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Archive for the 'Prayer' Category

Lectures on Prayer

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Last Sunday I completed a series of six lectures titled Private Prayer as a Means of Grace for the Adult Sunday School program of our church. Here is the course description:

We all fall short in the area of private prayer, and many of us feel guilty that we don’t pray as much as we ought. The aim of this class is twofold: (1) to develop a theological framework for understanding how prayer functions as a means of grace, and (2) to learn practical ways for deepening our relationship with Christ through prayer. We will also examine how private prayer relates to the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments in the context of public worship.

Here are the MP3’s:

Lecture 1 (Feb. 3) Introduction
Lecture 2 (Feb. 10) Prayer and the Trinity
Lecture 3 (Feb. 17) Prayer and Faith
Lecture 4 (Feb. 24) How to Pray
Lecture 5 (Mar. 2) Receiving Answers to Prayer
Lecture 6 (Mar. 9) Prayer and Public Worship

You can also download the PDF of my lecture notes (18 pp.).

Thanks to Charles Sy for making these materials available on the New Life Burbank website.

Prayer and the Trinity

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

C. S. Lewis explains the relationship between prayer and the Trinity: 

An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the man who was God – that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying – the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on – the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers …

And that is how Theology started. People already knew about God in a vague way. Then came a man who claimed to be God; and yet he was not the sort of man you could dismiss as a lunatic. He made them believe Him. They met Him again after they had seen Him killed. And then, after they had been formed into a little society or community, they found God somehow inside them as well: directing them, making them able to do things they could not do before. And when they worked it all out they found they had arrived at the Christian definition of the three-personal God.

This definition is not something we have made up; Theology is, in sense, experimental knowledge.

[C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (revised edition; Collier/Macmillan, 1952, 1960), pp. 142-3]

Testimony of the Spirit

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

What is the testimony of the Spirit that Paul refers to in Romans 8:15-16? The text reads:  “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a Spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Some have thought that the testimony of the Holy Spirit is an inward immediate suggestion, as though God inwardly speaks to us, and testifies that we are his children, by a secret voice or impression. Jonathan Edwards takes a different approach:

We have received … a spirit of love, which naturally disposes us to God as children to a father, and behave towards God as children … The spirit of bondage works by fear for slaves fear the rod: but love cries, Abba, Father; it disposes us to go to God, and behave ourselves towards God as children; and it gives us clear evidence of our union to God as His children, and so casts out fear. So that it appears that the witness of the Spirit the apostle speaks of, is far from being any whisper, or immediate suggestion or revelation; but that gracious holy effect of the Spirit of God in the hearts of the saints, the disposition and temper of children, appearing in sweet childlike love to God, which casts out fear or a spirit of a slave.

[Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (Banner of Truth, 1984), pp. 163-4.]

Changing habits

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

A reader writes:

Lee, thanks for your latest postings on prayer. They’re starting to revolutionize my view and attitude and habits on prayer. I used to feel a pang of guilt or just avoid addressing God during a driving commute, or any other time besides a set, distraction-free prayer time. If prayer is a reverent reserved time, we certainly can’t talk to God when other distractions and things are going on, why would he bother to even hear us if we are not first removing ourselves from the daily distractions of life? (Is that thinking an implicit denial of the sufficiency of the righteousness of Christ alone to be the basis for our prayers being heard?)

But if those set times for formal prayer don’t work out, well then my prayer life is essentially in shambles. That heaps guilt upon guilt which then leads to the danger of getting back into prayer for the sake of prayer (”It’s something Christians are supposed to do”).

Mixing the formal prayers with the idea of constant promptings from the Spirit throughout the day and throughout our experiences, that really changes things for me. I can see the wisdom in exercising this constant conscious reliance upon Christ and communicating about everything, whatever makes one anxious, as a solid means for spiritual growth.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that anything less is an implicit denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s righteousness. But this reader is on to something that I hadn’t thought of. Perhaps we could put it this way: once we realize that Christ’s righteousness is sufficient to make our weak and distracted prayers acceptable, then we become less constrained in prayer. We won’t be afraid to address our confused anxieties to the Lord, even if we can’t articulate them as we would like (”groanings too deep for words,” Rom 8:26). We won’t be afraid to pray, even if we know we’ll get distracted. We can pray liberally, at any time, at any place, and in any state of mind. Why? Because our weak prayers are made mighty by the intercession of Christ for us.

Irrepressible promptings

Monday, February 4th, 2008

The great Southern Presbyterian theologian, Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898), described prayer as the Christian’s vital breath. Just as you don’t need to be told to breathe, so you don’t need to be commanded to pray. Even when you are not fully conscious of it, if you are regenerate, if the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, you have ”irrepressible promptings” to talk to your heavenly Father. 

Prayer is the vital breath of religion in the soul. It cultivates our sense of dependence and of God’s sovereignty. By confessing our sins, the sense of sin is deepened. By rendering thanks, gratitude is enlivened. By adoring the divine perfections, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory. From all this it is apparent that prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. If God had not required it, the Christian would be compelled to offer it by his own irrepressible promptings. If he were taught to believe that it was not only useless, but wrong, he would doubtless offer it in his heart in spite of himself, even though he were obliged to accompany it with a petition that God would forgive the offering. To have no prayer is, for man, to have no religion.

[Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, p. 716]

The great danger is to turn the duty of prayer into a law that leaves you feeling guilty for your lack of prayer. The paradox of law-based motivations to godliness is that the more guilty you feel, the less you will do what you know you ought to do. And the more you fail, the more guilty you feel. It is the never-ending spiral of law-sin-guilt from which one cannot be extricated apart from the gospel.   

So try something new. Follow Dabney’s encouragement and think of prayer as something that you already do without realizing it. Or, perhaps more accurately, as something that your regenerate heart wants to do, if only you would capitalize on those irrepressible promptings from the Spirit and turn them into conscious prayers. Instead of thinking of prayer as something arduous and requiring tremendous amounts of discipline and effort, see it as something easy. As soon as the thought, “I should pray about this,” pops into your heard, do it right then and there. Just talk to the Lord, even if for the briefest moment, even for a second or two (what I call “arrow prayers”).

Even when you have sunk into a pit of spiritual emptiness, where even the thought of trying to crawl out makes you feel exhausted and hopeless, the irrepressible promptings of the Spirit are there, perhaps nothing more than the simple, abject cry, “Lord, help me!” It is not really the case that we are prayerless. It is just that we have such an exalted conception of prayer that we have overlooked the many prayers that we have despised as unworthy of the name of prayer.  

Prayer and the public ordinances

Friday, January 25th, 2008

According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, there are three means of grace:

Q. 88. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

It may sound high-churchy, even Roman Catholic, to say that the word, the sacraments, and prayer are the means that Christ uses to communicate the benefits of salvation to us. But as Protestants we are able to speak this way because we believe that Christ uses the preaching of the gospel, by the power of the Spirit, to create faith in the hearts of the elect (i.e., “effectual calling”), and that he uses the continued preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments to further strengthen our faith and increase our assurance. And since our salvation doesn’t just have a beginning but a middle and an end, covering an entire life of faith from the moment of conversion to the day we die, it is legitimate to say that Christ uses the public ordinances* as means of grace. We may even say they are means of salvation, as long as we are defining “salvation” holistically to include the entire process that stretches from our initial response of faith to the gospel to our ultimate perserverance in faith to the end. 

*(I refer to the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments as “the public ordinances,” since Christ has entrusted these things to the visible church for the edification of the saints in the context of public worship.) 

Public prayer and the public ordinances

So far so good. But notice that I haven’t mentioned prayer yet. It would be easy, of course, to immediately begin talking about the official prayers offered by ministers and elders in public worship. I would venture to say that all Reformed churches offer up prayers before or after the preaching of the word (most do it both before and after) asking the Lord to bless his word to the conversion of sinners and the building up of the saints. All Reformed churches, probably all churches for that matter, offer up prayers in connection with the administration of the sacraments, praying that he would use the sacraments for our spiritual benefit. Such prayers indicate our dependence on the Holy Spirit, apart from whose presence and power the public ordinances would have no effect. We may hear the word preached, but without the illuminating power of the Spirit, it will fall on deaf ears. We may attend to the administration of the sacraments, but without the Spirit’s presence, the water of baptism and the bread and wine will only be outward signs devoid of the inward reality to which they point. So public prayer has a very important role to play in connection with the public ordinances.

Private prayer and the public ordinances

This is all well and good. But the question naturally arises, how does private prayer relate to the public ordinances? Perhaps we haven’t given much thought to this, but I believe the question is important. My thesis is that there is an important symbiotic relationship between private prayer on the one hand and the public ordinances on the other. From my own experience, I would say that we are more likely to receive spiritual blessing from the public ordinances when we are cultivating a healthy private prayer life throughout the week. Of course we invite everyone to come and hear the sermon, and we invite all professing Christians who are members in good standing to eat at the table, even if their private prayer life is in shambles - which is most of us, most of the time! We can still benefit from the public ordinances as long as we come in repentance and faith. Thank God we are invited to come as we are, not as we should be. But I find that the spiritual benefit of attending on the public ordinances is increased if we have been consciously enjoying our relationship with Christ in the context of our private prayer life during the week. This only makes sense, because faith is like a muscle — if we haven’t been using the muscle throughout the week, it will be harder (though certainly not impossible) to exercise it at church.

Private prayer and the Lord’s Supper  

One thing that we don’t often discuss, but which I think is crucial, is that we enjoy communion with Christ through the Lord’s Supper. We are so focused on the debates over the metaphysics of Christ’s “real presence” in the Supper, that we forget the obvious:  we do have communion with Christ in the Supper, and, by definition, communion involves communication or prayer. The risen Lord Jesus says to the church, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). We shouldn’t just sit passively during the sacrament and wait for lightning to strike. We must “open the door.” We must commune with Christ by addressing him privately, in our hearts, not just relying on the minister’s prayer of consecration at the beginning. Such prayers can also be in the form of hymns that are addressed to Christ — there are quite a number of such hymns, e.g., “My Jesus, I love Thee.” The point is, if we need to pray to Christ during communion in order to enjoy Christ’s presence, or at least to enjoy it better, then we need to learn how to pray to Christ during the week in order to prepare us to do so in a heightened way as we receive the sacrament.

Private prayer and preaching

Similar considerations apply to preaching. To understand how private prayer helps us benefit from hearing the word preached, we need to understand how private prayer helps us benefit from private, devotional Bible reading. I think it works something like this. When we are reading the Bible devotionally, some particular verse or pericope stands out to us, and we then turn it into prayer. Either we receive a certain comforting promise, which we then thank the Lord for. Or we are reminded of something wonderful about the person and work of Christ, which causes us to offer praise to Christ. Or we are called to some Christian duty or ethical imperative, and we ask the Lord to help us grow in personal holiness and sanctification. With this habit of prayerful reading in place during the week, we can then come to hear the word preached on Sunday and do the same thing. Having the habit in place during the week helps us to do it on Sunday. 

The symbiosis of public and private

As we prayerfully attend on the public ordinances and receive the spiritual benefit that the Spirit promises to give us through them, we are then sent forth to our week to continue the symbiotic process. What we gained from the sermon and the Lord’s Supper can overflow into Monday and Tuesday as we continue our private prayers to the Lord, seeking to apply what we were reminded of in the sermon, seeking the Lord’s grace to fight against our besetting sins, or receiving his guidance as we face important decisions. And the more regularly we are drawing near to God through Christ to receive grace to help in time of need throughout the week, the more we will be spiritually prepared to take advantage of the even greater spiritual blessings promised through the public ordinances during Sunday worship.

Conclusion 

Both public prayer and private prayer are critical to increasing the spiritual benefits that God desires us to receive from attending on the public ordinances. And this makes sense in light of my previous posts where I have argued that prayer is essentially an acting of faith. Since God promises to bless the public ordinances to our assurance and continued growth in grace only when we attend upon them in faith, it follows that we must attend upon them in prayer.  

The gospel makes prayer possible

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

John Fonville has a good post on gospel-driven prayer. I liked this quote from Walter Marshall:

    It is the gospel that makes prayer possible. Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, by whom justification and sanctification are promised, is also the Mediator who makes your prayers accepted by the Father (Hebrews 4:15-16). The Holy Spirit, who gives you the new birth, who unites you to Christ, who sanctifies you, and who shows you the things of Christ, is a Spirit of prayer (Zechariah 12:10, Galatians 4:6). He is like a fire inflaming your soul, and He makes you mount upward in prayer to God.

Prayer and trusting in Christ

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I don’t know what happened exactly but my blog was down for a couple of days this past weekend. I contacted my webhosting company to find out what was wrong. They said they had to reload the blog and reset some database settings. In any event, it’s back up again. Thankfully the old posts weren’t lost.

Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, I’d like to post again on prayer. I’ve had some additional thoughts since my previous post on developing a personal relationship with Christ.

First, I said that prayer is either addressed to the Father through Christ or to Christ directly. I’d like to mention an important verse on the first of these two. It’s Hebrews 7:25 which says, “Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” There are several parallel verses in Hebrews that employ the language of “drawing near” (4:16; 7:19; 10:1, 22), but this one is unique in explicitly adding that we draw near through Christ. I think this is a helpful description of prayer. It is drawing near to God. And given our continued sinfulness and need, such drawing near can only take place as we consciously rest on the mediator, Christ. That is a helpful definition of the kind of prayer I have in mind, the kind of prayer that involves actings of faith in Christ. And this, in turn, is part of developing a personal relationship with Christ, since consciously resting on the mediator reminds us that he is our sympathetic high priest who knows us, loves us, and understands us. If Christ is praying for us, personally and individually, then surely we can pray to him.

Second, it’s important to avoid an overly activist concept of prayer. In the church group in which I was raised, we were encouraged to “wrestle with God in prayer,” using Jacob’s wrestling with the angel as a model. It was also called “prevailing prayer.” I guess the theory was that we must batter at the gates of heaven with such fervor, determination, and sheer amount of time spent on our knees, that God will eventually relent and answer our requests. The Assembly had a monthly ANOP (All Night of Prayer) where the church literally stayed up all night to pray until daybreak. We were told that the pastor had a sheepskin rug that he used with such frequency for prayer that his knees wore two holes in the rug. Such an overly activistic conception of prayer can become an intolerable yoke that will cause you to give up praying altogether. I don’t want to encourage that. You don’t have to pray for hours on end. You don’t have to pray on your knees. You can pray when you’re commuting to work or doing the dishes. Pray whenever a specific item of prayer or concern pops into your head. It is simply a matter of exercising trust in Christ. And since our trust in Christ is always weak, our prayers are also weak. But that’s okay. Our relationship with Christ does not depend on the strength of our faith or the power, duration, fervency, and frequency of our prayers. Every time we pray, we are essentially saying, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). It not our faith but Christ himself, in the fulness of his merit and by his continual intercession, who saves us. The outreach of our faith to grasp hold of him is but touching the hem of his garment. Your faith may be as thin as a spider’s web, but if it is lodged in Christ, it is enough. So don’t feel that you must have an activistic prayer life. Simply rest in Christ. Simply draw near to God through Christ. 

Third, I have argued that prayers are essentially “actings of faith.” In other words, I’m trying connect prayer and trusting in Christ. We all know that we are saved, justified, by trusting in Christ alone. Yet I think we tend to forget that trust in Christ, faith in Christ, is not merely a formal state in which our minds are convinced of the truths of the gospel, but must also be experienced or exercised in the form of prayer, that is, talking to the Father through Christ or to Christ directly. We sort of know this, because we talk about the need for unbelievers to pray the sinner’s prayer as a crucial element in conversion. Most Reformed tracts provide a prayer that can be used as a model, while encouraging the sinner to use his or her own words. Of course, as Reformed people, we also stress that this must be followed by a public profession of faith, baptism, and joining a local church for discipleship, Christian growth, and attending on the means of grace. But unless I’m missing something, we do not dispense with the sinner’s prayer. Romans 10:9-13 is still in our Bibles and we still believe that conversion includes humbling yourself before God, admitting your sin and guilt, and exercising faith in Christ for the very first time via a personal, heart-felt prayer. In other words, what Paul refers to as “calling upon the name of the Lord.” Well, why does this have to end at conversion? Shouldn’t we continually call upon the name of the Lord? So we already recognize that there is a critical connection between prayer and trusting in Christ. It is necessary and vital to intellectually affirm the gospel, and I don’t want to come across as denigrating the notitia (knowledge) and assensus (assent) aspects of faith. But unless we have fiducia, that is, trust in Christ, knowledge and assent become an empty profession. And as Paul says in Rom 10:10 (”for with the heart a person believes”), fiducia is exercised not primarily with our minds but with our hearts as we enjoy Christ, rest in Christ, and talk to Christ.

May we draw near to God through Christ the mediator. May all legalistic conceptions of prayer melt away as we simply enjoy Christ, prayerfully trust in him, and walk with him day by day. 

Developing a personal relationship with Christ

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Two Sundays ago, I taught an adult Sunday School class on Developing a Personal Relationship with Christ, or How to Regain Your First Love (both handout and audio are available for free download from the New Life Burbank website - thanks to Charles Sy for putting it up).

Some Reformed people are allergic to the language of “having a personal relationship with Christ.” I understand why. It carries a lot of baggage from its use and misuse in evangelicalism. Believe me, I know, since I was raised in a cult called “The Assembly” that practiced a higher life spirituality that was quite successful at creating Pharisees (who thought they had achieved a superior spirituality) and burned out Christians (who threw in the towel because they never could).

The temptation for us Reformed people is to over-react and end up with a very cerebral, stoical expression of the Christian life that is loveless, prayerless, and cold. As with practically every issue, and due to the passions of our frail human nature, the pendulum so easily swings in the opposite direction. Having bottomed-out on the narcissism and shallowness of evangelical piety, we reject all the subjective aspects of the Christian life and opt instead for more objective expressions of piety — doctrine, corporate worship, and the sacraments.

Don’t get me wrong. These things are all valid and necessary. The problem is that they cannot serve as a substitute for a personal relationship with Christ. I find corporate worship and the public means of grace most beneficial to my growth in grace when I am maintaining a healthy prayer life throughout the week. If I am distant from the Lord throughout the week, it takes much more effort to enjoy the means of grace in public worship and it becomes much easier to sit through a church service without any spiritual benefit.

In my Sunday School lesson, I said that the key to having a personal relationship with Christ is faith — not just faith in the sense that I know that I believe the gospel. To have a personal relationship with Christ involves what I call repeated “actings of faith,” that is, continually talking to the Father through Christ, or directly to Christ himself. I know, the word “talking” sounds goofy, perhaps too intimate, as if we are bringing the holy and transcendent God down to our level as just another buddy that we can chat with. I don’t mean that. I use the word “talking” because it gets at the idea of having a relationship. We talk to the Father through Christ, or directly to Christ, about anything and everything that is on our minds, anything and everything that is causing us anxiety. We cast our burdens on the Lord. That is what a personal relationship is, right?

Of course, by talking to God, I mean “prayer.” But the problem with “prayer” is that it sounds too formal, as if we have to have a set time, a set pattern, a devotional, or whatever. That is good too, but we also need to have a lively, humble, continual relationship with Christ throughout the day, as we walk through our daily lives. We need to be able to shoot up “arrow prayers” to the Lord as we go along. We need to get used to the idea that the risen Lord Jesus Christ is really alive and really present in our hearts by his Spirit. And so we must relate to, talk to, and rest up him by repeated actings of faith throughout the day and throughout the week.

Anyway, that’s just a brief synopsis. Download the handout and audio to get the whole thing. I plan to expand these thoughts into a six week Sunday School series in the future. I particularly want to show how the private element connects with the corporate, i.e., attending upon the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments. The two must go hand-in-hand.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

To all of my regular readers:

First, I want to wish you a happy new year — happy not merely in the worldly sense of prosperity and good health — but most importantly in the spiritual sense. My wish for you is that you will find 2008 to be a time of spiritual growth and a deepening of your relationship with Christ. If you are going through a real rough spot in your life, like a divorce or a serious illness, may this year be an opportunity for you to grow from that experience, to learn humility, childlike trust in the Savior, and a spirit of thankfulness for all that God has blessed you with. If you happen to be going through a time when you are experiencing the Lord’s providential blessing, ditto:  may 2008 also be a year for you to grow in humility, trust, and thankfulness.

Second, thank you for reading my blog. I know that there are many of you who read my blog regularly, even getting the RSS feed. I appreciate the support. Many of you have written to make comments or merely to send a note of appreciation. If you are a regular reader and haven’t sent me a note, I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’re planning to follow my annual Greek reading program. I realize that you don’t always agree with everything I say in my blog, and perhaps my views are frustrating, confusing, or odd to some of you, but I do appreciate you, my readers, and I will always try to be respectful.

Third, whether or not you are into new year’s resolutions, consider making this year a year in which you develop a closer relationship with Christ. By that I don’t (merely) mean that you will study the Bible more, attend church more faithfully, work on some besetting sin, or strive to be a better father/mother, husband/wife, employee/boss, etc. These are all good and necessary things, but a person can do them and still not be any closer to Christ. Moralism is not a substitute for spirituality. By developing a closer relationship with Christ I mean talking with him about your life, your problems, your anxieties, and your hopes. Laying before him your difficult relationships. Appealing to him for strength in the battle for personal holiness and for fulfilling your responsibilities. Asking him to guide you in your decisions. Reaching out to him in your times of need.

Personal Bible reading and attendance on the public means of grace play a role in this, for it is as you get to know Christ better through the word and sacraments that you grow in Christ. You can only have a personal relationship with someone you know, and you can only know who Jesus is through the Scriptures. But — it is possible for someone to know a lot of doctrinal facts about Christ and yet not have a living relationship with him. As Reformed people that is a constant danger for all of us. We are always in danger of becoming Pharisees, a people who honors the Lord with our lips, but our hearts are far from him (Matt 15:8).

Let’s not be hypocrites. Jesus is your Lord. He is your Head and Husband. He is your Savior. Live your life in accordance with that reality. Life is walking on a foot path with the risen Lord Jesus. Just as he walked with his disciples and they followed him, so he is alive and present and with you, in your heart, by his Spirit, and he is guiding you along the way. In times of distress, like Peter flailing in the water, you can reach out to his strong arm. In times of doubt, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, you can know his reassuring presence. In times of hardship, suffering, or service, he gives you of his own strength to do what you thought you could not do. And at the end of the journey, he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of your master.”

This may sound mystical or weird, but it is actually the bread and butter of the Christian life, and we have a very good theological word for it:  prayer. Not just prayer in the formal sense, but constantly shooting up arrows to heaven as you move along the path of life in humble obedience to your Savior, the Lord Jesus.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7 NLT). 

May 2008 be a year of spiritual growth for you in accordance with the great reality that Christ is risen and dwells in our hearts by faith through his Spirit (Eph 3:16-17). 


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