Monday, December 31, 2012

Prayer for Grace

By Jennifer R.

My hands will I lift up unto Thy commandments which I have loved.
Open Thou mine eyes that I may see,
incline my heart that I may desire,
order my steps that I may follow,
the way of Thy commandments.
O Lord God, be Thou to me a God,
and beside Thee none else,
none else, nought else with Thee.
Vouchsafe to me, to worship Thee and serve Thee
1. in truth of spirit,
2. in reverence of body,
3. in blessing of lips,
4. in private and in public;
5. to pay honour to them that have the rule over me,
by obedience and submission,
to shew affection to my own,
by carefulness and providence;
6. to overcome evil with good;
7. to possess my vessel in sanctification and honour;
8. to have my converse without covetousness,
content with what I have;
9. to speak the truth in love;
10. to be desirous not to lust,
not to lust passionately,
not to go after lusts.

~ From the Private Devotions of Lancelot Andrewes

There is so much in this prayer that is convicting to me! The lines that have the most impact on me, though, are the first five lines. There is great humility in realizing that unless God opens my eyes, I won't see. Unless He inclines my heart, I won't desire Him. Unless He orders my steps, I will go my own way and not walk in the way of His commandments.

As we come upon the beginning of another year, some of us will set goals or resolutions for the year. That is a good and healthy thing to do. However, as we set those goals, let us acknowledge that we are powerless to accomplish them in our own strength. May we humbly pray for our eyes to be opened, our hearts to be inclined to desire Him, and our steps to be ordered to follow His ways.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Divine Irony

The quotes below are all by St. Augustine and bring out ironies in the incarnation story. As you read them, take the time to really think about what he is saying. May these quotes help us continue to adore and delight in the Christ child while standing in awe of God's incarnation.

He so loved us that for our sake He was made man in time, through Whom all times were made;
He was in the world less in years than His servants, though older than the world itself in His eternity;
He was made man, Who made man;
He was created of a mother, whom He created;
He was carried by hands which He formed;
He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word without Whom all human eloquence is mute. [St. Augustine, Sermon 188 2,2]

He by whom all things were made was made one of all things. The Son of God by the Father without a mother became the Son of man by a mother without a father. The Word Who is God before all time became flesh at the appointed time. The maker of the sun was made under the sun. He Who fills the world lays in a manger, great in the form of God but tiny in the form of a servant; this was in such a way that neither was His greatness diminished by His tininess, nor was His tininess overcome by His greatness. [St. Augustine, Sermon 187 1,1]

He lies in a manger, but contains the world. He feeds at the breast, but also feeds the angels. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality. He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of believers. In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak. [St. Augustine, Sermon 190 3,4]

He who was God was made man by taking on what He was not, not by losing what He was... Let Christ, therefore, lift you up by that which is human in Him; let Him lead you by that which is God-man; let Him guide you through to that which is God. [St. Augustine, On 1 John 23,6]

Truth, eternally existing in the bosom of the Father, has sprung from the earth so that He might exist also in the bosom of a mother. Truth, holding the world in place, has sprung from the earth so that He might be carried in the hands of a woman. [St. Augustine, Sermon 185, 3]

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Warning Sign of Prayerlessness

By Hannah S.

How’s your prayer life?

That’s a question that usually gets the same answer.

“It could be better.”

Until we are face to face with the Lord, our communication with Him will always be lacking. But if you are like me, there are times when prayer comes easily and then there are other times where it is bordering on sheer duty.


When I find myself struggling to pray, I will often call out to the Lord and ask Him to increase my desire for fellowship with Him. I am beginning to see a pattern of how He has answered these prayers in my life. He answers by bringing circumstances in my life where I feel helpless. I pray fervently when I have exhausted all my efforts and don’t know what else to do to remedy a situation. We even see this in the world as news reporters and political leaders will often refer to prayer during times of crisis. It is very natural for us to cry out to God when we feel helpless.

Helplessness leads to prayer.

So what does this say about areas of my life in which I don’t pray? Somehow, I have fooled myself into believing that I can handle these things and, thus, prayer is not crucial. I believe that I have a plan, a program, or a schedule that will get me to my end goal. The reality is I am much more helpless than I really want to think. Prayerlessness is a warning sign in my life. My lack of prayer is pride that says, “ I’ve got this one covered.”

So if you are like me, and desire to grow in your prayer life, ask the Lord to remind you of your helplessness. It is good to rehearse these truths to ourselves. We are helpless to live this Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit. We are helpless to respond kindly to our husbands and children. We are helpless to serve without selfish gain, to learn from His word, to love others… The list goes on and on. All of these items should drive us before the throne of God with passion and urgency. Everyday life is more of a crisis than you might realize. We must pray!