The Majesty of Prayer: Encounters with God’s Amazing Grace, by John MacArthur arrived unsolicited in my mailbox this past week. Given the fact that it’s styled as a gift book, I can’t say that I was initially interested in it. Nevertheless, after poking through it, I found that I actually rather liked it. (I surprised myself!) I like it because it is filled with solid prayers to a sovereign God. This book isn’t filled with little “quips” in a “Thank you God for loving me, Amen.” sort of way. Rather, the prayers in this book are addressed to someone who is assumed to be more holy, more righteous and more powerful than me. Reading these prayers and addressing them to the Lord makes me feel humbled in a good way. They fuel a sense of awe towards a holy and righteous God in the person praying these words.
“We come to You, the Almighty God,
enthroned in our lives,
presiding over the universe,
and we humbly ask for You to strengthen us where we are weak,
beginning with our acts of worship.”
It is ever so tempting, as a human, to launch right into our lists of requests when we begin a prayer. How often do I breathe out the words, “God please do ___” or “God, please cause _____” or “God, please bring ______.” My self-centeredness gets the better of me time and time again and I am distracted by my own emotions. I need a good (daily? hourly?) reminder that life is not all about me. One benefit to reading a written prayer is that it helps to focus your thoughts, words and the attitude of the heart towards the Lord. Reading prayers can sometimes collect scattered thoughts and bring them inline with scripture and that is something that I think the prayers in this book most definitely do. (They can also help jump start an inactive prayer life, if that is needed and necessary.)
Instead of reading this book as a gift book (as it’s design would indicate that it is) I rather see it as a Book of Prayer (not so Common?) that is a useful tool is training my thoughts as I submit them to the Lord for examination and correction, edification and a renewed right spirit.
Of course, the photographs by Dennis Frates which are included in this book are indeed beautiful and there are also quotes from hymns scattered throughout. But the main point and purpose is to direct the person praying to the Lord and be amazed by and delighted in Him.
And yet, Lord, we fall far short of loving You as we should.
Love for self too often overwhelms our love for one another.
Even the best of our love is but a faint glimmer of what it ought to be.
We stand in desperate need of daily grace and forgiveness,
and we confess that apart from Your mercy to us
we would be utterly without hope.
It is our blessed privileged as Your children
to come boldly to the throne of grace again and again,
where we always receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We therefore come to worship You as those who live by Your love.
May Your love be the mold that shapes our actions, our words, our character,
and our very lives
so the whole world may see and honor You.
We pray in His precious name. Amen.
Thank you, Harvest House Publishers, for popping this one my way!
Carrie is blessed to know the Lord Jesus and has claimed Him as her Savior. She blogs about her faith over at Reading to Know.