Each day, I get an e-mail from Matthew Henry, a preacher who lived in England from 1662-1714. Well, actually, the e-mails are based on a book Mr. Henry wrote, A Method for Prayer.
You can talk to God about anything that’s on your mind– and that’s probably the way I pray most often. Sometimes I barely use words. But I sometimes forget about the things God has said in the Bible about who he is and what he desires for those he loves.
That’s what Matthew Henry’s book is about– the “method” is really praying straight from the Bible. In fact, most of the book is made up of passages from Scripture organized by topic and worded as prayers. My Mom suggested that I sign up at the website that sends out the daily e-mails; it gives me something to think and pray about each morning, and over the course of a year, it covers the whole book.
To be honest, I don’t do a good job of keeping up with the prayers; some days I don’t stop to read the e-mails, and other days I just skim them. But they have been helpful to me.
There was one I got a few days ago that really stuck in my mind:
Pray for Grace to Bring God’s Truth to your Memory
To help my memory, that the truths of God may be ready to me whenever I have occasion to use them.
Lord, let your Spirit teach me all things and bring to my remembrance all that you have said to me, (John 14:26) that the word of Christ may dwell richly in me in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (Colossians 3:16)
Lord, grant that I may pay much closer attention to what I have heard, lest I drift away from it; (Hebrews 2:1) and may I hold fast to the word that has been preached to me, and not believe in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:2)
Lord, make me ready and competent in the Scriptures, (Acts 18:24) that I may be competent, equipped for every good work; (2 Timothy 3:17) and, being well trained for the kingdom of heaven, may I, like a good master of a house, bring out of my treasure what is new and what is old. (Matthew 13:52)
I need God’s grace to keep from forgetting things I have learned to be true! It’s kind of scary to think that my own memories could become unreliable, but the fact is that I know it has happened. I can grow through some experience, realize that I can trust God a little bit more, but with time, my memory will fade. I might find some other way to explain what happened, a way that doesn’t involve trusting God. I might feel like I am at a dead end, because I don’t remember that God has led me through what looked like dead ends before.
The great thing, though, is that God knows this about me, and he has promised not to give up on me even if I forget. Praying God’s own words back to him from the Bible helps me to remember that this is something God cares about. God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is praying this on my behalf right now. And when I set my mind on those things, I am copying Christ.