Prayer To Embrace Your Purpose In Christ
Embrace Your Purpose
At this very moment, you are running a race. You are running a race even if you are sitting on the bus reading these words on your phone, even if you are reading this to take a break from the drudgery of your work.
Everywhere and at all times you are running the race of all races, the Christian life. The question is not if you are running but how.
Are you running well or running poorly? Are you out for a leisurely jog, or are you sprinting hard with your eyes on the prize? Through the living Word, the Apostle Paul pleads with you, “Run to win! Run to win the prize!” Become a Patron
In this new series, I am calling men away from apathy toward a zealous pursuit of the imperishable prize, away from worthless habits toward godly disciplines, away from aimless wandering toward purposeful living. Each article will be centered on one imperative for winning this race.
It is fitting that we begin with the matter of purpose, for only when you know your purpose will you be motivated to run this race and to run it with all the effort required to win it. Only then will you be able to share the joyful conviction of George Whitefield, who declared, “I am never better than when I am on the full stretch for God.
” My friend, if you are going to run to win, if you are going to be on the full stretch for God, you must embrace your purpose.
The Purpose of Your Salvation
Why did God save you? Paul tells you exactly why: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14). It would take whole volumes of books to unpack all that Paul says here, but I will make just a few observations.
First, God saves you to sanctify you. God extends his saving mercy to you so he can undo the deep damage caused by your sin. In a moment he redeems you, and over a lifetime he purifies you, teaching you to hate and renounce whatever is ungodly and to love and pursue whatever is worthy.
As you walk with Christ, you find a new longing to put to death those old deeds and the desires that motivated them and to bring to life new deeds born of purer desires (Colossians 3:1-17). This is called “sanctification,” the lifelong process of becoming holy.God saves you to sanctify you, to restore you to the life he intended for you before you gave yourself to sin.
Second, God saves and sanctifies you so you can do good to others. Your sanctification has a purpose: to make you “zealous for good works.” Good works are deeds that are done not first for your own good but for the good of others.
You are called to put aside the natural selfishness that once controlled you and to put on the Christ- selflessness that compels you to bless to others. You are to live as a good-works extremist, a man who will stop at nothing to be a blessing to others.
“We are [God’s] workmanship,” says Paul, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Third, God does all things for his glory. God does not save you so he can make much of you, but so you can make much of him. The good deeds you do are not meant to make yourself look great but to make God look great.
They stand as proof of the great change he has worked within you, for only by his grace can you turn your desires away from your own comfort, your own enrichment, your own fame.
“Let your light shine before others,” says Jesus, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Men, this is your purpose: to bring glory to God by doing good for others. This means your life is not first about you. You’re not the point of your existence or the hero of your salvation. You were created by God and for God. You were saved to bring glory to God by doing good to others. This is your purpose.
However, I suspect you already know most of this. The problem is you still struggle to find sufficient motivation to bring to your life the focused self-control that will enable you to run to win. So let’s turn back to Paul to see where he found the motivation to embrace this God-glorifying purpose.
An athlete runs to receive a reward and to enjoy the fame and acclaim that come with it. All the training, the exertion, and the self-control are judged worth it when the wreath is placed upon his head and when the crowd stands to pay tribute. Their self-control is driven by the greatness of the prize.
So what prize could be sufficient to motivate Paul to live this life of extraordinary fervor and intense zeal? Only one thing: Jesus Christ. Paul, who had been the self-proclaimed chief of sinners, had been suddenly and dramatically saved by Jesus.
In a moment he had been plucked off the highway to hell and set upon the pathway to heaven. He was forever transformed. And with this new life, he had a new purpose. He now lived to be a faithful representative of Jesus Christ, to be absolutely devoted to growing in Christ-ness and making Jesus known to those around him.When Paul embraced Jesus Christ—or rather, when Jesus embraced Paul—Paul also embraced a new purpose.
Men, have you been transformed by Jesus Christ? Have you been given new life? With new life comes a new purpose! Let go of the ridiculous notion that your life is about you. Let go of all of the selfish purposes you once held on to.
Let go of the cultural wave of apathy and self-indulgence that is plaguing so many.
And once you have let go of all that might hinder you, grab on to a lifelong pursuit of Jesus! Embrace your purpose, and align every area of your life with it: You are here to glorify God by abounding in good works.
This is your challenge and mine. Your family needs you to be holy, to see a husband and father who models what it means to be a mature, Christian man. Your church needs you to be holy, to see a believer who has been set free from sin and who is committed to their good.
Your neighborhood needs you to be holy, to see a man who has been utterly transformed by Jesus and who now puts aside anything that might hinder the gospel of Jesus. Your world needs you to be holy, to be evidence that Jesus Christ continues to save his people and continues to transform them into his image.
In the inestimable prize of Jesus Christ, you have all the motivation you need to embrace a new purpose and fix your eyes on the glory of God.
Run to Win!
You are a few minutes farther into your race than you were at the beginning of this article. You’ve taken a few more steps.
And I hope you have come to see that if you are going to succeed in this race, you need to know the reason God saved and sanctifies you.Only then will you be motivated to put aside the selfishness of apathy and put on the selflessness of holiness. Embrace your purpose, then run to win!
Note: My book Do More Better is a practical guide to a life of productivity with productivity defined this way: “Effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.” If this is an area of struggle, consider reading the book. Then join us next time as this series continues with “Renew Your Mind.”
Run to Win!:
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Jesus Christ in the Book of Romans
To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Lord Jesus, for the last eight and a half years I have spoken from this pulpit primarily about you from the book of Romans. Not only about you — I have also spoken to you before every message, seeking your help to preach the truth of your word and not my own.
Indeed, I have tried to speak as in God’s sight, in your strength, in the way that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 2:17: “For we are not, so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as from God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
” So I have tried to unfold the meaning of your word in the book of Romans by speaking from you and through you, praying to you even as I spoke.
Eight Years of Speaking About You
But mainly I have spoken about you. That’s what preaching is. That’s what you meant it to be when you sent your ministers to preach the gospel. Two times in the book of Romans you say that the gospel is the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:19) or the gospel of God’s Son (Romans 1:9). You make plain that it’s about you.
And so you meant for the preaching of the gospel to be mainly about yourself — “the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Romans 16:25). So I do not regret that these eight and a half years have been about you. That was your design. That was my delight.
I pray that you would sanctify those eight years to the people for the glory of your name and the good of your people and the blessing of the world.
Now Speaking to You
But, Lord, it has seemed to me in these recent days that the time has come not merely to speak mainly about you, but to speak mainly to you. I have always been helped by St. Augustine’s Confessions.
What a great work you did in his life! What a legacy he left to the world because of you! But what is so remarkable about those three hundred pages is that every line is addressed to you and to the Father. He did not just write about what you did in his life.
He prayed his entire book to you. Everything he said, he said to you.
Lord, that’s what I would to do in this final focus on the book of Romans. I would to speak to you. I would to praise you and thank you and ask you to make these eight years of messages soul-saving and faith-building and missions-mobilizing and justice-advancing and a great honor to you.
I thank you for the permission to do this. I do not assume that it is a wise or good thing to do. The daughter you gave me did not think it was a good idea. She said, “If you pray for thirty minutes, we’ll have to keep our eyes closed and it will be boring.
” And Lord, you know what a sin it is to bore your people with the word of God.
Looking at Your People, Speaking to You
But you showed me something as I sought your permission to do this. You showed me Romans 8:9–10.
I asked you, Lord, won’t it be very awkward for me to be talking to you and yet looking at the people? Won’t they feel strange? We don’t usually talk to one person and look at another person.
That’s why we usually close our eyes when we pray. But then I read this in your word about my brothers and sisters who sit today under this word:You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Lord, what are you saying here in the words, “but if Christ is in you”? Are you not saying, “I am present and dwelling in every believer in this room”?
“Jesus is in heaven on the throne, and he is on the earth in his people.”
So, Lord, if I would look toward you as I pray, where shall I look? And you seem to answer, “You may look at my people, because that is where I am. If anyone does not have my Spirit, he does not belong to me. But there are many in this room who belong to me. I dwell in them. I am in heaven on the throne, and I am on the earth in my people.”
And so, Lord Jesus, I thank you for this permission to speak to you and look at your people.
Indeed, I pray that when I look at them, while talking to you, the wonder that you dwell in them, will become a precious Christmas gift this season.
Indeed, may the memory that on Christmas Eve 2006 Pastor John prayed his entire sermon and looked at his people, remind them for years to come that Christ is in them, and therefore, they are his.
The Desire to Praise You
As we come to the end of this book, my overwhelming desire is to praise you — and through you to praise God the Father with the help of God the Holy Spirit — for the glorious Person you have revealed yourself to be in this letter; and second, to thank you for all that you accomplished for us; and third, to embrace afresh all the benefits obtained for us in that accomplishment; and, finally, to rededicate ourselves to your invincible purpose for this world. Perhaps, oh Lord, you would grant, that many who have not prayed to you in a long time might find themselves caught up with me at some point so that my praying becomes our praying.
Praise for the Person You Are
Who are you, then, Jesus Christ? Who is this babe whose birth we mark tomorrow? Your servant Paul poured out his answer at the beginning of Romans:
God . . . promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures [the gospel] concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:2–4)
You are the Christ, the Messiah, the long awaited King of Israel, the son of David, the One to fulfill all the promises, the One to bring the kingdom of God. And you are the Son of God.Not we are sons of God, but eternally the Son of God, so that you yourself are very God of very God.
Is this not why you inspired Paul to say in Romans 9:3 that you are “the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever”? We worship you, our Lord and our God.
When you were born of the virgin Mary, you did not come into being then. No. The apostle said in Romans 8:3 that God sent “his own Son in the ness of sinful flesh.” You did not originate in flesh. You were sent into flesh. Flesh, just ours, only without sin.
You are the sinless, incarnate, second person of the Godhead, the eternal Son of God, made flesh, to be the Messiah, to be the Son of David, and to be the Savior — “Jesus.
” Your own angel told Joseph, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
We praise you and we worship you, Jesus the Savior, Christ the Messiah, Son of David, Son of God, Lord — the name used in the Old Testament for God — very God. Amen!
Thankfulness for What You Have Accomplished for Us
And with all of our hearts, now we thank you for what you accomplished for us when you came. No one else could do it. It had to be you, or there would be no salvation from our sin and from your own wrath — the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16). Only you could do it.
That’s what your servant meant in Romans 8:3: “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the ness of sinful flesh and for sin. . . .” Only you, Lord Jesus, only God-made-flesh, could accomplish what had to be done if we were to be saved.
No ordinary man would do.
“Jesus secured every promise God ever made.”
You were a faithful “servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs” (Romans 15:3). You secured every promise God ever made.You were sinlessly (Romans 8:3) obedient to your Father your whole life and fulfilled all righteousness at every point where we have failed. And that obedience reached its most glorious climax when you became “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
Oh, how you suffered and bore reproach on our behalf. “For [you] did not please [yourself], but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me’” (Romans 15:3).
And then you died. And this was the most important moment in the history of the world. Once for all, sins were paid for. Nothing before, and nothing since, has contributed anything to the payment you made for sins when you died.
For while we were still weak, at the right time [you] died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, [you] Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6–8)
And then you rose from the dead three days later, never to die again. “We know that [you] Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over [you]!” (Romans 6:9). You were “declared to be the Son of God in power . . . by [your] resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
And you did not die without us. But you took us — all of your elect, the ones who trust in you — you took us into death with you, so that the curse of our death might be behind us and not in front of us. “For if we have been united with [you] in a death [yours], we shall certainly be united with [you] in a resurrection [yours]” (Romans 6:5).
And when you died, our sin was condemned in your flesh! “By sending his own Son [by sending you!] in the ness of sinful flesh and for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3).
Were clearer words ever spoken, Lord Jesus, concerning the glory of penal substitution — this glorious doctrine that today, to our shame in the church, is so embattled and denied? That God, in your flesh, condemned sin. Not yours. Ours. Ours!You, the substitute sacrifice. You were “wounded for our transgressions; [you were] crushed for our iniquities; upon [you] was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with [your] stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Oh Lord, rescue this great truth from the mangling hands of foolish men! And may it be the foundation of all our faith and joy and worship and obedience!
And because you bore God’s condemnation in your flesh for our sins, there is redemption (Romans 3:24). The forgiveness of sins — countless sins — was purchased once for all. Nothing we do can add to your payment. Every debt that we ever had has been paid up in full by your blood, oh Lamb of God.
And all your obedience and all your righteousness was consummated when you died so there would be for us a perfect righteousness by which we could stand acceptable to God — justified by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of your imputed righteousness alone, to the glory of God alone (Romans 5:19; 4:25).
And by all this, and as the goal of all this, the greatest good of the gospel was achieved for us: reconciliation with God.
Not just forgiveness of sins, not just imputed righteousness, but being at home in the presence of your Father and our God. “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).
Your death, Lord Jesus, restored us to what we were created for — seeing and enjoying and reflecting God.
And what is all this, but eternal life — to know and enjoy God forever? All because of you: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in [you!] Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
How much more could we say about your work for us: your sending work (Romans 1:5), your faith-awakening work (Romans 10:17), your welcoming work (Romans 15:7), your church-building, church-uniting work (Romans 12:5), your signs and wonders and sanctifying work (Romans 15:18–19)!
Embracing Your Gifts Afresh
But we turn now, Lord, from thanking you for your work to embrace afresh — perhaps some of us here for the first time — the benefits you obtained for us by your work. By faith we take them, receive them, embrace them, treasure them, knowing full well that this very gift-receiving faith is a gift (Romans 10:17).
- We embrace the truth that we have died to sin and to the law and now belong to you alone, alive from the dead forever (Romans 6:2–5; 7:4–6).
- We embrace afresh the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 4:6–7).
- We embrace the reality that our condemnation is past (Romans 8:1).
- We exult in the truth that our justifying righteousness is unshakable, because it is performed by you, not by us (Romans 5:17–19; 4:4–9).
- We affirm with joy that you indwell us by your Spirit and are with us forever (Romans 8:10).
- We embrace the truth that you unite us to each other in loving harmony (Romans 15:5; 12:16).
- We hold fast the promise that we are being conformed to your image, and that your death and resurrection guarantees that this will be completed (Romans 8:28–30).
- We receive the gift that you enable us to do significant work for the advance of your kingdom (Romans 15:18).
- We glory in the truth that we are fellow heirs with you of all that God owns and all that God is (Romans 8:17; 4:13).
- And we take heart that nothing can separate us from your invincible love or from the love of God the Father because of your work on our behalf (Romans 8:32–39).
“What matters is the glory of Jesus’s supreme worth, and the glory of his Father.”
And rooted in all of this, we receive afresh the promise of your everlasting joy. In Paul’s words, spoken to us on your behalf, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Rededication to Your Purpose for the World
And because of all this, Lord, henceforth we dedicate ourselves again to your invincible purpose for the world. None of us knows if we will see another Christmas Eve. That matters very little. What matters is the glory of your supreme worth, and the glory of your Father. And the upbuilding your church in unshakable faith.
And the evangelization of the nations. And the salvation of perishing sinners. And to that end, we rededicate ourselves to your purpose — to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through you and the great salvation that you have accomplished.
“To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Powerful Prayers for Marriage and Restoration [Quotes + Verses]
Do you feel your relationship is in trouble? Perhaps your better half has left, your marriage is on the rocks, or you simply feel place with the person you are with. You value the relationship that you have with your husband or wife, and you honor and respect the vows that you took in front of God and witnesses.
Despite the best of intentions, there are times when even the most perfect relationship has problems and issues. It is common for a member of the relationship to run-away from those problems, or refuse to face them by trying to leave the relationship and the home you’ve made together.
Do not despair, there is hope, you just have to find faith and encouragement from our gracious Lord above.
Prayer can repair the most damaged marriage. The power of God can bring two people, who are intended to be together, back into a love filled marriage. Your union will know the love from the blessings of God if you keep your eyes on Him in all things. Through prayer, anything is possible.
God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He can mend any bridges that may have been burned by conflict, clear away any confusion, and give you the power to forgive when needed most. If your relationship is in need of a blessing and you have nowhere to turn, always consider the power of prayer.
God is always there to listen, and his followers on earth are always ready to assist in having your prayer requests heard.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Prayer for Restoring Marriage
Lord, I come before you today with a heavy heart; my marriage is in grave trouble, and I need Your help and closeness. Please make changes in my spouse's heart. Make us compatible again, and bring us closer together as we were before.
Fill us with Your love and give us the strength to love one another, care for one another, and fulfill your life long wishes for us. Show us the harm caused by careless, uncalled for words, and the pain caused by emotional distance. Heal the division between the two of us.
Make us one again. In Your precious name I pray, amen.
Prayer for a Loving Soulmate
I seek a partner who enhances me by his/her very being.
who brings more love, joy, peace and prosperity to my life, Who I can love fully and who can fully receive my love, Who loves, honors and cherishes me completely, and always.
May my heart be open and my head be clear. May my life be ready to welcome True love. May I be embraced in a circle of your love An uplifted by your grace. And so it is.
Prayer for a Marriage In Need
My heart cries out to You, my Maker of Heaven and of Earth! Please bring healing to our broken hearts, bring restoration to our relationship, ignite lost passion, and inspire forgotten intimacy. Please transform the two of us from the inside out, and lead us in Your way. We trust in you, Precious Jesus. Always. Amen.
Prayer for a Lost Love/Partner
Precious Savior, please pray that my heart's desire be granted, and the return of the love of my life would come to fruition.
I pray that my spouse/partner may have healed his/her wounds from the past, and forgiven all that has gone wrong between the two of us.
Lord, help my lost love be able to follow his/her heart to their desire and love me for me. I ask that we be forever reconciled as one, from this day forward.
Prayer for a Friends’ Troubled Marriage/Relationship
Heavenly Father, I come before you and lay this troubled marriage/relationship in your hands. I ask that you would revive this couple, and draw them toward happiness shared together.
I ask that you would renew their love and passion for one another, and that you would untangle the conflicts and strife that has damaged and angered them towards one another. Please bring understanding and tenderness of heart to both of them.
May they both embrace the miracle that you desire to do for them, and within their spirits. Amen.
Prayer for Financial Peace In Marriage
I lift up my heart to You today, my precious Lord. Please help us to rely on You more in our marriage when it comes to our finances. We can be easily distracted by the amount of money in our bank account, or even by the jobs we currently have.
Help us not to trust in the matter of money itself, but more importantly, trust in Your economy and Your word. May Your Holy Spirit fill us with wisdom in how to manage our finances, give us generous hearts to give to those in need, and teach us to not worry about money so much.
We pray there would be peace in our marriage, especially over finances, at all times, and in all ways. May Your presence keep us grounded, keep us calm, and keep us in Your will always.
Prayer for Clear Communication in Relationships
Lord, I feel my partner and I have had a difficult time clearly communicating with one another lately. We are both lacking in our compassion and understanding towards each other.
I pray we would be better than this, and that You will open our hearts to You. Holy Spirit, please help us be better communicators with each other.
I pray that we would live with understanding for what the other person is going through, and that we are thoughtful in our words and actions. Amen.
Bible Verses about Marriage:
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:9