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Alistair Begg on sermon preparation:

  1. Think yourself empty
  2. Read yourself full
  3. Write yourself clear
  4. Pray yourself hot
  5. Be yourself, but don’t preach yourself

Freedom of delivery in the pulpit depends upon careful organization in the study. A good teacher clears the way, declares the way, and then gets out of the way.

On prayer and preaching:

There is no change of fire in the pews if there is an iceberg in the pulpit.… When the apostles did some reorganization of the early church, it was because they realized how crucial it was for them to give themselves continually to “prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). … We dare not divorce our preaching from our praying.

Do both well.

“Three Questions with Alistair Begg,” Towers (Sep–Oct 2018)

The Servant in Battle: A Prayer /

O LORD,

I bless thee that the issue of the battle between thyself and Satan
has never been uncertain,
and will end in victory.

Calvary broke the dragon’s head,
and I contend with a vanquished foe,
who with all his subtlety and strength
has already been overcome.

When I feel the serpent at my heel
may I remember him whose heel was bruised,
but who, when bruised, broke the devil’s head.

My soul with inward joy extols the mighty conqueror.

Heal me of any wounds received in the great conflict;
if I have gathered defilement,
if my faith has suffered damage,
if my hope is less than bright,
if my love is not fervent,
if some creature-comfort occupies my heart,

O thou whose every promise is balm,
every touch life,
draw near to thy weary warrior,
refresh me, that I may rise again to wage the strife,
and never tire until my enemy is trodden down.

Give me such fellowship with thee
that I may defy Satan,
unbelief, the flesh, the world,
with delight that comes not from a creature,
and which a creature cannot mar.

Give me a draught of the eternal fountain
that lieth in thy immutable, everlasting love and decree.

Then shall my hand never weaken,
my feet never stumble,
my sword never rest,
my shield never rust,
my helmet never shatter,
my breastplate never fall,
as my strength rests in the power of thy might.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett and sent to us by a friend.

How? /

The weary ones had rest, the sad had joy that day
And wondered “How?”
A plowman singing at his work, had prayed,
“Lord, help them now.”

Away in foreign lands they wondered “How?”
Their feeble words had power:
At home the Christians, “two or three,” had met
To pray an hour!

Yes, we are always wondering, wondering “How?”
Because we do not see
Someone unknown perhaps, and far away,
On bended knee.

A hidden one apart, but near to God,
Was claiming Victory,—
As they went forth to battle in His name,
“Lord, be Thou nigh!”

The hands were steady till the setting sun—
No need to “wonder” more,
How courage, faith and hope were all supplied
From Heaven’s store.

For this thy praying host who wait on Thee
According to Thy Word,
Who plead by day and night within Thy courts,
We thank Thee, Lord!

A gentleman gave me this poem at a Hillcrest Baptist Church (Dallas) missions conference. He was ninety years old and had spent his life translating the Bible in South America. It says well what we mean by being “lifted.”

The Lord’s Prayer in Nepali /
## प्रभुले सिकाउनुभएको प्रार्थना (मत्ती ६:९–१३)

हे हाम्रा पिता, जो स्वर्गमा बस्नुहुन्छ,
तपाईंको नाउँ पवित्र होस्।
तपाईंको राज्य आओस्,
तपाईंको इच्छा स्वर्गमा जस्तो छ त्यस्तै यस पृथ्वीमा पूरा होस्।
हामीलाई आज हाम्रो दैनिक भोजन दिनुहोस्।
हाम्रा अपराध क्षमा गर्नुहोस्,
जसरी हामीले पनि आफ्ना अपराधीहरूलाई क्षमा गरेका छौं।
हामीलाई परीक्षामा पर्न नदिनुहोस्,
तर दुष्टबाट छुटाउनुहोस्।
किनभने राज्य, पराक्रम र महिमा सदासर्वदा तपाईंकै हुन्।
आमिन्।

Transcription:

prabhule sikaaunubhaeko praarthanaa (matti 6:9–13)

he haamraa pitaa, jo swargamaa basnuhunchha,
tapaaiñko naauñ pawitra hos.
tapaaiñko raajya aaos,
tapaaiñko ichchhaa swargamaa jasto chha tyastai yas prithwimaa puraa hos.
haamilaai aaja haamro dainik bhojan dinuhos.
haamro aparaadh kshamaa garnuhos,
jasari haamile pani aaphnaa aparaadhiharulaai kshamaa garekaa chhauñ.
haamilaai parikshaamaa parna nadinuhos,
tara dushTabaaTa chhuTaaunuhos.
kinabhane raajya, paraakram ra mahimaa sadaasarwadaa tapaaiñkai hun.
aamin.

Translation:

The Prayer That the Lord Taught (Matthew 6:9–13)

O Father who lives in heaven,
May your name be hallowed.
May your kingdom come,
May your will be fulfilled on this earth just as it is in heaven.
Please give us today our daily bread.
Please forgive our wrongdoing,
as we also have forgiven our wrongdoers.
Please do not let us fall into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Because the kingdom, the might, and the glory is forever yours.
Amen.
Go Forward: A Call to Pray and Fast /

Now that we have read encouraging news from others in the church today, please read below and prepare your heart to continue to go forward.

Crossroads,

There are things that only God can do: change hearts, convict people of their sin and their need for Him, reveal the truth of Jesus as the Promised One and the Son of God, give true and lasting joy. These things have happened to us during the last months, so we know: God is working among us. God dwells in the church by His Spirit (Eph. 2:22).

We also know that God will be glorified among the nations (Ps. 46:10). And He is pleased to include us to share His glory and joy. We join God in reaching, training and sending worshipers of Jesus among the nations. We should not be surprised when God — Who answers prayer — sends some of our most precious people to join His work and carry His worship around the world. This is glorious: we are so small, and God is too great for just Crossroads. He will build His church where Christ is not known (Rom 15:20).

We have joined God in praying for this to happen. If God is answering our prayers (and He is), then we must now pray: God, sustain your church, Crossroads, so that we can continue to be a part of this mighty work, in Louisville and the world. Give us more people to give away. Give us the daily bread and support we need to succeed. Give us a place to meet. Give us hearts to pray and worship you while You do these incredible things. Help us not rest from working nor cease from praying until You are glorified among the nations.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make our joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Php. 2:1–2). Renew your commitment again to Christ’s church and let’s pray together.

On Sunday, we called the church to pray and fast this coming Sunday (5/20). We are renewing that call now, in case you have forgotten or you were not there to hear it. The church is at a crossroads, and we must humble ourselves so that we will jointly go God’s way.

If you are able to fast (if you are not pregnant or getting married…), take the time you would to eat a meal in order to pray, worship and read Scripture alone and with your family. You are a part of this church; this call is not for someone else, nor is it time to see how to get by with as little prayer as possible. In fact, churches around the world are setting aside time next week for a day of prayer and fasting for world evangelization. You are not alone.

K—— and I will be praying near H——’s (outside around UPA) before church on Sunday from 4–5pm. For over two years, we have prayed early before our church meetings, for the church and for ministry. Please try to come if you are able for any time before the church meeting. We will be walking around outside.

If you need guidance while praying, please remember:

  • D—— in Kuwait
  • D——, S——, and their families, and H—— and L——
  • Need for a church location
  • Summer missions (M——, S——, M——, W—— and W——, trip to Dallas, Helmers)
  • J—— and J——’s marriage
  • Pray for a specific unreached people group (the IMB asks churches to pray for the Udmurts of Russia; see link above)
  • Concerns of church members (you are always welcome to send additional prayer requests and praises to the church)

Be encouraged! Keep going forward! Your summer is a wonderful gift to use for God’s glory. I truly look forward to seeing you soon.

Your brother,
C.

Psalms 127 /

Family,

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Today is traditionally called Palm Sunday on the Christian calendar; on it we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem the week before His death and resurrection. A great crowd of pilgrims, who had “ascended” to Jerusalem for the Passover, welcomed Jesus as the promised Messiah. The hour had come for the Son of Man to be glorified (John 12:23).

Pray for your family (“house”) as you read through Psalms 127 today. Pray also for your community (“city”). Each of us has been working hard during the week, and trusting the Lord while we work. With God’s blessing on our work, it is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58), and we can rest without fear today. Pray also that God would bless His house with the birth of new children — the salvation of souls.

Hosanna in the Highest!
C.

Psalms 127
A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.

2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.

5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.