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“All the saints [that is, believers] come to the throne of grace on the same errand, and in this they are one, they all desire God’s favor as their chief good. We should beg it for others as well as for ourselves, for in God’ s favor there is enough for us all and we shall have never the less for sharing in what we have.”
– Matthew Henry on Psalm 4:6
“If you see the grace of God working in your life, and if you recognize material blessings that have come your way as a consequence, do not forget to thank Him. It is sad when there is nothing for which we feel grateful to God, but it is serious when there is something and we fail to show gratitude, and it is tragic when we are so busy asking for more that we forget to thank Him for what we have received.”
– William Still, Letters of William Still (Banner of Truth, 1984), pp. 34-35
“O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.”
– 1928 Book of Common Prayer
John Bunyan was born November 28, 1628.
About sincerity in prayer, he wrote: “And why must sincerity be one of the essentials of prayer which is accepted of God, but because sincerity carries the soul in all simplicity to open its heart to God, and to tell Him the case plainly, without equivocation; to condemn itself plainly, without dissembling; to cry to God heartily, without complimenting. . . . Sincerity is the same in a corner alone, as it is before the face of all the world. It knows not how to wear two masks, one for an appearance before men, and another for a short snatch in a corner; but it must have God, and be with Him in the duty of prayer.”
“To discover the real you, look at what you spend time thinking about when no one is looking, when nothing is forcing you to think about anything in particular. At such moments, do your thoughts go toward God? You may want to be seen as a humble, unassuming person, but do you take the initiative to confess your sins before God? You wish to be perceived as a positive, cheerful person, but do you habitually thank God for everything you have and praise him for who he is? You may speak a great deal about what a “blessing” your faith is and how you “just really love the Lord,” but if you are prayerless— is that really true? If you aren’t joyful, humble, and faithful in private before God, then what you want to appear to be on the outside won’t match what you truly are.” – Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, p. 22.
In this 2009 interview, Eric Alexander reflects on his conversion to Christ, and his many years of ministry in the Church of Scotland. His commitment to pastoral ministry in the local church, expository preaching, and prayer have been an encouragement to many ministers. Many thanks to my friend David Irving for pointing me to this interview.
“Love the father of the family and you will embrace in your love and good will His entire household.”
Today is the 505th anniversary of the French Reformer, John Calvin. A devoted pastor, he pleads with his flock to help, love, and pray for the Christian family nearby and faraway:
Extend our hands to one another,
Help one another we must,
And especially we commend
Our brethren to the providential care
Of the best of Fathers.
For if He is kind and favorable,
Nothing else at all can be desired.
This very thing, indeed, we owe
To our Father.
Love the father of the family
And you will embrace
In your love and good will
His entire household.
To His people, His family,
And His inheritance
We must needs then show
The same zeal and affection
We have toward this heavenly Father.
For them He has honored
By calling them
The fullness of His only begotten Son.
And so the prayer of the Christian man
Should embrace all His brothers in Christ,
Both those he sees and owns as brothers
And all who dwell on earth.
What for them the Lord has determined
Is beyond our knowing;
Yet we ought to wish
And hope the best for them.
To those of the household of faith
We ought with special affection be drawn,
Commended as they are to us in everything
By the apostle.
– The Piety of John Calvin: A Collection of His Spiritual Prose, Poems, and Hymns, translated and edited by Ford Lewis Battles (P&R Publishing: 2009), 132