April 24, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
As I began last week’s sermon preparation, I prayed. For some reason, last week I scribbled down the major headings of the prayer that I brought before the Lord that day, and I discovered them again today. I thought that I would share the rough outlines of that prayer because I believe that it is one that we can all offer to God when we are endeavoring to understand his Word. Here is the outline of my prayer – confront, convict, comfort, and challenge.
When I called out to the Lord for insight into his word, I asked him to confront me. I asked him to confront me with the truth of his word. I asked him to confront me with my sin, with my need for understanding (sadly, sometimes in my pride, I think I know it all), and I asked the Lord to confront me with Christ in the text. I also asked the Lord to convict me. I asked him to convict me of the truth of his Word. It is one thing to recognize the truth, but it is another thing for the truth to take root in your heart. It is one thing to ascent to the truth, but it is another to embrace it. I asked the Lord to comfort me. I would despair (and so would you) if the Lord simply confronted us and convicted us. Graciously, he never leaves us there. He always leads us to the cross, and so I asked the Lord to comfort me with the truth of his mercy and grace in the text – to comfort me with the hope of Christ. Finally, I asked the Lord to challenge me. Give what God has done in Christ, we can never stay the same. I asked the Lord to challenge me, in the words one song, to “help me now live a life that is dependent on his grace.” I asked the Lord to challenge me to work out what I learned from the text – to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.
I should have prayed one more thing, for him to change me! While we do work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
I hope and pray that these thoughts and prayer requests will be of some help to you when you open your Bibles tomorrow (or even tonight!). You can pray these same things for yourself, for others, and for me.
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