Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

The amazing joy of meditation (Psalm 62-63; Ezekiel 18)

September 15, 2014

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation,” Psalm 62:1

This morning I was confronted by both the Word of God and an illustration of what the Word teaches.  First the illustration:  “My dear missionary friend in Africa posted last week an article on his website entitled, “10 things they forgot to tell a missionary.”  As I read the article I could feel both his pain and passion for God’s work.  But I also could feel the great weight that he sometimes endures as it seems that he is all alone in the work.

Question:  “Do you ever seek for an answer to the weights that you bear in a given day?”

Now, the Word of God.

David writes about the one amazing thing he has chosen to do in the midst of his weight-bearing life.  David practices the discipline of meditation.  David knows that salvation belongs to the Lord. In this he rests as he waits for God’s deliverance.

Here David seems so clear in his thought process.  This is the by-product of meditation

Think it through:

1.  Silent meditation is the correct response to both stress and accusation.

In Vs: 2 David refused to be shaken in his present situation.  Instead he leaned on the Rock (That Rock is Christ).

In Vs: 3-5 David refused to complain about those who were attacking his life. He waited on the Lord.

2.  Strong meditation is the correct response to all circumstances.

In Vs: 6-12 David helps us to understand that no man can stand against God or God’s people.  David lay’s out everything before the Lord.  He is able to see clearly because it is God’s responses that David clings to.

This is truly what God is calling each of us to in the midst of our busy lives.

Here is how Jesus described the joy of meditation:  “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  Matthew 6:6

Our response:

Only when we are still before the Lord (Psalm 37:7; Isaiah 30:15) can we know the true value of meditation.  Be assured we will never hear God’s viewpoint unless we are still before Him!!!

Praying for the already answered (Isaiah 37, Revelation 7)

June 5, 2014

“Have you not heard that I determined it long ago?  I planned from the days of old what now I bring to pass.”  Isaiah 37:26

King Hezekiah found himself facing a formidable enemy in the king of Assyria (Isaiah 36).  The King of Assyria challenged Israel’s king with this question, “What do you rest this trust of yours?”  

Hezekiah’s answer was to go into God’s house and pray.  Here was the opening of his prayer, “This is a day of distress, rebuke, and of disgrace.”  The King understood his circumstance was both deserved and possibly determined.  But still yet he cries out for the grace of God.

But in the midst of the prayer there is something amazing that Hezekiah prays, “So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”  Here is the amazing part, “This king saw the possibility for God to be glorified.”

In this moment he was praying for the already answered!!!  Our God will be glorified in all the earth.

Think it through:

When you and I pray for God to be glorified by our actions and in our circumstances, we are assured of the already answered.

Yes, in the things you are facing in this moment, if you will simply pray in submission to whatever God needs to do to bring glory to His name, you will have success in life.

This is exactly what happened to God’s people, as God delivered them in an amazing way, 37:36-38

Our response:

You and I have a choice:  We can either pray, “Our own will be done,” or we can pray, “Thy will be done.”  Only the last will merit success in your walk with Christ.

About That Time

March 1, 2012

“About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church,” Acts 12:1

One of my favorite Christian comedians from my childhood was, “Jerry Clower.”  Jerry was a country story-teller who often told stories about the Ledbetter family.  Often his stories would build to a climax and then he would say, “About that time.”

This morning, Dr Luke uses this same type of approach in Acts 12 to describe the height of persecution that came to Jerusalem during the days of the early church.  In this particular moment we do not know how many were violently killed, but we do know that the Apostle John’s brother (James) was killed with the sword.

I cannot imagine the depths of heartache that must have been felt by those believers. I cannot imagine the fervent prayer that must have gone up for those people.

Much in the same way, in many places in our world fellow believers are being persecuted.  This mornings headlines included the story of an Iranian pastor who was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.  Be assured the cause of Christ will always suffer opposition, but be assured the Gospel will overcome.

The people in Jerusalem would experience this very fact a few verses later as God miraculously delivered one of their own (Peter) from sure death.  As I read these verses, Acts 12:1-25, I was reminded of God’s power and the power of prayer.  This same power is needed today.  As the church prayed for Peter, so to must you and I pray for the persecuted church.

But not only are we to pray for those we know, we are to pray for those we do not know.  This morning, I asked the Lord to place on my heart people I should be praying for.  This morning I asked the Lord to please grant mercy to those who are hurting.  This morning I asked the Lord for the gospel to go forth to the nations.

Woven into my time is the increased awareness to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  Recently, I have been teaching a class on church history.  I have been shocked at how many times the city of Jerusalem has cried out for her dead.  This small place in the world has been the center of controversy for centuries.  So today, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  As you do, you are praying that the Prince of Peace will come.  Only when Jesus comes with there be peace (At that time).

For further study: James 5:13-18, Matthew 24-25.  “Praying the Lord’s Prayer,” by Elmer Towns

What Can We do?

October 14, 2010

There are days when I read the news online that I find myself wondering, “How can it get any worse.”  It seems as if sin is conquering and the gospel is chained in America.  Daily we read about leaders who are corrupt.  But it is not only confined to the world it is also within the church.

This was never more true to me than when I encountered a Muslim a couple of days ago.  It was late in the evening.  I was finishing up at the office when someone came and ask for keys to the church office.  As I went, I met a nice young man who was sweaty and tired from many deliveries.  Suddenly the Lord prompted my heart to share Christ with this Muslim.  The conversation was very intense, I sometimes fought thoughts of, “What can I do or say to this guy,” but I kept plowing forward with the gospel.

Certainly our nation is desperate for the gospel.  But there are times when we ask ourselves, “What can we do.”  I know Ezra and Nehemiah must have felt this way as they looked at their nation that was in ruins physically and spiritually.  As I read, Ezra 9-10, Nehemiah 1-2, and Psalm 34, I felt the encouragement of the Lord.

When Ezra saw the spiritual devastation he knew what to do.  When Nehemiah heard about and later saw the physical devastation he knew what to do.  Here is what Ezra did, “At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands before the Lord,” Ezra 9:5.

Ezra knew that any difference he could make would have to start on his knees.  Nehemiah believed this fact, “So I prayed to the God of heaven,” Nehemiah 2:4.  Both these men understood that prayer adjusts our lives to what God sees and prayer causes us to repent and to request what He desires for our lives.  When this happens we are then able to run in the strength of His might and we will see great things in our world.

I want to encourage everyone who reads to consider two things over the next month.  First, will you daily pray for our nation for the next thirty days.  Your prayer should consist of the following; “Lord, show me my personal sin.  Lord, show the people of this nation their sin.  Lord my I and my nation confess our sin.  Lord help us to return to us and Lord send a great revival to our people.  Finally, Lord help us to elect the people who will return us to a biblical world view.”  Secondly, set aside each Tuesday as a day of fasting for our nation.

I leave you with the words of Jesus from Luke 11:8 “Ask, and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you.”

What Can I Do?

September 16, 2010

“What can I do?”  This question is one I often ask when hearing people’s stories of sorrow and struggle.  My good friend David Chrisman wrote about this very thing in his blog this morning.  Maybe you often ask the same question?

This morning my devotions covered I Samuel 6-12, Psalm 37, Proverbs 31, and Hebrews 7. The prophet of God, Samuel was asked by God’s people, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines,” 7:8.  When I read those words such peace flooded my soul.

Maybe you ask, “Why did you need peace?”  The fact is I have a broken heart for those in the family of God who are facing tough times.  I truly want to help in any way I can.  I often think, how can I get money to our missionaries at home and abroad.  I often think, how can I help that family through a tough spot in the road.  How can I help those going through cancer?  How can I help my brothers and sisters who face the worst of circumstances in their family life?

I admit, sometimes I almost collapse under the weight of it all.  In those moment I feel so useless and I asked myself, “What can I do?”  In those moments,including this morning, God always reminds me the most important thing that will impact all of these things is intercessory prayer.

Brothers and sisters, “There is power in prayer.” God blessed Israel because of Samuel’s faith to submit himself to God daily in prayer.  Paul writing to the Romans, “I do not cease to pray for you,” 1:8.  The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Jesus lives to make intercession for us,” 7:25.  If our Savior and one of the greatest Apostles prayed without ceasing so must you and I.

I want to encourage you to get on your knees with a prayer list and begin to intercede for those who are suffering.  I want to plead with you to get on your knees and pray for the masses of people headed to hell.  I want to implore you to get on your knees and pray for the missionaries around the world.  I want to challenge you to get on your knees and pray for the different people groups of the world, that the gospel would penetrate the darkness.

Sadly enough, while we are trying to figure out what to do we could have been doing the most important thing.  I promise you this fact, “If your day is without prayer you can be assured it will be without power.”

Samuel made a bold statement in I Samuel 12.  It is a statement that I am claiming for my life and the life of the faith family I lead, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way,” 12:24.