Tag Archives: Prayer

Devotional practices.

This is less theology, I suppose; or rather it’s a practical application of theology. I wanted to spend a few words on devotional practices, and invite you to comment on your own practices as well. I will shamelessly incorporate any good ideas into my own spiritual life. I hope the tone of this doesn’t come across as braggadocios. My devotional life is certainly not worth bragging about. I often lose myself to work and school and social events, and don’t set aside proper time for God. Remember that someone’s “instagram” life and their real life are very different. This is me on my better days.

Scripture study.

The study of Scripture is very important to me. I try to read daily, but I’m not a very organized study kind of guy. I usually approach topics and themes, or books individually. While I’ve read the entirety of Scripture, I don’t think I’ve ever read cover-to-cover straight through.

Right now I’m taking a little time each day to work on a translation of the Vulgate. My Latin training isn’t quite finished, so there are plenty of parts with which I struggle, but I have found that the translation process is quite illuminating. I’ve been working through John and I’m considering putting my translation up if all goes well.

The important thing for me when reading Scripture is context. I don’t read verses individually, I read stretches and passages and chapters and books. I try to parse the arguments of Paul, or the narrative flow of the Gospels. I read seeking understanding, always trying to use the text to challenge my beliefs.

Prayer.

As with most things in my life, my prayer life is also less organized than it ought to be. I try to spend a little time each day with a personal liturgy-inspired prayer: The Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer from the Small Catechism, a time of silent meditation. I find that liturgy focuses my mind and follows a evermore familiar rhythm. I have to submit my ego to the Word of God. It’s very freeing. My wife and I have a little family liturgy before bed. When baby gets here, we’ll have a liturgy for three.

Fasting.

I’ve written about fasting before, so I won’t rehash all of that here. I bring this up more to say that I have found fasting to be an incredibly useful discipline. I like the extra time it gives me and the mental sharpness I develop.

Church Fathers and other saints.

I think a sad fact is that many Christians neglect the Church Fathers. Now, I’m not saying that we should approve of everything that they said. I disagree with them about veneration of the Saints, for instance. But these are men who have walked the entirety of this path, and from whom we may learn much. They knew Scripture in ways which we could only hope to know it. Many of them faced persecution, exile, and martyrdom, and were rewarded with the crown of righteousness. To read the Fathers is to drink from deep springs.

I love Chrysostom, personally. Every Easter I hear his famed Paschal Homily as many times as possible. Right now I’m also trying to translate St. Anselm’s Proslogion, which is very slow going because his Latin is, in many ways, far beyond my grasp. I may have to come back to that after the semester is out, but it is a fun challenge, at any rate.

One devotional tool I really enjoy is the Treasury of Daily Prayer. It combines liturgical readings of the Old Testament, a Psalm, the New Testament, some hymnody, some quote of a Lutheran reformer or Church Father, and prayers. It also reminds you of feast days for saints (which is another helpful devotional tool in my opinion) and other important events in the Christian Church. It comes with helpful layouts for various liturgical settings as well. There’s an iPhone app called PrayNow for $8.99 which is, to my knowledge, the same content, but interactive. I enjoy the physical book, personally.

That’s it for now, I suppose. If you have any particular practices you find helpful, feel free to share them below. Of course, please note that the comments below do not necessarily have my endorsement. Anyone can put anything they want on the internet.

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Three things you can do to fight abortion right now.

Did you know that since Roe v. Wade, over 57,000,000 unborn children have been legally murdered? Over 150,000 of those abortions have taken place this year. Here is an incredibly sobering comic that puts that number in perspective (although it is slightly dated, being a few weeks old). I have spilled a lot of digital ink in debating abortion and I sometimes feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. If you have ever shared in that experience, I want you to know there’s some light on the horizon: Here are three things you can do now, without leaving your chair, to fight abortion.

Pray.

Prayer is the most important thing we can do to fight abortion. It is only by the gracious work of God that good is worked in the world. It is God who graciously invites us to call Him “Father.” He is more than pleased to give good things to His children when they ask Him. So ask Him!

If you struggle with prayer, a really cool resource I’ve found is the Online for Life Prayer App. When a woman contacts a pregnancy resource center, the app notifies you of the need and allows you to pray for her (she remains anonymous, obviously). It also (anonymously) lets you know when women choose life! This gives you a very easy and concrete way to pray for the people who need it most.

Educate.

“I am going to spend at least 5 minutes each day praying for women considering #abortion”

If you know what is right and you do not speak up, you are an accomplice. As a pro-life individual who recognizes the evil of abortion, you have a moral duty to speak out against abortion in whatever capacity you have. Of course, that’s not always easy. Sometimes finding the right words to convey your point with both boldness and respect is very difficult. Education starts with yourself. To that end I must highly recommend Life Training Institute. Scott Klusendorf et al have put together a fantastic array of pro-life training materials, teaching how to rightly defend the pro-life position. Here’s a bonus link to their Advanced Pro-Life Apologetics course! I would also recommend the Issues, Etc. archives on abortion, which covers a huge variety of abortion related issues from a solid Lutheran perspective.

As for educating others, there are so many good resources available online. Apart from pointing people to the resources already listed, you ought to use social media to the best of your advantage. There are some great conversation starters over at Online for Life. Easily sharable pictures and videos make this about the easiest way possible to share information about your pro-life convictions.

Donate.

I suppose that technically you may have to get up and find your credit card to complete this one. Still, this is a great way for you to support those men and women who are on the front lines of the abortion debate. You can choose to give to your favorite pro-life organization (here’s a list, but it’s not exhaustive, so look around!), or you could choose to support a pro-life candidate (someone like Lee Bright comes to mind, for instance). Of course, your vote is even more important than your donation, but more on that another time. Or consider donating to your local Crisis Pregnancy Center! There are lots of ways to put your money to work against the culture of death in America. Choose one and give generously!

There it is! Three things you can do to effectively combat abortion right now. I hope you will join me and millions of others in these three simple ways. Now I want to hear from you! What other simple ways do you know of to fight abortion? Tell me about them in the comments below, or on Twitter @johnnyis_.  Thanks for reading, and may God bless you in the fight!

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