Posted by Jerry White on Apr 25, 2016
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1 (ESV)
Discipleship occurs as much by observation as it does by instruction, perhaps more. The Apostle Paul wrote, Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). The Lord’s disciples had watched Him slip aside often to pray, and they recognized that His prayer life was different from the stale, rote prayers of the Pharisees. They understood that the secret of His overflowing life was directly tied to His private communion with His Heavenly Father. They wanted Jesus to teach them how to pray like He prayed. A person’s prayer life is probably the best indicator that he or she knows how to commune with and walk with God. This is the only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them.
I, along with faculty members of a Bible school, spoke recently in a spring prayer conference. The attendees were students and adults of all ages, ethnicities and native languages. I was aware from the very first session of the Spirit’s quickening during a time of worship. This fresh heavenly wind blew ever so gently on the whole conference. It was like I was on a different planet from the usual church services I have attended in various places. Why? What made the difference? I realized that the prayer chapel on campus that was dedicated last year at the prayer conference had been faithfully used by faculty, staff and students. Throughout this past year they were seeking the face of God and calling on Him to accomplish His will.The prayer conference had been immersed in prayer at the throne of God, and God was answering just as He had promised. When and where God’s people diligently seek Him with their whole heart He answers with refreshing times from His presence. There is no secret about it. He plainly instructs us. It is just as He promised—if we will only believe Him through His Word—and pray.
Lord, teach us to pray.
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 22, 2016
“I cannot say ‘Our’ if my religion has no room for others and their needs.
I cannot say ‘Father’ if I do not demonstrate this relationship in my daily life.
I cannot say ‘Who art in Heaven’ if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.
I cannot say ‘Hallowed be. thy Name’ if I, who am called by His Name, am not holy.
I cannot say ‘Thy Kingdom come’ if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.
I cannot say ‘Thy will be done’ if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.
I cannot say ‘On earth as it is in heaven’ unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.
I cannot say ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellowmen.
I cannot say ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’ if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say ‘Lead us not into temptation’ if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot say ‘Deliver us from evil’ if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.
I cannot say ‘Thine is the Kingdom’ if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.
I cannot say ‘Thine is the power’ if. I fear what my neighbors and friends may say or do.
I cannot say ‘Thine is the glory’ if I am seeking my own glory first.
I cannot say ‘Forever’ if I am anxious about each day’s affairs.
I cannot say ‘Amen’ unless I honestly say, ‘cost what it may, this is my prayer'”.
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 23, 2015
“God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church ‘on-the-job’ training in overcoming.
Prayer is not begging God to do something which He is loath to do. It is not overcoming reluctance in God. It is enforcing Christ’s victory over Satan. It is implementing upon earth Heaven’s decisions concerning the affairs of men. Calvary legally destroyed Satan, and cancelled all of his claims. God placed the enforcement of Calvary’s victory in the hands of the Church (Matt. 18:18 and Luke 10:17-19). He has given to her ‘power of attorney.’ She is His ‘deputy.’ But this delegated authority is wholly inoperative apart from the prayers of a believing church. Therefore, prayer is where the action is. Any church without a well-organized and systematic prayer program is simply operating a religious treadmill.
A program of prayer without faith is powerless. The missing element that is necessary to energize prevailing prayer that binds and casts out Satan is triumphant faith. And the missing element that is necessary to energize triumphant faith is praise—perpetual, purposeful, aggressive praise. Praise is the highest form of prayer because it combines petition with faith. Praise is the spark plug of faith. It is the one thing needed to get faith airborne, enabling it to soar above the deadly miasma of doubt. Praise is the detergent which purifies faith and purges doubt from the heart. The secret of answered prayer is faith without doubt (Mark 11:23). And the secret of faith without doubt is praise, triumphant praise, continuous praise, praise that is a way of life. This is the solution to the problem of a living faith and successful prayer.
The secret of success in overcoming Satan and qualifying for the throne is a massive program of effective prayer. The secret of effective prayer is a massive program of praise.”
Paul E. Billheimer
Destined for the Throne, 17-18
No unbelief made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 14, 2015
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV)
“The preaching that kills is nonspiritual preaching….This letter-preaching has the truth. But even divine truth has no life-giving energy alone; it must be energized by the Spirit, with all God’s forces at its back. Truth unquickened by God’s Spirit deadens as much as, or more than, error….Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much—-death to self, crucifixion to the world, the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching can come only from a crucified man.
The preaching that kills may be, and often is, orthodox—-dogmatically, inviolably orthodox.We love orthodoxy. It is good. It is the best. It is the clean, clear-cut teaching of God’s Word, the trophies won by truth in its conflict with error,…
Preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer the preacher creates death, and not life. The preacher who is feeble in prayer is feeble in life-giving forces.The preacher who has retired prayer as a conspicuous and largely prevailing element in his own character has shorn his preaching of its distinctive life-giving power. Professional praying there is and will be, but professional praying helps the preaching to its deadly work. Professional praying chills and kills both preaching and praying . Much of the lax devotion and lazy, irreverent attitudes in congregational praying are attributable to professional praying in the pulpit.
Stop! Pause! Consider! Where are we? What are we doing? Preaching to kill? Praying to kill? Praying to God! the great God, the Maker of all worlds, the Judge of all men! What reverence! what simplicity! what sincerity! what truth in the inward parts is demanded! How real we must be! How hearty! Prayer to God the noblest exercise, the loftiest effort of man, the most real thing! Shall we not discard forever accursed preaching that kills and prayer that kills, and do the real thing, the mightiest thing—-prayerful praying, life-creating preaching, bring the mightiest force to bear on heaven and earth and draw on God’s exhaustless and open treasure for the need and beggary of man?”
E.M. Bounds (1835-1913)
Preacher and Prayer, 14-21 (Zondervan, 1950’s edition)
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 1, 2015
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:6 (ESV)
“God reveals Himself most to His people when they have been in secret prayer. O the sweet meetings, the heavenly warmings, the blessed cheerings, and the choice communions with God, that Christians have found when they have been alone with God in a closet. God loves to load the wings of private prayer with the sweetest and choicest blessings. Ah! How often has God kissed a poor Christian at the beginning of private prayer, and spoken peace to him in the midst of private prayer, and filled him with light and joy and assurance upon the close of private prayer. Private prayer is a golden key to unlock the mysteries of God’s Word to us. The knowledge of many choice and blessed truths are but the returns of private prayers. God delights to make known His truth and faithfulness. His grace and goodness, His mercy and bounty, His beauty and glory to poor souls in their private prayers. God crowns private prayer with a discovery of those blessed weighty truths to His servants that are a sealed book to others. Private prayer crowns God with the honor and Glory due His Name, and the soul enjoys most communion with God in secret. When a Christian is in a wilderness, which is a very solitary place, then God delights to speak friendly and comfortably to him. A husband imparts his mind most freely and fully to his wife when they are alone, and Christ also to the believing soul. O the secret embraces, visits, whispers, cheering, and discoveries that God gives His people when alone. Ambrose often said, ‘I am never less alone than when I am alone, for then I can enjoy the Presence of my God most freely, fully, and sweetly, without interruption. Christ loves to embrace us not so much in the open street, as in a closet. Christ gives his richest gifts in secret when we are alone.’”
Thomas Brooks (1608-1680), Works, II: 174, 177
Mrs. Larry K. from Wisconsin sent this encouraging article to me last year. Thank you, Linda.
Some readers of this blog I have never met, but in God’s plan they have become encouragers.
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 26, 2015
Through these sixty years of being a believer, like any pastor/teacher, I have gathered along the way notes, articles, poems, etc. that I found encouraging for my walk with Christ. From these I have posted articles on this blog site so other Christians may be encouraged. I am aware that others may not have come across some of these rich tidbits from writings that have been left behind by faithful saints of previous generations.
The following is from the respected Bible scholar, Handley C. G. Moule (1841-1920). He wrote many hymns, poems, commentaries on nearly all of the epistles, and books on devotion. In a post August 21, 2013 (Morning Watch) I shared his “Morning Act of Faith” Below is Moule’s “An Evening Act of Thanks, Confession and Surrender.”
From all this day has brought me, I come apart to Thee, O dear and sovereign Master.
For all that Thou hast been to me each hour, I bless Thee. For everything which of Thy mercy Thou hast done through me, I give Thee humble thanks.
All transgressions and shortcoming, even in the most secret thought, I now confess and renounce.
I lay it on Thy Head for pardon and under Thy feet for deliverance. Thou dost accept and deliver me even now.
Now more than ever I owe myself Thine. Night and day. Thy bond-service is my one and perfect freedom.
It is good to live day by day to Thee, my Lord, my life, and to lie down night by night beneath Thy smile. Amen.
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 25, 2013
Man’s fallen nature complicates simple things and forgets basics.
God told Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:16-17). When the evil one tempted Eve she added to God’s words when she said they could not touch the fruit or eat it lest they die. God only said don’t eat it. God had said they could freely eat of any other fruit. Simple and clear instructions.
The Pharisees added many rules to God’s Law that complicated it. Heresies came to the first churches attempting to add new requirements to the simple gospel. Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians 11:3, But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. The NASB translates it, be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. Paul was actually fearful about them being deceived from simplicity and purity in their relationship with Christ.
When the Lord Jesus gave us the model prayer, which we know as the Lord’s Prayer, it is simple. In so few words, about fifty-six or fifty-seven in the original language, He covers the necessities of life. He spoke about our withdrawing alone to a private place and praying to the Father in secret (Matthew 6:6). Silent prayer was not in His thinking. How could we know what Jesus prayed if He prayed silently so the disciples could not hear Him. We have the record of His prayers because He prayed out loud.
Prayer can be with whisper, or loudly because of deep pain or great need, but it needs to be verbalized with voice, not just with the mind silently. Why, you may ask.
God is a person. True, He is invisible and not perceived by our five physical senses, but He is no less real. He is a spirit being and we are spiritual creatures. With our inner being we can know Him and commune with Him. He can be as real to our inner being as our five senses make the world around us real to our outer being. There is a true invisible spirit world.
Praying out loud enables us to realize we are speaking to a real person, although we cannot see Him with our eyes. Praying out loud assists us in staying focused instead of our mind wandering. Praying out loud allows us to hear what we are praying, and this makes a difference.
If you are not accustomed to hearing yourself pray aloud it may seem strange at first. However, if you think about the fact that you are sharing your heart with your Heavenly Father like Jesus did then you will discover the blessing it is to talk with this sovereign God who loves you tenderly.
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 6, 2013
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
Matthew 21:22 (ESV)
“Draw near, then, seeking soul, with boldness: not the boldness of a presumptuous, self-righteous man, but that of one chosen, called, pardoned, and justified. Draw near with the lowly boldness of a child and the humble confidence of a son. You are dear to your Father. Your voice is sweet to Him; you are precious, accepted in His Beloved. You cannot come too boldly, you cannot come too frequently, you cannot come with too difficult a request. You are coming to a King, that King is your Father, and that Father views you in His beloved Son. Oh, do not hang back. Do not stand far off. He holds out the golden scepter now and says, ‘Come near; what is your request? Come with your temporal desire. Come with your spiritual need. Ask what you will, it shall be granted you. I have an open hand and a large heart.’ Is it your desire, ‘Lord, I want more grace to glorify Thee. I want a more holy, upright, honest walk. I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, and submission. I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of His glory, to feel more of His preciousness, and to live more simply on His fullness. I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit’? Blessed, holy desires! It is the Spirit making intercession in you according to the will of God; and entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the Lord will fulfill the desires of your heart, even to half of the kingdom.”
Evening Thoughts, 604-605
Jesus taught that Almighty God is the disciple’s Father. This means that He is not merely like a father, but He is, in fact, the believer’s real and true and perfect Father. The Holy Spirit living in a believer causes the cry of the believer’s heart to be Father (Romans 8:15). It comes from deep within as a spontaneous response to God who gave His only Son as a sacrifice. For you to call Him Father is a delight to His heart, and for you to come boldly to Him with any and all your needs honors and pleases Him. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11). Be not timid. Trust your Father and ask Him for what you need.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 18, 2013
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
James 4:7 (ESV)
“A throne, whenever it is approached, should be so with complete submission. We do not pray to God to instruct Him as to what He ought to do, neither for a moment must we presume to dictate the line of the divine procedure. We are permitted to say to God, ‘Thus and thus would we have it,’ but we must furthermore add, ‘But seeing that we are ignorant and may be mistaken—seeing that we are still in the flesh, and therefore, may be actuated by carnal motives, we must say, not as we will, but as You will.
Who shall dictate to the throne? No loyal child of God will for a moment imagine that he is to occupy the place of the King, but he bows before Him who has the right to be Lord of all. And though he utters his desire earnestly, vehemently, importantly, and pleads again, yet it is evermore with this needful reservation: ‘Your will be done, my Lord. And if I ask anything that is not in accordance with it, my inmost will is that You would be good enough to deny Your servant. I will take it as a true answer if You refuse me, if I ask that which seems not good in Your sight.’
If we constantly remember this, we should be less inclined to push certain issues before His throne. We should feel, ‘I am here in seeking my own case, my own comfort, my own advantage, and perhaps, I may be asking for that which would dishonor God; therefore will I speak with the deepest submission to the divine decrees.’”
Fill Me With Hope, May 21
Compiled by Paul M. Miller
When the wedding host ran out of wine, all Mary said to her son was, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). She knew who He was, but she did not presume to tell Him what He must do and how to do it. She left that with Him. She merely took the need of the host to Him and left it with Him to do the right and best thing. Don’t you think as His mother it would have been easy to tell Him what to do and how to do it? But she didn’t. She simply presented the need to Him with submission.
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 23, 2013
“John Gibson Paton was born in a Christian home near Dumfries, Scotland, in 1824. From an early age he had a special awareness of a closet in the three-room cottage, where he lived with his parents and ten brothers and sisters. He described it thus:
‘The closet was…the Sanctuary of that cottage home. Thither daily and oftentimes a day…we saw our Father retire, and ‘shut the door’; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct that prayers were being poured out there for us…. We knew whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face: it was the reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived…. My soul would wander back to those early scenes, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal, ‘He walked with God, why may not I?’
Paton [having become a Christian at 12 years] applied for a position as a tract distributor, which included one year of training at the Free Church Normal Seminary in Glasgow. When it was time to leave for Glasgow, his father walked with him for the first six miles of his journey. Paton recalled:
His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are in my heart as if it had been but yesterday…. For the last half-mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me…on reaching the appointed parting-place, he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately, said: ‘God bless you, my son! Your father’s God prosper you, and keep you from all evil.’
Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayers, in tears we embraced, and parted…. I was soon out of sight. But my heart was too full, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for a time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dyke to see if he yet stood where I had left him, and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dyke and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he had gazed eagerly in my direction, he got down [and] set his gaze toward home…. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonour such a father and mother as he had given me.”
The One Year Christian History, 214-215
E. Michael and Sharon Ruston
Children learn from seeing their parents love and be devoted to God through Jesus Christ.