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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.