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How to Pray for the Soul

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How to Pray for the Soul Empty How to Pray for the Soul

Post  Admin on Fri 12 Oct 2012, 9:59 am

How to Pray for the Soul
John Piper

For thoughtful people, how they pray for the soul is governed by how they
believe God acts. So, for example, if they believe God changes people's
souls
so that they make new and right choices, then they will ask God to make
those soul-changes through evangelism and nurture. But not everybody is
thoughtful
about the way they pray. They don't think about what view of God is behind
their praying.

So what I suggest is that we learn first to pray for the soul from the way
the Bible prays for the soul. If we do that, then our prayers will probably
be
good prayers, and in the process we will also learn about how God acts. Here
is the way I pray for my soul. I use these prayers over and over again-for
myself and my children and wife and for the staff and the elders and for all
the church. This is the meat and potatoes of my prayer life.

The first thing my soul needs is an inclination to God and his word. Without
that, nothing else will happen of any value in my life. I must want to know
God and read his word and draw near to him. Where does that "want to" come
from? It comes from God. So Psalm 119:36 teaches us to pray, "Incline my
heart
to Your testimonies and not to gain."

Next I need to have the eyes of my heart opened, so that when my inclination
leads me to the word I see what is really there and not just my own ideas.
Who opens the eyes of the heart? God does. So Psalm 119:18 teaches us to
pray, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law."

Then I need for my heart to be enlightened with these "wonders." I need to
perceive glory in them and not just interesting facts. Who enlightens the
heart?
God does. So Ephesians 1:18 teaches us to pray "That the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened. "

Then I am concerned that my heart is fragmented and that parts of it might
remain in the dark while other parts are enlightened. So I long for my heart
to be united for God. Where does that wholeness and unity come from? From
God. So Psalm 86:11 teaches us to pray, "O Lord, I will walk in Your truth;
unite
my heart to fear Your name."

What I really want from all this engagement with the Word of God and the
work of his Spirit in answer to my prayers is that my heart will be
satisfied with
God and not with the world. Where does that satisfaction come from? It comes
from God. So Psalm 90:14 teaches us to pray, "O satisfy us in the morning
with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our
days."

But I don't just want to be happy in my own little private world with God. I
want my happiness to be as full as possible for spreading and expanding for
others. I want to be strong in joy. This will make me durable in the face of
threats or adversity. Where does that strength and durability come from? It
comes from God. So Ephesians 3:16 teaches us to pray, "That God would grant
you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power
through
His Spirit in the inner man."

Finally, I want my strength in Christ to produce good deeds for others so
that the glory of God will be seen in my life. Who produces these good
deeds?
God does. So Colossians 1:10 teaches us to pray, "That [we] will walk in a
manner worthy of the Lord... bearing fruit in every good work and increasing
in the knowledge of God."

All this I pray "in Jesus' name," because God gives these things to my soul
only because Jesus died for me and removed the wrath of God so that the
Father
might "freely give me all things" (Romans 8:32).

To remember some of these prayers, I use an acronym - IOUS - almost every
day in praying for those I love, asking God to give us an inclination to his
Word
and not to money or fame or power (Psalm 119:36), and to open our eyes to
see wonderful things when we read his Word (Psalm 119:18), and to have
hearts
united in the fear of God rather than fragmented over a dozen concerns
(Psalm 86:11), and to be satisfied in his steadfast love (Psalm 90:14).

Learning to pray and learning how God acts,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:
www.desiringGod.org.
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