L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. is the author of "Francis and Edith Schaeffer: Expanded and Updated Edition" (also available as a Nook book) and "Francis Schaeffer: The Man and His Message," published by Tyndale House Publishers. He first met Francis and Edith Schaeffer when they went to Mayo Clinic for Francis Schaeffer's treatment of cancer in 1978. L.G. is the author of "Prayer Steps to Serenity: Daily Quiet Time Edition" (also available as a Nook book) and "Prayer Steps to Serenity the Twelve Steps Journey: New Serenity Prayer Edition." Since 1989, he has written the weekly International Bible Lesson for "The Oklahoman" newspaper. He maintains two blogs: the "Bible Lesson Forum" and the "International Bible Lessons."
How God Teaches Us to Pray: Lessons from the Lives of Francis and Edith Schaefferby L.G. Parkhurst
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In 1955, Francis and Edith Schaeffer founded L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland to demonstrate the reality of God through prayer. God so blessed their work that they began writing their many books in the 1960’s. Because of the wide circulation of Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s books in several foreign languages, many people associate their work only with logical arguments for God’s existence, with honest answers to honest questions, and with good reasons to be a Christian. However, time and again Dr. Schaeffer said that his books did not stand alone: they stood with those of his wife’s.
Edith Schaeffer’s books show the existence of God through answers to prayer and transformed lives. She wrote about the founding of L'Abri and told how they based their work on prayer. They prayed for God to send the people of His choice to them; they prayed for God to send the money they needed without soliciting for funds; they prayed for God to give them His direct leading and plan; and they prayed for God to send the co-workers of His choice. Through daily prayer and God's provision in answer to prayer, they intended to manifest the presence of God to those around them, especially to unbelievers.
Dr. Schaeffer believed that a changed life was one of the most important arguments for God's existence, and he prayed that he would be able to show others both the love of God and the truth of God at the same time in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because I have known the Schaeffers since 1978, and saw how they handled Dr. Schaeffer’s terminal cancer for more than five years; because I personally know how Edith has continued their ministry for many years since his death, I can testify that they have been and are consistent, honest witnesses to the transforming truth, power, and love of God in the best, worst, and most difficult of times.
I have written "How God Teaches Us To Pray" to glorify God, and show how any believer can pray, live, and have as close a walk with God as the Schaeffers. They were called to a specific type of ministry, but each of us can know God as deeply, as personally, and as powerfully as they did. I hope that as you read the daily devotions in this book that you will praise the God who loved them, called them, empowered them, and inspired them to pray as they did so He could answer their prayers. I hope the Holy Spirit will move you to be a more dedicated person of prayer and student of the Word, and I pray you will always know God and love His presence in your life as intimately as the Schaeffers.
These devotions do not give little daily formulas for placing God under some kind of an obligation to bless you because you have prayed in a certain way. Teaching about prayer in the context of the Schaeffers’ answers to prayer should remind all of us that God is not mechanical, but personal.
The answers to prayer in this book magnify God, because they were given to specific people absolutely devoted to loving and glorifying God at every moment and witnessing for Christ at every opportunity in the power of the Holy Spirit (even though they were the first to say that they never did this perfectly—this remained their intention). I have never heard Francis or Edith Schaeffer pray a selfish prayer, and you will never find a selfish prayer request in their books or letters. If you will make a similar whole-hearted commitment to God before beginning this book, if you will resolve to love, serve, and glorify God unreservedly and unselfishly before you read the first chapter, then by the grace of Christ and through the indwelling Holy Spirit, you will gain far more than I could ever hope or imagine.
Since the Bible must be our primary authority for what constitutes acceptable prayer to God, in each chapter I have compared what they taught and experienced with the Bible’s clear teachings about prayer. My goal in this devotional book is to encourage you, as a person of prayer, to pray daily and fervently according to the Scriptures and on the basis of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness (which He demonstrated in the lives and teachings of the Schaeffers and their L’Abri Fellowship).
I have included two appendices to help you in the study of this book. Appendix I lists some principles of prayer and where to find them in the various chapters. I encourage you to look for more principles and write in a personal prayer journal of prayer principles and private prayers. This appendix acts as a brief summary of each chapter regarding how to pray. Appendix II is a 10 week group study guide on prayer based on this book. It can be used individually and personally to help you apply the teachings in each chapter. If people who are practicing prayer as they study will discuss the ideas in each chapter as a group, then God will teach them many new things beyond the scope of this book in their discussion.
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In September 2012, I published a revised Nook edition of How God Teaches Us to Pray: Lessons from the Lives of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, and a revised edition of my biography Francis and Edith Schaeffer: Expanded and Updated Edition. The expanded biography edition also includes a section on 10 of the lessons I learned from Francis and Edith Schaeffer. Though you may have found How God Teaches Us to Pray in a search on prayer, I thought you might like to see some of the lessons I learned from Francis and Edith Schaeffer that are in the Nook biography Francis and Edith Schaeffer: Expanded and Updated Edition. As you can see, some of the lessons I learned relate specifically to prayer. Three of the 10 lessons are: Lesson 6. God is Not Mechanical, but Personal. God is the Infinite/Personal God Lesson 7. No One Becomes a Christian Apart From the Work of the Holy Spirit Lesson 8. Pray for the People of the Lord’s Choice to Come, Pray for Him to Keep the Others Away. Pray for the Lord to Meet Your Needs Without Asking for Money I hope you will find this information helpful. This seemed to be the best place to use to inform readers interested in Francis and Edith Schaeffer and prayer. L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.