“Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.” Job 10:2 (KJV)

If today you are tired, worn down, and acutely feeling the pressures of daily life, perhaps the Lord is doing this to develop your graces. Some of your graces would never be discovered if it we didn’t face trials in our lives.

Do you realize that your faith never looks as grand in summer weather as it does in winter? Love is too often like a firefly, showing little light except when it is in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star, not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black foils in which God sets the jewels of His children’s graces, to make them shine even greater.

It may have been only a little while ago that, on your knees, you were saying, “Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith.” Were you not really, though perhaps unknowingly, praying for trials? For how can you know that you have faith until your faith is tested? God often sends us trials so that our graces may be discovered, and that we may know for sure of their existence.

It is not merely discovery. Real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His children, not in dwellings of ease and luxury, but by using them in hard service. He makes them cross through streams, swim through rivers, climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy backpacks of sorrow on their shoulders. Could this sanctification account for the troubles you are facing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you?

“Trials make the promise sweet; Trials give new life to prayer; Trials bring me to His feet, Lay me low, and keep me there.”

Question: Do you know someone who’s been going through trials who might appreciate hearing this message?

By  Charles H. Spurgeon.
Updated to modern English by Darren Hewer, 2009.
Used by Permission

“The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers” 1 Peter 3:12

Recently, I received an e-mail from a new Christian. She had read my devotional on the elements of effective prayer and asked, “What words would I use?”

It’s an interesting question to which I have given some thought. How do you teach a new Christian the words to use to begin to talk to God? When mature Christians have walked and talked with God for a long time, they forget what it was like at the beginning of their walk with Christ.

She would need to be told that prayer is simply talking to God. He isn’t as interested in our words as He is in the attitude of our heart. Because more mature Christians often pray long prayers (whole paragraphs — even a whole sermon) in one sitting, new Christians are intimidated. They know they can’t pray like that — nor do they need to.

Using the acrostic, Adore, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Asking, I would teach her to pray in short, simple sentences — something like this:

•  Adore  “Father God, I love You.”
•  Confess  “I was (name a bad attitude or action) today.”
•   Thank God  “Thank You for cleansing my heart from these sins.”
•  Ask  “Please fill my heart with Your Holy Spirit and empower me to please You and get to know You better.”

When she begins to feel comfortable praying one short sentence, she could begin praying several sentences for each part of the acrostic.

Too simple? For some people it would be. Others will welcome a very simple “how to pray” outline. Regardless of how few or how many words we use, we can be sure that God listens to us, and to our hearts.

Jesus, Your disciples asked You to teach them how to pray. We also ask You to teach us to pray. Amen.