Friday, February 20, 2009

Teach Me To Pray, pt.5

Chapter 5:


Christians cannot grow unless their lives are characterized by praise. If you want to glorify God, praise Him. (Psalm 50:23)
What does it mean to praise God? According to the Bible, praise involves three elements:

  1. Naming God’s Attributes – Scripture powerfully and extensively reveals the character of God, enabling us to praise Him better (for example: Habakkuk 1:12-13). It is a good habit just to review God’s character when you pray and remember that He is a God of infinite love, glory, grace, majesty, mercy, and wisdom. He is invincible!
  2. Naming God’s Works – God’s attributes are manifest in His works. Whenever we have a problem we don’t know how to solve, we should praise God for His wisdom and might, as demonstrated in biblical history. It is reassuring to praise God in this way. When you spend time in praise, reviewing all that God is and all He did for His people in Old Testament times, what Christ accomplished for sinners, what God did through the disciples in the first century, and what He has done through the history of the church, your problems pale in comparison to the Lord’s power. Praise bolsters confidence in God because He has proven Himself trustworthy in the past. So when we praise God before bringing Him our problems, we can be confident that He will solve our troubles with wisdom and power – because it is His very nature to do so.
  3. Offering Thanks – Naming the attributes and works of God easily leads to thanking Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do. At the heart of all praise is thanksgiving. The apostle Paul emphasized the need for gratitude when he wrote Philippians 4:6. Thanksgiving is the antidote to worry. Instead of praying to God with doubt or discontentment, we can approach God in a spirit of thanksgiving. That’s because God promised not to allow anything to happen to us that would be too much for us to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Romans 8:28 establishes the overarching principle we need to keep in mind… God’s providence should cause us to be thankful for anything that happens in our lives. Because God actually uses all difficulties for our good, there is nothing we cannot thank Him for.

So be filled all the time with praise. In so doing, you’ll find yourself released from fear and worry. Give every situation over to God’s sovereign control, trusting Him because you know His history of wisdom and power and you understand His promise to supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19). Nothing about you escapes Him (Psalm 139:3). You know He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7), and He has the power to overcome every difficulty (Psalm 62:11). But He uses suffering to perfect you to be like Christ (Philippians 1:6), and His power and understanding are infinite (Psalm 147:5).

A Prayer of John MacArthur:

We thank You, Father, that You have been gracious to us and so we sing of Your mercy, we sing praised to You. Our faith is in You, our expectation is from You. Our love goes out toward You. We believe You. We submit to Your Word. We are eager to do Your will. We trust in Your promises. We rest in Your providence. We thank You that the court of conscience affirms that we are Yours through the witness of the Spirit. We thank You that we do not need signs and wonders to believe, for Your Word is more sure. We have cast our anchor in the port of peace, knowing that we are secure in the present and the future from all the storms that rage because we’re held in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge, O God, that You are good and wise and just and holy and merciful. You are the fountain, the source of all law. You’re also the fountain and source of all grace to those who having broke Your law come to You for forgiveness. We yield to Your sovereignty, wanting only what You want for us. We ask that You would grant us silence in our heart in place of murmuring and complaining. May our truest wishes be those things that advance the kingdom and not our own will. May we never find fault with Your providences. May we only look for Your mercy in them all knowing that trouble draws us to You and that’s where we need to be for joy and blessing. When we sin and are rebellious, help us to repent, take away our mourning and give out music. Remove our sackcloth and adorn us with the garments of joy. Take away our sighing, fill our mouths with song. And when we are restored and rest again in You and walk in the light of Your truth, may we know the fullness of Your blessing. These things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Scripture verses mentioned:

Psalm 50:23 - He who sacrifices thank offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.

Habakkuk 1:12-13 - Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die.O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? (ESV)

Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 4:19 - And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 139:3 - You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

1 Peter 5:7 - Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 62:11 - One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong.

Philippians 1:6 - being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Psalm 147:5 - Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

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