When my six-year-old Jacob prays something like, “Dear God, please bless Mommy and Janelle and everybody” I think God grins. But when an older child or adult prays in a similar pattern, methinks God yawns.
I think David Jeremiah would agree. Read what he offers, “How often have we prayed something like, ‘O Lord, be with cousin Billy now in a special way.’ Have we stopped to consider what it is we’re requesting?
“Imagine that you are a parent who is preparing to leave your children with a babysitter. Would you dream of saying, ‘O Betsy, I ask you now that you would be with my children in a special way?” No way. You would say, ‘Betsy, the kids need to be in bed by 9pm. They can have one snack before their baths, and please make sure they finish their homework. You can reach us at this number if there’s any problem. Any questions before we go?’
“We are very specific with our requests and instructions for our babysitters. We want them to know specifics. It should be no different with prayer.”
“If we are to change we must be regularly preaching the gospel to ourselves and believing it. We must be continually showing ourselves, and those we counsel, the depths and greatness of God’s love for them. We must stop wasting our time trying to convince ourselves that we are lovable, and instead rest in the glorious fact that we are loved. It is this message which God uses to change us at the motivational level.”
—Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Group Handbook, 9
Reading “Death by Love” by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears.
The introduction addresses “Substitutionary Atonement,” which is, to some, controversial. To many, it is a pair of undefined words.
Let me try to whet your appetite for the book by the following excerpt:
What does ‘substitution’ mean?
“Substitution” refers to a person or thing acting or serving in place of another. Biblically, the concept of substitution was first practiced not by God, but by human beings. When our first parents chose to disobey God and believe the lies of our Enemy, they chose to substitute themselves for God in an effort to become their own gods. Subsequently, to save sinners God had to reverse that tragic substitution and did so by becoming a human being and dying in our place to atone for our sins.
In his marvelous book The Cross of Christ John Stott insightfully explains this fact:
The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. May claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”
In a time when many are denying the fact that Jesus took the hit for us, this deserves a careful re-reading.
I heartily recommend the book (as well as Stott’s book!)