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.

David Inquired of the Lord

To My Fellow Church Leaders,

At times, I wonder how often we miss the opportunity to follow David’s example when disaster strikes our own camp, leaving God “holding the bag” because we are too exhausted, grief stricken, and facing too great an opposition to do what God has been teaching us to do as leaders.

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men’s families were kidnapped, their belongings stolen, and their homes burned to the ground. After weeping until they were exhausted, David’s fellow warriors blamed him and they talked about stoning him.

But… David, though himself completely exhausted from grieving, then did something as a leader that transformed the enemy’s disaster into a Miracle from God!

He “found strength in the Lord” and he “inquired of the Lord”!

Instead of assuming that the tragedy must have happened as a result of God’s providential will and leaving it there, he refused to assume anything except one thing: Inquire of God!

It isn’t over until God says that it’s over. Pastors and Leaders, regardless of our level of exhaustion and the anger of the mob that might be threatening the very life of our ministry, we are not done until we have inquired of the Lord AND have heard back from Him.

Strengthen yourself in the Lord, just as David did. Inquire of the Lord, just as David did. Hear from God, just as David did. See the miracle of God take place as you follow through on His answer, just as David did.

See you at the altar of inquiry, my friends.

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#PastorsTip

Transforming Local Churches into Harvesting Combines.

Every local church should be a contributing member of the global church, fulfilling the call of Christ [not only in being a place of discipleship, relationship, and training in the Word and Spirit, but] especially in the arena of becoming and functioning as a harvesting combine of souls.

Recently, I came across a passage that Pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) penned and preached to his local church. His passion for seeing the lost soul come to Christ, and for the transformation of some Christians within his church that are missing the call of Christ to be a soul-winner, is expressed as follows:

The soul-winner must be a master of the art of prayer. You cannot bring souls to God if you go not to God yourself. You must get your battle-ax, and your weapons of war, from the armoury of sacred communication with Christ. If you are much alone with Jesus, you will catch His Spirit; you will be fired with the flame that burned in His breast, and consumed His life.

Jesus looking over, and weeping over, JerusalemYou will weep with the tears that fell upon Jerusalem when He saw it perishing; and if you cannot speak so eloquently as He did, yet shall there be about what you say somewhat of the same power which in Him thrilled the hearts and awoke the consciences of men.

My dear hearers, especially you members of the church, I am always so anxious lest any of you should begin to lie upon your oars, and take things easy in the matters of God’s kingdom. There are some of you—I bless you, and I bless God at the remembrance of you—who are in season, and out of season, in earnest for winning souls, and you are the truly wise; but I fear there are others whose hands are slack, who are satisfied to let me preach, but do not themselves preach; who take these seats, and occupy these pews, and hope the cause goes well, but that is all they do.”

Pastor Charles Spurgeon / “The Soul Winner”
Published by Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
©1989 reprint, Pg 246–47.

Perhaps, if you are like me, it would be helpful to re-read the above quote several times so that the full impact of the message can be received, followed by an introspective application to our heart.

If we are not earnestly praying for the salvation of the lost, we have not yet begun to be that which Christ has called us to be.  The scriptures say regarding Jesus that He “came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and also in regard to those who are bound in sin, that He “was manifested, that He may destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8).

The difference between the fruitful and the unfruitful local church [in regard to the harvesting of souls] is profoundly simple: the fruitful church contains some branches that have engaged in the simple yet profound art of soul-winning intercessory prayer.  The unfruitful local church just won’t do it.

Let us (you and I) agree to make a world of difference within the local churches that we are branches within (Jesus said that He is the Vine, and we are the branches).  Let us (again, you and I) determine to see the prayers of Pastor Spurgeon for his local church in the 1800’s answered and fulfilled in our local churches in 2013 & Beyond.  Let us (yes, you and I) master the art of soul-winning prayer!

#PastorsTip