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Watts on Prayer #3 – The Grace of Prayer

I’m continuing my summary of the chapters from Isaac Watts A Guide to Prayer, which is enriching my communication with God. Today, I’m reviewing Chapter 3, The Grace of Prayer. Watts distinguishes the gift and the grace of prayer in this way: “The gift chiefly consists in a readiness of thought appropriate to the various parts of prayer, and a facility of expressing those thoughts in speaking to God. The grace consists in the inward workings of the heart and conscience toward God and religion.” In other words, the grace of prayer refers to the life, affection, sincerity, and vigor that characterize our praying. It stems from an awareness …

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Watts on Prayer #2 – The Gift of Prayer

Yesterday I shared my burden for giving more attention to the way we pray, both publicly and privately. This is an area I very much want to grow in. For that reason I picked up Isaac Watts’ A Guide to Prayer. I’ve been so encouraged by it, I wanted to give you a synopsis of the chapters to motivate you in your own pursuit of a rich prayer life. Today, I’m looking at Chapter 2, The Gift of Prayer. Watts defines the gift of prayer as: “An ability to suit our thoughts to all the various parts and designs of this duty, and a readiness to express those thoughts before God in the fittest manner to profit our own souls as well as the souls …

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Watts on Prayer

While I was in India, I finished reading A Guide to Prayer, by the well known hymn writer, Isaac Watts. I was impressed by his humble, practical, and biblical approach to this topic that is more often discussed than done. I’ve asked Mark Mullery to address the issue of praying publicly at this year’s WorshipGod06 conference. I think we often don’t realize what a significant means of edification, training, and grace public prayer can be for the people we serve. Of course, it might be difficult to imagine when our prayers often sound something like this: Father God, we just come before you today, Lord, to say we love you, Jesus, and Spirit, …

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Taking God’s Word Seriously

Up until a few years ago, I had never read through the entire Bible, after almost 30 years of being a Christian. Of course, I was positive that at some point I had read every word in Scripture. I just didn’t do it in order. After all, I reasoned, the order of the books didn’t seem to be as critical as the fact that they were included. So I’ve spent most of my life following the “whatever happens to be the most appealing book or passage at the moment” method of Bible study. At times, it’s been very fruitful. At other times, it’s been non-existent. A few years ago the pastors on the teaching team at our church decided to switch …

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On Musicians and Reading Books, Pt. 3

Today I’m sharing two more reasons why Christian musicians aren’t known for dropping hundreds of dollars on theology books. 3. Studying God takes time. This is similar to the point I made yesterday about the study of theology being hard. We live in the age of instant everything. I still remember when there was no internet (much less wireless connections), e-mail didn’t exist, you had to wait a week to get your camera film developed, and microwave ovens were a novelty. My, how things have changed. We want to know God NOW. We want to have life-changing 15 minute devotional times, are drawn to the “One-Minute Bible,” and get anxious …

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On Musicians and Reading Books, Pt. 2

Yesterday I began a series on the importance of Christian musicians taking the time to study theology. Today I want to share some reasons so many of us don’t. 1. We don’t understand the purpose of theology. Theology informs our minds to win our hearts, so that we might love God more accurately and passionately. Some of us are suspicious of words like theology, doctrine, and study. We’d rather relate to God through stories, experiences, and feelings. We believe that all we need to get along is Jesus. I remember a speaker inviting a crowd to shout out their denomination on cue. The result was cacophony. Then he invited us to say the …

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On Musicians and Reading Books

I think I’ve interacted with enough Christian musicians over the past couple decades to make a general observation: Christian musicians rarely read theology books. Now, I know that’s a broad statement. There are non-musician Christians who don’t like to study theology, too, and some Christians musicians who actually love theology. You’re the ones who took offense at my earlier comment. “What’s he talking about? I’m ALWAYS reading theology books!” If so, you’re to be commended. But you’re the exception. When I’ve asked musicians what they’re reading, the response is often secular business bestsellers, novels, music magazines, …

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Avoiding Nonsense in Worship Songs

I don’t even know how I came across a book I read recently called, “And Now Let’s Move Into a Time of Nonsense: Why Worship Songs are Failing the Church.” It’s by Nick Page, a prolific UK author. What I do know is that I’m not aware of another book on congregational song that is as insightful, humorous, helpful, and brief (a real plus from my perspective). In only 121 pages, Nick covers a brief history of worship music, why the words we sing matter, how modern culture has influenced us, the importance of technique, the problem of language, and helpful suggestions for what we can do. Letters from a fictitious worship leader named Kevin Molecule …

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