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James Banks

James Banks

Dr. James Banks and his wife have two adult children and live in Durham, North Carolina, where he is the pastor of Peace Church. He is the author of The Lost Art of Praying Together, Praying the Prayers of the Bible, Prayers for Prodigals, and Prayers for Your Children. Find books by James Banks

Articles by James Banks

When Beauty Never Ends

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

The Perfect Prayer Partner

Few sounds are as beautiful as hearing someone who loves you pray for you. When you hear a friend pray for you with compassion and God-given insight, it’s a little like heaven touching earth.

How good it is to know that because of God’s kindness to us our prayers can also touch heaven. Sometimes when we pray we may struggle with words and feelings of inadequacy, but Jesus taught his followers that we “should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). God’s Word shows us that one of the reasons we can do this is that Jesus himself “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34).

We never pray alone, because Jesus is praying for us. He hears us as we pray, and speaks to the Father on our behalf. We don’t have to worry about the eloquence of our words, because no one understands us like Jesus. He helps us in every way, presenting our needs before God. He also knows when the answers we ask for would not be good for us, handling every request or concern with perfect wisdom and love.

 Jesus is the perfect prayer partner—the friend who intercedes for us with immeasurable kindness. His prayers for us are beautiful beyond words, and should encourage us to always pray with thankfulness.

Fresh Faith

When our son was struggling with heroin addiction, if you had told me God would one day use our experience to encourage other families who face these kinds of battles, I would have had trouble believing it. God has a way of bringing good out of difficult circumstances that isn’t always easy to see when you are going through them. 

The apostle Thomas also didn’t expect God to bring good out of the greatest challenge of his faith—Jesus’s crucifixion. Thomas wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus came to them after the resurrection, and in his deep grief he insisted, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were… I will not believe” (John 20:24). But later, when Jesus appeared to all the disciples together, out of the dust of Thomas’ doubts God’s Spirit would inspire a striking statement of faith. When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28), he was grasping the truth that Jesus was actually God in the flesh, standing right in front of him. It was a bold confession of faith that would encourage and inspire believers in every century that followed.

Our God is able to inspire fresh faith in our hearts, even in moments when we least expect it.  We can always look forward to His faithfulness. Nothing is too hard for Him!

Prayers to Say Thank You

Where would you be without Jesus? Take a moment to really think about it. The words of Ephesians 2:12 sum it up well: “without God and without hope.” Without Jesus, we would be hopelessly, eternally lost.

We can never thank God enough and praying the “thank you prayers” of the Bible cultivates gratitude in us and opens our eyes to…

Prayers for Guidance and Direction

Scripture tells of God guiding His people through all kinds of circumstances. He went ahead of Israel through the wilderness, leading them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21). He sent angels to lead Lot and his family out of Sodom (Gen. 19:16) and Peter out of prison (Acts 12:7). Both…

Prayers About Everyday Needs

Sometimes I rush into heaven’s throne room with a list. Though God’s Word encourages us to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Heb. 4:16), there are moments when I wonder if I’m a little too bold. When my mind is filled with the things of this earth, I can only imagine what it looks like in heaven...…

Prayers to Confess Sin and Humble Ourselves

Of all of Jesus’ names and titles, the one I like best is the one the Pharisees gave Him: Friend of Sinners. I believe it was one of His favorites too. Jesus said that He “came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). “Friend of Sinners” captures the reason He came better than any other title. A…

Prayers to Praise and Honor God

Not far from my home is a place of local legend called Sennett’s Hole. A quarter-mile hike through the woods takes you there to a picturesque bend in the Eno River framed by granite rocks and old-growth trees.

Locals say it was the site of a mill in the 1700s and that the pioneer who built the mill lost his…

The Best Portion of All

“His piece is bigger than mine!”

When I was a boy my brothers and I would sometimes bicker about the size of the piece of homemade pie mom served us. One day Dad observed our antics with a lifted eyebrow, and smiled at Mom as he lifted his plate: “Please just give me a piece as big as your heart.” My brothers and I watched in stunned silence as Mom laughed and offered him the largest portion of all.

If we focus on others’ possessions, jealousy too often results. Yet God’s Word lifts our eyes to something of far greater worth than earthly possessions. The psalmist writes, “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart” (Ps. 119:57-58). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writer conveyed the truth that nothing matters more than closeness to God.

What better portion could we have than our loving and limitless Creator? Nothing on earth can compare with Him, and nothing can take Him away from us. Human longing is an expansive void; one may have “everything” in the world and still be miserable. But when God is our source of happiness, we are truly content. There’s a space within us only God can fill. He alone can give us the peace that matches our hearts.