8 Thankful Quotes

“…May we also unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him—To pardon our national and other transgressions, To enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, To render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, To protect and guide all nations and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord, To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, And generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.” —George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789 

“Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is in this way a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving. It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this.” —C.H. Spurgeon 

“As flowers carry dewdrops trembling on the edge of the petals, and ready to fall at the first waft of wind or brush of bird, so the heart should carry its beaded works of thanksgiving, and, at the first breath of heavenly flavor, let down the shower perfumed with the heart’s gratitude.” —Henry Ward Beecher 

“Thanksgiving will draw our hearts toward God and keep us in fellowship with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” —Andrew Murray 

“If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in everything. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and corrections; for God designs all for our good, though we at present see not how they tend to it.” —Matthew Henry 

“Blessed is that home which has in it an altar of sacrifice and of prayer, where daily thanksgivings ascend to heaven and where morning and night praying is done.” —E.M. Bounds 

“Not to lose myself and reader in this digression, the sum is, the unspeakable blessings which the priesthood of Christ hath obtained for us are a strong obligation for the duty of praise and thanksgiving; of which that in some measure we may discharge ourselves, He hath furnished us with sacrifices of that kind to be offered unto God.” —John Owen

“Gratitude is from the same root word as ‘grace,’ which signifies the free and boundless mercy of God. Thanksgiving is from the same root word as ‘think,’ so that to think is to thank.” —Willis P. King 

Dangerous Prayers (book review)

Prayer changes things. That makes prayer dangerous and the pray-ers themselves a danger to anything that opposes the kingdom of God. Dangerous Prayers is a collection of powerful prayers and a brief biography of those who prayed them. 

Growing up, a constant refrain rang in my ears from my parents whenever I faced a problem: “Have you prayed about it?” I’m not sure why we make prayer our last resort instead of our first response, but it often seems that some of the most heartfelt, passionate prayers are offered up in the darkest of times. 

Dangerous Prayers offers a short biography of some world-changing people who changed the world in large part because of their desperate dependence on God’s help, as seen in the frequent and bold prayers they prayed. Many of these prayers were prayed in dark places—prisons, before the executioner, in the midst of war, in unimaginable poverty, or staring down the evils of slavery. These men and women repeatedly turned to God, and God repeatedly strengthened them to accomplish amazing things. Some of the answers to prayer came in their lifetimes, and some prayers were only answered long after they had died. 

Dangerous Prayers is an excellent coffee table book. By that, I mean it’s a great book to leave out in the open as a conversation-starter. Parents could read these short biographies and prayers with their children, and friends could use them as a bridge from past history to current events. But more than anything, keep Dangerous Prayers close at hand will—I sincerely hope—cause you to turn to prayer frequently and boldly. 

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer. 

E.M. Bounds On Prayer

E.M. BoundsSome great quotes from E.M. Bounds on prayer…

“Trouble and prayer are closely related to each other. Prayer is of great value to trouble. Trouble often drives men to God in prayer, while prayer is but the voice of men in trouble.” —E.M. Bounds

“Prayer is the language of a man burdened with a sense of need.” —E.M. Bounds

“The prime need of the church is not men of money nor men of brains, but men of prayer.” —E.M. Bounds

“Other duties become pressing and absorbing and crowd out prayer. ‘Choked to death’ would be the corner’s verdict in many cases of dead praying if an inquest could be secured on this dire, spiritual calamity.” —E.M. Bounds

“Faith, and hope, and patience and all the strong, beautiful, vital forces of piety are withered and dead in a prayerless life.” —E.M. Bounds

E.M. Bounds On Prayer

E.M. BoundsAn amazing passage from E.M. Bounds’ book The Necessity Of Prayer—

“Here, let it be said, that no two things are more essential to a Spirit-filled life than Bible reading and secret prayer; no two things more helpful to growth in grace; to getting the largest joy out of a Christian life; toward establishing one in the ways of eternal peace. The neglect of these all-important duties, presages leanness of soul, loss of joy, absence of peace, dryness of spirit, decay in all things that pertain to spiritual life. Neglecting these things paves the way for apostasy, and gives the evil one an advantage such as he is not likely to ignore. Reading God’s Word regularly, and praying habitually in the secret place of the Most High puts one where he is absolutely safe from the attacks of the enemy of souls, and guarantees him salvation and final victory, through the overcoming power of the Lamb.” (emphasis added)

The Incense Of Prayer

E.M. Bounds has challenged and inspired my prayer life probably more than any other author. Check out these words from his book Purpose In Prayer

Purpose In Prayer“God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that utter them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.

“That man is the most immortal who has done the most and the best praying. They are God’s heroes, God’s saints, God’s servants, God’s deputies. A man can pray better because of the prayers of the past; a man can live holier because of the prayers of the past, the man of many and acceptable prayers has done the truest and greatest service to the incoming generation. The prayers of God’s saints strengthen the unborn generation against the desolating waves of sin and evil. Woe to the generation of sons who find their censors empty of the rich incense of prayer; whose fathers have been too busy or too unbelieving to pray, and perils inexpressible and consequences untold are their unhappy heritage. Fortunate are they whose fathers and mothers have left them a wealthy patrimony of prayer.” (emphasis added)

When God gave Moses instructions for building the tabernacle, the altar of incense was placed before the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The Bible does not tell us how the high priest passed through or by the curtain, so many believe that as he worshiped God, his prayers mingled with the incense, and God translated him through the curtain and into His presence.

There are other verses to support this:

  • Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2)
  • The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into Heaven, and twice we see the prayers of the saints being linked with the incense of worship (see Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4).

Notice what E.M. Bounds says … our prayers TODAY are providing the incense the NEXT GENERATION will need! If we fail to pray now, we’re not only hurting ourselves, but we’re putting our children and grandchildren on a path toward “perils inexpressible and consequences untold.”

Instead, let’s leave them “a wealthy patrimony of prayer”! Will you pray? Today?

God Answers Prayer

Oswald ChambersHere are the quotes I used this morning in my message on prayer.

“Our Lord in His teaching regarding prayer never once referred to unanswered prayer; He said God always answers prayer.” —Oswald Chambers

“Trust is not a belief that God can bless, that He will bless, but that He does bless, here and now. Trust always operates in the present tense. Hope looks toward the future. Trust looks to the present. Hope expects. Trust possesses. Trust receives what prayer acquires.” —E.M. Bounds

The Pastor & Prayer

E.M. BoundsMy fellow pastor, please consider these wise words from E.M. Bounds—

No one having any knowledge of the existing facts, will deny the comparative lack of expository preaching in the pulpit effort of today. And none, we should, at least, imagine, will do other than lament the lack. Topical preaching, polemical preaching, historical preaching, and other forms of sermonic output have, one supposes, their rightful and opportune uses. But expository preaching—the prayerful expounding of the Word of God is preaching that is preaching—pulpit effort par excellence. For its successful accomplishment, however, a preacher needs must be a man of prayer. For every hour spent in his study-chair, he will have to spend two upon his knees.

I believe God will be honored if we spend twice as much time praying our sermons as we do preparing our sermons

Copartnership

Do you want your church services to be more engaging?

Do you want your pastor to preach more effectively?

Do you want to come away from church more energized?

If so, you need to enter into a partnership. E.M. Bounds, in his fascinating book The Weapon of Prayer, wrote this —

“Prayerlessness, therefore, as it concerns the preacher is a very serious matter. If it exists in the preacher himself, then he ties his own hands and makes the Word as preached by him ineffective and void. If prayerless people be found in the pew, then it hurts the preacher, robs him of an invaluable help, and interferes seriously with the success of his work. How great the need of a praying church to help in the preaching of the Word of the Lord! Both pew and pulpit are jointly concerned in this preaching business. It is a copartnership.”

If you want more engagement, effectiveness, and energy at your church, partner with your pastor in prayer.

If you don’t have a church home, I hope you can partner with me this Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God as I continue a series called The Danger Of Prayerlessness.

The Danger Of Prayerlessness

I grew up with this powerful reminder: The Church moves forward on its knees. The Church is, of course, made up of individual Christians. So in order for the Church to do anything productively for the Kingdom of God, there must be Christians devoted to private and corporate prayer.

Oswald Chambers gave this warning:

“The prayer of the feeblest saint on earth who lives in the Spirit and keeps right with God is a terror to satan. …No wonder satan tries to keep our minds fussy in active work till we cannot think in prayer.”

This Sunday I am beginning a new series of messages called The Danger Of Prayerlessness. I like to start each new year with a reminder of the power and priority of prayer, because truly the Church does move forward on its knees as Christians move forward on their knees!

“Prayerlessness is expatriation, or worse, from God’s kingdom.” —E.M. Bounds

Expatriation can be defined as simply moving away from one’s homeland. But, even worse, it can also be defined as one who has renounced their citizenship. It is my fervent prayer that this happens to no one who calls themselves a Christian.

I hope you can join me this Sunday for this important reminder about prayer.

Apples To Apples

As I was packing some sliced apples in school lunches I was contemplating the cliché about comparing apples-to-apples. We use this cliché when things are similar, or at least in the same category. If things are dissimilar or in different categories we might say we’re comparing apples-to-oranges.

If your life was in the “apple” category, to what other “apple” would you compare? Interesting question!

You are a unique individual. God has not made—ever—anyone like you, nor will He ever—in all of the future—make another “apple” like you. You are a one-of-a-kind, completely distinct from the 7 billion human beings on Earth right now. No one who has ever lived or ever will live is an “apple” like you.

So comparing yourself to anyone else is always an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Again I ask you to consider: to what other “apple” would you compare?

I believe the only other apple to which you can honestly and realistically compare yourself is: YOU! You can only compare yourself to the God-given potential in you. You are your own apple-to-apple comparison because no one else is in your category. God doesn’t expect you to be an Albert Einstein or a Winston Churchill or a Madam Curie—He just expects you to be you. To be the best you He created you to be.

Earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (1 Corinthians 12:31 AMP).

When you expect nothing less than your very best from yourself, you will help bring out the very best in others too. If your apples-to-apples comparison is just a you-to-you comparison, it relieves the pressure from others to compare their apple to your orange.

Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out (1 Thessalonians 5:15, The Message).

Check out these great quotes about doing your personal-apple-best

  • Doing your best is more important than being the best.” —John Wooden
  • “It was ever Alexander The Great’s nature, if he had no rival, to strive to better his best.” —Arrian
  • “From day to day I do the best I can and will continue to do so till the end.” —Abraham Lincoln
  • “One of satan’s wiliest tricks is to destroy the best by the good.” —E.M. Bounds
  • “To find the best in others, and to give of oneself; to leave the world a better place whether by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition, or a garden patch; to have lived your life with enthusiasm and to have sung with exaltation; and finally to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have been successful.” —Emerson

Do your personal-apple-best today, and stop comparing yourself to another’s orange. When you can do this you will find it easier to encourage others to do their personal-apple-best too.

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