together (5)

Dear praying friends—
Recently tens of thousands of people gathered day and night for three days in more than 50 tents on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to offer worship and prayer to Jesus. The sight of tents representing every state in our nation, filled with continuous worship, was amazing. 
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God keeps calling this generation to move closer to Jesus. He called us last summer for Together 2016. He called us to multiple venues. And now He's calling us again to Dallas-Fort Worth for Together 2018. He calls His people because He intends to do something for His glory! 
Thank you for praying with us over all these months for another great spiritual awakening in our nation—an awakening to Jesus! As we pray toward Together 2018 at the Texas Motor Speedway next October, let's ask Jesus to call this generation to a new Jesus movement. 
Praying over Texas Motor Speedway>
Here are some other ways to pray: 
  • Pray for the worship, faith, and vision for a Jesus movement to spread from Washington, D.C. to all states throughout our nation. May day and night worship of Jesus continue! 
  • Nick Hall had the opportunity to share the gospel from the main stage at Awaken the Dawn, and he continues to travel around the country to proclaim Jesus. Pray for thousands of people to reset their lives to Jesus. 
  • We are right now recruiting 2,000 reps to share the vision of Together 2018 throughout the country. Pray for God to raise up the right people with a passion to see another Jesus movement. 
  • Pray for increased partnership with ministries across the nation that have the same vision to see the spiritual awakening of this generation.
  • Pray for all the communication pieces being developed: website, videos, printed materials, etc. We need clear communication and funding to get the message out about Together 2018.
  • Pray for our nation to recognize that the only hope in the midst of such division and polarization is Jesus! Ask God for boldness to declare the Gospel in a winsome way.
Thank you for continuing to hope and pray! God is calling and preparing us for some exciting days to come. 
It's all about Jesus.
Carol Madison 
Nation Prayer Initiative 
Together 2018
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Like love, meaningful prayer is initiated by God. Romans 8:26 admits that we don't know what to pray for as we ought. I certainly do not object to praying for what you want. But faith in God at least leads to the realization that what God wants for me is better, more fulfilling, and more satisfying than what I want.

So how do we listen in prayer? There is of course an attitude of listening in prayer that humbly comes to God expecting him to impress something on you. And I have occasionally experienced that in my life. But as we grow really serious about listening to God we will come to the place that we want to meditate. Now biblical meditation is not anything like Eastern meditation or what was called in the 1960s Transcendental Meditation. In Eastern meditation you repeat over and over again a mantra, a word that is nonsense to you because it comes from a language you probably do not speak. And you completely empty your mind of anything. In Christian meditation we fill our mind with truth. We focus on what God is saying. That has great depth of meaning. This can be about as relaxing as a wrestling match. But its fruit is nourishing and satisfying.

The most important spiritual meditation is on the word of God. If you want God to speak to you, read his word. If you want God to speak to you, study and meditate on God's word. I've often told people that you can meditate on facets of the character of God. For instance you might spend a whole day meditating on all the ways that God shows His infinite love to you. However, I think the best way to do this is to memorize a verse or even an entire passage that reveals a part of God's character. And God will speak to you whatever scripture you memorize and spend extended time thinking about.

The final way of listening to God that I want to show you here is to pray in a group. Listen to other people praying and see if you're not impressed that God is speaking to you in their prayers.


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Have you ever been in a dynamic prayer meeting, a heart stirring, life changing, earth shaking prayer meeting? I know of a number of such prayer meetings in history, some even in my own lifetime. And there are several prayer meetings in the book of Acts that I would have given anything to be part of. Fortunately the Holy Spirit inspired them and Luke communicated them to us in such a way that you can almost step into them simply by reading the book of Acts.

We see one of those prayer meetings in the 4th chapter. Peter and John have been released from arrest by the Sanhedrin where they were beaten and warned not to speak again in the name of Jesus. When they finished reporting, the prayer meeting erupted. We read beginning from Acts 4:24.

“When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:’

“‘Why do the nations rage

   and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth rise up

   and the rulers band together

against the Lord

   and against his anointed one.’

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God Boldly.”

The Bible says they raised their voices together and prayed this long prayer. Now tell me, how do you think they did that? Did they all have it memorized so they could quote it like The Lord's Prayer? I think this is what happened. John said ‘Sovereign Lord!’ With that Peter said, 'You made the heavens!’ James said, ‘And the Sea!’ Bartholomew added, ‘and everything in them!’ As a 10 year old girl Mary the wife of Clopas had memorized some of the Psalms to sing as she did her chores. As they prayed David’s words filled her heart and she began to pray them. And one at a time the believers prayed off one another’s prayers.

We could pray the same way. Notice 3 crucial things we can see in this prayer and as we pray together ourselves.

First, we see the Fellowship of praying together. They were binding their hearts together in prayer. The person who is nervous can listen to someone else and something will come to her mind or his mind. In fact, someone who has never prayed can be taught to pray by being part of this body of Prayer. To do that everybody has to be paying attention to one another. Have you ever been in a prayer meeting and while others were praying you were thinking about what you were going to say? I have. And I'm ashamed of it. God will stir your heart with the prayers of others.  When you pray together you can come into a deep bond of love and fellowship.

And we can see the Faith of praying together. Not only do you trust God in praying together but you have to have faith in God who is working in other people. They encouraged one another's faith as they prayed off each other and really prayed one prayer together. If you think you're the only one that has a word from God or knows how to pray to God you'll miss out on this kind of praying. When you're praying together you can trust Holy Spirit working in the whole group.

Finally this passage shows dramatically the Effect of praying together. When they got through praying the place where they prayed was shaken and they all began to speak the word of God with boldness. There is something very symbolic about this. That doesn’t mean it didn't happen. In fact this is how God revealed himself all through history. There was something symbolic about God coming down in the fire to Moses at the bush. But it was much more powerful symbolism because it really happened. When the Jordan River dammed itself so Joshua could lead the children of Israel across it was symbolic, but it was powerful symbolism because it really happened. They piled Stones up to remind future generations of what God did. When God shook that place and even the shyest person spoke the word of God boldly, they knew God was at work. And the symbolism of that prayer meeting continues to this day as God works mightily when His people pray together.


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Nothing is more important for praying together than a listening heart. Do you remember the story of Solomon's prayer in 1 Kings 3? The Lord told Solomon He would give him whatever he asked. In 1 Kings 3:9 Solomon asked God for a “discerning heart.” The Hebrew word translated “discerning” is “shema.” Some of you have heard of the Jewish prayer called “The Shema.” Shema is the first word of Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Shema means to listen or to hear. I do not object to translators rendering this word, discerning, here. But literally Solomon was praying for a listening heart. Listening is the foundation of spiritual discernment.

Listening is crucial for praying together. If you come into prayer full of what you want to say, you will miss what God is saying to you. C.S. Lewis gave us a poem in Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer.


They tell me, Lord, that when I seem

To be in speech with you,

Since but one voice is heard, it’s all a dream,

One talker aping two.


Sometimes it is, yet not as they

Conceive it. Rather, I

Seek in myself the things I hoped to say,

But lo!, my wells are dry.


Then, seeing me empty, you forsake

The listener’s role and through

My dumb lips breathe and into utterance wake

The thoughts I never knew.


And thus you neither need reply

Nor can; thus, while we seem

Two talkers, thou art One forever, and I

No dreamer, but thy dream.


When we pray, especially when we are trying to pray together, we need to be able to listen for what God wants to breath through our lips and into the group prayer. And of course, God will speak to you as others in the group pray. As you learn to listen to others you will hear what God is showing others in the group, and what He is saying to them. Soon you realise that God Himself is speaking to you through the prayers of the others.

Such listening hearts are indeed a work of God in our midst. And it is a thrilling evidence of His holy presence in our prayers.


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OUR Father

I have begun a series of blog entries on the foundations of prayer. And I think The Lord's Prayer is a logical place to start. Last week I discussed approaching God as father. This week I want us to note that Jesus told us to address God as "Our Father." This whole prayer is plural. "Give us our daily bread." "Forgive us our trespasses." "Lead us not into temptation."

I am always stirred by the prayer in Acts chapter 4 that is preceded by the words,  "They lifted their voices together to God." The power of God is mightily unleashed as we pray together. In Matthew 18 Jesus gave us a special promise when we agree in prayer. He gave us that in the context of reconciling with someone who has sinned against you. And He made such reconciliation a matter that concerns the entire church. In such situations we must pray together. But his statements about His being with us when we come together in the church and when we pray together seem to apply to many situations.

Our prayers should also be in tune with God's love for all persons. I often think of Samuel's word in 1 Samuel 12:23. "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you." It is sin for us to neglect praying for others God has brought into our lives. And that includes people we may think are less important. God is no respecter of persons. I pray daily for a family who has an autistic child. My heart is stirred every time I pray for that boy. God seems to be reminding me that He longs for that boy to come to repentance quite as much as He cares for his parents. I believe God can use that boy with his handicap quite as easily as He can use the most gifted person I know of. And even if He does not use him mightily, God loves him every bit as much as He loves me.

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