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Thursday, December 26, 2013

PRAY

What if we face spiritual attack when we try to increase our prayer life? In that case we need to pray. I am not sure I need to write anything else in this blog entry. The primary reason the enemy of our souls attacks when we pray is to stop us from praying. When you pray even  more you are by definition victorious.

Of course you should pray for deliverance. When you fall into sin, ask for forgiveness. When you see temptation coming pray for protection. And pray that you will not miss the growth and blessings that God has for you in the midst of a particularly painful trial.

Pray also for God to be glorified through the attack. Pray that He will be glorified as He keeps you strong. Pray that He will be glorified even in your failure.

And pray for others. Peter wrote, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. [1] Let spiritual attack remind you that others are under similar attack, and need your prayer.

When you find yourself under spiritual onslaught, pray.

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!




[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (1 Pe 5:9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

EMERSE YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD

It is tempting to write my blog this week and next on Christmas. I thrill with all the truth brought to us at Christmas. But I have been writing the past few weeks about facing spiritual attack that comes when we try to increase our prayer life. And along with loneliness and depression this time of year, most of us face spiritual attack.

After the glorious experience of Jesus’ baptism He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Again the enemy took Him to a high mountain and in an instant showed Him all the kingdoms of the world with all their splendor. “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Finally he too Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple. “Throw yourself down, if you are the Son of God. For it is written that he will command his angels to lift you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Do you see the pattern? Each time Jesus was tempted He quoted scripture. David wrote, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against Thee.” I have often heard that hiding His word in our hearts is more than simply memorizing scripture. That is true, but memorizing is a great beginning. As we commit scripture to memory we allow the Holy Spirit to transform all of our thinking, praying and living.

Put on the armor of God’s word in your life.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

RESPONDING IN PRAYER

If you significantly increase your prayer life you will certainly come under spiritual attack. So if I am going to encourage you to pray more, I need to help you prepare for the onslaught of the evil one.

I believe one of the most important things you can do when you come under spiritual attack is praise God. It is true that you need to wake up to the reality of our enemy’s schemes. But you also need to connect with the reality of our God. Nothing focuses us on the power, glory and victory of our Lord in our lives and on the earth as swiftly or thoroughly as praise. Without it even our prayers can be filled with discouragement.
I write regularly in a prayer journal. This is often my best outlet for the frustration and fear of spiritual attack. But I discipline myself to begin every entry with praise. “Father, You are glorious! You are majestic! You are mighty! You are holy! You are God Almighty!” Such praise changes the entire perspective of my prayers. I challenge you to spend some significant time today simply praising God. He is worthy of our praise and worship. He will deliver you from the hand of the enemy.
”Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.”
(2 Chronicles 20:18,19)
Verse 22 tells us that when they began to praise, God began to bring about their deliverance.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

BRACE FOR ATTACK

My primary goal in this blog is to encourage you to pray and possibly to grow your prayer life. I pray that many of you who read this blog will make significant advances in the amount of time you spend in the presence of God, worshipping, petitioning and drawing nearer to God’s heart.

So what do you think will happen if you significantly increase your prayer life? This may surprise some of you. You will certainly come under spiritual attack. So if I am going to encourage you to pray more, I need to help you prepare for the onslaught of the evil one.

The first thing you need to do is brace yourself for this reality. It is like the escapes made from German Prisoner of War Camps during WWII. When prisoners managed to escape the maximum security prison camps they knew the NAZIs would go on high alert. When you break through Satan’s efforts to keep you from praying, you will face the enemy of our souls.

In the next few weeks I will give you several means of countering spiritual attack. Our Lord has not left us defenseless. But all of these defenses require us to wake up the reality of spiritual war. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat (Luke 22:31). Are you on your guard? Much victory is achieved by simply understanding that we are called into battle.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

THANKS-GIVING

I pray that all of you are enjoying a wonderful celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the expressions of thanks to our Lord I have heard or heard about this year. One of the greatest blessings I have seen is the number of people posting daily thanksgivings on Facebook every day this month.

And with the many other expressions I would like to suggest a wonderful offering of thanks. Give thanks to God by giving to people in need. Jesus said “In as much done it for the least of these, you have done it unto me.” Many of you have been blessed by this sort of thing all your lives. Others of us will find this a new delight. And there are so many ways to give to those in need.

Living Bread Ministries, planting churches among the desperately poor. http://www.livingbread.org/ When John the Baptist sent messengers from prison asking if Jesus were the Messiah, Jesus listed miraculous proofs from healing to raising the dead and climaxed the list with the statement, “And the gospel is preached the poor.” This can still be miraculous evidence of Christ in our lives.

You can give to world hungry through the IMB which also plants churches in many places around the word. http://www.imb.org/main/give/default.asp. One great advantage to giving to hunger relief through the IMB is that a dollar buys a dollar’s worth of food. They cover distribution costs through their regular mission ministries. Give online to World Hunger Fund to meet food-related needs or to General Relief to provide other aid such as shelter or clothing. Give to help victims of disasters through our SBC partner, Baptist Global Response.

You can also give to meet human needs through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, http://www.rzim.org/ . Their Wellspring International. http://wellspringinternational.org/

And you may not have thought of your local Gospel Rescue Mission. http://www.agrm.org/agrm/default.asp  My son-in-law works at our local mission. http://www.rescue-mission.org/ He told me they have collected over 1500 turkeys to prepare for hungry families this year. Rescue missions have the added advantage of allowing you to volunteer. And they will need many extra volunteers all weekend, through Christmas and all year. My son-in-law told us about a family who have volunteered to be at the family shelter at 5:00 A.M. tomorrow to prepare breakfast. Prayer warriors could pray for hundreds of people in line while serving turkey and dressing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE ABSENCE OF FORGIVENESS

Have you wondered why we see so little power in the American church that was so blessed of God in by gone days? I have often thought it is because we depend on methods rather than prayer and the moving of the Spirit. If God blessed us in a shockingly supernatural way, who would get the glory? Our clever leaders and great methods?
But I fear that even that foolishness comes, to some extent, from a more serious deficiency. I see us doing so many things in these days with resentment buried beneath the surface of our ministries. It is beyond me how preachers can stand in the pulpit with unforgiving hearts, teachers can lead Bible studies without forgiveness and singers can offer praise with this horrible barrier between them and God. Is this a reason why we do not think to witness to people we see? Is this why our witness has so little power? How dare we come into the presence of God in prayer without seeking even the most difficult forgiveness of those who have wronged us?
Matthew 6:15 gives explanation of The Lord’s Prayer,
   but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Hearts broken over the particular sin of making excuses for unforgiveness may be the key to much spiritual power being unleashed in our churches and lives.
 

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

IS GOD LATE

In recounting all the miraculous things that God did in starting churches out of Faith Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Henry Blackaby has said, “And God was never late.” But he adds that his wife would say, “He was never a minute early either.” God often tests and develops our faith with the timing of answered prayers. He sometimes answers long after it seems to be too late.

It may seem too late when the other team is ahead by two points with only five seconds on the clock in a hard fought basketball game. But everyone in the stands will be on their feet when a second string guard throws the ball the length of the court in a final desperate attempt at a goal and the ball goes into the basket without touching the rim as the buzzer sounds.
I wonder how Martha and Mary felt at the raising of Lazarus. You know they rejoiced more than they ever had in their lives. But they were not rejoicing until the end of the ordeal. Up until then it seemed like the Lord was too late. John 11:5,6 says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, so when he heard Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” Be sure that God will come through in the crisis you are facing right now, even if you are standing at the graveside of your hopes. Keep praying and boost your faith with praise, even while it seems too late for God to work.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

LIVING AND PRAYING TO PLEASE GOD

Most of us are aware that Jesus castigated the Pharisees and even the scribes who were the Bible teachers among the people. But their theology would pass almost any test for doctrinal soundness. The Pharisees were the theological conservatives of that day.
So if their doctrine was sound, why did Jesus attack them so vociferously? The problem was with the motivation of their hearts. They behaved and believed and prayed like they did to impress people rather than God.
In Matthew 23 Jesus warned the people about the scribes and Pharisees
“They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at the feasts and the bests seats in the synagogue and greetings in the market places and being called Rabbi by others. But you are not to be called Rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.” (Matt. 23:5-8 e.s.v.)
 
It is important for us to understand that Jesus was speaking of one of the most common temptations in our lives to this day. It is easy to desire to be spiritual so we will be respected by people as spiritual. It is easy for us to even pray for God to make us successful in the eyes of other people. This is clearly an abomination to our Lord.

But I find such humble motivation very difficult to achieve. In fact, I it impossible without the help of God. I pray that God will work spiritually and supernaturally in my heart so I will seek success in His eyes rather than in the eyes of men.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

THE PRAYER OF FAITH

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
(Matt.21:22 N.I.V.)

Matthew 21 tells of a rather strange event with a startling declaration. Coming into Jerusalem on the morning after His triumphal entry, Jesus was hungry. He saw a fig tree ahead on the road. But when He reached it He found leaves but no figs.

“May you never bear fruit again.” Jesus cursed the tree. And it withered. His disciples were shocked that the tree withered so quickly.

“If you have faith and do not doubt," Jesus said, "you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done’”

I want us to examine the one caveat Jesus puts on this tremendous declaration.

“Whatever you ask, believing.” The word translated, "believing” is a verb for faith. Faith is not an emotion you can drum up. "I believe! I believe!"

Many prayers in these days are desire driven or flesh driven prayers rather than faith driven. Let me share with you several aspects of faith that shine light on what Jesus told us.

First, and foremost faith is a relationship. Once you understand this you can understand the humility, submissiveness and dependence of faith.

"Faith," Paul wrote, "comes from hearing Christ.” (Rom.10:17). The secret to participating in earth shaking miracles is listening to God's voice. Just before Elijah called fire down from heaven, he prayed (1 Kings 18:36) for the people to know there was a God in Israel, and that he had done everything according to God’s direction.

You may well have the privilege of praying for greater miracles than Elijah in these days. But you will only know how to pray from listening to God in the intimacy of faith.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

WHEN YOU ARE TEMPTED TO GIVE UP

And he told them a parable to the effect
that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
(Matt.18:1)

It is easy to get discouraged by what we see happening around you and in our society. The effects of barbarism surround us on every hand. It has been over a hundred years since we have seen a major revival in America. Even those revivals were bore seeds of corruption. We see and hear and feel the wicked results on every hand.

I have begun praying for people involved in the entertainment media. And they often show how barbaric we have become. When I look at our culture, I see no human possibility of redemption. I see nothing but a fearful expectation of judgment (Heb. 10:27). But of course there has never been any earthly hope for humanity.

What does the Bible say about this? It does say things will get worse as our redemption draws near. It also tells us God answers when we pray. It reminds us that God is sovereign over the world. It assures us that no sparrow falls to the ground without His seeing. It tells us we are going to be tempted to give up. And in those times God calls us to keep on praying, keep on trusting, keep on crying out for Him to intervene. Don’t give up.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LORD, HELP ME PRAY

Praying through an extensive prayer list I began to lose my focus. “Lord, help me pray,” I asked. As I continued I began repeatedly asking God to help me pray as I need. In this interjection into my prayers I find a power. I need God’s help in prayer.

I need God’s help to keep my focus. I need God to help me hunger to be with Him in prayer. I need God’s help to find time or take time to pray. I need God to calm my hyper active spirit to focus on Him. I need God’s help in humbling my heart before Him in prayer. I need God to boost my faith when I am discouraged. I need God’s hand in purifying my worldly heart.
“Heavenly Father, I don’t believe my lack of discipline in prayer means You are not interested in working mightily in our day. I don’t believe my weakness in prayer is because Your arm is too short to save. I believe the problem is in me. And I believe You are there to make me the prayer warrior You want me to be.”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

PERCEVERING JOY

Be joyful always;
pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. [1]
In 1 Thessalonians 5 God’s Spirit uses the Apostle Paul to instruct us in what we are to do throughout our lives. He tells us to pray continually. That is a stiff and all-encompassing command. But I believe the next command is even more demanding in these last days. We are entering times of great crises. We will be driven to our knees by many alarming circumstances. And yet we are commanded to give thanks in the midst of all of the problems that we see. For all of us that requires great faith. We have to trust that God is on the throne and that His will will ultimately be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. These two commands, “Pray continually,” And “Give thanks in all circumstances” are the key to perseverance in rejoicing. May I suggest that you try to spend an entire day thanking God every time you pray, even if you are upset about what you are praying for.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (1 Th 5:16–18). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

SOCIETY'S DIP-STICK

 I once saw a cartoon of someone going into a garage saying, “I think the car needs oil. When I checked it this morning the dipstick squeaked.

The dipstick measures the level and condition of the oil in an automobile engine. How do we measure the heart of a society? In Matthew 12 Jesus said the heart of a man is measured by what comes out of his mouth.

“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” [1]
I suspect if we were to apply this teaching on a broader level than an individual we might say you can measure the heart of a society by its art, especially the print and electronic media in our modern world. How is it? It is not all bad. There are certainly some redeeming elements in every form of media today. But I suspect realization of this fact, if it is indeed the way to measure our society, would make most people shudder.

What then can we do about this problem? Of course it will not be solved without God’s mighty hand changing the heart and hearts in our society. It will not happen simply by human effort. Even if we were able to drive out the demons we would find them bringing back worse demons to torment us.

Certainly a beginning place for changing the heart of our society is by praying for those involved with the arts, especially the communication and entertainment media. I would like to see an army praying for these things.

On top of that I would like to see people committed to pray for individual writers and artists who might by the power of God affect society positively. Are you praying for writers and actors and other artists who profess to be believers? You could begin making a list of names to pray for. You could start with actors you recognize, writers of favorite books or simply bloggers who affect a couple of dozen people each week. Who knows what God might do through your prayers?




[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Mt 12:33–37). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

HOLINESS 3


“Strive for peace with all men, and for holiness

without which no one will see God.”

(Heb. 12:14)

Holiness is Supernatural.

This is by far the most important characteristic of holiness. Even the discipline required to maintain practical day to day holiness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Don't miss the fact that God's Spirit is the HOLY Spirit.
All holiness in the human heart begins with the new birth. Only God can change your nature. You must be born of the Spirit.
In the Lord's Prayer Jesus instructed us to pray lest we be led into temptation and that we might be delivered from evil. I often need to pray for God to deliver me from lust or from entering situations where I will be tempted to lust or to some other sin.
We are tempted by an unholy heart, an unholy world and the enemy of all holiness. But we can call upon God to change our hearts and deliver us from temptation.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

HOLINESS 2

“Strive for peace with all men, and for holiness

without which no one will see God.”

(Heb. 12:14)

Holiness Is Internal.

The scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day kept strict rules of behavior. But Jesus rebuked them. “You are like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but inside full of corruption and dead men’s bones. Holiness must begin internally. If you cleanse the inside of your coffee cup, the outside will be clean too. So too with your heart. 
We are always tempted to play to a human audience. Jesus warned us not to do our acts of righteousness, like praying or fasting, before men to be seen by them. We are to do what is righteous before God who sees in secret. I have to admit that I have not kept this command. I often have to confess that I wanted to please or impress people rather than God. Jesus says this even harder. “Be careful lest people see your good works and you lose your reward from God.

Next week I will post the final and most important thing I have to say about holiness.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

HOLINESS 1

“Strive for peace with all men, and for holiness without which no one will see God.” Heb. 12:14
Holiness is not a popular subject in America. And that is tragic especially because striving for holiness is essential to prayer. David said, “If I regard sin in my heart the Lord will not hear my prayer.” (Psalm 66:18)
We are so little acquainted with the concept of holiness that we hardly know how to define it. In fact I find it easier to say what is unholy than to tell people what holiness specifically is. Because this is such an important subject, I want to take three blog entries to discuss a little of what the Bible says about holiness. I am aware that this is a difficult subject to deal with in these days. And I want to encourage you to respond to what I have written. I welcome serious discussion on this issue.
HOLINESS IS ULTIMATE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
We try very hard not to be legalists. And we are not saved by trying to keep the law. But do we miss the importance of righteousness? In Matthew 5, the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us He had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. And He points out how the prevailing interpretation of the law was not strict enough. You have heard, “Do not murder.” I say you will be judged as a murderer if you hate. You have heard “Don’t commit adultery.” I tell you that lust is the same sin.” And how do we explain to people what Jesus taught about divorce? We treat sin lightly, but Jesus is serious about sin. Are we no longer teaching people that everything is best when we are right with God?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

FOR ALL IN AUTHORITY

This is a crucial week to pray for the President of The United States and for both houses of congress. Scripture commands us to pray for all those in authority. (1Tim. 2:1-4) The particular issue of the American response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on their own people is being debated this week. And the lives of millions of people may well be affected by the outcome of these discussions.

It is important to remember that the Holy Spirit gave this command in the days of the ungodly Roman Empire. They were not to pray for the government because they wanted it to succeed in its horrific goals. They were to pray for government in spite of the threat it was to their lives.
If you allow your support or your bitter disagreement with the President or either party in congress to keep you from praying for them, you have put your faith in the idol of your political opinion rather than the God who commands you to trust him.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

RHYTHMS OF PRAYER

Most of us remember the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den from our childhood. That is part of the value and beauty of stories. We never forget them. The other officials in the Persian Empire devised a scheme in their jealousy of Daniel to have anyone praying to anyone but Darius the King in the next month to be thrown into a den of lions. Daniel’s response says much about his character.             

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” [1]
It is interesting to see that Daniel had a pattern of praying 3 times a day. Do you have a daily pattern of prayer? Our minds were created in a way that makes rhythms and patterns necessary. A great part of growing as a Christian involves developing patterns of obedience. And this is especially true of prayer.



[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Da 6:10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A BLAST FURNACE OF PRAYER

 “It is unthinkable that we would send thousands of people overseas without covering them with a blast furnace of prayer.”– Tom Elliff, IMB president

In this week’s blog I want to encourage you to praise God and pray with me for a mighty work I see Him bringing about in our day. The International Mission Board has begun a training program called The School of Prayer For All Nations.
Their website, http://www.imb.org/main/pray/ , has this invitation, “IMB invites you to be a burning ember in the blast furnace of prayer emanating from our International Learning Center in Rockville, VA.  Join other intercessors and participate in an experiential school of prayer,
which will inspire and equip you:

To walk closer with God
To pray more fervently for spiritual awakening
To intercede more effectively for missionaries and the nations
To mobilize others to join you in prayer”

There are 3 more dates for this school in 2013, September 2 – 6; October 28 – November 1;
December 2 – 6 and 11 weeks scheduled for 2014.

Pray with me for God to use this school and other means to produce a prayer army to shake the earth.

 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A LISTENING HEART

Are you praying for a listening heart? In 1 Kings 3 Solomon pleased God by praying for a discerning heart. The word Solomon used was a participle of "SHIMAH," the same word used in Deuteronomy 6:4 “hear.” Solomon asked specifically for a listening heart, to know how to govern God’s people and to know right from wrong. We need listening hearts even to know what to pray. I do not want my prayer life to be driven by lust or pride or rebellion or unbelief or anything in my sinful nature. We need the Spirit of God to give us listening hearts for His great grace and mighty power to be unleashed in our prayers.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

PRAYING WITH JESUS

I could have titled this blog posting, PRAYING FOR PRAYER 3. I will explain that yet. But let me begin by asking how we see Jesus praying in the Gospels. He prayed all night before choosing His disciples. Have you ever prayed all night long? In the garden before the cross, He was amazed that His disciples could not even watch with Him for an hour. After feeding the multitude Jesus went up on the mountain to pray alone. Do you go from exhaustion and success directly to extended prayer? In fact prayer seems to have been woven into our Lord’s daily life. You cannot see him clearly if you do not observe Him in prayer.

It seems to me to be the height of arrogance to enter into any undertaking without extended prayer. How do we think we could make an impact on the world without the power of God that Jesus clearly depended on?

But you say, that was Jesus. We could not pray like Him anymore than we could walk on water. And I would certainly agree with you. That is why we need to walk in fellowship with Him allowing the Holy Spirit to inspire and enhance our prayers. O Father, work in my life, in our lives, today to pray more like Jesus.

 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

PRAYING FOR PRAYER 2

Are you praying for prayer? I am praying for a movement of prayer. I am also praying for prayer in my own life. Prayer is grace from first to last. Would you like to become a mighty prayer warrior? That very desire is spawned in you by the Holy Spirit. It is grace. And you can pray for discipline to pray. You can pray for courage in your prayers. You can pray for God to encourage you when you are discouraged. You can ask God to remove the barriers in your heart to prayer. Pray for God to be mightily glorified in your own prayer life.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

PRAYING FOR PRAYER 1

I have dealt with this subject before, but it is so important that I need to deal with it again. Next week I will deal with the perspective of praying for prayer that I touched on earlier. But this week I want to mention something new.
We have no record of a spiritual awakening taking place at any point in history that was not accompanied by what Jonathan Edwards called, “Extraordinary Prayer.” And like most facets of revival we need God to bring about what only God can do.
I am praying for God to bring about a great movement of prayer. I would like to see prayer rooms across America, and especially the Pacific Northwest where I live, that would pray fervently for every church in a given area. I am praying for prayer meetings to be organized or spring up like Jeremiah Lanphier’s (http://www.exampleofgrace.net/jeremiah-lanphier.php) prayer meeting in 1858 that started with a few, spread throughout New York City and swept the entire country. I would like to see hundreds of prayer warriors who are committed to pray specifically for seminary students and young ministers. I would like to see organized, systematic prayer that intercedes for missionaries on every continent, every nation and every people group on earth. I would like to see prayer groups praying for Hollywood and the film and television media. I would like to see similar prayer for people involved in government.
Will you pray with me for a prayer movement in our time such as the world has never experienced? I don’t believe it will end all sin in the world. I don’t necessarily believe it will save our nation from judgment. But I believe it would glorify God as nothing we have ever imagined.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

IF SUFFERING IS THE WILL OF GOD

Modern Americans may be the only people in Christian history who believe suffering is never in the will of God. But this flies in the face of scripture that clearly teaches that God’s people will suffer from the attack of world, the flesh and the devil. Your suffering may be physical, social, emotional or spiritual. It may be great or small at any given time. But in this world Jesus said we would have tribulation. If this is true, how are we to pray when we face suffering? I don’t think it is wrong to ask for relief from suffering, but that is certainly not the most important prayer we can pray in such circumstances.
In John chapter 12 Jesus asked how He should pray in the face of suffering.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
28 Father, glorify your name![1]
Whatever else you pray in the midst of small or great suffering that you may face today. Cry out for God to glorify His name in the trial.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Jn 12:27–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

PLEASING GOD AND SHAKING THE EARTH

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.  The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.  Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Revelation 8:3-5

I have always loved his passage of scripture. Few places in scripture capture the significance of our prayers like this one.

First it paints a vivid picture of how pleasing our prayers are to God. The angel is given much incense to mix with our prayers and offer as a fragrant offering before God. God is pleased with your prayers. He even causes them to be mixed with incense which causes Him to smile at the sweetness offered in them. Do you see how pleased God is with your prayers?

Then we see the angel scoop the sensor into the coals on the altar where our prayers have been offered. He casts the flaming mixture onto the earth causing thunder and lightning and an earthquake. Have you neglected to pray for some great need or sin or problem on the earth because it seemed to be too formidable or terrible to be changed? God is preparing to shake the earth with the force of your prayers. There is no limit to the power He will unleash.

 

Friday, June 21, 2013

INTIMACY AND AWE

John 13:23
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved was reclining at table close to Jesus..
Revelation 1:17
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last."

At that last supper before the cross, John reclined nearest to Jesus actually leaning on His breast. But when the glorified Christ appeared to him on the Isle of Patmos he fell on his face fainting in terror. In these two postures of the beloved apostle we see two essential attitudes of prayer, intimacy and awe.
Prayer calls us to both of these heart positions. We come to Jesus longing to be near Him, laying our lives upon his strength and love. Yet we must also come trembling at His glory, majesty, might and holiness. If you never come trembling into the presence of God you have an intellectual disconnect with the reality of our Lord.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ULTIMATE INTIMACY


1 John 2:28-3:3
John begins this passage with the words, "And now, little children, abide in him." The reason here for John's call for spiritual intimacy is so we will not have to be ashamed when we stand before Him as His own children. Do you see what kind of love our Heavenly Father has shown to us that we should be called the children of God? And that is what we have become! And when we see Him we will be made just like Jesus because we will see Him as He truly is. We will not just see His revealed appearance we will be able and be allowed to see the fullness of His nature. That life changing experience will be ultimate intimacy with God. Such present and coming intimacy gives the motivation and the power of producing holiness in our lives.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

WHEN EVIL IS OVERWHELMING

Paul was certainly speaking of our day when he said the lawless one would come with lying signs and wonders. And I am convinced the deception will get even worse in the very near future. Jesus said that the deception would be so great that if it were possible even the elect would be deceived.

It is crucial in these days that we preach the word telling people the truth every chance we get. And it is absolutely crucial that we learn to pray in such times. Our relationship with God will be our only protection from the deception of these days. I am convinced that a time is coming when our opposition and the deception of the world will be so great even we will so no hope. For these days we need the vital connection of prayer as we wait for God to do what appears to be impossible in our day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

THE WRATH OF MAN


It is easy to be alarmed and even angry at sin that we see around us. Even Jesus was angry at sin and its consequences in the world. But His anger did not fall into the category of the wrath of man which never brings about the righteousness of God. A primary weakness of our anger is that we do not channel our anger into prayer for God to work mightily as He alone can work.

Often our expression of anger is a statement of unbelief. We have more faith in our own ability to change hearts and situations than we do in God who may be at work unseen around us.

Let your anger drive you to your knees, in prayer.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

ARM YOURSELF WITH SUFFERING

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.[1]
1 Peter 4:1

1 Peter 4, the chapter that warns us not to be surprised at the fiery trial which is to try us, begins with this advice to “arm” ourselves with this thinking. We are to brace ourselves in advance with the knowledge that we are to suffer for Christ. With this awareness comes an alertness in prayer as we are aware of difficulties and spiritual attack. This knowledge also severs us from the temporary things of this world and links us with the Spirit of God who alone can sustain us in suffering and loss.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (1 Pe 4:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

PRAYING FOR HOLINESS

In his letter to the Christians in Thessalonica Paul prayed for God to bring about holiness in the lives of the believers.

May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. [1]

We don’t hear much in the church these days about holiness. We spend much energy convincing people, especially those who have not yet come to faith in Christ that God does not care about holiness. But He does.

The beginning of our prayer for holiness ought to be for our own lives. “Lord, make me holy. Lord, show me that sin I am ignoring. Lord, forgive me, and deliver me from temptation.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (1 Th 3:13). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

BLESSING THE NATION

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,

the people he chose for his inheritance. [1]

Today is the National Day of Prayer across America. What a wonderful time for God’s people to come together to petition God for another Great Awakening. Pray for our nation to return to the Lord in sweeping revival.

This is not a political thing. Only spiritual power is great enough bring about revival. Such a move of God cannot be planned or orchestrated. It is a sovereign work of God. But it can be prayed for.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Ps 33:12). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

GOD'S PRESENCE IN PRAYER

Most of us are generally familiar with Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28. We have all sung “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder.” But I think we miss the thunderous reality of an experience with God. First, angels are fearsome beings. No wonder Jacob woke trembling in fear. The word “angel,” “malak” in Hebrew means messenger. These beings were divine emissaries. They were message carriers between God and humans. And I had somehow missed the fact that the Lord Himself was above the ladder and spoke powerfully to Jacob. Upon waking Jacob said, “Surely the presence of the Lord was in this place.” We rightly sing that song about gathering in the church. Jesus said we never gather in His name that He is not present. In fact He is present whenever we pray to Him. (Deut. 4:7) And His presence is the most significant thing about prayer.

Friday, April 19, 2013

THE LANGUAGE OF PENTECOST

And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. [1]

God’s power is unleashed in the lives of people when they hear the gospel in their own language. I believe there is a need to pray for the miracle of Pentecost as we seek to translate the gospel and scripture into the languages of people who have never heard. There are still many people groups, most of the fairly small, who are unreached and unapproached with not one word of scripture translated into their language.

I also believe every person has his own heart language. I pray daily for people I see and know to hear the gospel in their own heart language. Pray with me for a continuation of the miracle of Pentecost.



[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ac 2:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

PRAYING FOR GOD TO REMOVE BARRIERS BETWEEN US AND HIM

Are you aware of barriers that keep you from hearing the voice of God? Every time we open the Bible, every time we seek intimacy with the holy God, we need these barriers removed. Let me suggest three barriers that often separate us from fellowship with God.

You can ask God to remove resentment and unforgiveness from your heart. Resentment twists your thinking in ways that you cannot perceive until God breaks its hold on you. It poisons your own soul and makes you miserable. It always brings depression in its wake. Resentment affects every relationship in your life. And worst of all it blocks your relationship with God. Jesus said if you will not forgive men, the Father will not forgive you. (Matt. 18:35) Who are you unwilling to forgive? Is your resentment worth God not forgiving you?

Lust and greed will be barriers to God. The same word translated “lust” in James also translates “Thou shalt not covet” when it is quoted in the New Testament. We miss many blessings because we are driven by our wants instead of listening for what God wants to give us.

Another barrier is pride. Our society seeks to promote pride. But it keeps us from having fellowship with God. Are you unwilling for your heart to be broken over sin? I think it is worth praying for God to remove pride and so spiritual complacency from our hearts.

O Lord, remove the berries between us/me and You.

 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

SEEING HIS FACE

2 Corinthians 4:6 reads,
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. [1]

A famous sermon entitled “THE FACE OF JESUS, is based on this passage of Scripture. It was preached by R.G. Lee, who also preached PAYDAY-SOME DAY. What a privilege to come to God in intimate prayer, and let him shine into our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.

I recently heard Vince Vitale, with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics talk about the face of God. Vitale said he liked to think of understanding God like seeing a face. You could never describe every detail and moving nuance of a face to someone else. You would have trouble describing it clearly enough for someone to recognize it on sight. The only way to grasp a face is to look at a person, to meet them face to face. He went on to say that in the times that he was plagued with doubts he realized that he was trying to understand God intellectually. And God is far too complex to fully understand that way. He would then begin to seek God face to face in prayer and scripture. When we pray we come face to face with God.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (2 Co 4:6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

WAITING IN HIS LOVE

One of the most important though difficult facets of prayer is waiting. The greatest answers to prayer come through the patience of the petitioner. Abraham waited 25 years to become the father of a great nation. The disciples waited in despair after the Lord was crucified. In John ll:5,6 we read,

“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick,

he stayed where he was two more days. [1]

Are you tempted to give up on God because He is causing you to wait? God’s love for you is a settled matter. You can wait for Him because you are waiting in His love.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Jn 11:5–6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PRAYING THE WORD

I wonder about believers who think the word of God is boring. I have heard people talk about disciplining themselves to read the Bible every day. I do encourage that discipline. But I also think we should approach it like we would a telephone. Your phone may be solid black with none of the applications your friends’ phones have. You cannot get excited about your phone. But you would be excited if someone could talk to you on it from heaven. What if it were God Himself calling your phone every day? That is of course the case with Scripture. Our Bible reading should be immersed in prayer as we carry on a conversation with God. In Psalm 119:18 David prayed,

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

As you open your Bible pray for God to open your heart to hear His voice as you read.

I cannot wait for next week. I am making videos for my 1 year old grandson. In my next blog I will tell you some of what I am encouraging him to pray.