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John Piper’s Prayer for Minneapolis

The Sorrows of Minneapolis

A Prayer for Our City

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Almighty and merciful Father,

Hallowed be your name in Minneapolis. Revered, admired, honored — above every name, in church, in politics, in sports, in music, in theater, in business, in media, in heaven or in hell. May your name, your absolute reality, be the greatest treasure of our lives. And may your eternal, divine Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord — crucified for sin, risen from the dead, reigning forever — be known and loved as the greatest person in this city.

It was no compliment to the city of Nineveh, but it was a great mercy, when you said to your sulking prophet Jonah, “Should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left?” (Jonah 4:11).

Oh, how kind you are to pity our folly rather than pander to our pride. Jonah could not fathom your mercy. His desire was the fire of judgment. And you stunned him, and angered him, with the shock of forgiveness.

“Oh, how large is your heart toward cities in their sin and misery.”

And have we not heard your Son, crying out to the city that would kill him, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)?

Oh, how large is your heart toward cities in their sin and misery.

Yes, we have heard you speak mercy to great cities. Did you not say, to Jerusalem, “This city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth” (Jeremiah 33:9)? They were not worthy — not any more than Nineveh, or Minneapolis. But you are a merciful God, “slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).

And what are we? Debtors. Whose only hope is grace. For we could never pay back the honor we have stolen from your name. How precious, then, is the lightning bolt of truth that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!” (1 Timothy 1:15).

And for what have you saved us, Father? To what end did you forgive, and cleanse, and free, and empower your people? You have told us, “In the coming ages I will show the immeasurable riches of my grace in kindness toward you in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Yes. That is best. You are your best gift to us.

But that’s a long way off, Lord. What about now? For now, we live in Minneapolis, not heaven. This is our home away from Home. We love our city. We love her winters — yes, we do — and cherish her spring. We love her great river and her parks. Her stadiums and her teams. We love her lakes and crystal air. We love her beautiful cityscape. We love her treelined neighborhoods, her industry, her arts, her restaurants, and recycling.

And we love her people. Her old immigrant Swedes and new immigrant Somalis. Her African Americans, her Asians, her Latinos. We love those with so many genetic roots they don’t know what box to check. We love her diversity — every human precious because you made each one like yourself and for your glory.

This is our home away from Home. We are sojourners and exiles in this city (1 Peter 2:11). So we ask again: For what have you saved us? Here and now?

Open our hearts to hear your answer, Lord: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).

Yes, Lord. Yes. This is our heart for Minneapolis. We seek her welfare. We pray on her behalf.

For those who knew George Floyd best and loved him most, bring them your consolation, and direct their hearts to the God of all comfort.

For Derek Chauvin, who put his knee on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, until he died, we ask for the mercy of repentance and the judgment of justice. For officers Thomas Lane and Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng, who stood by, we pray that grief and fear will bear the fruit of righteous remorse; and may the seriousness of the killing and the cowardice of the complicity meet with proper penalties.

For the upright police who have watched all ten minutes of the unbearable video of Floyd’s dying, who consider it “horrific” and “inhuman,” who find it unbelievable that Chauvin did not say a single word for seven minutes as the man under his knee pled for his life, and who lament with dashed hopes that they must start again from “square one” to rebuild what meager trust they hoped to have won — for these worthy servants of our city, we pray that they would know the patient endurance of Jesus Christ, who suffered for deeds he did not do.

“We pray that the compounding of sorrows will not compound our sin, but send us running to the Savior.”

For police chief Medaria Arradondo, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, our Mayor Jacob Frey, and our Governor Tim Walz, we ask for the kind of wisdom that only God can give — the kind king Solomon had when he said, “Cut the baby in half” (1 Kings 3:16–28), and discovered the true mother.

May our leaders love the truth, seek the truth, stand unflinching for the truth, and act on the truth. Let nothing, O Lord, be swept under the rug. Forbid that any power or privilege would be allowed to twist or distort or conceal the truth, even if the truth brings the privileged, the rich, the powerful, or the poor, from the darkness of wrong into the light of right.

For the haters and the bitter and the hostile and the slanderers — of every race — we pray that they will see “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We pray that the light will banish darkness from their souls — the darkness of arrogance and racism and selfishness. We pray for broken hearts, because “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

We pray that our city will see miracles of reconciliation and lasting harmony, rooted in truth and in the paths of righteousness. We pray for peace — the fullest enjoyment of shalom, flowing down from the God of peace, and bought at an infinite price for the brokenhearted followers of the Prince of Peace.

And as the scourge of COVID-19 has now killed 100,000 people in our nation, and still kills 20 people a day in our state — most of them in our city — and as the virus wreaks havoc with our economy, and riots send lifetimes of labor up in smoke, and the fabric of our common life is torn, we pray that the compounding of sorrows will not compound our sins, but send us desperate and running to the risen Savior, our only hope, Jesus Christ.

O Jesus, for this you died! That you might reconcile hopeless, hostile people to God and to each other. You have done it for millions by grace through faith. Do it, Lord Jesus, in Minneapolis, we pray. Amen.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2020 in Minneapolis

 

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Risk and the Cause of God (A John Piper Sermon)

What a great challenge to us to risk our lives for the cause of Christ and not waste our lives! After listening to this sermon, you might want to read Piper’s book Risk Is Right.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2020 in risk

 

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What Are Your Thoughts on Halloween? (John Piper)

What Are Your Thoughts on Halloween? (John Piper)


What are your thoughts on Halloween?

It’s kind of one of those questions of, “Do you see Christ against culture, Christ in culture, or Christ over culture?”

I would guess that at our church there would be people from one end of perspective to the other.

That is, some who say, “We don’t want anything to do with that demonic holiday! Why would you even be involved with that at all?” And others who would have their children dress up as a butterfly and go knocking on doors and say, “Trick or treat!” And then in the middle would be people who do counter events, like a thing at the church where you dress up like biblical characters and have a great time.

I’m totally OK with the middle one and the first one. And sort of OK with the second one. I grew up trick-or-treating. We were pretty serious trick-or-treaters, right into teenage years.

There isn’t much in my neighborhood. We’re kind of an inner-city neighborhood, and it’s not the most lucrative place to go knocking on doors. You’re not going to fill your bag up with the best. You better go to the suburbs if you want to get a good pile.

So I would hope that all Christians would think biblically and carefully about any holiday, any event, and how they might be salt and light in it. And if they feel like this can be of value to the kids in some way, to teach them—if it can be an innocent way of enjoying God’s grace and teaching lessons—so be it.

I’m willing to run the risk of attachment to worldliness in order to be biblically faithful in witness. The same thing with Christmas and birthdays and Easter and worshipping on Sunday. All of these things have pagan connections.

I want to be loose and broad and give freedom to believers to find their way to be most effective. So I respect those who are renouncing it as too connected with evil, and I respect those who say, “No, let’s redeem it and penetrate it and use it.”

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2019 in Halloween

 

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Still Another Great Quote from Pastor John Piper: A Definition of SIN!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2019 in sin

 

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Another Great Quote from Pastor John Piper: My Feelings!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2019 in feelings

 

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A Great Quote from Pastor John Piper: The Purposes of God

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in sovereignty

 

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Habits of Holiness: #2- Stop Playing with Praying!

A man went to see his doctor. The doctor said to the man, “I have some very bad news for you. I am so sorry.” The man said “What?!” The doctor said, “You’re going to die!” The man said, “How much time do I have, Doc?’ The doctor said ’10’.” “Ten?” The man said. “Ten what? Ten years? Ten months? WHAT?!” The doctor said, “9. 8. 7.”

Now, I’ve not been told that I only have six months to live, but what if that were true? What would I do for the next six months? How would my life change? What priorities would take center stage in my life? How would such news impact my relationship with others — my unsaved friends, my fellow Christians, my wife, my children and grandchildren?

The spiritual discipline that I probably struggle the most with is . . . PRAYER! I think of prayer as a kind of last-resort-passive-practice when I can’t solve my own problems. It seems I have God on speed dial and His only number is 911.

Pastor John Piper puts it this way: “One of the Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 8.14.02 PMgreat uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

Mind if I give you an assignment? Study one of the great prayers of the Bible (the Apostle Paul has some fantastic ones in his epistles). Make a note below in the Comments’ section which prayer you studied. How would your prayer life change if you prayed like that? [I’ve studied Paul’s prayer in Colossians and you can access that prayer here.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in prayer

 

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How Should I Pray for . . . Others? (A Study of Colossians 1:9-14) Part 9

When I think of endurance, I immediately think of the word IdidarodThis annual long-distance dog race is run in early March entirely in the state of Alaska.  Mushers and a team of 16 dogs cover the distance in 8-15 days or more through blizzards in sometimes whiteout conditions.  One thousand and forty-nine miles!

Talk about endurance!  And for the musher too!  We’ve been thinking about Paul’s prayer for the Colossian believers in Colossians 1. We’ve seen his strategic commitment to pray for them in 1:9 and then began noticing the specific content of his prayer in verses 9-12. His first request for them was that they would be filled with a knowledge of God’s will (v. 9). His second request was that they would live a life worthy of the Lord (v. 10). His third request was that they would bear fruit in every good work (v. 10). He brings a fourth request before the Lord and it is that they would grow in the knowledge of God (v. 10).  His fifth request is that they would get strong in living out the Christian life (v. 11). 

This morning let’s notice that he prays that they would —

F. Endure When Life Gets Rough (v. 11)

Paul’s specific request is that “you may have great endurance and patience.”  Great endurance.  Would anyone say that about my Christian life?  Maybe a measure of endurance, but great endurance?

If I am going to pray for other believers like the Apostle Paul did, I need to ask God to give them great endurance.  What would that look like?  Several circumstances come to my mind:

1. This believer is consistent in spending significant time in God’s Word.
2. This brother or sister is seeking to use their spiritual gifts to serve the Body of Christ.
3. This Christian is not crushed when life doesn’t go his or her way.
4. This saint longs to know the Lord better and shows it in their priorities and daily choices.
5. This follower of Jesus isn’t afraid to take some RISKS for the kingdom of God.

I’ve found John Piper’s little book helpful in this area of endurance and risk.  Piper writes:

For whom are you praying that they would have “great endurance” as they take risks for the Lord?  [I just prayed that prayer for someone specific.  Your turn] (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2018 in praying for others

 

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What’s So Amazing about Grace? — A Free Sermon Outline! (Part 1)

I’m a big believer in preaching.  We need the Word of God expounded, explained to us systematically and enthusiastically!  Regularly.  And carefully.  That’s part of the reason why I wrote the little booklet Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!  I promise you that the mistakes I have made and learned from you can learn from to!

But I want to give away some of my favorite sermon outlines — with just a dose of explanation along the way.  So, here goes a sermon I wrote on God’s amazing grace.

What’s So Amazing about Grace?
(a study of Titus 2:11-15).

I.  God’s Grace Is a Salvation-Bringing Grace (v. 11)

This grace has “appeared . . . to all people.”  In what sense?  Has the gospel gotten to everyone in the world?  No!  And that’s why God calls missionaries to share the Good News about the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, then, what does Paul mean by this grace “has appeared”?  He may be referring to the coming of the Lord Jesus to die for our sins.  HE is the grace of God come down to give His life a ransom for sinners (Mk. 10:45).

John Piper’s book God Is the Gospel makes this point quite effectively.  Listen to a few quotes from that powerful little book:

“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there? ”

“Long looking with admiration produces change. From your heroes you pick up mannerisms and phrases and tones of voice and facial expressions and habits and demeanors and convictions and beliefs. The more admirable the hero is and the more intense your admiration is, the more profound will be your transformation. In the case of Jesus, he is infinitely admirable, and our admiration rises to the most absolute worship. Therefore, when we behold him as we should, the change is profound.”

Piper says many other things in that little book, but essentially his point is:  When you believed the gospel, YOU GOT GOD!  God’s salvation-bringing grace redeemed you.  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2018 in Titus 2

 

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Back to the Basics! Theology Proper #5 God Is the Gospel!

In his wonderful little book, God Is the Gospel, John Piper reminds us of the truth that when you believed the gospel, you got God!  The God who exists is a relational God — and He wants us to have a relationship with Him.

Genesis 1 tells us that: 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

In Genesis 2 we read, Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. . . . 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” 18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Please notice that God created man to take care of creation.  But very quickly God saw something that was not good in His creation:  man was alone.  ALONE?!  He had GOD!  Yes, but man needed a counterpart.  So God created Eve.

We were created for relationships.  And sin has ruined the garden’s perfection and man’s relationships with God and with one another.  The gospel brings us back into a proper relationship with God.  And with others.

 

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2018 in doctrine of God

 

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