Tag Archives: Prayer

Sabbatum Excerpt: Ps. John Piper’s Plea to Pastors in his Book, “Brothers, We are not Professionals”

We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness (Matt. 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph. 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps. 42:1).

But our first business is to pant after God in prayer. Our business is to weep over our sins (James 4:9). Is there professional weeping? Our business is to strain forward to the holiness of Christ and the prize of the upward call of God (Phil. 3:14); to pummel our bodies and subdue them lest we be cast away (1 Cor. 9:27); to deny ourselves and take up the blood-spattered cross daily (Luke 9:23). How do you carry a cross professionally? We have been crucified with Christ; yet now we live by faith in the one who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20). What is professional faith?

Piper, John. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: a Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002.


Monday Devotion: Celebration of Prayer

Godly men know the significance of prayer in their daily lives. Throughout history, they showed it and lived it. They viewed prayer as the main course of their lives. Prayer changed their lives in order to stand for the ministry of the Word of God. Then, prayer became the key substance for transforming the world and lives of other people. People like Martin Luther, John Wesley, David Brainerd, and others had pure mind-set to set aside several hours for prayer. They knew that they would not be able to serve God if they did not spend time in prayer. Only prayer can boost up one’s passion to serve God.

Richard Foster commented on those godly people who lived their lives by prayer and faith. Their prayer life did not develop on its own but cultivated it as other habits of life. They spent time in prayer daily. Later, prayer became their everyday activity. They made prayer their lives. There is no shortcut to be a man of prayer in short period of time. It is an extensive process that takes a lengthy course to form a solid habit of praying.

Through the lives of these praying people like William Carey, George Fox, Adoniram Judson, John Hyde and few others, I learned the significance of prayer. They were not born with prayer; instead they gave birth to prayer in their lives. Indeed, their prayer lives might have started with a short but consistent prayer. Subsequently, prayer became the part of their daily lives later on. Continue reading Monday Devotion: Celebration of Prayer

Monday Devotion: The Discipline of Prayer

Reading Notes

Prayer is the most central part of our spiritual life.

Real prayer is life creating and life changing.

Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us.

To pray is to change.

Reflection on Prayer

In our everyday life, we probably like to develop the habit of quiet prayer. To be quiet is not a simple task. It takes a lot of concentration. Being quiet becomes possible only after collecting the fragmented ideas of our conscious mind and put them together. Once we learn to pray quietly, we will be able to pray constantly, anywhere and at any position.

Many of us go through lots of difficulties with praying. When we sit to pray, we are swayed by school works, job issues, family and all sorts of distraction. The assignment due dates come into our mind, and it takes our quality time away from us. At the same time, instant online messaging services, social network, chatting etc capture our mind instanteneously. Once we enter into the world of social network and start chatting with friends, it gets harder day by day to quit it. Our sancturay for prayer turns a place to twitter about this and that. All these sorts of unhealthy habits are the challenging difficulties in our prayer life.

A Light for the Path

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

The verse talks about the unanswered prayer; it also specifies why some prayers are not answered. Jesus commanded, and encouraged his disciples to pray to God for every single need. He has promised us to fulfill our needs when we ask in his name. Later, Paul encouraged praying incessantly. People, however, do not get answer of their prayer because some people pray merely for their own interest. God teaches us to pray for others. He is still praying for us. His intercession has sustained us to follow him. But when we pray and ask God, we do not receive since there is a wrong motivation in our prayer. God answers them whose hearts are pure, and do not doubt God’s promise. If we do not pray out of vain conceit, surely shall receive what we ask for. Continue reading Monday Devotion: The Discipline of Prayer

Monday Devotion: Agnes Sanford on Prayer

Agnes Sanford was born to Presbyterian missionary parents in China in 1897. Indeed, she might have learned about Christianity from her parents and came to know the sole purpose of life on earth. She got married to an Episcopalian priest and lived for years in New Jersey. She had an uncomplicated faith and confidence on God for healing through his power. She lived a very Christ-centered life. She never entangled herself with so-called denominations, complex questions of creed, or structural belief on God. She just concentrated on the practicality of prayer. Consequently, God used her as an effective instrument to bring healing in many lives. Millions of copies of her books on healing prayer hit the market then.

This selection is taken from Sanford’s much loved book “The Healing Light[1]. The book talks much about the practicality of prayer that encourages Christian believers to put their wavering faith to the test. Furthermore, the writer recommends having faith, and exercising it with discipline. Her trust on God was childlike. Thus, she experienced God’s healing through prayer.

The writer guides us through an experimental prayer. It says that we should keep praying continuously for the subject. Prayer teaches us to learn from God for better adjustment. It needs submission and teachable heart. Therefore, the writer quotes from the beatitudes of Jesus Christ that the poor in the spirit are the blessed, and they inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. People who humbly acknowledge their spiritual weakness and poverty can learn from God through prayer. Once man comes to know that creeds are imperfect; human being is incomplete, and his mind is limit to understand all truths of God can learn to pray ceaselessly. Continue reading Monday Devotion: Agnes Sanford on Prayer

The Gospel of Luke: Different than Other Two Synotic Gospels

The Gospel of Luke is unique or different from other two synoptic gospels. He is the only non-Jew writer in the New Testament. He was probably a Greek. Only this gospel has a sequel – the Acts – in the New Testament. Luke is the longest gospel that covers twenty-five percent of the entire New Testament.

One of the big and controversial differences it has is the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Luke seems to have followed the lineage of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as he writes that Heli is the father of Joseph which contradicts with the account of Matthew who has Jacob as the father of Joseph (Luke 3:23). If we look into these genealogies side by side, we find only two names in common in the genealogy are Shealtiel and Zerubbabel (Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27). The disparity between Matthew and Luke quite suggests that Luke might have interviewed Mary to write down about the supernatural virgin birth and inserted her lineage into the genealogy which is quite unusual in the Jewish culture in Jesus’ time.

Worship is the central point in the hymns Luke records in the Gospel. Mary’s song of praise is one of them (1:46-55). Luke also sheds some light on Jesus’ private prayer life. So, it is more like a gospel of prayer.

Luke’s presentation of Jesus is largely focused on the humanity and compassion for the outcasts of society. His gospel, in this sense, is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is the one who has entered into the world as the Savior of all mankind. Luke, the author is as identified as a doctor and historian, also puts physiological (5:12, 6:6, 9:39-42) and geographical details of Samaria (9:52; 17:11) and Judea, en route to Jerusalem (18:35; 19:1, 11, 18) in plain words.

Worship is the central point in the hymns Luke records in the Gospel. Mary’s song of praise is one of them (1:46-55). Luke also sheds some light on Jesus’ private prayer life. So, it is more like a gospel of prayer.

Luke features marginalized people over and over in the story. Only Luke has the parable of the Good Samaritan (10:25-37) and the story of ten lepers being cured and cleansed, but only the Samaritan leper returning to Jesus to thank him (17:11-19). Luke also consists of 18 unique parables that are only found in the Luke: the Good Samaritan, the Lost Sheep, and the Prodigal Son are only found in the book of Luke (Luke 10:25-37, 15:4-7, 15:11-32).

He also makes references about women and their stories forty-five times in his Gospel. The birth narratives of Jesus and John the Baptist are told from the women’s perspective – Mary and Elizabeth respectively (chapters 1-2). Women received special attention in Luke’s Gospel. He records about women disciples in different occasions. The texts in Luke 8:1-3 also indicates that women were monetarily supporting Christ’s ministry. Luke does not forget to mention those women who followed Jesus from the court to the Cross (23:49). The most spectacular remarking about women in the Gospel is Jesus’ first appearance to women (24:1-10).

Luke also takes some time to give special interest in poor, crippled, and shepherds. He heals them, and some of his teachings have strongly emphasized to love and care the poor, weak, and crippled who are overlooked by their families, friends, and society. He himself healed them and loved them (14:21). Mary, a humble is exalted; shepherds who are lowly and insignificant people are exalted and they are the one to see the glory of God when the Word became flesh (Luke 1:30; 2:14-20). The outcasts – the Samaritans, tax-collectors, and women – are seated into the place of honor.

The abundance of food is also portrayed in the Luke. Some of Jesus’ parables have setting of banquet and feasts. He makes altogether nineteen references to food or meal and thirteen of them are very exclusively only into his gospel. The number of references also shows the significance of gathering together and having meal together. Jesus took opportunity of every feast or meal time that is mentioned in the gospel to reveal who he is and what is his teaching all about. He uses these times to communicate really something very important. The punch line is, he is disclosing his divine identity that he is the only source of both spiritual and physical life. In addition, Luke also emphasizes how Jesus communicates about his kingdom with his people. The kingdom is a full of forgiven sinners – outcasts, unclean, and poor.

And also portrayal of community can be found in this gospel. In other words, community is the key aspect of the Kingdom of God – church. He has a very serious ecclesiological concern.

Luke has presented Jesus in a very distinctive way that we find him as a verifiable historic person too. The historical figures Luke recorded and the events can be corroborated even today, as he makes datable references to events and characters (Luke 1:5, 2:1-2, 3:1-2). For this reason, the gospel of Luke is not though utterly atypical; yet it stands as a different gospel than other two synoptic gospels.