The Chief Aim of Prayer

Today is Wednesday, the 26th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,603


Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
(Psalms 119:2-3 ESV)
Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, stand at our side and protect us in all our days on earth. Grant us an understanding of the honor that belongs to God. Help us see that you are sent so that heaven and earth shall one day bow down before God's almighty will. Stand by us so that we may hear, understand, and accept your Word. Stand by us all our lives. Be with us in suffering and in our last hour when death comes to us. May your grace be with us. Help us at all times to be firmly rooted in the will of our God and Father in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
(John 17:11 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for Jesus’s prayer for unity among His followers of the future
  2. for the blessing, honor, glory, and power that belongs to our Lord
  3. for the great compassion that God has for us
  4. that the chief aim of prayer is the glorification of God
  5. that Jesus intercedes for us

I love the LORD, because he has heard 
my voice and my pleas for mercy. 
Because he inclined his ear to me, 
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
(Psalms 116:1-2 ESV)
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; 
our God is merciful. 
The LORD preserves the simple; 
when I was brought low, he saved me. 
Return, O my soul, to your rest; 
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 

For you have delivered my soul from death, 
my eyes from tears, 
my feet from stumbling; 
I will walk before the LORD i
n the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:5-9 ESV)
What shall I render to the LORD 
for all his benefits to me? 
I will lift up the cup of salvation 
and call on the name of the LORD, 
I will pay my vows to the LORD 
in the presence of all his people.
(Psalms 116:12-14 ESV)

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,”
(Exodus 34:6 NIV)

As a father has compassion on his children, 
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 
for he knows how we are formed, 
he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalms 103:13-14 NIV)

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
(Romans 9:15 NIV)

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
(Luke 22:31-32 NIV)

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(Romans 8:34 ESV)

Time is short, this morning. I want to briefly focus on the majesty of God. Yet, in His majesty, He is compassionate toward us. As He passes in front of Moses, who is hidden in the cleft of the rock, He declares about Himself, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

All glory and honor and power belong to Him. As Handel’s Messiah sings, “Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto Him, be unto Him!” He is worthy of all of our praise and worship.

And yet, He is compassionate. He loves us. He desires fellowship with us. He knows our human condition; He remembers that we are dust, and that we will stumble. Yet He picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us back on the right path.

To help us along, Jesus, the Son, sits at His right hand, interceding for us. He prayed for Simon, that his faith would not fail. He prays for us, as well. He prayed for all of us in John 17, in the “high priestly prayer.” He continues to pray for us today. And when we pray, we participate in His life.

“Prayer is participating on earth in the life of Christ in heaven.” (Andrew Murray)

And the chief aim of our prayers should be that God be glorified.

Father, thank You for the prayers of Jesus for us! It is great comfort to me to know that He intercedes for us at Your right hand. It is great comfort to me to know that You remember that I am merely dust. Thank You for hearing our prayers. By right, You don’t have to do that. You are the Creator. All glory and power and majesty belong to You. I praise You for Your compassion.

May all of my prayers have the aim of Your glory.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Mind Your Own Business!

Today is Tuesday, the 25th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May you find the peace of Christ in your heart today!

Day 23,602


Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)

Lord our God, grant that our spirit may recognize your Spirit and your love, so that our lives cannot be swallowed up by passing concerns but are lifted to something higher. Help us hold fast to all the blessings you have allowed us to experience, the blessings you will certainly continue to give, even though new battles and new troubles are all around us. Send a great light to shine among the many people whose task is to lead the way so that your kingdom may come. Send light so that your name may be honored through our human deeds and you may be known as life for all. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 
John 8:12, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the Light of the world, the Light of life
  2. that our God is in the heavens, and does all that He pleases (Psalm 115)
  3. for the biblical admonitions to be patient, to be silent, and to be slow to anger; Father, please make this come to pass in Your children!
  4. that Paul tells us to mind our own business! (1 Thessalonians 4)
  5. for allergy meds; seriously, ’tis the season

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
(1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV, emphasis added)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, 
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 

Why should the nations say, 
"Where is their God?" 
Our God is in the heavens;
 he does all that he pleases.
(Psalms 115:1-3 ESV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to keep silence . . . 
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
(Proverbs 17:28 ESV)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
(James 1:19 ESV, emphasis added)

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.
(Mark 9:7 ESV, emphasis added)

“If you keep silent before God and give Him time, He will leave within you impressions that will be as the rays of His glory shining in you.” (Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

I waited patiently for the LORD; 
he inclined to me and heard my cry. . . . 
He put a new song in my mouth, 
a song of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear, 
and put their trust in the LORD. 
(Psalms 40:1. 3 ESV)

It appears that the topic of the day must be being patient, silent, and being slow to anger.

It starts up there in 1 Thessalonians, as Paul admonishes the people to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs.” Isn’t it odd that I don’t hear this preached about very often? I mean, right here in the Bible, Paul tells us to mind our own business!! And to live quietly.

Instead, when I look around me, I see of lot of loud, noisy, meddling.

The trend continues in Ecclesiastes. Listed in all of the things for which there is a time and a season is “a time to keep silence.” Admittedly, yes, there is a time to speak. But it may not be an accident that silence is written first. In truth, do we even have a right to speak if we have not first listened?

How often, in conversation, do you spend the time, while the other person is talking, thinking about what you are going to say next, rather than truly listening to what they are saying. Even worse, how often do we interrupt each other?? I am guilty, I know. It is a hard habit to break.

The writer of Proverbs tells us that a fool who manages to keep quiet is thought of as wise. And our brother James instructs us to be quick to hear (listen) slow to speak (keep silence), and then he adds “slow to anger.” Oh, dang. That James is a real meddler, isn’t he?

Once again, I see the opposite when I look around. Social media outlets are full of loud, angry “Christians.”

I added the verse from Mark, myself. After Jesus was transfigured and the disciples had blurted out their say (because they just had to say something, right?), that voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”


That means stop talking. Be quick to hear, slow to speak.

Wait patiently for the Lord. It’s okay to pray, sure. But wait patiently, and, when applicable, quietly, silently. Stop talking and listen. That is what meditation and contemplation are for. The essence of those two disciplines are silence, which can, itself, be a spiritual discipline.

The reward is worth it. Andrew Murray left out verse 2, and I think it’s part of the reward, as well.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, 
out of the miry bog, 
and set my feet upon a rock, 
making my steps secure.
(Psalms 40:2 ESV)

This is the result of waiting, of patience, of living quietly. That, and the new song in our mouths, a song of praise to our God.

“True patience is so foreign to our self-sufficient nature, yet so indispensable to our waiting on God.” (Andrew Murray, Waiting on God, quoted in Power in Prayer)

“In waiting on God, it is important that we submit not because we are forced to, but because we want to be in the hands of our blessed Father.” (ibid)

Father, I have always had trouble keeping quiet. When I was in grade school, I kept getting separated from the rest of the class because I couldn’t stop talking. Do I really love the sound of my own voice that much? Or do I truly believe that what I have to say is so important?

Nothing is more important than listening to You. And it is impossible to listen when my mouth is running amok. Please help me to obey the admonitions of brothers Paul and James. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and dear God, please help me to be slow to anger. I have gotten better at that in recent years, but I still find myself getting angry over the most ridiculous things. Subway or Sonic got my order wrong. Again! How dare they not be perfect!!!

Grace, Father. Help me to display the same grace that You have displayed to me and all the saints. I cannot be perfect, I know. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

I pray for the patience to wait on You as Scripture teaches. I know the dangers of praying for patience. It’s like praying to have faith increased. As soon as one prays for something like that, one should be prepared for immediate testing. But, in this case, I am praying for the ability to patiently wait on You, and to do so by honoring silence. I believe silence can be sacred. So help me to observe that, and to obey Your commands to us.

I also pray that we would do a better job of minding our own business. We seem to be working real hard to create laws to keep people from doing whatever we disagree with. And we are loudly and angrily expressing our opinions while doing so. I believe this harms the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us to get back in focus, Lord, to do the things that are really important, which is love You and loving others. Help us to trust You with the rest of it.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Oh How I Love Your Law”

Today is Monday, the 24th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May you know the peace of Christ, that passes all understanding, today!

Day 23,601


Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that with our poor, faulty, sinful, and death-ridden lives we may find shelter in your love. We thank you that we are your children. We thank you that whatever we are, however depressed we are about ourselves and the inadequacy of our own nature, we are still your children. Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Holy Spirit, penetrating our whole nature, our flesh and blood, keeping us firm in faith under all temptation and distress. Give us your Spirit to fill us with hope as we look to the future, to fill us with certainty in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come, whose victory is before our eyes so that we never waver or become afraid. Give us your Spirit so that we may live in this certainty and prepare ourselves more and more for your coming into the world. May we come to know that your loving-kindness is at work today, that in the end your deliverance will come quickly, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. 
John 16:27, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. new “adventures” in worship and faith
  2. that, in spite of our faults and inadequaces, we are still children of God
  3. for the Holy Spirit, who helps keep us firm in our faith
  4. that the Lord is a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3)
  5. for Psalm 119

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. 

Ah, the thunder of many peoples; they thunder like the thundering of the sea! Ah, the roar of nations; they roar like the roaring of mighty waters! The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm. At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.
(Isaiah 17:10-14 ESV)
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, 
at the presence of the God of Jacob, 
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
(Psalms 114:7-8 ESV)

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
(Psalms 3:3 ESV)

The stone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone. 
This is the LORD's doing; 
it is marvelous in our eyes. 
This is the day that the LORD has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Save us, we pray, O LORD!
 O LORD, we pray, give us success! 

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! 
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
(Psalms 118:22-26 ESV)

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
(Philippians 4:5 ESV)

“We must understand how our communion with the Father is conditioned by the active and personal presence and working of the Lord Jesus. It takes time to become fully conscious of the need we have of Him in every approach to God. But we can have confidence in the work that He is doing in us and assurance of His intimate love and presence as we make intercession.

“So too the Holy Spirit, working in the depth of our heart, is the One who is able to reveal the Son within us. Through Him alone we have the power to know what and how to pray. Through Him we have the assurance that our prayer has been accepted.

“Dear Christian, it is in tarrying in the secret of God’s presence that you receive grace to abide in Christ and to be led by His Spirit. What food for thought–and worship!”

(Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Oh how I love your law! 
It is my meditation all the day. 

Consider how I love your precepts! 
Give me life according to your steadfast love. 

My soul keeps your testimonies;
 I love them exceedingly. 
(Psalms 119:97, 159, 167 ESV)
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, 
to keep your righteous rules.
(Psalms 119:106 ESV)

Psalm 119. It’s the longest chapter in the Bible, in the midst of the longest book in the Bible. If you took a standard Bible, with no concordance or extra material in the back, and opened it up in the exact center, you would be very close to this chapter. You might find yourself in Psalm 119, depending on the version you have.

I have long said that I do not think it to be coincidence that the Psalms are in the middle of the Bible. Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to it as the “Prayerbook of the Bible.” I love the Psalms, and it has been my favorite book of the Bible for many years.

Psalm 119 is an incredible chapter, the more I learn about it. Long ago, I learned that it is an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet. Naturally, that doesn’t show up in our English translations. But it is divided into sections of eight verses each. Each section is headed up by a letter of the alphabet, and I have read that every verse in that section begins with that letter. For example, here are the first eight verses.


Blessed are those whose way is blameless, 
who walk in the law of the LORD! 
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! 
Then I shall not be put to shame, 
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 
I will praise you with an upright heart, 
when I learn your righteous rules. 
I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
(Psalms 119:1-8 ESV)

Here is a screenshot of that segment in Hebrew and English, side by side.

Considering that Hebrew is read from right to left, you can see (I realize it is small, but maybe it will enlarge if you click on it) that each verse begins with the same letter.

Don’t misunderstand me . . . I am far from an expert in Hebrew. I’m not even a “rank amateur.” I just know how to look stuff up.

Another thing that I find fascinating about Psalm 119 is that, out of 176 verses, almost every single verse refers to the Word of God, in some fashion. It might be called precepts, commandments, or law, or any number of other designations.

So what we have here, besides being rather artistic in nature, is a huge work of homage to the Word of God, the very book in which it finds itself in the center.

Andrew Murray has also noticed this. “Those who would like to know how to study the Bible according to God’s will ought to make a careful study of Psalm 119.” (Murray, The Believer’s Daily Renewal, quoted in Power in Prayer) “The Word of God becomes a rich and inexhaustible basis for holding communion with God.” (ibid)

As we meditate on God’s Word, His promises, commands, and precepts, as indicated in Psalm 119, we become more dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit within us, as He reveals Christ to us and in us, as the previous quote by Murray says. We learn more of this God, before whom Psalm 114 tells us to tremble.

I wonder when the last time any of us trembled before God Almighty.

I know it’s been far too long for me.

Heh. I just remembered an old, old commercial for Wolf Brand Chili (still my favorite canned chili), in which an old cowboy says, “Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steamin’ bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Heheh. Well, that’s too long.”

One more quote from Murray (in case you can’t tell, I rather like him). “Begin to work into your morning prayers the devotional life found in this Psalm. Let God’s Word lead you into communion with God every day and before everything else.”

That’s why I’m here, writing this blog, every day.

Father, while I can’t claim to love Your Word as much as the psalmist who penned Psalm 119, I do love Your Word. I love it all, but I especially love the “prayerbook” in the center. And I love Psalm 119, which speaks of one particular psalmist’s own love for Your Word. Thank You for this lengthy discourse on Your Word, Father. Help me to, once again, make it a daily part of my life, going forward.

Help me to love Your law, and meditate on it daily! Help me to love Your precepts, and by them, know and revel in the love that You have for me! Help me to love and obey Your testimonies, Your “righteous rules.”

May these words lead me into intimate communion with You, daily. May these words also lead me into more of a relationship with You, that causes me to tremble in both reverent awe and adoration. I love You, Lord. May that be reflected in everything I do.

Thank You for being a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Help me to make my “reasonableness” be known to everyone. Help me to always be gentle with all people, and to love all people as Christ has loved me.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Persistent Prayer

Today is Sunday, the 23rd of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ embrace your soul, today!

Day 23,600


Lord our God, Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who encourages and strengthens us in all distress, we thank you for turning our suffering into a pathway to life, so that we may be thankful and trusting through everything. You can change what we find hardest into what is best for us. Praise to your name that a way through sin and death is given to us. Praise to your name that you have shown us a way through all evil, a way that is blest. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that the Lord turns suffering and hard things into what is best for us
  2. that the Lord comforts us in our troubles, that we, in turn, may comfort others
  3. that the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working; may I be that righteous person (James 5:16)
  4. that we are worth more, to our Father, than “many sparrows” (Matthew 10)
  5. for new opportunities in worship and service

The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; 
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
(Psalms 28:7 ESV)

Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! 

Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! 
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised! 

The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! 
Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, 
who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? 
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, 
to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. 
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 113:1-9 ESV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 ESV)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
(Psalms 56:3-4 ESV)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31 ESV)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
(John 14:1 ESV)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 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 5:16-18 ESV)

When I was in Junior High, I played football. If you know me, you know how funny that is. I was always on the “B” team, and played what was called “split end,” back then. I believe that position is referred to as “wide receiver,” these days. I wasn’t very fast, but I could catch the ball. I never made a touchdown, but I got inside the five yard line once. I was also the punter. I got to do that quite a bit, and was fairly good at it. My football career was short-lived, though, because I was in the band, and being in the band and playing football in high school were things that didn’t really mix well. That, and I wasn’t really good enough.

But, in playing football, there were always guys that were much bigger than me. And, to be sure, when facing them on the field, I was afraid. Our coaches, who were able to get away with stuff for which they would be instantly fired in 2022, mocked any semblance of fear. And they’re mantra, when you were afraid of someone who was bigger than you, was, “he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you do.”

In retrospect, that is pretty asinine.

But, guess what! James tells us pretty much the same thing about Elijah in his passage on prayer. First he tells us that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful. It’s not hard to remember the old KJV of that verse, which I memorized decades ago. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Then James reminds us that Elijah was a man, just like us. Of course, Elijah probably didn’t wear “pants.” I don’t think they had pants back then.

The different versions are interesting, in verse 17.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
(James 5:17 NIV)

The ESV says that he was a man “with a nature like ours,” the KJV says “subject to like passions as we are,” and the NLT almost says the same as the NIV, “human as we are.”

And, while I might disagree that Elijah was “just like me,” I can see the point. He was human. He was not a “god,” he was not an angel, he was not “superman.” He was human, which meant that he had the same passions and desires that a normal human being has. Yet, he prayed and God listened.

The key in all of this, I believe, is walking uprightly, or, being “righteous.” Now, it is said that we have no righteousness of our own, which is true. But this is referring to salvation, which cannot be accomplished without the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

We can walk in “righteousness” or “sanctification,” which means we do our best to avoid sin, to resist temptation and those passions and desires that all men have that are not godly. These are things that come through what we call Spiritual Disciplines, or Spiritual Formation. In other words, we have to practice at it.

I guess the bottom line is, if you are living in the normal passions and desires of a human being, and allowing them to hold sway over your life, your prayers will not be very effective. Make no mistake, God’s will will be done, with our without us and our prayers. But there may come a time, just as it did for Elijah, when that thing that is going to happen depends on us and our prayers.

That’s a heavy responsibility. Can prayer change God’s mind? That, beloved, is a subject deeper than the darkest part of the ocean, and I do not pretend to understand it. On the one hand, Scriptures says that God does not change His mind, and, on the other hand, there are indications that He can be swayed by our prayers.

Andrew Murray insists that, once we have prayed, believing, as Jesus taught us, that we will receive what we have prayed for, then we need to keep on praying, being persistent in prayer. Elijah prayed seven times for that rain. “We, if we believe the promise of God without doubting, shall pray until we receive the answer.” (Murray)

Father, I thank You for prayer. I am grateful that You do listen to our prayers. I am also grateful for the way in which You “speak” to me through these devotions. I never know exactly where it’s going to end up when I start typing and reading. Scriptures come from various sources, and the Holy Spirit directs me in my thinking and meditations. There are days when I think it’s going down one path, but, before I know it, it is heading down a totally different path. I love that about You and the Holy Spirit.

I pray, Father, that I would be quick to confess my sins to You. I am not perfect, far from it, but I do not make excuses for my sins. Not being perfect is no excuse for sin. I am still a sinful man, still driven, sometimes, by those passions and desires. Help me to be righteous in my walk with You in Your Kingdom, that my prayers might be “effectual” and “avail much.” I desire no glory in being recognized for praying. I desire Your glory when things happen because of prayer.

When I pray for healing, I desire it to happen, first, for You to be glorified in all the earth, and, second, for the well-being of the person for whom I have prayed. I desire righteousness not so that I can be seen as righteous. If anything, I desire to be seen as merely human. I desire righteousness so that my prayers will be heard and be effective. I also pray that I will be persistent, as called for. Let me not give up in praying for people.

I thank You that You are trustworthy. I know that, when I am afraid, I can trust in You. Of course, if that be the case, why am I afraid? This seems to go around in circles. I am afraid, because I am human, and sometimes the flesh wins out.

Thank You, Father, that You are able to turn all of the “hard things” into blessings for us. I thank You that my anxieties, when experienced, always turn out to be silly and useless, because You are trustworthy.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God, my Father,
You have promised to remain forever with those
who do what is just and right.
Help me to live in Your presence.
The loving plan of Your Wisdom was made known when
Jesus, your Son, became man like us.
I want to obey His commandment of love
and bring Your peace and joy to others.
Keep before me the wisdom and love
You have made known in Your Son.
Help me to be like Him in word and deed.

(Prayer to Live in God’s Presence)

Grace and peace, friends.

Of Conspiracies, Fear, and Love

Today is Thursday, the 20th of October, 2022, in the 29th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ enfold you, today!

Day 23,597


Lord our God, we gather together in your presence and ask you to let your light shine in our hearts to strengthen us in times of need and trouble. May we come to know that through all the storms and distress of the world, you are mighty in protecting and sheltering those who trust in you. May we realize the power of your kingdom. Even if all the kingdoms of the world rise in rebellion, you are with us. You are with those who have set their hope on your kingdom and who go on hoping that even in evil days something must happen through your great and holy rule. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
 let all the people of the world revere him. 
For he spoke, and it came to be; 
he commanded, and it stood firm. 
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; 
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
(Psalms 33:8-10 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for poetry and poets, those who can put words together so beautifully
  2. for this moment, for it is all I truly have; Lord help me to be with You in this moment
  3. for the fullness of love in Christ
  4. for the guidance of Christ, in the Holy Spirit
  5. for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through whom we can overcome the world

Where I Need to Be, by Daryl Madden

Feeling overwhelmed
With so much to do
Not sure where to start
All these tasks to get through

Thinking of the future
In the hope of “someday”
When I’m in control
All will go my way

Or thoughts of the past
Where all was easy
Of the good old ole days
To live life, simply

A prayer to my Lord
And He says to me
Take me to this moment
It’s where I need to be

The last two lines say it all. This moment is where I need to be, and it is where I need God with me. This moment is all I really have. Yesterday is irretrievably gone; tomorrow is unattainably in the future. I only have now. And now is where I need to be.

Please visit Daryl’s site at the link provided.

To Love Means, by Daryl Madden

To love means loving
The unlovable
To forgive means pardoning
The unpardonable

Faith means believing
The unbelievable.
Hope means hoping
In the unattainable

Humility means knowing
We’re incapable
Grace is receiving
The unachievable

Joy is the blessing
Of His gifts sharable
Peace means trusting
In the unfathomable

I don’t think I’ve ever shared two in the same day, but this second one was so good that I felt compelled. I believe this poem sums up the Gospel quite well. Thank you, Daryl!

For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”
(Isaiah 8:11-15 ESV)

If I take the wings of the morning 
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me, 
and your right hand shall hold me.
(Psalms 139:9-10 ESV)

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalms 27:1 ESV)

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD;
 my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 
Even the sparrow finds a home, 
and the swallow a nest for herself, 
where she may lay her young, at your altars, 
O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
 in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 
As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; 
the early rain also covers it with pools. 
They go from strength to strength; 
each one appears before God in Zion. 
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; 
give ear, O God of Jacob! 

Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. 
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God 
than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
 the LORD bestows favor and honor. 
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
(Psalms 84:1-12 ESV)

Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
(1 John 5:5-6 ESV)

There are many conspiracies in our land. Regardless of which “side” you are on, there are conspiracies abounding. I’m not going to list them, primarily because of that passage from Isaiah. To list them would be to validate them. And none of them have any validity. None of them.

Why do I say “none of them?” Because of that very passage that instructs us, essentially, to pay them no mind. Right on the heels of that, Isaiah says that the Lord says to not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. “But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

In addition to being my fear and my dread, the Lord shall be my guide. He is my light and my salvation. And then what? Again, “whom shall I fear . . . of whom shall I be afraid?” Not the things that the conspiracy people fear. Only God shall I fear. And only God will I look to to be my guide.

This is, of course, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. No matter where I am, according to Psalm 139, the Lord, His right hand, shall lead me. When I don’t know where I am going, He will lead me. When I don’t know what I am doing, He will lead me.

This is conditional, of course. Not 100% conditional, however. I have known God’s hand to lead me, even when I was mired in the pits of sinfulness. But that was a different kind of leadership.

The condition for the powerful kind of leading/guiding, requires faithful, unceasing prayer. (You saw that coming, right?)

Why do we not see more people with joy in the Spirit, being powerful witnesses of the Gospel of Christ, in the Church? “Some will acknowledge that the hindrance undoubtedly lies in the fact that the church is under the sway of the flesh and the world. They understand too little of the heart-changing power of the cross of Christ. Because of this, the Spirit does not have vessels into which He can pour His fullness.” (Andrew Murray)

You see that? The Spirit must have willing vessels; vessels that are not entrenched in conspiracy theories and fearing men rather than God. He must have vessels that have not aligned themselves with the policies and plans of worldly leaders.

But the Spirit is more than willing to guide us. The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every person who calls on the name of Jesus. This is not something that comes later, through some kind of mystical “baptism,” in spite of popular opinion. But the power of the Spirit only comes through a life of private prayer, through “self-denial, taking up your cross daily, and losing your life in order to follow” Christ. (Murray)

I confess that I am still, myself, lacking in this area. Yes, I do pray a bit, probably more than many folks. But is it enough?

Is it ever enough?

That is not a guilt trip. I don’t walk around with a sad face, thinking, “I should be praying more.” I don’t believe God wants that, either. That is a form of shaming, and I fully believe shame to be one of our enemy’s biggest tools.

But first and foremost, believing that Jesus is the Son of God is the main component in this. The verse in 1 John 5 tells us this. Who can overcome the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That is the key.

And I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, I have everything I need to overcome the world and live a godly life. What does living a godly life look like?

Love. Plain and simple. Sure, I could list a lot of things, like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, freeing people from oppression, caring for refugees, widows, and orphans, and freely giving away my resources that are not truly mine, but the Lord’s.

But all of that boils down to love. If I love the Lord with my whole being and love my neighbor as myself, I will be doing any of those things for which I have opportunity.

Father, there is so much to be thankful for, today. I thank You for Your guidance in my life, through all my life. I thank You for the guidance with which You rescued me when I was drowning in the pits of sin. I thank You for Your guidance when I was more faithfully following You. I pray for more guidance today, as I consider the future (not spending too much time on that, because I recognize the need to be fully present in this moment). When I don’t know where I am going or what I am doing, please guide me by Your Spirit.

Please, also, make me more faithful in prayer and devotion, taking up my cross, that I might be fully following Your Son, and, thereby, overcoming the world, all its conspiracies, all its plans, all of its fears, and all of its dread. I know and acknowledge that, in You, through the Son, and by the Spirit, I have nothing to fear, nothing to dread. Even if I find myself in the darkest of places, You will be my light and my salvation! “Whom, then, shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid??”

Hallelujah, my God! “Guide me, O though great Jehovah!” I am, indeed, a pilgrim, wandering through a foreign land. My citizenship is in Your Kingdom, not on this earth. Make me stronger in You, more resistant to the conspiracies, fears, and dreads of this world. Truly, a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Lord Waits for Us

Today is Wednesday, the 19th of October, 2022, in the 29th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ flood your soul today!

Day 23,596 (the number of days since I was born)

I slept in today, until almost 8:30, so I’m a little later getting started.


O Lord God, grant us your Spirit, that we may comprehend your peace. As we pray, help us to recognize what must come from you alone, for you are mighty and holy and your will is peace on earth. Your will is peace beyond all understanding, your peace in heaven and on earth and under the earth, your peace that opposes all sin and death and takes away every evil that can be named. We await you, O Lord our God, and you will hear us. No matter how long the battle lasts, we hold out in patience, for we are your children. We shall never lose the faith that your name shall be honored and that all things shall come into harmony with your will of peace on earth, your peace. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
Then the peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.
 Philippians 4:7, NEB

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the peace of God, truly beyond our utmost understanding
  2. that the ultimate will of God is peace
  3. for knowledge; specifically knowledge of God and His kingdom
  4. for the promises of God and that He waits, eagerly, for us to ask Him
  5. for the possibility of witnessing the power of God at work

Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her. Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.
(Isaiah 5:13-17 ESV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
(Matthew 7:7 NIV)

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
(Isaiah 65:24 NIV)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 NIV)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
(Ephesians 6:18 NIV)

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
(Acts 4:29-31 ESV)

The passage in Isaiah says that God’s people will wind up being exiled because of “lack of knowledge.” What is knowledge?

One definition says, “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” A philosophical definition says, “true, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion.”

There is a difference between knowledge and information. Information, by definition, is similar to knowledge. “Facts provided or learned about something or someone.” The difference may be subtle, but it’s there. Knowledge, it says, is acquired by “experience or education,” and involves “understanding of a subject.” Information is nothing more than a list of facts. You can have information without understanding. You can have information without experience or even education.

Knowledge comes from experience and study. You can get information from an Internet search. Information can be dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced and uneducated.

God’s people, Isaiah says, will wind up in exile because of lack of knowledge.

Another way we can get knowledge is to ask for it. Acquiring knowledge can come through prayer, just like a lot of things can come through prayer. Jesus tells to ask, seek, and knock, all of which provide positive results, and all of which can happen in prayer.

The Bible also tells us that God seems to be waiting for us to do this. In fact, He is waiting so eagerly that He will start answering before we are finished! We are told, in Ephesians, to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no “formula” for effective prayer. You can ACTS if you want to, it won’t hurt anything. What is ACTS?


Or you can P.R.A.Y. That one should be easier to remember, huh? It stands for:


Personally, if one must use a formula, I think the P.R.A.Y. one is better. But, once again, I insist that neither one of those gets you any kind of “edge” with God.

Paul tells us that we are to pray with all kinds of prayers. What if you are out driving, on the way to work, perhaps, and you remember a need that someone has, maybe it’s even urgent. You don’t have to go through one of those formulas to pray.

“Oh. I need to pray for so-and-so. But first I have to adore, then I have to confess, then I have to be thankful, and then, and only then, can I ask for this one thing for this person.”

Hopefully, one can see how ridiculous this sounds.

God hears and responds to the momentary blurted out prayer that comes randomly, just as much as He hears the prayer that comes after doing the above things (once again, there is nothing at all wrong about doing those things).

The example of prayer from the book of Acts comes from Andrew Murray’s book, Power in Prayer (a book of excerpts from his other writings). This is, to our modern eyes, an extreme example of the results of prayer. I must confess that I have never felt the room shake in any of our prayer or worship gatherings. Is God any less responsive to us today? What are we doing wrong? Are we doing anything wrong?

For one thing, I believe that the church at large is seriously lacking in knowledge. It has a lot of “information.” It has, apparently, even more opinions, which have about as much value as a wooden nickel. Maybe less. But it seems to be, in general, lacking knowledge. And it may be on a collision course with “exile.” And for the record, I am speaking of the church in this country. I can’t really speak for it anywhere else in the world.

Murray says, “The help of God is as necessary now as it was then. . . . The divine promises are also for us. It is nowhere found in the Bible that this promise was not for future times. In all ages God’s people need to know that the Lord is with them and to possess the irrefutable proof of it. The promise is for us; let us pray for its fulfillment.”

And, let us pray to see God’s power at work within us, as He worked through the people in Acts.

Father, I pray for knowledge, specifically of You, to be more extensive in our world, and in Your Church. We seem to be trying to get by on more opinion and information than true knowledge. There are many of us, I know, who would love to see more evidence of Your power in our world, today. We would love to see a room shake when we pray; we would love to see chains of oppression released when we pray; we desire to see healing, hunger be relieved, all kinds of slavery to cease, for refugees to be protected, for the naked to be clothed . . . all of these things.

Certainly, we can be active in providing some resources for these needs, and we have been. But we would also desire to see Your hand at work in all circumstances in this world.

I’m not saying that we don’t see Your hand at work. Rather, I’m asking that we would pray in ways that would bring about the power of Your Gospel in this land, in this world. In short, we want to feel the room shake with the power of Your Holy Spirit. May He dwell within us in power. I believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within every child of Yours, from the time that we become believers. But the power isn’t always there, and it’s usually because we aren’t doing something quite right, or, perhaps, our minds are not set on You. Perhaps we are not loving You with our whole being; perhaps we are too self-centered, and not considering others as more significant than ourselves. Help us to have understanding, Father.

Paul tells us to keep on praying for all of Your people. May we be faithful, may I be faithful to do this, Father.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Rejoice always, 
pray continually, 
give thanks in all circumstances;
 for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
Do not quench the Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Keeper

Today is Thursday, the thirteenth of October, 2022, in the 28th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,590


Dear Father in heaven, we come before you as your children, longing to be assured through your Spirit that we are and may remain your children. We long to live to the glory of your name under the shelter and guidance of the Lord Jesus in expectation of the great day which shall fulfill all promises made to us. Strengthen us, especially in dark and troubled days. Help us when danger threatens and when evil tries to make headway among us. Deliver us from all evil, for yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir. 
Galatians 4:6–7, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. that I am a son and an heir of God
  2. for whatever God is going to show me, today
  3. that the Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)
  4. that Jesus “breaks the power of canceled sin” (Charles Wesley)
  5. for God’s power to keep us

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
(John 3:17-18 ESV)

This makes me wonder . . . if God didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, then why are there so many “Christians” who feel it is their duty to do so??

Praise the LORD! 
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
 for his steadfast love endures forever! 
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, 
or declare all his praise? 
Blessed are they who observe justice, 
who do righteousness at all times!
(Psalms 106:1-3 ESV)

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV)

The LORD is my light and my salvation; 
whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; 
of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalms 27:1 ESV)

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
(Luke 1:76-79 ESV)

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing, stanzas 9-12

Jesus! The name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life and health, and peace!

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.

He speaks, and listening to his voice
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf, his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your Savior come,
and leap, ye lame, for joy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)

“O God, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be made.” (Robert Murray M’Cheyne)

“The keeper of our souls is watching over us; our Father delights to reveal himself to us. He has the power to let the sunshine of His love guide us throughout the day.” (Andrew Murray)

“The keeper of our souls . . .” This is the lesson for today. It winds itself through passages of Scripture shared from unrelated sources. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

The Lord goes before me; He will not leave or forsake me. I need not fear. He keeps me; He keeps my inheritance in heaven. If I embrace these truths, I literally have nothing to fear. Every fear that I have is unfounded, baseless.

The “sunrise” has visited us from on high, the “sunshine of His love” has shined upon us, able to guide us through every day.

And, o, the words of that hymn by Wesley! Words that I didn’t know existed until a few days ago, and words that I am quite familiar with, as well. The ninth stanza I am well familiar with.

Jesus! The name that charms our fears, 
that bids our sorrows cease; 
'tis music in the sinner's ears, 
'tis life and health, and peace! 

I find it interesting that the word is “charms” in Wesley’s original. I remember singing “calms,” back in my youth. And for some reason, “our” was changed to “my” in both of the first two lines. I rather like “charms,” as it has more of a meaning of controlling. The snake charmer doesn’t just “calm” the snake; he controls it. If I allow it, Jesus will control my fears.

His name is powerful; it charms my fears; it ceases my sorrows; it is music in my ears, the name of Jesus; and it is “life and health, and peace!”

The work of the Holy Trinity is keeping me.

And, to top it off, here are some words of Jesus, regarding that “keeping.”

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:27-30 ESV)

Father, I thank You for your ability to keep me. I also thank You for the inheritance that is kept in heaven for me, where it cannot perish or fade or be corrupted.

I believe that I am secure in You; that “no one is able to snatch” me out of Your hands, including myself. I’ve done some stupid things in my life, things that, if any of us humans were running things, would have disqualified me.

But we are not running things, You are. You are God, we are not. And that is a good thing; that is a beautiful and wonderful thing. The truth of Jesus’s words do not free me to do whatever I please; rather they comfort me when I do stray from Your path, because I know that You will bring me back; You will never leave me or forsake me; I have nothing to fear.

You are my Keeper.

All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

My God, my Keeper
You are my light and my life
Whom, then, shall I fear?

Grace and peace, friends.

Love, Grace, and Power

Today is Wednesday, the twelfth of October, 2022, in the 28th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,589

Today is our 37th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, we both must work today. But we’re having a steak dinner tonight, to celebrate. Our “gift” to each other was the weekend at the cabin, which I will, eventually, write about. But I am short on time, this morning.


Lord our God, we thank you for the great light you send throughout the world to let us know that you forgive, that no sin is too great for you to forgive. Grant that people may cry out, "Have mercy on me, O God!" Give them the spirit of prayer in their hearts to call, "Father, forgive us our sins." Send your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth and humility, and then forgive their sins. Wherever a soul is sighing, wherever someone is calling to you, hear him. May our prayers come before your throne. Hear and answer us. We have so much on our hearts that we cannot rightly express it all. We pray for others too. Father, forgive them. Clear away all the obstacles so that your judgment can be merciful toward those whom you forgive. Be with us. May we be a church community of Jesus Christ, washed in his blood, with strength to face every bitter outburst of the world's fury and still forgive. May our prayer remain, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 
Matthew 6:12, TEV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the great mercy of God, and that no sin is too great for Him to forgive
  2. for 37 years with the love of my life; may there be many more
  3. that we, as God’s children, are channels through which the love of the Father, the grace of Christ, and the power of the Spirit are manifested on earth
  4. for the ability (and desires) to look to things that are not seen (eternal), rather than things that are seen (transient)
  5. that “the Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me” (Psalm 28:7)

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! 
Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
(Psalms 143:10 ESV)

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.
(2 Corinthians 4:13-14 ESV)

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
 my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. 
My heart leaps for joy, 
and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 NIV)
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:1-11 NIV)

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing, verse 5-8 (Charles Wesley)

I felt my Lord's atoning blood
close to my soul applied;
me, me he loved, the Son of God,
for me, for me he died!

I found and owned his promise true,
ascertained of my part,
my pardon passed in heaven I knew
when written on my heart.

O for a thousand tongues to sin
my great Redeemer's praise!
The glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace.

My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.

I find it mildly amusing that we don’t get to the part most of are familiar with until the seventh stanza!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)

“God is an ever-flowing fountain of pure love and blessedness. Christ is the reservoir wherein the fullness of God was made visible as grace, and has been opened for us. The Holy Spirit is the stream of living water that flows from under the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Andrew Murray)

Such beautiful, eloquent writing! That could be a hymn, itself.

We, the children of God, believers and followers of Christ, are the channels by which all of this, “the love of the Father, the grace of Christ, and the powerful operation of the Spirit are manifested on earth and imparted to others.” (Murray)

Think of all the different opportunities we have to engage in this. We are partners with God in dispensing His grace on earth. In order to do this, we must be maintaining our spiritual relationship with the Trinity. Prayer is a huge part of this, but more than just our prayers for ourselves and our own needs. “The glory of prayer is that we have power as intercessors to bring the grace of Christ and the energizing power of the Spirit upon those that are still in darkness.” (Murray)

The more we engage in fellowship with the Trinity, the more power we have for this level of intercession. I daresay I have yet to reach that. Even in my role in intercessory prayer over the past few years, it has largely been as response to the needs of people as they have made them known.

I need to be better connected to the “reservoir,” so that the channel of Living Water may flow unhindered through! It’s like an unending circle. The more I’m connected, the more I pray, and the more I’m connected, and the more I pray. Or maybe the “better” I pray.

And, in reference to the somewhat obscure verse from 2 Corinthians, up there, this is what I believe, and therefore I speak. I can easily see that verse being misused to apply to “name-it-claim-it” philosophy (I’m not even going to dignify that by calling it “theology”), saying that if you speak it you will receive it. That’s not what the context of the verse is getting at. Paul is talking about what he is teaching the Corinthians. What he believes, he is speaking, and that belief that God raised Jesus Christ and will also raise us into His presence. He even goes so far as to talk about the physical world, saying that we do not look to things that are seen, but to things that are unseen. “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (verse 18)

As we work to fulfill our responsibility as channels of God’s love, Christ’s grace, and the Spirit’s power, let us look to things that are not seen, rather than the physical things of this world. Let us focus on the Holy Trinity, and our intimacy in relationship to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Father, I thank You that You give me the ability to “speak” what I believe, in this forum. I thank You that You have directed my heart and my desires toward things that are not seen, rather than things that are seen. I still struggle with the things that are seen, but not like I used to, as You worked wonders in my, by Your Spirit.

I pray for all of Your children, the Church, the Body of Christ, as we work to be channels of Your love, Jesus’s grace, and the Spirit’s power, dispensing them in this world, without prejudice, to all people. I pray that we will do a better job of not doing things out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Help us to consider others as more significant than ourselves, and help us to have the mind of Christ, who did not try to hold onto heaven, but submitted to becoming human, that He might live for us and die for us.

All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

(St. Teresa of Avila)

Grace and peace, friends.

Seeking and Waiting

Today is Tuesday, the eleventh of October, 2022, in the 28th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart today!

Day 23,588

You may notice I have changed the title of my blog. After all these years, I have decided to change it to “Spaces of Beauty, Grace, Prayer, and Mercy.” Not that I think my blog is beautiful (not by any stretch of the imagination). Rather, I pray that it will lead all who read it into at least one of those spaces.


Dear Father in heaven, we love and honor your ways even when they are bitter ways. We long for courage and strength. Lord, help us to believe. Grant faith to the millions surrounded by death, faith that overcomes everything through utmost self-denial. Let your light shine out to bring life to the nations in the midst of all that is happening. Your light shall lead and guide us, and peace will come, a deeper peace than we have ever known. Remember each of us in all our concerns, and grant that the struggles of life may lead us to peace. If hard and bitter ways should be our lot, help us to remain steadfast, never complaining about our burdens even in the most difficult days, for through grief and trouble the way leads to you. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
Trust in the LORD and do good; 
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
Take delight in the LORD, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalms 37:3-4 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the faith that God has given me, and that He continues to give me
  2. for a wonderful weekend in Glen Rose
  3. for the possibility of deep peace in our lives
  4. for the eyewitness accounts of the life of Christ in the Bible
  5. for the amazing things that God has prepared for and does for us who wait for Him

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; 
make known his deeds among the peoples! 
Sing to him, sing praises to him; 
tell of all his wondrous works! 
Glory in his holy name; 
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! 
Seek the LORD and his strength; 
seek his presence continually! 
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
 his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, 
O offspring of Abraham, his servant, 
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
(Psalms 105:1-6 ESV)

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.
(1 John 1:1 NLT)

“O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing” is possibly Charles Wesley’s (1707-1788) best-known hymn. Did anyone know that it has 17 stanzas?? Over the next few days, I will share them, here, courtesy of Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin.

Glory to God, and praise and love
be ever, ever given,
by saints below and saints above,
the church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
of Righteousness arose,
on my benighted soul he shone
and filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
'twas then I ceased to grieve;
my second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
believed with faith divine,
power with the Holy Ghost received
to call the Savior mine.

Apparently, this hymn was written on the one-year anniversary of his conversion to Christianity.

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
(Isaiah 64:4 ESV)

The King James Version of the verse above says

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
(Isaiah 64:4 KJV)

Either way, it is more than “we who are finite beings should expect from an Almighty God.” (Andrew Murray) Indeed, what right do we have to expect anything from the Creator of the universe?? Yet, that is exactly what He wants us to do.

He wants us to wait, expectantly, to see what He has prepared for us, what He will do for us, when He acts on our behalf. “He wants us to believe and trust Him for what to us is impossible.”

I believe it was Dallas Willard’s definition of grace that went something like this: it is God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

When it comes to our prayers, we tend to be small-minded. I know, because I’ve been there (and still am, probably most of the time). I confess that I have not been guilty of praying expectantly. I also confess that, when I did, my expectations seemed to not have been met. Except that, perhaps, I was looking at things from a human perspective, rather than a divine perspective. I can’t really help that, can I?

But I need to learn, I have been gradually, slowly, learning, to wait on God, and to wait expectantly. I don’t deserve for my prayers to be answered. I have no right to expect my prayers to be answered. Except for that which is on the basis of the blood of Christ. Because I am a child of God, then, yes, perhaps I do have a right to expect His answer.

But, yet, there are conditions. I must be abiding; I must dwell in His Word and in Christ, and have Christ abiding in me. I must “take delight in the LORD” (Psalm 37:4), that He might give me the desires of my heart, which should be the desires of His heart.

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4)

Yes. That is what I must do. Seek and wait.

Father, enlarge my heart that I might seek You continually, and wait on You expectantly. I really don’t have much else to add to that. That is my desire, today, that is my prayer. And I will wait, expectantly, to see what You will do for me, what You have prepared for me.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
(Psalms 119:32 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

We Need The Whole Trinity

Today is Monday, the tenth of October, 2022, in the 28th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your soul today!

Day 23,587

Last morning in Glen Rose. We must check out by 11:00 so this might be brief.


Lord our God, we praise your name because you have set up a mercy seat on earth, because you forgive our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. May your mercy be seen at work in many hearts. Shed your light upon all people, and let your glory be known. Let your glory shine in all hearts, to the praise of your name and the deliverance of those who are still in misery. Keep us in your Word, which works miracles. Protect in us all that Jesus Christ has brought to the earth, and may we use his gifts in simplicity of heart. Grant that much may be accomplished to the glory of your name and that we may draw nearer to the day of Jesus Christ, for which we wait in hope and longing. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. 
Romans 3:23–25a, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. to be fully justified by the redemption of Jesus Christ
  2. for this space of beauty, grace, prayer, and grace
  3. for the gifts of God; may I use them well
  4. for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding
  5. for the workings of the Holy Trinity in our lives

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; 
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭104:31-35‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭56:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with goanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I don’t remember much talk about the Holy Spirit when I was growing up. Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, most of the emphasis was on evangelism, and worship services featured sermons that were either about that or the things we weren’t supposed to do. “A dancing foot never grew off of a praying knee,” and the like.

I am not belittling the pastor who said that. He was passing along things that he believed with all his heart.

Even as a young adult, there wasn’t much talk of the Spirit in our churches, except to scoff at or put down those “charismatics.” Not that they had it quite right, either, as most of their emphasis was on outward gifts of the Spirit, that made them look good and feel good about themselves . . . even if they were faking it. And, yes, the faked it. Just like some Baptists faked it.

The point is, over much of my life, the Holy Spirit has either been short-changed or over-emphasized.

Trying to understand the Trinity is a lot like trying to nail Jello to a tree. It’s pretty nigh impossible. But one thing we can understand is the love within the Trinity. On second thought, maybe we can’t. But we can try.

The Father loves the Son loves the Father loves the Spirit loves the Son and the Father . . . complicated, yes, and there is nothing like it in the whole universe. But each one of them points to the other two. All three are God, but not each other.

I’m not helping, am I?

When it comes to prayer, it is not just the Father or just Jesus or just the Spirit. We pray to the Father, through the Son, and we pray in the Spirit, who also prays through us, according to Romans 8:26-27. The entirety of the Trinity is involved in our prayers!

This is something worthy of our attention and consideration. That Psalm up there talks about trusting in “God” when I am afraid. This involves a right smart more than thinking about some “grandfatherly”figure sitting in the clouds, which I believe to be most people’s idea of God. It involves the power and love that is present in the three-in-one, the Holy Trinity.

This is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

. . . and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, . . .
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“What the Father has purposed and the Son has procured can be appropriated and take effect in the body of Christ only through the continual intervention and active operation of the Holy Spirit.” (Andrew Murray)

So much for “brief.”

We need the Holy Spirit every bit as much as we need the Father and the Son. Let’s not ignore Him or short-change Him. But let’s not over-emphasize Him, either.

Father, thank You for the Holy Spirit, and His many works in our lives, from intercession to empowerment to gifting to encouraging to comforting. How much He does for us! And how little we acknowledge Him! Forgive us, Lord!

Thank for the demonstration of love that comes out of You, the Son, and the Spirit! Please help us to mimic that love in our own lives and relationships.

Thank You for Your peace! May it reign in me today and every day!

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

"Love one another;
This is how they know you're Mine;
Love one another."
(Inspired by John 13:34-35)

Grace and peace, friends!