Kevin Senapatiratne's Posts (16)

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Easter weekend is a big weekend for the church. It is not so much that we don’t have the opportunity to celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive all year long. When I was in high school I was at a church summer camp where God was at work. I walked around and randomly said, “Jesus is alive.” I wanted to remind people that no matter the miracle they were experiencing it doesn’t compare to the miracle that Jesus is alive. But one of the great things about Easter weekend is that, not only are we extra focused on that fact, but the world at large is more focused. In the church in the USA, Easter is often referred to by pastors as, “the Super Bowl” of the church calendar. Given the opportunities that are there here are some great things to pray for this weekend

An openness to the Gospel- Some people will be open to hearing the message of Jesus now more than any other time of the year. Pray that their mind would be open to the truth.

Harvesters to bring people in- I have heard that 8 out of 10 people would come to church if they were invited by a friend. Pray for opportunities and boldness during this time.

Pastors as they prepare to present the message- Most churches will have a presentation of the story of Jesus on Easter. With a ministry committed to engaging 100,000 people to pray for pastors you know I need to bring that up. 

Friendliness in churches- Again this is often times when people who normally wouldn’t go to church decide to show up. Pray that when they get there they would be drawn into the love of Christians.

Awakening among fellow Christians- The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. Pray that this realization sinks deeper into who we are. May that truth create a thirst in all of our hearts to live in the Spirit’s power more the rest of the year.

As you enter the Easter weekend I pray that you experience the hope His death and resurrection brings and your heart would be drawn to pray for all of those who still have yet to experience that hope. 

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6 Places You Should Pray More

Let’s have some fun today. What locations could we pray more? Where are some places that would have a big impact on our life? How much do you pray in each of these locations?


Two points for the shower. First the bookends of our days, getting ready for the day or bed, are great times for more prayer. As we prepare our body and mind we might as well prepare our spirit. Second, often our best thoughts come in the shower so why not engage God in that process.

Waiting in line

So much of our life is spent waiting. Maybe that drives you crazy. It can feel so unproductive. By praying while waiting you can be touching the world in the most productive way. 

At your work or school

You don’t need to work in a monastery to be about the life of prayer. Walks to the copy machine can be moments with God. Routine tasks can be seasons of praise. I imagine that most of us would like more of God’s involvement in the part of our world we spend so much time. 

Where you have fun

One of the dangers of our age is to separate God from the ordinary activities of our life. I am not saying that the next ball game that you go to needs to be what you imagine of a prayer meeting. But try acknowledging God in your heart a couple times. You will be surprised how amazing it can be. 


This might seem like something that goes without saying, it is not something that goes without saying. We live in an age where it is easy for church services to become a spectator sport. Give your heart to prayer when you gather with others from the family of God.

Where you sin most

Now this may seem like a strange thing to say, but think about it with me. What is the sin that you struggle with the most? Don’t worry you don’t need to confess to me. Is there a location where this happens the most? If yes, then you have two choices. First, and best, is to flee that location. But if that is not an option making that place a place of prayer should help. 

To be fair I could have picked any location Christians go to and suggest that we pray there more. The Bible calls us to a life of prayer. This is not about guilt but about opportunity. Anywhere that you go it is a location that you can spend time with God. 

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If you were to look at me you might simply see a short, bald Sri Lankan looking guy. But when I was in 9th grade I played on my school’s football team. Fortunately for me the school was one of the largest in the state at the time and so had a “A” squad, “B” squad, and “C” squad which meant that I got the opportunity to play. Actually I received the award for Most Improved Player, which probably speaks to the fact that I had never played on a school football team before and had much to improve. 

Near the end of the season, the defensive coach decided that he would teach me how to play outside linebacker. Apparently when you are on the “C” squad it doesn’t matter how short you are to play different positions. I was told that as outside linebacker I only had 2 jobs: either cover the tight end if he went out for a pass or play “contain” which basically is not allowing any runner between me and the sideline. 

When the day of the game came the defensive coach was not there but rather the drill sergeant, no nonsense offensive coach. On one of the first plays of the game I realized I had a problem. Even though I only had two jobs I didn’t know which one to do on which play. Sure enough they ran right where I was supposed to be and nearly scored a touchdown.

Drill sergeant coach pulled me from the game and put me on the bench. For the rest of the game we were getting killed at the position I was supposed to be playing. No one else on the team knew how to play my position. I may have asked to get back in the game at that position but I know I didn’t try to hard.

As I travel the country speaking at churches I see a lot of Christians sitting on the bench when they should be in the game. They have the right jersey on, but are content to sit on the sideline spiritually. They will leave the praying and other spiritual activities to the super star Christians. God is still looking for people who say, “Here am I, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)  As I mention in my Manifesto on Engagement, too many Christians are not engaged and so their faith has become boring.

Which type of spiritual football player are you? Are you content to sit on the sideline and leave the praying, loving and action to other Christians? Even if you have messed up, is your heart and actions saying to the Coach, “Let me back in the game.” Prayer is where the action is. Will you get into the game?

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by President Theodore Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910  Theodore Roosevelt (Emphasis mine) 

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Certain moments stay with you for a long time. When I was in Bible college I had the opportunity to be under two different presidents. Dr. Gordon Anderson came on as president of North Central University the second year that I was there. It was fun to watch a change in leadership.

Chapel attendance was one of the requirements at the time and there are some services that I still remember and others that have long since left my mind. There was a series of events that happened the first year Dr Anderson was there that has stayed with me all of these years later.

At one of the chapel services Dave Pedde was leading us in songs of worship. Dave was one of the professors from the music department who would become one of my favorites. Even though I only had one class that he taught I loved his authentic heart and passion for God. On this particular service his authentic nature caused him to stop in the middle of his leading. He said something to the effect, “God is here. It is easy to simply play notes and miss the reality that God is here.”

It was shortly after that during another chapel service where Dr. Anderson was doing a series of messages on the subject of revival. It was such a great series that I got the cassette tapes and listened to them over again. In one of those messages Dr. Anderson referenced back to Dave Pedde’s comment on the fact that “God is here.”

He made a good natured joke that he was glad that the music department was becoming aware of the omni-presence of God. He light-heartedly said the Theology department had known that fact for a while. He then turned to a life changing thought that has stayed with me ever since. Although the fact that God is always with us is a reality of the Bible, we are not always, “awake” to His presence. He pointed out that this is why the prophets often needed to encourage the people to, “wake up.”

This truth has reminded me of my job to wake myself up to God’s presence all around. I try to practice the discipline that Dallas Willard did while he was living. When he woke up in the morning, before he even left the bed, he would acknowledge the presence of God. What simple habits do you need to start to wake yourself up to the reality that you are in God’s presence right now? ;

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One of the reasons that people don’t go to a prayer meeting is that they think that it is going to be boring. Even if Christians “should” go to the prayer meeting even if it is boring there are ways to change it so boring is not the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the words, “prayer meeting.”

Reason 1: Lack of expectation that God will meet with us.

From a Bible perspective when we gather for prayer we can be assured that God is, “there in the midst of us.” But often it is the leader’s job to play the role of Elisha with his servant when he prayed, “Open his eyes.” When people expect to meet with God their attitude will be very different. As George Muller used to say, “God has dealt with me according to my expectation.” 

Cure: There are ways to increase people’s expectation of meeting with God. Here are three examples of that. Songs of worship can raise our awareness that we are meeting with God and not going through religious activities. Drawing our attention to Bible passages of God’s power with His people can have the same effect. Finally, along a similar line, stories of powerful prayer meetings from history can increase expectation in the room.

Reason 2: Lack of anticipation of the importance of the meeting.

Many people in our day and age place a high value on time. Things are equated with boring if they are considered a waste of time. I think that is part of the reason that people, especially men, often skip the prayer meeting for other activities. Overcoming this perception can increase the attendance of the prayer meeting.

Cure: One of the ways to help people to see the importance of the prayer meeting is to line up the agenda of the prayer meeting with important items. When the early disciples met for prayer in Acts chapter 4 about the persecution they were facing no one probably questioned the importance of the meeting. And the room was shaken. Maybe make the agenda for your prayer service the Big Hairy Audacious Goals that God has put on your heart for the church. Maybe put signs around the room with pictures of lost people in need of God.

Reason 3: Leaders governed by obligation instead of desperation in calling the meeting.

I was a senior pastor for about nine years before starting this ministry back in 2005. There always seemed like there was more to do than I had time to do it. It is easy with that type of environment to feel like a prayer service is just another item on the list of things to do. If this is how the leader feels it will quickly be felt by everyone else and drain the energy in the room.

Cure: There are two steps to overcoming this challenge. Both are important. First, the leader needs to reconnect with their “why.” This may be as simple as changing the agenda of the prayer meeting like we talked about in the last reason. The second part is to set up the time and structure of the prayer meeting as the leader so that you want to come. Don’t feel obligated to have a morning prayer service if you are a night owl. Maybe to start with a 30 minute prayer service before Sunday morning is better than adding another night to your agenda when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Reason 4: No balance of spontaneity and predictability.

There is nothing wrong with routine in your prayer service. Structure can provide security to people who are new to a prayer meeting. Knowing what is happening next can even help the veterans of the prayer service feel comfortable to focus on prayer. But structure can also create boredom if we are not careful. 

Cure: Hopefully you will see that the first three reasons are foundational to fixing this challenge as well. Let me encourage you as leader to create a simple broad stroke plan with predictable parts, but don’t be afraid to change to follow the moment. Let the components be like your playbook that gives you the comfort to call an audible with confidence. 

Over the history of the church the prayer service has often been the moments that changed the course of churches and countries. May your prayer service be with expectation as you meet with God and do the work of prayer that changes the world. 

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4 Things To Help You Pray When You Are In Distress

Sometimes in life things do not go as planned. We are trying to serve God and life seems to be going backwards instead of forward. Maybe the wheels seem to be coming off of a close relationship. Maybe we face a sudden health or financial crisis. It may be that we feel like God is calling us to do something and right now it just looks like we are banging our head against the wall.

There is a story in the Bible that might give you some encouragement. We read the story of a person like King David and we forget the journey that he went on to get there. He is anointed as king; so in other words it was God’s plan for him to be king. He kills Goliath and becomes a great warrior. He is friends with the king’s son and marries the king’s daughter.

But then life seems to turn to shambles. The king is trying to kill him. How would you feel if the military of your country was trying to capture you? He is on the run and must leave his close friend and wife behind. Then he gets the idea to go to the Philistines and hide there. Ultimately this would be a good plan, but the first time he goes to the king the only way to get out of there alive is to pretend to be crazy. I think that qualifies as a bad day.

Yet there is encouragement for us in this story. At the time that this is happening David writes Psalm 34 which gives us a backdrop for how to deal with these times in our life. It is even cool because each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Now there is way more in this chapter than we can cover here but let me give you 4 things to help you with your prayer life during these times.

Turn your attention to who God is no matter what is happening.

It is easy during times of distress to lose perspective. David begins this psalm with praise to God. Throughout the psalm we are reminded that even in the difficult times of our life God is still in control of the universe. He is still on the throne and worthy of our worship. This will help us adjust our view of our current struggles.

Check your heart for any issues you need to deal with in this moment.

David is not for a moment suggesting that people should blame themselves when they are in distress. Rather he is encouraging people to keep their heart soft and pure in a situation that can easily turn a person bitter. We want to align ourselves with a holy and awesome God in these situations.

Bring your needs to God without reservation.

I love the language this psalm used to describe our prayer to God. “The righteous cry out,” “Seek the Lord” “the poor man cried” is all language of not holding back. When you are in distress that is not the time for religious posturing and pious pretense. David encourages an all out bringing of your brokenness to God.

Trust God to answer your prayer.

One of my favorite parts of this psalm is that God is trustworthy and involved with His people. Such great promises are for those who pour out their heart to God. “He delivered me from all of my fears.” “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” And on and on it goes. When we focus on Him, keep our heart clean and bring our need to God we can trust Him to involve Himself in our situation. Will you go to Him today?

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6 Times People Miss The Presence Of God

Are you aware of the presence of God around you? Maybe you are thinking about that amazing time at church or that prayer time at church camp. It was just so amazing. We use language like, “God was near” or “God seemed so real.” Those words help us capture our awareness of the presence of God around us. 

God’s word teaches us that God is everywhere all of the time. David even asks the question, “…where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7) He can’t come up with an answer to that. But we just don’t always realize it. Maybe you are going through one of those seasons where you wonder where God is at. Here are 6 times when it is helpful to remember that whether you feel Him or not God is still with you. 

When life turns upside down

Jacob was running for his life. If anyone’s life had been turned upside down it was his. He was running from his brother who had threatened to kill him. He was leaving all that he knew to start over. In the midst of that running he has an encounter with God. He then says one of my favorite things in the Bible, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16) If you are going through a moment that feels like the world is upside down, God is with you. 

When we are under attack

I love the story of when Elisha has an army to come and get him because he has ticked off a king (Read the whole story in 2 Kings 6). When Elisha’s servant freaks out because they are surrounded Elisha prays that God would open his eyes. The servant then sees horses and chariots of fire all around. They were there before but the servant didn’t see them. If you are feeling under attack today, I pray that God opens your eyes to see His presence with you. 

When we dealing with our own sin

This is a little more tricky one. When we sin we choose to separate ourselves from God. David talks about this feeling in his famous confession in Psalm 51. He says, “Cast me not away from your presence.” (verse 11) And if you are feeling distant from God because of your sin I can give you no better encouragement than to do what David did in that moment. In brokenness of heart get right with God. 

When we are confused

A fun story shortly after the resurrection is when Jesus meets a couple disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24). I won’t get into the fact of what we learn about Jesus from the fact that He is messing with them in that moment. But in their confusion about what is happening Jesus is there to explain what they need to understand. If you are confused with life right now, Jesus is with you to help you find a way forward. 

When we are dealing with relationship conflict

One of the common passages people use about the presence of God is found in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” But as my friend Chris MacKinnon pointed out to me the context of this verse is conflict and relationship issues in the church. It is a great reminder that even in our moments of conflict with people God is right in the middle with us. 

When we are outside our comfort zone

God keeps calling us (at least me) outside of the comfort zone. And sometimes when He sends me somewhere it can feel very alone. Some people give their lives to go to some of the most difficult places in the world where any other Christian is far away. It is in those moments that where He tells us to go that He promises, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

So whether you are going through one of these 6 situations or something else, I pray that today you that you would be reminded that Jesus is Emmanuel-“God with us” 

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About a week ago I was in a hit and run car accident with my daughter in the back seat. We both are fine, but my car was totaled. Having gone through the process of dealing with the insurance and the like we are now moving ahead. Due to the nature of my ministry it is time to find a used car to replace the last one. 

For some people the idea of shopping for a car would be fun. I am not even close to being a car guy. The whole process feels a lot like walking through a maze with a lot of dead ends. I am hoping that every phone call, Google search, and visit to a dealership is leading me toward my new to me car.  ...Read More

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