Timothy Keller on Thanks and Rest

“Cosmic ingratitude is living in the illusion that you are spiritually self-sufficient. It is taking credit for something that was a gift. It is the belief that you know best how to live, that you have the power and ability to keep your life on the right path and protect yourself from danger. That is a delusion, and a dangerous one. We did not create ourselves, and we can’t keep our lives going one second without his upholding power. Yet we hate that knowledge, Paul says, and we repress it. We hate the idea that we are utterly and completely dependent upon God, because then we would be obligated to him and would not be able to live as we wish. We would have to defer to the one who gives us everything.

“Therefore, because the sin in our hearts makes us desperate to keep control of our lives and to live the way we want, we cannot acknowledge the magnitude and scope of what we owe him. We are never as thankful as we should be. When good things come to us, we do everything possible to tell ourselves we accomplished that or at least deserve it. We take the credit. And when our lives simply are going along pretty smoothly, without a lot of difficulties, we don’t live in quiet, amazed, thankful consciousness of it. In the end, we not only rob God of the glory due him, but the assumption that we are keeping our lives going robs us of the joy and relief that constant gratitude to an all powerful God brings.”

Timothy Keller, Prayer (196-197)

Donne in

This is the Holy Sonnet by John Donne that I used to shape my prayer on Sunday.
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Prayer Lingo – Intercession

Recently someone asked about the difference between “prayer” and “intercessory prayer.” They questioned whether “intercessory prayer” is a specific form of prayer that is somehow more powerful or if the word “intercessory” is only used to make the prayer sound more serious, as if there is “praying” and then “really praying.”
To “intercede” or to make “intercession” is to make an appeal on behalf of someone, usually if they are in difficulty. There really isn’t anything more to it than that. Accordingly, any time we pray something for someone we are “interceding” for them.
From a biblical standpoint, the remarkable thing about intercession is that both Christ (Heb. 7:25) and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26) are said to intercede for us. Now that is a prayer with some power behind it.

Make me an Instrument of Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
~ Francis of Assisi