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« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2006, 11:34:27 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Proverbs 3:6
The Path of Lonliness


A Smooth Path

The work of heavy highway equipment is to smooth the way for travelers by exalting valleys, making low the mountains and hills, straightening the crooked. Obstacles--trees, rocks, houses, even mountains themselves--are put out of the way. This is what the Lord can do for his travelers (it is promised by the prophet Isaiah), but He does it without fuss, and in response to the one who simply thinks of Him: "Think of Him in all your ways, and He will smooth your path" (Prv. 3:6 NEB).

The mind can build barriers, produce huge obstacles, collide with boulders of impossibility. Strangely and wonderfully, when we turn our thoughts to Him with whom nothing is an impossibility (and to turn thoughts takes an act of will), He smoothes the path for us. We find it possible, maybe even easy, to move forward.

Don't waste time, energy, perhaps sleep-time, thinking of all those rocks in the way. Think of Him. Think of Him! You may find your path suddenly smoothed.

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« Reply #46 on: April 25, 2006, 11:35:37 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: John 1:5 Luke 22:53
The Path of Lonliness


The Power of Darkness

When the chief priests, temple officers, and elders came to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus, they succeeded only because a sovereign God permitted them to succeed. Jesus pointed out that He was teaching daily in the Temple, yet they never laid a finger on Him. Now they were after Him with swords and staves. "But this is your hour, and the power of darkness is yours" (Lk 22:53 JBP). Who gave them that hour? Who allowed them the power to capture Him? It was God, without whose leave not even a sparrow can fall to the ground. God is omnipotent, never slumbering, just, righteous, and forever in control. He was not taken by surprise. All was working then, as it is always working, into a pattern for good.

Our own difficulties often appear to be random. Our tragedies look wildly uncontrolled. They are not. They are subject. Limits are set. God is quietly at work, standing in the shadows, ceaselessly watching over His children.

"The light shines on in the dark, and the darkness has never mastered it" (Jn l:5 NEB).

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« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2006, 03:27:56 AM »

Amen BEPs, this devotional led me to think on one particular Scripture;

Lu 4:30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

Note Barnes Commentary

 More probably that Jesus by divine power, by the force of a word or look, stilled their passions, arrested-their purposes, and passed silently through them. That he had such a power over the spirits of men we learn from the occurrence in Gethsemane, when he said, "I am he; and they went backward and fell to the ground," Joh 18:6.
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PS 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust
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« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2006, 10:25:34 AM »

Amen Sister Maria,

I'm thinking about two words that were spoken numerous places in the Bible, "I AM". There is a beautiful Bible study that can be done on just these two words, and they lead to the various names of GOD. It is also rendered "The Great I AM" in some portions of the Bible, but all instances refer to ALMIGHTY GOD! The riches and power of GOD'S WORD are impossible for humans to even imagine.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Psalms 139:4 NASB  Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
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« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2006, 05:22:10 AM »

Author:  Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:14
The Path of Lonliness


A Strange Godsend

King Saul was tormented in a strange way from time to time by an evil spirit from God (1 Sam 16:14). His servants suggested that harp music might drive it away. One of them told the king about Jesse's son David of Bethlehem who could play, and who was also a brave man, a good fighter, wise in speech, and handsome. Furthermore, the Lord was with him. David was sent for, and besides these God-given gifts, he brought with him a homer of bread, a skin of wine, and a kid. The king loved him and made him his armor-bearer. Whenever the evil spirit came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play so that Saul found relief, recovered, and the spirit left him alone.

This story shows us that among the baffling intricacies of the sovereign plan of God there is often evil which is not only permitted but sometimes actually sent by God. We wonder why. Surely part of the reason is that we may learn our own helplessness and need of Him. Saul was a powerful king, but it took his servants, who happened to know of a small-town boy, to suggest a remedy for the king's trouble. God sent the trouble. God sent the boy. That boy had been prepared by God, equipped with gifts which the king needed. Picture the boy, idly strumming his lyre as he passed the time of day in the pasture with the sheep. He could not have dreamed of the use God would some day make of that skill--to comfort a king's tormented spirit and later to become the "sweet singer of Israel."

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Give me a trust big enough to embrace the baffling intricacies and to find in times of helplessness that You are a very present Help.

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« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2006, 05:23:15 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Matthew 7:11
The Path of Lonliness


The Weapon of Prayer

News came one day which indicated that a matter I had been praying about had deteriorated rather than improved. "What good are my prayers, anyway?" I was tempted to ask. "Why bother? It's becoming a mere charade." But the words of Jesus occurred in my Bible reading that very morning (and wasn't it a good thing I'd taken time to hear Him?): "If you, bad as you are, know how to give your children what is good for them, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him?" (Matthew 7:11, NEB).

Are you as often tempted as I am to doubt the effectiveness of prayer? But Jesus prayed. He told us to pray. We can be sure that the answer will come, and it will be good. If it is not exactly what we expected, chances are we were not asking for quite the right thing. Our heavenly Father hears the prayer, but wants to give us bread rather than stones.

Prayer is a weapon. Paul speaks of the "weapons we wield" in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. They are "not merely human, but divinely potent to demolish strongholds" (NEB). The source of my doubts about its potency that morning was certainly not the Holy Spirit. It was the unholy spirit, the Destroyer himself, urging me to quit using the weapon he fears so intensely.

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« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2006, 05:24:29 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture: Colossians 2:1 Philippians 4:6 Ephesians 3:12 Isaiah 45:19 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 1 John 1:9 Isaiah 44:22 Isaiah 40:29-31 Psalm 27:8 Colossians 1:2-9 1 John 5:14-15
The Path of Lonliness


Prayer is Conflict

Prayer is no easy pastime. As I grow old I find that I am more conscious than ever of my need to pray, but it seems at the same time to become more of a struggle. It is harder to concentrate, for one thing. I was greatly helped by some private notes Amy Carmichael wrote to her "Family" (hundreds of children and their helpers, both Indian and European) in Dohnavur, South India, to help them prepare for a special day of prayer.

She quoted Paul's letter to the Colossians (2:1, KJV): "I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you." He is referring at least in part to the conflict of prayer. The same verse is translated "how greatly I strive" in the Revised Version; "how deep is my anxiety" in J.B. Phillips; and, in the Jerusalem Bible, "Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you... to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God's secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden."

Here are Amy's notes:

WITH WHAT DID I STRUGGLE?

1. With all that says to me, what is the use of your praying? So many others, who know more of prayer than you do, are praying. What difference does it make whether you pray or not? Are you sure that your Lord is listening? Of course He is listening to the other prayers but yours are of such small account, are you really sure He is "bending His ear" to you?

2. With all that suggests that we are asked to give too much time to prayer. There is so much to do. Why set aside so much time just to pray?

3. With all that discourages me personally--perhaps the remembrance of past sin, perhaps spiritual or physical tiredness; with anything and everything that keeps me back from what occupied St. Paul so often--vital prayer.

WHAT WILL HELP ME MOST IN THIS WRESTLE?

1. The certain knowledge that our insignificance does not matter at all, for we do not come to the Father in our own name but in the Name of His beloved Son. His ear is always open to that Name. Of this we can be certain.

2. The certain knowledge that this is Satan's lie; he is much more afraid of our prayer than our work. (This is proved by the immense difficulties we always find when we set ourselves to pray. They are much greater than those we meet when we set ourselves to work.)

3. Isaiah 44:22 and kindred words, with 1 John 1:9, meet all distress about sin. Isaiah 40:29-31 with 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 meets everything that spiritual or physical weariness can do to hinder. Psalm 27:8 with Isaiah 45:19 meets all other difficulties. And the moment we say to our God, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek," His mighty energies come to the rescue. (See Colossians 1:2,9.) Greater, far greater, is He that is in us than he that is against us. Count on the greatness of God. But are we to go on wrestling to the end?

No, there is a point to which we come, when, utterly trusting the promise of our Father, we rest our hearts upon Him. It is then we are given what St. Paul calls access with confidence (Ephesians 3:12). But don't forget that this access is by faith, not by feeling, faith in Him our living Lord; He who says "Come unto Me" does not push us away when we come. As we go on, led by the Holy Spirit who so kindly helps our infirmities, we find ourselves in 1 John 5:14,15 and lastly in Philippians 4:6, . It is good to remember that immediate answer to prayer is not always something seen, but it is always inward peace.

And if the day ends otherwise and we are discouraged? Then tell Him so, "nothing ashamed of tears upon His feet" [here she is quoting from F.W.H. Meyers's poem "St. Paul"]. Lord, Thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love Thee. "Yes, my child, I know." But don't settle down into an "it will never be different" attitude. It will be different if only in earnest we follow on to know the Lord.

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« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2006, 05:26:38 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: On Asking God Why
Scripture: Mark 1:35 Ephesians 3:17-18 Colossians 1:11 Matthew 6:6 Hebrews 10:25 Psalm 119:14
The Path of Lonliness


Meeting God Alone - Page 1
by Elisabeth Elliot


A very tall man, wrapped in a steamer rug, kneeling alone by a chair. When I think of my father, who died in 1963, this is often the first image that comes to mind. It was the habit of his life to rise early in the morning--usually between 4:30 and 5:00--to study his Bible and to pray.

We did not often see him during that solitary hour (he purposed to make it solitary), but we were used to seeing him on his knees. He had family prayers every morning after breakfast. We began with a hymn; then he read from the Bible to us; and we all knelt to pray. As we grew older, we were encouraged to pray alone as well.

Few people know what to do with solitude when it is forced upon them; even fewer arrange for solitude regularly. This is not to suggest that we should neglect meeting with other believers for prayer (Hebrews 10:25), but the foundation of our devotional life is our own private relationship with God.

My father, an honest and humble disciple of the Lord Jesus, wanted to follow his example: "Very early in the morning…Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" (Mark 1:35).

Christians may (and ought to) pray anytime and anywhere, but we cannot well do without a special time and place to be alone with God. Most of us find that early morning is not an easy time to pray. I wonder if there is an easy time.

The simple fact is that early morning is probably the only time when we can be fairly sure of not being interrupted. Where can we go? Into "your closet," was what the Lord said in Matthew 6:6, meaning any place apart from the eyes and the ears of others. Jesus went to the hills, to the wilderness, to a garden; the apostles to the seashore or to an upper room; Peter to a housetop.

We may need to find a literal closet or a bathroom or a parked car. We may walk outdoors and pray. But we must arrange to pray, to be alone with God sometime every day, to talk to him and to listen to what he wants to say to us.

The Bible is God's message to everybody. We deceive ourselves if we claim to want to hear his voice but neglect the primary channel through which it comes. We must read his Word. We must obey it. We must live it, which means rereading it throughout our lives. I think my father read it more than forty times.

When we have heard God speak, what then shall we say to God? In an emergency or when we suddenly need help, the words come easily: "Oh, God!" or "Lord, help me!" During our quiet time, however, it is a good thing to remember that we are here not to pester God but to adore him.

All creation praises him all the time--the winds, the tides, the oceans, the rivers, move in obedience; the song sparrow and the wonderful burrowing wombat, the molecules in their cells, the stars in their courses, the singing whales and the burning seraphim do without protest or slovenliness exactly what their Maker intended, and thus praise him.

We read that our Heavenly Father actually looks for people who will worship him in spirit and in reality. Imagine! God is looking for worshippers. Will he always have to go to a church to find them, or might there be one here and there in an ordinary house, kneeling alone by a chair, simply adoring him?

How do we adore him? Adoration is not merely unselfish. It doesn't even take into consideration that the self exists. It is utterly consumed with the object adored.

=========================See Page 2
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« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2006, 05:28:07 AM »

Meeting God Alone - Page 2
by Elisabeth Elliot


Once in a while, a human face registers adoration. The groom in a wedding may seem to worship the approaching bride, but usually he has a few thoughts for himself--how does he look in this absurd ruffled shirt that she asked him to wear, what should he do with his hands at this moment, what if he messes up the vows?

I have seen adoration more than once on faces in a crowd surrounding a celebrity, but only when they were unaware of the television cameras, and only when there was not the remotest possibility that the celebrity would notice them. For a few seconds, they forgot themselves altogether.

When I stumble out of bed in the morning, put on a robe, and go into my study, words do not spring spontaneously to my lips--other than words like, "Lord, here I am again to talk to you. It's cold. I'm not feeling terribly spiritual...." Who can go on and on like that morning after morning, and who can bear to listen to it day after day?

I need help in order to worship God. Nothing helps me more than the Psalms. Here we find human cries--of praise, adoration, anguish, complaint, petition. There is an immediacy, an authenticity, about those cries. They speak for me to God--that is, they say what I often want to say, but for which I cannot find words.

Surely the Holy Spirit preserved those Psalms in order that we might have paradigms of prayer and of our individual dealings with God. It is immensely comforting to find that even David, the great king, wailed about his loneliness, his enemies, his pains, his sorrows, and his fears. But then he turned from them to God in paeans of praise.

He found expression for praise far beyond my poor powers, so I use his and am lifted out of myself, up into heights of adoration, even though I'm still the same ordinary woman alone in the same little room.

Another source of assistance for me has been the great hymns of the Church, such as "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven," "New Every Morning Is the Love," "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken," and ''O Worship the King." The third stanza of that last one delights me. It must delight God when I sing it to him:

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

That's praise. By putting into words things on earth for which we thank him, we are training ourselves to be ever more aware of such things as we live our lives. It is easy otherwise to be oblivious of the thousand evidences of his care. Have you thought of thanking God for light and air, because in them his care breathes and shines?

Hymns often combine praise and petition, which are appropriate for that time alone with God. The beautiful morning hymn "Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun" has these stanzas:

All praise to Thee, who safe hast kept,
And hast refreshed me while I slept.
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless light partake.
Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design, or do, or say;
That all my powers, with all their might,
In Thy sole glory may unite.

=========================See Page 3
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« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2006, 05:29:25 AM »

Meeting God Alone - Page 3
by Elisabeth Elliot


Adoration should be followed by confession. Sometimes it happens that I can think of nothing that needs confessing. This is usually a sign that I'm not paying attention. I need to read the Bible. If I read it with prayer that the Holy Spirit will open my eyes to this need, I soon remember things done that ought not to have been done and things undone that ought to have been done.

Sometimes I follow confession of sin with confession of faith--that is, with a declaration of what I believe. Any one of the creeds helps here, or these simple words: "Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."

Then comes intercession, the hardest work in the world--the giving of one's self, time, strength, energy, and attention to the needs of others in a way that no one but God sees, no one but God will do anything about, and no one but God will ever reward you for.

Do you know what to pray for people whom you haven't heard from in a long time? I don't. So I often use the prayers of the New Testament, so all-encompassing, so directed toward things of true and eternal importance, such as Paul's for the Christians in Ephesus: ''…I pray that you, rooted and founded in love yourselves, may be able to grasp…how wide and long and deep and high is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:17, 18). Or I use his prayer for the Colossians, "We pray that you will be strengthened from God's boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to pass through any experience and endure it with joy" (Colossians 1:11). I have included many New Testament prayers in a small booklet entitled "And When You Pray (Good News Publishers).

My own devotional life is very far from being Exhibit A of what it should be. I have tried, throughout most of my life, to maintain a quiet time with God, with many lapses and failures. Occasionally, but only occasionally, it is impossible. Our Heavenly Father knows all about those occasions. He understands perfectly why mothers with small children bring them along when they talk to him.

Nearly always it is possible for most of us, with effort and planning and the will to do his will, to set aside time for God alone. I am sure I have lost out spiritually when I have missed that time. And I can say with the psalmist, "I have found more joy along the path of thy instruction than in any kind of wealth" (Psalms 119:14).

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« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2006, 05:30:41 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Matthew 6:33
The Path of Lonliness


God's Kingdom, My Reference Point

A beginner's prayers are generally an attempt to get God to pay attention to his wants. As we grow in grace, prayer becomes an attempt to turn our attention to God. His kingdom becomes our reference point for every matter that concerns us. Will this thing further or hinder the working of the will of God in me, in those I pray for, in these situations? What is on my mind today? Let me bring it at once into the light of God's countenance, refer it to his scrutiny, lay it (and my heart with it) open before Him. If I am not prepared to submit something, I am interested in myself, not in the kingdom. "Set your mind on God's kingdom and His justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well''(Mt 6:33 NEB).

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« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2006, 05:55:40 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Pray with Jesus

Because I am "of the earth, earthy," I find that my prayers for the people I love are mostly bound by very earthy concerns--Lord, help P. to find a good wife, show G. which college to attend, provide money for W.'s house and E.'s car, help T. with his book, give X. a better job. It is meet and proper to pray for such things, but not to pray only for such things. There are prayers of far more lasting import which we must also learn to pray. We can find words for those in the prayer of Jesus for the people He loved:

   1. that they may be one;
   2. that they may find his joy completed in themselves;
   3. that they may be kept from evil;
   4. that they may be made holy by the truth;
   5. that they may live in Christ;
   6. that they may grow complete into one;
   7. that they may be with him;
   8. that the love which God has for Christ may be in their hearts.

If we learn to pray that kind of prayer, it will perhaps amend the "lesser" prayers.

Lord, teach me to pray. Open my eyes to see beyond the earthly to the heavenly. Let my primary concerns be heavenly ones, that your kingdom may come on earth, your will be done in me and in those I love. Teach me to pray with Jesus, for his sake. Amen.

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« Reply #57 on: May 03, 2006, 07:14:11 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Love Has A Price Tag
Scripture: Ephesians 6:12 Luke 9:23
The Path of Lonliness


Notes on Prayer - Page 1
by Elisabeth Elliot


People who ski, I suppose, are people who happen to like skiing, who have time for skiing, who can afford to ski, and who are good at skiing. Recently I found that I often treat prayer as though it were a sport like skiing--something you do if you like it, something you do in your spare time, something you do if you can afford the trouble, something you do if you're good at it. Otherwise you do without it most of the time. When you get in a pinch you try it and then you call an expert.

But prayer isn't a sport. It's work. As soon as I've said that I'm in trouble because so many sports have become professional and as such are almost wholly indistinguishable from work. I could say that work is something you have to decide to do, you have to allow time for, you have to go at with energy, skill and concentration. But all those things could be said of the big business which is sports. Competition is deadly, equipment highly technical and expensive, salaries absurdly high.

But prayer is no game. Even if you are part of a "team," as when others join you in prayer, you are not cheered on by spectators or coached by any experts. You won't get any trophies--not on this side of the Jordan, anyway. It's not likely you'll get any credit at all. For some people prayer might fall into the category of "fun," but that's not usually the reason we pray. It's a matter of need and responsibility.

Prayer is work because a Christian simply can't "make a living" without it. He can't live a Christian life at all if he doesn't pray.

Prayer is the opposite of leisure. It's something to be engaged in, not indulged in. It's a job you give first priority to, performing not when you have energy left for nothing else. "Pray when you feel like praying," somebody has said. "Pray when you don't feel like praying. Pray until you do feel like praying." If we pray only "at our leisure"--that is, at our own convenience--can we be true disciples? Jesus said, "Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his own desires and conveniences" (Luke 9:23 LB).

The apostle Paul did use an analogy from sports to describe prayer. He said we "wrestle." In the wrestling of a Christian in prayer, "our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil" (Eph. 6:12, Phillips). Seldom do we consider the nature of our opponent, and that is to his advantage. When we do recognize him for what he is, however, we have an inkling as to why prayer is never easy. It's the weapon that Unseen Power dreads most, and if he can get us to treat it as casually as we treat a pair of skis or a tennis racquet he can keep his hold.

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« Reply #58 on: May 03, 2006, 07:15:41 AM »

Notes on Prayer - Page 2
by Elisabeth Elliot


If we're going to ask, "Is prayer work?" somebody will want to ask, "Does prayer work?" That question assumes that results ought to be measurable. The trouble is they are not by any means always measurable or predictable because the One to whom we address our prayers is infinite and incomprehensible, "and all that is comprehensible about him" (wrote John of Damascus) "is his infinity and incomprehensibility." His thoughts are as much higher than our thoughts as the heavens are higher than the earth.

And he is Love. Infinite Love will never give a stone when bread is asked for, or a scorpion in place of an egg. But what will Infinite Love give if our prayer is for a scorpion?

Prayer is compared in the Bible to incense. "Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee," wrote the Psalmist, and the angel who stood before the altar with the golden censer in Revelation 8 was given incense to mingle with the prayers of the saints. Incense was very expensive, blended by a perfumer according to a strict formula. It appears to serve no particularly useful purpose. Its smoke and fragrance soon dissipate. Couldn't incense be done without?

Prayer is like incense. It costs a great deal. It doesn't seem to accomplish much (as we mortals assess things). It soon dissipates. But God likes the smell. It was God's idea to arrange the work of the tabernacle to include a special altar for incense. We can be pretty sure he included all that was necessary and nothing that was unnecessary.

Christ prayed. He offered thanksgiving, he interceded for others, he made petitions. That the Son--co-equal, co-eternal, consubstantial with the Father--should come to the Father in prayer is a mystery. That we, God's children, should be not only permitted but commanded also to come is a mystery. How can we change things by prayer? How "move" a sovereign and omnipotent God? We do not understand. We simply obey because it is a law of the universe, as we obey other laws of the universe, knowing only that this is how things have been arranged: the book falls to the floor in obedience to the law of gravity if I let go of it. Spiritual power is released through prayer.

I could say, "God can make my hands clean if he wants to," or I could wash them myself. Chances are God won't make my hands clean. That's a job he leaves up to me. His omnipotence is not impaired by his having ordained my participation, whether it be in the washing of hands with soap or the helping of a friend with prayer. Christ redeemed the world by the laying down of his life, a perfect sacrifice, once for all. Yet he is in the business, as David Redding says, of "maintenance and repair." He lets us participate with him in that business by the laying down of our own lives.

One way of laying down our lives is by praying for somebody. In prayer I am saying, in effect, "my life for yours." My time, my energy, my thought, my concern, my concentration, my faith--here they are, for you. So it is that I participate in the work of Christ. So it is that no work of faith, no labor of love, no smallest prayer is ever lost, but, like the smoke of the incense on the golden altar, rises from the hand of the angel before God.

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« Reply #59 on: May 03, 2006, 07:19:15 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Nehemiah 4:9
The Path of Lonliness
Shop for Elisabeth Elliot Resouces

Why Bother to Pray?

If God is sovereign, and things will be as they are going to be anyway, why bother to pray? There are several reasons. The first is really all we need to know: God has told us to pray. It is a commandment, and if we love Him we obey his commands.

Second, Jesus prayed. People sometimes say that the only reason for prayer is that we need to be changed. Certainly we do, but that is not the only reason to pray. Jesus was not being made more holy by prayer. He was communing with his Father. He was asking for things. He thanked God. In his Gethsemane prayer He was beseeching the Father to prevent what was about to take place. He was also laying down his own will.

Third, prayer is a law of the universe. As God ordained that certain physical laws should govern the operation of this universe, so He has ordained the spiritual law. Books simply will not stay put on the table without the operation of gravity-- although God could cause them, by divine fiat, to stay. Certain things simply will not happen without the operation of prayer, although God could cause them, by divine fiat, to happen.

The Bible is full of examples of people doing what they could do and asking God to do what they couldn't do. In other words, the pattern given to us is both to work and pray. Nehemiah and the people of Israel worked hard to build the wall of Jerusalem but were strenuously opposed by Sanballat and Tobiah, who banded together with Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites to attack. "So we prayed to our God," wrote Nehemiah, "and posted a guard day and night against them" (Neh 4:9 NEB).

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