George Mueller, Prayer, and the Will of God

One of the greatest prayer warriors of his generation, George Mueller’s legacy of prayer is well established.  What may be less known is how he determined whether something was the will of God, and therefore, worth devoting himself to prayer.  I offer here his six steps for knowing the will of God in such matters (whether for prayer or action).  I’ve edited the original slightly for readability, and this is taken from An Hour with George Mueller, edited by A. Sims.

  1. Seek to get the heart to a state where it has no will of its own (90% of the battle).
  2. Do not leave the result to simple “impression.” This makes one liable to “great delusions.”
  3. Seek the will of the Spirit of God through the Word of God—they must be combined.  “If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word I lay myself open to great delusions also.  If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
  4. Take providential circumstances into account, as they often indicate God’s will along with Word and Spirit.
  5. Ask God to reveal his will aright.
  6. As you do this, you come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of one’s ability and knowledge—and if the mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, proceed accordingly.

Now, these may seem like simple steps, and some might argue that they are too simple.  Before dismissing them, however, would you say that your own prayer life is stronger or weaker than the example of Mueller?  And if you have never tried step number one, you will find it more difficult than you can imagine to surrender your own interest in some matters to the greater interest of the glory of Jesus in this world.

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Jesus and Homosexuality

The following link will take you to a paper published on the Village Church website, that is an excellent rebuttal of the idea that, since Jesus never taught about homosexuality, it was not an issue of concern. I recommend it to you.

Click here to go to the article.

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

One Hour of Prayer

The following is the outline for praying for one hour that was mentioned in last week’s sermon.

(Taken from The Hour That Changes the World, by Dick Eastman, with slight revision)

“What, could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray…”

–Jesus, Matthew 26:40, 41

Get alone where you can pray without distraction.  Taking 5 minutes for each of the following number points below, you can pray extensively for one hour.

1. Praise—Divine Adoration

  • Select a specific theme of praise
  • Declare all that God is, related to this theme.
  • Expand the theme as much as possible, and on into related themes.
  • 2. Waiting—Soul Surrender

  • Bring the mind to complete silence to the world
  • Think only thoughts of God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit.
  • Any voiced words should be toward God concerning his love or the desire for his presence
  • Concentrate on the love of God for you.
  • 3. Confession—Declared Admission

  • Ask God’s Spirit to search your heart for any unconfessed sin.
  • Mentally examine recent activities to discover possible areas of spiritual warfare.
  • Confess any specific sins you may be guilty of, either against God or others
  • Confess your need for specific guidance and supernatural empowerment.
  • 4. Scripture Praying—Faith Appropriation

  • Ask God to bless His Word to your spiritual life, just as food is blessed to the body.
  • Examine a passage of the Word.  Look carefully for ways to apply each verse to prayer.
  • Ask what petition this passage prompts you to make, or what promise it offers.
  • Develop a prayer based on the thoughts and phrases of the passage.
  • 5. Watching—Mental Awareness

  • Seek to become spiritually alert.  Watch for ways Satan may try to hinder your walk today.
  • Claim power to defeat Satan in each of these areas.
  • Recall various current events that deserve special prayer related to God’s kingdom purposes.
  • Ask the Spirit to reveal further aspects or needs of these events to pray about.
  • 6. Intercession—Earnest Appeal

  • Pray for God’s work around the world
  • Ask for greater compassion so that you will reach out to the lost with genuine concern.
  • Ask for more laborers for the harvest, open doors for workers, and finances for their work.
  • Endeavor to include specific countries and their leaders in your prayers.
  • 7. Petition

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you claim only those desires that will bring honor to the Lord.
  • Make a mental list of specific needs for that day and offer each to God.
  • Enlarge each petition carefully; take time to lay out why you desire an answer for the request.
  • Examine your motives for asking a petition. Be sure they are pure in God’s sight.
  • 8. Thanksgiving

  • Begin by thinking about all God has given you in recent days.
  • Offer specific thanksgiving for spiritual material, physical, and external blessings.
  • Thank God in advance for blessings you expect Him to give you in the future.
  • Thank God for at least one particular blessing you have not thanked Him for previously.
  • 9. Singing

  • Sing a specific song or songs to the Lord.
  • Select a specific theme for your songs, such as praise, thanksgiving, or favorite scriptures.
  • Choose songs that are addressed to God.
  • 10. Meditation

  • Select a theme for full attention to that specific area of spiritual thought.
  • Allow your mind to wander within the framework of your chosen theme.  Ponder all aspects of it.
  • Ask questions about the theme that might lead to deeper mental study of the subject.
  • Bring Scripture into all phases of meditation, since it is the foundation of all spiritual thought.
  • 11. Listening

  • Ask God very specific questions about difficult problems or situations.
  • Search Scripture for specific answers to these questions.
  • Mentally evaluate all circumstances that relate to each question or situation.  Ask God to show you His plan through these circumstances.
  • Be prepared to write down any ideas God may bring to mind concerning the details of solving a problem.
  • 12. Praise

  • End with specific praise concerning God’s greatness.  Focus on His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
  • With the psalmist let us “praise God because He has done it.”  Look back at this hour and praise God for hearing each request.
  • Let your spirit rejoice for a few moments at the close of prayer.
  • Let your “amen” be strong—an affirmation that you believe God is trustworthy and can and will do these things in accordance with His will.
  • Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm  Comments (1)  

    We’re Africa Bound!

    Please be praying for Kathy and I as we head to southern Africa for two and a half weeks of ministry and encouragement to three missionaries of Grace.  We will need good connections in travel, strong health during the trip, and wisdom and a full measure of the Spirit in seeking to encourage our workers through teaching and conversation.

    Here’s our schedule for those interested:

    Sep 14–Leave

    Sep 15–19: in Cape Town, South Africa, with the Wolf family and Mountain View Baptist Church.  I will be preaching the church’s anniversary service on Sunday.

    Sep 20: Travel from Cape Town, to Livingstone, Zambia

    Sep 21-24: with Jim and Rachel Chambers in Choma and Livingstone, Zambia.  We’ll be learning more about their work and meeting Zambian co-workers.

    Sep 24: Travel from Livingstone to Durban, South Africa

    Sep 25-29: with the Hiles family, preaching at the communion service of the Community Connection, and then speaking at a 3 day retreat with the ABWE and national church planting team for the region.

    Sep 30: leave for the USA

    Oct 1: Arrive home

    We don’t anticipate much opportunity to communicate through blogging during this trip, but trust you will uphold us in your prayers.

    Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm  Comments (2)  

    It’s That Time of Year Again–Choosing Our Servant Leaders!

    That would be another way of saying it is time for the members of Grace to take up their responsibility to select those men who will join our Deacons for a three-year term.  They will be replacing men who have served for three years and now step out of their official role to allow others to step in!

    Our deacons, along with our pastors, are the biblical officers of the church, but they lead in two different ways.  Pastors (also called elders and bishops) devote themselves primarily to the ministry of the Word and leading/overseeing the congregation (see 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1 for their qualifications and their specific responsibility as teaching leaders).   The deacons are primarily those who assist the pastors and the church by taking responsibility for the ministries of service.  The term “deacon”  meant “one who serves” and was the NT equivalent of  “table waiter” and the responsibilities carried by deacons are all related to serving the needs of the body by various means–skills, administrative gifts, and mercy being chief among them.

    We’ve taught on this before, including the specific qualifications that must be present in a man to be considered for this task. You can find the material related to this on the church website here.

    What makes this so important is that the quality and faithfulness of our leaders will determine the effectiveness of our fellowship.  That is why your prayerful consideration and nomination of candidates is vital to us.  Just as the first deacons where chosen by the congregation in Acts 6, we ask you to prayerfully choose men who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom that can be charged with this ministry.

    A letter will soon be in the mail to all members describing this process more fully, and containing lists of the names of men who are eligible to be nominated.  Your nominations will be due back to the church offices no later than October 17.  I trust all members will be faithful in praying and choosing in accord with the Spirit’s direction.  If you don’t get the letter before the end of September, let the office know.

    And if you are a regular attendee at Grace, but not yet a member, could I encourage you to make your decision to be a part of our fellowship official, so that you can be a part of these kinds of decisions and ministries with us?  Thanks!

    Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Why A Pastor and Church Burning the Quran is a Sin

    On my other blog, I have a post on my take concerining the plans of a pastor and church to burn Qurans on September 11th.  You can visit and see what I think, although the title probably gives it away.

    The CyberParsonage: Why A Pastor and Church Burning the Quran is a Sin.

    By the way, the reason I have maintained 2 blogs is that there are some times when I have opinions or views I would like to write about but am not sure it would be best to do so speaking as a pastor here at Grace.  Maybe that is a silly distinction, but I try to keep my opinions on economic, political, or societal issues on the personal blog, while addressing church related issues here.  If you have any opinion as to the wisdom of this, I’d be glad to hear it.  I do have trouble even keeping up with one blog, let alone two!

    Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

    Parchment and Pen » Beware of “Professional Weaker Brethren”

    This is an excellent article on the subject of what constitutes “weakness” and when it is a front for seeking to bend others to our own will instead of the Scripture.  I’ve preached on this before, but this says it well.  Enjoy by clicking on the link below:

    Parchment and Pen » Beware of “Professional Weaker Brethren”.

    Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

    The Gospel Nuns – The Gospel Coalition Blog

    I read this story today and was reminded once again of the power of the Word of God—not arguing theology—to change lives.  I highly commend it to you.  You can find it by clicking on the title or the link below.

    The Gospel Nuns – The Gospel Coalition Blog

    Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Spurgeon on God’s Mercy

    A few week’s back, I shared this during a closing prayer, and have had a few people ask about it. The quote is from Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” devotional, August 17.

    “There is nothing little in God; his mercy is like himself—it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.”

    Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Three Good Reads So Far This Summer

    If you know me very well, you know I like to read.  While vacationing, I’ve read a number of good books, and there are three that I commend to you for your own enjoyment and growth.

    First, I was glad to discover that Francis Chan’s second book, Forgotten God, was as good as his first, Crazy Love. Both are short and to the point, and easily readable.  Forgotten God is a call to reclaim a biblical understanding and passion for the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  Reading this after I had preached on the filling of the Spirit from Ephesians 5, I confess I breathed a sigh of relief when I didn’t find anything in the book that I’d gotten wrong, at least from Chan’s viewpoint!

    Seeking to navigate the waters between the rigid cessationism of his education and the highly subjective experiential views of some today, Chan will probably irritate a few readers.  Yet, his call is to a biblical understanding from the Bible.  He wonders how often we have ever sat down with just our Bibles and read what it says about the Spirit without bringing our past instruction and biases to the effort.  His example–what if you had been left on a desert island with no prior knowledge and only the Bible to read?  Wouldn’t you think that the church would be awash with evidences of the Holy Spirit’s power to cleanse sinful lives and energize the service and ministry of believers?  I’ll stop there and just encourage you to read the book.

    The second good read was John Ortberg’s The Me I Want to Be. Ortberg is a good writer on subjects related to spiritual formation and growth, and this book continues in that vein.  Through story and examination of biblical text, he presents the idea that each of us as a unique creation in God’s image has a “me” that God designed us to be, the “me” that we want to be.  However, sin’s effects in our lives corrupt our strengths, cloud our thinking, and lead us to live a lesser, wicked version of what God designed for us.  Through redemption we have the opportunity to move back to God’s plan for us, but face potential barriers, such as becoming the “me” others expect me to be, or the “me” I think I should be.  It’s hard to describe in a paragraph, but well worth your time to read and consider.

    Finally, I have to say how much I enjoyed Rachel Chambers’ book, The Summons to Become. It really is a good read that provides helpful insight into how one family discerned God’s call and experienced its unfolding during their first two years in Africa.  For those at Grace who lived through these years, it will be a great reminder of what God did.  For those of us who didn’t, it provides cause for celebration in what God has done and continues to do.  I trust it will challenge others to consider similar bold steps of faith and obedience.

    Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm  Leave a Comment