Well. I see that it’s been awhile since I wrote anything. Life has been a blur. This morning was no exception. But I did have a few minutes to read, think and pray, so I wanted to share what I read.
First, after reading a book that referenced Daniel’s (In the Bible) prayer life, I wanted to read that book again. It has been…instructive. His prayer of thanks to God for help interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was encouraging:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.
He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers.
You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Then a short reading from The Cloud of Witness…this gem stood out to me this morning:
“Christ’s whole life was a Cross and a Martyrdom; and dost thou seek rest and joy for thyself?”
-Thomas A Kempis, The Cloud of Witness
(In my opinion, the issue is not rest or joy, but the avoidance of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. Just so we’re clear.)
I have a new book! Actually, I have several new books. Michael had the grand opportunity to go to The Gospel Coalition Conference in Indianapolis last week. He brought me a few books, cause he’s nice like that. You know you’ve got a pretty great guy when he packs a tiny carry on bag as his ONLY luggage, and then makes room in that bag for books!
Anyway. He made some good choices, one of them is Prayer, by John Bunyan. So far it is just right. In talking of sincere prayer over heavy burdens, he named some that are truly heavy, and that many of us are often broken over:
“Sincere prayer…is not, as many take it to be, a few babbling, prating, complimentary expressions, but a sensible feeling in the heart. Prayer has in it a sensibleness of diverse things; sometimes sense of sin, sometimes of mercy received, sometimes of the readiness of God to give mercy.”
He went on to describe the burden we feel in our soul over sin in our life, and the reality of hell and those who have decided not to take hell to be a serious concern. Those things are certainly a burden.
“For right prayer bubbles out of the heart when it is overcome with grief and bitterness, as blood is forced out of the flesh by reason of some heavy burden that lies upon it (He references several men in the Bible who were burdened and praying over sin and man’s delusion about their own sin.)…And all this from a sense of the justice of God, the guilt of sin, the pains of hell and destruction…you may see that prayer carries in it a sensible feeling, and that first from a sense of sin.”
-John Bunyan, Prayer
Don’t worry, he’s not all sin, hell and despair. I didn’t have time to read the section on mercy this morning…I’m getting there.
Next up was more cheeriness. Sorry.
Amy Carmichael was describing the heartache and desperation she and her teammates felt in their early attempts to rescue Indian children from temple prostitution. It was grief to read about it all of these years later, because although I know the work there in India was a success, it brings to mind all the children who suffer around the world today, and need help right now. For me this was a direct connection to praying sincerely and fervently for the Lord to light a fire in all of us for the rescue of these precious children. Whether here in our own cities, or around the world. The need is desperate. (As an interesting side note, try googling “Foster kids and human trafficking” and see what the studies are showing. I’ll give you a hint: massively high rates for foster children being trafficked…they need to be adopted and cared for. Quickly.)
Here’s what Amy Carmichael had to say nearly a hundred years ago after talking with the very first child she rescued:
“The child told us things that darkened the sunlight. It was impossible to forget those things…sometimes we felt as though the things that we had seen and heard had killed forever the laughter in us.
But children must have laughter round about them.”
Amy Carmichael, The Gold Cord
I know this was serious. These things have been on my heart and in my prayer throughout the day. Blessings on your Sunday.