FROM R.C. Sproul Jul 02, 2018 – Ligonier Ministries Blog

To my great distress, I sometimes hear people say, in their zeal for fervency and efficacy in prayer, that we should never qualify our prayer requests with the words “if it be Your will.” Some will even say that to attach those words, those conditional terms, to our prayers is an act of unbelief. We are told today that in the boldness of faith we are to “name it and claim it.” I suppose I should be more measured in my response to this trend, but I can’t think of anything more foreign to the teaching of Christ. We come to the presence of God in boldness, but never in arrogance. Yes, we can name and claim those things God has clearly promised in Scripture. For instance, we can claim the certainty of forgiveness if we confess our sins before Him, because He promises that. But when it comes to getting a raise, purchasing a home, or finding healing from a disease, God hasn’t made those kind of specific promises anywhere in Scripture, so we are not free to name and claim those things.
When we come before God, we must remember two simple facts—who He is and who we are. We must remember that we’re talking to the King, the Sovereign One, the Creator, but we are only creatures. If we will keep those facts in mind, we will pray politely. We will say, “By Your leave,” “As You wish,” “If You please,” and so on. That’s the way we go before God. To say that it is a manifestation of unbelief or a weakness of faith to say to God “if it be Your will” is to slander the very Lord of the Lord’s Prayer.
It was Jesus, after all, who, in His moment of greatest passion, prayed regarding the will of God. In his Gospel, Luke tells us that immediately following the Last Supper:
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:39–44)
It is important to see what Jesus prays here. He says, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” Jesus was not saying, “I don’t want to be obedient” or “I refuse to submit.” Jesus was saying: “Father, if there’s any other way, all things being equal, I would rather not have to do it this way. What You have set before Me is more ghastly than I can contemplate. I’m entering into My grand passion and I’m terrified, but if this is what You want, this is what I’ll do. Not My will, but Your will, be done, because My will is to do Your will.
I also want you to notice what happened after Jesus prayed. Luke tells us that an angel came to Him and strengthened Him. The angel was the messenger of God. He came from heaven with the Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer. That answer was this: “You must drink the cup.
This is what it means to pray that the will of God would be done. It is the highest expression of faith to submit to the sovereignty of God. The real prayer of faith is the prayer that trusts God no matter whether the answer is yes or no. It takes no faith to “claim,” like a robber, something that is not ours to claim. We are to come to God and tell Him what we want, but we must trust Him to give the answer that is best for us. That is what Jesus did.
Because Luke tells us that the Father sent an angel to strengthen His Son, I would expect Jesus’ agony of soul to have been alleviated. It appears, however, that with the coming of the strength from the angel came an increase in the agony of Christ, an increase so profound that He began to sweat so profusely that it was “like great drops of blood.” In a sermon on Luke 22:44, Jonathan Edwards said that this increase in Jesus’ agony was due to a full realization of the will of God for Him in His passion. He had come to the garden with the fear that He would have to drink the cup. Once He knew it was indeed God’s will that He drink it, He had a new fear—that He would not be able to do it. In other words, Jesus now was in agony that He not come short of complete and perfect obedience to the will of God.
But He did it. He drank the cup to the last drop. And in that moment, Jesus didn’t give us words to show us how to pray; He gave us His life as an example of praying that the will of God would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This excerpt is adapted from The Prayer of the Lord by R.C. Sproul.

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/should-we-qualify-our-prayers-if-it-be-your-will/

FROM R.C. Sproul Jun 25, 2018 – Ligonier Ministries Blog

Christians often use a simple acrostic as a guide to prayer: A.C.T.S. Each of the letters in this acrostic stands for one of the key elements of prayer:

(A) Adoration

(C) Confession

(T) Thanksgiving

(S) Supplication

But not only does this acrostic remind us of the elements of prayer, it shows us the priority we ought to give to each.

The first element of prayer should be adoration, or praise. The Psalms, which are inspired samples of godly prayer, are heavily weighted on the side of adoration. I’ve noticed over many years that as we grow in the discipline and in the delight of prayer, it seems that we naturally spend more and more of our time on this first element.

Second, prayer should include confession of our sin; as we remember who we are when we come into God’s presence, we see that we have come short of His holiness and have need of His forgiveness.

Third, when we pray, we should always give thanks, remembering the grace and mercy God has shown toward us.

Fourth, prayer rightly includes supplication or petition, bringing our requests for the needs of others and ourselves to God.

I think this is a helpful acrostic for remembering both the elements and the priorities of prayer. Unfortunately, we often spell our prayer life something like S.C.A.T., because we start with supplication and spend very little time, if any, on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.

The Lord’s Prayer

When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we see adoration at least implied in the petition “Hallowed be Your name.” Jesus acknowledged that God’s name is holy. We certainly see confession in the petition “Forgive us our debts.” And there are supplications. However, it seems that the T is conspicuously absent. Where in the Lord’s Prayer do we find any overt expression of gratitude to God? It’s not there. That’s strange, for as the apostle Paul taught, thanksgiving should always be included in our prayers: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6, emphasis added).

Even though thanksgiving is not explicitly mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer, I think it is implied in the petition: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). My reason for making this assertion is simple: we are to be alert not only to the need that we have daily for food, but to the reality of God’s daily provision for our needs. That realization, of course, should induce us to an attitude of thanksgiving.

This excerpt is adapted from The Prayer of the Lord by R.C. Sproul.

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/simple-acrostic-prayer/

The Power of Daily Meditation by Paul Tautges

April 2, 2018

Spiritual growth is directly dependent upon our daily interaction with Scripture. Scripture itself argues for the discipline of mediating on the Word, and heralds its benefits. The blessed man is the one who rejects the counsel of the world because his habit of delighting in the law of the Lord causes him to meditate on […]

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Hate Evil, Love Good

December 31, 2017

Have you noticed that the theme of good and evil appears frequently throughout the Bible? Here are a few examples of passages drawn from the Old and the New Testament that speak directly to the issue of loving what is good and hating what is evil. Woe to those who call evil good, and good […]

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Try it!

July 16, 2017

Try it! ★★★★★ by 456strugglebus – Jul 14, 2017 I just downloaded the app this week. I have been struggling to improve my prayer life and I am finding this app SO helpful. Praying Scripture ★★★★★ by Cjtomes – Jul 2, 2017 I needed a means of focusing my prayer life. One can’t go wrong […]

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Prompter ★★★★★

November 16, 2015

[App Store Review] by DHE51 – Version – 2.3.0 – Nov 15, 2015 I have tried a number of prayer apps, but it always seemed a struggle to fit my way of praying with their methodology. Not so with this app. The look and feel is excellent. There is great flexibility in organizing your prayer […]

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