May We See Our Sins

May We See Our Sins:  A Prayer – Written by Henry Law, from Puritan Prayers

O God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us miserable sinners. Move, we beseech You, in our disordered hearts. Remove the deformities of unruly desire and hateful lusts. Chase away the mists and darkness of unbelief. Brighten our inner man with the pure light of truth. Sow abundantly the seeds of righteousness. Make our souls fragrant as the garden of the Lord. Enrich them with every godly fruit. Beautify them with heavenly grace. Be our comforter, our guide, our light, our sanctification.

Especially take of the things of Christ, and show them with enlarged power to our longing souls. May we daily learn more of His love, His grace, His tender compassion, His faithfulness, and His beauty. May we delight ourselves in Him with increased delight. Lead us to the cross, and show us in His wounds—the hateful character of sin. May we see our sins, as . . .
the nails which transfixed Him,
the cords which bound Him,
the sword which pierced Him,
the thorns which tore Him,
the taunts which stung Him.

Help us to read in His cruel death—the reality and immensity of His love. Open to us the wondrous volumes of glorious truth in the cry, “It is finished!”
Our atonement is forever achieved,
our debt is fully paid,
all our guilt is washed away,
all our sins most righteously forgiven,
our persons are redeemed,
our souls saved,
hell vanquished,
the devil crushed,
heaven won, and
eternity of glory our rightful home!

Holy Spirit, deepen in us these saving lessons. Write them with Your finger on the tablets of our hearts. May our walk be one of . . .
sin-loathing,
sin-fleeing,
Christ-loving, and
God-fearing.

How You Can Be Praying for Us Here in Uganda

Picture of a boda boda – similar to the ones we used when we went to meet Elliot and Harold at the bus depot

This is our third day in Uganda.  We are praising the Lord for all His mercies to us through Jesus Christ.  We rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for the safe arrival of Elliot Khembo and Harold Juma from JTW Malawi.  They arrived at 2:00 am on Thursday morning.  My brother Timothy and I went to meet them at the bus depot using motorbike “taxi’s” commonly called boda boda here in Uganda.  It was quite an experience.  All the same we made it back to “home” safely.

In this post, I would like to share a few specific ways in which you can be praying for us.  These have been taken and adapted from Paul’s plea for prayer in his epistle to the Romans in Romans 15:30-33 which reads:

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

The Sunday before we left to come here, I preached on this text and and gave our congregation some specific ways they can be praying for us while we are gone this summer.  Here is a brief summary of what I shared with our congregation:

What Did Paul Ask the Roman Believers to Pray for Him?  Three things:  1.  That he may be delivered from the unbelieving Judeans,  2.  That his service might be acceptable to the saints, 3.  That by God’s will he may return to them and be refreshed in their company.

In a similar way, I ask that you please remember us and the JTW Team with us here that the Lord may protect us from those who may be hostile to the gospel.  No doubt, we will mingle with many unbelievers as we go about the work that the Lord has called us to do here.  Please pray that the Lord will go before us and protect us.  In addition to that, please pray also that those who do not believe might come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and find eternal life in Him.

I also ask that you please pray that our service here may be acceptable to the saints in this country.  We are going to be mingling with a lot of Christians (pastors and laymen alike) in a number of the local churches while we are here.  Please pray that our ministry to them may be tremendously blessed of the Lord and that it may be acceptable to them.  Pray that their hearts (as well as ours) may be prepared to receive the Word of God with faith.  Pray that our hearts might be good/fertile soil where the Word of God will thrive and bear fruit to the glory of God in Jesus Christ. Finally, please pray that by the will of God, we may all return home with joy.  Please pray that the Lord may prosper His work through us here during the time that we are going to be here and that we will all be able to return home with great testimonies of the mighty works of God among His people here in Uganda according to His will.

Why Did Paul Ask Them to Pray for These Things? 

First, it was for the sake/glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We too desire that in all that happens through us here might be to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Secondly, it was for the sake of love (i.e. as a demonstration of their love for him).  We too ask you to pray for us as a demonstration and proof of the love that the Lord God by His Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers for Him and for one another.  For these reasons, please pray for us brethren.

How Were They to Pray for Paul? 

First, they were to strive in prayer for Paul.  Paul’s appeal to them was that they put forth all that was within them in the duty of prayer on his behalf.  They were to pray with focus, faith and fervency.  They were to wrestle with God on his behalf and pray for him in their praying being assured that the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16).

Secondly, they were to strive in prayer together with Paul.  When Paul begged the Roman believers to pray for him, he did not intend thereby to excuse his praying for himself.  Quite the contrary!  He had resolved to strive in prayer for himself too, daily wrestling with God and he invited them to join him in that endeavor.  Although he was so separated from them by a great distance, he nevertheless invited them to join him in prayer.  One commentator said, “those who are put far asunder by the disposal of God’s providence may yet meet together at the throne of His grace.”  And, “those who beg the prayers of others must not neglect to pray for themselves.  In the same way, we invite you brothers and sisters to strive together with us in prayer over these next few weeks.  May it please the Lord to allow us to meet at His holy throne of grace daily where we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) through Jesus Christ and to His praise, glory and honor! Pray for us brethren even as we pray for ourselves and for you to the glory of God in Christ Jesus our Savior!

Prayer from the Valley of Vision

O God, Thou are very great, my lot is to approach thee with godly fear for thy condescension equals thy grandeur, and thy goodness is thy glory.

I am unworthy, but thou dost welcome; guilty, but thou art merciful; indigent, but thy riches are unsearchable.

Thou hast shown boundless compassion towards me by not sparing thy Son, and by giving me freely all things in him;

This is the foundation of my hope, the refuge of my safety, the new and living way to thee, the means of that conviction of sin, brokenness of heart, and self-despair, which will endear to me the gospel.

Happy are they who are Christ’s, in him at peace with thee, justified from all things, delivered from coming wrath, made heirs of future glory;

Give me such deadness to the world, such love to the Saviour, such attachment to his house, such devotedness to his service, as proves me a subject of his salvation.

May every part of my character and conduct make a serious and amiable impression on others, and impel them to ask the way to the Master.

Let no incident of life, pleasing or painful, injure the prosperity of my soul, but rather increase it.

Send me thy help, for thine appointments are not meant to make me independent of thee; and the best means will be vain without super-added blessings.

Source:  Bennet, Arthur, ed., The Valley of Vision, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1975, p. 256-257

Billy Graham’s Meditation on The Power of Prayer

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  Hebrews 13:7

I would like to share with you an excerpt from a longer article on the power of prayer by Billy Graham.  Mr. Graham (now 93 years old) has been used by the LORD to reach many lives around the globe with the saving gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.  Few men in the history of Christianity have experienced the blessed joy of leading so many people to the cross of Jesus Christ for salvation in the same way that he has and for this we are to give all the praise, glory and honor to the God for “salvation belongs to the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).  Mr. Graham’s success can be attributed to nothing but the power of prayer.  O, how we need more great men of prayer in our day!  Here is what Mr. Graham wrote on prayer on January 3, 2011:

There is only one power available to change the course of history, and that is the power of prayer—the prayer of God-fearing, Christ-believing men and women.

But today we have come to a place where many people regard prayer as simply a formality. We have no sense of coming to grips with God, except for the continuation of a venerated tradition. Yet how can we go on unless there is a renewed emphasis on prayer?

Thousands of people pray only in times of great stress, danger or uncertainty. Christ instructed His followers always to pray. So fervent and so direct were the prayers of Jesus that once when He had finished praying, His followers turned to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

From one end of the Bible to the other is the record of those whose prayers have been answered—those who turned the tide of history by prayer; those who fervently prayed, and God answered. Abraham prayed, and so long as he prayed, God did not destroy the city of Sodom where Abraham’s nephew Lot lived.

Hezekiah prayed when his city was threatened by the invading armies of the Assyrians under the leadership of Sennacherib. The entire army of Sennacherib was destroyed and the nation was spared for another generation—because the king had prayed.

Elijah prayed, and God sent fire from Heaven to consume the offering on the altar he had built in the presence of God’s enemies. Elisha prayed, and the son of the Shunammite woman was raised from the dead. Jesus prayed at the door of the tomb of Lazarus, and the one who had been dead for four days came forth. The thief on the cross prayed, and Jesus assured him that he would be with Him in Paradise. Paul prayed, and churches were born in Asia Minor and in Europe. Peter prayed, and Dorcas was raised to life to have added years of service for Jesus Christ.

John Wesley prayed, and revival came to England. Jonathan Edwards prayed, and revival came to Northampton, Mass., where thousands of people joined the churches. History has been changed time after time because of prayer, and it could be changed again if people went to their knees in believing prayer.

What a glorious thing it would be if millions of us would avail ourselves of the privilege of prayer! Jesus Christ died to make this communion and communication with the Father possible. He told us of the joy in Heaven when one sinner turns from sin to God and breathes the simple prayer: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

When the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” the Savior answered by giving them His model petition, “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, that was only part of His sacred instruction. In scores of passages Jesus Christ offered further guidance, and because He practiced what He preached, His whole life was a series of lessons on prevailing prayer. Jesus had only three years of public ministry, yet He was never too hurried to spend hours in prayer.

How quickly and carelessly, by contrast, we pray. Snatches of memorized verses hastily spoken in the morning, then we say goodbye to God for the rest of the day until we rush through a few closing petitions at night. This is not the prayer program that Jesus outlined. Jesus pleaded long and repeatedly. It is recorded that He spent entire nights in fervent appeal. But how little perseverance and persistence and pleading we show!

The Scripture says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This should be the motto of every follower of Jesus Christ. Never stop praying, no matter how dark and hopeless your case may seem. A woman once wrote me that she had been pleading for 10 years for the conversion of her husband but that he was more hardened than ever. I advised her to continue to plead. Then some time later I heard from her again. She said that her husband was gloriously and miraculously converted in the eleventh year of her praying. Suppose she had stopped praying after only 10 years!

Our Lord frequently prayed alone, separating Himself from every earthly distraction. I would urge you to select a room or corner in your home where you can regularly meet alone with God. That quiet, secluded, soul-to-God praying in which you come to the mercy seat can be your greatest blessing.

As we observe the prayer life of Jesus, we notice the earnestness with which He prayed. The New Testament records that in Gethsemane He cried out with a loud voice, that in the intensity of His supplication He fell headlong on the damp ground of the garden, that He pleaded until His sweat became “like great drops of blood” (Luke 22: 44).

For the rest of this article please follow this link:  Power When You Pray.

For more lessons from Billy Graham, please follow this link:  Q & A: Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, and Evangelicals.

For more on prayer, I recommend:  Men of Prayer Needed, by E. M. Bounds (1835-1913).