Category Archives: Prayer

If My People

I try to tell myself that today is no different than any day in the last four years. No wonder I feel terrible. I turned off the tv last night about 10:30 and went to bed. I went to bed, but I didn’t get much sleep.

This morning and throughout the day I have received emails and texts from friends asking some hard questions. “I don’t understand how God would allow this leadership in government. Is this His will?” “How do I get past the anger and anxiety?” “What are Christians suppose to do now?” Reminds me of the Psalmist lament in 11:3, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous to do?” I wish I had an answer for the Psalmist.

One friend told me she could not remember an election so prayed over. I had made that same observation. I can’t recall more materials coming across my desk, more calls for prayer and fasting, and even prayer meetings for an election than this one. “Why didn’t God answer those prayers?” I don’t know that one either.

But I can say this with full confidence: Purity is on the other side of the refiner’s fire. God wants a holy people. And let’s be honest, the church is far from it. Oh, we’ll be decent and kind as long as it doesn’t inconvience us, but even in churches we don’t use the word “holy” anymore. We pretend the word is too offensive to others, but the reality is, it’s too offensive to us.

Our nation is in need of a Great Awakening. The foundations are being destroyed before our eyes and we are helpless to do anything about it. Or are we? I believe the cure begins with each one of us. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Did you notice who God requires to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways? Is it the entire country? Is it the government? No, it is His people. We must be the ones to pursue holiness in our lives. And when we do, God will heal our land.

The world will continue to act like the world. But judgement comes when God’s people act like the world. Or didn’t we read the Old Testament? How serious are you willing to get with the Lord about your sin and His holiness? Are you willing to turn from you wicked ways? Will you humble yourself before the the Lord? There is no more time for games with God. He is not one to be triffle with.

What we do now as Christians is to humble ourselves before God, confess our sin and turn from it, and seek to honor Him in all our ways. Then God will hear us and heal our land.

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Tune in tomorrow to hear from Jonathan Witherspoon, a minister and signer of the Declaration of Independence, on his thoughts concerning this.

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Filed under Church, Discipleship, Government, Holiness, Prayer, Revival

For Keeps

My wife and I were talking with some friends the other day about our kids’ art work. You know, the stuff you hang on the refrigerator and then file for all eternity. We were discussing what to do with all of it. My wife believes that one day we will give it to our kids and they will say thank you with a tear in their eye and we will all walk down memory lane together holding hands. Beautiful.

I believe most of it is destined for a garbage can, and the sooner the better. Some stuff is for keeps (I’m not that heartless) but practically speaking, what are they going to do with it? Do we plan to give it all to them when they get their first apartment so they can decorate with it? Are we going to present it to them at their rehearsal dinner? Can’t we avoid the hassle of saving it, storing it, moving it, and get rid of most of the stuff now?

I don’t really have to tell you how it was answered do I?

Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend and we were talking about prayer. He mentioned that God saves our prayers. Revelation 5:8, “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” It is kinda thrown in there like an, “Oh by the way” kinda thing, but it’s there. It appears God saves our prayers, in golden bowls no less. Each one means that much to Him.

And then God made the connection for me. I immediately thought back to my kids’ art work. Some artwork is pretty good. Some of it seems incomplete. Some artwork doesn’t make sense. Some of it we use for holiday decoration. Some is framed and hanging on our walls. Some is tacked to the refrigerator, most is stored away in a box. All of it is saved.

Perhaps our prayers are like kid artwork. Realizing that our prayers mean that much to God, should help us realize how much each one of us is loved by Him. Not only does He hear our prayers, He saves them. The good ones, the bad ones, the ones that don’t make much sense, the incomplete ones, the colorful ones, the dark ones. He’s got them all. It makes me want to pray more. It makes me want to pray like a child. My guess is, those are His favorite ones anyway.

Looks like we’ll be keeping the kids’ artwork. All of it. Especially after my wife reads this.

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Filed under Kids, Life, Prayer

Winners

There is not a parent alive who has ever watched their son or daughter step onto the field or court and not begin to pray that they would win. Some kindhearted parents will say they prayed that their child would do their best. But let’s be honest, even they want their child to win. The truth is we want our children to be winners.

I don’t believe that is anything to be ashamed of. I want my kids to win when they play sports. Of course, I expect them to practice good sportsmanship whether they win or lose and I value the character gained from losing and playing again. But I pray for them to win.

And I pay as well. I pay for batting cages, lessons, equipment, travel teams, and booster club fundraisers. I do so willingly and hope that my investment will pay back with several checks in the “w” column. I also pay with time spent at practices, backyard drills, etc. Can you relate? I bet you can because I see what other parents do to make their kids winners and I know I’m not alone.

And it isn’t just sports that we want to see them win. It’s everything from academics, arts, hobbies – anything and everything. We want our sons and daughters to be winners and we train, pay, and pray to make them such.

But what about winners of souls?

The Lord floored me with that thought recently. Am I training, paying, and praying for my kids to be winners of souls? Is that even on my radar screen? I spend time and money working with them and praying for them so they can acheive a trophy that will collect dust. And then I read Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

The crown Paul is seeking is souls. Saving souls is what he’s after. People are what he is trying to win. To the Christians in Thessalonica he writes,, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19). And to the Church in Phillipi, he calls the people he has won to Christ his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1).

To Timothy, who Paul considered “my true son in the the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2) he writes, “I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season” and “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:2,5). Paul was training and praying for Timothy to be a winner of souls and obtain a crown that won’t perish, spoil, or fade.

I’m afraid I have been majoring in the minors. But that is changing. I am now praying each day for my kids to be mighty winners of souls for the Kingdom. I’ll still pray for them during their games and such, but I will also be praying for the Lord to use them to win souls for Him. I will encourage them to be prepared in season and out of season to share the hope they have in Jesus. I will show them how to pray for their lost friends and I will train them how to lead a friend to faith in Jesus. Of course, this means I’m going to have to get in better shape as well. Game on.

I love my kids and I want them to be winners and receive a crown that will last for all eternity. Above all else, I want them to be winners of souls.

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Appeal to Heaven

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare has left me, quite frankly, forlorn.  I feel like tearing my clothes and sitting in ashes as I watch personal freedom disappear.  The Supreme Court, being the highest court in the land is the final arbiter and what it says goes.  There is no other court in which to appeal.  Or is there?

I am reminded of a flag from the Revolutionary War.  It was flown by naval cruisers commissioned by George Washington in 1775.  It is a white flag with a green pine tree on it and the words, “Appeal to Heaven.”  It was and is a call to prayer.  If you know anything about the Revolutionary War and America’s Navy, you’ll understand why this was on the flag.  The modern day comparison of a British war ship and an American Cruiser would be like an M1 Abrams tank verses a pick-up truck with a machine gun mounted in the bed.  Appealing to Heaven was the only option for the American Patriots.

But it was the option that worked.  Our nation once again faces government oppression, this time in the name of “care”.  Now that the government is in charge of healthcare, do you think it will be long before they regulate what you eat, what you play, where you live, how many kids you can have and when you are too old to be affordable?  Already we get a glimpse of what is to come as New Yorkers are facing new laws about the size of soda they can buy.  Freedom is in danger and the appeals to the highest court in the land have failed.

But we would be mistaken and neglecting our heritage if we thought the Supreme Court had the final say.  There is a higher court still and you do not need a law pedigree to have your case heard in it.  Our forefathers were in the same position we face today.  They had exhausted their appeals to King George and Parliament and freedom had been denied them.  So they appealed to Heaven.  And Heaven heard their cry.

Now is the time for their descendants to cast their appeal heavenward and ask the Judge of Heaven and earth to deliver His children and restore their freedom.

Psalm 28

To you I call, O Lord my Rock;
    do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
    I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
    as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
    toward your Most Holy Place.

Do not drag me away with the wicked,
    with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
    but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds
    and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
    and bring back upon them what they deserve.
Since they show no regard for the works of the Lord
    and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
    and never build them up again.

Praise be to the Lord,
    for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
    and I will give thanks to him in song.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
    a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
    be their shepherd and carry them forever.

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Filed under Freedom, Government, Prayer, Religious Liberty

To Your Knees!

Continued from How to Start a Revival.

Revivals start with prayer.  That’s a great Sunday School answer.  But what am I to pray?  It is always wise to begin prayer by humbling yourself before the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Creator of the Cosmos.  Confession is always a good thing.  Admit you need revival in your own heart and life.  Repent of whatever sins the Holy Spirit shows you and ask Him to pray through you (Romans 8:26-27).

Once you get yourself revived, you’re ready to pray like Paul.  2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.  We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“We constantly pray for you”.  Not only is Paul constantly praying, he is praying for them.  “Christians must pray for all things, of course, but prayers for people are infinitely more important, just as people are infinitely more important than things.” (E.M. Bounds, The Weapon of Prayer, Chapter 6.)

We are to pray for people: that they might believe on Jesus and be saved, born again. That they might live holy lives, “that God may count them worthy of His calling.”  We pray that people might be filled with God’s power to do good things and fulfill every act prompted by their faith.  And we pray that Jesus would be glorified in them.  That is what Paul is praying for these Christians in Thessalonica.

What do you think would happen in our church if we began praying for each other in this manner?   Can you imagine worship services where people gather in groups of threes and fours and pray for each other like this.  Would God answer these prayers quickly and in amazing ways?  Would lives be transformed?  Can you hear the testamonies?   I think revival would be around the corner.

 “Praying is not child’s play – not a secondary affair, or a trivial matter, but serious business.  Praying for others takes hold of time and eternity and things beyond the grave.  It is a business that involves heaven and earth.  All worlds are touched and influenced by prayer.”  (Bounds, Ibid.)  Who have you been praying for in this manner that Paul shows us?  Start with those closest to you and see how God moves.  He is anxious to answer these prayers.

Praying for others is so important that when Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, He says, pray “Our Father, give us our daily bread, forgive us, as we forgive, lead us, deliver us.”  Jesus teached us to pray in the plural.  When we pray the Lord’s prayer we are praying for others! Our families, our churches, every person that calls God, “Father”.     

What are we waiting for?   “To your knees!” is the clarion call to the church first and foremost!

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How to Start a Revival

I am convinced that the church needs revival. I am convinced that revival is this country’s only hope. So how do you start a revival?

I recently met with a group of men to talk about prayer and revival. God’s will was one of the points of the discussion. How do you know what to pray for? How do you know if it is God’s will? It becomes a stumbling block to our prayers when we aren’t sure what to ask for or how to go about asking for it. We freeze up and our prayers become timid and unsure.

I find this passage inspiring. I’ll share some thoughts on this passage and revival over the next few posts. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“We constantly pray for you.” We best learn by example and so Paul is modeling for them the first thing they should do. Pray! And to do it constantly! E.M. Bounds writes, “The one weak spot in our churches lies right here. Prayer is not regarded as being the primary factor in church life and activity, and other things, good in their places, are made primary.” (The Ministry of Prayer, Chp 7). We do lots of things, have lots of activities, but where is prayer on the list? It’s the formality. It is how we open and close an activity, not the activity itself.

That is not the case with Paul. He is showing them to pray constantly, make it your number one thing you do and do it all the time. Paul has already told them this as he closed his first letter to them, “pray continually” 1 Thes 5:17.

Revivals always begin with prayer. Are you hungry for revival? Do you look at the world and sense in you spirit that we are in need of a mighty wind from God? Then begin to pray continually. Gather others together and pray with them as well. Make prayer THE activity.

Isaiah 62:6-7 “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”

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Power of Prayer: D.L. Moody

D.L. Moody gives this illustration of the power of prayer: “While in Edinburgh, a man was pointed out to me by a friend, who said: ‘That man is chairman of the Edinburgh Infidel Club’.  I went and sat beside him and said, ‘My friend, I am glad to see you in our meeting. Are you concerned about your welfare?’

“I don’t believe in any hereafter.”

“Well, just get down on your knees and let me pray for you.”

“No, I don’t believe in prayer.”

“I knelt beside him as he sat, and prayed.  He made a great deal of sport of it.  A year after I met him again I took him by the hand and said: “Hasn’t God answered my prayer yet?”

“There is no God.  If you believe in one who answers prayer, try your hand on me.”

“Well, a great many people are praying for you, and God’s time will come, and I believe you will be saved yet.”

“Some time afterwards I got a letter from a leading barrister in Edinburgh telling me that my infidel friend had come to Christ, and that seventeen of his club men had followed his example.  I did not know how God would answer prayer, but I knew He would answer.  Let us come boldly to God.”

That should get us bending our knees a bit more.  The story comes from The Purpose of Prayer by E.M. Bounds. 

 

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