31 Days of Prayer: Day 29 – Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up

Persevere“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)

Would you be relieved to know that Jesus understood prayer is hard work? Would you be encouraged to know he taught a parable specifically designed for people who were tempted to lose heart when it came to prayer? Me too!

The opening words of the parable in Luke 18 fill me with enormous hope. Jesus knew that prayer would be a struggle, and he told a parable to address this struggle. In this parable, Jesus describes a ‘persistent widow’ coming before a judge – a man who neither fears God nor respects man – to seek justice against her adversary. After initially refusing her request, the unrighteous judge relents, giving her justice so he won’t be beaten down ‘by her continual coming’. Jesus then makes his point: “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:6-8) Continue reading

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31 Days of Prayer: Day Ten – Delighting in the Lord

Psalm 73“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4)”

Yesterday, we looked at how pursuing the pleasures of this world as our driving desire can be fatal to our prayer lives. ‘You do not have, because you do not ask,’ is James’ blunt way of putting it. (Sorry for making you think of James Blunt just then.)

Isaiah puts it equally bluntly: Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isa 59:1-2) The Psalmist raises a similar idea in Psalm 66: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” Continue reading

Don’t Waste Your Vote – Part 2

Badge - 2008 election

Four tips on how to vote

In this series, I’ve been aiming to help you put together the biblical pieces on how God thinks about government, and how Christians should therefore think about and interact with our governments. Last time, we looked at seven ways not to vote. In this post, we’re looking at four ways to vote. Continue reading

Carl Trueman: What Can Miserable Christians Sing?

Carl TruemanYesterday at the TSCF 2013 National Conference, I was reminded of this brilliant article by Carl Trueman (during an equally brilliant talk by Paul Windsor on the Psalms). I very highly recommend anything by Carl Trueman, but this article became something of an instant classic when he first penned it a few years back. It has the arresting title, ‘What Can Miserable Christians Sing?’

You can read the whole article here, but here’s a sample to whet your appetite:

“By excluding the cries of loneliness, dispossession, and desolation from its worship, the church has effectively silenced and excluded the voices of those who are themselves lonely, dispossessed, and desolate, both inside and outside the church. Continue reading