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I have been reading off and on The Weapon of Prayer by E.M. Bounds. This book, along with Bounds other works, The Power of Prayer and Purpose in Prayer, have greatly influenced my focus and understanding of prayer. E.M. Bounds constantly references Bible passages and Biblical characters to illustrate his thoughts on prayer, but he also mentions several modern examples as well. One of the men he mentions is David Brainerd. The man, David Brainerd, has impacted my fervor for prayer in immense ways and it is good to know that I was not the only one. Countless men have directly attributed Brainerd to their outlook on missions, dedication to prayer, and devotion for God. In fact, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley and William Carey were all directly influenced by David Brainerd’s life and ministry.

Dr. A. J. Gordon speaks thus of Brainerd

In passing through Northampton, Mass., I went into the old cemetery, swept off the snow that lay on the top of the slab, and I read these simple words: “Sacred to the memory of David Brainerd, the faithful and devoted missionary to the Susquehanna, Delaware and Stockbridge Indians of America, who died in this town, October 8th, 1717.”

Now this man prayed in secret in the forest. A little while afterward, William Carey read his life, and by its impulse he went to India. Payson read it as a young man, over twenty years old, and he said that he had never been so impressed by anything in his life by the story of Brainerd. Murray McCheyne read it and he likewise was impressed by it.

But all I care is simply to enforce this thought, that the hidden life, a life whose days are spent in communion with God, in trying to reach the source of power, is the life that moves the world. 

Let us pursue “the hidden life” with God, over the                  life without God.

I have been studying how to listen well for a Pastoral Counseling course at Liberty Seminary. This quote about congregational listening struck me as encouraging. For us preachers, kinds words and supportive comments during or after the sermon are extremely encouraging.

“Once at at preaching conference, I heard a nationally recognized African-American preacher discussing the “amens” and other vocal responses of his congregation during his sermons. Many of us were not used to such an interactive style.

He said,

“It isn’t just up to preachers [talkers] to get the message across. We need help. Preaching takes a lot of work from the congregation [the listeners] too. After services sometimes my people say, ‘We did good this morning!’ Now that’s real preaching when they feel like we did it together.”

Kollar, C.A., (2011) Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling An Affective Short-Term Approach for Getting People Back on Track. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.53

It is only in response to the cross of Christ that peace exists vertically between humans and God and horizontally between humans.

The New Society: Holman concise Bible commentary. Ephesians 2:19-22.

Ephesians1:18,19

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Check out this fascinating quote explaining the meaning of Paul’s unique phrase the “eyes of your heart.” It is more than just a misjudging of the location of one’s ocular devices. It is Paul describing the importance of the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work in our hearts allowing us to see the truth.

Paul uses a strange construction here: the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Usually we think of the eyes as being in our head, and we connect the head with the brain and the brain with the mind. Hence we say that we understand a particular teaching with the mind. But the apostle refers to the eyes of the heart. What does he mean?
He means that by nature we are closed to the things of God. He does not mean that we cannot discuss them nor have intellectual debates about them. But the heart in New Testament terms refers to the central disposition, inclination, bent, or proclivity of the human soul. In simple terms, the bias. Everybody has a bias and prejudices. The word ‘prejudice’ is usually a pejorative term, but what it literally means is to prejudge certain things, to have a standpoint, a viewpoint.
Our natural prejudgment of reality is against God. To receive the truth of God requires that our ‘anti’ bias be changed. The key work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is not giving new knowledge to the brain but changing the disposition of the heart. Before the Spirit turns that heart of stone into a heart of flesh, we have no desire for the things of God. We may desire the blessings that only God can give us, but we have no affection for the things of God. At the moment of regeneration, the eyes of the heart are opened somewhat, but this is just the beginning. The whole Christian life involves an unfolding and enlarging of the heart’s openness to the things of God. There are concepts, attitudes, and values in my life at present that do not please God, for there will be stony parts to my heart as long as sin abides within me. Sin clouds my thinking, my will, my desires, my affections. There will always be parts of me that need to be opened more and more to let the fullness of God’s truth dwell in me. — The Purpose of God: Ephesians

I want your Christianity to be unmistakable. I want you all to really grow, and to do more than others. Let us all then remember Sardis and Laodicea – let us resolve to be more holy and more bright. Let us bury our idols. Let us put away all strange gods. Let us cast out the old leaven. Let us lay aside every weight and besetting sin. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. Let us renew our covenant with our beloved Lord. Let us aim at the highest and best things. Let us resolve by God’s blessing to be more holy, and then I know and am persuaded we shall be more useful and more happy.

~ J.C. Ryle

Resolve to Be More Holy