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#Pastors Identify the Role of Prayer for Their Life, Ministry

More than 7 in 10 pastors (72%) say consistency in personal prayer is important, which also makes it one of the top needs of pastors overall. Similar percentages of pastors say it’s vital in their lives to invest in friendships and fellowship with others (69%) and to focus on consistency of Bible reading not related to sermon or teaching preparation (68%).


Around 2 in 3 U.S. Protestant pastors say it’s important for them to trust God (66%), invest in relationships with other pastors (64%) and practice consistency in taking a Sabbath (64%). More than 3 in 5 pastors (61%) say they need to invest in confessing and repenting from personal sin. Few (4%) say they don’t consider any of those issues important investments for their life as a pastor.

“Some churchgoers may be surprised to find that spiritual disciplines don’t always come easily for pastors,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Yes, they know how to do these things, but achieving consistency takes time and effort. It is not automatic.”

Younger pastors, those between the ages of 18 and 44, are among the most likely to say many of the spiritual needs are areas in need of attention in their lives. They are the most likely to say they need to invest in friendship and fellowship with others (79%) and relationships with other pastors (73%). Pastors under 44 are also more likely than pastors over 55 to say they need to focus on consistency of Bible reading not related to sermon or teaching preparation (75%) as well as confessing and repenting of personal sin (69%). They’re also more likely than those over 65 to say it’s important they invest in consistency in personal prayer (78%).

Read the complete article here>>>

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A leading global mission to pray for the spheres of influence in all nations.  


Check our latest Proclaiming Pentecost video on zoom. 


On this page you will find latest and former prayer strategies for each mountain/domain/sphere 

Prayer Initiatives 

  1. Prayer mapping
  2. Prayer Walking
  3. Adopt a Suburb
  4. Praying for Government
  5. Prayer Triplets
  6. Prayer Calendar for the Spheres
  7. Prayer for USA and Neighbours
  8. Prayers for Australia and Asia Pacific
  9. Pentecost
  10. Coming soon to pray for Europe. 
  11. Check Endorsements
  12. Prayer Partners


The prayer focus is on the spheres/mountains of influence in all nations for: 



Church (Ecclesia) 

Immigrant Churches 

Houses of Prayers 




Law and Justice                                                                                                                   




Charity and Not for Profit Welfare 





Sport and Recreation 


Jesus Prays for All Believers 

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you have known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I may be in them.” 


God bless 

Lilian Schmid 

Prayer Strategist and Coordinator  

Sydney – Australia  


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I have been working on a book on the warnings of Jesus concerning difficult times that are coming. However, a recent doctor appointment gave me a different perspective on my cancer. This has changed my approach to a number of things in my life including my work on this book. Although I am still not sure how quickly the drink offering of my life is being poured out to God, I believe I need to walk more wisely in relation to time.

Ephesians 5:15-17 speaks pointedly to this.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I believe it wisest, concerning the book, to write snatches of what I believe God is pressing upon me, and post them in my blogs rather than worrying about layout and presentation for the book. 

So beginning this week, I will post something on praying in the Spirit which would come much later in the book but has come together in my mind.





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Future Perfect Tense


As my vision continued that night, 
I saw someone who looked like a man coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence.
He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world,
so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him.
His rule is eternal--it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. 
                                        DANIEL 7:13-14 NLT

In the future the Son of Man will be revealed as the Son of God—
     My Right-hand Man, returning on the clouds of heaven.
     When His full character is unveiled, believers will breathe a sigh of relief.
     When His unquestionable authority is revealed, saints will leap for joy.

The Lamb turned Lion will be an awful revelation to an incredulous world.
     His piercing eyes will see right through all pretense and hypocrisy.
     His almighty feet will walk all over enemies of righteousness.
     His divine voice will thunder out proclamations of justice and truth.
     His authoritative arm will wield a sharp sword to cut away falsehood.
     His victorious hands will hold the keys of death and the grave.
     Gentle Jesus will shock people who forgot accountability to Him as Judge.

Worldly warring kingdoms will become the Messiah’s peaceful kingdom.
     Memories of chaos, anxiety, and turmoil will never haunt the redeemed.
     Cemeteries and hospitals will no longer be needed by the glorified.
     Loneliness will disappear in the fellowship of celebrative hearts.
     Millions will worship Him and sing His praises with liberated hearts.
     My servants will worship and serve Me with joyful hearts.

Current events disturb you, but the future perfect tense will delight you.
     Believer, you are destined to be part of Christ’s indestructible kingdom!
     Live gratefully, humbly, and reverently until earth’s nightmare is over.
     Jesus will reign over the new earth—heaven’s dream will come true.


                              (c)  Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                      Day 291,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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Dear friends in Christ,

During the month of October we are praying for the Spheres of Health and Medicine.
Please go to this link to read our newsletter

A Christian Doctor’s Perspective on Healthcare at a Time of Global Crisis (by Dr Ernest F Crocker BSc (Med) MBBS FRACP DDU FAANMS)

If you wish to be listed on our website as being in partnership in prayer with us, send us the link of your website (to and in return include the link to our website on your website. We shall uphold each other in our prayers. 1 Corinthians 12

Let us know how we can serve you in prayer (especially strategic research and prayers for the spheres)

God bless

Lilian Schmid
Prayer Strategist and Coordinator
Sydney – Australia

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The Transforming Presence


                                                 From that day the name of the city will be “The LORD Is There.”

                                                                                 EZEKIEL 48:35 NLT

When you are unsure which way to turn, I am there to direct you.
When you are feeling gloomy and despondent, I am there to cheer you up.
When you are worn out and exhausted, I am there to give you rest.
When you are frazzled, I am there to give you peace of mind.
When you are wringing your hands, I am there to settle your nerves.
When you are battling the evil one, I am there to guarantee your victory.
When you are frustrated by changing situations, I am there to stabilize you.
When you are on stormy seas, I am there to keep you on an even keel.
When you are experiencing earth’s chaos, I am there to calm your heart.
When you are on the verge of falling apart, I am there to hold you together.
When you are weak and overwhelmed, I am there to renew your strength.
When you are afraid, I am there to hold your hand and encourage you.
When you are going through deep waters, I am there to keep you afloat.
When you are experiencing fiery trials, I am there to shield you from harm.
|When you are surrounded by trouble, I am there as your Hiding Place.
When you are feeling life is too hard, I am there to help you succeed.
When you are stumbling in the dark, I am there to light your way.
When you are feeling guilty, I am there to forgive and take your sins away.
When you are wondering what is next, I am there to give you a bright future.
When you are dragging your feet, I am there to teach you how to dance.
When you are feeling no one loves you, I am there to hold you near Me.
When you are in a sad valley, I am there to give you a vision of hope.
When you are on an ecstatic mountaintop, I am there to celebrate with you.
When you are in a deep pit of depression, I am there to lift you up.
When you are visiting the world’s other side, I am there to travel with you.
When you are on cloud nine, I am there to be the Life of your party.
When you are overshadowed by clouds, I am there to shine joy in your soul.
When you are singing the blues, I am there to give you a new praise song.
When you are sleepless after a hard day, I am there to sing you a lullaby.
When you are opening your eyes at dawn, I am there as your wake-up call.
When you are struggling to navigate life’s maze, I am there to lead you.
When you are moving from time into eternity, I am there to make it heaven.
I am your Greatest Blessing—whatever you need, I am there for you. 


                            (c)  Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
             Day 290,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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John 21:15-18


At the very end of the Gospel of John 

Jesus asked Simon Peter a crucial question of discipleship.

“Do you love me?”


Everything we do under the motivation of the Holy Spirit will be motivated to some extent by our devotion to the Lord Jesus. A universe of spiritual depth can be mined from this passage. Everyone who follows Jesus would benefit from memorizing these verses, asking God to give you more and more insight into them. 

These verses call us to a priority of loving our Lord. Jesus began by asking Simon if he loved Him “more than these things.” I believe Jesus was referring to Simon’s life as a successful fisherman rather than a fisher of men. But of course the question applies to anything in our lives that we are tempted to love more than we love Him. Do you love success, or approval, or comfort or anything more than you love Jesus? 

We often try to do godly things with inferior motivation. You can enter any discipline of discipleship so other people will be impressed. Do you want people to notice your spiritual depth? I have been trying to discipline myself to do some things that I never tell anyone about. God already knows. To be honest I have not been completely successful at telling no one. But that is what I am reaching for. I want to do these things simply because they please God.

Let me show you something in these verses that may not be self-evident in whatever language you study God’s word. In Greek, the original language of the New Testament, Peter and Jesus use different words for love. Their differences are significant.

Jesus used the word, AGAPAO. This is the word used for love in 1 Corinthians 13. This word actually receives it's depth of meaning from the Bible. It was not commonly used in other Greek writings. There its meaning was vague. In the New Testament we see it as a supernatural work of God in our lives.

I suspect Peter thought PHILAO, the word he used, was the stronger term. It spoke of strong feelings. Peter drew from this kind of love when he declared to Jesus in John 13:37, “I will lay down my life for you.”

If you look at AGAPE, or the verb, AGAPAO, as defined in the New Testament, you find faithfulness rather than feelings. Jesus points this out with His responses to Peter’s assurances of his devotion. “Feed my lambs,” “Shepherd my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.” I am reminded of familiar bumper stickers of the 1960s. One read, “Honk if you love Jesus.” A similar sticker responded, “Tithe if you love Jesus. Anyone can honk.”

This is a call to repentance. And while I don’t believe Peter noticed the difference, Jesus used PHILAO this third time He asked. In Mark 14:29 Peter declared his devotion to Jesus. “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” That night, as Jesus had warned, he denied the Lord three times. I do not think it is a coincidence that Jesus asked Peter to answer the question of his love three times in this post resurrection appearance. It broke Peter's heart, that Jesus asked three times if he loved him. I believe true repentance is always emotional. It was also an opportunity for Peter to commit again to following Jesus. 

We need to pray for God to deepen the faithfulness of our love for Him. The night that Jesus was arrested they went to the garden where Jesus poured His heart out in prayer. The Lord asked Peter, James and John to watch with Him in prayer. But they could not stay awake. And three times Peter went to sleep when he should have been praying. Jesus warned them to “Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation.” We build our love for Him in earnest prayer. There is no other way to keep from falling when temptation comes. AGAPE does not rest on the fierceness of our devotion, but on the power of God in our lives.





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We are making a new feature available to you that can encourage and equip you better in your resource decisions.

A close friend of the ministry, Phil Miglioratti of the ReImagine Network is a gifted interviewer. In the past he has interview a number of people in prayer ministry for our newsletters. We have asked Phil to interview authors about their prayer books--especially authors who write for PrayerShop Publishing.

These interviews will appear on our Pray Beyond Blog regularly (every few weeks or so we will upload a new one). As you read more about a book, from the heart of the author, we hope this will give you a better understanding of the resource and how it can help you in your own prayer life or as a local church prayer leader.

Below is the link to the first interview: Natasha Miller and Praying What Jesus Says.

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Honestly, Now . . .


                                                          Use honest scales -- honest weights and measures.                                                                                                                           Every pound must have sixteen ounces.                                                                                                                                    Every gallon must measure four quarts.                                                                  
                                                         Your coins must be honest -- no wooden nickels!
                                                                                                                                     EZEKIEL 45:10-12 THE MESSAGE

I am the Way of Love—walk My paths today and be happy.
     Be honest with yourself, frankly assessing your nature and worth.
     Learn well My lessons in love.
          Work at loving—keep at it through all seasons.
          Remember love’s Source—use heaven’s gift for earth’s good.
          Do not focus on your wavering love—see real love at the cross.
          Follow My Son’s example—love other people sacrificially.
          Compassionately care for others—experience the helper’s high.
     Honestly, now . . . there is no better way to serve.

I am the Truth of Law—obey My principles today and be helpful.
     Be honest with others—truthful in everything you say and do.
     In a me-first society, do what is just and right for a change.
     Worship Me above all else; care for others like you do yourself—
          and two things will be transformed—your heart and neighborhood.
     Honestly, now . . . there is no better way to live.

I am the Life of Liberty—seek My Presence today and be holy.
     Be honest to God—transparent before the One seeing through you.
     Satan promises you freedom, but all he gives you is handcuffs.
     Only Christ can unshackle you from addictive self-destructive habits.
     Travel Holiness Highway and revel in the pleasure of My company.
     Honestly, now . . . there is no better way to rejoice.

Honesty is the best policy because I said so—and that is not negotiable.
     To translate abstract justice and righteousness into practical holiness,
          it is imperative that you be genuinely honest.
     You have often thought about the critical importance of honesty.
     Honestly, now . . . don’t you think it is about time for you to LIVE IT?


                                       (c)  Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                              Day 289,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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A rondelet prayer for fruitfulness in Christ
(John 2:1–11 and 15:1–8; I Corinthians 11:23–30)
by Salvatore Anthony Luiso

O Christ the Vine,
In You may we always abide.
O Christ the Vine,
Anointed Source of the best wine:
May we branches, for which You died,
Bear much fruit always at Your side:
O Christ the Vine.

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The Folly of Egocentricity


                                                                       black hole - Hubble Telescope image 


                They think the whole world revolves around them! 

Rabbi Hillel asked a good question in Ethics of the Fathers:
     “If I am only for myself, who am I?”
     Selfishness runs counter to My will, and isolates you from others.

The earth is not the center of the universe—the Eternal One is.
     Earthly-mindedness is limiting and worrisome.
     Go about your business, ignoring Mine, and you will go spiritually bankrupt.

The sun is not the center of the universe—the Son of God is. 
     The Light of the World illuminates the Way to the Truth of Life.
     The Sun of Righteousness holds everything together, including you.

The north star is not the center of the universe—the Bright Morning Star is. 
     The Creator of the cosmos directs the traffic patterns of the galaxies.
     The Star-Maker inspires hope in the darkest night of your soul.

You are not the center of the universe—I am. 
     Self-centeredness is laughable and sinful.
     Egocentricity breeds lust, impurity, greed, idolatry, anger, and slander.
     Egomaniacs eventually self-destruct—they love themselves to death. 
     Arrogant enough to take a do-it-yourself approach to life?
     Self-righteous to the point of taking center stage and claiming holiness?
     Convinced you are strong enough to handle any problem you may face?
     Smart enough to figure out all the enigmas of the world?
     Bragging you have it made, the world wrapped around your finger?

Christ-centeredness alone is eternally significant.
     Find a nobler purpose—honoring your Savior in all you do.
     Enjoy greater pleasure—celebrating the joy of His company.
     Experience higher power—surviving difficulties by His grace.
     Celebrate greater purity—thinking your Master’s thoughts.

Live His way—beyond yourself.


                                  (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                           Day 288,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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A Benediction for Today

According to Wikipedia, a benediction “is a short invocation for divine help, blessing, and guidance.” From the earliest, Christians adopted benedictions into their worship, particularly at the end of a service. Such benedictions have been regularly practiced ever since. Perhaps the best known biblical benediction is the one at the end of the tiny book of Jude, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25). Only three times in the New Testament is praise offered to God “who is able” - Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:20, and here, where Jude offers praise to God who is able to “keep you from stumbling.” Further, Jude offers praise to God who can “present you faultless” before Him and finally, Jude gives praise to God who can present us “with exceeding joy.” Jude’s benediction offers divine help, blessing and guidance. Ernest Shurtleff was a student at Andover Seminary near Boston. He wrote a prayer to be sung at the conclusion of commencement, as fellow students promoted, moved on, commenced. The third verse seems especially appropriate for today - for divine help, blessing and guidance:
“Lead on, O King Eternal, we follow, not with fears;
For gladness breaks like morning where’er thy face appears;
Thy cross is lifted o’er us; we journey in its light:
The crown awaits the conquest; lead on, O God of might.”

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Bragging Rights


                                  You boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all!

                                                           EZEKIEL 35:13 NLT

When you talk big, you think small.
Are you actually arrogant enough to claim that—
     by your power you have accomplished great feats?
     by your wisdom you have figured out the riddle of the universe?
     by your intelligence and strategy you have conquered the evil one?
     by your hard work you have built a financial nest egg?
     by your rebellion you have found your own way?

Are you really insolent enough to pit yourself against the Almighty?
Are you conceited enough to feel stronger than the Omnipotent Creator?
Are you egocentric to the point of believing you can do-it-yourself?

The essence of sin is attempting to live independently of Me.
     Unchecked pride will cause you to foolishly repeat Lucifer’s folly—
          exalting yourself and claiming to be greater than the Creator;
          trusting your ingenuity instead of the Sustainer of the universe;
          feeling stronger than the One who whispered stars into existence.
     If you strut, you will stumble—if you brag, you will blush—
          if you carry on, you will get carried away.

I am in heaven and you are on earth—keep your words to a minimum.
     Do not multiply words—be quiet and realize that I am God.
     Avoid high-sounding speeches, designed to impress others—
          they do not impress Me!

Thank Me for My unfailing love—My mercy that forgives sin,
     My grace that helps you endure,  My patience that encourages faith.
Worship Me all the time—sing My praises in sunshine and shadow.
     Honor Me with all you are—boast only of the cross of My Son.

If you want to brag, brag about the great things I have done for you.

                                             (c)  Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                     Day 287,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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Someone You Can Fully Trust

9570802876?profile=original                                                                          Warner Sallman  Head of Christ 


All the people of Egypt will discover that I am the LORD, for you collapsed like a reed when Israel looked to you for help and leaned on you. Like a cracked staff you splintered and stabbed her in the armpit. She put her weight on you, you gave way, her back was thrown out of joint.
                                                                                  EZEKIEL 29:6-7 NLT

Who or what do you trust?

The world?
     Egypt was once magnificent and powerful—
          superpowers are succeeded by others more powerful.

Sinful pleasure?
     It is never worth the hangover and the heartache.

     Human praise is empty—it can never satisfy your deepest longing.

     Making payments on what you call your own is a long treadmill.

     Place your confidence in mortals and they can disappoint you.

Military forces?
     Aircraft carriers, tanks, infantry, stealth bombers, cruise missiles—
          all are useless means of defense without heaven's shield of blessing.

     Obsess over money and someday you will meet someone who has not—
          then you will realize how poor you have grown.

     Every other staff will break and pierce your hand and heart.
     I am the Only Completely Trustable Spot in the entire universe.
     Lean your whole weight on My everlasting arms—relax. 


                                 (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                        Day 286,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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The Aftereffects of Sin

After he confessed a sin in which he had been caught, the student seated across my desk, shrugged his shoulders, and with a sigh, exclaimed, “Oh well, God has forgiven me!” While I could not disagree with him, in regard to the possibility of God’s forgiveness, I could assure him that, even though forgiven, he must now live with the consequences of the sin. I have a Bible Reading Group on Facebook with a little over three hundred members. We read one chapter in the Bible per week and comment with our thoughts, sometimes with our questions. (BTW, if you are interested in more information about the group, send me a private message on Facebook.) In the later part of this month, we are reading Hosea. In fact, we just read Hosea 3, a very short chapter of only five verses. Yet in those five verses sin and punishment is presented. In his book entitled, “Studies in Hosea,” Dr. K. Owen White, for many years Pastor of First Baptist Church in Houston, wrote, “To enjoy sin’s pleasures, is to know its penalties also.” Do not take sin lightly. Whereas God stands ready and willing to forgive, the aftereffects are devastating, sometimes to the point of deadly.

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Free book offer: Christ Is All!

"No one can be robbed of his delights whose joy is Christ. Eternal is his gladness who rejoices in an eternal good."
—Augustine of Hippo (354–430), printed on page 32 of Words Old and New: or, Gems From the Christian Authorship of All Ages, by Horatius Bonar
     Phil Miglioratti (the curator, coordinator, and administrator of The #ReimagineFORUM) and I have a friend named David Bryant who has served the Lord as an ordained minister and in other ways for over fifty years. Phil has written this endorsement of him:
David Bryant is a pioneer of the late 20th century prayer movement.  His work with America's National Prayer Committee awakened congregations across the nation to recognize the priority of prayer in every ministry and activity. His leadership gave rebirth to "concerts" of prayer, opening the way for the cityreaching movement that called the Body of Christ across a community or city to pray in harmony. David's transition to a "Christ is All" message has challenged pastors, prayer champions and church leaders to re-place Christ as foundational and central to the worship, fellowship, discipleship, stewardship, leadership, citizenship of every believer, every congregation. David's tireless, authentically humble, service has been an amazing grace to the Church.
     For many years his ministry was known as Concerts of Prayer International, but for almost twenty years it has been known as PROCLAIM HOPE!. One can learn about it at its main website, which is here:
     Among the books David has written is one entitled Christ Is All!. Its title is a quotation of Colossians 3:11 with an added exclamation point.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
--Colossians 3:11 (NIV)
     One can learn about this book here:
     The original version of Christ Is All! has the subtitle A Joyful Manifesto on the Supremacy of God's Son. It was published in hardback, and is available for free in an e-book format here and in an audiobook format here
     The revised version of Christ Is All! has the subtitle Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God's Son. It is a condensed version of the original. The original version is 476 pages long--the condensed version is only 176 pages. It is not available in an e-book format nor in an audiobook format, but it is available in paperback.
     One can download free resources related to both versions (such as a discussion guide for small groups) here
     In his ministry—and especially in this book—David seeks to awaken others to "ALL" who Christ is. Being a believer in the importance of his mission, I have purchased and am giving copies of the revised version of Christ Is All! to people who tell me they want and intend to read it.
     If you would like to read it, and if you would read it if I gave you a copy of it, you are welcome to request one from me by e-mail, providing your name and a mailing address. Please mention that you learned of this offer from The #ReimagineFORUM @ Pray.Network. My primary e-mail address is:
     I charge neither for the book nor for its shipment. I want nothing in return for it. At present, I have a few dozen copies available. Although I prefer to ship domestically (within the United States), I am willing to consider shipping internationally.
     If you would like to get an idea of what the book is like other than by reading what David, I, and others have said about it, I suggest you examine a few of his articles which he has published on the blog of this website of his ministry:
     David and I hope that through Christ Is All!, readers will gain a greater, grander, vision of our Lord, and thereby be inspired and invigorated to live in, through, and for Him. It is a book of hope and joy in Jesus.
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The three of them were at the end of their endurance, but they ran on through the thickening trees. They hoped the woods had discouraged their pursuers. Dhanua, who was in the lead, was Malayali and roughly familiar with this part of India. But he did not know where they were now. As they came to the darkest part of the jungle, all three fell on their faces in exhaustion. Their pursuers would eventually find them if they were still on their trail. They heard later that one of their adversaries had been injured in their haste to catch them. The others had little choice, but to carry him back to their village. 

Ihita, who had been in the rear, was first to recover. He tried to revive the others. Thomas, the foreign preacher, who was called an apostle, stirred but did not fully wake. Dhanua did not respond at all. The darkness was getting thicker. It would soon be night. They would need a fire for protection. He searched the woods until he found a small clearing with a large rock. Soon Thomas had revived enough to help gather stones into a circle where they could kindle a small fire. By the time they got the first embers to crackle with flames, Ihita staggered up. They still had a small meat pie purchased at a market the day before. Thomas had some nuts and Ihita had a mashed mango at the bottom of his satchel. They boiled water from a stream and made a hot drink.

They huddled around the flames and sang a hymn that a man in the church on the coast had written. With a simple tune, it spoke of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They each lifted a short prayer of thanksgiving before they cut the pie into three pieces, dividing the rest of the food between them. They would have to find food and clean water in the morning. But what they had was satisfying tonight. As they finished the meal, Thomas asked the others what they loved best about following Jesus. 

Ihita said, “The love of God. I had never heard of such a thing until you came to us.” 

Dhanua nodded and said he enjoyed sharing the love of Jesus with other believers. “We have not seen any since we left the coastal towns, but some may yet accept Christ on this trip.” 

All three were silent for a moment, and then Dhanua said, “We love the peace we have when we travel with you, Thomas. We face hardships and losses. We often don’t know where our next meal will come from. We may soon be attacked by those who think we are their enemies. But when we have a moment to pray together, the peace of our Lord settles on us.”

Thomas said, “Jesus gave us His peace. And while our hearts don’t always understand it, we can rest in Him.”

Ihita said, “It comes from the Holy Spirit that you have taught us about.”

“That is true,” Thomas said. “The Spirit reminds us of God's grace even when things are difficult. By His Spirit, we know Jesus is with us.”

Ihita said, “We sense it best when we are actually with you, Thomas.”

“That is because I saw him after he rose from death. His life has been burned into my memory. To tell you the truth, I almost missed it. I am ashamed of my lack of faith on that first day after He rose. I was so horrified by His crucifixion that I did not want to see anyone. The other disciples gathered to comfort each other. Mary Magdalene had told them He had risen, but that was more than they could understand or believe until they saw Him themselves.

“They were hiding behind locked doors in fear of our own people who had arrested Jesus. Suddenly Jesus stood in their midst. His first words were, “Peace be with you.” He showed them His nail scarred hands and His side that had been pierced by the soldier’s spear. It was important for Him to show them that He was truly Jesus. They wept with joy that night. They sought me out the next day and told me with great enthusiasm that Jesus was alive. They had seen Him face to face. This was more than I was able to believe.

“I told them I would not believe unless I saw the nail prints in His hands. I stamped my foot. ‘Unless I put my own finger in the nail marks and thrust my hand into the gaping wound in His side I will never believe.’

“The other disciples kept me with them, even though I did not share their joy. They still loved me with the Master’s love. About a week later, we were all together when Jesus appeared as before. Again, he said, ‘Peace be with you.’ He turned to me and said, ‘Come here, Thomas. Do you see the nail prints in my hands? Come put your hand in my side. Don't be an unbeliever but believe.’ All I could say was, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus our Lord rose from the grave. We no longer need to fear anything. He pressed that on me so forcefully that the peace that I have is contagious.

“Jesus said to me, ‘Thomas, you believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ I knew that he was sending me to people who would only see Him through my eyes. He assured me of what he told the other disciples. ‘As my Father sent me, I am sending you.’ Great peace flows from following His purpose for our lives. We begin to see difficulties and opposition as merely efforts by the enemy to distract us from what Jesus has sent us to do.”


This story was based upon events recorded in the 20th chapter of the Gospel of John.


Lord Jesus, in these uncertain times we need the peace of your life and purpose in us.




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Justinian, the servant of Pontius Pilate, rose in the middle of the night to accompany his master to the private baths belonging to the Ponti family. He was used to Pilate not being able to sleep. It began sometime before Tiberius recalled him in anger from the Province of Syria over the Samaritan fiasco. It did not surprise Justinian when Pilate’s sleep problems continued here in Rome, even though Tiberius had died before they reached the capital. The hot bath waters often calmed Pilate enough to allow him to sleep some.

Torches were still lit in the bath house when they arrived. Probably another servant had left them burning in case Pilate came in the night. The fires heating the water were never allowed to go out. Pilate handed his towel to his servant as he eased himself into the steaming pool. When he was settled, Justinian sat down beside him with his tired feet in the water.

After a time of silence, Pilate looked up at Justinian, and the servant sensed that he was about to hear an ominous confidence. “Justinian, you have been with me all these years. And you know I have not been myself for some time.” Justinian was noncommittal in spite of the familiarity of his master’s tone. Pilate continued. “I need to talk about what has been bothering me. But you must promise that you will not utter a word of what I say, even if Caligula carries out Tiberius’s intention to put me to death.”

“You know that you can confide in me, Sir. I have been with you since your youth.”

“I know that. And I suspect you may already guess much of what I have to say. But you could not yet understand the seriousness of what I need to tell someone. And as the gods are my witness, if you reveal even a hint of it, you will wish you could have died a thousand times before you let anything slip.”

“Is it the same thing that has been plaguing your wife?” Justinian ventured.

Pilate winced and nodded. “I suppose it is. But even she does not know the extent of what I have been dealing with. I suppose you have discerned that the disturbance in my mind has little to do with the trouble in my career. I cannot stop thinking about that Galilean prophet.”

“Jesus of Nazareth, The King of The Jews.” Justinian quoted the title his master had fixed to the cross of the condemned man.

Pilate continued, “I had been observing him for some time. He puzzled me from the start. He basically ignored Rome even though attacking their conquerors would have made him more popular with the common people if that were possible. I sent many spies, some of them actually Jewish, to learn what he was about. They came back with the most preposterous stories of miracles that he had done. And yet he seemed to remain a simple man of the people, at least as far as I could see. He even did several things to keep his fame from spreading. Can you imagine that? 

“Until that morning when the Priests brought him to me, I had never seen him face to face. You may not believe this, Justinian, but I was shocked at his visage. He had an amazing dignity even after being flogged and mocked. He possessed innate authority like no one I have ever met. He was certainly the first prisoner I had encountered who did not beg me to spare his life. He seemed to be at peace with everything that was happening to him. I have worked with men, soldiers, and others, all my life. I never saw anyone who struck me like that man. I don’t know how many crucifixions I have witnessed since I first received my commission, and you were a common soldier. No one ever reacted to death like this Jesus. It did not even bother him that the priests had brought him to me because they were jealous. They could not have been around him without feeling they were inferior men. I certainly felt his superiority.”

At this Justinian sputtered a silent protest. Pilate ignored him in his reverie. “Even when the soldiers mocked him by plaiting the crown of thorns, and put on him with a royal robe, he looked majestic. While he was still preaching in Galilee, I told my wife that he was the natural ruler of the Jews. He embodied the righteousness they claimed to admire. When he was brought before me, I asked if he were really the King of the Jews. He asked if that was my conclusion or if I had heard it from others. I had never had a prisoner question me, yet I felt that I had to give him an answer. I had to defend myself before a condemned prisoner! ‘Am I a Jew?’ I asked. ‘Your own people delivered you over to me. What evil thing have you done?’

“He said his kingdom was not of this world. ‘So, you are a king,’ I said. He answered, ‘You have been calling me a king. I was born and I came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to me.’ I need to tell you, that gave me pause. I thought about truth as opposed to expediency before Rome. I threw up my cynical defense, bitterly asking if anyone knew what the truth was.”

With this Pilate stirred in the bath and seemed to change the subject abruptly. “Do you believe in the gods, Justinian?”

“I am an old soldier, Sir. And I have become cynical of much that I have heard about them. But I suppose I believe in something beyond us, beyond the world.”

Pilate looked at his servant in silence for a moment. Then he looked away and said, “Through the years I seldom gave thought to the gods, or to truth for that matter. I was ambitious and practical, so I paid the expected homage. Of course, I would say, and I suppose I believed, the Roman gods were the true deities, even knowing that we stole them from the Greeks. I despised the petty gods of the provinces where I served. That was no less true in Syria. There I was disgusted with the hypocrisy of the Jews even though I eventually came to understand something of the depth of their laws.

“But when I went back out and declared to the man’s accusers that I found no guilt in him, they said something that stopped me in my tracks. One of the priests stepped forward and said, ‘According to our law, this man ought to die because he has made himself out to be the Son of God.’ Combined with everything else I had seen, this scared me. I went back into the praetorium and asked him where he had come from. And believe this or not, he refused to answer me. “I said, ‘Don’t you know that I have authority to crucify or to release you?’

“He said, ‘You would have no authority over me at all, if it were not given you from above.’ He was not referring to Tiberius. He was talking about his God! After that, I tried to release him. But there was no way I could do it. And I am haunted by the thought that I crucified the Truth. Nothing else has seemed important or even true since that terrible day.”


This story was drawn from Pilate’s encounter with Jesus in John 19:1-22.


Father, we ask you to bring us face to face with Jesus, your eternal truth.




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