Strength in Prayer

“Prayer is the way that all of the things we believe in and that Christ has won for us actually become our strength.”~~Timothy Keller

Good morning. It is Saturday, September 19, 2015. Three weeks until we go to Playa del Carmen!

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is incandescent. This adjective has several meanings. It means, “white, glowing, or luminous with intense heat,” “marked by brilliance especially of expression,” “characterized by glowing zeal : ardent,” “of, relating to, or being light produced by incandescence,” or, “producing light by incandescence.” I’m particularly fond of the second one.

Today, of course, is Talk Like A Pirate Day. It happens every year on September 19. Arrr.

Something else that happens every year on September 19 is the anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins. It has been eighteen years since he was killed in an auto accident. My favorite song of his (or set of songs, perhaps), is “I See You,” which segues into “Step by Step” at the end of The World As Best As I Remember It, Vol. 1. Someone has made a beautiful video with those two songs as the background music. You can find it on You Tube.

I wound up working until 7:30 last night. Ugh. And a few people were still there, working, when I left. I really think I need to find a new job. But that’s not easy, these days, so I’ll have to stick it out until something better comes along.

I actually slept until after 9:00, this morning, which is unusual. According to my Fitbit Flex, I got nine hours and fifteen minutes of sleep! Today, we’ll do the grocery shopping, and our usual church activities. There are a few things on the agenda for tomorrow, one of which is Christi trimming my hair and beard. It’s long overdue, I must admit. I’m starting to resemble Santa Claus.

The Rangers lost to Seattle last night, but the Astros lost, as well, so the Rangers continue to be 2.5 games up in the AL West. At this point, the Wild Card race is still very close in the American League.

On this date in 1692, Giles Corey was pressed to death in the Salem witch trials. On this date in 1881, President James Garfield died of wounds suffered on July 2. In 1934, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested for the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindgergh, Jr. In 1952, the U.S. barred Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country. In 1957, the first American underground nuclear bomb test occurred. In 1959, Nikita Khrushchev was barred from visiting Disneyland. In 1970, the first Glastonbury Festival was held. In 1982, the first recorded emoticons were posted by Scott Fahlman on the Carnegie Melton University Bulletin Board System. They were 🙂 and 😦 .

Today’s birthdays include Leon Jaworski (American Watergate special prosecutor), Ferry Porsche (Austrian automobile pioneer), Sir William Golding (English writer), Duke Snider (baseball player), Adam West (American actor), Brook Benton (American singer), David McCallum (Scottish actor), Brian Epstein (English music manager, The Beatles), Paul Williams (American composer), Bill Medley (American singer/songwriter, The Righteous Brothers), Mama Cass Elliot (American musician), Freda Payne (American singer/actress), Joe Morgan (American baseball player/announcer, born in Bonhom, TX), Jeremy Irons (English actor), Twiggy (English model), Lita Ford (American musician), Ken Rosenthal (American sportswriter), Cheri Oteri (American actress/comedian), Jim Abbott (American baseball player), Jimmy Fallon (American actor/comedian), and Sara and Tegan Quin (Canadian musicians).

There are a couple of favorites of mine in the list today. Mama Cass Elliot was one of The Mamas and the Papas. She was born on this date in 1941. They had quite a few hits in their heyday, but my favorite song of theirs didn’t get a lot of airplay. It’s called “I Call Your Name.” Here’s a clip of them performing that song at the Monterrey Pop Festival. I swear Mama Cass must be high as a kite.

Adam West was born on this date in 1928, making him 87 years old today. For me, he is most famous for his role in the sixties TV show, Batman, where he, of course, played Batman. Most recently, he has played himself as the Mayor in Family Guy. Here is a short clip from one of the Batman episodes where Batman dances. You can briefly see Frank Gorshin (The Riddler) stick his head up out of a trap door in the parking lot.


Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 104:27-28.

These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

“Now if he supply wild and brute beasts with sustenance in due season, by which they are fed to the full, his blessings will doubtless be to us an inexhaustible source of plenty, provided we ourselves do not hinder it from flowing to us by our unbelief.” (p 263)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The next touchstone under “What Prayer Gives” is “Strength–Prayer as Spiritual Union with God.”

J.I. Packer writes, “Prayer is a means to energy. Spiritual alertness, vigor, and confidence are the regular spin-offs from earnest prayer on any subject. The Puritans spoke of prayer as oiling the wheels of the soul.”

As Christians, it is said that we are united with Christ. John 15 describes us as being grafted into a vine, the vine being Christ. The result is to be that we appear to be more and more like Christ, the true Vine.

In Ephesians 6, a famous passage, we are told by Paul to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. The metaphor that follows has been vigorously preached for hundreds of years. “The basic idea is that all the benefits of Christ’s salvation–pardon, peace, God’s love for us–that have been objectively secured for us must be personally appropriated for daily life.” These things are all abstractions “until they are inwardly received for our actual use.”

How do we do this? In Ephesians 6:18, Paul “comes out of the metaphor and says,” praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Many people try to list prayer as part of the “armor” that is referred to in the previous verse, but that simply doesn’t work. Each of the other items is associated in some way with a piece of armor; the helmet, the breastplate, the belt, the sword, the shoes, and so on. “When he comes to the end, he just says pray, pray, pray in the Spirit, pray with alertness, pray all kinds of ways, pray all the time.”

“Prayer is the way that all of the things we believe in and that Christ has won for us actually become our strength.”

Father, may your Spirit remind me daily that prayer is necessary to appropriate my spiritual armor each day. I so often forget to consider this, and head out the door in a state that might as well be naked. And when this happens, I eventually fail in some way, during the day. Help me to strengthen myself with prayer each day. My desire is that prayer be like breathing; something that is absolutely necessary for life, and that I do not have to struggle to remember to do. I don’t have to tell myself to breathe. In fact, I have to make myself not breathe, for example, when under water. May prayer be like this, to the point that I don’t have to remind myself to do it.

I pray for this day, Father, that our errands would be done safely and joyfully. Yes, joyfully. There are things that must be done, and they are, at times, unpleasant, but let us approach them with joy, your joy. Keep us safe as we go. May our worship and prayer gatherings today be fruitful, engaging, and glorifying to you. And give us rest for the new week that approaches.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Prayer brings strength. And it helps us put on our “armor,” which has been provided by the Lord.

Grace and peace, friends.