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Thursday, September 25, 2014


What do you have to do that wastes your time and strains your patience? Can you pray in that time? For 40+ years I have enjoyed shopping with my wife. I like being with her. However, we made a compromise early on. I would walk along behind her with a book. I used the time well, and she could ask, if she wanted my advice. "Do the pink look better than the blue?" Of course I occasionally got lost from her. When l discovered that had happened, I would go to the cash registers and wait. Several times over the years we had someone at church say someone had told them, "I think I saw your pastor in such-and-such store this week. He was reading a book!"

It may be a little late to keep people from thinking me nuts, but I have discovered that I can pray for people in the store. Today we went to Wal-Mart. I left my book in the car and entered the store on a mission. I couldn't help wondering what God was preparing to do as I prayed for nearly a hundred people up and down the aisles.
Where could you be praying? I once heard a pastor tell about using time he was stuck in traffic to pray for people who were in the hospital. I have read about a wife praying for her husband as she ironed his shirts. You could memorize a list of missionaries, countries or people groups, lost friends or family members to pray for in the dentist's office or wherever. You can even get excited about what great thing God is preparing to do because He gave you a special time to pray.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I want to return today to a crucial facet of prayer that I have written about before. I want to encourage you to develop the habit of praying for people everywhere you are. You can pray for people you see in the bank or the grocery store. You can pray for people you meet as you walk down the street or even as you are stuck in traffic.

Of course the first question that arises about this is “What do I pray for total strangers?” I have given people guides that they can use to get started, but in fact, I think the best way to pray is to be open to whatever the Holy Spirit brings to your mind as you pray. You will discover that you can often see needs at a glance on people’s faces. I also see a person who reminds me of someone I do know. I pray briefly for the person I see and then at length for the person who is called to mind.

I need to admit that this does not come naturally to me. I have to remind myself again and again to be praying for people around me. Possibly the most important thing I can do to prepare to pray for people everywhere I go, is to begin my day with a sustained devotional time and take intermittent times devoted to prayer throughout the day. But I still have to pray regularly for God to remind me to pray for people as I go through my day. You may find this comes more natural to you. But even if it does not, you will find this to be a powerful blessing in your life.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I have been among those who complain about the notion of the mouthing of a “sinner’s prayer” as the means to salvation. I wrote a track a few years ago entitled The primary message of Jesus. It was based on the fact that Jesus called people to repent and become disciples. I am not sure we should not quote verses like 2 Timothy 3:12 to people as we present Christ to them. It reads.

“In fact, everyone who wants to lead a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Rote repetition is a misuse of the sinner’s prayer even if its wording includes repentance and discipleship. However prayer is an integral part of discipleship. We must respond to God in prayer.
But I want to focus here, not on the prayer that brings salvation, but the prayer that salvation brings, on the prayer that salvation is. Romans 5:1-2 speaks of access granted us into the presence of God himself.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Those who are drawn by God to Jesus Christ for forgiveness purchased by Him on the cross have access to God. We can pray! Praise God, we can pray! From the point of our redemption every prayer we pray is a prayer of salvation. It is prayer purchased for us at an eternal cost for God’s everlasting glory. When we come to Christ, we begin a life of prayer.


Thursday, September 4, 2014


                                                          Teach us to number our days aright,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

We seldom think of Moses as a singer/song-writer. He wrote only one song, at least that we have recorded in the Psalter. It is Psalm 90. In it he prayed to see from God’s perspective. Few things empower our prayers like learning to see from God’s perspective. Like most of the Hebrew songs, this psalm is a prayer. And it is important to understand that only God can teach us to see from His perspective.

In the psalm Moses prays for God to teach us to number our days aright. We naturally count our days. We help children celebrate birthdays. And they come to each new birthday with earnest anticipation. As we grow older we no longer come to birthdays with anticipation. Some of us come to them with dread. Interestingly enough many of us grow old enough for birthdays to become precious again, even a source of pride.

God has used my cancer to show me a little of His perspective. The prospect of a diminishing number of birthdays has helped me see how precious life is, not just every birthday, but every moment. But even being aware of the brevity of life does not help us see from God’s perspective. We can only learn that from God Himself. So Moses prayed for God to teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Are you praying to see and pray from God’s perspective?