Good morning. It is Tuesday, September 15, 2015. I forgot to put a title on yesterday’s entry. It’s there, now.
Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is tommyrot. It’s an easy definition. Noun, meaning, “nonsense; utter foolishness.” I may, occasionally, drift into tommyrot in this blog, but, hopefully, not for long.
Today is Get Ready Day. Heck, I do that every day. I get ready. I guess this is supposed to be focusing on being ready for emergencies. Like hurricanes. Because we get a lot of those in DFW. Or pandemic diseases. Like that West Nile Virus that strikes a whopping less than 100 people each year.
Looks like I’ve drifted into tommyrot.
Band practice was fun, last night. We started rehearsing Christmas music for the two concerts we have with that theme. The first concert is on November 21, as we play for the Southlake Christmas Tree lighting event. The second will be on December 12, for the dedication of a new concert venue (outdoor again), somewhere in Southlake. I’m not even sure where it is. I think it’s cool that they are asking the band to play the first concert in the venue. Apparently, this is one community band that is a pretty big deal in the community. I’m honored to be part of it.
I have Huddle tonight, and I’m leading. Gah! We’ll see how that goes . . . And Christi has bowling. So we don’t really see each other for two consecutive nights. I’m home before 9:00 PM, though, so we’ll have a few minutes, there, to catch up the day.
Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 103:18.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
(I included verse 17, too, as I have this weird thing about starting in the middle of sentences.)
While it is true that God loves us all the time, regardless, and that there is nothing that we can do to make him love us less, I believe that it is also true that our own perception of his love for us is strongly based on our status of obedience. In other words, when I am faithfully obeying God’s commands, my perception of his love for me is stronger. It is also, I believe, true that only those who are obedient can truly be called his children. But that doesn’t mean that we are obedient all the time, for no one is. These are my words, not John Calvin’s.
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
The first three “touchstones” helped to define what prayer is. They were 1) Work–Prayer is a Duty and a Discipline; 2) Responding to the Word–Prayer is Conversing with God; and 3) Prayer is a Balanced Interaction of Praise, Confession, Thanks, and Petition.
Now we look at the next three, “What Prayer Requires.” The first in this section, or the fourth touchstone, is “Grace–Prayer Must Be ‘In Jesus’ Name,’ Based on the Gospel.”
“Our prayer must be in full, grateful awareness that our access to God as Father is a free gift won by the costly sacrifice of Jesus the True Son, and then enacted in us by the Holy Spirit, who helps us know inwardly that we are his children.” It is very important to realize that tacking on “in Jesus’s Name” at the end of every prayer is not some kind of magic formula that ensures us that God hears our prayer. In truth, to pray in the name of Jesus “is to come fully cognizant that we are being heard because of the costly grace in which we stand. This is the one principle of prayer that makes it possible to be heard by God even though no one can follow all the other guidelines and ‘rules’ as we should.” This is why, when praying in group settings where people are voicing individual prayers, I never finish my prayer with “in Jesus’s name.” I will say those words when closing a prayer time out, but still believe it is entirely unnecessary. When I pray, I am automatically praying “in Jesus’s name.”
Another question that arises is, “Are we to pray only to the Father and not to the Son or the Spirit?” Jesus does invite his disciples to pray to him. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14) However, in the model prayer that we have recently finished going through, Jesus taught the disciples to pray to our Father. Though we are surely not expected to repeat only those words, “the initial direction must be taken seriously.” There are few other times in the New Testament where Jesus is prayed to direction. “While it is not at all improper to address the Son or the Spirit, ordinarily prayer will be addressed to the Father with gratitude to the Son and dependence on the Spirit.”
J.I. Packer says it this way: “‘I pray to the Father through the mediation of the Son and the enabling of the Holy Spirit. I may speak also to the Son and the Spirit directly when this is appropriate: that is, when I am praying about something that Scripture specified as the direct concern of either.'”
Father, I thank you that I am able to pray in Jesus’s name. I thank you for the sacrifice that enables me to do so. I thank you for the calling that enables me to do so. And I thank you for the gift of the Spirit that keeps me empowered to do so. May I remember these things, every time I pray, and have confidence that you hear me because of the presence of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, and for no other reason.
I pray for this day, that our travel to work may be safe. I pray for the work day, that it will go smoothly, and that you would, by your Spirit, empower us to share your kingdom. I pray for Christi, as she bowls, this evening, that she might not hurt herself more. I also pray for relief from the other various pains that she experiences. May you show Stephanie your great love today, and give her wisdom and understanding for her life. I pray you show your love and light to Rachel and Justin, giving them grace to do whatever is needed for their lives today. Give grace and wisdom to my mother as she teaches her Bible study, this morning.
I also lift up a home town friend, Mark, who has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. May you bring healing to his body and comfort to his family.
Come, Lord Jesus.
If you are a true child of God, remember . . . every time you open your mouth to pray, you are praying in Jesus’s name.
Grace and peace, friends.