A Very Good Fight

At the end of his life, Paul said “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7). Keeping faith for a life time is the result of fighting the good fight for a lifetime. And if faith includes at least the taste of joy in the glory of Christ, then this lifelong fight is a fight for joy – a very good fight.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 39

Two Ways the Word of God Functions in Prayer

These two – the Spirit’s power and direction – correspond to two ways that the Word of God functions in our prayer.  The power of the Spirit is offered in promises of God’s Word, and we experience it by faith in the promise.  The direction of the Spirit is embodied in the wisdom of God’s Word, and we experience it by being saturated with that wisdom.  So if we would “pray in the Holy Spirit” we should, like Mueller, pray the Word of God, trusting the promises and absorbing the wisdom.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 167

How to Have Spiritual Prayers

But when you saturate you mind with the Christ-exalting Word of God and turn it into prayer, your desires and your prayers become spiritual.  That is, they are shaped by the Holy Spirit into God centered, Christ-exalting prayers.  The glory of Christ, and the name of God, and the spiritual well-being of people and the delight you have in knowing Jesus – these become your dominant concerns and your constant requests.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 166

Praying Without Ceasing

Praying without ceasing means at least three things.  First, it means that there is a spirit of dependence that should permeate all we do…

Second – and I think this is what Paul has in mind most immediately – praying without ceasing means praying repeatedly and often.

Third, praying without ceasing means not giving up on prayer.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 157

How to Become a Pharisee

Without prayer we will try to fulfill the Word in our own strength and think we are succeeding and so become proud Pharisees; or we will realize we are not succeeding and will give up in despair.  Those are the only alternatives for those who try to live the Word of God without the Spirit of God – that is, those who try to separate the discipline of meditation from the dependence of prayer.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 149

Dependence of Prayer on Meditation and Vice Versa

Prayer without meditation on the Word of God will disintegrate into humanistic spirituality.  It will simply reflect our own fallen ideas and feelings – not God’s.  And meditation, without the humility of desperate prayer, will create proud legalism or hopeless despair.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 149

Watching the Early Church Pray for Everything in Joy

Watching the early Church pray for everything for joy:

  1. The Early Christians called on God to exalt His name in the world.  (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 9:2)
  2. The Early Christians called on God to extend His kingdom in the world (Matthew 6:10; Revelations 21:4)
  3. The Early Christians called on God for the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 3:19; Acts 4:31)
  4. The Early Christians called on God to save unbelievers. (Romans 10:1; Matthew 13:44; Luke 15:7)
  5. The Early Christians called on God for healing (James 5:13-15; Acts 8:7)
  6. The Early Christians called on God for strategic wisdom. (James 1:5; Colossians 1:9, 3:16)
  7. The Early Christians called on God for unity and harmony in the ranks (John 17:20-21; Philippians 2:2)
  8. The Early Christians called on God to help them know Him better. (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 1:17)
  9. The Early Christians called on God to help them comprehend the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:14, 18)
  10. The Early Christians called on God for a deeper sense of assured hope. (Ephesians 1:16, 18, Romans 15:13, 5:2, 12:12)
  11. The Early Christians called on God for strength and endurance (Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 3:16; Nehemiah 8:10)
  12. The Early Christians called on God for their faith to be preserved. (Luke 22:32, 21:36; II Corinthians 1:24; Philippians 1:25)
  13. The Early Christians called on God that they might not fall into temptation.  (Matthew 6:13, 26:41)
  14. The Early Christians called on God to complete their resolves and enable them to do good work. (II Thessalonians 1:11, Colossians 1:10, Acts 20:35)
  15. The Early Christians called on God for forgiveness for their sins. (Matthew 6:12)
  16. The Early Christians called on God for protection from the evil one.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p.143-146