Prayer-response to Southern Seminary chapel sermons: 3/25 and 3/27/08.
You know my heart even better than I know myself. You know my sins against You, dear God. You know my weaknesses. You know how I struggle with those things mentioned in chapel this week: with failure to place You as my absolute priority, with compromise. You know my desperate need for Your Son- for His perfect obedience to You, where my obedience has failed and earned me Your just condemnation, for His work on the Cross satisfying Your wrath against my sin, for His resurrection power and intercession at Your right hand, so that my imperfect works may be acceptable in Your sight and I may be more conformed to His image. You know with what expectation the spirit You placed within me longed to hear Your Son proclaimed from Your Holy Word in chapel this week. You know what disappointment I have suffered in hearing other things- tangential truths of Your Word apart from He who is Truth itself- proclaimed instead.
Omniscient God, my Holy Lawgiver and Judge,
You know the thankfulness of my heart for the work You have done in the Southern Baptist Convention and at Southern Seminary. I praise You for the faithfulness You have given Your people to the Scriptures and to the gospel of our Lord. Shall we now, in affirming the Scriptures as inerrant, yet forget that all the Scriptures point to Christ? Shall we now begin to view the gospel as a first step to be followed by a life of mere moral instruction? Shall we not seek Christ Himself and His glory in all things through reflection on who He is and what He has done? I praise You that the leadership and faculty of Southern Seminary is committed to training ministers to proclaim Christ from all the Scriptures. But, O God, You be the judge of whether we have seen this consistently modeled in our chapel services. You be the judge of whether the talk on Tuesday gave any clear presentation of who Jesus is and what He has done. You be the judge of whether the sermon today could not have been preached by Pelagian heretic, a Roman Catholic, or even a Jewish rabbi or Pharisee, if only the word "church" was changed to "synagogue."
Immutable God, free from favoritism,
Does it honor You when we applaud men in chapel due to their secular achievements? Would it not be better to applaud You when we have a preacher from a small church who has faithfully proclaimed Christ speak to us (if that is ever to happen)?
Lord of hosts,
I thank You for the work of the early Baptists who served in the military. I praise You for the accounts I've heard in Baptist History of men in Cromwell's army who spread Your gospel across the English countryside. I praise You for the churches that were planted, for the false religion that was challenged, and for the lives that were changed. O Lord, was this advance of Your gospel accomplished by those who were unclear in proclaiming Your Son? Has Your Holy Spirit ever been pleased to work by men who speak approvingly of soldiers speaking in the name of Jesus or 'whatever name of their choosing'? Can Your glorious gospel be reduced to 'make God the priority of your life'?
God of grace,
You have heard the speeches made from the pulpit of chapel at Southern Seminary this week. You have heard the exhortation to make You our priority. You have heard the admonition to personal integrity. You know that these good messages apart from Christ are damning. You know that we have all failed and will continue to fail in making You our priority. You know that we all lack a perfect, holy character free of compromise. You know the burden that these admonitions place on men's hearts that mere principles and commands are unable to lift. You know that if we try to follow these instructions, we will be subject to pride or despair and will sink into Hell under Your just condemnation. So You know how Jesus must be proclaimed in order that reconciliation to You may be affected. You know how people must be pressed to forsake any false hope, but to cling to Your Son in faith. You be the judge of whether faith in Christ was proclaimed this week.
Work in the ministry of the men who spoke in chapel this week. Have Your gospel to sound clearly through their words, so that they may make the most of every opportunity to proclaim Jesus. Grant wisdom to the leadership of Southern Seminary, that they may present the students with models of Christ-centered, biblical preaching.
My trust is only in the righteousness of Christ. Any action I perform is stained by sin. I pray for the intercession of the Holy Spirit, that my prayer might be heard and accepted at Your throne of grace through the blood of the Lamb.
It is in the precious name of Jesus that I pray,