Pray BIG Prayers – Salvation

Maybe you don’t think you need to pray about this. Perhaps you already did pray about this when you were a child and have operated on the ‘I prayed a prayer when I was 8 so I know I am saved’ kinda thing. 

Since then, maybe you’ve just lived your life in your own way, pursued your own goals, chased your own dreams. Perhaps you haven’t really thought about ‘being saved’ since you prayed that prayer as a child. 

Just think – if that was someone else, would you hold them to something they said as a small child 30/40/50 years later? 

Just think – why do people renew their wedding vows?

Just think – why do you tell your kids you love them a thousand times a day?

Just think – is repenting of your horrible sinful hell-bound life of a handful of years really enough, if since then you’ve been doing your own thing?

No, I didn’t think so.

See, often, we think the prayer of salvation is a one-and-done thing: we pray it and move on knowing we have ‘ticked that box’ and don’t need to think about it anymore. But what does the Word say?

Since praying that prayer, sincerely, since repenting of a life lived for self and crying out to the Lord to be saved yes, your past present and future sins have been forgiven. But, have you prayed about your salvation since then?

In Ephesians 2 there is a great passage that talks about how we are saved by grace, through faith (vv.8-9). This means that there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation, the forgiveness of your sins, the removal of the consequences of your sins, eternal life. But, if we read a few more verses on, we see that we are to remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated…having no hope and without God…(v.12). When was ‘at that time’? That time was before you prayed for salvation, asked Jesus to cancel the record of debt your sin had accumulated, asked to be brought from darkness to light and to be born again. The Word tells us to remember that time, remember yourself pre-salvation. 

So, how does all of this lead to a BIG prayer? Well, remembering this ought to drive you to prayer in gratitude and for the endurance to keep going. If you have never prayed for any of this, then do! But, if you have prayed for this, received this by grace, through faith, then keep on praying for this. 

Today, there is a BIG prayer for you, whether this is the first time or the fifty-first time. It’s most probably the best place to conclude our look at BIG prayers.

First, if you have never prayed about this, try this BIG prayer.

Lord, I humbly come to you and admit that I am a sinner, that I have missed the mark in how you made me to live. I ask for forgiveness, and I thank you that you have made this available to me by the great and all-encompassing sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I believe He died, and I believe He rose. Today I submit and commit to Jesus as the Lord of my life. Take me from darkness to light, from death to life, from old creation to new. 

If you are renewing your vows, so to speak, then try this BIG prayer.

Lord, I thank you that you have taken me from death to life, from darkness to light. I know that my eternal destination is to be in your presence for all eternity. I thank you and worship you for the life-giving forgiveness you have shown me, and continue to show me. I remember my life before, and I pray today that you fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit so that I keep on walking away from my old self, and towards you in the person of Jesus and in the manner He lived. 

Pray BIG Prayers – Help

Many of us have grown up in a culture where being self-sufficient is prized. The idea that you need to ask anyone for help is anything from slightly frowned-upon to outright taboo. 

Where would you put yourself on that scale? Do you feel strange asking for help? Dare you even ask anyone for help with anything, ever?

So much of our Christian faith (which, at it’s most basic, is believing that Jesus rose from the grave) is about admitting that we need help. We admit that we cannot do anything in the here and now to influence where we spend our eternity. We admit that we cannot guarantee our eternal destination by anything we do from our current earthly station. 

When we do it’s liberating, it’s justifying, and it’s saving. 

When we move away from self-sufficiency to dependency we are freed from the pressure of advancing our own little kingdoms. We take the burden off ourselves, and give it to someone else. We realise that as a stream, we are fed by a spring.  

Asking for help from a God who created the world, from a God who raised Jesus from the grave, from a God who is still present and active in the world today is not weak. Giving Him the burdens you carry, the worries you feel, the outcomes of your life is not weak. Admitting that you need help is not weak, it is quite possibly the strongest decision you can ever make. 

Modelling this for us, Jesus prayed many times for help (see John 17 for example). Today’s BIG prayer is asking for help.

Father, I know that nothing I can do in my earthly station can influence at all my eternal destination. This, along with all my fears, worries, and anxieties I give to you as a declaration that I need help. I cannot change the things that truly matter in my life, and I need you to help. I give you my life, all of it, and ask you to help me to use it well and that you would guide me to a path that leads to life everlasting.

Pray BIG Prayers – Repentance

If you look up repentance in a dictionary you’ll find something like this for a definition, 

sincere regret or remorse.

This isn’t talking about trivial things like ‘I regret not buying any more milk, now we’re out‘,

or ‘I am remorseful that I honked my horn at that guy on the highway earlier‘.

Repentance is a serious thing, a sincere thing.

It’s more of a ‘I’ve committed adultery and had the former husband sent off to the frontlines and killed‘ kind-of feeling.

It’s a feeling of ‘At the core I know I’m a sinner and that my sin will have consequences‘. 

Psalm 51 carries a lot of repentance. You can read it in full here. In the middle of the lamenting prayer we read this,

 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51.10-12

Have you reached a point in life where you know that you will never, hard as you try, work yourself into becoming a better person? 

Have you arrived at the point where you know that in your own strength, you cannot control your eternal destiny and destination?

Have you accepted that, left to your own devices, sinful thoughts and actions just pour forth from your heart?

If you have, then today’s BIG prayer is absolutely for you. Although fair warning, be prepared for a radical life transformation. Be prepared to reevaluate and reconsider everything in your life. Be prepared to be shown a completely new way of thinking, speaking, acting, and reacting.

It starts with create in me a clean heart, O God. We cannot create this new heart, God must (Genesis 1, Ezekiel 36.36). 

We follow that by praying for a right spirit within me. Alone we are utterly powerless to resist the temptations, trials, and tribulations that the world, the flesh, and the devil can throw at us. We need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to do so. 

Accepting that we cannot change ourselves and our life means that we need to trust and rely on another, so we pray cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. We know that being separated from the Lord and devoid of His Spirit is the consequence of our sin. 

Try as we might, we will never save our own souls. We can never work for our own salvation, so we pray restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. We will never feel more alive, live more abundantly, and experience more fulfilment than when we know the joy of [the Lord’s] salvation

Psalm 51.10-12 is a BIG prayer. Praying it sincerely will surely result in a change in your life. If, as Charles Spurgeon wrote, your own sin disturbs and disgusts you, I would challenge you today to take it to the Lord in prayer with these verses and this BIG prayer, and then watch what God can do with a life yielded to Him. Ready?

 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51.10-12

More Providence- Esther 6

In chapter 5 we saw another strong foreshadowing of Jesus, and today more providential circumstances are on show. If you haven’t read Esther 6 recently, you can do so here

The providential circumstances are on show in vv.1-6, and we see that nothing happens by accident. Of all the books to be brought, of all the pages to be opened, of all the accounts to be read, the King hears about Mordecai. There are no happy accidents when we trust our lives to the Lord. 

Providentially, Haman is in the court at the right time (v.5) and he lays out a wonderful proposed gesture for the man whom the king delights to honour. Sadly, for Haman at least, this plan backfires spectacularly and the King ends up saying “…as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew…”.

Haman then has to eat a huge slice of humble pie and personally and physically dresses Mordecai in the royal robes and parades him around as an example of what happens to those the King favours (v.11).

This is really the beginning of the end for Haman, and he finally receives some sensible counsel when he is told “If Mordecai…is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”

The arranging of circumstances, people, places, timings, books, pages, comings, and goings by the Lord to facilitate His good and perfect will is just amazing, isn’t it. Reading this passage, I couldn’t help but think of this, from Proverbs

Image result for many are the plans of a man's heart

I would encourage you today just to pause. 

Pause and look around at what is happening in your life. Who is happening in your life. 

Pause and look at what the Lord is doing and allowing in your life. 

We have many plans that, if we are honest, are often self-exalting. We have seen here in Esther that when we plan our own climb, we are often unknowingly plotting our own fall. Rather than seek to prosper ourselves, let us trust in a good, loving God who has promised to work all things for our good.

Pause, pray, and look for His providence.

1 Timothy 2.11-15 – What This Does and Doesn’t Mean

This is one of those passages in the Bible that people get so wrong. Detaching verses from context is not right and true handling of the Word of God (verse numbers were not added until around the 16th Century, and they certainly aren’t inspired). So, what does this passage mean?

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Maybe you have heard this passage taught to say that women should never speak in church, full stop. That’s wrong. Take that chit-chat outside Eve, only Steve can talk in church…

But, think of the context; the whole letter is instructing Timothy on how to run this church as the leader, chapter two is about, predominantly, prayer. So, can v.11 be detached from both of these things and used against women speaking at all in church? No, it cant.

Quietly and with all submissiveness carries our thoughts back to v.2 wherein we read that the church and the believers are to live a quiet and peaceful life, dignified and Godly in every way. Throw in the culture of the day where some say that women and men never worshipped together, but now they can, so the women may talk to her husband across the room and ask him questions as to what it going on, and we begin to see that learn quietly doesn’t mean that women can never speak in church. That would be inconsistent with what Paul writes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11.5.


The consistent and orthodox interpretation is that not permitting a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man is referring to when the assembled church gathers together, it is a male’s job to deliver the Word of God in an expositional sermon, the message, the Word, or however you refer to that part of a worship service. 


Other than that particular point of the service, other than the overall ‘who is in charge on earth in this church’, we see throughout Scripture that women have an equally important role in the worship of God to that of their male counterparts. Ladies lead worship, ladies lead prayer ministries, ladies lead children and youth ministries, ladies lead home groups/small groups, simply, ladies lead in churches. Having the ultimate earthly authority in the structure of the church be male takes nothing away from the value and leadership contributions of women, as we said yesterday, different roles for different people. 

So, ladies, yes, pray in church, talk whilst you are at church. Teach a home group, lead a Bible study, serve in Kids Church, lead us in worship, read our Scripture, pray aloud.

But also, everyone, read the Bible in context, don’t detach single verses from a paragraph, or a chapter, or a book, or even a section of the Bible, and things make much more sense.