• In Secret Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Matthew 6

    According to Jesus, it is what we do in secret that matters most. Jesus is not suggesting that the outward is unimportant—far from it. “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14). The answer is emphatically no. Still, it is also possible to have outward works but no inner reality. In this instance, religion is a pretense. Six times in the Sermon on the Mount, alluding to three distinct exercises, Jesus employs the term secret: Give “in secret…and your Father who sees in … View Resource

  • Loving Your Neighbors by Praying for Their Churches Article by Eric Bancroft

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Acts 2

    What’s wrong with that church?” she asked me in a hushed voice as she leaned in close. There I stood in the lobby of our church in 2008 with one of the members looking for insider information. “Which church are you talking about?” I responded, genuinely confused. “The one you prayed for this morning during worship,” she said. Then it clicked. She was so taken back by the fact that I had prayed for another church in our city that she assumed, based on practices many Christians learn in “prayer meetings,” my prayer was my way of saying: “Something … View Resource

  • Praying for Our Children’s Salvation Article by Joel Beeke

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2014 | Matthew 3

    The salvation of our children is priceless; their spiritual needs far outweigh their physical needs. They need our prayers—our earnest prayers with hearts aflame, both for their initial repentance and coming to Christ by faith, and for their life of ongoing growth in faith. Matthew Henry rightly declared that it is of far more value for parents who die to leave behind a treasury of prayers for their children than it is to leave behind a treasury of silver and gold. My mother died recently. She had little to pass on to her children financially, but we do treasure the … View Resource

  • Asking, Seeking, Knocking Article by Eric Alexander

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2014 | Matthew 7

    There must be few pastors who have not repeated the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:7, with a wistfulness equal to his: “You were running well. Who hindered you?” The Apostolic finger had touched upon the timeless tragedy of a life that showed early spiritual promise yet was blighted by a lack of perseverance. It is, of course, the same sad story as Jesus told in the parable of the sower, when He describes the one who “hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a … View Resource

  • The Comfort of Jesus’ Prayers Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2014 | John 17

    As an ordained minister, I’ve had experience going to the Scriptures with a number of people in order to help them see what God has to say about many di┬âfferent subjects. Over the years, one of the most common questions that I’ve been asked has to do with the meaning of Christ’s work for the security of the believer’s salvation. The New Testament gives us many categories for understanding that those who are truly saved will persevere. There is the category of justification, which tells us that we have received the imputation of Christ’s … View Resource

  • The Puritans on Prayer Article by Colin Rowley

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2012

    Psalm 66:18 states, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” In our present day, how often do we hear the truth that God does not hear the prayers of the unrighteous? In my personal voyage, I have very rarely, if ever, read a book or heard a sermon addressing this characteristic of prayer. Unfortunately, the evangelical church has become subject to the seeker-sensitive tactics that have drastic effects on the communication of the truths of God’s Word. A perfect example of this is a recent book on prayer that was No. 1 on … View Resource

  • The Discipline of Fasting Article by Donald Whitney

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2011

    How often do you think fasting is mentioned in the Bible? By my count, there are so me seventy-seven biblical references to fasting. Do es that surprise you? Despite so many references, fasting is not a frequent subject in pulpits, publications, and Christian conversation. In part, this may be due to the fact that, while fasting may be done cooperatively with fellow believers (as in Acts 13:2), typically it is private in nature and shouldn’t be evident to others (Matt. 6:16–18). So it’s possible that Christians around us fast more than we realize or hear mentioned. But could … View Resource

  • The Place of Prayer Article by R.C. Sproul

    What is the goal of the Christian life? Godliness born of obedience to Christ. Obedience unlocks the riches of the Christian experience. Prayer is what prompts and nurtures obedience, putting the heart into the proper “frame of mind” to desire obedience. Of course, knowledge is also important because without it, we cannot know what God requires. However, knowledge and truth will remain abstract unless we commune with God in prayer. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches, inspires, and illumines God’s Word to us. He mediates the Word of God and assists us in responding to the Father in … View Resource

  • Prayers Well Aimed Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009 | 1 Timothy 2

    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1–2). Those words seem general and somewhat bland when we initially read them. In Paul’s day those were powerful words that set a strategic priority for the prayers of the church. Verse one had to be important to Paul, for he opened the sentence with “First of all” — in other words, “This is a priority … View Resource

  • Praying for Church Leaders Article by Robert Norris

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2008

    I am not used to being considered a heretic. Yet recently, when a colleague and I visited a friend who teaches theology at a famous British university, we found ourselves faced with this charge! In a conversation that had quickly turned to the subject of theology, we found ourselves defending the idea that the death of Jesus Christ was that of a penal substitution in which He in our place bore the wrath of God that rightfully should have been visited upon us. This understanding is both biblical and the historic confession of the church, yet it was this that earned … View Resource

  • Prayer: A Warrior’s Weapon Article by John Piper

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    In Daniel 10, the prophet receives a word from the Lord (v. 1) — a vision of conflict that stunned him with its greatness. So Daniel set himself with tears and fasting and prayer to seek the meaning of the vision, and for three weeks he wrestled in prayer over this vision and sought to know God’s will. After three weeks he went out to the banks of the Tigris River (v. 4). There he had a vision that was so awesome he could hardly bear it. To make matters worse (in v. 10), a hand reached out and touched … View Resource

  • Kingdom Prayer Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2007

    I have a good friend who is about twice my age. Over the past few years we have hunted together, fished together, and prayed together. He refers to himself as a recovering Pharisee who is learning how to quit praying for his own personal kingdom and how to pray for the kingdom of God. I have learned more about prayer from him than anyone. I have learned that faithfulness in the kingdom of God is more important than successfulness in the kingdom of man. I have learned that the power of God is not made perfect in our strength but in … View Resource

  • Prayer and Its Discontents Article by Kaki Cobb

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2006

    Prayer is many things to many people. To the Muslim it is a daily ritual, to the Catholic it is a work that helps merit salvation, and to the evangelical Christian it is often a struggle. Books are written, classes are taught, all with the purpose to teach Christians how to have a better prayer life. That is because if we are honest with ourselves, the majority of us struggle with prayer. We live in a society of instant gratification. Many of us have been socially conditioned to expect to receive whatever we want whenever we want it. I truly … View Resource

  • The Real Prayer of Jabez Article by Steven Lawson

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2006

    Riding a tidal wave of surging popularity, few Christian books have burst onto the publishing scene and been as widely received as The Prayer of Jabez (Multnomah, 2000). In only its sixth year of circulation, this brief, ninety-three-page book has sold a staggering ten million copies, pushing its way to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. In its wake, a virtual Prayer of Jabez sub-culture has emerged, complete with journals, backpacks, jewelry, vanilla-scented candles, and myriads of assorted marketing paraphernalia. Unfortunately, many well-meaning evangelicals have been swept up in this trendy phenomenon. Prefacing this work, author Bruce … View Resource

  • In Jesus’ Name Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2004

    In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.” Is this just habit, a formal closing in public prayer? Or, is it a powerful declaration that we who pray in that name are in Him to whom that name belongs? Well, Christians from the time of Christ onward have prayed in the name of God’s Son. But only for the past two-hundred years or so has that name been relegated to the end of every prayer. Even though in many prayers it may be added as an afterthought, a nice closing that informs others in the room the prayer is about to … View Resource