Today I was in a large bargain bookstore, where they have table after table of books about everything you can imagine. Sometimes, you can find some good buys on theology books. Today, my lone purchase for myself was Exploring the Worship Spectrum for $5.99. I bought a couple of books for the little guy. I am trying to get him started early. I love reading to him while he slobbers all over my arm. ("Honey, can you bring a book and a towel? It's reading time with Laran.")
However, another book caught my eye, and sparked a thought in my mind. It was entitled something along the lines of "Praying in the Harvest: How to Pray for the Lost." It made me wonder how many people think of prayer as a formula, as if there is a particular way to pray for the lost that will get more results than praying some other way. I wonder how many people doubt the efficacy of their prayer because they wonder if they said the right thing, or said it in the right way. I believe God answers prayer according to his will, not according to our eloquence. When we pray in Jesus's name, praying for things that Jesus would not hesitate to attach his own name to, God hears our prayers and answers them according to his will. I didn't read the book so I do not know what it says. But the title sparked my thinking. Perhaps it sparks yours as well.
Secondly, I came across an interview about preaching with Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Some of you will like Mark and others will not. Personally I enjoy listening to him, as much for what I disagree with as what I agree with. I am challenged by him in many areas, perhaps mostly in his boldness in speech (though perhaps sometimes a bit overly bold so as to be crass) and his ability to communicate and hold people's attention. He is not afraid to lay his proverbial all on the altar when it comes to preaching. He is not afraid to swing the Bible like a big club to confront sin and sinners. He calls himself a hard core Bible thumper.
I think this interview on preaching is worth reading. Like just about everything Mark says, there is some good and some bad. I offer no whole-hearted endorsement of Driscoll, though I have greatly benefitted from his preaching and his writing. Particularly note the amount of preparation time he puts in. And hang heavy on the last point.