“Praying the Bible: Why We Don’t Pray More” + LINKUP

 

Praying the Bible by Donald S. WhitneyWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney.

In Praying the Bible, Donald Whitney asks the question, “Why don’t Christians who love God pray more?” He explains that the answer and the solution are quite simple.

 

Prayer … I hope I’m not the only one who constantly feels like I could do more in this area or that I should be more effective.

Some years ago I came across a series of verses in John Piper’s book, Taste and See, that he called the meat and potatoes of his prayer life. I began praying them for myself, my husband, my family and others. My prayer life took on new meaning and through the years I’ve seen the results in those I have been praying for.

So when I saw a promo on Donald Whitney’s newest book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. I wasn’t disappointed!

This from chapter 1:

Since prayer is talking with God, why don’t people pray more? Why don’t the people of God enjoy prayer more? I maintain that people— truly born-again, genuinely Christian people— often do not pray simply because they do not feel like it. And the reason they don’t feel like praying is that when they do pray, they tend to say the same old things about the same old things.

When you’ve said the same old things about the same old things about a thousand times, how do you feel about saying them again? Did you dare just think the “B” word? Yes, bored. We can be talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives and be bored to death.

As a result, a great many Christians conclude, “It must be me. Something’s wrong with me. If I get bored in something as important as prayer, then I must be a second-rate Christian.”

Indeed, why would people become bored when talking with God, especially when talking about that which is most important to them? Is it because we don’t love God? Is it because, deep down, we really care nothing for the people or matters we pray about? No. Rather, if this mind-wandering boredom describes your experience in prayer, I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit— if you are born again— then the problem is not you; it is your method.

Does that give you hope? I know it does me.  Continue reading

“Family Worship” + LINKUP

 

Family WorshipWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney.

 

Family Worship: It’s perhaps one of my greatest regrets that we didn’t do a better job in this area.

We did other things we believed were important. We took our children to church every Sunday. We made sure they were involved in the children’s and youth ministries.

We set boundaries as to where they were allowed to go and with whom. We made sure they knew “the rules,” that is, what Christians should and shouldn’t do.

We didn’t take cruises or buy expensive personal items. We made Christian school and family focused activities a priority. We put in a pool so the kids could have their friends over where we could get to know them and we’ve seen some of those young people come to the Lord. We took family vacations. We tried to be good examples morally.

It’s not that we did any of these things perfectly … far from it, but we worked at it. We also read our Bibles and prayed, although again, haltingly and imperfectly.

But our attempts to live the Christian life, while important and a part of what we should have been doing, coupled with what we were taught and taught our children was too much about keeping “the rules.”

Let me say here that, at that time, we didn’t attend what you would call a conservative or fundamentalist church. On the contrary, we attended a contemporary church where “freedom in Christ” was talked about on a regular basis! Yet, in retrospect, our understanding of Christianity wasn’t really about the freedom of the Gospel lived out on a daily basis.

I wish I had been familiar with books and teachers like Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent. I wish we had understood the importance of understanding that the Gospel is something we must preach to ourselves every day and that it should be understood in the grace and freedom of the Gospel lived out and talked about in our home in more effective ways.

God, in His faithfulness has grown us and exposed us to better, more biblically sound teaching through the years. And we continue to grow in that area. We understand the importance of sharing the Gospel, properly understood and applied, in our home. But our children are grown with children of their own. A couple of our grandchildren are even married and have little ones. (Yes, that makes us great-grandparents!)

My prayer is that someone out there reading this will seek to understand and do that a little bit better as a result of my testimony.

One thing I believe can be an important part of good parenting and our own personal growth in Christ is regular, Gospel-centered family devotions. I believe this is important whether or not we have children and whether or not they are still at home.

I first heard Donald Whitney talk on this subject at a biblical counseling conference. I was both blessed and convicted. But more than anything, I was motivated to share the importance of all this with those God puts in my path both inside and outside the counseling room.

Dr. Whitney’s book can be a huge help in that area, but I’ll let you hear from him: Continue reading