—From prayer entitled “Fourth Day Evening: God All-Sufficient”
Arthur Bennet, ed. Valley of Vision (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, 2003), p. 392.
The following email appeared in my inbox on my fiftieth birthday (a few weeks ago), from a close friend, Nancy Loftness.
It was one of the most meaningful birthday gifts I have ever received.
“As I was praying a few weeks ago thinking about your 50th, the idea came to me to spend a day fasting and praying for you…. So happy birthday with a gift I anticipate God using, not because of any merit in me obviously, but because He loves to fulfill His own promises from His word, which is mostly how I’ll pray. Love, Nancy.”
Charles Spurgeon once said: “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” Tom Carter, Spurgeon at His Best (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1991), p. 143.
Who can you show kindness to by praying for them today? (Don’t forget to tell them you’re praying!)
PS: Today is Nancy’s 50th birthday. Happy Birthday, my dear friend!