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random thoughts on prayer

Since I’m starting a new teaching series on prayer at LifePoint, I’d like to share a few reflections on prayer in general. These are drawn from quotes I have found meaningful as it relates to prayer.

“Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

That quote is from Phillips Brooks, a Boston pastor in the late 1800s. During his life he championed the cause of ending slavery and gave one of the most moving eulogies of President Abraham Lincoln the Sunday after his death*. He lived through difficult times and knew the temptation to pray for an easier path. But there is also an expectancy in his words — pray for powers equal to your task and you’ll receive them.

“The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” – C. S. Lewis

My first thought: easier said than done! But what we do in those first few moments of the day really do set the tone for the rest of the day.

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick

Chadwick once burned seven year’s worth of sermons because he felt he had been relying too much on self and not enough on God.

* The sermon on Lincoln is part of the “Making of America,” a really cool portal that is a collection of historical works.