Sunday, December 13, 2009
If you are discouraged or wondering if God has forgotten you there is a message waiting for you in August 06 Archive!
God Wants to Answer Your Prayers - Pastor Mark Stephens
The world needs a positive influence from Christians. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
It's important to know that a positive influence glorifies God! IF we're going to stay positive, we need to commit ourselves to prayer. We must not underestimate the importance of prayer in maintaining a level of peace when we are surrounded by negativity.
Philippians 4:6, 7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
In this verse, Paul tells us to present our problems to God instead of worrying about them-then God's peace will come into our heart and mind.
We have to resist the temptation to worry. Why? Because God told us not to be anxious about anything. We were not designed to carry anxiety and burdens. Yet, if we're not careful, we can allow our minds to become disappointed, discouraged, and depressed. We can allow worry to enter in instead of what God has said.
Worry is designed to distract you from the Word of God. The devil tries to get us to spend our time worrying about things-and often, about things that haven't happened yet and probably never will happen. If he is successful, we will become more and more negative, and our faith and prayer life will become ineffective.
God wants to answer your prayers! He wants you to bring your concerns to Him-to cast your anxiety on Him.
1st Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety [worry, care] on him because he cares for you."
John Wesley, the eighteenth century founder of Methodism, once said, "It seems God is limited by our prayer life-that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him."
In Mark 11:24, Jesus Himself said, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
Look at what else Jesus said about prayer in John 14:13, 14 "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."
Also John 15:7, 8 says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." The fruit that Jesus spoke about is "answered prayer." God gets the glory when we receive answers to prayer!
Answered prayer is one of God's greatest blessings to enable us to remain in peace-too maintain a positive attitude.
Remember the verse from Philippians 4? "Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" When we pray, we give Him not only our petitions, but also our burdens. In exchange, He gives us His peace that passes our human understanding and the promise that He will take care of us and answer our prayers. He relieves us of the anxiety, worry, and care associated with our problem so that we can stay positive and thank Him for the answer, while we are expecting it to come to pass!
Praying in faith will bring you into victory on the other side of every test and trial. On the other side of every sickness, disease, financial problem, or whatever you're facing-victory awaits you!
The following verses will support that truth:
Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 10:23, 35 says, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised). . . Cast not away
therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward."
The Bible patriarchs of old, who won tremendous victories in prayer, practiced these verses before they were ever written! They brought their requests to God boldly, obtaining mercy and grace from Him in their time of need. They judged Him faithful and held on to their confidence and godly hope until they saw their answer come.
In the nineteenth century, George Mueller founded a great chain of orphanages on nothing but prayer. He lived by faith, refusing to inform anyone of his needs. Instead, he mentioned them only to God on his knees in prayer. At one point in his ministry, he housed more than 10,000 orphans with no steady financial resource. He trusted God daily to meet their needs. Rev. Mueller estimated God "had answered over 50,000 of his prayers, many thousands of which were answered on the day he made them and often before he arose from his knees." His fruitful prayer life can be traced back to his commitment to the Word of God.
Rev. Mueller wrote this poem concerning prayer:
I believe God answers prayer, answers always, everywhere;
I may cast my anxious care,
burdens I could never bear,
On the God who heareth prayer.
Never need my soul despair
since He bids me boldly dare
to the secret place repair,
there to prove He answers prayer.
George Mueller performed exploits for God in his ministry to orphans. At times, there wasn't a bite of food in the entire orphanage for hundred of children. But Mueller and his staff would pray. Again and again, he records "money or supplies had arrived with only minutes to spare before the children sat down at the table."
Why do you think he could make such an impact on mankind? Because he was saturated with the Word of God and had a strong faith and confidence in his prayer-answering God!
2nd Chronicles 7:14 God declared to Israel, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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."
This is no less true for you and I today. Considering the unprecedented decisions made every day, we should pray for our nations and for those in authority on every level, national, state, and local.
In fact, Paul wrote, "I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Timothy 2:1, 2).
Far too often, Christians fail to pray for those in authority-those that make decisions that affect all our lives-yet Paul says to do it first when we pray! Many don't fully comprehend the huge benefit that comes from such obedience: a quiet and peaceable life!
Reflective Thought: We must not neglect this important matter of prayer. We need to believe that God wants to answer our prayers, and then do something about it - we must pray!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Many are feeling stressed from undergoing trials so please find below a prayer for you to pray. Some new scriptures & prayers are also posted today in "Reflection Jewels' (link top of page on left side). Sometimes events in life are overwhelming - despite this always remember God is still on the throne and He is still in control. May the messages below minister to your need.
Be Encouraged Today... Even In Your Storms
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
I do not know what your needs are today but Jesus knows. You may be discouraged today. You may be going through the hardest trial of your life. I want to encourage you today! Whatever your situation-- the Lord can meet your need! Trust Him-- He loves you.
In this stressful world in which we live, there is a resting place. Aren't you glad? That rest is found safe in the arms of the Lord Jesus Christ. When troubles come, we can run to our Rock-- the Lord is our Shelter from the storms. He does not always make the winds and the storms cease but He will give us adequate shelter until the storm passes by and will lead us on-- and where He leads, we will follow. We are His sheep and Christ Jesus is our Loving Shepherd. Blessed be His name!
Sometimes, the Lord makes the storm to cease,
Psalm 107:29 says: He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Other times, the Lord will shield us from the storm as it rages:
Psalm 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Still other times, He will walk us through the trials and storms in our lives to bring about a greater work on the inside of us:
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
2 Cor 1:3,4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforted us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
No matter what our need may be today, there is safety in His everlasting arms. The Lord can meet our every need and He will see us through. He gives rest to the weary. Strength to the feeble. Hope to the depressed. Comfort to the hurting. He loves us at all times. No problem is too big for God... and no problem is too small that He does not hear our cry. The Lord can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
We are to cast upon Him our every burden:
Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Author Unknown: Source - Cobblestone Road Ministries
Lord, I need your help. I am feeling the strain of stress. My body is agitated by worry and fear. I confess to you my inability to handle it alone.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (Jam 1:2-3, NIV)
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If we went through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~What an awesome God. (Author Unknown)
God's accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs.For example:
-those of the canary in 14 days;
-those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
-The eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days;
-those of the mallard in 35 days;
-The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days.
(Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)
God's wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant.. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs. For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.
The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first.
A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first.
How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!
God's wisdom is revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.
-Each watermelon has an even number of strips on the rind.
-Each orange has an even number of segments.
-Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
-Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
-Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.
-The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.
All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundredfold - all even numbers.
God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day, so that Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!
Thus the Lord in His wonderful grace can arrange the life that is entrusted to His care in such a way that it will carry out His purposes and plans, and will be fragrant with His presence.
Only the God-planned safe life is successful. Only the life given over to the care of the Lord is fulfilled.
"He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:29-31
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Below is a suggestion of one way to spend an hour with Abba - It is broken into twelve five minute segments - Each segment also has a scripture to reflect upon - Note these are only guidelines & each must follow what they are comfortable with many find after a few times they increase time in each segment & start finding these prayer times are very special. There is also a brief article in February 2006 archive "Tell me what to pray' that is encouraging for those new to praying.
Spend an hour with God?
Its easier than you think. Break it up into 5 minute blocks and focus on the following during each 5 minute segment:
Start your prayer hour by praising the Lord. Praise Him for things that are on your mind right now. Praise Him for one special thing He has done in your life in the past week. Praise Him for His goodness to your family. (Psalm 34:1)
Spend this time waiting on the Lord. Let Him pull together reflections for you. Think about the hour before you and the things you want the Lord to do in your life. (Psalm 27:14)
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything in your life which might be displeasing to Him. Ask Him to point out attitudes that are wrong, as well as specific acts for which you have not yet made a prayer of confession. Now confess that to the Lord and claim 1 John 1:9 so that you might be cleansed for the remainder of the hour before you, and then pick up and read the Word. (Psalm 51:1-19)
4. READ THE WORD
Spend time reading promises of God in the Psalms, in the prophets, and passages on prayer located in the New Testament. Check your concordance. (Psalm 119:97)
This is general request for others, praying through the prayer list, the prayer cards, or personal prayer interest on behalf of yourself and others. (Hebrews 4:16)
Specific prayer on the behalf of others. Pray specifically for those requests of which you are aware. (Romans 15:30-33)
7. PRAY THE WORD
Now take the Scriptures and start praying the Scriptures as certain sections of Psalm 119 lend themselves beautifully to prayer expression. (Psalm 119:38-46)
Spend these minutes giving thanks to the Lord for things in your life, things on behalf of the church, things on behalf of your family. (Philippians 4:6)
Take your hymnal and sing a prayer song, sing a praise song, sing a song regarding soul winning or witnessing. Let it be a time of praise. (Psalm 59:17)
Ask the Lord to speak back to you and keep a paper and pen handy, ready to relate the impressions that He makes upon your life. (Psalm 63)
Spend time merging the things you have read from the Word, the things you have prayed, the things you have thanked the Lord for, the things that you have been singing, and see how the Lord brings them all together to speak to you. (I Samuel 3:9-10)
12. END WITH PRAISE
Praise the Lord for the time you have had to spend with Him. Praise Him for the impressions that He has given you. Praise Him for the prayer requests He raised up in your mind. (Psalm 145:1-13)
Source: Spiritual Formation - Becoming Like Jesus http://www.christianchallenge.us/Spiritual_Formation/Prayer/onehour-prayer.html
Original Source: 1 Calvary Baptist Church, Prayer Wheel, http://www.calvarynow.com/partner/0,,320286,00.html
May this message below encourage you further - you will also find an article in September 2006 Archive 'A Model Prayer" compliments this article:
"How To Talk To God In Prayer"
The Scriptures tell us in Luke II: 1-2 that Jesus' disciples came to Him and asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray."
And then in Matthew 6:9-13, which is a corresponding passage, Jesus gives the "model" prayer that we incorporate into our worship services each Sunday. I am of the opinion that many times the recitations, etc. that we utilize in our worship can become ritualistic (which is not necessarily bad) and so routine that we do not think about what we are saying (or praying). What follows is an attempt to bring us back to consciousness and "prayerful" meditation about the significance of the Lord's Prayer.
Yes, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Lord teach us to pray." This simple prayer which Jesus taught His disciples can show us too, how to talk to God in prayer.
Our Father, who art in heaven - Jesus taught His disciples to call God our Father.
It is this intimate Father/child relationship that makes prayer possible. As children of God, we come to His throne expectant and unafraid because we are accepted in His beloved Son (Hebrews 4: 15-16).
Because we are His children, we can come often and speak with our Heavenly Father, for He delights to hear our prayers!
Hallowed be Thy name - Worship!
To honour and adore God is the highest privilege of the Christian. We who have experienced this miracle of His saving grace can praise Him for His love. Every day, we can offer praise and thanksgiving as He showers us with His blessings. I Chronicles16:29 says "Give unto the glory due unto His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven - is the next phrase.
As Gods children, we long for His righteous reign throughout the earth. But His reign must first begin in our own lives. We are made sensitive to His will for us as we prayerfully read and meditate on the Word of God. As we pray, God measures our spiritual condition and brings our desires into conformity with His will. From these first three petitions, the Lord teaches us that His glory and kingdom must have pre-eminence in our prayers and lives.
God promises those who put Him first - "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
Give us this day our daily bread - We are dependent upon God for all our needs, both spiritual and material. Daily bread, in Bible times, referred to daily necessities. He is speaking of necessities, not superfluous wants (although there is freedom to ask for anything). Like any loving Father, He desires to richly bless us. Nothing is too great for His power and nothing is too small for His love. My advice is to share the most intimate details of our life with Him.
Phil.4:4-7 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors -
As we speak with our loving Father and read His Word, realizing that He expects us to be gracious to others, we must confess all sin, including our unforgiveness toward others. Unconfessed sin hinders our communication with God.
The Psalmist said, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
Our hearts must be clean before He can hear and answer our prayer. Of course, He always hears the sincere prayer of confession because He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil - The Lord has promised to protect His children in the hour of temptation.
We're told in I Corinthians10:13 that ".. .there is no temptation taken us but such as is common to all; but God is faithful, Who will not permit us to be tempted above that which we are able, but will, with the temptation also make a way of escape, that we may be able to bear it."
Let us, therefore, pray for wisdom to see His way of escape. As we learn to pray to the Father, we will enter the glorious doxology which closes the prayer.
For Thine is the Kingdom - we know that God has control over all matters and we can trust our deepest needs to Him.
And the power - He has power to accomplish all that we ask, for "He is able to do above that which we are able to think or ask.
And then the phrase... And the glory forever. Amen. -
We worship Him as the Almighty God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
This is how the Lord taught His disciples to pray and by His example He showed them the need for time alone with the Father in prayer.
We, too, must set aside a time to talk with God and read His Word. Many Christians find that the morning is the best time for this. Others say that late evening is the. best.
The following suggestions are given for your time with God:
1. Understand the necessity of prayer.
Our Lord taught that prayer is not an option, it is a command. It is not something to do when we feel like it, it's a God-given responsibility. We must make the time to labour in prayer. Jesus said, "People ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18: I).
2. The Bible and prayer goes hand in hand.
Pray as you read and meditate on God's Word. As you read the Bible, praise God for what He has revealed of Himself and pray for strength and wisdom to obey His commands. What you read will give fresh insights as you prayer for yourself and others. Try using some prayers of the Bible as patterns (Matt. 6:9-13; Ephesians I: 15-23; 3: 14-21 and many of the Psalms).
3. Draw up a prayer list.
A list of prayer requests reminds you of specific needs and will keep your mind from wandering. By recording how God has answered a request, you will be encouraged to keep praying. But don't let this steal your spontaneity. Remember, you're praying, not just compiling a list, although I believe that a prayer list (journal, diary) is an important aspect of prayer.
4. It's good to have a prayer partner to help you pray consistently.
Ask the Lord for a friend with whom you can share and pray. Meeting regularly provides mutual encouragement.
5. Be careful of distractions.
Because prayer is a spiritual exercise, you can expect it to become a spiritual battle. If you have trouble with wandering thoughts, try changing positions. Praying aloud, starting a prayer list in your Bible, singing a hymn or whatever you find most effective.
But whatever you do - PRAY!
Source: * From the September 2005 monthly publication "Communiqué" of Community Church in Pastor Ken's message
Sunday, May 24, 2009
There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old rifle and three bullets.
So, he decided that he would go out hunting and kill some wild game for dinner. As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit. He shot at the rabbit and missed it. The rabbit ran away.
Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. he squirrel disappeared into a hole in a cottonwood tree.
As he went further, he saw a large wild 'Tom' turkey in the tree, but he had only one bullet remaining.
A voice spoke to him and said, 'Pray first, aim high and stay focused.
However, at the same time, he saw a deer which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer. But, then he saw a rattlesnake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake.
Still, the voice said again to him, 'I said 'Pray, Aim high and Stay focused.'
So, the man decided to listen to God's voice.
He prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree and shot the wild turkey. The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer. The handle fell off the gun and hit the snake in the head and killed it. And, when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond.
When he stood up to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and a turkey to eat for his family.
The snake (Satan) was dead simply because the man listened to God & obeyed Him.
Moral of the story:
Pray first before you do anything, aim and shoot high in your goals, and stay focused on God.
Never let others discourage you concerning your past. The past is exactly that, 'the past.' Live every day one day at a time and remember that only God knows our future and that he will not put you through any more than you can bear.
Do not look to man for your blessings, but look to the doors that only He has prepared in advance for you in your favor.
Wait, be still and patient: keep God first and everything else will follow. Don't worry about tomorrow, God is already there!
His plan for you is good
'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NASB
Blessings of obedience: Observe and to do all his commandments
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Deuteronomy 28:1-11 KJV
Sunday, May 10, 2009
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."1 Timothy 2:1-4
"Tremendous Power In a Praying Christian!"
In our rapidly changing times people are desperate to know the future. Barely do we adjust to the last changes, when totally new realities explode into our world.
In answer to the common fears spawned by change, society has seen a plethora of occult and demonic sources—fortunetellers, astrologers and psychic hotlines—all pretending to be able to peek into the mystery of tomorrow. Indeed, how many otherwise intelligent individuals glimpse, at least occasionally, at their "astrological signs" trying to get an edge on knowing the future!
Why anyone would consult someone who can't predict their own future is beyond me. These fortunetellers almost always live in abject poverty. Shouldn't their ability to predict the future at least work for themselves? They could invest in the stock market or pick the right lottery numbers. They can't even predict or better their own fortune, yet people go to them for discernment. For Christians, God condemns this demonic, fleshly probing into the unknown.
Indeed, as intercessors, He has called us not to wonder about the future, but to create it through the knowledge of His Living Word and prayer!
Our Father gives us access to the future right now. You ask, How do we know what to pray?
The Lord Jesus told us plainly,
"Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." Matthew 6:9-10
We can look at the conditions of the world and faint or look at the possibilities of God and take faith. To bring revival is to pray for the reality of God's Kingdom to manifest on earth. Jesus was not offering His disciples a millennial prayer focus, for that rule of God's Kingdom is coming whether we want it to or not! No, but Christ calls us to pray for God's Kingdom to manifest in our world today.
How will tomorrow look if God answers the prayer Christ gave us?
Read the Gospels. What we see in the life and power of Jesus Christ is a faith picture of God's Kingdom. Jesus said that we can have that same full manifestation. In fact, He actually commanded us to pray for Heaven's release!
The reality God has planned will always manifest first in the prayer life of His intercessors.
When you hear from God and then pray His Word, you are impacting the unformed essence of life with the Spirit of God Himself! Thus, God calls us, not only to know His Word, but to pray it. We must go from intellectualizing God's Word to being impregnated by it.
I know churches have special areas where intercessors can pray or people meditate. But maybe we ought to change the name from "prayer room" to "prayer womb."
For everything good and holy that we see manifested in people, in churches and in life is first conceived, and then birthed, in the womb of prayer.
We have answers to prayer all around us. The place you are living in is an answer to prayer. Your church is an answer to prayer, as well as are your pastors, teachers and youth workers. As a church member, your attendance and participation is an answer to the prayer of your pastors and intercessors. When you asked God to lead you to the church you should attend, your current church became God's answer to your prayer!
Paul wrote, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might" (Ephesians 1:18-19).
If you are a Christian, there is a power accompanying your life that is greater than great—the "surpassing greatness of His power." It is not human power, but the actual "strength of His might."
Think About It: The Strength of God Almighty is Attached to Your Prayer Life!
The power of God's might is His resurrection power. What does resurrection mean? It means that things which look dead, smell dead, and act dead, can be touched by God and raised to life!
God demonstrated this "power toward us who believe" first "in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the Heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Right now, you have resurrection power attached to your prayer life!
You can look on things that are absolutely dead and pray forth eternal LIFE! The power in us is the same potency God demonstrated when He raised Jesus out of the grave; it is resurrection power. Our mission is to bring resurrection life to situations that are dead.
If the devil challenges your prayer, remind him that you are seated with Christ, "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come" (Ephesians 1:21).
Christ's authority is final. But not only has the Father put "all things in subjection under His feet," but He "gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Notice the Lord uses anatomical metaphors to explain the downlink of authority:
Christ is the "Head" of a "Body" that has all things put under its "feet."
This is a most profound understanding of our role: What the Head, Christ, has attained, the feet of the Church walk out. In other words, God has positioned the Church as the living bridge between the terrible conditions on earth and the wonderful solutions from Heaven!
As we truly, passionately, and accurately submit to Christ in prayer, the Kingdom of Heaven steadily enters our now prayed-for world.
The key of course, is to know Christ's Word. We do not have authority; Christ has authority. What we have is revelation and submission. But as we submit to the Word, and persevere in prayer, we can see the future conformed to God's will.
Prayer Warriors Are Positioned By God
Jesus told a parable to show that men ought to pray at all times and not lose heart (see Luke 18:1-8). In other words, if you are not praying, you will lose heart. Most of the things I pray for I have to persevere and pray through to get the answer.
God desires to see something deeper come out of my prayer time than just answered prayers. He wants me to become like Jesus, so He arranges battles that are character-forming. Not only will they ultimately change the world around me, but they'll change me first. This is what all true prayer warriors have discovered.
When we picture a prayer warrior, we usually see a great-aunt or grandmother. I think that every family has one. You never find them looking into a crystal ball to know the future for little Johnny—they are at the throne of God creating Johnny's future in prayer. They are not wondering if Mary is going to make it; they are praying her through to victory. They do not have time to lament Harry's drinking problem; they are storming Heaven to see him delivered.
Prayer warriors are the most frightening, powerful, demon-chasing, world-moving beings on earth. In truth, they act like children of God!
If they were to gaze at a crystal ball, it would explode! They look at astrological predictions and rebuke them. They never wonder about the future because they are too busy creating it through their faith in God.
Prayer warriors are positioned by God to pray for their families.
I remember when my Dad came to the Lord. For ten years we would intellectually clash about God during our visits. Finally, on one trip he arrived at our home "armed" with an argument against God. He said, "If there really is a God, why doesn't He always answer prayer?" He was secure in his position, and I was tired of the argument. I went into another room for a few minutes and prayed, "Lord, You've got to give me an answer."
When I returned I could see my Dad felt he won this round. I love my dad very, very much, but I said, "Dad, forget all the people that you think didn't get answers to prayer—you yourself are an answer to prayer! You are alive today because our entire family daily prays for you." (He was very overweight and smoked a pack of cigarettes daily). Then I continued, "But let's experiment. You say God doesn't answer prayer; we say He does. So, for one week we won't pray for you, and we'll see what happens."
I can't remember ever seeing my dad turn so pale. He looked over at my Mom and said, "Hon, tell the boy not to do that." Then, with beads of sweat forming on his forehead, he said to me, "Okay. What do I have to do to keep you praying for me?"
In three minutes, he went from not believing in prayer to begging us to keep praying for him. I said, "Dad, the only way I'll keep praying for you is if you pray right now and give your life to Christ," and my dad at that moment received Christ. The Lord answered my prayer.
Prayer anchors us in God's strength for our battles. Each of us knows prayer works: we are saved because someone else prayed for us! Thus, looking at the miracle of our own conversion, we gain confidence in God's help to transform others.
You Are a Prayer Warrior!
Luke 21:36 tells us to be "praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." Every time the Bible talks about standing before God, it is speaking of a position of anointed authority and commissioning. Elijah stood before God as did Gabriel. It speaks of one who stands before God as an attendant to the Almighty. When they decree God's Word, it comes to pass.
Jesus said, "With God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
Under that banner, we pray and believe God. The Holy Spirit ever lives to make intercession. All we need to do is open our hearts to Him and prayer is going to come forth.
Look at the terrible issues of our world right now. Every need we see is where God wants us to release, through prayer, His future for that situation. God shows us what is wrong so we can pray for things to be made right. Why waste energy criticizing what's wrong when our prayers can change it!
The Lord our God in the midst of us is mighty. Our weapons are mighty to pulling down strongholds. Stop thinking of yourself as unable to pray. That's a lie out of hell. You are a prayer warrior!
There was a time when that great aunt or grandmother was a younger woman. She might have been just like you, and God showed her the needs around her. His grace came and she made a decision not to judge, but to pray. She didn't start off strong, but she became strong. Now it's your turn to make that decision to be the prayer warrior for your family, church or city!"
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, You said that the armies in Heaven follow You, and Your name is called "the Word of God." Help me to not only believe Your Word, but pray it in the power of the Holy Spirit! I accept that You have called me to be a prayer warrior. By Your grace, I receive a new anointing in intercession. Amen!
Author: Francis Frangipane - Ministries of Francis Frangipane
Sunday, April 05, 2009
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
The Duck & the Devil (Author Unknown)
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it.
He was shocked and grieved! In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch the next day Grandma said, 'Sally, let's wash the dishes' But Sally said, 'Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.' Then she whispered to him, 'Remember the duck?' So Johnny did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, 'I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.' Sally just smiled and said, 'Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help' She whispered again, 'Remember the duck?'
So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help. After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's; he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, 'Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.'
Thought for the day and every day thereafter:
Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)...whatever it is...
You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.
The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness; He not only forgives you, but He forgets. It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved. When Jesus died on the cross; he was thinking of you!
* For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor 5:21 KJV
* But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:7, 8 KJV
Thank God for the Cross!
"God...reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 5:18 NKJV
Tim Miller writes: "My nine-year-old daughter Jennifer was looking forward to our family holiday. But she became ill, and a long anticipated day at Sea World was replaced by an all-night series of CT scans, X-rays and blood tests at the hospital. As morning approached the doctor told my exhausted little girl that she would need to have one more test, a spinal tap. The procedure would be painful, they said. The doctor then asked me if I planned to stay in the room. I nodded, knowing I couldn't leave Jennifer alone during the ordeal. The doctor gently asked Jennifer to remove all her clothing. She looked at me with child-like modesty as if to ask if that were alright. They had her curl up into a tiny ball. I buried my face in hers and hugged her. When the needle went in, Jennifer cried. As the searing pain increased, she sobbed repeatedly, 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,' her voice becoming more earnest with each word. It was as if she were saying 'Oh Daddy, please, can't you do something?' My tears mingled with hers. My heart was broken, I felt nauseated. Because I loved her, I was allowing her to go through the most agonising experience of her life.
In the middle of that spinal tap my thoughts went to the Cross. What unspeakable pain both the Son and the Father went through - for our sake."
But because of the Cross of Christ we have:
(1) Reconciliation. "God...reconciled us to Himself" (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV).
(2) Regeneration. "Having been born again" (1 Pet 1:23 NKJV).
(3) Resurrection. "Everyone who...believes...I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40 NKJV).
Jesus conquered death for you! "He has given us...a living hope." 1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Ernest Becker wrote a book called The Denial of Death. In it he said we live our lives ignoring, avoiding and repressing the truth that we are mortal, and sooner or later we are all going to die. He pointed out that it's the reason for our workaholism, approval addictions and obsession with money and security. Becker published his book in 1973 with great acclaim, and in 1974 he won the Pulitzer Prize and became famous. That year he found out he had cancer. That year he turned to God. That year he died.
It's said that Arizona has the largest cryonics foundation in the world. For a healthy fee your blood can be filled with anti-coagulants, your body frozen and stored in a capsule of liquid nitrogen at minus 160ºc until you can be reheated later. At that point advanced medical technology can cure whatever disease killed you and you can live again. Or if you don't like being cold, another company offers "eternity in a paperweight". For a small fee your DNA is put in a little box for the next 10,000 years so that you can be cloned whenever it's convenient. They also offer a 10,000-year money-back guarantee, though it's hard to say who will collect it if things go wrong.
John Ortberg writes, "We try to outsmart death in more subtle ways; health clubs, skin creams, surgical techniques, new diets, warmer climates, better medication, smarter doctors and more. Perhaps science will help us live forever, like Gulliver's toothless, hairless, memoryless race of Struldbrugs."
Rejoice, Jesus conquered death, and His resurrection guaranteed yours:
"He has given us...a living hope through the resurrection...into an inheritance that can never perish" (1 Pet 1:3-4 NIV).
Mount Auburn, America's first cemetery, was so beautiful it became the number one tourist attraction in Boston. When they created Central Park in New York they modelled it after Mount Auburn. The rallying cry was, "Why not have it all, but without the graves?" We keep trying to have it all, but without the graves! But we can't. We live only a heartbeat from eternity.
So here are two truths you must keep in mind:
(1) God put you on this earth for a specific purpose. Have you found yours yet?
Are you pouring your life into it and making every moment count?
Paul did, and he ended up writing: "The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim 4:6-8 NKJV).
(2) When you know Christ as your Saviour, the best is yet to be. It is said that on his deathbed, D.L. Moody suddenly sat upright, opened his arms as though embracing something wonderful, declared that earth was receding, Heaven was near, and that it was his coronation day. What a way to go!
You don't need to fear death because Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 NKJV). Believe it, it's true!
Written Bob Gass Ministries Used with Permission from "The Word For Today": April 2009 http://www.blogger.com/
Jesus as someone has said passed from gory to glory in a short space of time; from tragedy to triumph; from the cross to the crown; from despair to delight, from rejection to rejoicing, from villain to victor. Isn't that wonderful. May our hearts be glad because of all that He has done. But please don't take my word for it - look beyond the cross to the crown, beyond the grave to the skies. Be blessed and have a wonderful Easter.
If you do not know Jesus & would like to know more please write to me Jan Lyall at email: firstname.lastname@example.org & I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Whilst tidying the "Reflection Archives" I became aware of one consistant theme that the Lord has impressed upon me over over the years - Abba wants us to spend more time with Him so that we can know Him at a deeper level may this message bless You!
The Secret to Knowing God - How to walk in deeper intimacy with your Creator (Bayless Conley)
Deep down, I truly believe every Christian wants to experience a deeply personal and intimate relationship with God. And I also believe each and every believer in Christ can have this kind of relationship with their Creator.
But there is often a problem in how we approach God. We often go to Him looking for rewards… or we’re constantly asking Him for things. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go to God with our cares and burdens. In fact, He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to tell Him about our concerns because He cares so much for us.
But if you want to know God… I mean, really know Him… there is another prayer He wants to hear from you. It’s a prayer like the one we hear Moses pray in Exodus 33:13. In my mind, this is one of the greatest prayers in all of Scripture:
“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.” Moses didn’t just say, “Come with us, God” but he said, “Show me Your way because, God, I want to know You.” And then Moses added to it in verse 18, when He said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
The Hebrew word for “glory” literally means “weight, mass, or substance.” So in essence Moses is saying, “God, I want to know what You’re made of. I don’t just want to know about You. I want to know You. I want to know who You are.”
The word that Moses used when he said he wanted to know God is the same word that’s used in Genesis 4:1 where it says, “Adam knew Eve his wife.” Moses is requesting to have the most personal, intimate relationship with God. He wants to draw close to God.
Friend, prayers like that touch the heart of God because not too many people pray them!
I read a story about Abraham Lincoln that took place during the Civil War. A woman actually came to the White House and somehow got in with a plate full of cookies. When she finally got through to the president, she said, “Mr. President, I don’t want anything at all. I was just thinking about you today and the load that you are carrying… and I just thought maybe some cookies would brighten up your day.”
Lincoln began to weep and said, “Madam, I see a great many people every day, and they want a great many things from me. But of all the people I’ve seen since being in office, you are the first one that has ever come not asking something of me but wanting to bring something to me.”
While God delights in answering our prayer, He also desires for us to bring something to Him. But how often do we... do you… come just to bring Him something?
It’s the kind of prayer that says,
“God, I want to know You. I just want to hang out. I want to find out who You are. Show me what You are made of.”
Friend, I think we can all know God in a personal and intimate way… just like Moses did… the way Paul did… even the way Abraham did.
Paul cried out in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”
And Abraham discovered what God meant when He said in Genesis 15:1, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
Life is about knowing God! So let me challenge you today to pray a prayer like this:
God, show me who You are. I’m not coming with a request. I’ve got a long list, but I’ll leave it outside the door for now. God, I’m just coming to You because I want to know You. I just want to make Your heart happy. I want to make You smile. God, show me Your ways.
Doing this will delight the heart of God! And you’ll be surprised at some of the things that begin to happen within your life when you pray this prayer. Because I truly believe God is crying out, saying “Oh, that they walk in My ways!” He wants you to know Him today!
When You Speak, God Hears
Those who pray keep alive the watch fires of faith. For the most part we don't even know their names. Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago. His name is not important. He is important not because of who he was, but because of what he did.
He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend. His friend was sick, and Jesus could help, and someone needed to go to Jesus, so someone went. Others cared for the sick man in other ways. Some brought food; others provided treatment; still others comforted the family. Each role was crucial. Each person was helpful, but no one was more vital than the one who went to Jesus.
John writes: "So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, 'Lord, the one you love is sick'" (John 11:3, emphasis mine). Someone carried the request. Someone walked the trail. Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded.
In the economy of heaven, the prayers of saints are a valued commodity. John the apostle would agree. He wrote the story of Lazarus and was careful to show the sequence: The healing began when the request was made.
The phrase the friend of Lazarus used is worth noting. When he told Jesus of the illness, he said, "The one you love is sick."
The power of the prayer, in other words, does not depend on the one who makes the prayer but on the one who hears the prayer.
We can and must repeat the phrase in manifold ways. "The one you love is tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, depressed." The words of the prayer vary, but the response never changes. The Savoir hears the prayer. He silences heaven so he won't miss a word. The Master heard the request. Jesus stopped whatever he was doing and took note of the man's words. This anonymous courier was heard by God.
John's message is critical. You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God--and he listens. Intently. Carefully.
The prayers are honoured as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. "The smoke from the incense went up from the angel's hand to God" (Rev. 8:4). Incredible.
Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God. One call and heaven's fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God's power in heaven. You are the someone of God's kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don't need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!
When you speak, Jesus hears. And when Jesus hears, the world is changed. All because someone prayed.
Source: UpWords with Max Lucado Feb 6th 2009
Keys To Effective Prayer
1. - Being Specific in what you request of God
In Mark 10:46-52 we find a very intriguing story.
Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, "Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you." And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight." Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
The question Jesus asked, "What do you want Me to do for you?", seemed obvious, didn't it? Everybody present knew Bartimaeus needed his eyes to be healed. Why would Jesus ask this question? He wanted us to understand how important it is to be specific when we ask something of God. Bartimaeus' faith had to become specific before it made him well. It was after he said, "Lord, that I might receive my sight," that Jesus said, "Your faith has made you well."
2. -- Being Connected - The need to have a close relationship with God.
In John 15:5, Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
God wants every part of our life to be connected to Him. And He tells us that as that happens, as we have our lives connected with Him, we bear much fruit. A few verses later Jesus directly connected that fruit to prayer.
In John 15:16, Jesus goes on to say, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
If we are connected to God and we abide in Him, Jesus says we will bear much fruit--prayer fruit.
Think about a fruit tree for a moment. The leaves come out because the branches are attached to the tree. In the spring the branch will blossom, and from those blossoms comes the fruit. But if something happens and the branch is not solidly connected to the tree, it will probably not bear any fruit at all. There may be a few leaves, but the blossoms won't come and there won't be any fruit. The blossoms and healthy fruit will only come if the branch is fully connected. God wants us connected to Him in every part of our lives. When that happens, our prayers will be in line with His desires, and we can be confident that He will answer.
How to Stay Connected - While there are many things we can do, I want to focus on two things.
First of all, if you want to have a close relationship with God, it is important to realize just how much He desires to have a close relationship with you.
This is an amazing truth when you stop to think about it. He is Almighty God, and yet He wants to have a close relationship with you.
Romans 5:11 in the New Living Translation says, Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Through Jesus, God made us to be His friends! So connecting with God starts with remembering He desires to be your closest friend.
Second, you need to practice His presence. Right now God is with you. He is everywhere you go. He is at your job; He is at your home; He is with you wherever you might be, even in the hardest time of your life.
The last part of Hebrews 13:5 says, For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
There was a monk in the seventeenth century named Brother Lawrence who wrote a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. In the monastery there were chimes that rang every hour, and Brother Lawrence would use that as a reminder to connect with God. If you have a PDA or a wristwatch or a cell phone, you might consider setting it to go off throughout the day to remind you that God is with you. Each time it goes off, spend a few moments communing with Him. Practice His presence. That will help you stay connected to God
3. -- Praying From the Heart
Romans 10:9-10 says, If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Prayer must come from the heart. These verses in particular teach us that if a person is going to pray a prayer of salvation, the heart and the mouth must get together. It is not good enough to just have the words. Your heart and mouth must be in agreement.
I believe this truth applies to every kind of prayer. It is not good enough to just use eloquent words. There has to be heart behind them if you are going to realize results from your prayers. I think only those things that burn brightly within our hearts truly touch the heart of God.
When I was young, I would go fishing with my cousins. At night, the bats would come out and my cousins would take a lure, and they would cast it up in the air. Every once in a great while one of the bats would hit the lure and get snagged. I think when we pray, it is like casting lines up into the heavens. But it is only the prayers that come from our heart that ever hook onto anything in heaven.
4. -- Consistent with God's Will -
Effective prayers are those that are in line with God's Word and will. This means you must have knowledge of God's Word.
In John 15:7, Jesus says, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."
If you abide in God and His words abide in you, your desires will line up with His will. How important it is for us to know the Word of God!
As Hebrews 4 reminds us, the Word of God is living and active and powerful. It is spirit; it is life. It's not just pages on a piece of paper. And as you are in the Word of God, I believe the Holy Spirit will paint heaven's pictures, heaven's thoughts, and heaven's ideas on the canvas of your heart and your mind.
As you read the Word of God, you will have confidence in your prayers because you will have God's heart. And when you have God's heart, He is going to answer your prayers because that is what He desires.
I also want to point you to 1 John 5:14 which says,
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. His will, of course, is His Word. So if you ask anything according to His Word, He will hear you. And if you know that He hears whatever you ask, you know you have the petitions you have asked of Him. This means you and I need to know what the Bible says so that our prayers will be answered.
5. -- Endurance - Whatever you are praying for, patiently endure.
Hebrews 6:11-15 says, And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Do you realize that once God gave Abraham and Sarah the promise of having a child, it was 25 years before Isaac was born? There was some patient enduring that took place before they obtained the reality of God's promise in their lives. And so it must be with us.
Perhaps you have been praying for things in your life, and you are getting discouraged.
You must remember that God does not always work things on our timetable. He works according to His. I just want to encourage you today: Be patient. Patience is that long-lasting quality of your faith.
A number of years ago I heard one person say that faith is like your hand and patience is like your arm. When you exercise faith, it is like holding up your hand against the problem, and as you do, things are being worked out. But if you take your patience down, your faith comes down with it. Patience is the thing that keeps your faith applied until the answer comes.
6. -- Humility - God resists the proud. He gives grace to the humble.
In 1 Peter 5:5-6 we read this, Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
Humility, more than anything else, is an attitude of the heart that says, "I recognize I am not self-sufficient. I am open, I am teachable, I am thankful. God, I am willing to bow my heart before You and confess that I am in utter need of Your assistance."
Contrary to what some people say and think, humility is not to be equated with lack of courage. in fact, it takes great courage for a person to admit they have need. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is a sign of strength.
King David said in Psalm 18:35, Your gentleness (or Your meekness) has made me great. Moses was called the meekest or the humblest man on the face of the earth, and yet we don't think of him as a weak person. He is one of the greatest leaders to ever step out of the pages of the Bible, and very few people in history have had power with God in the place of prayer like Moses did.
Jesus, our Savoir, said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" (KJV).
Friend, that ought to be one of the hallmark qualities of our lives-- especially when we are praying.
7. -- The Holy Spirit's Help - Take time to praise God today for His provision of the Holy Spirit.
In John 16, Jesus is talking to His disciples, and He is trying to prepare them and let them know that He is going away. In John 16:7 He tells them, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."
Do you know who the Helper is? It is the Holy Spirit. Earlier in John 14:26 he had told His disciples this, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, has been sent to come alongside and teach us all things. He will teach you how to pray; He will teach you things about prayer. The Holy Spirit will help you in that way.
Then He said, "[He will] bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." The Holy Spirit will help us remember the promises. The things that God has taught us He will bring to our remembrance, so we can pray effectively.
The Holy Spirit is like having a personal assistant. A personal assistant will help you remember your appointments or show you something you do not know. Every moment of every day He is there for us.
8. -- Forgiveness - Jesus cited unforgiveness as the number one reason for unanswered prayer.
In Mark 11:24-26 Jesus says, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Pretty strong, isn't it? If my prayers were not being answered, this would be the first place I would look--into my own heart, to see whether I had allowed bitterness toward another human being to reside there. Whether I was harbouring a grudge or had strife in my heart toward anyone else.
Jesus said if you have anything against anyone, anything--big or small, new or old--or anyone--yourself, your husband, your wife, a family member, a loved one, a neighbour, a co-worker, a relative, an enemy--if you have anything against anyone, it will lead to unanswered prayer.
Sometimes people hold things against themselves. They do not forgive themselves, even after God has forgiven them and after others have forgiven them. They just want to whip themselves for their stupidity for falling into the same stupid sin again, or for whatever they have done, and they don't release themselves!
There are others too, including those closest to us, whom we must forgive. If your prayers are not being answered, then look there.
Perhaps you have searched the Scriptures, filled your heart with the Word, you are praying from the bottom of your heart, and you are expectant of answers; but before you can partake of the fruit of your prayers, you must forgive if you have anything against anyone!
1 Peter 3:7 says, Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Notice it says, "Husbands, likewise," which means, gals, you are not off the hook. The following truth applies to you as much as it does to the boys. That truth is simply this: If there is bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart toward your spouse, your prayers will be hindered. That word hindered literally means to be cut down in the same way one would cut down a tree.
I once had this incredible tree called a cherimoya tree. One of the things about a cherimoya tree is that it is not indigenous to our country, and the insects that pollinate it do not exist here.
In order for the tree to bear fruit, I needed to pollinate it by hand with my little artist paintbrush. I would get pollen on the brush from one flower and pollinate other flowers. Eventually the little buds I had pollinated began to turn into fruit. I was so excited! They were getting close to the time to be harvested. Then I came home one afternoon to find my whole tree hacked to pieces. Every branch and piece of fruit was in the trash. The gardener had cut my tree down!
I believe that can happen with our prayers.
You can be intensely committed spiritually, searching the Scriptures, filling your heart with the Word, praying from the bottom of your heart, but if you are not honouring your spouse or you are treating them in a bad way, the devil has the authority to waltz right in and chop your prayer tree down. Let's keep the axe out of the devil's hand by honouring and forgiving and valuing our marriage partner.
The Power to Forgive
There are times when we need to forgive someone for something they have done. On occasion it can seem so difficult...almost impossible. But forgiveness is not an option for you and me as followers of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is an act of the will. You can forgive. In fact, Jesus said that we even need to love our enemies, those who may not want peace with us.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
How can you do that? Because God has done the same thing for you.
In Romans 5:10 it says, When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. When you and I embrace salvation through Jesus Christ, that same love of God is poured out in our hearts. (See Romans 5:1 and 5). As a result, we can forgive those who have wronged us.
Once you have forgiven someone, it can still affect your emotions. I like what Corrie ten Boom shared. She went through several sleepless weeks over something that someone had done to her. She tried to forgive the person; but, still, when she would think about it, she would respond emotionally.
When she shared this with her pastor, he had her look up at the bell tower of the church. He reminded her that the bell would continue to ring even after the person ringing it had let go of the rope. But given a little time, the bell would slow down until it was silent. It may take time for your emotions to settle even when you have let go of the rope. Just let go of the rope and forgive. You can do it!
Source: By Janet Conley - From Answers For Each Day - Dec 2008
12 Steps to Change Your Prayer Life -
1. “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Prov. 21:1)
If your thoughts wander during your prayer time, instead of trying to force them back into your pre-set agenda, try following them. Perhaps the Lord has another agenda.
2. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matt. 6:5-6).
Set a time for daily prayer. Consider it an unbreakable commitment. Keep your set appointment every day for one week. For one solid week, let your scheduled prayer time be the centrepiece of your day: arrange everything else to fit around it.
3. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Give God the first fruits of your day. For one week, give the very first 30 minutes of your day to prayer.
4. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
Find a place in your home where you can be alone and undistracted during your prayer time. Keep your Bible, prayer journal, pen, and whatever tools you use in that place so that everything is ready. During your prayer time each day, this is a sacred place.
5. “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah. 6:1)
As you start your prayer time, before you say anything, let your mind’s eye see Him, high and exalted, and yourself in a position of worship before Him. Stay in that inner posture until His glory fills your thoughts as the train of His robe fills the temple.
6. “But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’” (Luke 8:46 )
Take time to become truly alive to His presence with you. Be aware that as you touch Him through prayer, His power is released into your life.
7. “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.” (Ps. 78:1)
Read your Bible this morning with the awareness that you are listening to the words of His mouth. Stop at the first word, phrase, or thought that captures your attention and let the Father speak to you about it and let it shape your prayers.
8. “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isa. 64:8)
This week, practice the prayer of pliability. Instead of focusing on what you want God to do for you, focus on allowing Him to shape your desires until they match His. Accept each situation in your life as His hand shaping your thoughts, character, and longings.
9. “Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
This week, let these words be the only prayer you pray about situations that confront you. Focus on relinquishing every situation to Him to be a platform for His power.
10. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD.” (Ps. 77:11)
This week, try writing out your prayers. It will help you stay focused and will create a record of God’s work in your life.
11. “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.” (Ps. 35:28)
This week, practice praying out loud during your private prayer time. It will make your prayer experience more concrete and will help you keep your mind focused.
12. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; …talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 11:18-20)
This week, try walking as you pray. Walk through your neighbourhood or around your yard. You will be more able to keep your mind open to new thoughts the Lord might introduce. You are likely to find yourself spending more time with Him.
Author: Jennifer Kennedy Dean - Right to the Heart of Women