A Prayer for Pursuing Righteousness

A Reformed Theological Contemplative prayer on pursuing righteousness. (Perhaps read here and here if you missed the beginning of this series). Long name, but bear with me a moment.

This is not the Roman Catholic or mystical contemplative prayer, wherein (much like in Eastern religions) you empty your mind and wait for God to drop a thought in, and then you repeat that thought endlessly, until you reach some higher plain of supposed-holiness.  I enjoyed my times this past year studying Medieval Theology, but their ideas of contemplation and Lectio Divina are vastly different from what is taught in the New Testament concerning prayer and handling the Word of God.

No–this is true contemplation, wherein you think God’s thoughts after Him; you do not merely read but really ponder what you read in His Word, in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  And you let the Spirit lead you in a time of prayer, letting the Word of God inform your prayers.  (John 15:1:11; if you abide in His words then pray, your prayer life will be very different from one who simply rehearses his own words.)  And in these times, the Holy Spirit is conforming us to the image of Christ.

All of our knowledge of God is revealed by Him (anything else is made up, a fairy tale, let it go).  He reveals to us all we need in words, through prophets, but in these last days in His Son, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us. 

His “personal address to us in his Word, and sustained through the presence of his Spirit in our personal response to his Word.  Hence we pass theologically from one level to another in our knowledge of the Holy Trinity not just through a movement of thought but through a movement of personal response and commitment in worship, obedience and love in which a transformation of our mind or a spiritual reorganisation of our consciousness of God takes place.”

T.F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), page 88. 

And that is the very transformation of our minds commanded in Romans 12:1-2! A transformation that involves growth in knowledge and truly knowing Him, obedience to His Word, worship, and love.

This transformation will continually delight your soul immeasurably more than the other ways we try to fill our time and thoughts; and will revitalize you to enjoy your earthly blessings to His glory all the more, as you eagerly await His appearing (Hebrews 9:28).

So now, I offer you a few verses to ponder together, prayerfully, in the Spirit:

Haggai 1:12f  [after being greatly discouraged, and they stopped doing the work God had led them to…] Then Zerubabbel…and Joshua…the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of YHWH their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as YHWH their God had sent him.  And the people showed reverence for YHWH.  Then Haggai, the messenger of YHWH, spoke by the commission of YHWH to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares YHWH.”

I praise You for bringing me near, into all Your glorious covenant promises (Ephesians 2); and for the assurance of Your nearness.  Thank You that I may come boldly to Your throne, seeking grace to help in time of need, seeking to know You more as You teach me.  Be at work in me, in my family, in my local church, that we may all listen-obey-show reverence; truly treat You as holy, and not despise Your call to be holy.  You are with me, and that is too wonderful!  My heart rejoices, I can breathe deeply and repose myself in Your presence.

Isaiah 8:11ff  For thus YHWH spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, “You are not to say ‘It is a conspiracy’ in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear…It is YHWH of hosts whom you should regard as holy.  And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.  Then He shall become a sanctuary…

Oh LORD, You have become a sanctuary for Your people, for me.  Your power and wisdom and providence are beyond what I can comprehend–too wonderful, too amazing.  I will fear You alone–Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I will take shelter under Your wing in the midst of a world that fears transient, failing, temporal powers; in a world that uses that fear to enslave and destroy.  You have come that we might have Life, in Christ alone!  

Come away to a secret place and rest for a while…  Mark 6:31.

  I heed this call with great joy!  I am weary, You are my rest; I need You to refresh and fill me; I want You to fulfill every desire for goodness (2 Thess. 1) to make me fruitful in my years here–that I would still grow as a cedar of Lebanon, declaring Your hesed by day and Your faithfulness by night (Psalm 92).  I be still, while l press on to know YOU (Hosea 6; Phil. 3).  

Romans 12:1-2. Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

So I will set my mind on You, and not set any worthless counter-gospel ideas in my mind; You are more beautiful than I can imagine!  I will not look to Christ and, but to Christ alone–the image of invisible God, the radiance of His glory and exact representation of His nature, who upholds all things by the Word of His Power!  I will not fall prey to the notion that we cannot know…we can know all that You have revealed.  Though we see You dimly, yet we see.  And I will see You at work even now.

Work in the hearts of Your people, that we would learn to present ourselves to You alone, that we would understand what is a “living and holy sacrifice” and that we would delight in what is acceptable to You.  

Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit as well.  

O LORD, we confuse Your leading; we want to follow but get ensnared by flashy, emotional, witty, popular voices.  Use Your powerful sword to cut away from us every desire to follow those who would confuse and lead us astray.  Make plain to us how we can remain in, live in, abide in Your Word.  

1 John 5:20; John 14:6; 2 Timothy 1:8-10

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord… but join me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…



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