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Thursday, February 26, 2015

REDEEMING THE TIME

This is the third entry in a series of blog posts calling for extraordinary prayer for the power of God to sweep the earth. This week I want am writing about a major concern in developed and rapidly developing countries around the world. Our lives become so full of activities that we have no time to devote to prayer. You will not be able to enter into extraordinary prayer without making time to pray.


Jesus prayed all night before appointing the twelve apostles. (Lk. 6:12) Could you do that? He must have planned that into His schedule. In Acts 12 the church had gathered to pray through the night when the Angel delivered Peter from prison where he was to be executed in the morning. That could not have been planned, although it may have lasted several nights. In the garden before the cross Jesus was surprised that His disciples couldn’t even pray with Him for one hour. I think we can draw from our Lord’s response that praying for an hour or more, maybe all day or all night, should be a regular practice for people entering into extraordinary prayer.


You can begin praying in activities that do not take all of your mind. These require little adjustment of your schedule. Do you ever wait in the bank or in a doctor’s office? Start praying for everyone around you. You can also carry a written prayer list with you for times when you are forced to wait. You will also need to memorize a prayer list or two for times when your hands are not free. Do you ever mow the lawn or wash dishes? You could pray for a list of family members or neighbors, church friends or missionaries on the field.


It is good to pray through prayers from the Bible or other Scripture passages. If you use The Lord’s Prayer, for instance, you can expand on every word praying for everything that comes to your mind. If you do not have another prayer or passage memorized yet, pray The Lord’s Prayer through again.


When you have begun working on these disciplines it is time to start adjusting your schedule. Do you start your day with prayer? Jesus did. In Mark 1:35 He turned it into extended prayer that changed His pattern of ministry. Other times of the day are often easier to turn into or even schedule extended prayer. You can start on evenings when you don’t want to watch what is on TV. But if spiritual awakening is important to you, you will have to sacrifice some of your chosen entertainment for prayer.


And be ready for God to prompt you to pray in ways and lengths and times that surprise you. He will encourage and strengthen you as you seek to give more and more time to prayer. There is absolutely no limit to what God will do in you and through you as you pray.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

PRAYING FOR SEMINARIES


Last week I began a series of blog posts calling for extraordinary prayer that in the power of God might sweep the earth. Such extraordinary prayer will need to come from several fronts. One of the most important focuses of our prayer needs to be Bible colleges and seminaries. If we look back through history at times when God moved mightily on human society, we see that He always raised up men to work through. So it stands to reason that if we want to be a part of an end-time revival, we should direct extraordinary prayer toward young people who sense the call of God on their lives.

We have begun this on one campus of a large multi-site seminary on the west coast. The students, faculty and staff were given questionnaires with questions about how we could pray for them. We also invited volunteers and support staff to fill out prayer questionnaires. Janitors and secretaries play an important part in what God is doing on campuses. They are often used by God to impact the lives of students. Brother Laurence touches lives to this day. He was a dishwasher in an obscure monastery.

We compiled the answers given, put them on flash drives and asked people at a regional denomination meeting to commit to pray for the seminary. People signed up pray leaving their e-mail addresses where they could be sent additional prayer requests. All of our prepared flash drives were given out before the program could be announced on the floor of the meeting.

This ministry could be contagious. Students could be sent to speak in churches asking people to commit to pray for the students and the school. Pastors’ could encourage church members to sign up. People who have hardly prayed for anyone but themselves could catch the vision to pray for a new generation of spiritual leaders.

Please pray for me as I write college and seminary presidents to present this idea. Pray that they will be receptive. Pray that they will become passionate for this. This will require busy staffs to take on new responsibilities. This will cost time and money. Pray for God to provide. And such an undertaking will certainly arouse spiritual opposition. Pray for spiritual protection for schools, students, and churches we will ask to become involved. And watch with me as God glorifies His name by raising up a mighty spiritual army to touch the world in these days.

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

EXTRAORDINARY PRAYER

Two days before Christmas in 1776 Thomas Paine penned the words, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” His words like the introduction to A Tale of Two Cities, could apply to almost any period since the fall of man. They describe an appalling reality in our day. Many of us are particularly alarmed by the moral decline that has swept our country. We are seeing the fulfillment of Biblical warnings of the last days. “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”[i]


How are we to respond to such moral and spiritual realities? The prophet Joel responded to the judgment of God that had fallen on Israel in his day with a call for unusual prayer.


“Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.”


Jonathan Edwards, one of the primary leaders of the Great Awakening in America, wrote a little booklet about urgent prayer. It had a long title for such a brief monograph.


A Humble Attempt to Promote the Agreement and Union of God’s People Throughout the World in Extraordinary Prayer For a Revival Of Religion And The Advancement Of God’s Kingdom On Earth, According To Scriptural Promises And Prophecies Of The Last Time


You can find this little booklet on line, http://goo.gl/nMogwY , and I do recommend it. The title itself addresses my thinking. God’s people must consider and, yes, even pray for extraordinary prayer in our day. I believe such prayer, and the thunderous results God would bring about, are promised to us in the last days as much as the terrible things we see.


What would extraordinary prayer look like today? What would it look like in your church? What if such prayer meetings spread from church to church across America? What might happen if extraordinary prayer spread like wildfire from people group to people group, from country to country around the world?


For the next few weeks I want to write about such prayer. As we consider what this would mean, pray with me for God to bring about extraordinary prayer in our time. Share these blog entries adding to them and commenting on them on line and off line with believers anywhere you may find them.


 


http://daveswatch.com/ 


http: //watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/


 




[i] 2 Tim. 3:1-4

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

HABITS OF PRAYER

If we are to obey the scriptural injunction to pray continually, we need to develop habits of prayer. I do not mean that our prayers should be merely habitual. They also need to be passionate and intentional. But we need to develop the habit of praying wherever we are. I just walked from a relative’s home where I am visiting to her public library. I had walked a quarter of the way before the Holy Spirit got my attention to remind me to pray for the houses I was passing. I would like to have begun in the first few steps of my walk. 
I do not know all the ways of developing this habit, but I know that the discipline of doing this when I had not been thinking about it will help me do it naturally. My prayer helped me begin watching for specific prayer needs. Watching is a crucial part of the habit of prayer. 
There have been times in my past that I have developed the habit of walking around in a spiritual daze. I want to be used to watching for hurts and needs that God will show me. I need to be alert to see what God is already doing in the situations He has placed me in so I can pray and work in His will. I want to form the same habits when I am in the bank or grocery store. I want to be in prayer as I am stuck in traffic, riding a bus or wherever I find myself on any given day.

This week I want to make an unusual request to all who are reading this blog. I want you to pray with me for my next few blog entries. I have a great burden to call believers across America and around the world into extraordinary prayer. During the Great Awakening Jonathan Edwards wrote a little booklet that you can still find on the web. It has a long title for such a small book. And the title itself expresses what I long for in my next few weeks’ blog posts.
"A Humble Attempt to Promote the Agreement and Union of God’s People Throughout the World in Extraordinary Prayer For a Revival Of Religion And The Advancement Of God’s Kingdom On Earth, According To Scriptural Promises And Prophecies Of The Last Time."

I am asking you to pray with me not only for Spiritual Awakening, but for God to use these next few blogs far beyond my ability to write to far more people than I would ordinarily reach.