Tag Archives: prayer

Puritan Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

O my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admired, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding,
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language
to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time
and eternity.

Amen

(The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers)

Students Rebel at Graduation Against the ACLU’s Bullying Tactics

Students Rebel at Graduation Against the ACLU’s Bullying Tactics

June 4, 2009

Santa Rosa County, FL – Nearly 400 graduating seniors at Pace High School stood up in protest against the ACLU and recited the Lord’s Prayer during their graduation ceremony on Saturday. Many of the students also painted crosses on their graduation caps to make a statement of faith. This event follows a lawsuit the ACLU filed against the Santa Rosa County School District, claiming some of the teachers and administration endorsed religion. Liberty Counsel represents Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and school teacher Michelle Winkler.

The graduation prayer protest by the students was preceded by a lawsuit filed six months ago by the ACLU. The school district entered into a consent decree, which essentially bans all Santa Rosa County School District employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities. The ACLU alleges that during a dinner event held at Pace High School, Principal Lay asked the athletic director to bless the meal. In another incident, the ACLU alleges that Michelle Winkler’s husband, who is not a school board employee, offered prayer at an awards ceremony. Leading up to the graduation ceremony, the ACLU demanded the school to censor students from offering prayers or saying anything religious. The ACLU then charged Principal Lay and Ms. Winkler with contempt of court.

The students at Pace High School were furious with the ACLU hijacking their free speech rights and decided to take a stand at graduation. As soon as Principal Lay asked everyone to be seated at the ceremony, the graduating class remained standing and recited the Lord’s Prayer. The ACLU has not taken any legal action yet but has stated that something should have been done to stop the prayer.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. The students at Pace High School refused to remain silent and were not about to be bullied by the ACLU. We have decided to represent faculty, staff and students of Pace High School, because the ACLU is clearly violating their First Amendment rights. Schools are not religion-free zones, and any attempt to make them so is unconstitutional.”

via Liberty Counsel.

Silence

How many of us spend our whole days listening to noise.  We wake up and immediately turn on the tv, then listen to the radio in the car, and mp3 players when we walk.  When I’m at my desk, I have Pandora constantly running.  It got to the point where silence was almost unbearable.  Try driving in your car for even 15 minutes without the radio.  It’s tough.  I need the constant stimulation, even if it’s only in the background.  Music has always helped me concentrate.  With silence, I find that my mind just wanders … often to places that I don’t want it to.

Recently, however, I have been trying to conquer and reclaim silence, and I stumbled across an interesting post on silence and God:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to be silent and a time to speak…
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b

The Bible says in Luke 5:16 that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places.” Jesus spent considerable time alone in silence to pray, rest, and focus on what priorities He should be devoting His time and energy to. This helps to explain why, in just three short years of ministry, Jesus had a greater impact on history than anyone else who has ever lived.

The Bible also describes multiple benefits of purposeful silence, including:

  • hearing from God (1 Kings 19:11–13)
  • waiting patiently for the Lord to act (Lamentations 3:25–28)
  • worshiping God (Habakkuk 2:20)
  • knowing God better (Psalm 46:10)
  • praying effectively (Luke 5:16)

If we’re undisciplined, silence can indeed be an enemy.  With the right focus, however, it can be a tool for reflection, introspection, and recentering of ourselves and our priorities.

Fasting with Ease

After hearing a sermon yesterday about letting God come into our lives and clean out some areas that we may have been keeping from Him, I decided to put it in practice.  I had been planning on fasting on Wednesday, which is the weekly day of fasting and prayer at my church, but after the message I felt the need to start right away.  I didn’t want to, and tried to convince myself that Wednesday would be fine.  I’d do the handover tonight, recommit to God, and fast on Wednesday.  No dice.  No matter how much I tried to convince myself, I just knew that I had to start today.  If was really giving it over, this was a way to show my commitment.

Funny enough, I’ve had no real problem keeping the fast.  This is only my fifth or so time fasting, I’d never done it before moving to DC.  I’m learning that it’s something that definitely takes discipline and will, and a certain amount of training and experience help.  Though like yesterday’s morning prayer, I think God was helping easing me into the practice.

Halfway through the day I took some time to pray.  I’m quite blessed with where I work.  It’s a huge concrete complex of offices and shops that cater to busy businessmen (junk food, convenience stores, Starbucks, etc.), but there are also some interesting little mini-parks landscaped into the area.  These places are completely empty and unused.  Nobody takes advantage of them, even though they do actually provide a nice break from the stress of the office.  I’ve singlehandedly cajoled more people into the tables and benches than the place has probably ever seen.  One of the mini-parks makes for a nice, calm, tranquil place to pray, both because of the environment and the fact that there’s never anybody there.  People don’t even walk by.  But hey, so much the better for me 🙂

Near the end, though there was some considerable temptation to break the fast.  Someone brought in incredible homemade fried chicken.  It looked and smelled amazing, and everyone was telling me that it tasted even better.  Of all the days to not only get free dinner, but a homemade meal!  Fortunately, however, God did take away what would have been the worst temptation of all.  On Monday evening, as I was leaving, I noticed someone brought in homemade brownies.  They were gone by Tuesday.  Those I would not have been able to resist!

Changing Your Attitude with Morning Prayer

I got up early this morning to pray.  Early.  Five o’clock early.  That may not seem excessive to many, but it’s absurd for me, who usually goes to bed around one.  Making it even more complicated, I didn’t get much sleep this weekend.  Although that’s not really news, I rarely do.  Normally, people are supposed to sleep in on the weekends and come back to work on Monday refreshed.  I, however, actually sleep more during the week than on the weekends.

My church has a prayer meeting every Monday at 6am, and a lot of the youth go.  I’ve always considered it too difficult, and only gone once before (when I had a plane to catch at 8am, so it was already getting up early, and church is on the way to the airport).  A friend explained that getting up at 5 was a bit early for him, too, but that he considered it making a small sacrifice for God, and that the prayer really helped get the week off on the right foot.

Needing a good start to my week, I decided that, paradoxically, taking even more sleep away from an already sleepless week might actually make me more refreshed.  Funny enough, after only about 4 hours sleep, I had no problem getting up on time and making it to church for prayer.  So far, so good.  Though I don’t always expect it to be this easy, I think God was just easing me in.  The morning prayer takes about an hour, and starts off with reading a couple of psalms followed by group prayer.  Baptists – so on your knees, no weak sitting-in-a-chair prayer!  We have a small breakfast before going our separate ways to work, and it gives us the chance to wake up a bit more.  I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, deep prayer always puts me in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness.

I got to the office around 7:30, and was feeling pretty good.  Amazingly, the whole rest of the day I had a wonderful, almost carefree attitude.  Everything went smoothly, and my heart was filled with joy towards everyone I interacted with.  “Want me to write or check something?  Sure!”  “Hey person who just cut me off in traffic, I hope you have a great time after work!”  The morning prayer really seems to have had an elevating effect.  Taking my normal attitude and view on everything up a couple of notches.

My friend was absolutely right.  It is a sacrifice, but one well worth it that puts everything in perspective for the week ahead!