Diagnosing Prayerlessness

I suspect that a chief reason for our apathy in prayer is not our lack of need but in our perceived lack of need. Many of our prayer lives reflect shallowness and irregularity because we somehow have bought the lie that we are sovereign and not in need of help, glorious and not required to worship, and too busy and so not in need of the discipline of bending our hearts in submission to God through prayer.

Prayer is a humbling thing. And failure to pray reveals as much about our prideful self-consumption as our misconceptions about self-sovereignty, divine power, and the glory of Christ.

Devote yourselves to prayer… (Colossians 4:2a)

We need a simple jagged command like this here to puncture our imaginations, flood our hearts with sacred truth, and bring us into the reality of God-centered dependence.

—Erik Raymond

Via: Ordinary Pastor

America Quiet on Execution of Afghan Christian

More information on the status of Sayed Musa and the appalling silence from the American press.

Newspapers in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe have reported the story, but with, the exception of the Wall Street Journal and, of course, NRO, American outlets have not found it worthy of attention. The Journal reports that “Afghan officials have been unapologetic: ‘The sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception,’ said Jamal Khan, chief of staff at the Ministry of Justice. ‘They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.’”

The U.S. government — reportedly including Secretary of State Clinton — and other governments have pushed for his release, but to no avail.

But the president has been silent, even as we fight a war that has among its goals the creation of a government that conforms to international human-rights standards.

An American president certainly needs to guard and shepherd his political capital, and should not speak out about every prisoner. But Musa himself has appealed to “President Brother Obama” to rescue him from his current jail. And when an obscure and aberrant Florida pastor, Terry Jones, threatened to burn a Koran, not only President Obama but much of his cabinet, as well as General Petraeus, weighed in on the matter.

If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.

—Paul Marshall
National Review Online

Via: National Review Online

Pray for Sayed Musa

Please pray for Sayed Musa, an Afghan man that converted from Islam to Christianity and is set to be hanged for that offense. The followiwng information was posted by Justin Taylor:

The Daily Mail and others are reporting on Said (or Sayed) Musa. Earlier I had posted a link to his letter from prison describing sexual and physical abuse. Here’s the new report:

An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity.

Said Musa, 45, has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.

Mr Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees.

He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.

He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.

But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.

He told the Sunday Times: ‘My body is theirs to do what they want with.’

You can also read the Compass Direct News report, which begins:

An Afghani amputee in prison for his Christian faith since May will face a judge this Sunday (Nov. 21) without legal representation or knowledge of the charges against him, according to local sources.

Denny Burk suggests that if you have Twitter, you post one of the following:

Mr. President, speak wisely and boldly, in private if necessary, for Said Musa, imprisoned in Kabul. http://dsr.gd/ezR3jW @BarackObama

Mr. President, please persuade the Afghan govt. not to execute our brother Said Musa. http://bit.ly/bQ5RLQ @BarackObama Prov. 24:10-12

Via: Justin Taylor

Come, Lord, and Tarry Not

Come, Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long looked for day;
O why these years of waiting here,
These ages of decay?

Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh;
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”;
Does Thou not hear the cry?

O come and make all things new!
Come and make all things new!
Build up this ruined earth
Come and make all things new.

Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of Thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.

Come, for love waxes cold,
Its steps are faint and slow;
Faith now is lost in unbelief,
Hope’s lamp burns dim and low.

Come and make all things new;
Build up this ruined earth;
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.

Come, and begin Thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the kingdom to Thyself,
Great King of Righteousness.

—Horatius Bonar

Via: Trevin Wax

I Am His Brother

O gracious God,
I am fully aware that I am unworthy.
I deserve to be a brother of Satan and not of Christ.
But Christ, your dear Son died and rose for me.
I am his brother.
He earnestly desires that I should believe in him,
without doubt and fear.

I need no longer regard myself
as unworthy and full of sin.
For this I love and thank him from my heart.

Praise be to the faithful Savior,
for he is so gracious and merciful
as are you and the Holy Spirit in eternity.
Amen.

—Martin Luther
Luther’s Prayers

Via: Trevin Wax

Continual Repentance

Thanks to Tim Challies for pointing to another great poem from The Valley of Vision.

O God of Grace,

Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute, and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for thou dost always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, ‘Father, forgive me’; and thou art always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

The Valley of Vision

Via: Tim Challies

What Name Shall I Call You?

O transcendent, almighty God,
What words can sing your praises?
No tongue can describe you.
No mind can probe your mystery.
Yet all speech springs from you,
And all thought stems from you.

All creation proclaims you,
All creatures revere you.
Every gust of wind breathes a prayer to you,
Every rustling tree sings a hymn to you.

All things are upheld by you.
And they move according to your harmonious design.

The whole world longs for you,
And all people desire you.

Yet you have set yourself apart,
You are far beyond our grasp.
You are the purpose of all that exists,
But you do not let us understand you.

Lord, I want to speak to you.
By what name shall I call you?

—Gregory of Nazianzus

Via: Trevin Wax

An Evening Prayer

Merciful God, in whom is no darkness at all, we come before You at the end of this day. We thank You that You have given us strength for our daily work, and have guided us safely through this day. Bless what was good in our labour and conduct.

Since You ordained that man should labour during the day and rest at night, we pray You to give us peaceful and undisturbed rest so that we may be able to take up our daily task again. Command Your angels to guard us and cause Your face to shine upon us. We cast all our anxieties on You, for You take care of us.

Control our sleep and rule our hearts, in order that we may not be defiled in any way but may glorify You even in our nightly rest. Defend and protect us against all assaults of the devil and take us into Your divine protection.

We confess that we did not spend this day without grievously sinning against You. In Your mercy please cover our sins as You cover the earth in the darkness of the night.

Grant comfort and rest to all who are ill, bowed down with grief, or afflicted with spiritual distress. Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not abandon the works of Your hands.

All this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Via: Tim Challies

God is Near When You Pray

God is near at hand when you do approach Him in prayer. Oh, comforting truth! A God at hand to hear the softest breath of prayer – to listen to every confession of sin – to every cry of need–to every utterance of sorrow – to every wail of woe – to every appeal for counsel, strength, and support. Arise, O my soul! and give yourself to prayer; for God is near at hand to hear and answer you.

—Octavius Winslow

Via: Of First Importance