Humility in Prayer

“Prayer both requires and empowers the abandonment of self-justification, blame shifting, self-pity, and spiritual pride.”~~Timothy Keller

Good morning. It is Friday, August 21, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is looky-loo. This noun means, 1. “A person who views something for sale with no genuine intention of making a purchase,” or, 2. “A person who comes or stops to look at something out of curiosity, esp. when such attention is unwelcome.” A synonym for that definition is “rubbernecker.”

Today is Poet’s Day. If you know any poets, give ’em some love today. I follow a few on WordPress, but I don’t dare start mentioning names, lest I forget some and hurt some feelings.

Once my stomach started feeling better, I had a pretty good day, yesterday. We wound up not going to Hoffbrau, as initially planned. The birthday girl changed her mind and decided she wanted to order Chinese take-out, so we did that instead. It is, of course, a mystery, what we will do tonight. There’s a good change that both Christi and I will have to work late this evening.

This weekend, we plan to go to Mineral Wells on Sunday, and attend church with my mother. I think Rachel and Justin plan to come meet us for lunch. Should be a good day.


Today’s Bible reading will be Exodus 5, Matthew 26, and Psalm 41.

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 95.

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”

“His people are here spoken of accordingly as the people of his pastures, whom he watches over with peculiar care, and loads with blessings of every kind. The Psalmist wants to press upon the people a sense of the inestimable favour [sic] conferred upon them in their adoption, by virtue of which they were called to live under the faithful guardianship of God, and to the enjoyment of every species of blessings.” (p 234)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Yesterday, we looked at John Calvin’s principle on prayer regarding “joyful fear.” Today, we see a second principle, that of “spiritual insufficiency.” This “includes both a strong sense of our dependence on God, in general, and a readiness to recognize and repent our own faults in particular.” Calvin admonishes against the common practice of believing that, in prayer, we are adorning ourselves with our “best spiritual clothes,” as if we could impress God with our devotion. When we come before God, we have to be “ruthlessly hones about our flaws and weaknesses.” We need to be aware, when we approach God, of the fact that “our only hope is in his grace and forgiveness,” and we should be totally up front with him about doubts and fears. “We should come to God with the ‘disposition of a beggar.'”

Just as prayer both requires and produces fear, it also does the same with humility. The act of prayer brings us into the presence of God, and in his presence, our shortcomings are exposed. “Then the new awareness of insufficiency drives us to seek God even more intensely for forgiveness and help.”

“Prayer both requires and empowers the abandonment of self-justification, blame shifting, self-pity, and spiritual pride.”

Father, teach me this spiritual humility. Teach me that I cannot impress you with my devotion, with my words, with my eloquent prayers. Help me to be more aware of my faults and weaknesses, that I might pray more effectively. I am aware of the truth of these principles, yet my heart is not fully convinced. I still fall into the trap of believing that I can gain favor with you by impressing you with anything. You are God, the Creator of the universe! How could anything human impress you? Yet I believe that true humility and faith are things that do impress you. Therefore, I ask for these in greater intensity.

I pray for this day, that our travel to work and back may be safe. I pray that we might have a good work day today, and that we might not have to work late. However, if we do, may we do so with pleasant attitudes, at all times displaying the grace of your Kingdom. I pray for Christi’s leg, that you might bring relief to her pain. May you grant Stephanie your grace today, and show her your love. I continue praying that Rachel is getting some good rest, and that you help her find a clear path to her future. May you grant grace to my mother today, holding her fast in your loving arms. We look forward to worshiping with her on Sunday.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we find true humility as we come before God in prayer, and may that prayer produce even more humility.

Grace and peace, friends.

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