Pray the Bible?


It is made our duty and prescribed as a remedy against disquieting care, that in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, we should make our requests known to God. And it is part of the Parrhsia, the boldness, the liberty of speech (so the word signifies), which is allowed us in our access to God, that we may be particular in opening our case and seeking to him for relief; that, according as the sore and the grief is, accordingly the prayer and the supplication may be by any man. Not that God needs to be particularly informed of our condition, he knows it better than we ourselves do, and our souls too in our adversity; but it is his will that we should thus acknowledge him in all our ways and wait upon him for the direction of every step, not prescribing, but subscribing to infinite wisdom, humbly showing him our wants, burdens, and desires, and then referring ourselves to him, to do for us as he knows fit.

Matthew Henry, Method for Prayer

Publisher Description:

Resorting to a more scriptural pattern of prayer may be a simple (but profound) answer to many problems in our practice of prayer. There are a number of reasons that could be given as to why Christians should “Pray the Bible,” but the ones below combine to make a rather convincing argument:

  • Praying scripturally will teach us what prayer is, even while we do it.
  • It will correct “shopping list” views of prayer which abound in the Christian community.
  • It will begin to solve in our own minds the question of “unanswered prayer.”
  • It will remind us of just how much there is to pray about day by day.
  • It will teach us of the extreme urgency of prayer.
  • It will return proportion to prayers long on petition, but short on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.
  • It will instruct us how best to pray for ministers, missionaries, and one another.
  • It will show us the proper way to approach God in prayer.
  • It will remind us of the good things that God does for us (which we, more often than not, take for granted).
  • It will remind us to always give thanks to God (which, paradoxically, is so important for our own assurance of His faithfulness in answering prayer).
  • It will begin to engrave in our minds biblical patterns of thought which can help immunize us from the enticing folly of the world’s view of life.
  • It will force us to rehearse the solemn warnings and precious promises of God (which will do eternal good to our souls).
  • It will move us from our inherent man-centeredness in prayer to a biblical, God-centered way of praying.

The aim of the online publication of this “old-made-new” monograph is to assist and encourage modern Christians in both public and private prayer. Surely we all recognize that the Church of our day, at least in the West, is weak in the way of prayer. Few of us, perhaps, understand what prayer really is. We do not pray often. We do not pray with scriptural proportion, nor does our prayer much reflect the language and thought of the Bible. We do not pray fervently. Although we claim otherwise, maybe we really do not believe in prayer!

For those who are called upon to lead the Church in public prayer, or who simply desire to be more faithful and competent in their own private petitions, a scriptural manner of praying provides the order, proportion, and variety which should characterize all our prayers. We have aimed to provide users with a number of helps to assist in achieving this end. The core of the website is the entire text of Matthew Henry’s A Method for Prayer. Reading and re-reading through it will train the Christian in the use of biblical truth and language in prayer.

 

REMEMBERING THE REFORMATION


In the Bible they found also the mighty doctrine of the sovereignty of God, which taught them not to approach their problems in a subjective manner as you and I are prone to do. Their concern was not, how can I get a bit of help, how can I get some physical healing, how can I get guidance, how can I get happiness and peace, how can I get a friend who will help me in my loneliness? No, they saw themselves before this almighty, sovereign God and the one question was, How can a man be just with God? They bowed before him! They were godly men; they were God-fearing men. God was at the center of their thoughts, the controller of their activities and their lives. The sovereignty of God! They did not talk much about free will, as I read them, but they knew that God was over all, and he was to be worshipped and to be feared.

John Knox and the Reformation by Martyn Lloyd-Jones & Iain Murray (p. 21, Remembering the Reformation, Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

idolatry in eden


This singular invitation to worship was soon muted when Adam allowed the serpent – the craftiest of creatures – to enter the garden-temple. Through Eve, the serpent presented Adam with an alternative liturgy. He called Eve (and through her, Adam) to abandon the call of God and follow his call: to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and become like God. It was an invitation to act in unbelief and disobedience toward God, but in faith and obedience toward the devil – to bow down and worship the creature instead of the Creator. The one who had abandoned the worship of God in heaven – angelic Lucifer himself – had come to spoil the worship of God on earth. In careless and sinful rebellion, Adam followed the lead of his wife and obeyed the voice of the serpent, eating from the forbidden tree. He abandoned his probationary fast, disobeyed the voice of his God, and bowed down to the serpent. Since evil and error are always parasitic on goodness and truth, the worship of the serpent became a counterfeit worship of God. Adam and all his descendants remained in the same state: homo liturgicus. The liturgical structure for humanity remained the same: call – response – meal. But the object of worship had changed. God had been dethroned in the heart of man, and the devil had been enthroned. The worship of the Creator had been exchanged for the worship of the creature. An alternative liturgy – idolatry – had been introduced into the world and would remain the liturgical disposition of all Adam’s descendants. Reformation Worship

From the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible


Being a Christ-like Husband

Few men appreciate long articles on how to behave—especially as to how we ought to treat our wives, so here, based on Ephesians 5, are our duties summed up in terms of their pattern and their practice.

Christ is our pattern. Our basic precept for marriage is, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church” (Eph. 5:25a). Following Christ’s pattern of loving His bride, each of us is to love his wife in these ways:

  1. Absolutely. Christ gives “Himself” for His bride—His total self (v. 25). He holds nothing back. That is obvious from what He has done (think of Calvary), is doing (think of His constant intercession in heaven), and will do (think of His Second Coming). So we too are called to radical, absolute giving of ourselves to our wives in authentic love.
  2. Realistically and purposely. Christ goes on loving the church, despite her spots and wrinkles, so that He can present her perfect to His Father in the Great Day (vv. 26–27). Our love must be both realistic (remembering our wives are sinners just like us) and purposeful (aiming for their holiness).
  3. Sacrificially. Christ nourishes and cherishes His bride at His own expense (vv. 28–29). So ought we husbands treat our wives at our own expense with the same care that we treat our bodies. If you get something in your eye, you give it immediate, tender care. Do you treat your wife with that same care when she is hurting?

How should we practice this pattern?

Show great interest in your wife as a person. Care about her. Ask her how her day went and how the kids behaved today. Ask her about her dreams, fears, and frustrations. Learn to listen so that she opens up the more.

Pray for your wife privately and with her. Lay out her needs before God. Be earnest in praying for her spiritual growth, and for relief in physical and emotional difficulties. Let her feel your strength and your tenderness on her behalf at God’s throne of grace.

Love your wife lavishly. Love her as she is—faults included. Please her (1 Cor. 7:33). Respect and honor her, and treat her tenderly (1 Peter 3:7). Tell her every day how much you love her. Shower her with affection. Cherish her as God’s special gift to you.

Heap praise on her. Tell her how beautiful and wonderful she is in your eyes. Be intimate, specific, creative, and repetitive in your compliments. Compliment her kindness, her smile, her dress, her hair, and a thousand other things. Compliment her with affection in your voice, with love in your eyes, and with arms of embrace. Praise her in the presence of others (Prov. 31:28). Never allow the children to speak disrespectfully about her.

Learn what your wife enjoys. Does she enjoy walking together? Walk with her. Eating out? Take her out. Learn to love what she loves as much as possible. Cultivate shared friendship and interests. The more you find to do in common, usually the better your marriage will be.

Provide your wife with biblical, tender, clear servant leadership, not ruthless authoritarianism. Following Christ as your pattern, delight in serving her (Matt. 20:25–26). Be the spiritual leader of your wife and children. Be the father-shepherd, a gentle giant in the home.

Never forget the differences between men and women; become an expert in knowing and responding to the way your wife is. Never allow any relationship to take priority over your friendship with your wife. Never criticize her over small things; as for big things, do it with great tenderness and love, at the right time, and in the right setting. Never compare your wife unfavorably to other people, or criticize her in front of other people. Never fail to give your wife sufficient freedom so that she can strive to be her own kind of a Proverbs 31 woman. Do not smother her or try to control her personality. Never stop being a courteous gentleman.

In conclusion, remember this: if both you and your wife put God first, each other second, and yourselves third, you will be guaranteed a truly blessed marriage.