- Guard my heart. Make and keep it pure. Protect me from the schemes and attacks of the Evil One.
- Fill me with Your love. Help me to love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Make me compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others around me.
- Fill me with Your Spirit. May I be emptied of myself and filled with Jesus. Anoint my life and ministry with supernatural power.
- Clothe me in humility. May I be poor in spirit. May I esteem all others as better than myself. May I not seek to impress others, but only to please You.
- Make me a servant. Help me to serve You with gladness; to render each act of service as unto Christ; to joyously accept even “menial” or “unfulfilling” responsibilities.
- Guard my tongue. May I speak only words that are true, words that help and heal, words that are wise and kind.
- Give me wisdom and discernment. Help me to see all of life from Your point of view. May my life be ruled by the wisdom of Your Word.
- Give me a grateful spirit. Help me to give thanks in everything. Help me to acknowledge and express the benefits and blessings that I have received from You and others. Protect me from a discontented heart and a murmuring tongue.
- Help me to walk by faith and not by sight. May my life show the world how great You are. May I be willing to step out in faith when I cannot see the outcome, and may my life not be explainable in human terms.
- Teach me the fear of the Lord. Help me to practice the conscious, constant awareness of Your presence. Help me to live my life in light of the final judgment and as one who will give account to You.
by Jon Bloom | July 19, 2013
Over the years, as I’ve prayed for my own heart, I’ve accumulated seven “D’s” that I have found helpful. Maybe you’ll find them helpful as well.
With seven you can use them a number of ways. You might choose one “D” per day. Or you could choose one “D” as a theme for a week and pray through these every seven weeks. You’ll also note that I have a verse for each prayer. But over time as you pray more verses will come to mind and you might find it helpful to collect them so they are right at hand as the Spirit leads.
I begin each prayer with the phrase “whatever it takes, Lord” because the Bible teaches us to be bold and wholehearted in our praying, not reticent. I also use the phrase because it tests my heart. How much do I want God and all he promises to be for me in Jesus? Do I really want true joy enough to ask for my Father’s loving discipline to wean me from joy-stealing sin? And how much do I trust him? Do I really believe that he will only give me what is good when I ask in faith (Luke 11:11–13)? “Whatever it takes” prayers help me press toward and express childlike trust in the Father.
Delight: Whatever it takes, Lord, give me delight in you as the greatest treasure of my heart.
Desires: Whatever it takes, Lord, align the desires of my heart with yours.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9–10)
Dependence: Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my awareness of my dependence on you in everything so that I will live continually by faith.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Discernment: Whatever it takes, Lord, teach me to discern good from evil through the rigorous exercise of constant practice.
“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
Desperation: Whatever it takes, Lord, keep me desperate for you because I tend to wander when I stop feeling my need for you.
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” (Psalm 119:67)
Discipline: Whatever it takes, Lord, discipline me for my good that I may share your holiness and bear the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
“He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10–11)
Diligence: Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my resolve to do your will with all diligence.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15–16)
These are just suggestions. The Lord may lead you to pray in other ways. But however he teaches us, whatever means we find helpful, may God cause us all to grow in faith until we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and never lose heart (Luke 18:1).
“Brothers, pray for us.”
(Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:25)
A simple request. A powerful request. A necessary request.
Sometimes people complain about those who serving them in a leadership position in the church. Sometimes people idolize those who serve in a public manner. Sometimes the complaints and the idolization come from the same source – an expectation that those who are serving are special in some sort of way that enables them to do above and beyond what a “typical person” can do and/or handle.
Sure, it may seem that way at times as an observer, but the truth is that those who are serving are dependent on grace just like everybody else. Those who serve have their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual limits. When those limits are reached or exceeded, those who are serving and shepherding the souls of others can feel like they are drowning and helpless.
Yes, the Lord’s grace is sufficient (c.f. 2 Cor. 12:9), but the weight of the cares of others and for others (2 Cor. 11:28) can feel like a pressure crushing one’s chest restricting one’s ability to breathe and cry out unto the Lord.
No, those who are serving are not super men and women of God. They are men and women of God who gladly spend are are spent on behalf of others’ souls (2 Cor. 12:15). They are men and women who need the body of Christ and depend upon the grace of God supplied by the prayers of the saints. There is no shame in requesting the prayers of others; rather the request for prayer shows a healthy dependence upon Christ and His body, the church.
So, will you please pray for those who serve and lead? They need it. I need it. Please pray for us.
By Mark Driscoll
When it comes to ministry, some things can only be learned through experience. One example is the ability to translate Christianese into English. So, I thought I would provide a handy lexicon of sorts to help accelerate your development.
1. “I prayed about it . . .”
This is what a Christian means when they are about to throw a fit but want it to look spiritual instead of childish. He or she is hoping that saying the word “pray” will overwhelm you with awe at their deep spirituality and cause you to fall into a catatonic state where you nod your head and agree to let them say or do whatever they want. And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
2. “The Lord told me . . .”
Translation: “I want to do something that you don’t want me to do, so I am pulling rank on you by saying that Jesus sent me a text but did not include you on the message, which means if you disagree with me you disagree with Jesus, so you should be humble and let me do what I want because you don’t want to disagree with Jesus, do you?” And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
3. “Not to be rude . . .”
Translation: “I am about to assault you. I will likely yell at you, make up horrible things about you, and ruin your life. I’ve already sent an email to the entire church/ministry with a lot of exclamation points and out-of-context Bible verses connecting Judas, you, and the Antichrist as the false Trinity sent to deceive the whole world in the Last Days Deception.” If you hear these words, buy a helmet and sleep with one eye open. And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
4. “With all due respect . . .”
Translation: “I have no respect for you. I despise you. If it were not a crime I would do horrible things to you, and I still might anyway if I can find a way to avoid getting sued or arrested. I have already gossiped behind your back and I already sent the mob out to look for pitchforks, a rope, and some matches. And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
5. “I know you are really busy, but . . .”
Some Christians are good at making people feel guilty so they can manipulate them to get what they want. Practically, what they are saying is, “I am more important than anyone in this ministry. I am more important than your family. I am more important than your health. Whatever else you have to do, you need to drop it all right now and take care of me. If you don’t, it is because you are unloving and not like Jesus who loved people.” And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
6. “No offense, but . . .”
Just as an anvil falls on the head of an unsuspecting victim in a cartoon and someone yells “Duck!” just a second too late, “No offense, but . . .” is what a Christian says right before they drop an anvil. What this means is that he or she has been planning to offend you, and now will be offending you while at the same time trying to get you to sit there and endure the whole offense by confusing you with the words “no offense.” It’s a diversionary tactic, like when a bank robber sets off a smoke canister to distract the guard while emptying out the till. And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
7. “I don’t mean to be divisive, but . . .”
Translation: “I already recruited a faction to join me. We have taken all of the nice people in the church/ministry as hostages. Underneath our choir robes we have explosives duct-taped to our chest, and if we do not get what we want in this hostage negotiation, we’ll ignite the whole church.” And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
8. “At my last church, they . . .”
When divorced parents get remarried and the kids really want to work their new dad for something (such as a new phone, Monster Energy drinks before a 1 a.m. bedtime, agreement to shoot off fireworks and airsoft guns in the house, or a new video game console), they talk about how awesome their first dad was. This puts their new dad in the tough position of caving in or running the risk that the kids will hate him and riot because he’s the bad dad. When a Christian leaves one church family for another, they like to do the same kind of thing. And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
9. “Some people have recently talked to me about [fill in the blank], and the Lord laid it on my heart to bring it to you . . .”
What people actually mean is that, although they are not officially a leader in the church, they have formed enough of a mob that they are now a de facto leader—kind of like a terrorist with a cell of sleeper operatives with hidden identities. This cell embeds in your church and remains unknown until thing start to blow up. And, if a single guy says this it means he wants to sleep with his girlfriend.
Finally, I know some of you will struggle with this blog post. But I assure you that I prayed about it, the Lord told me to write it, I did not intend to be rude, I offer these thoughts with all due respect, and I know you are really busy but I want you to consider them because no offense or division is intended, and these things were really helpful at my last church, based upon what people have recently talked to me about.
“Let us, whenever we feel ourselves dead, and especially in prayer, get close to the Word, for the Word of God is alive. I do not find that gracious men always pray alike. Who could? When you have nothing to say to your God, let him say something to you. The best private devotion is made up, half of searching Scripture in which God speaks to us, and the other half of prayer and praise, in which we speak to God. When thou art dead, turn from thy death to that Word that still lives.
Next, whenever we feel weak in our duties, let us go to the Word of God, and the Christ in the Word, for power; and this will be the best of power. The power of our natural abilities, the power of our acquired knowledge, the power of our gathered experience, all of these may be vanity, but the power which is in the Word will prove effectual. Get thou up from thy failing strength to the fountain of omnipotence; for they that drink here, while the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, shall run, and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.”
-Charles Spurgeon (The Bible, p. 26)
Some people have called it the Blizzard of 2010. Over night we had about six inches of wet heavy snow dumped onto central Ohio. This morning I was shoveling the heaps of snow off of the church sidewalk while speaking tomorrow’s sermon, Robbing God (of our heart), into the wind. During one of my rest breaks the thought came to me, “I wonder how much gunk has accumulated on my heart? This snow is burdensome, but how much more must be all the stuff the Lord is in the process of removing inside of me.”
Resuming my shoveling, I began to converse with the Lord. Confessing my sins and thanking Him that His blood washes me as white as snow. Asking Him if i was robbing Him. Praying for my friends, family, and those who I serve. I never finished running through the next day’s sermon while shoveling snow, but the snow didn’t seem quite as heavy and I left feeling that some of the hardness of my heart had melted and fallen away.