Prayer, Meditation and Fasting - Lesson 4

The Role of Prayer in Communion with God

The purpose of prayer is communion with God, not to get things from him.  Whatever we pray for with the intent of glorifying God is worship. If we pray with wrong motives, it's idolatry. (1 Cor 10:31, James 4:1-5) Spontaneity is enhanced by discipline.

John Piper
Prayer, Meditation and Fasting
Lesson 4
Watching Now
The Role of Prayer in Communion with God

Communion with God in Prayer, Not Using God in Prayer

Communion with God by Seeking from Him the Help to Hear Him Speak

Communion with God in Confession of Sin

Communion with God in Thanks and Praise

Communion with God at Certain Times and Places

  • Fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the foundation and the source of our life in God.
  • God wakens and sustains our faith through his Word.

  • The presence of God is a mediated presence and the primary material of the mediation is the Word. Dr. Piper lists ten reasons to meditate and pray over biblical truth.
  • The purpose of prayer is communion with God, not to get things from him.  Whatever we pray for with the intent of glorifying God is worship. If we pray with wrong motives, it's idolatry. (1 Cor 10:13, James 4:1-5) Spontaneity is enhanced by discipline.
  • The essence of fasting is hunger for God. Bread magnifies Christ in two ways: by being eaten with gratitude for his goodness, and by being forfeited out of hunger for God himself. When we eat, we taste the emblem of our heavenly food – the Bread of Life. And when we fast we say, “I love the Reality above the emblem.” In the heart of the saint both eating and fasting are worship. Both magnify Christ. Both send the heart – grateful and yearning – to the Giver. Each has its appointed place and each has its danger. The danger of eating is that we fall in love with the gift; the danger of fasting is that we belittle the gift and glory in our will-power.

Prayer, meditation and fasting can help us learn to walk in communion with the living God. We can live a supernatural life that is empowered, led and filled with the Spirit.

We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.


Prayer, Meditation and Fasting 
Dr. John Piper 
The Role of Prayer in Communion with God 
Lesson Transcript


The following message is by Pastor John Piper. More information from Desiring God Ministries is available at W WW dot desiring God dot org. That is not always wrong to ask for things that we know will be painful. But surely he doesn't mean that when he says, Give us this day our daily bread, he means and it must taste bad when you give it. It doesn't mean that. So what does he mean here? So that you may spend it on your pleasures. That's why you're not getting what you asked. You. Motives are wrong. I think the next verses give us light on what's going on there. You adulteress is who comes out of the blue doesn't. You adulterous. What is hope? I'm not an adulterous. A man. I mean, adulterous. You adulterous. Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility to God? Oh, it's a it's an image you talking about here. Yeah, it's an image. What's the image? The world is your lover. So you're an adulterous friendship with the world. Is hostility to God, your husband? See the image. He calls them adulteress. Many unpacks the image for them. You've become a friend to the world. You become hostile to your husband. Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose when he says He, your husband, God is jealous, jealously desires the spirit which He has made to dwell in us. I don't think that should be capitalized. He's what I think he's he say you can't tell in Greek whether the spirit is your spirit or good spirit. Here's what I think this image is trying to say. You're not supposed to love the world or the things that are in the world.


And none of the worlds not from the father. You're supposed to love the father. Love the will of the father, love or change father to husband. You're an adulterous because you're married to God and you're starting to go out and have affairs with the world. What's that got to do with prayer? That's what you're doing when you pray. Prayer is adultery. That's a verse three saying you ask and do not receive because you ask as an adulterous women. Well, the picture I have in my head is this. Here's your bedroom and your husband is in there and he's asleep and you stayed up to do something and you're supposed to go get in bed with your husband and spend the night there. And instead you go in there and you wake him up and say, Can I have $100? And then $100. Sure. He reaches over, gets his while, observes your deductions. Thank you. I'll see you in the morning. And you go down the hall and you pay your paramour and crawl into bed with. You buy sex with the money that your husband gave you in answer to your prayer? That's the image here. We come to God in prayer because we love God, not because we want His kingdom to advance, but because we want our $50 to go down and get what we really want. And that's why he says, in my image, he gave it to us. But here he says, You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures. I think those pleasures mean pleasures at odds with God, pleasures that don't have God at the center of them, pleasures that are not received for God's sake, and pursued for God's sake.


This is a striking image. Adulterous. Says you have a husband. You're supposed to ask your husband for things that will enhance the marriage. Don't ask him for things that jeopardize the marriage. Don't use prayer as a means of getting stuff. Draw you away from God. Use prayer for things that will draw you toward God, towards your husband. When she is waking up. $100. Yes. And you go out and you buy his favorite breakfast. Or you can go down and I don't know, I'm just to get off my head here. You use that $100 for something that will enhance the relationship, deepen the relationship, strengthen the relationship. Don't don't use prayer as a way of satisfying, non God centered desires. This is this is huge. It's very a very important thing to get worked out in your own head, because I think maybe the most important chapter in my book, Desiring God, is the chapter on prayer. I think it's the probably the deepest and hardest chapter to understand and the most important, because there I wrestled with if God is to be our satisfaction, if God is to be our delight, if we are to say who have I in heaven? But the end there is nothing on earth that I desire besides the will then. Wow. What am I supposed to feel about wife, children, food ministry? I mean, all these things are good things. I'm like a kid. Desire them, delight in them. I see what I wrestle with in that chapter. Because prayer is all about. Why are you asking for a job? Why are you asking for a wife? Why are you asking for passing this test? Why are you asking for health? Why are you asking for your card to break down? Why are you asking? Well, what's.


What is all this horizontal idolatry? Or is. See? You see the problem most people don't wrestle with that at all. Is prayer. Idolatry. Is it adultery or not? What keeps prayer from being adultery? Going to your husband, asking him to pay for what you really like. Food. And I got help from Augustine. He said this this quote is in design God, he said, asking how desire for non God relates to desire for God and whether it's idolatry or not. He said, this is a prayer now. He loves the two little who loves anything together with the. Which he loves. Not for the sake. I said, best sense I've ever read on that problem. You love God too little. If you love anything together with God, which you love, not for God's sake. So pizza? You love pizza. Pepsi Sex. Success in business. Nice house marriage. Children. Ministry. Preaching. Teaching. You love any of that? That might be okay. And it might be idolatry. What makes the difference? Do you love it? For God's sake. Then you have to ask, What does that mean? And. How do I do that? How to which is really asking for an exposition of first Corinthians 1031. Whatever you do, whether you eat pizza or drink Diet Pepsi, do all to the glory of God. And if you can't, it's idolatry. So you got it. You got to learn how to drink orange juice to the glory of God. To. Yes. By being born again, being filled with the Holy Spirit and taking on the character of Christ who knew how to both feast and fast, so that from the inside out we are being changed from one degree of glory to the next. Corrupt though we are, we're not.


After we're born again, we're not only corrupt now looking to Jesus, we are being changed from one degree of glory to the next. And we take that newness. And by faith, we have new motives. So let's just. Wrote a chapter in the God word Life on how to drink on Jews to the glory of God. At least I think it's in there. I wrote a star article about it one time and I. I tried to think my way through that. How to drink orange juice to the glory of God. And if that sounds nitpicky to you, then I'm not sure what you think. First Corinthians 1031 is in the Bible for me because it says whether you eat or whether you drink to all to the glory of God. Paul Paul was choosing the most ordinary daily thing he could think of eating and drinking. If you can't figure out how to do that to the glory of God, then lay in your life down on the mission field. It's going to be. Not going to happen to the glory of God if one way would be as you look at the. Aren't you sitting there on the table to thank him for it? Thank you for it. This is for you. You created oranges. And you, in your providence have so ordained that there be climate like Florida, not Minnesota. And you have ordained that no hurricane wrecked the crop this year. And you could have blown and and all of them would have been ruined. And you ordained that human beings have brains to figure out how to get it from there to here without spoiling. And you granted me the power to make enough money to go buy a jug of orange juice.


And you granted me the power to pay for refrigeration so it can be there for a few days so it doesn't spoil. And now here I sit. And you gave me taste buds and you gave me health. And you enabled my sphincters to work in my throat so that I can swallow. And there's enough to go around here so that I can have the Christlike joy of sharing the orange juice with my family and watching them enjoy it and having my joy in that juice doubled as they have joy in that juice. And then it really gets down to the nitty gritty as you don't have enough juice to go around to all four boys. So you pass. That's Christlike and that honors the Lord. So you glorify him by not drinking orange juice. And then they want seconds and there isn't enough 4 seconds. And therefore they have a golden opportunity to glorify God in whether they murmur or not. Well, that's a start on how you glorify God in drinking. And then as you drink, you enjoy. No denies. No, no sense in playing games here. It tastes good. It it it's good. And you there's a pleasure. There's a lot of physical pleasure. So these pleasures are not every pleasure is bad. But is it a is it, for God's sake, that you're experiencing this pleasure? That is, are you turning it back to God and making it an occasion of gratitude, recognizing that it's from him and through him and to him so that he gets the glory in the providing of it and the taste you experience from it. And then another way would be to say, Alright, I have just received refreshment and energy. What you're going to do with that and live it for God or not, if you need to go out and bark at your employees with the energy you got from God's orange juice, or you can go out and in the energy that God has given you through the orange juice, you can love people with that orange juice, given energy from God.


So communing with God in prayer. Not using God in prayer. Pray for things that your husband and you will prosper with. That is that will enhance the relationship and and will reflect God's value rather than compete with God's bill. Question about that. She. I think the way to translate this and I could be wrong here, but just see if this seems to work. It's this is a very difficult Greek construction. Or do you think the Scripture speaks to no purpose? He jealously desires the spirit which he is made to dwell in in us. Now, if that's a small as what it means is God is jealous of your spirit for him. I said, I think it means God is jealous that your spirit belonged to him rather than giving your spirit to the world. If you capitalize it, he jealously desires the spirit. I am not sure what that would mean. I can't. I can't put a reason. So I would defend this translation and argue what that would mean. He jealously desires the Holy Spirit, which he has made to dwell in us as King was happy. And. We. I get it. All right. That's a plausible interpretation. I think that the desire for the spirit here is that we not quench the spirit, that it have a free course to move through us. And as it as it moves through us and out from us to to bless others in various ways, God meets it as it him, we should say it. We're just all stuck in this mode. Meet him as he comes and desires him in that sense as possible. But I think it fits the context better to say we are giving our spirit away to a a paramour and making a cuckold out of God.


We're cheating on God by giving our spirits away to the world. And they're meant to be for God. But it works either way. And so we don't need to. So that absolutely one way to stay God centered in your praying is to pray the word. I said that last night. I just put this up. Here's an illustration of it. I won't read the whole thing. I'll just show you that when the church came together to pray and X for the praying for power, when they had been released, these apostles who had been arrested, they went to their own companions and reported all this to chief priests. And the elders had said to them, and when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, And then they pray Psalm to the Lord, it is you who made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David. Father David, your servant, said, Why did the Gentiles rage? The caps are quotes from the Old Testament and the peoples devise futile things. The kings of the Earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. And then comes their application of that to their own situation. For truly in this city they were gathered together, etc.. So I would just encourage us in Bethlehem and whatever churches you're a part of, try to build into prayer meetings, praying the word, praying the word. And I want us to not I want to I want to point out two ways to fall off the horse here so we can stay on the horse. You can fall off the horse on one side by never taking the Bible into your prayers and praying Scripture back to God.


And if you never do that, your prayers will probably get into not wonderful spontaneity in your language, but ruts in your own language. The opposite of discipline in Bible memory is not spontaneity, but rut. Oh, man. I grew up in a church where what I remember as a kid are the most absolutely stark prayers that the deacons prayed at the communion table, at the offering, at the prayer meeting. They were just as predictable as the day is long lead God and directly God direct this board. I would pray for all missionaries on the home farm field and we pray for the requests. A lot of spoken unspoken. And I mean, as a kid I am. I was not turned on to God by these prayers. I didn't feel there was anything authentic going on here. But when I go to prayer meetings here. With those wonderful people who come on Friday morning and Tuesday morning and Sunday morning and Wednesday night. You're not many of you. I wish there were more. That doesn't happen because they pray. They were there. Their minds and their hearts are full of the the longings of God for his glory in the world. And so when they pray about a marriage or about a kid or about a disease or or about money for this building or whatever. There's so much God in it. There's so much Bible in it that, you know, they're dealing with him. They're not just stuck in a rut learned from 20 years ago how you say something. So don't fall off on the side of the horse that says, I'm not going to use the Bible in any, you know, disciplined or or memorized way, because I want to be spontaneous, which will usually mean in a rut of your own words.


There's another side to fall off on, however. And Greg Livingstone, when he was here, gave a beautiful illustration of it. You hear some people pray and they're so much telling God back to him what he already knows. You want to do what Moody did, and I learned this from Greg Livingstone. One time, Moody was sitting on the platform and a man stood up to pray and he went on an oval Who created the heavens and the earth? Although who does to behold all things? All of who descend those sun or thou? Who are the great ruffians? All the who. And moody, after about 5 minutes of this, stood up and tapped him on the shoulder and said, Just call him father and ask him for something. That's the other side of the horse. Don't don't feel like you've got to produce some big, you know, showy. You don't have to do this. This. They knew this by heart. They didn't get out their Bibles, I don't think, and read this. This just oozed out of them. Why did the Gentiles rage and the people's devise? You know that that could gone on for 15 minutes. And I think Peter would have stood up and said, Just call him father and ask him to give us power, would you? Which is what they eventually do. The scriptures, and it'll be. It'll be God centered. That definition that is in the catechism included communion with God in confession of sin. And I just want to make sure to say a brief word about that, because a huge part of our prayer alone and some of it when we're together, should be to just acknowledge our sin to God. A blessed is he is transgression is forgiven. Who sin is covered.


How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity in His spirit? There is no deceit. When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long, for day and night. Your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was drained away, as with the fever, heat of summer. All of that because we don't confess our said that terrible effect upon us. Physically, emotionally. Five. I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity. I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. Here's the result. You forgave the guilt of my sin, therefore, that everyone who is godly prayed to you at a time when you may be found. Surely in a flood of great waters, they will not reach you. Well, that's as clear passage in the Bible I know of to point out the devastating effects of hiding your sins from God and not confessing them. It is so healthy to confess your sins to God, receive forgiveness from God, and it is so sick emotionally to play games with God and try to conceal your sins from God or not to speak of them to God. And it's sick in a in a church when we can't do it to each other. James five says, Confess your sins to one another. So there should be occasions when, in an appropriate setting, not just blab in every secret thing in your marriage or your life to everybody, but with a select group of of trusted prayers to say, Oh God, I blew it last night with my wife. Or I said, it's wrong, my kid, or I had this awful thought or I hit the wrong button and I actually lingered over this lustful stuff on the computer and I'm just feeling filthy and and.


Say it. That's very crucial. That's very crucial. Let me say something here that I have found recently. Since last fall, I was speaking on this at Trinity Seminary and looks that I got back from the students just so blew me away that they hadn't. Like, it's like what I was saying was, you can't mean this, you know? I said. I'll give you the summary statement which left many of them just absolutely befuddled. I said, It is never. To be angry at God ever. It is never right not to tell them when you are. That contradictions that they view as befuddled as it did then. It is never right to be angry at God. I believe that with all my heart. Anger at God is always sin. God has never deserved your anger. You may think he does. That's the that's a problem in your brain because the way things have gone in your life. I had a very godly woman say to me last week that she was angry with God. He said he said in his anger with God. Exactly. Which is why I said, My second thing is, if you are. Don't you play games with God? In other words, if you do feel this wrong thing saying. Because he knows it. He knows your feelings. And so it's two things. You see, most people today that I hear, they think anger is a non moral issue. Anger's neutral, doesn't have any meaning. So it doesn't matter if you're angry at God, does make you angry to anybody. What matters? What you do with it. Well, to feel anger at God is seeing, but not to tell him So when you do is another sin on top of it. You did not come in.


Joie, we have the record of all that bad theology from his friend. And all that self-justification start coming out from Jobe. And at the end, he had to put his hand on his mouth or dust on his faith and said, I saw you. I heard of you with the hearing of the ear. Now I've seen you and I repent in dust and ashes. Chapter 42. Jobe is a repentant and broken man after two chapters of God speaking to him at the end. So I want us to be able to handle both of those. It's never right to be angry with God and therefore do your best to see in the providence of God the goodness of God. But if owing to our own remnants of corruption which were stirred up off the bottom of job's life. We. We feel it. What are you going to do with that? Become a hypocrite all of a sudden? It doesn't work with God. Might work with the church for a little while. Does it ever work with God? He sees straight through. He knows exactly what you're feeling. You may as well say out loud to God what you're feeling. And even in a group of trusted friends, you can say that woman said it to me. I'm glad she did. She trusted me with that. She knows what I believe. She knew I wasn't about to see him. Don't ever feel that I did have to say anything to her because the next thing out of her mouth was. And I've been confessing it to God and I've been struggling with this. But she's real. She's real. Real sinner. So let's strive toward not being angry. That is not sinning against God by imputing things to Him that are worthy of our moral condemnation.


I mean, the only the only time there should be anger is when there is moral culpability against you. That's real. And even then, it's not always right. You, John, I say moral culpability to distinguish between broken clutches, bad breaks, bad transmission, trade. John Edwards, he resolved he had 70 resolutions. One of them was resolved never to get angry at an inanimate object. And the reason he felt strongly about that is because if you get angry at an inanimate object, you're angry at God. Because God runs the world. God runs wind. God, does this temperature get angry at this temperature because your fingers get cold. You're angry. God. That didn't come from nowhere. Resolved. Never get angry at inanimate objects. The right place for Christian indignation is send your own first. So most anger should be expended at yourself and then the sin of others. But once you learn how God deals with sin, even that going to be cut way down. Way down. The anger of man does not work. The righteousness of God. James one. Probably, yeah. Question was, is there a difference between struggling? And being angry. Yeah, I think anger can probably exist in such increments that the struggle, whether to allow it and experiencing it experience, it is a different thing than suddenly having the full blown thing and then having to repent of it or do something with it. And that's where we live, really. I think that struggle level and to the degree that you come to trust God's sovereign, wise, good loving providence. To that degree, anger toward him will tend to go down. If you doubt his wisdom or his love or his power, any one of those three anger will tend to rise when circumstances hurt you.


Because you will either think he's not wise enough to fix it or he didn't care enough to fix it. Or is the third one Wisdom love in power is not able to fix, has the power, doesn't have the wisdom or doesn't have the will to fix the kind of person. Yeah, it's a very controversial move. I think the solution to anger is not to take the power of hurricanes out of God's hand or the power of cold out of God's hand, as though we weren't sovereign. But to go further and put wisdom, love and power into his hand, acknowledge that it's there. So you you could pull the plug on anger at God by saying God didn't do this. God did not cause this cold. God did not providentially rule over your broken car. God was not a sovereign and in control when the marriage broke down. God is on and on and on. The list goes. You could solve the problem in anger with God. That would. That's a big theological jump that most Americans make. I don't think it's biblical. I think the solution to that is to say, got out, understand it. But you are wise. You are all powerful and you are all loving. And somehow in and through all this pain and that earthquake or this family crisis, you have my best interest at heart and you're going to bring through this whole thing something good for the glory of your name and joy of our own souls. And I trust you. That's. That's the way I'm going to counsel you. If you ever come to me with pain, I'm not going to be going to dump on your anger and your tears. I'm just going to try to patiently direct you to God.


And I won't. I won't. I won't say God didn't have anything to do with that pain. I won't say he he doesn't have power. I won't say he doesn't have love. And I won't say he doesn't have wisdom. I will try to help you patiently walk through that crisis when it's hard for you to believe that I've tried to help you believe it. To believe for you, pray with you, but put stories before you like the story of Joseph or the story of Jobe, or the story of Jesus Christ to show how. I mean, isn't it amazing? Isn't it wonderful that James Chapter five, verse 11, tells us the point of the Book of Joe? You know, they're going to host the meeting of the Book of Job 30, 42 chapters of bad theology, or maybe 38 chapters of bad theology. What's the point of that? Here's the point. A reality. We count those blessed. Who endured? Who endured. You have heard the endurance of Jobe and have seen the goal of the Lord's dealings. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. Period, end of story. The point of the Book of Jobe is the compassion and mercy of God in Through the Satanic attack on one of His. Confess your sins. Be honest with God. There's no point in hiding anger or any other sin. You've got the most horrible things. Oh, that. Oh, that. People would believe this because I know that the addictions and food addictions and drug addictions and alcohol addictions and caffeine addictions and work addictions are are mainly driven. I don't know if I could say mainly in many cases are driven by people's locked up lives. There's something in there. They're scared to death. If people knew it for what it was, if they knew them, what happened when they were teenagers? What happened to your kids? What they did at work? What they really consistently feel.


They would. They would be rejected. Their life would be an absolute, utter chaos and mess. And so that UN dealt with stuff that's wrecking the life here. My body wasted away groaning all day. What do you do with that? You medicated. Eat, eat, eat, eat, drink, drink, drink, drink, shoot up, sniff, whatever you do what you got to do to handle the pain, but you're not going to take it out because it's too scary. Don't do that. Don't do that. That's what. Communion with God will be deepened and enhanced. You cut yourself off from people. You cut yourself off from God. It's a sweet thing in a church where we can trust each other enough to get the worst stories out on the table to the trusted few and have them love us in spite of them, and then begin to be free from it and its effects. Yeah. Go. When? And doesn't seem to have. The the text, his visions for what she's referring to, be angry and do not see and do not let the sun go down on your wrath. So clearly in that text, not all anger is sin. I didn't mean to communicate that it was. I don't think that has anything to do with anger to God. I think that is like Jesus saying, if you know that your brother has heart against you, get it fixed and then go offer your offering. Some anger is appropriate. Jesus was clearly angry. Does when? When the man with the withered hand in Mark three was about to be healed. And. And they were all upset that he can heal on the Sabbath day. It says he looked around upon them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart. Those two emotions side by side, beside anger and grief.


We put those two side by side. We might have a close thing to righteous anger. In other words, we get angry at some political thing or some angry abortion. Get angry at lying and spinning in public life or whatever. Get angry at sin. Whether that anger gets out of hand so that James kicks in with the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. When does that kick in? Probably it kicks in. When number one it last too long and seethes, which is why you got to get rid of it before the sun goes down. In other words, it might be appropriate to feel an indignation. But if you nurture that thing. We'll eat you alive if you two go to bed with it and sleep on it and wake up and then have it again. Over time, the emotional effect of going to bed on anger, going to bed on anger and really, I think in that context is probably unresolved conflict that happens over and over in a marriage or between a parent and a child. Well, you can just watch the distance appear just like there, the distance between the son and the father that four sons. And I've had disputes with all of them. Big time, big, big collisions, big angry moments, sometimes justified, mostly not. I'm doing the anger and they're clearly doing the anger, too. But I've got my share. And, you know, anger. They're little. May spank in a way that you shouldn't. I believe in spanking, but careful spanking or if they're older, the door gets slammed. You stay in there when you're ready to talk right to your mother, then you can. When you do tomorrow, what happens to that relationship? You got two, 3 hours before the sun.


We're going to go to bed. Just. Comes out. I used music to do his homework. I think said. To a lot of families. It just you just go to. That happens 800 times in growing up. You got major problems for that next for that kid's marriage. And so on. So what should the dad do? The dad is responsible here. I mean, the kid is going to be held responsible by God, but the dad is doubly responsible for his anger. And even if he didn't sin in the anger that he had, it was wholly appropriate his responsibility to get this thing fixed in as much as he can. You know, he says in Realms 12, in as much as it lives in, you live in peace with all men. Well, you can't make that kid happy, but you can try. So an hour later. It comes out when you go to bed. So let's just talk for a minute, okay? You're welcome here. Okay. It's suppertime. It didn't go well. And I really mad because of what you said. Pick Marcus because he's the easiest to pick on because he's nice. So what you said on this really made me mad. That's not the way to talk to your mother. I don't want you to defend yourself right now because she did this or that. I know that's what you were thinking, and I don't want to. I don't want to get between here. I just want to say we all know it didn't happen the way it should have happened. We should have. We didn't fix this, right. I got angry that I should. I'm sorry. You did wrong. But I did wrong. I'm sorry. Would you forgive me? Oh, that is healing. For a dad to apologize to a teenage kid is massively healing.


So many teenagers never taste that from their dads. Never feel a broken. Ever see any manliness modeled in rock? Melody and I. So I think don't let the sun go down on you. RATH Means some kind of dynamic like that. Probably don't. Don't just go to bed on a broken relationship inasmuch as it lies within you. Now, Jesus went to bed every night on broken relationships with the Pharisees. And there's always going to be people in your life that are mad at you and you can't wear the whole burden of the world. I mean, I've got enemies everywhere who don't like what I think about Calvinism or what I think about manhood or womanhood, or what I think about the foreknowledge of God or what I'm just all kinds of things. They think John Piper's arrogant and proud and doctrinaire and and whatever, You know, just however you want to put the spin on the thing and you just you say, okay, I can respond to some of that mail and I can reach out to some people that I know and say. But I don't respond to all of it. It's just too many. And they live all over the world and and I can't get at them. And I just take real comfort in the fact that in my church here is one of you did this a week ago with a note saying you're here. Would you mind telling you it was me? So I was very abrupt and I think unpasteurized and unkind with someone two weeks ago. And my consciousness was so that all day long I said, Oh, they had dishonored the Lord. It just if if I don't fix this, it'll smooth over there. Be nice to me.


I know they will. They're nice people, and there'll always be this distance that's going to grow. So I called them up in the evening and he picked up the phone. I said, How? His pastor. I said, Oh, like I did not expect this because you seemed upset this morning. I just had to say I just didn't talk the way I should have at all this morning. I love you guys. I'm sorry. And then. Moved on from there. I think I had to do that. Had to. I was upset. And. And a bad little life correspondent of Time asking that question. I don't know if that even gets at what you were asking that. We could talk a long time about. Thanks. Be sure that thanks is included in your prayers. That's what those two texts were going to be. Be sure a lot of Thanksgiving is in your prayers. Be anxious for nothing but in everything. By prayer and supplication. In everything by prayer and supplication. With Thanksgiving lit, every prayer you pray almost have to be legalistic about that. Have a lot of Thanksgiving in it. And then there's times and places. And how often should you pray? And the Bible says Pray without ceasing. So you live in a spirit of prayer all day. You keep offering up your desires to God and pleading for help for everything you go through. But alongside that spontaneous daily, hourly moment by moment, praying, there are these set times like some 119 164, seven times a day. I praise you that amazing because of your righteousness or. Daniel Now, when Daniel knew that the document was signed that nobody should pray to anybody but the king, he entered his house. Now in his roof chamber, he had windows open to Jerusalem and he continued, kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before God.


That's that's civil disobedience in your face with a vengeance. All right. Got the law. The Medes and Persians can't be broken. Only pray to the king. And he goes before an open window three times a day and gets down on his knees facing Jerusalem and prays. O Jehovah, Yahweh. Hey, you are my God. But you're in the lion's den, fellow. That's good. But the point is, three times, three times they're seven times here. So here's the question. What's your pattern? And you say, I don't have a pattern. I pray all day, but it's not good because that will not work in the end. Spontaneity without some discipline becomes worldliness in the end. And rut nobody is purely spontaneous. Spontaneity of the most creative kind grows out of some of the most rigorous disciplines of life. It's like farming. One of the most spontaneous things about farming is that corn comes up out of the ground. There it is knee high by the 4th of July. If you live in Nebraska and and it it it just grows and the farmer watches. Wow. That's exactly what I want. Spontaneous growth in field. Well, there was some sweat behind there. You know, he plowed the field. He planted the seed. Spontaneity grows in the field of well furrowed rose. You want spontaneity? Stick with the discipline. I'm not telling you what the discipline should look like for you, because I don't think we should do that for each other. I got to read the Bible an hour a day, a very little. 30 minutes a day. You got to pray an hour. You got to pray. Water three times. You're going to seven times. You're got to do it in the morning or evening or you got good morning, noon and evening.


But what I'm saying is find it. Look for it. Change it now and then ask if you're satisfied right now. And if you're not. Take 10 minutes this afternoon, that's all. 10 minutes to plan how it will look this week different than now. The reason we don't change our disciplines is that we don't plan to change them. We just keep getting up 10 minutes before it's supposed to happen and there's no time left. And so it never changes. But if you take 10 minutes to plan, you know, this is this is true of all of life. You know, the guys who write books about management, like one minute manager ness or stuff, they make millions of dollars and, you know, they only have one message. I picked up one in an airport one time, and I just flopped open to the middle. And this is a book that I sold, you know, 5 million copies to two people who run churches and businesses and and and everything. They run the world. And I just dropped it open book on management. And it said, if you get nothing else in this book, get this take the first 10 minutes of your day to plan the rest and prioritize the things that have to happen in it, period. And for that, he makes $1,000,000 a year. That's true. That's not a joke. Because when you hold these seminars, basically what they say to businessmen is do what you know already. These businessmen go to these seminars, these success seminars, these time management seminars, try to figure out how they do their lives. They know how to do their lives. They never learn one new thing at those seminars. They just get the inspiration to do what they know to do.


They get the motivation because these guys are so created. These Zig Ziglar types are so creative and so motivational. Inspirational. The guy says, Yeah, sure, get up 10 minutes earlier and plan my day. They come back at the end of the year and say, here's your million dollars, because it works and it does. It does. If you will, take 10 minutes to plan your day and how Jesus and Bible reading fit into it instead of just running to breakfast, running the newspaper, running to put your clothes on, run to shave, and then realizing there's no time for the Bible and running off to work and doing the same thing the next day and the same thing the next day. And I say, Well, of course it never works. But if somebody could inspire you to do the obvious, namely take five or 10 minutes to plan where it's going to fit in the day and then put it in your calendar and call it an appointment and don't accept any other appointments because it's blocked off, It's going to happen. But that takes five or 10 minutes to do that. It doesn't happen without discipline. So without telling you what it should look like, I just say it should look like it should be there. Any question about that and just that discipline dimension over again, spontaneity. Both are absolutely crucial. We want to be spontaneous. We want to be able to pray in the car and pray while push the lawnmower and pray while we're shoveling snow and pray while we're jogging on jogging machine and pray, pray, pray without ceasing all day long as part of it. But you better be alone with God over the Bible for certain times every day, and try different times and try different ways to let it get too old.


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