Prayer in Life and Ministry

How many of us have ever had a “Sweet Hour of Prayer?” How would our lives be changed if we did? Reflect on the words of the old hymn:

  • Sweet hour of prayer Sweet hour of prayer
  • That calls me from a world of care
  • And bids me at my Father’s throne
  • Make all my wants and wishes known
  • In seasons of distress and grief
  • My soul has often found relief
  • And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
  • By Thy return, sweet hour of prayer
  • Sweet hour of prayer Sweet hour of prayer
  • The joys I feel, the bliss I share
  • Of those whose anxious spirits burn
  • With strong desires for Thy return
  • With such I hasten to the place
  • Where God my Savior shows His face
  • And gladly take my station there
  • And wait for Thee, sweet hour of prayer
  • Sweet hour of prayer Sweet hour of prayer
  • And wait for Thee Sweet hour of prayer

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The Purpose of Prayer

When prayers don’t seem to work, and we doubt God, what do we do?

A few days ago, our family dog, Serena, found wrapped chocolates that my sons had left in their bedroom. Within minutes, truffles, peppermint patties, and a host of other delectables were gone. The same day, close friends visited from northern Virginia. The chocolate and excitement were too much for Serena, and she couldn’t go to sleep. Instead of sleeping, she barked and barked and barked.

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Magic, Science and Prayer

What are magic, science, and prayer? How do they differ? How do they work in our lives? How should they work? What can be do to make them work better?

Last Sunday my family and I watched The Hobbit, the latest movie from the writings of the great fantasy author JRR Tolkien, which also includes the Lord of the Rings series. It was a good show, bringing the audience through sadness, excitement, laughter, and the whole range of emotions. During my time of prayer and meditation this morning I considered some of the differences between science, prayer, and magic, as it is portrayed in The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series.

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Asking for a Sign from the Lord in Prayer

Is it OK to ask God for signs in prayer, like Gideon did long ago? If so, how do you do it? If not, how can you confirm God’s will?

“Fleece praying”, praying for God to provide a specific sign to confirm what He is commanding a person to do, is based on the story of Gideon, around 1100 BC (Judges 6:36-40).  The story does not condemn Gideon for asking for such a sign but Gideon’s request for a second sign was accompanied by a phrase, “do not let Thine anger burn against me”, that suggested that the Lord might be displeased with him.  The modern Christian must ask himself, “Is this what I should do in my prayers to the Lord, or not?”  We will examine the Bible to discover the answer to that question.

Deuteronomy 6:16 warned the Israelites “not to put the Lord their God to the test (נסה nacah – to test, put to the test, prove), as you tested Him at Massah.”  The story Moses referred to when writing this verse is found in Exodus 17.  The people of Israel, having repeatedly seen God work mighty miracles to save them from Pharaoh and provide them food and water, grumbled against Him when they camped, at His command, at Rephidim, a place without water.  They opposed their divinely appointed leader, Moses, and grumbled that he was going to kill them all through his negligence.  Moses commanded them not to test (נסה nacah) the Lord.

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