Great Daily Prayers – For The Grace to Fight The Flesh

I offer this one without comment. It stands well enough alone. It's a long one and I have slightly edited it for length.

Oh Lord, my God, who created me in your image and likeness, grant me this grace that you have shown to be so great and necessary for salvation, that I may overcome my most evil nature that draws me to sin and perdition.
For I feel in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the law of my mind and leading me captive to obey sensuality in many things. I cannot resist the passions that result, unless your most holy grace is fervently infused into my heart and helps me.

There is need of your grace, O Lord, and of a great amount of it, so that a nature that has been prone to evil from youth may be overcome.

Thus it is, my God, that I delight in your law according to the inward person, knowing that your command is good, just, and holy, and reproving all evil and sin and teaching that it is to be avoided. But in the flesh I serve the law of sin obeying sensuality rather than reason.
Thus it is that the will to do good is present with me, but how to accomplish it I do not know.
Thus I often propose many good things, but because grace is lacking to help my weakness, I recoil and give up at the smallest resistance.
Thus it comes to pass that I know the way of perfection and see clearly how I should act, but being pressed down with the weight of my own corruption I do not rise to what is more perfect.

O Lord, your grace is entirely needful for me to begin anything good, continue with it, and accomplish it. For without it I can do nothing, but in you I can do all things when your grace strengthens me.

I beg you, O Lord, that I may find grace in your sight, for your grace is sufficient for me, even though I obtain none of the things for which nature longs.
If I am tempted and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evil while your grace is with me. This alone is my strength — this alone gives me counsel and help.
This is stronger than all enemies and wiser than all the wise.

This grace is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the consoler in anguish, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nourisher of devotion, the mother of tears.
Without grace I am but a withered branch, a useless piece of wood, fit only to be cast away.
Let your grace, therefore, O Lord, always go before me and follow me, and make me always inclined to good works, through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Great Daily Prayers – Spiritual Discernment

Here is another great prayer from Thomas a'Kempis. I know, I know, you're wondering if I'll ever post prayers by anyone else. The answer is: yes, I will. But a'Kempis happens to be the only one I'm reading right now who gives a glimpse into his prayer life and close walk with Jesus.

This is a great one. I prayed it this morning:

Grant me, O Lord, the grace to know what is worth knowing, love what is worth loving, praise what is most pleasing to you, value what is precious to you, and despise what is contemptible in your sight.
Do not allow me to judge according to what I see, or give sentence according to what ignorant people hear, but enable me to discern with true judgment between things visible and spiritual, and above everything to always search for the good pleasure of your will.

Great Daily Prayers – Against Pride

Ask anybody that knows me and I will regularly admit that my biggest spiritual struggle is with pride. When I have confided with my friends about this struggle, many times they look at me with confusion. Sometimes they even try to disagree with me. The reason that many people do not see pride in my life is because that have confused arrogance with pride. Arrogance is a byproduct of pride, or more accurately an outward manifestation of pride. They should not, however, be equated with one another. Here's the relationship: One cannot be arrogant without being prideful, but one can be prideful without being arrogant. Pride is a necessary prerequisite for arrogance, but arrogance is not the necessary result of pride. Oftentimes I can be very prideful. I am not often arrogant. I deliberately try to avoid being arrogant, because nobody likes arrogant people, but that does not mean that I have necessarily dealt with the heart issue of pride. (Side note: Paul Crouthamel wrote a great blog this week along these same lines. You should check it out.)

In Romans 12:3, Paul tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought but to think of ourselves with sober judgment. "Thinking more highly of yourself than you ought" is a good working definition of pride. When I am honest with myself and make an attempt at "sober judgment," I must admit that in my heart of hearts, I am full of pride. How about you? Probably most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought. That's why we get pissed off at people in traffic. What right to they have to treat me that way! In a recent blog, my wife said that we think we deserve something because of a sense of entitlement. Then she went on to explain that a sense of entitlement is essentially thinking that we are more important than anyone else. That's pride. When get get enraged because we have to wait in a long line, or when we think that traffic laws don't apply to us, or when we gossip or talk bad about others, or when we won't volunteer for certain positions at church because they are "below us," or we hold back money that is rightfully God's because we "need" it, we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Am I hitting close to home yet?

So that brings us to today's "Great Daily Prayer." Here is a great one in the battle against pride. This one again comes from The Imitation of Christ. and the opening quote comes from Psalm 8:4.

Lord, "what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?"
What have we deserved that you should grant us your grace?
O Lord, what reason have I to complain if you abandon me? Or if you do not do what I ask, what can I rightly say against your decision?
What I should truly think and say is this: Lord, I am nothing, I can do nothing, I have nothing of myself that is good, and I am defective in all things and continually tend to achieve nothing.
And unless you help me and inwardly instruct me, I will become totally lukewarm and ineffective.
For while we please ourselves we displease you, and while we pant after the praise of people, we are deprived of true virtues.
Your name be praised, not mine — your work be magnified, not mine. Let your holy name be blessed, but let no part of human praise be given to me.
You are my glory, you are the joy of my heart.
In you I will glory and rejoice all the day, but as for myself I will not glory in anything except my infirmities.
Let others seek honor from one another, I will seek the honor that comes from the only God.
For all human glory, all temporal honor, all worldly elevation, is worthless and foolish when compared to your eternal glory.
O my God, my truth, my mercy — O Blessed Trinity, to you alone be praise, honor, power, and glory forever and ever.

Great Daily Prayers – In Hard Times

Here is another great one by Thomas a'Kempis (for more information on Thomas a'Kempis read the post "Great Daily Prayers – Part 1").

IMPORTANT NOTE: When a'Kempis uses the word "temptation," he doesn't mean it in the modern sense of being tempted to do something bad, evil, or wrong. He means the word to be synonomous with tribulation, trials, or difficult circumstances.

O Lord, blessed by your name forever, for it is your will that this temptation and tribulation come to me.
I cannot escape it, but must run to you so that you can help me and turn it to my good.

Lord, I am now being afflicted, and my heart is troubled by my present suffering and not at peace. 
And now, dear Father, what shall I say?–I am caught in the middle of trouble,  "save me from this hour."
Yet I came to this hour so you might be glorified when I am greatly hubled and delivered by you.
Therefore, let it please you, Lord, to deliver me, for what can a poor wretch like I am do, or where can I go without you?
Give me patience, O Lord, even now in this emergency. Help me, my God, and then I will not be afraid of how much I may be afflicted.

An now in these troubles what shall I say?
"Lord, your will be done." I very much deserve to be afflicted and distressed.
Sureley I should endure it–and, oh, that I may endure it with patience until the storm passes and it becomes calm!
But your all-powerful hand is able to take even this temptation from me, and lessen its violence so that I do not completely sink under it, as you have so often done for me in the past, O my God, my mercy!
And the more difficult this temptation is for me, the easier it is for you to change it by the right hand of the Most High.

Great Daily Prayers – The Battle Against the Flesh

As a staff, we have been spiritually gearing up for our current series. We are talking a lot about spiritual warfare, and we knew that Satan and his minions would "up" their attacks on us during this series. In fact we have already been seeing a lot of that. This coming weekend, Jimmy will be preaching about the fight with our enemy and next weekend about the fight with our flesh.
Personally, one of the things I've noticed over the past three days is that one of the ways the Enemy has attacked is to stir up my flesh. Thankfully, the Lord has empowered me resist those attacks. One thing that has helped is another great prayer from Thomas a'Kempis. So, I thought I would share that today. This is a great prayer when dealing with issues of temptation and the flesh.

I will confess my weakness to you, O Lord.
Often just a small matter will make me sad and troubled.
I resolve to act with courage, but when a small temptation comes I am immediately in great distress. Sometimes it is a trifling thing that causes great temptation.
And when I think I am reasonably safe and least expect it, I sometimes find myself almost entirely overcome by the slightest stirring.

Look, therefore, O Lord, at my low condition and my frailty that you know in every way.
Have mercy on me and deliver me out of the mire so I will not be embedded there and be utterly discouraged forever.
Because I am so subject to failing and weak in resisting my passions, I am often driving backwards and shamed before you.
I do not fully consent to them, and their continual assaults are troublesome and grievous to me, and it tires me extremely to live in such a daily conflict.
By this my weakness is shown to me–hateful imaginations always rush into my mind much more easily than they leave it.

Most mighty God of Israel, zealous lover of faithful souls! Oh, that you would consider the labor and sorrow of your servant and assist me in whatever I undertake.
Strengthen me with heavenly courage lest the old man, the miserable flesh that is not yet fully subject to the spirit, prevail and get the upper hand–it is a battle I must fight so long as I draw breath in this difficult life.

Great Daily Prayers – Part 3

O most merciful Jesus, grant me your grace, that it may be with me and work with me, and continue with me even to the end.
Grant that I may always desire and will that which is most acceptable and pleasing to you.
Let your will be mine, and let my will follow yours and agree perfectly with it.
Let my willingness or unwillingness be all one with you, and let me not be able to will or not will anything but what you will or not will.
Grant that I may die to all things that are in the world, and for your sake love to be despised and not known in this world.
Grant that above all things I may rest in you, and in you have my heart at peace.
You are the true peace of the heart and its only rest — outside of you all things are hard and restless. In this very peace — that is, in you the highest eternal good — I will sleep and rest.

Great Daily Prayers – Part 2

Oh Lord, you know what is best for me, therfore, let this be done as you will.
Give what you will, how much you will, and when you will.
Deal with me as you think good, as best pleases you, and is most for your honor.
Put me where you will and deal with me in all things as you will.
I am in your hand, turn me around and back again, whichever way you please.
Behold, I am your servant and I am prepared for all things, for I do not desire to live for myself but for you — and oh that I could do it worthily and perfectly!

Great Daily Prayers – Part 1

As I read the works and thoughts of great men of God from years past, one of the things that I look for is how did they pray? If prayer is communion and conversation with God, then I want to know how great men of God have prayed. What was their relationship with God like. How did they talk with him and relate to him? Occasionally, I will come across a prayer that impacts me so much, that I record it and periodically pull it out and pray it as it expresses the cry of my heart. These become daily prayers for me. Not that I pray them every single day. But they are recurring prayers in my walk with God at appropriate times in my life.

Over the next couple of days, I'm going to share three of the most recent prayers that have been added to my list of Great Daily Prayers. These three come from Thomas a'Kempis the great 15th century monk. I am sharing these now because they are short, very practical, and applicable during specific times. As time goes on, I will probably share some others. Who knows, maybe you can use them like I do. Be warned: some days they are more difficult to pray than others. And I have found that the days that they are most difficult to pray are the days that I should pray them most.

This on is great when trying to discern my desire vs. God's desire:

Lord, if this is pleasing to you, let it be so.
Lord if it is to your honor, in your name let it be done.
Lord, if you see it is good and beneficial to me, then grant that I may use this to your honor.
But if you know it will be harmful to me and not beneficial to the health of my soul, take away any desire for it from me.