Come, and see the victories of the cross!
Come, and see the victories of the cross!
Christ’s wounds — are your healings,
His agonies — are your repose,
His conflicts — are your conquests,
His groans — are your songs,
His pains — are your ease,
His shame — is your glory,
His death — is your life, and
His sufferings — are your salvation!
– Matthew Henry
Pray together and make your family meals great again
In these days of takeaway and drive by meals being available, the habit of praying as a family is being lost to many in the present generation. This is NOT a tradition I’m talking about. This is something that should be natural in spirit to a Christian. The Christian life among many good things is a life of thanksgiving. This again, is not a tradition. I mean it’s not about some dedicated holiday in which give thanks to God for your blessing once a year. But rather the main thing is about thanking Jesus for giving you new life each and every day of your life. And this is what matters when you pray as a family; that each one present for meals is alive and alive in Christ.
Not everyone gets to meet up together for even a single meal as a family. Why so? Because some are stuck in debts and some family member has too keep working, while some are working overseas perhaps at oil rigs or places of armed conflicts abroad. While the sadder part is that some of their family members have passed away. And the saddest part is for those who passed without having faith in Jesus Christ, no heaven for them!
So, that is why when you are having your food and drink with your family, firstly give thanks to God that you are all together and safe, secondly thank Jesus for the salvation that he gives you and ask for his forgiveness and blessings, and finally confess that Jesus is Son of God who is your all in all. That’s the least you can say in your family prayers together, but you can thank the Lord more and more if you wish. Pray at your family meal times together as a family and make your family meals great again!
Here’s a suggested prayer that you can pray at your family meals:
Thanks be to the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ for bringing us together for a meal. We thank you O Lord for giving us life and life in abundance. Forgive us of all our sins and heal us in spirit, mind, soul and body. We believe that you O Lord Jesus are the Son of God and we praise God for sending you to us. By the Holy Spirit bless us now as we all share in our earthly meal and grant us that we eat and drink in the marriage supper of the Lamb of God which is to come. Amen and amen.
Psalm 138 – A Psalm of Thanksgiving
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Prayer for Divine Support
You are the blessed God, happy in Yourself, source of happiness in Your creatures, my maker, benefactor, proprietor, upholder. You have produced and sustained me, supported and indulged me, saved and kept me; You are in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.
May I live by You, live for You, never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ; and may conformity to His principles, temper, and conduct grow hourly in my life. Let Your unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience, and render my duty my delight. If others deem my faith folly, my meekness infirmity, my zeal madness, my hope delusion, my actions hypocrisy, may I rejoice to suffer for Your name.
Keep me walking steadfastly towards the country of everlasting delights, that paradise-land which is my true inheritance. Support me by the strength of heaven that I may never turn back, or desire false pleasures that will disappear into nothing. As I pursue my heavenly journey by Your grace let me be known as a man with no aim but that of a burning desire for You, and the good and salvation of my fellow men. Amen.
Quick reminder: Give the highest esteem to being forgiven by God
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:8)
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah …(Psalm 32:1-11)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ( Romans 10:9)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Let us give thanks to God continually
Let us give thanks to God continually. For, it is outrageous that when we enjoy His benefaction to us in deed every single day, we do not acknowledge the favor with so much as a word; and this, when the acknowledgment confers great benefit on us. He does not need anything of ours, but we stand in need of all things from Him.
In point of fact, thanksgiving adds nothing to Him, but it brings us closer to Him. For if, when we recall the benefactions of men, we are the more warmed by affection for them; much more, when we continually bring to mind the benefits of the Master towards us, shall we be more earnest with regard to His commandments.
For this cause Paul also said, Be ye thankful. For the best preservative of any benefaction is the remembrance of the benefaction, and a continual thanksgiving for it. (St. John Chrysostom)
Quick reminder: Blessings can be spiritual too
Blessings go beyond material prosperity. It’s nice to be in good health, have sufficient finances and a steady supply of clean and wholesome food and water. But that’s not all that comes under the blessings of God. In fact too much of focusing on the material aspects of blessings might be a temptation to not give heed to the spiritual things which come from heavenly blessings from God through Jesus Christ. Knowing what spiritual blessings are can make you more grateful and humble towards the Lord. You’d realize that all blessings that you have ultimately are not of your creation but come from the Lord God himself and no one can compete with the Lord in this.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
“What are spiritual blessings?” (www.gotquestions.org)
Pray to God in good times too
It’s good to pray to God in desperate times. And it’s even better to remain prayerful in good times as well. Do not forget the Lord Jesus who gives you salvation and grace.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)
The Israelites of the times of Moses, were in clear terms told not to forget the Lord God who saved them from slavery from the Egyptians and were later going to receive prosperity for themselves. It was desired that they continue to give honor and praise to Lord God and not to any false god.
“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 6:10-15)
Yet the people of Israel were so engrossed in material prosperity that most of them gave up on their prayers to the Lord God and didn’t worship him in truth. Rather they went on to worship false gods instead. This then provoked God so greatly, especially since they rejected his prophets and sometimes even killed them, that he allowed various nations to overcome the Jews in battle and cause great devastation. The damage was profoundly grave, as lots of Israelites lost their lives, the survivors were put into captivity in foreign lands and only the poorest of the poor were left in Israel.
Do not fall into such sin. Or let in other words don’t make a golden calf of your blessings. The Israelites made Aaron prepare for themselves a golden calf false god with the gold which the Lord God had provided for them on their way out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Instead of giving credit to the Lord God, they gave credit to a worthless idol. This provoked God so greatly that unless Moses the prophet and leader of Jews made intercession for them, they wouldn’t go unpunished as a nation. (On a side note, how many of us ask God to have mercy on our own nation or do we just want fire fall down from heaven?)
You can express your gratitude to Christ in times of prosperity by praying and thanking him for all the benefits that you have received through him. Praise him freely and with deep respect.
Thank him for your salvation, the forgiveness of your sin, your reconciliation with God the Father. In truth even in the worst of times, there’s always these spiritual blessings that you can be ever thankful to God. So in better times, you have all the more reason to pray to God.
Do not limit your pray to God to only thankfulness but even desire to remain in God’s will. Ask him to lead you and guide you by the Holy Spirit in righteousness and truth. Never get deceived by the sight of riches and luxury that you forget the counsel of God and then go on to sin. Instead pray that you are sanctified by the grace of God, in your body, soul and spirit.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:6-11)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
You can also bring to your mind especially in good times, that there are lots of people in the world who don’t have their basic needs met. Be generous to the poor and needy. Also, pray for the those who are born into slavery in various parts of the part. It might seem odd but slavery is still rampant in certain nations of the world. Pray that the captives be set free. It’s good that you pray for people so that they repent from their sins and believe in the Gospel. Pray that those in life who are suffering from various diseases, family problems and financial problems receive respite from trouble and be delivered from their sorrows. By all this make good use of your prosperity to pray to God so that he is glorified in your praise and that people receive hope in life.