Fervent, Powerful Prayer

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. — James 5:16b NLT

James 5:13-18 NLT

As small tots and children, we were taught prayers word for word.  There were prayers to say before the meals we ate and prayers to say before we went to bed at night.  These are wonderful experiences and great memories. But just as we moved from the “Dick and Jane” books, there comes a time when our prayers should become more personal.  We are still presenting the same issues to God but now instead of rote memory, they should be from a heart that understands and knows that God not only hears our prayers but He answers them.  Most of us may have had more faith that God would answer our prayers then than we do now.  Those were prayers from innocent hearts and minds.  Now, we have a lifetime of sins and doubts to overcome.  But God is still the same God we prayed to when we were children and we must approach Him with that same childlike faith.  We must become as little children in the Kingdom of God.  Part of that process is to understand that all of our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.  God sees each of us as the righteousness of Christ.  So, when we pray let us believe that we are righteous people, that God hears our prayers and  that our prayers do have great power.  Not because of us, but because of Jesus and His work that He finished at the cross.  We can know that our prayers have great power because Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying with us and the Holy Spirit is praying through us and for us.

Romans 8:26, 27 NLT

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous 

Post 02-22-2019

Real Not Ritual

8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. — Matthew 6:8 NASB

Matthew 6:5-14 NLT

Jesus starts this discussion by telling us how we should not pray.  We are not to pray just to be seen and heard by others.  If that is our motivation then the only reward we will get is the praise of those who see and hear us. Whether our prayers are realistic or ritualistic is not determined by where we pray or the words that we say.  It isn’t the length of the prayer but the strength of the faith behind the prayer.   One of the most real and shortest prayers is the cry of Peter when he was sinking in the sea of Galilee.  His cry was “Save me, Lord”.  Jesus immediately reached out His hand and brought Peter to safety. After He tells us how not to pray, He tells how we should pray.  It is a short, powerful, beautiful prayer that covers everything from God’s holiness to our dependence on God for our daily bread.  It covers forgiveness and God’s desire that His will would be done on earth even as it is in heaven.  It shows us that we need the leadership of the Holy Spirit so that we will not be led into temptation but that we will be delivered from evil.  We could pray this prayer continually and whether it becomes ritualistic instead of real would be determined by our attitude.  God has given many examples of prayer in the Psalms where David cries out with all of his heart and might.  He has also given us prayers of thanksgiving for His many blessings and benefits. When we reach the point that we have no words to express our desires, He has given us the Holy Spirit to pray through us, with us and for us.  

Romans 8:26, 27 NLT

It isn’t our words or our bodily position that determines whether our prayers are real or rituals, it is the attitude of the heart toward God and toward our fellow man that makes the difference.  It is our faith that God can and will do these things for us and that we are willing to do these things for those around us.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 01-13-2019

Our Part Is To Pray, Praise, and Stand!

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23 But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us. 24 Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” — 1 Samuel 30:23, 24 NLT

All of us are spiritual warriors and we live in a spiritual war zone.  Some of us go to other lands to carry on the battle and this is important.  But just as important are those who stay behind and guard the “stuff”.  In our case, the “stuff” is carrying on services in local churches, teaching Sunday School classes and witnessing to those around us.  We are fighting the same enemy whether we go or stay.  What sense would it make to go to battle for others and lose our own families and neighbors?  One job is just as important as the other.  How could we carry on any campaign against the enemy, if we didn’t have workers who supported the war with their tithes?  God has given each of us talents and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us to use those talents in service to Him.

Our mission, Mr./Mrs/Miss Christian, should we decide to accept it, is to determine what those talents are and use them for Kingdom purposes. There are no spectators on the battlefield.  Each of us has a job to do and God has blessed each of us with the talent to do it.  The war has been won, we know the final outcome.  Jesus wins!  But there are battles to be fought and we need to strap on the full armor of God, step up and take our position in the fight.  Just as God told Jehoshaphat, the battle is not yours, it is mine, but you and your people still have to take up your position on the battlefield
 
 

So it is today, God will win the battle for us, but we still have a job to do.  We must take up our position on the battlefield and stand while He fights the battle.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-11-2018

Sometimes A Good Father Says “No”

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 26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more.  — Deut. 3:24-26 NLT

Deut 3:24-26 ISV

From a human viewpoint, if anyone deserved to enter the Promised Land, it was Moses. When God told Moses to speak to the rock to cause water to flow out, Moses in his anger, struck the rock.  Compared to all of the foolishness of the tribes of Israel, this seems like a small thing to us.  But God views things and events from a totally different perspective.  Whatever His reasons were, God’s answer to Moses’s prayer was “No”.  God gave Paul the same answer when Paul asked God to remove “the thorn in his flesh”.  We are not sure what the “thorn” was nor exactly why God said “No”, but Paul was assured that he needed the “thorn” to keep him humble.  In both cases, God heard the prayer and answered.  Not the answer the men wanted to hear, but He answered.  The prayers that we humans refer to as “unanswered” are the ones when God gives us an answer we don’t want to hear or when we don’t agree with His answer.  Neither Moses nor Paul rebelled against God because of His answer.  They accepted the answer as God’s will and continued to be God’s servants.  God did not “owe” Moses and Paul anything for their obedience. He owes us nothing and will never be indebted to us.  We, on the other hand, owe Him everything and will always be indebted to Him.  He blesses us simply because He loves us and it gives Him great joy to bless His children.  The good works that we do are to show God’s love to others and to show our obedience to God.  
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. — Luke 6:35, 36 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-30-2018

God Faithfully Answers Our Prayers

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But he must ask in faith, without any doubts, for the one who has doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:6 ISV
 
God has promised to provide our every need and He is always faithful to fulfill His promise. He provides for us spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. When we pray as Jesus taught us to pray; “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done” and truly believe that He will answer us, He always does. He responds to our faith in Him.  

 
28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them,“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. — Matt. 9:28-30
We need to pray for wisdom, especially for wisdom in how to pray and for what things and people we should pray about. Praying is one of the simplest and yet, one of the hardest things, a Christian does.  It can be as simple as Peter’s prayer, “Lord, save me” or it can be as long as is necessary, such as the prayer that Jesus prayed for us in John 17.  Regardless of length or what words are used, the important thing is that we be serious and believe that God will do what we are asking. We cannot waver in our faith that He will do what we ask.

 

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. — John 13, 14

Prayer requires a lot of patience since we can pray for the right things and we don’t immediately see answers.  God has a plan and a purpose and a time for each phase of His plan to be implemented. We must trust that He knows best and continue to believe. We must be careful to watch for the answer because it may come in a totally different way than we were expecting. Just remember, God is always faithful and He always answers our prayers.  It may take years, just as it did for Abraham and Joseph, but He always does what He said He would do, He is “I AM”, past, present and future.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-26-2018

God Cares About the Little Things

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​​24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”—Gen. 32:24-26 NIV

There are people who pray and then there are people who really, really pray. Which one of these are we?  God is concerned about the biggest and the least little problem or issue that bothers us. He stands ready to send in a thousand angels to protect us, if that is necessary. But He wants us to ask and keep on asking until the answer comes. We may not get the answer we want, but He will always answer us. Jesus is our example and He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane until He sweat great drops of blood. Jacob refused to turn loose until He got His blessing. The woman with the issue of blood pressed through a  crowd of people just to be able to touch His garment. We, too, can really get serious about prayer when lives are at stake. What would happen if we just asked God every moment to take care of the little things? At His Mother’s request, Jesus turned the water into wine. Couldn’t we all use that kind of miracle in our daily lives?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-29-2018

“Be Faithful In Prayer”

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12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.—Romans 12:12 NIV

Too often, we confuse pleasure and happiness with joy. Pleasure and happiness are temporary. They are based on feelings, external situations and how others treat us. Joy is internal and is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a gift from God and once we have received His joy, no one can take it from us. We can fail to access it, but it is always there. In those times of affliction, it strengthens us to carry on.
 

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.—Psalm 94:19  NIV

We must be faithful in prayer.  As Paul says, “pray without ceasing”.  We are able to do that because prayer is dependent on our thought patterns and our attitude. We can pray all the time, in any situation. A prayer can be a thought that goes through your mind, It does not have to be spoken.


10 “I the Lord search the heart  and examine the mind,to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.—Jeremiah 17:10 NIV

A prayerful attitude keeps us focused on God and not on our problems or our situation. When we are focused on God, we are filled with joy because of the hope we have in Him.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-18-2018