I recently had the opportunity to read through almost all of the books of R.C. Sproul. Along the way I built a collection of some of the best quotes from each one of them. Here are 5 of the best from The Prayer of the Lord.
Prayer does change things, all kinds of things. But the most important thing it changes is us. As we engage in this communion with God more deeply and come to know the One with whom we are speaking more intimately, that growing knowledge of God reveals to us all the more brilliantly who we are and our need to change in conformity to Him. Prayer changes us profoundly.
I find it striking that when Jesus taught the church how to pray, the first thing He chose to tell us to pray about is that the name of God might be regarded as sacred. Very few people today would list the hallowing of the name of God as a top priority for the supplications of the people of God. It almost seems foreign to our environment to place so much emphasis on proper treatment of a name.
I don’t think that anything reveals the state of a person’s soul more clearly than the words that come out of his mouth. I understand that Christians are capable of all kinds of sin, but I can’t understand how a regenerate person could ever use the name of Jesus in a blasphemous way. How can you worship Someone whom you routinely blaspheme? I don’t see how it’s possible.
If we find that God’s hand seems to be invisible to us and that we cannot discern His providential intrusion into our lives, that may be due partly to the way we pray. We have a tendency to pray in general. When we pray in general, the only way we will see the hand of God’s providence is in general. As we enter into prayer, this conversation and communion with God, and put our petitions before Him, pouring out our souls and our needs specifically, we see specific answers to our prayers. Our Father has invited us to go to Him and ask Him for our daily bread. He will not fail to provide it.
Yes, my sins have all been paid for, once and for all, on the cross. But Jesus taught us to pray for forgiveness as part of our ongoing communion with God. We need a fresh understanding, a fresh experience, of His grace and of His forgiveness every day. There is no greater state than to get up from your knees knowing that in God’s sight you are clean, that He has forgiven every sin you’ve ever committed. Without that grace, without that forgiveness, I don’t think I could live in this world for another sixty seconds. This is something we all desperately need, and we have but to ask for it.
I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.