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Showing posts from May, 2020

The Ascension on an Ordinary Thursday

Sometimes I wish we had a holiday for Ascension Day like other countries. But, today, as I was going about my normal work filled with the joy of the One who has ascended into heaven for us, I realised that there's something quite appropriate about this feast falling on a normal working day. The Ascension is about things we cannot see — how Jesus has entered into heaven for us with His own blood, how the Incarnate Saviour is seated on the throne, and how He’s interceding for us there right now. While we see the normal work and stresses of life, that’s the unseen reality we cannot see. So Ascension Day is a day of Faith in things unseen. The victory, the enthronement, and the intercession are real. But right now we can only see them by faith. The presence of the Ascended Saviour with His people is real (Matt. 28:20; Mark 16:20; Eph. 4:10). But for now we can see Him only with the eyes of faith.  So as we go about the normal work of a normal Thursday, filled with the ext

Ways to Pray: The Jesus Prayer

Sometimes in the quiet bits of a Pentecostal prayer meeting or the Breaking of Bread you might hear someone quietly praying the name of Jesus. Just that - Jesus' name repeated. And perhaps, to people from other traditions or even nowadays many within our own, it might sound a bit odd. There's no request, no praise: nothing but the name of Jesus. Strange as it might sound (to just about everyone), though, this isn't some strange Pentecostal innovation. It's actually something deeply rooted in the history of Christian prayer. At least as far back as Diadochus of Photiki in the 5th century, we have examples of Christians praying (and encouraging others to pray) the name of Jesus. If 'no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit' (1 Corinthians 12:3), Diadochus points out, then to pray 'O Lord Jesus' is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. To pray the name of Jesus is to join with the Holy Spirit as He does His work within us of glorify

Praying All the Psalms

In the last post I wrote about the praying the Psalms at the heart of the Daily Office . But which Psalms should we pray? How do we choose? Well, why not all of them. While in particular times and situations we might find particular Psalms rather appropriate, all the Psalms have been given by God to be prayed, and through praying all of them He teaches us more and more how to pray. Having to choose which Psalms to pray each day might actually be a big obstacle to praying the Psalms. If we’re searching each time for an “appropriate” Psalm, we’ll end up spending much more time searching for Psalms than praying the Psalms. But also, choosing the Psalm that feels “right” each day doesn’t help us very much in being able to pray the appropriate Psalm in those moments when we can’t find any words of our own to pray. Why? Because, the only way to be able to know there’s a Psalm for this moment is to know the Psalms well. And it’s by praying all the Psalms regularly (not just the ones w

Helps to Pray for the Pandemic

Sometimes it's hard to pray for big things that we don't understand. Before the lockdown began and for the first few weeks, there was lots of fresh fervency in prayer. And, while that fervency has continued for many, and the desire to pray is still there, some people are just now finding it difficult to know how to pray for a situation that's big, and confusing, and long-lasting, and often quite scary. So, if you're finding it a challenge to know how to pray for the pandemic, here are some prayers to help you pray. It's perfectly fine to use these words written by others and make them your own. (After all, that's what we're doing all the time when we sing worship songs!) Quite a while back, I posted about the Litany for the Pandemic , which remains a really helpful way to pray. But here are some other options as well. I've arranged them by source, but from some of the sources there are a few prayers focusing on different aspects that are quite r