A Prayer for Resisting Satan’s Main Attack

     I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  2 Cor. 11:1-3

     Gracious Lord Jesus, as I pray my way through this Scripture this morning, two things stand out with flashing neon brilliance. First of all, we already belong to you as a washed, cherished and betrothed bride. This is our defining identity as your called-out, beloved people.

     We are those upon whom you have set your heart, for whom you gave your life, and to whom you are returning as a great Bridegroom. Hallelujah, many times over. No other relationship gives us the peace, hope, and joy that we find in you.

     This underscores the second thing that stands out in this Scripture: the intensity of Satan’s hatred for the “first thing”—your great love for us. This is what spiritual warfare is all about. He’ll do anything possible to lead us astray from our sincere and pure devotion to you.

     Satan hates your love for us and he hates our love for you. He’ll let us be anything other than a people filled with deep affection …

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A Prayer about Why We’re Compelled to Love Jesus

     But he [Jesus] has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Heb. 9:26-28

Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many convincing reasons why you are singularly worthy of being loved, praised, trusted, and served. But as I begin this day, I want to recount some of those many reasons out loud. For any of a number of pseudo-gods, wannabe-gods, and demigods will be clamoring for my heart’s attention and affection today. Help me love you today with focused abandon and unwavering allegiance.

Lord Jesus, according to this Scripture, you came into the world of time zones and molecules, beauty and brokenness, longings and rebellion… at the “culmination of the ages”—at the precise time appointed by the Father, not a day too soon or a second too late. And you expressly came to “do away with sin”—to take away the sins of your people, which includes my sins. My heart trembles and dances before this most glorious news. I’m simultaneously humbled and gladdened.

The price was of so great a salvation was your life of perfect obedience—including obedience to death on the cross. May I never think or speak …

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A Prayer for Renewing Our Bridal Affection for Jesus

     I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor. 11:1-3

Gracious Lord Jesus, as I pray my way through this Scripture this morning, two things stand out with flashing neon brilliance. First of all, we already belong to you as a washed, cherished and betrothed bride. This is our defining identity, raison d’être, joy, passion and delight, as your church—your called-out, beloved people. Your relationship with us and your love for us are the most important things about us.

We are the people upon whom you have set your heart, for whom you gave your life, and to whom you are returning as a great Bridegroom. There’s no other relationship that comes close to offering the peace and hope as your relationship with us—no other.

This underscores the second thing that stands out in this Scripture: the intensity of Satan’s hatred for the “first thing”—your great love for us, Bridegroom to bride. He’ll do anything possible to lead us astray from our sincere and pure devotion to you.

Satan hates your love for us. Satan hates our love for you. He’ll …

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A Prayer of Glad Affirmation: Why We Love Jesus

     But he [Jesus] has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Heb. 9:26-28 

     Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many compelling reasons why you are singularly worthy of being loved, praised, trusted, and served. But as I begin this day, I want to rehearse some of those many reasons out loud. For any of a number of pseudo-gods, wannabe gods, and demigods will be clamoring for my heart’s attention and affection today, all day long. Help me, my family, and my friends to love you with focused abandon, undistilled adoration and unwavering allegiance.
     Jesus, according to the Scripture, you expressly came into the world of time zones and molecules, at the “end of the ages,” at the appointed time in the history of redemption, to “do away with sin”—to take away the sins of your people, which includes my sins. The price was your life of perfect obedience, including obedience to death on the cross. Never let me think or speak of your offering glibly, mindlessly, or presumptuously; for the implications of your sacrifice are astounding, measureless and eternal.
     Of these things we can …

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A Prayer About Not Being Idle About Idols

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21  

     Dear Father, in Rome I saw a vast array of gods that filled the temples and lifestyle of that ancient city. In London, I wandered from station to station in a huge Hindu temple as worshippers offered prayers to deities that looked so odd to me. In Israel, I studied decaying remains of places and objects which competed for the worship of your people.

     Yet for us to obey John’s command to keep myself from idols requires so much more than simply staying away from ancient sites, pagan temples and man-made idols. Father, I’ve never been more aware of the invisible pantheon of idols that is constantly angling and clamoring for my heart’s worship. How I wish as soon as you placed me in Christ that my struggle with idolatry would’ve ceased. That’s simply not the case, or this Scripture would be entirely irrelevant. Hasten the Day when I will finally and fully worship only you.

     Because sometimes the approval or rejection of people has more sway over my heart than what you think about me. Sometimes my need to be right is more compelling than my being righteous in Christ. Sometimes my desire to be in control claims more of my devotion than seeking your face and savoring your grace. Sometimes creature comforts are more alluring than Jesus’ beauty. Sometimes my commitment to a pain-free heart looms larger than your occupied throne. These are just a few of the things …

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A Prayer About Not Being Idle About Idols

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21  

     Gracious Father, this final admonition in John’s first epistle lands on my heart with power. Idolatry is everywhere because there’s no such thing as a non-worshipper. Worship is the most defining category in the whole of life. Whoever or whatever reigns in our heart determines the whole course of our lives.

     In Rome I touched statues of gods which filled the temples and lifestyle of that great ancient city. In London, I walked from station to station in a huge Hindu temple, as worshippers offered prayers and gifts to deities that looked so strange to me. In Israel, I studied decaying remains of idols which competed for the worship of the people of God. But for me to obey John’s command to keep myself from idols requires so much more than simply staying away from ancient sites, pagan temples and man-made idols.

    Father, there’s a pantheon of idols constantly angling and clamoring for my heart’s worship. How I wish that as soon as you placed me in Christ that my struggle with idolatry would’ve ceased. That’s simply not the case or this Scripture would be entirely irrelevant.

     Sometimes the approval or rejection from people has more sway over my heart than what you think about me. Sometimes the passion to be right is more compelling to me than the good news of being righteous in Christ. Sometimes controlling my circumstances claims more of my time and energy than seeking your face… …

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