“Unstable people let circumstances control how they feel—cheerful in sunshine but depressed in rain. And this is the way of the unsound heart. A few trying situations weaken his spirit and destroy him as a cold winter kills feeble bodies. Afflictions, however, help the Christian grow by uniting him even more closely with Christ. Trouble sends him straight to the arms of the Lord, as the bee flies to her hive in a storm. He is glad who has such a comfortable pillow as the lap of Jesus.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor
In my current Bible reading time, I am reading J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts On The Gospels as a read-along companion with my Bible. Bishop Ryle correctly feels the weight and effectiveness of prayer in the life of a Christian. Here are some of his quotes regarding prayer.
“If afflictions drive us nearer to Christ, the Bible, and prayer, they are positive blessings.”
“It is not for us to prescribe either the time or the way in which our requests are to be answered.… Let us rather ‘continue in prayer,’ ‘watch unto prayer,’ ‘pray always and not faint.’”
“Why is it that there is so much apparent religious working and yet so little result in positive conversions to God—so many sermons, and so few souls saved—so much machinery, and so little effect produced—so much running here and there and yet so few brought to Christ? Why is all this? The reply is short and simple: there is not enough private prayer. The cause of Christ does not need less working, but it does need among the workers more praying. … The most successful workmen in the Lord’s vineyard are those who are, like their Master, often and much upon their knees.”
“If we would have good ministers we must remember our Lord’s example and pray for them. Their work is heavy. Their responsibility is enormous. Their strength is small. Let us see that we support them and hold up their hands by our prayers.”
“Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let us not rush into God’s presence careless, reckless, and unprepared, as if it mattered not in what way such work was done. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions, we shall hear with profit and return with praise.”
“Let a petition for more faith form a part of all our daily prayers. As ever we would have peace, and calmness, and quietness of spirit, let us often say, ‘Lord, increase our faith.’”
“Let us strive and pray that the same mind may be in us which was in our blessed Master. Like Him, let us be willing to go anywhere, do anything, suffer anything when the path of duty is clear and the voice of God calls. Let us set our faces steadfastly to our work when our work is plainly marked out, and drink our bitter cups patiently when they come from a Father’s hand.”
“We must seek to have knowledge as well as zeal. Zeal without knowledge is an army without a general, and a ship without a rudder. We must pray that we may understand how to make a right application of Scripture.”
“Prayer is one of the best and most powerful means of helping forward the cause of Christ in the world. … Not all believers have money to give to missions. Very few have great intellectual gifts or extensive influence among men. But all believers can pray for the success of the Gospel—and they ought to pray for it daily.”
“Prayer is one of the principal weapons which the minister of the Gospel ought to use. To be a true successor of the apostles, he must give himself to prayer as well as to the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). He must not only use the sword of the Spirit, but pray always, with all prayer and supplication (Ephesians 6:17, 18). This is the way to win a blessing on his own ministry. This, above all, is the way to procure helpers to carry on Christ’s work.”
“Daily bread and daily mercy are by far the first and principal things that mortal man needs. He is the rich man who possesses them. He is the wise man who is not ashamed to pray for them every day.”
“Nothing that concerns God’s people is too little for Him to manage or for them to bring before Him in prayer.”
“‘He spoke a parable to this end: that men ought always to pray, and not to give up.’ These words, be it remembered, are closely connected with the solemn doctrine of the second advent, with which the preceding chapter concludes. It is prayer without fainting during the long weary intervals between the first and second advents which Jesus is urging His disciples to keep up.”
“Let us often pray that we may have wisdom from above in order to answer rightly when perplexing questions are put to us. The servant of Christ must expect a portion like his Master. He must count it no strange thing if the wicked and worldly-minded endeavor to entangle him in his talk, and to provoke him to speak unadvisedly with his lips.”
“Whatever other means of relief we use, let us pray. The first Friend we should turn to ought to be God. The first message we should send ought to be to the throne of grace.”
Whenever I read an Oswald Chambers’ book, I know I’m going to get exceptional content that is really going to make me think. The Servant As His Lord lived up to my expectations! I have shared several passages from this book already in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts (more about that in a moment), but here are a few more quotes I wanted to pass along to you.
“I continually come across people with rusty ‘thinkers,’ they think about their business but about nothing else, and the forces within have become desperately weak; consequently when tribulation comes their minds are confused, and the result is that errors come into the life. If the forces within are strong and healthy they give us warning and enable us to crush in a vice on the threshold of the mind everything that ought not to come there. God can impart to a man the power to select what his mind thinks, the power to think only what is right and pure and true.”
“God has no favorites, but when we let Him have His right of way through us He begins to unveil something more of His purposes in our lives. … Is tribulation making you wilt? making you swoon for sympathy? making you stagnate? It is an easy business to want to get away from tribulation, but fighting makes us strong, gloriously strong.”
“God grant we may be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we listen to His checks along every line. No power can deceive a child of God who keeps in the light with God. I am perfectly certain that the devil likes to deceive us and limit us in our practical belief as to what Jesus Christ can do. There is no limit to what He can do, absolutely none. ‘All things are possible to him that believeth.’ Jesus says that faith in Him is omnipotent. God grant we may get hold of this truth.”
“Look at the world either through a telescope or a microscope and you will be dwarfed into terror by the infinitely great or the infinitely little. Naturalists tell us that there are no two blades of grass alike, and close inspection of a bee’s wing under a microscope reveals how marvelously it is made. What do I read in the Bible? I read that the God of heaven counts the hairs of our heads. Jesus says so. I read that the mighty God watches the sparrows so intimately that not one of them falls on the ground without His notice. I read that the God who holds the seas in the hollow of His hand and guides the stars in their courses, clothes the grass of the field. Through the love of God in Christ Jesus we are brought into a wonderful intimacy with the infinitely great and the infinitely little.”
“The great need today amongst those of us who profess sanctification is the patience and ability to work out the holiness of God in every detail of our lives.”
“We are only safe in taking an estimate of ourselves from our Creator, not from our own introspection.”
“There is no one in the world more easy to get to than God. Only one thing prevents us from getting there, and that is the refusal to tell ourselves the truth.”
“God does not do what false Christianity makes out—keep a man immune from trouble, there is no promise of that; God says, ‘I will be with him in trouble.’ … No matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man’s life, not one of them can touch the central citadel, that is, his relationship to God in Christ Jesus.”
“The afflictions after sanctification are not meant to purify us, but to make us broken bread in the hands of our Lord to nourish others.”
“If we are self-willed when God tries to break us and will do anything rather than submit, we shall never be of any use to nourish other souls; we shall only be centers of craving self-pity, discrediting the character of God.”
“Thursdays With Oswald” is a weekly feature where I share a longer section from an Oswald Chambers book, along with a thought or two of my own. You can subscribe to my blog and get notified each time I share one of these posts, or you can type Thursdays With Oswald in the search box.
You can read my review of The Servant As His Lordclicking here by .
In The Shadow Of An Agony, Oswald Chambers explores how we should process the hard events of our lives which seem to totally rock our neat and orderly world. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.
“If Jesus Christ were only a martyr, His Cross would be of no significance; but if the Cross of Jesus Christ is the expression of the secret heart of God, the lever by which God lifts back the human race to what it was designed to be, then there is a new attitude to things.”
“The agony of a man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into the right mood to face the fundamental things of life. The Psalmist says, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Thy Word.’ The Bible is full of the fact that there has to be an approach to the holy ground. If I am not willing to be lifted up, it is no use talking about the higher heights. … No man can do wrong in his heart and see right afterwards. If I am going to approach the holy ground, I must get into the right frame of mind—the excellency of a broken heart.”
“Jesus Christ did not come to give us pretty ideas of God, or sympathy with ourselves; He came from a holy God to enable men, by the sheer power of His Redemption, to become holy.”
“No man is the same after an agony; he is either better or worse, and the agony of a man’s experience is nearly always the first thing that opens his mind to understand the need of Redemption worked out by Jesus Christ.”
“The attitude of the Bible to the human race is not a common-sense one. The Christian aspect deals with the a specimen of a human race which is a magnificent ruin of what it was designed to be. Supposing the view of the Bible to be right, to whom it is it ‘up to’ to right the wrong? The Creator. Has He done it? He has, and He has done it absolutely single-handed. The tremendous revelation of Christianity is not the Fatherhood of God, but the Babyhood of God—God became the weakest thing in His own creation, and in flesh and blood He levered it back to where it was intended to be. No one helped Him; it was done absolutely by God manifest in human flesh. God has undertaken not only to repair the damage, but in Jesus Christ the human race is put in a better condition than when it was originally designed.”
“We have been taken up with creeds and doctrines, and when a man is hit we do not know what to give him; we have no Jesus Christ, we have only theology. For one man who can introduce another to Jesus Christ by the way he lives and by the atmosphere of his life, there are a thousand who can only talk jargon about Him.”
“The New Testament view of a saint is a more rugged type. You and I are a mixture of dust and Deity, and God takes that sordid human stuff and turns it into a saint by Regeneration. A saint does not mean a man who has not enough sin to be bad, but a man who has received from Jesus Christ a new heredity that turns him into another man.”
“Our guide as to what emotions we are going to allow is this—What will be the logical outcome of this emotion? If it has to do with sin and satan, then grip it on the threshold of your mind and allow it no more way. You have no business to harbor an emotion the outcome of which you can see to be bad; if it is an emotion to be generous, then be generous, or the emotion will react and make you a selfish brute.”
“When I receive the Spirit of God, I am lifted not out of reason, but into touch with the infinite Reason of God.”
“Any fool will give up wrongdoing and the devil, if he knows how to do it; but it takes a man in love with Jesus Christ to give up the best he has for Him.”
“Churchianity is an organization; Christianity is an organism. Organization is an enormous benefit until it is mistaken for the life.”
“The stupendous difference between the religion of Jesus Christ and every other religion under heaven is that His religion is one which brings help to the bottom of hell, not a religion that can deal only with what is fine and pure.”
Every Thursday I share a section of the current Oswald Chambers book I am reading, in a series called “Thursdays With Oswald.” If you would like to be notified when these posts go live, just enter your email address in the box on the right, and then click “Sign me up!”
The folks from The Overview Bible Project have a huge infographic about the 12 tribes of Israel. Check it out!
“The God who in the old creation did all this, can He not work today? He made the world out of nothing, can He not make new creatures without the aid of human will? His Word fashioned the creation of old, and His Word can work marvels still.” —Charles Spurgeon
“This verse [Psalm 119:67] shows that God sends affliction to help us learn His Word. We should ask how affliction helps us understand God’s Word and keep it. There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences. But here are five: (1) Affliction takes the glibness of life away and makes us more serious so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s Word. (2) Affliction knocks worldly props from under us and forces us to rely more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the Word. (3) Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for help, rather than treating it as marginal to life. (4) Affliction brings us into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings so that we fellowship more closely with Him and see the world more readily through His eyes. (5) Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so brings us into a more spiritual frame which fits God’s Word more.” —John Piper
[VIDEO] Duane from DW Video has a new project for any organizations operating in Michigan called “Buy Local.” I did a promotional video for the En Gedi Youth Center which turned out pretty nice. (By the way, if you’re in Michigan and you would like to have a free promo done by Duane for your organization, please click here.)