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Not one, but THREE winners!

 13.9.11

We have one THREE winners of the book A Method for Prayer by Matthew Henry.

I was so happy with your responses that I wanted to give each one of you one copy! So instead of one I decided to give three books away.






 Please, email me your address as soon as possible if you want your copy in the mail pretty soon :)

May His grace  abound as we grow closer to Him in prayer.






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*If you are interested in getting this book, you can buy it at a great price at Reformation Heritage Books.





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Food: A Gift from Above

 12.9.11



A feast to the eyes,  a joy to share, a good gift from Above: Food.

Isn't it amazing all that happens around food?  It is wonderful to consider all the goodness that comes when we feast together around the table and share God's goodness, God's bounty, His mercy to us as we come together and share a meal.

I want to give thanks today to my God for our family and for all our friends (old and new) who have opened their homes, their kitchen to us; for each family that has welcomed ours around their table. Thank you!



Coffee and fruit, and blueberry coffee cake; zucchini bread early in the morning and fresh hand picked cherries, burgers and  ice-cream and homemade pizzas. My mom's best dishes,  and my sister's best pic-nic food. All good, all a gift, each one a joy to share!



And we bow our heads each time, and hold hands and give thanks to our God who gives, and gives, and gives... because there is simply no other way to fully enjoy a meal but with a grateful heart. We give thanks to Him three times a day around the table not because of an empty custom, but because our hearts overflow with thanksgiving. Every meal is a gift, and every meal reminds us that one day, we will feast around a table in Heaven with Him and with all the saints who have gone before us.

Next time you look for a new recipe and prepare a dish for your family, for your friends; next time you set the table, do it with a joyful heart, remembering that every time we come to the table, we come to feast, to celebrate God's goodness and His never-ending mercies toward us; let us do it pretty, delicious, and joyfully.

Let us bow down, hold hands, give thanks and feast!


*********************


An Address to God before a Meal.

O Lord our God, in thee we live, and move, and have our being, and from thee receive all supports and comforts of our being: Thou spreadest our table and fillest our cup and comfortest us with the gifts of thy bounty from day to day. We own our dependence upon thee and our obligations to thee, pardon our sins we pray thee; sanctify thy good creatures to our use, and give us grace to receive them soberly and thankfully, and to eat and drink not to ourselves, but to thy glory, through Jesus Christ our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

An Address to God after a Meal.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with his benefits and gives us all things richly to enjoy, though we serve him but poorly. O Lord, we thank thee for present refreshments in the use of thy good creatures, and for thy love to our souls in Jesus Christ, which sweetens all. We pray thee pardon our sins, go on to do us good, provide for the poor that are destitute of daily food, fit us for thy whole will, and be our God and guide and portion for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

From Matthew Henry's A Method for Prayer

 May your home be a place for feasting!


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All pictures in this post were taken by my daughter.

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How to use Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer -and a giveaway-

 8.9.11

When our schedule is full, and big changes are happening, the only thing we should never stop doing is praying; other things can wait, prayer can't. We cannot live a Christian life if we don't live it in prayer; if we don't come to Him every day in prayer and in the Word.

Prayer goes hand in hand with the Word of God, and when we pray God's Word we know we are praying according to His will and that our prayers are God-centered. One way to do this is to pray as we read the Scriptures; pray as we memorize it, pray as we meditate on a certain passage. Another way that has been a blessing to me is use Matthew Henry's Method for Prayer (which is full of prayers based solely on the Scriptures). I have used this book; consistently for more than a year and I have shared many prayers, and quotes with you in this place. Today, however, I want to take the time to explain you how I use it; so if you get the book (or happen to win it here!), you'll find it easier to start including it some days in your prayer time.


A Method of Prayer has 9 chapters that can be used as companions, aids in our daily prayer :

1. Adoration (with suitable Acknowledgments, Professions, and Preparatory Requests.
2. Confession of Sin
3. Petition and Supplication
4. Thanksgiving
5. Intercession
6. Addresses to God upon Particular Occasions (We use this chapter differently)
7. Of the Conclusion of our Prayers.

Notice how these follow the pattern of the Lord's Prayer, and are God-centered.

So first, I recommend you to get some post-it© banners (like these or these); one for each section. Each section is subdivided, this means that you will be praying a subdivision from each chapter every time you use this guide in your prayer time.

This is an example:

1. (From Ch 1.1) We must solemnly address ourselves to that infinitely great and glorious Being with whom we have to do, as those who are possessed with a full belief of his presence and a holy awe and reverence of his Majesty, which we may do in such expressions as these

2. (From Ch. 2.1) We must acknowledge the great reason we have to lie very low before God and to be ashamed of ourselves when we come into his presence and to be afraid of his wrath, having made ourselves both odious to his holiness and obnoxious to his justice.

3. (From Ch. 3:1) We must earnestly pray for the pardon and forgiveness of all our sins.

4. (From Ch. 4.1) We must stir up ourselves to praise God with the consideration both of the reason and of the encouragement we have to praise him.

5. (From Ch. 5.1) We must pray for the whole world of mankind, the lost world; and thus, we must honor everyone, and, according to our capacity, do good to everyone.

6. (From Ch. 7.1) We may then sum up our requests in some comprehensive petitions, as the conclusion of the whole matter.

As I read each prayer (I did not post the complete prayers here for the sake of space), I add my own personal prayer to it; I only use these prayers as a guide; as I don't want to repeat just for the sake of repeating them. (If you click on the links above, you will go to the online version of the book; which I  would not recommend you to use in private prayer. It could be very distracting. I am sure you'd agree.)

When I come to the Intercession section, is the time I pray for the special requests of my family and friends. (It is very useful to keep those prayer needs written down because we want to be faithful in praying for those who ask us to pray for them).

In chapter 6 we find different prayers for particular occasions such as :

- In our morning and evening prayers.
- Prayers for those days when we are going on a journey.
- Prayers in the evening before the Lord's Day; on the morning of the Lord's Day.
- Prayer in our preparation for the Lord's Supper; in the celebration of the Lord's Supper and after celebrating the Lords Supper.
- Prayers upon the occasion of the cares, and burdens, and afflictions of particular persons.
- And many more.

We can include one of these as part of our prayer time, when we intercede for others.

As I finish reading one section; I move my post-it banner to the next subdivision in each particular chapter; so the next day I won't lose my place.


Chapter 8 presents a Paraphrase on the Lord's Prayer, in Scripture Expressions. It is very long, so I read sometimes one section from it instead of the rest.

Chapter 9 includes some short forms of prayer; for example a prayer to be used by children, a morning prayer for the family, an evening prayer for the family, family prayers for the Lord's Day, a prayer proper to be put by parents for their children, and different addresses before and after a meal.

The book also includes three discourses by Matthew Henry, that I have found very profitable and encouraging.  I have read them several times. In the first one he shows how to begin every day with God; the second is on how to spend the day with God; and the third is on how to close the day with God.

Few "warnings" (if I should call them so) about this book:

1. It should NEVER substitute the Word of God.
2. You should NEVER hear yourself saying: "Without it I just can't pray"


Now, maybe you are asking, Why a prayer method? From experience I can mention some benefits:

1. It has helped me to pray in so many different ways that I never used to; it has widen and enriched my prayer life; and it has helped me learn to pray God-centered prayers, instead of me-centered.

2. It has helped me to spend more time in prayer. Now I can't pray only few minutes and then just start running through the day. It has helped me to discipline myself to stay in God's presence and meditate on His Word for longer periods.

3. I highly recommend this prayer companion, because it only uses Bible verses put together in sentences, and paragraphs. And it points you to each verse that the author is quoting. This helps me to search the Scriptures too. (I love the Valley of Vision, for example, but even though those are wonderful prayers, when I pray over them -and I do sometimes- I know I am not reciting the Word of God; but other saints' words.)



4. I have  also learned to pray consistently over the Scriptures as I read them.

5. Don't laugh about this.... but it has helped me not to fall asleep in prayer when I am super tired! Yes, I bring my companion, and my journal and I write short prayer or Scripture passages; this is a great help indeed for tired and sleepy mommies.

The most natural way to finish this post, is by hosting a giveaway of this book; don't you think so? So, if you are interested please leave a comment saying that you want to enter it. The providential winner will be announced Tuesday, September 13, 2011. (You don't have to be a follower of this blog to enter this giveaway,  but it would be nice if you could pass the voice around!) UPDATE: This giveaway is closed, I am so sorry.

Under His sun and by His Grace,


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Who is Becky?

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Becky
If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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