The Persistent Prayer of Faith

It has been said by some that if you pray for something more than once, it shows your lack of faith. This has been promoted and embraced by many in the hyper-faith movement. This concept is completely unscriptural, and robs sincere believers of a tremendous effectiveness in life and ministry that God has otherwise provided to ultimately bring glory to Himself.

If you have believed the above mentioned error, this article will help you to launch the rebuilding of your faith and your practice of persistent prayer.

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Pray 2 Pray

Jesus understands how difficult it is to build a consistent prayer life, beyond those emergency life-or-death situations that provide us with plenty of motivation to pray. He identifies with us in our struggles because He has been there and experienced many of them, though He Himself was without sin. The struggle though was real!

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A Call To Prayer for Caribbean & Eastern USA Coast

The national weather services are reporting that the majority of the weather prediction models currently indicate that Hurricane Matthew (which is passing through the Caribbean area right now) will follow the entire East Coast of the USA, traveling from south to north.

Haiti is being pummeled by the storm, a tiny nation that shares an island with The Dominican Republic on its eastern half. Haiti, in 2010 was devastated by an earthquake and has yet to even begin to recover economically, in health and sanitation, and in infrastructure. As the storm is moving north beyond Haiti, reports and updates will begin to come out regarding their post-hurricane conditions.

From South Florida to New England, the hurricane is possibly in the next few days going to wreck havoc upon millions of our fellow citizens. Though it typically will lose some of its strength as it finds its way northward, the storm has an incredible amount of energy right now and even several days from now may have enough energy to damage property in New England with its winds and rain.

Please join me (and no doubt thousands of others!) in prayer for Haiti, and for the East Coast of the USA. Let’s pray for God’s supernatural intervention, and despite Hurricane Matthew’s observed and verified power, that it would fizzle down to a breeze and a sprinkle in its effect upon our fellow citizens.

Praying for weather to change is completely scriptural, sprinkled throughout the timeline of the Old Testament and the New Testament. God answered prayers with either a complete weather change, or with complete safety for the people as the storm passed through.

“THE PRAYER OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS POWERFUL”

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray… The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”‭‭

~ James‬ ‭5:13-18‬

Thank You for joining the ranks of the praying. See you at the altar of prayer!

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#PastorsTip #HurricaneMatthew #Haiti #Caribbean #EastCoast #Prayer #Elijah #Florida #NewEngland

 

Seek Me, Find Me!

Were you at one time so close to the Lord that He consumed your every thought and was the center of every one of your hopes and dreams? Were you so enamored with Him that you knew what Peter must have felt when he told the Lord, “I’ll die before I ever leave Your side”?

However, today as you ponder your life with Christ, do you wonder how such a wide canyon has developed that separates you from the blessing of experiencing His presence every moment of every day? Do you feel numb in your heart, knowing you should be feeling something, but it’s just not there? Do you know in your mind that your first love has become distant, but you are concerned with how you allowed this to happen?

You are not alone, my friend. Scripture is filled with the stories of people who have experienced the same wilderness. Thankfully, God understands our humanity and our imperfections, and He offers us a road map back to Him for our hearts.

God told Israel ahead of time, before they had grown distant from Him, that if they ever become distant from Him and find themselves in a wilderness of separation from Him that there is a way back:

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

~ Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29‬

Today, heed the moment of clarity that you are experiencing. Take some deliberate, heart-felt steps to draw close to God. The journey may be short or it may be long, but God has promised that in times like these IF we will seek Him with ALL of our heart, we WILL find Him again!

If you are in a wilderness today, may today be the first day of your new season and new journey toward the heart of God. You WILL find Him, and you WILL become even closer to Him than before. Just keep seeking, stay on the path, and fuel your journey with the passion of your heart.

#PastorsTip #CloseToGod #PresenceOfGod #DrawNearToGod #Wilderness #Loneliness #NotAlone #SeekAndFind #SeekGodFindGod

How To Pray For Your Pastor

If there is one prayer that you can pray for your pastor, what would it be?

When that prayer is answered, it should result in them becoming: closer to God; a better person; a better spouse; a better pastor; an influential person in the lives of others; effective in teaching and preaching the Word of God, etc. You know, things like that.

So what would that one prayer be that you would pray regularly, frequently, passionately on their behalf? What one prayer is it God is always delighted to hear, and is always delighted to answer?

That one prayer is this: Pray for your pastor to become a Praying Person!

For each of us as believers, when we become a praying person, it is through that single avenue that God can and does work most powerfully. He works transformationally within us and influentially through us.

Of all things, each of us are called to become praying people:

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

‭‭~ 1 Peter‬ ‭4:7

See you at the altar as we pray for our pastors to be praying people.

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Is It Still Time To Pray for America?

In the Book of Ecclesiastes there is a passage that speaks of there being a time for everything under the sun:

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There comes a time in the life of a nation when the people of God are to embrace Him in intercession for that nation’s survival, but there also exists a time for the people of God to refrain from embracing Him in intercessory prayer on behalf of that nation. That time comes when the nation’s sin has reached such epic and dark proportions that the only remedy (the repentance and the return of the nation to Godly living and pursuits) has been passed by, and the only remaining solution to ending the growth of the enormous mountain of sin is for God Himself to take drastic measures.

The time to cease our embrace of God in intercession for our nation has NOT yet come! It is STILL the time to pray, it is still the time to embrace the Lord our God in intercession on behalf of our nation. Even though our nation’s sins are growing and multiplying, though our unforgiven sin is accumulating before the eyes of God like an enormous mountain of diseased, putrefying slime that is drawing close to being equal to the pre-flood days of Noah, it is STILL the time for God’s followers to engage in national intercession.

Jeremiah knew when it was time to cease intercession for his own nation, not by his observations and measurements of the level of sin, but by hearing from the Lord directly when the time had come to cease his reaching out to God, that Divine correction had already been initiated.

“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me, for I will not hear you.”

~ Jeremiah 7:16

However, since our time for national intercession on behalf of America is still here, let’s look at what the intercession was that Jeremiah had been engaged in, and that remains our most powerful method for bringing life, liberty, and the pursuit of God back into our society.

In the scripture quoted above, to “make intercession” is translated from the Hebrew word paga’:

  • Defined as: To reach; to meet someone; to pressure or urge someone strongly; to meet up with a person; to encounter or to plead with someone; to storm a person with urgent petitions.
  • The idea behind “make intercession” is that an activist catches up with a superior, and reaches them with an urgent request.
  • Thus, intercession involves reaching out to God, meeting with God, and pleading Him for favor. Put another way, it is the storming of heaven by godly activists on behalf of God’s will.

The favor for which we are embracing and pleading God to bestow upon our nation is Mercy, Forgiveness, and Revival.

  1. Mercy delays the Divine punishment or judgement for a brief period of time thus allowing us an opportunity to repent;
  2. Forgiveness removes our individual sin-guilt when we individually ask for His forgiveness; and
  3. Revival is the regeneration and healing of the human heart, mind, and spirit for living a new life with God.

It still is NOT too late for America to receive the mercy, forgiveness, and revival that God so desperately wants to rain down upon us. The time is still NOW for embracing God in intercession for our nation. God has NOT yet sounded the warning that it is too late, and to not bother praying and interceding for America.

This gives us hope, but the nation’s clock is still ticking and the nation’s (our!) sin-guilt is still mounting. Let each of us draw near to God, let each of us embrace Him as a child would embrace their father in times of great need, let each of us pray and intercede with genuine passion and great fervency while we embrace Him.

A Quiet Call to Deep Intercession

Today when I was thinking about prayer and its many forms and depths, I chuckled when I recalled my Dad gently teaching me about the difference between “deep intercession” and “saying grace” over the family meal.

As I recall I think I was praying a lengthy prayer on behalf of missionaries while the food grew cold and everyone else patiently waited for my amen.

Dad was very gracious in how he later approached that teaching moment in my life, and I thank him and Mom for every lesson they imparted to my sister and I over the years.

The lesson reminded me today of the difference between “saying grace” at meal time and offering “deep intercession” on behalf of God’s glory and His Kingdom.

It made me wonder: Perhaps He wants to remind us of the difference between what we do regularly and that which is most needful in these days. Perhaps if we will endeavor to hear His still, small, and gracious voice we might hear Him calling us to times of prayer beyond saying grace over our meals.

Keeping our meal-time prayers brief is appropriate, just as appropriate as it is to take other times out of our days and nights to enter deep intercessory prayer.

If prayer beyond meal-time is a new venture into unfamiliar territory, please know that the GREATEST School of Prayer is located very near to you… it is found wherever your knees will touch the ground. Prayer is mostly learned while actually praying.

Don’t worry, God isn’t impressed by prayers said with poetic verse, nor prayers offered in King James English, nor prayers that are filled with reciting long theological words and terms. However, He IS impressed when we pour out our hearts in our own language: the language of our own hearts!

Thanks for reading! See you later today (or even now?) at the altar of prayer.

The Lord’s Secret For My Life

Shortly after I graduated from high school I was troubled about something I had observed numerous times in my life so far. I had read about, heard about, and seen some people (over the span of several years) who had served the Lord in ministry for 20 or 30 years, only to walk away from the Lord. There were numerous theories behind why or how they reached a point of walking away from the Lord into a life of sin and having an anti-God bias.

This bothered me so much that one day while I was alone in prayer, I pleaded with the Lord for “The Secret” to guarding my own life from taking that path. The last thing that I wanted was to serve Christ for 20 or 30 years, only to bring reproach to Him in my later years. I was desperate because I knew my own humanity all to well, and it wasn’t pretty. I could offer no guarantees of faithfulness to Him, and no oath could bind me over to perpetual righteous living.

“Lord, what is the secret?”

I had also read about, heard about, and observed (in part) plenty of people who had faithfully and sacrificially served the Lord for many, many years, with a beautiful end of life season with Him. They were faithful to the very end. I was asking the Lord what the secret ingredient would be for me to [at the end of my life] be found faithful by Him. Someday when I die, I want His name to be honored by my life, my heart, and my history.

When the Lord answered me in response to my pleading request, He spoke into my heart with a clarity that exceeded anything I had experienced until then.

He simply said, “If you will pray…”

In His answer, the statement was open-ended just as you see it above. The Secret to my lifelong faithfulness was going to be tied to the practice of intimate, personal prayer with Him as frequently as I could.

It has been my experience since then that the quality of my prayer life today (not just quantity, but quality) is a predictor of the quality of my walk with Christ tomorrow. The temptation to sin is much weaker when the enemy presents it if I am fully engaged in a quality, intimate prayer life with Christ. I freely admit that the times that I have sinned [since the secret was revealed for my life] have been preceded by a lack of quality and quantity in prayer with Christ.

The Book of Luke is a beautiful record of Jesus’ own prayer life with His Father. Sometimes the stories stand out, while at other times a hint is tucked in between sentences for those who look for it.

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

~ Luke 5:16

Prayer is a privilege of every follower of Christ. It isn’t just for ministry-types or for those who have poetic talent for putting together beautiful sounding prayers. It is for the stutterer, for the less-than-average, for the stumbler, for all of us: the imperfect ones!

My friend, the secret to your life bringing honor to Christ may also be “If you will pray…”. Will you try it? Find a lonely place, turn off the phone and the Internet, put aside everything else that fills your mind, and let your heart begin to be poured out to the Lord. Skip using King James English or Latin, you probably use them incorrectly anyway. Use the language of your own heart, the smile of your own lips, the tears of your own eyes. Jesus wants the “you” that you are, with all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. These gifts given to Him are what truly impresses Him.

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#PastorsTip #Luke5 #Jesus #Prayer #Quality #Honor #Dishonor #Ministry #Failure #Backslide

Faith That Is Courageous!

Listen to His Word, walk righteously, and pray often and fervently. Your faith will become bold and strong like a lion, and you will minister side-by-side with the fearless.

“Those who walk righteously and speak what is right… they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.”

~ Isaiah 33:15-16

A constant inflow of the scriptures is vital; not necessarily read books about the Bible, but reading the books of the Bible. The consistent flow of the water of the scriptures will rinse the mind (yep, “Brainwash”) and will wear down the rough edges of the rocky personality. Faith will begin to grow and develop a firm foundation for the building of the rest of the house of faith.

“… faith comes from hearing the message… through the word about Christ.”

~ Romans 10:17

Vital to the human body is the breathing of air. So it is for our spirit, we need to breath-in the Holy Spirit and exhale prayers of surrender to God, worship of God, and intercessions for God. As we pray, our faith grows strong, and we begin to be utilized by God for the prayer of faith so that His kingdom can come and His will can be done “on earth as it is in Heaven” (from The Lord’s Prayer). Jude also addresses the building of faith through the practice of prayer:

“… by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit…”

~ Jude 1:20

The secret to building faith is hidden right out in the open, but it is implemented in the private life.

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#PastorsTip #Isaiah33 #Romans10 #Jude1 #Faith #Courage #Bold #Lion #BibleReading #Prayer #Intercession

Holy Spirit Headphones

There are a lot of things going on in our world, aren’t there? Keeping up-to-date on just the headlines can be an hourly effort. The multinational conflicts in Syria and Iraq; the Chinese expanding their territorial waters through island building; North Korea feeling ignored so they launch missile tests; Iran using proxies trying to undermine Western Civilization; ISIS picking fights with Iraq, Syria, Jordan, England, France, the USA… and with the rest of the world; there is more news than any one person can consume everyday.

The noise of the news can begin to numb our spiritual ears, if we are not deliberate in staying tuned-in to The Spirit. Headphones are handy instruments that cover the ears, block out a lot of the noise that surrounds us, and focuses upon the ears a stream of clear audio. Holy Spirit Headphones are very much needed, now more than ever. We need to have frequent quiet times where we can clearly hear what The Spirit is saying to us, The Church.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

‭‭~ Revelation‬ ‭2:7‬

What we will hear from The Spirit will strengthen and lead us in living a faithful and victorious life in these Last Days, and what He says will have an eternal impact upon us. There are masses of people around us (even Christians) who are not interested in putting on the Holy Spirit Headphones that will reduce the Last Days noise. Let’s be a people who know the Holy Spirit’s latest news more than we do the news networks’ latest headlines.

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#PastorsTip #Revelation2 #HearTheSpirit #HolySpirit #Listen #Headphones