Making Progress: Resources for the Word and Prayer
I’ve been encouraged by the feedback we have received so far about our current sermon series, Rooted: Pursuing the Means of Grace. Many of you seem motivated to put the Word and prayer to work in your life so that God can do his work in you of making you more like our Savior. As I promised on Sunday, below you will find a number of resources to help you make progress in applying my three recommendations for praying the Bible. Additionally, I’d like to reiterate the resources I recommended in my weekly email on Friday for hearing the Word. The recommendations will follow the six applications I listed in the two sermons.
In the sermon on the Bible I encouraged you to hear the Word in three domains of life:
- Hear the Word in church on Sundays. For help with this application I recommend Listen Up! A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons by Christopher Ash. We give out this little booklet to people in our Closer Look class. It gives practical guidance for hearing the Word preached.
- Hear the Word in your home. For starters you may try Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home by Donald Whitney. Our Children’s Ministry Team has given this book to families in the past. Here you’ll find some bite-size steps for hearing the Word in your home: reading, praying, and singing with your family. And if you’d like to teach doctrine to your children, I recommend The New City Catechism and The New City Catechism Devotional by The Gospel Coalition. This question and answer format is a great way to engage your children with basic doctrine (and learn for yourself too).
- Hear the Word in your personal Bible reading. The best Bible reading plan I’ve found is contained in For the Love of God (in two volumes) by D.A. Carson. These books lay out Robert Murray M’Cheyene’s classic Bible reading plan and give clear and concise commentary and application on one of the four readings for the day. You can access this same plan with the readings and commentary on The Gospel Coalition website.
In the sermon on prayer I encouraged you pray the Bible and suggested three strategies:
- Pray the Psalms. Donald Whitney has written a book called Praying the Bible. It’s a great start. It covers praying all of the Bible, but specifically contains help on praying the Psalms as well. For the Psalms specifically, you may like Ben Patterson’s book, God’s Prayer Book. It not only teaches you how to pray the Psalms, it gives a guide to the specific psalms in the Psalter. You may also find Tim Keller’s book on Psalms helpful: The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms. Or for a theology of praying the Psalms, I’ve found the following helpful: Eugene Peterson’s Answering God and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible.
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer. There are many books on the Lord’s Prayer. I’d recommend Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ classic Studies in the Sermon on the Mount and Don Carson’s Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World. There are also very helpful tips for praying the Lord’s Prayer in Tim Keller’s book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.
- Pray Paul’s Letters. If you want a guide to praying Paul’s prayers, there’s no better guide than Don Carson. Check out his book Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation. I’ve not met anyone who’s read this book that didn’t say it was a game changer for them.
If you’d like more recommendations, I’m happy to give more. Just email me! But this should give you some ideas and get you started.
Grace to you,