Growing up in the church it was common for me to go with my family to prayer meetings. Some of these meetings lasted for an hour or two and occasionally they stretched throughout the night. For me as a very young child the hour seemed as long as a full night but as I got older the midnight prayer shift became a test of endurance. More than a few times I fell asleep only to be abruptly awakened by some dear old saint shouting glory.Read More
God’s plan is far reaching. It has continuity. The past promises connect to the future and also connect our lives to a promising future. The passing of time and events do not change that.
When the exiled returned home they possibly wondered if God would still fulfill the promises made to David. It had been a long time and their lives were different now.
Commentators suggest that Psalm 132 was a prayer for God to remember his covenant, which ensured that his presence and power would be with his people and that David’s line would continue.Read More prayer, promises, Future
It can be quite painful to face hardship of any kind on our own. As much as the people who care about us would like to help, sometimes they simply do not hold the solution to our difficult circumstances. So, to whom do we turn?
Psalm 25 offers us a most helpful way to pray when troubles come.Read More prayer, troubles
Imagine being one of the disciples in this story. A desperate father pleads with you to free his son from the demon who is destroying his life. You remember Jesus gave you the authority to do exactly this (Mark 6:7). “I’ll do my best,” you say, as you copy what you’ve seen Jesus do. But the evil spirit stays put. You feel terrible. What went wrong?Read More prayer, faith, power
It’s one thing to endure hardship for a season. It’s quite another thing to suffer interminably, to languish at the miserable intersection of chronic pain and diminished hope.
Psalm 39 is a lament for the Sufferer who has endured too much for too long. It’s a prayer for the Pray-er who suspects her cries to the heavens are really just shouts into the void. It’s a liturgy for the Bewildered; a hymn for the Seemingly-Forsaken.Read More suffering, prayer, perseverance, bewilderment
Many people find this incident with the fig tree baffling. Why does Jesus curse it? What did the poor tree do to deserve such judgment? What is even stranger is that it was not the season for figs, so Jesus had no reason to expect to find any. What are we supposed to learn from this?
The key to properly interpreting this story is found in a literary technique that Mark frequently uses throughout his Gospel.Read More prayer, Temple, fruit, purity
The cliché that faith can move mountains is part of our culture. Often it is taken to mean that if we believe in ourselves, or if we believe in our dreams, we can accomplish anything regardless of the obstacles in our way. Some Christians take Jesus’ words to mean that if we simply believe that God will answer our prayers, he will do anything we ask. Do we want a new sports car? Just really, really believe and ask God!Read More prayer, faith, forgiveness
It’s natural to hum God Save the King when Psalm 20 is read. The prayer – written by King David for King David – was offered up so often at the outset of battles that it became a national anthem. It expresses the petitions of Israel’s soldiers and citizens, who ask God to grant victory to their king.
Psalm 20 places certain demands on present-day readers. It asks us to examine, first, how we respond to crises.Read More prayer, worship
In the timeline of our tiny lost planet, its most horrifying yet critical pivot point remains a day of slaughter. The Final Sacrificial Lamb. The Perfect One. The Human One. Jesus Christ. From the tributary of Calvary, his blood traced a river to the end of Earth-time. A lively river; with a flawless current intended to usher imperfect humans into the heart of God himself.
But before Calvary, in the hour before Jesus’ arrest, he made a simple request of his closest disciples: remain alert.Read More prayer, apathy, awake, alert