Monday, October 8, 2007

Thank You For This Sink of Dirty Dishes

(This prayer has circulated around the Internet for the past several years.)

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat. Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of good clothes to wear. And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy, grimy towels, and dirty lavatory; they are so convenient. Thank you for this finger-smidged refrigerator that needs cleaning inside and out. It has served us faithfully for many years and has enough food in it for several meals. Thank you, Lord for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing and the lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard. Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming door; my kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says that you have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What Prayer Is Not

Lionel O'Neal was a great man of prayer and one of those giants of faith that I have been blessed to know. I still remember the eloquent and passionate prayers he offered for the Green Lawn church when I was a child. He wrote a rather thorough curriculum on prayer. In it he offers this listing, "What Prayer Is Not."

1. Prayer is not a means of informing God and scolding men. We need not, in our prayers, to try to tell God all about the universe. He knows all we know and more than we shall ever know.

2. Too, we should not be scolding men while we pretend that we are talking to God. Prayer is too sacred to be abused in such manner.

3. Then, too, we should not feel that prayer is a means of ministering to our selfishness. James said, "Ye have not because ye ask not." Then, the reason we do not receive when we ask, is because we are selfish in our petition. "Ye . . . receive not," says James, "because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it is your pleasures." God has not promised to answer our selfish prayers. It is very difficult for us to spearate our selfishness from our requests.

4. Prayer is not a means of getting out of doing what God requires of us. Prayer will not set aside God's laws. God's laws are immutable. The laws of God cannot be changed by calling upon Him. God requires his servants to obey. Many attempt to use prayer as a means of getting out of doing the will of God. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," yet many will try to avoid being baptized by falling down on their faces and praying. Prayer will not set aside the command to be baptized. The Lord says, "Belive and be baptized" and ye shall be saved. Some preachers say, "Belive and kneel down by your radio and TV and pray" and ye shall be saved. Prayer is not a substitute for baptism nor for any other direct command of our Lord. Prayer does not supplant giving. Prayer is not a substitute for the Lord's Supper. Jesus demands that his disciples meet upon the first day of every week to break bread. For us to fall down on our knees and cry out in prayer will not change this law. In fact, Jesus will not hear the man who fails to meet his requirements. Our Lord said, "Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" That is, "Why pray and do not do what I say?" God will only hear the man who hears him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?

But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him him.

When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, "O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, o Lord!" You have put the gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

Monday, October 1, 2007

No Greater Comfort

If in early life we seek Him

We will always find Him near

Always there to guide and comfort,

Guilding us through early years.

When we reach life's busy noonday

What a blessing when He's near

Just to know we are in His favor

And can go to Him in prayer.

When life's evening sun is setting

And we are nearing heaven's shore,

There can be no greater comfort

Than to go to God in prayer.

(Author Unknown)