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Archive for the ‘Prayer: A Devotional Series’ Category

 

 

I have learned so much about prayer in the last few years. I have learned how to pray, who to pray for and why God says no. I have barely scratched the surface with this devotional series on prayer, but I have tried to present some of the basics and I hope I have given you some motivation to do your own research on this vast topic. There are not only many Bible verses that I left untouched, but the internet is full of stories of prayer giants throughout history that God worked through and partnered with because of their prayers. I encourage you to do some digging and find out for yourself what a rich topic this is. In the meantime, I will leave you with my own reflections on what I have learned in writing this devotional series:

  1. Intercession – As Christians, we have a call to pray for ALL people. We can’t just pick and choose who we pray for. God doesn’t want any of us to perish. We are to pray for EVERYONE!
  2. Three Ways To Pray In Difficult Circumstances – God never promised that life would be easy. When we are faced with tough circumstances, God expects us to REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY CONTINUALLY, and GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Is it easy to do? NO! But, it is the only way to find God’s peace and comfort in the midst of the storm.
  3. Simple Prayers From A Humble Heart – We do not need to pray one certain way or be a certain way for God to hear and answer our prayers. He made us all unique and we all have a unique set of spiritual giftings. Some of us are extroverts and the Holy Spirit does guide them to lead others in corporate prayer for a specific issue, but there are also some of us who are introverts whose prayers are just as effective, even if we are quietly praying from the pew.
  4. Community Prayer – We are made for community. God made us to encourage each other and to do life together. One of the most important things we can do together is pray. Prayer can transform communities. Corporate prayer has led to revivals. Our prayers become so much more powerful when we join our prayers in unity for the cause of Christ.
  5. Pray For Your Enemies – God expects us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We already know that prayer can transform communities. The transformation of communities only happens when individual hearts are transformed because of our prayers. There is so much pain in this world today because of hate-filled hearts. How can we not obey?
  6. God Answers Prayers – We know that God WILL answer our prayers, but they MUST be according to His will and we MUST believe that we have received it. Believing requires faith. Faith is that trust that resides deep in our spirits because of prayers answered in our own personal lives or because we believe the God of the Bible will is still the same God today. We have faith that God will answer our prayers if we pray according to His will.

 

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU: Do your own research on prayer, prayer giants throughout history, and revivals through history that have come about because of corporate prayer. More importantly, begin your own prayer journey. Pray on your own and get into a church or prayer group and pray corporately for transformation in your community and the lives of those around you.

Prayer is such a huge part of the Christian’s life that we are called to pray constantly. We are to be in continual communication with our maker, our heavenly Father. This is such an important way to find that peace and comfort when everything around us is falling apart. If I can pray for you in any way, contact me and let me know your need. I am always here. God bless you in your prayer journey!

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1 John 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In my 19 years as a single mom, God has answered ALL of my prayers. Yes, He has answered ALL of my prayers. I know you’re thinking that I mean that God has said “Yes” to all of my prayers. Not exactly. He doesn’t always answer with a yes. Sometimes, His answer is no or not yet. There are some issues that I have been praying about for years and it has not come about “yet,” but I know it will.

That is the promise: We can have confidence that God WILL hear us. We can be confident that we have what we asked of Him. We can be confident that whatever we ask for in prayer WILL be ours.

BUT (Yes, there is a But!)

God does promise all of the above, BUT there are conditions. When God promises something, you can bet that there will be a condition. He won’t just make a promise without asking us to do our part.

According To His Will – Our prayer has to line up with God’s will. We can’t pray for something of a sinful nature and expect God to answer affirmatively. We can’t pray for God to help us get away with robbing a bank if we promise to give 10% to the Church. This would not be in God’s will. If our prayers are coming from a place of hate or any other place that goes against God’s nature, be assured that the answer will be NO! We can not expect God to answer our prayers with a YES! when they go against His will and His nature.

Believe That You Have Received It – BELIEVE! HAVE FAITH! If your prayer lines up with God’s will, then you can pray with confidence. In January, I started praying for the funds to go through a program to become a certified Biblical lay counselor. I have an associates degree in Human Services and love psychology. I found this Bible based program that was highly recommended, but it was $375.00. I wanted to make sure that this was God’s will and not my own. My goal is to help other single moms, other women who suffer with anxiety etc. and other women in general. So, I waited and I prayed. My birthday is June 8th. On June 6th, I received a gift in the mail of $375.00 in cash. I had not told anyone of this prayer on my heart. No one knew of the need. I prayed according to God’s will and I believed that He would provide the funds. I am now studying for my certification in Biblical lay counseling, which may lead to a certification in Biblical counseling.

My CHALLENGE to you: When you pray, make sure that your prayers line up with God’s will. Also, have faith! If your prayers line up with God’s will and nature, then you CAN have confidence that it will be answered with a YES! BELIEVE!!! No prayer is to BIG for our God. We serve a God that has access to ALL of the resources in the universe, so pray BIG! He CAN and WILL answer with a YES!!!

 

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Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

 

I think this is one of the hardest things that God expects us to do. I don’t want to love someone who has hurt, bullied or caused me pain. I don’t want to pray for someone who is going out of their way to make my life a living hell. As Christians, we must obey the commands of our Lord and He has commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Granted, I have never had a family member murdered or been in a mass shooting situation. I can only write this from my shallow experiences of being bullied at my work place or having a child treated badly by another person. Even in those situations, my tendency is to let the anger simmer just under the surface and think of smart retorts to their hatefulness. I can not even imagine how I would react if a family member was physically hurt by someone else. My prayers in cases of mass shootings or hearing of racism or violence, is usually for God to bring swift justice and not for reconciliation or for God to change their hearts.

As I write this, I feel the Holy Spirit working in my spirit and giving me the answer to my own question of WHY?

Why should we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?

The only reason I can think of is that our God is a God that performs miracles. He loves for His people to partner with Him in these miracles. When God takes a murderous person like Saul and turns him into Paul, one of the greatest Apostles and missionaries the world has ever seen, God gets the glory for that. When we step out in obedience and show kindness to someone who is downright hateful and malicious to us and our kindness transforms their heart, God gets the glory for that. When we pray consistently for someone who is hell bent on persecuting us for our beliefs or other reasons and their heart is transformed, God gets the glory for that. Any time a heart is transformed it glorifies God and that is ALWAYS a good thing!

My CHALLENGE to you:

If you are being tormented or persecuted by someone in your life, I encourage you to be kind to that person. A smile or a kind word can melt a hardened heart over time. An offer of help can open a door for a relationship to bloom and grow into an opportunity to share your Jesus story. If that person is dealing with a hardship, offer assistance in any way that you are able. And pray for that person. Pray for a difficult situation they are dealing with. Pray for blessings and peace for that person. Pray for opportunities to build a relationship and to share the Gospel. Pray that God will use you to help soften and transform a heart.

I can guarantee that as you show love and pray for that person, you will undergo transformation too. Your own hardened heart will begin to soften toward this person when you begin to know them and the issues they may be dealing with. You will start to care when that relationship blooms into a friendship. You will rejoice when that person accepts Jesus into their heart.

You doubt and say that these things will never happen? You say that such and such person will NEVER change so why bother? 

We bother because God tells us to. Step out in obedience and leave the outcome to God. Trust Him, because MIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY DAY! 

 

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Acts 1:13-14

13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Acts 2:42

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 12:11-12

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” 12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

My last post was on individual prayer and praying in private. I wanted this post to focus on community (or corporate) prayer. Community prayer is just as important as individual prayer. In these three scriptures we find the early believers joining together constantly in prayer, devoting themselves to prayer, and gathering to pray. When believers join together in prayer, miracles happen.  When believers join together in prayer, healing happens. When believers join together in prayer, communities are transformed.

In order for our prayers to result in miracles and transformations, God asks three things from us:

Repentance – We can not expect God to answer our prayers if we are carrying around unrepented sin in our hearts. When we come together in prayer, we need to make sure that each one of us is asking God to forgive us for any sin that we are harboring in our hearts.

Humility – We need to come together with humble hearts. If we come together wanting to be the center of attention, showing off our flowery prayers for all to admire, God will not answer our prayers. We can not expect God to honor our requests if we do not have humble hearts.

Love – We need to cultivate love in our hearts for each other and those around us. We need to allow the love of God to bring us together, so our prayers are prayers of love and compassion. We can not expect God to answer our prayers if they do not come from a place of love.

In a time when we see more pain and chaos in the world around us than ever before, we need to come together to pray for our communities and the world as a whole. God calls us, as believers, to seek His face together.

Challenge: Find a church or body of believers and join together on a regular basis in prayer for each other and for issues that we are facing as a nation. Find a body of believers who join together on a regular basis to pray for the world. We need to be on our knees in prayer now more than ever. Prayer is what brings us together as believers. Prayer is what brings us to the heart of God.

Prayer is the only thing that can transform hearts and communities. When we pray, God performs miracles.

 

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Matthew 6:5-8

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

I have always felt that God wrote this verse for me and other introverts who sometimes feel our prayers are inadequate compared to the eloquent prayers of others. I spent a few months in the Fall of 2012 and early 2013 spending many hours in the prayer room of our local house of prayer. It was modeled after the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. Integrated into the intercession sets were times of rapid fire prayer and intercessory prayer. For both types of prayer the intercessors would pray on the microphone. The only difference between the two being that the rapid fire prayer segment was intercessors giving 15 second prayers instead of longer, more eloquent prayers. I learned so much during these months about prayer and the end times and I loved spending hours in the prayer room, sitting at the feet of my Savior, but I struggled with the idea of having to pray on the microphone in front of everyone else. Part of what we were taught was that “we are all meant to be outgoing and extroverts.” I knew that God did not make extroverts and then suddenly forget what He was doing with the rest of us. We are introverts for a reason. We are not mistakes and some of us do not feel the leading of the Holy Spirit to pray publicly. We may be in agreement with what others are praying, but that doesn’t mean that God is leading ALL of us to pray publicly. I was made to feel somehow less than because of my introverted ways.

There is a place in God’s kingdom for introverts. There is a place in God’s kingdom for those of us who pray simple, honest prayers from humble hearts. I don’t feel like I need to stand on the street corners or pray on the microphone in a House of Prayer for God to hear me and answer my prayers. I don’t need to pray long, eloquent prayers to get God’s attention. Honestly, God answers my prayers daily and my prayers are usually short and to the point.

There is a place for praying as a community and coming together in agreement. God tells us that too, but I believe that the majority of our prayers are said when we are alone. There is something very special about that time when we meet with Jesus and can share our innermost secrets with our Savior in private. We don’t need wordy, flowery prayers. We don’t need for others to hear us. We can be certain that God hears the prayers of the introvert. We can be certain that God hears the prayers of the shy, quiet, sensitive, anxiety ridden heart and He WILL answer those prayers.

Never think that your prayers aren’t good enough, loud enough or flowery enough. Just because someone in a leadership position tells you that you need to pray a certain way in order for God to hear you does not make it true. Go to the heart of God, His Word, and find out for yourself what the truth is.

CHALLENGE: Read the story of Moses and see for yourself how God used a reluctant man, who by his own admission (Exodus 4:10) was not good with words, to lead a nation to freedom.

Remember Moses and never think that your prayers are not good enough.

 

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

January and February are the hardest months of the year for me. The anxiety starts in November, builds up in December and by January 1st, I am paralyzed by the fear of freezing temperatures, snow covered landscapes and icy roads. The Winter months plunge me into this deep abyss of fear that only Spring and warmer weather can pull me out of. I paid my daughter to take me and pick me up from work one Saturday, when we woke up to 5 or so inches of snow. The next Saturday, I drove to work but conditions deteriorated during the day and I was frozen with the fear of having to drive home in blowing snow and icy roads. God heard my silent prayer and my youngest daughter picked me up and took me back the next day to get my car when the roads were better. I trembled when I woke up to -9 degree temperatures, frozen car doors and had to go to work. I am absolutely TERRIFIED of Winter! It has been a annual struggle for me for 26 years now and as a native Southern Californian I am ready for warmer Winters!

I know what you are thinking! How can a God-trusting woman allow fear to paralyze her to a level of not being able to even function? I’m not perfect. I struggle with issues just as everyone else does. My struggle with fear keeps me running to God for help, mercy and grace. These verses in 1 Thessalonians sums up how I get through the Winter:

  1. Rejoice Always – In the middle of my fear, I rejoice that God is ALL Powerful and ALWAYS in control. I rejoice that I am protected. I rejoice that God knows my struggle and calms my heart with a sense of His peace in the eye of the storm. This is not always an easy thing for me to do. I admit, I usually have to force myself to rejoice in God’s goodness when I am held in the grip of fear. It isn’t always easy to remember that God has EVERYTHING under control. Even when things feel out of control, God is with us ALWAYS and for that we rejoice!
  2. Pray Continually – I pray my way through January and February, one day at a time, each Winter storm as it comes. I keep an eye on my weather apps and pray for God’s intervention and protection. God expects us to pray without ceasing. That line of communication is always open. He will always listen when we pray.
  3. Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances – How do you give thanks in ALL circumstances? It isn’t easy! During these past two months, I have thanked God for daughters who were willing to take their anxiety ridden mom back and forth to work. I have thanked God for protection when I actually did have to drive myself. I have thanked God for calming my fears and giving me courage. I have thanked God for not being to frustrated with me in  my occasional unbelief and having mercy on me in my suffering. We give thanks because we know that no matter what the world throws at us, God can handle it and that means that we can handle it. We give thanks because it is often in the eye of the storm that we see God’s power. It is often in the eye of the storm that miracles happen. It is often in the eye of the storm that God’s mighty wings provide refuge and safety, sheltering us from flying debris and negative thoughts and for that we give thanks!

 

If you have found yourself in the eye of the storm and are paralyzed by your circumstances:

Rejoice in WHO GOD IS

Pray continually to a God WHO IS ALWAYS LISTENING

Give thanks to a God WHO SHOWS UP IN MIGHTY AND POWERFUL WAYS

God is with you ALWAYS! Never doubt His love for you! He can and will protect you, even in the worst of life’s struggles!

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Nehemiah 1:4-11

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king. 

God welcomes us to be partners in His mission and ministry on this earth. As partners in the ministry, God expects us to intercede on behalf of others, just as Nehemiah prayed on behalf of the Israelites.

1Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

I believe this verse says it all! God expects us to pray for ALL people. God wants ALL people to be saved!

We are to pray for:

Kings, Queens, Presidents and all those in authority – that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Unbelievers – God wants All people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Believers – Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Our Nation – The prayer of Nehemiah sets an example of interceding for our Nation.

The World – Intercession is to be made for ALL people.

Challenge:

I challenge you to pray for:

The United States of America

Believers

Unbelievers

Those in authority

The World

ALL PEOPLE!

We need to be in prayer. These are times of uncertainty and chaos. We can not allow the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives or our communities. The enemy (Satan) prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We must pray like never before! We need to partner with God in bringing HIS will to earth. We need to pray!

 

 

 

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