Elder's Prayer - April 7, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
I’ve heard Rick Holland say publicly that you read a book for the purpose of finding particular sentences or paragraphs that prove helpful. I think his point is valid. I don’t read an entire book for the sake of reading the whole book, I read it to discover the most impactful sentences or paragraphs or mind changing thoughts the book contains.
An example of this happened to me just a couple of weeks ago. I was rereading Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something to prepare for a discussion with a handful of senior high school boys. I had read this book 4 or 5 times previously, but I discovered something new to me. A simple 5-word sentence grabbed me. “We become what we behold.” I pointed this sentence out to the boys. I’m not convinced it grabbed them like it did me at our early morning meeting. BUT it grabbed me and I’ve thought about it many times since.
We become what we behold.
So the leading question that comes from that sentence is to ask myself “What am I beholding?” Seemingly an important question to answer because that indicates what I am becoming. So I’ll ask you. What are you beholding? What are you allowing to captivate your mind? What or whom do you hold in highest regard? What are you placing great worth or value upon? Where does your hope reside? What dominated your thoughts this past week or even this morning? What causes you anxiety or is the source of your worrisome thoughts? This might be an indicator of what you are beholding.
What we behold is what we become. It’s worth considering. Are we beholding Christ? If so, we are becoming more like him through the process of sanctification. Are we beholding something else in this world? If so, we are sinfully becoming more like that temporal object of our affection. What we behold, matters.
Let’s pray together.
Father God, you created us in your image, either male or female. You created us to behold you, to worship you. Yet in our fallen, sinful state, we are tempted to behold other parts of your creation. We are tempted to behold idols of this world. We are tempted to worship money, power or influence, approval or esteem from men, vocational success, people in our lives including spouses, children, family and friends. Help us see what we are tempted to behold besides you and you alone. I beg that you would forgive us when we behold or worship idols of creation instead of you, our Creator God.
Scripture teaches that you want us to behold You and your glory, to become more like you as believers are transformed into the likeness of Christ. We are to put on the things of Christ and put off the sinful idols of this world that steal attention, praise and worship that is due to you alone.
I pray that we would rejoice in you as we behold you. I pray that we would slow our minds to behold that you are true, you are honorable, you are just, you are pure, you are lovely, you are commendable, you are the picture of excellence and you are worthy of our praise. I pray that we would dwell on these truths, that we would preach them to ourselves regularly, that we would practice this truth so that your peace would be with us and mark our lives.
Father, raise our minds and thoughts from the temporal towards the eternal. Help us to focus on you and sing of your goodness. To delight in your glory and obey your commands. To yearn for your revealing word. That we would meditate on scripture, to clearly see your attributes in scripture and become more like Christ, even though we know this is not natural for us. I pray that by your grace we would behold you more fervently so that we might be transformed into your likeness for your glory and your honor alone.