Hudson Taylor: backed by prayer

I’m reading through Hudson Taylor’s biography, J. Hudson Taylor: a man in Christ (OMF Books Australia) by Rodger Steer. As I read through this, I’m reminded of the legacy of prayer by which we live as Christians. This truth is illustrated and challenged by the story of Hudson Taylor’s conversion and the repeated testimony of Christians throughout the ages; that is, the prayer of God’s people for the conversion of souls.
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The weariness of prayer

I am weary. I am distracted. My spirit is willing, but my mind and body are weak. I am spiritually lethargic. The fellowship of my spiritual brothers and sisters alone carry the passions of my soul, yet alone I find myself dragging my spiritual feet in the dirt of dreariness.

The opening of one of David’s psalms (Psalm 6) reads:

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?

Psalm 6:1~3 (ESV)

As I read this psalm, it does not stir anything in my spirit, but it is my prayer. It is the prayer of my heart to rediscover the amazing grace of God for myself; to find once again the deep and personal love that fan the passions of my heart. May God be ever so gracious with me as I wander through this wilderness searching after Him only by the urging of His loving Spirit.

If you find yourself wandering through a dry time, do not despair. God is faithful, even when we are not. God is gracious, even when we deserve otherwise. God is merciful, even when discipline is needed. I fully expect God to deal with me as I need, if He needs to break me then let it be done for His glory’s sake. Yet, I know He will deliver me for the sake of His steadfast love (see the rest of David’s psalm).

Do you struggle with prayer? I do, but I will yet trust in Him and He will hear my plea. His love is steadfast, His path is firm, and His promises will never fail. No matter how you feel, may you choose to continue walking to Him, whether you crawl or drag your feet, persevere and keep your eyes on Him. May the Spirit continue to urge you, to call you, to woo you deep into the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

6 Ways to Reach God’s World: Pray

The single, most underestimated way to reach God’s world with the gospel of Jesus Christ is prayer. The emphasis upon prayer prevails over any means to accomplish the work of the Kingdom of God.

Take the Jesus’ following comments:

Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
Matthew 21:21-22 (ESV)

Or, the apostle John:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 John 5:13-15 (ESV)

Regardless of attempts to qualify and contain passages such as these in a neat little box to avoid heretical prayer, you cannot avoid the fact, if all the godly and righteous conditions are met, these passages indicate that prayer is effectual and effective in the human realm for the Kingdom of God. Or, more simply, ask and you will receive.

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Parenting Confession: a moment of frustration

It’s happened. I’ve felt like shaking my baby to silence it. I’ve wanted to throw him against the wall because I’ve had enough. I’m frustrated, angry, and worst of all, defeated. I feel disempowered, ill-equipped, and unable to be the father I want to be.
Joseph sleeping on my lap.
For those of you who are not parents, let me say: nothing prepares you for parenthood. No amount of parenting courses, advice, or counsel prepares you for the physical, emotional, mental, and even, spiritual toll a newborn child brings. That said, it is the most rewarding and amazing experience I am yet to know, most of the time.

It is this momentary lapse of sleep deprivation and everyday stresses of life (because they don’t stop) that brings you to a point of brokenness and despair. There are two ways out, both on your knees. Both recognise the weakness and struggle, however, one leaves you with hope to continue on, the other leaves you growing with fear and anxiety.

You can choose to give in to your fear and anxiety, growing darker and looming larger over the struggle you face. Or, you can choose to fall on your knees and look to heaven, where Almighty God, our Heavenly Father watches and waits for us to surrender our fears and anxieties to Him. In these moments, prayer becomes a very real reality.

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Psalm 61:1-3 (ESV)

This is but one example from the psalms of our freedom and access to the throne room of God. As the psalmist writes, God is our refuge and strong tower in whom we can trust and strength against the battles we face. No matter what life may bring, whether it be a newborn child, the loss of a job, or the struggles of a relationship, God is our fortress and foundation.

TM Prayer Consultation

Prayer What happens when you bring a group of people from different backgrounds together with the desire of seeing God’s kingdom come?? What happens when these people join together in worship of one God? What happens when these people sit around a table to openly discuss the critical importance of prayer in God’s kingdom? What happens when these people humble themselves to hear from one another the heart cry for God to renew their city? In a word, unity happens.

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