Monthly Archives: July 2008

Written Prayers

Need a “little pick me up” in your daily time with God? How about a book of written prayers? Prayers written by the Puritans some 200-400 years ago…

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Does that sound as dry as sawdust and as boring as an accountant’s convention? If you answered “yes”, then you are mistaken my friend!

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Let me suggest a resource I have been using off and on for the last year to enhance my private worship time. The book is THE VALLEY OF VISION: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. Edited by Arthur Bennett, these prayers come from the works of such men as John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, William Jay, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and many others. As Bennett writes, “The strength of the Puritan character and life lay in the practice of prayer and meditation.”

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In the evangelical American religious tradition that many of us were raised in, written prayers are kind of looked down upon. It is thought to be inherently more spiritual to pray spontaneously, with unplanned and unrehearsed words, to converse with God as you would with a friend. While there are certainly elements of truth to this reasoning, it doesn’t mean written prayers are inferior. In fact, the eloquence, the majesty, the depth of these prayers provokes one’s spirit to worship God in a fresh and vibrant way.

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After I read my bible I read one prayer per day. I read it through a few times, thinking about the words and then I pray it out loud as my prayer to the Father. Give it a shot – for $10.88 you can purchase your own copy at www.amazon.com. If you do, tell me what you think after using it for a few weeks.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Thoughts from Camp

Last week I spent three days speaking at a camp with 80 high school students at Expeditions Unlimited www.expeditionsunlimited.com in Baraboo, WI. Many of you were praying for me and I thank you for that. It was a great experience – let me share a few thoughts and observations:

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•?I was reminded yet again that youth ministry is so very strategic. The pressure is relentless on today’s teenagers. Though there are some similarities between when I was a teenager (think 70’s – Bicentennial, Bee Gees, and leisure suits) and now – the differences are huge. They live in a far more relativistic, pluralistic society, they are constantly bombarded by internet pornography and the family structure is seldom intact and functional. The problems these students face are far greater than what I had to deal with.
?•?I was also reminded that many high school students are very open to spiritual things. They are yearning for a moral compass, for a cause greater than themselves, for a little peace of mind in a very chaotic world. On Thursday night about 8-10 students crossed the line of faith and trusted in Jesus Christ; about the same number made some type of recommitment to following Christ. It was awesome!
?•?Finally, I was reminded that God can use anyone – including me. At times I felt a bit insecure, out of place – how could I, as a 48 year old guy, connect with these students? (In fact, the parents of some of these students were in my youth group back in the 80’s!) Yet God’s word is powerful and God’s Holy Spirit ends up being the teacher and therefore really good things happen! Besides, if God could use Balaam’s donkey to get his message out (read Numbers 22:27-29) – then He could use me too!

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Thanks again for praying!

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Peace,
?Dave

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Leaving for Camp

Tomorrow morning I leave to speak at a camp up in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It’s a group of about 80 high school students. I’m excited. I was a youth pastor for 23 years and though that is firmly in my past – I still love high schoolers!

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Did you ever go to bible camp either as a child or as a teenager? Then you know what it can be like. God has a way of showing up big time during a week of camp. I have such vivid memories of my own camp experiences both as a student and as a youth pastor. What happens at a week of camp can echo into eternity.

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Please pray for me and these 80 students July 16-18 and in turn I’ll tell you what happens.

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Peace,
?Dave

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