Prayer That I May Know Him More
Open My Eyes That I May See
As we begin 1998, God’s aim for us is that we be set on a two-railed train track in the direction of holiness and love and mission and heaven. The two rails of this train are prayer before the throne of God and meditation on the word of God. Some of you may remember the second page of our Mission Statement booklet, “The Spiritual Dynamic.” It says,
We join God the Father in magnifying the supremacy of his glory through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, by treasuring all that God is, loving all whom he loves, praying for all his purposes, meditating on all his word, sustained by all his grace.
Praying before the throne of God and meditating on the word of God are parallel rails that enable the train of our souls to stay on the track that leads to holiness and heaven.
We need to renew our zeal for prayer and Bible mediation at the beginning of the year. Everything gets old and worn and weak without re-awakening and renewal and restoration.
So during Prayer Week every year we rivet our attention on these great and precious things in order to rekindle our passion for prayer and the word.
Three Things to Learn from Psalm 119:18
This year the two messages that sandwich Prayer Week grow Psalm 119:18. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” This verse combines prayer and the word, and we need to see how, so that we can combine them this way in our lives and in our church. There are three things that we learn from this verse.
“We cannot even see what the word really is without God’s supernatural help.”
There are wonderful things in the word of God. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” The word “law” is “Torah” and means “instruction” or “teaching” in this psalm. There are wonderful things in God’s teaching to us.
In fact, they are so wonderful that when you really see them, they change you profoundly and empower holiness and love and missions (2 Corinthians 3:18). Which is why reading and knowing and meditating on and memorizing the word of God is so crucial.
No one can see these wonderful things for what they really are without God’s supernatural help. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” If God does not open our eyes, we will not see the wonder of the word. We are not naturally able to see spiritual beauty.
When we read the Bible without the help of God, the glory of God in the teachings and events of the Bible is the sun shining in the face of a blind man. Not that you can’t construe its surface meaning, but you can’t see the wonder, the beauty, the glory of it such that it wins your heart.
We must pray to God for supernatural illumination when we read the Bible. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” Since we are helpless in ourselves to see spiritual beauty and the wonder of God in the teachings and events of the Bible without God’s gracious illumination, we should ask him for it. “Open my eyes.”
A Three-Step Truth
Next week I plan to focus on the wonderful things in the word of God and practically how we get them into our head and heart. But today I focus on prayer.
I want us to see this profound three-step truth: The word is crucial for living a Godward life that leads to heaven and has power and meaning on earth. We cannot even see what the word really is without God’s supernatural help.And therefore we need to be a people of daily prayer that God would do whatever he must do to get the wonders of the word into our hearts and into our lives.
Let’s take these three steps one at a time and see them confirmed and illustrated in other parts of the Bible.
1. The word is crucial to a life of holiness
The first point is that seeing the word and knowing it and having it in us is crucial to living a life of holiness and love and power for the purposes of God.
Look back at verse 11, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you.” How then are we to avoid sin in our lives? By treasuring the word of God in our hearts.
Oh, how many people mess up their lives by not meditating on and loving and memorizing the word of God! Do you want to be holy, that is, do you want power to overcome sin and live a life of radical godliness and sacrificial love and utter devotion to the cause of Christ? Then get on the track.
God has ordained a way to godliness and power: and it is the way of treasuring up the Bible in our hearts.
I say it to the old and I say it to the parents of the young. Meditate on and memorize and cherish the commandments and warnings and promises of God in the Scriptures. No, I do not say it is easy, especially when you are old.
But most things worth doing are not easy. Making a fine piece of furniture, making a good poem, making a great piece of music, making a special meal or celebration — none of them is easy. But they are worth doing.
Is not a good life worth doing?
Talitha is now two. She is beginning to learn Bible verses by heart. She is also learning the forms of prayer.Why? Why go to the trouble of taking time and effort to repeat over and over the Bible to her? Very simple — when she is a teenager I want her to be godly and pure and holy and loving and humble and kind and submissive and wise.
And the Bible says, as plain as day, this comes by treasuring up the word of God in your heart. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you.”
Jesus put it this in his great prayer for us in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
” “Sanctify” is a Biblical word for making a person holy or godly or loving or pure or virtuous or spiritually wise. And these things I want for myself and for my children and for you.
So what then should we do this year? If we are sanctified by the truth, and the word of God is truth, what should we do?
If a doctor says, “You’re very sick and may die of your sickness, but if you will take this medicine, you will get well and live,” and you neglect to take the medicine — too busy, the pills are big and hard to swallow, just forgetful — you are going to stay sick and you may die.
That’s the way it is with sin and spiritual immaturity. If you neglect what God tells you will sanctify you and make you mature and strong and holy, then you will not be mature and strong and holy.
Reading, meditating on, memorizing, and cherishing the word of God is God’s appointed way of overcoming sin and becoming a strong, godly, mature, loving, wise person.
There are wonderful things to be seen in the word of God that will transform you deeply if you really see them and treasure them in you.
2. We cannot see without God’s help
The second point in the text is that we are not able to see these wonderful things in the word for what they really are without God’s supernatural help.
“The way to godliness and power is by treasuring up the Bible in our hearts.”
The reason is that we are fallen and corrupt and dead in sin and therefore blind and ignorant and hard. Paul described us this in Ephesians 4:18 — we are “darkened in [our] understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in [us], because of the hardness of [our] heart.”
Here’s the way Moses wrote about this problem in Deuteronomy 29:2–4, “And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, ‘You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt . . .those great signs and wonders [i.e., “wonderful things”]. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.’” Notice: you have seen . . .
but you cannot see without God’s supernatural work.
That is our plight. We are guilty and corrupt and hard and ignorant and blind without the awakening, enlivening, softening, humbling, purifying, enlightening work of God in our lives.
We will never see the beauty of spiritual reality without God’s illumination.
We will never see the wonder and glory of what the word teaches without God’s opening the eyes of our hearts and giving us a spiritual sense of these things.
The point of teaching this and knowing this is to make us desperate for God and hungry for God, and to set us to pleading and crying out to God for his help in reading the Bible.
(On Point 2 see also: Matthew 16:17; 11:4; and Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 2:14–16; John 3:6–8; Romans 8:5–8.)
3. We need to pray for God to help us see
Which leads to the last point: if knowing and treasuring the truth of God’s word is crucial to being holy and loving and mature and heaven-bound, and if we by nature cannot see the wonders of God’s word and feel the attraction of its glory, then we are in a desperate condition and need to pray for God to help us see. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.”
In other words, prayer is essential to Christian living, because it is the key to unlocking the power of the word in our lives. The glory of the word is the shining of the sun in the face of blind man unless God opens our eyes to that glory. And if we don’t see the glory, we won’t be changed (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:17), and if we are not changed, we are not Christians.
In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays this way. He says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling . . .
” In other words, “I’ve taught you these things and you have received them with your external senses, but unless you perceive the glory of them with your spiritual sense (“the eyes of your heart”) you will not be changed. (See also Ephesians 3:14–19; Colossians 1:9; 3:16).
Now, these are Christians he is writing to, which shows that we need to go on praying until we get to heaven for spiritual eyes to see.
Seven Kinds of Prayer to Soak our Bible Reading
But since our text is Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law,” we should let this psalmist show us how he prays more generally about his reading of the word of God. So let me close with a little tour of Psalm 119, and show you seven kinds of prayer with which you can soak your Bible reading this year.
We should pray . . .
“Prayer is essential because it is the key to unlocking the power of the word in our lives.”
That God would teach us his word. Psalm 119:12: “Teach me Your statutes.” (See also verses 33, 64b, 66, 68b, 135). True learning of God’s word is only possible if God himself becomes the teacher in and through all other means of teaching.
That God would not hide his word from us. Psalm 119:19: “Do not hide Your commandments from me.” The Bible warns of the dreadful chastisement or judgment of the word of God being taken from us (Amos 8:11, see also verse 43).
That God would make us understand his word. Psalm 119:27: “Make me understand the way of Your precepts” (verses 34, 73b, 144b, 169). Here we ask God to cause us to understand — to do whatever he needs to do to get us to understand his word.
That God would incline our hearts to his word. Psalm 119:36: “Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to [dishonest] gain.” The great problem with us is not primarily our reason, but our will — we are disinclined by nature to read and meditate and memorize the word. So we must pray for God to incline our wills.
That God would give us life to keep his word. Psalm 119:88: “Revive me according to your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of your mouth.” He is aware that we need life and energy to give ourselves to the word and its obedience. So he asks God for this basic need. (See also verse 154b)
That God would establish our steps in his word. Psalm 119:133: “Establish my footsteps in your word.” We are dependent on the Lord not only for understanding and life, but for the performance of the word. That it would be established in our lives. We cannot do this on our own.
That God would seek us when we go astray from his word. Psalm 119:176: “I have gone astray a lost sheep; seek Your servant.” It is remarkable that this godly man ends his psalm with a confession of sin and the need for God to come after him and bring him back. This too we must pray again and again.
The Word, Our Treasure
I conclude that as we enter 1998 and long to be holy and loving and radically committed to God’s purpose in the city and the nations, we must be people who treasure the word in our hearts, but more — people who know our desperate condition apart from God and that he has appointed prayer as the way that our eyes will be opened to see wonder in the word and so be changed. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.”
How earnest was he in these kinds of prayers? How earnest should we be? One answer is given in Psalm 119:147, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for your words.” He gets up early! This is the top priority. Would you make it that?
31 Prayer Quotes – Be Inspired and Encouraged!
God promises us in His Word that He hears every word that we pray to Him. a good parent, He is waiting, ready, and willing to listen to our worries, concerns, and needs. Whether we are seeking forgiveness, strength, or healing, prayer provides the channel to communicate with God and receive supernatural strength and power!
The following prayer quotes will help inspire and encourage your prayer life as you seek a stronger faith. Share these verses with others who need to experience the power of prayer in their life!
Our Favorite Prayer Quotes:
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
“She (my mother) became a warrior far superior to any epic hero. She became a giant on her knees. With a sword in one hand she battled the enemies of death and disease, and with her other hand stretched toward heaven she kept beseeching God’s help and His mercy.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes
“There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer.” – Beth Moore
“The reality is, my prayers don't change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” – Lysa TerKeurst
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther
“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'” – Billy Graham
“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon
“If you believe in prayer at all, expect God to hear you. If you do not expect, you will not have. God will not hear you unless you believe He will hear you; but if you believe He will, He will be as good as your faith.” – Charles Spurgeon
“Let no one profess to trust in God, and yet lay up for future wants, otherwise the Lord will first send him to the hoard he has amassed, before He can answer the prayer for more.” – George Muller
“I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Prayer is simply talking to God a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day.” – Joyce Meyer
“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” – Soren Kierkegaard
“God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out. The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: 'Use me.'” – Rick Warren
“Rather than set aside daily time for prayer, I pray constantly and spontaneously about everything I encounter on a daily basis. When someone shares something with me, I'll often simply say, 'let's pray about this right now.'” – Thomas Kinkade
“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” – Corrie Ten Boom
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln
“The prayer offered to God in the morning during your quiet time is the key that unlocks the door of the day. Any athlete knows that it is the start that ensures a good finish.” – Adrian Rogers
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” – Mother Teresa
“God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” – Mother Teresa
“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” – Billy Graham
“It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“Prayer makes a godly man, and puts within him the mind of Christ, the mind of humility, of self-surrender, of service, of pity, and of prayer. If we really pray, we will become more God, or else we will quit praying.” – E.M. Bounds
“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds
Max Lucado video on Prayer: Pastor Max Lucado, author of Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer, may surprise you with his explanation of the most important aspect of any prayer. “Of all the words of a prayer,” Max teaches, “the most important one is the first one…”
Crosswalk.com: What is the most important aspect of prayer? – Max Lucado from crosswalkquestions on GodTube.
Bible Quotes on Prayer
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. – 1 John 5:15
Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive. – 2 Chronicles 6:21My prayer is not that you take them the world but that you protect them from the evil one. – John 17:15
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
More Bible praying quotes at the BibleStudyTools.com Prayer Bible Verses page.
Here are some of the most read prayers from our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray.
Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
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Prayer for Sick
The Prayer of Jabez
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
A Birthday Prayer
This article is part of our larger Inspiring Quotes resource meant to encourage strengthen your faith. Visit our most popular quotes by well known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration.
Remember, the Holy Spirit can work through us when we increase our faith and share it with us! Please pass along any quotes that touch your heart because you never know light you can shine on someone else’s dark day!
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