A local widow at first rejected and mocked the Christians who had come to live in her neighborhood. However, she was won over by their godly conduct and warm kindness. She has heard the Gospel explained many times, has had a dream, a divine healing, and seen an amazing answer to prayer based on Biblical truth. Please pray that whatever is keeping her from turning to Christ will be taken out of the way and that she and her whole household will become Spirit-filled followers who lead others to Christ.
Are you praying for the impossible? I begin my daily devotionals by going over key verses through which God has spoken to me. After each verse I have several long term prayer requests. Under one of those verses I have this prayer.
I want to wait prayerfully for You to accomplish what is absolutely impossible in human strength.
I pray for God to help me trust Him for the impossible. But I don't want to pray for just any impossibility. For one thing, if I am praying for anything short of what God desires, I will be praying too small.
I am not absolutely sure what God wants to do in and beyond America in these days. But I believe I know some things God wants us to ask for. I believe God wants us to pray for our culture to be radically turned around.
Several weeks ago I wrote in this blog that there is more to concern us about abortion than its legality. One of the things I wrote was that it is crucial to change our media and our culture's attitude toward sex and marriage if we want to significantly reduce the number of abortions. That is humanly impossible. But I don't think that is enough.
I am listening to Eric Metaxas' book, If You Can Keep It. He says freedom does not mean to be ungoverned. As the founders of our nation meant it, liberty is the freedom to govern ourselves. Eric quotes Os Guinness, citing the "Golden Triangle of Liberty.” The founders all assumed these three things worked together, liberty, morality, and religion. We cannot have liberty without morality, and we need free religion to sustain personal morality.
I believe a genuine revival sweeping the land will not just change our attitudes toward sex and marriage, but toward all morality, religion and godliness. I have been more and more alarmed at the profanity on television. Some of the shows that never had filthy language or innuendos are now rife with them. The fact that many of us think that is a picky matter is an indication that this is not simply an unholy influence, but a spiritual thermometer of our nation. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus said,
"Brood of vipers!How can you speak good things when your hearts are evil?
For the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart."
I fear this year's presidential election reflects the hearts of America. Especially in a democracy where grassroots movements sway elections we get the government we deserve.
Changing the hearts of this entire nation would be a revival like the world has not seen since the sweep of Christianity through the Roman Empire in the first three centuries A.D.
I don't know what we will see as a result of these prayers. This kind of praying may turn out much like Abraham's intercession for Sodom. The tears of Jeremiah did not change the hearts of Israel. And the move of God on Europe in the early days of the church cost believers dearly. But it was certainly worth every drop of martyrs' blood. Whatever it costs us, such prayer could bring about the greatest revival in history.
Let's pray for the impossible!
Your passionate, powerful, privilege
You are not letting your passionate, powerful, privilege go to waste are you? Please stay tuned for a minute and I will explain this question. In this brief space we will review Jesus’ passion and power in prayer. It should whet your appetite for private and public prayer participation which will in turn have a similar effect on your friends.
Jesus’ private prayer practices and his answers caused his disciples to ask their great teacher for a lesson in prayer. His pattern covered the basics so thoroughly that many millions have memorized his prayer pattern. Fewer have studied and benefited from his personal prayer in John 17, asking the Father to unite us by his Spirit as an insider, and for us to publicly wear his badge of love which identifies us as his disciples. His prayer prepared obedient disciples for Pentecost and subsequent revival and evangelism.
Jesus’ unmistakable passion for his Father’s house of prayer for all nations fuels my own passion for prayer. He did not hesitate to cleanse the house of prayer from abuses, so that it could be redeemed for kingdom uses. How many churches do you know in McKinney that open their doors daily to host regular corporate prayer, demonstrating prayer is their foundational, first priority? I am aware of one. There is a lot of room in McKinney for regular, creative, praise and thanksgiving-based prayer venues.
Personal, public, and persistent prayers of God’s people are desperately needed in our community and world today. Your prayers will be much more enjoyable and effective when they are praise- based, Bible- fed, and Spirit- led. Since the Word of God IS the Sword of the Spirit, lets’ read, meditate, and pray some of God’s prayers, patterns, and principles recorded in His Word! These, including giving Him thanks, are sure fire ways of praying in His will.
All types of prayer are beneficial as illustrated in the famous ACTS acronym: Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving; Supplication. We have the privilege to join the 2 greatest intercessors of the Godhead; Jesus and the Holy Spirit. “Who will say they are not right? Jesus Christ died. Yes, he was raised from death. He is at the right side of God. And he talks (intercedes) to God for us.” Romans 8:34 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7:25 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Rom. 8:26
As we close our thoughts together, let’s review some attitudes of prayer that attract the Holy Spirit. These include: humility, servanthood, brokenness, honesty, holiness, desperation, hunger and thirst for God, and vulnerability. As you allow God to work such qualities in and through your life, perhaps you will rise to seek or start a prayer venue as a leader or follower to serve, inspire, and equip other body members in experiencing the vulnerability James instructs: “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” James 5:16
I recently listened to a powerful sermon on missions by Tim Keller. sermons.redeemer.com/missions He drew his text from the prayer of Jesus in John 17. When he came to verses 16-19 where Jesus prayed that His followers be sanctified, Tim Keller asked the question, “What did Jesus put in the hands of the first disciples as He sent them out to change the world?” Did they have manuals on evangelism, or church planting, or even preaching? They did not. They had one thing, holiness. And they turned the world upside down. Surely the Lord’s holiness is something we need to pray for.
How do we pray for His such transformation in our lives? If we take the Lord’s prayer for our guide in this, we might begin with forgiveness.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
None of us is holy before God. We need the Holiness of Jesus imputed into our lives.
Forgiveness also has another side. A major part of transformation into the likeness of Christ is developing forgiveness in our hearts for others. We need to exercise prayers of forgiveness for those who have wronged us. You can pray for God to forgive people who have harmed you. Have you ever prayed like Stephen while he was being stoned,
“Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”
How could you ever pray such a prayer for those who hate you and are harming you? I have trouble praying that prayer for people who love and annoy me. Stephen saw Jesus seated on the right hand of God. If you had such a vision of the majesty of our Lord, you might be able to pray as he did. Hebrews 11:27 tells us Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 1 John 3:2 tells us we will be like Jesus when He returns for we will see Him as He is. We get a glimpse of His face as we spend time with Him in prayer and we are made more and more like Jesus.
In fact, for holiness we need to start earlier in the Lord’s prayer than His word on forgiveness. As Jesus modeled, we need to begin with worship and praise.
“Hallowed be your name.”
As we grow in fellowship with Him we will expand our praise more and more. Such praise gives us a clearer and clearer vision of the glory and majesty of our Lord. And it naturally leads to submission to His will.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Holiness is not simply the absence of sin. It is growing obedience that rejoices in His will.
As we near the annual holidays of Thanksgiving, the celebration and remembrance of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the celebration of New Year's, we enter a season where many of our routines are interrupted with different activities and interactions. Family, celebrations, and travel, bring many people a respite from the routines established in daily/weekly life.
For many, holidays seem to accelerate our busyness- darting from home-to-home or place-to-place; sharing time with friends and family members not regularly seen. For some, a return to the routine after the holidays may even seem like a relief!
But routine or no routine; how many of us as Christians make every day a holiday with God?
While it's true that no two days are exactly alike (there may be similarities in routine, etc.); do we ever consider setting apart each and every day as a holy day (holiday) for/with God?
Redeeming the Time
Jesus kept in constant contact with the Father in prayer and thanksgiving (spoken and silent). In doing so, he was able to do and be who the world needed to meet, see, and come to know! He was holy; that is, set apart from the world- yet while in the world.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we're called to do and be the same- just like our Teacher; our Master!
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. - 1 John 2:3-6
So, what could it look like to make each day a holy day?
All people- As you get up in the morning, praise God for who he is. Share time with him. Ask him to establish your steps (your plans, schedule, and more), and listen for his answer(s). Throughout the day, continue asking him to revise your plans if he desires. Obediently follow him if/as he does. Ask him to help you realize opportunities to share your faith with others, then let him empower you (your words and actions) to do so. Without realizing it, you've woven prayer and a closer ongoing connection with the Lord into and throughout your day. The day has become more of a holy day!
Teachers- Begin as suggested above (All people). Throughout the day, ask the Lord to provide you with his wisdom in instructing, correcting, teaching, and loving the children and/or students you teach and serve. While correcting tests and homework, ask the Lord to bring you deeper insight into each child's life and thinking- so that you may more effectively pray for each one as the Spirit leads. In doing so, the day has become more of a holy day for you- and for those you're in prayer for!
Businessmen- Begin as suggested above (All people). Throughout the day, ask the Lord to speak to you truths about how he sees your dealings, service, networking, presentations, preparation, interactions with others, the spreadsheets you may review and revise, and more. Invite Jesus to review and advise you in each decision, contact, presentation, and more throughout the day/night. Follow him as he guides you. As you do, each day becomes more of a holy day- yielded and led by the Lord instead of man's earthly thoughts or wisdom.
Students- Begin as suggested above (All people). Throughout the day, ask the Lord to instruct you in your relationships with other students or teachers. Ask the Lord to sit with you and instruct you (help you learn what you're studying) as you read, prepare your reports or projects, and more. Ask the Lord how he'd have you pray for others around you in class, between classes, or after school. Obediently follow him and do what he instructs. He's all-knowing and will always tell you the truth- with your best in mind as he sees and knows you personally. As you seek and follow the Lord throughout each day, each day becomes holy and set apart for his glory- working in and through you.
Retirees- Begin as suggested above (All people). The world would tell you that your best days have passed and that you should simply coast and surrender the latter days of your life until you pass away. Nonsense!!! Each day is a holy day where Jesus desires to minister to and through you! Call or visit a friend or acquaintance (maybe someone you haven't spoken with in awhile). Tell them what Jesus has been doing in your life recently. Ask them if they've seen Jesus working in their lives. Encourage them to read or listen to the Word of God (maybe suggest a Scripture passage to read/listen to). Offer to pray for or with them in person, over the phone, via email, or another means. Let the Holy Spirit instruct you as you pray. The day becomes holy and set apart as you redeem the time in the Lord's strength and wisdom. You'll also likely bring encouragement to that other person/people as you do (encouragement that might last far beyond that very day!).
Let's redeem the time. You can begin this very minute. There's no need to procrastinate until tomorrow morning!
Finish this day by making it holy. Then begin and practice making tomorrow a holy day... and the day after that... and the day after that...