Thursday, August 2, 2012

Astonished by the Gospel

WHEN PRAYING BECOMES a tedious chore rather than a source of refreshment and delight, I often turn to Scott Smith's blog, Heavenward. There he posts daily personal and practical prayers, always beginning with a verse or two, with catchy, sometimes amusing, titles. His meditations are reminiscent of Augustine's Confessions or King David's Psalms, and I wonder if the blog is his way of forcing himself to commit to the daily spiritual discipline of quiet communion with the Lord. Heavenward has certainly been a treat for my tired and weary soul, especially during the quiet moments before my post-duty sleep commences.

I'm posting his August 2, 2012 post, A Prayer of Gospel Astonishment, in full. May we all be astonished by what Christ has done for us on the cross!
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Jude 1-2
Glorious Triune God, on this hot and humid summer morning, I’m overwhelmed as I ponder the immeasurable and irrepressible goodness of the life we have in Jesus. Gospel astonishment pretty well describes what I’m feeling. 
O that I would had seen the riches of grace much earlier in my life in Christ. I’m like the author of this text, Jude, Jesus’ half-brother—who was slow to come to faith. I, too, have been slow to believe the gospel is as good as it actually is. But now I’m beginning to understand every good thing we have in Christ—an understanding that will swell throughout eternity. 
Here’s what causes my heart to sing as I start this day, so well summarized in this one little Scripture. Father, You didn’t just invite me to become a Christian; you called me and adopted me as your own child—I was subpoenaed to glory! Now I know you as Abba, Father—as the Holy Spirit continues to free my heart from my orphan-like ways. Thank you, Father, that because of the work of Jesus, you will never love me more than you do today and you will never love me less. What wondrous love is this indeed! 
Lord Jesus, I am both kept by you and kept for you. Help me to grasp your grasp of me. Nothing can pull me from your hand or tear me from your heart. Your “It is finished!” is my “Now I can live!” This good news is all the assurance I need to face the rest of my life, even the next hour. 
Holy Spirit, bring an abundance of mercy into my heart, for I am a foolish and stubborn man; an abundance of peace, for I am easily distracted and too busy of a man; and an abundance of love, for I am a selfish and still needing to [be] liberated man. So very Amen I pray, with great confidence and joy, in Jesus’ exalted and faithful name.



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