Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Praying Church

The Praying Church: What If...
Dr. Ray Pritchard
Keep Believing Ministries

Years ago I read a book by Charlie Shedd called The Exciting Church: Where People Really Pray. I have forgotten everything in the book except the story of a young man who was newly elected to the board of the church where Charlie Shedd served as pastor. That young man asked a very simple question:
“What do you think Christ wants this church to be?”
From that question came a second one:
“What would happen in our congregation if every member was prayed for every single day by someone?”
Charlie Shedd said, “That night he stopped us in our tracks.” The rest of the book is the answer to that question.
And what a question. We all believe in prayer, don’t we? Even if we don’t pray very much, we still believe in prayer. So what would happen in our churches if every day every member was prayed for by someone?
What would it do to our worship?What would it do to our preaching?What would it do to our ministries?What would it do to our evangelism?What would it do to our relationships?
Our churches wouldn’t be the same if we made sure every person was prayed for every day by someone.
What if we started to pray like that?

So what would happen in your church if we prayed like that? Hold that thought and we’ll come back to it later. In the meantime we need to see what was on Paul’s mind in Ephesians 6. As he nears the end of his magnificent letter, he calls Christians to put on the whole armor of God so that we can fight and win the spiritual battles we face every day (vv. 10-17). Then without any break he says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (v. 18). In the School of Christian Living, this is Prayer 101. This is the “how to” not the “why” of prayer. There is nothing difficult to understand in what he writes.
It’s easy to see how this fits in the context. Prayer is our ultimate weapon in spiritual warfare. It is not part of the armor; it is that which makes the armor effective. In verse 18 Paul gives five fundamental facts about Christian prayer.
I. There are many ways to pray and they are all valid.
Paul says we should pray “with all kinds of prayers and requests.” We can analyze prayer from many angles.
We can talk about the content of prayer, such as adoration, thanksgiving, meditation, confession and petition.
We can talk about the posture of prayer, such as sitting, standing, hands uplifted, eyes open, eyes closed, walking, kneeling, and stretched out before the Lord.
We can talk about the associations of prayer, which means we can pray alone or in a small group or in a worship service or in a concert of prayer or over the Internet or over the phone or by email or in a handwritten letter.
We can talk about the style of prayer. It may be formal, informal, liturgical, written, recited, conversational, antiphonal, sentence prayers, “Thank you” prayers, “Lord, have mercy” prayers, short prayers, long prayers, prayers sung, prayers spoken, prayers written, prayers chanted, prayers offered spontaneously or prayers memorized.
We can talk about the places of prayer, such as in the morning, during your devotions, around the dinner table, in the car, on the phone, during a worship service, in the street, sitting in the pew, or at a ball game.
We can talk about the objects of prayer, such as confession and restoration, for physical or spiritual or emotional healing, for a financial need, for a broken relationship to be healed, for salvation, for spiritual growth, for the spread of the gospel, for a friend in need, for the leaders of our church, for the leaders of our nation, for our friends and, yes, for our enemies.
Prayer may be as varied as the needs of the heart. The true measure of prayer is not its form or content or style or location or length or beauty of expression. The real question is, Does it come from the heart? Is it sincere? Are we truly seeking the Lord? If so, then we may claim the promise of James 5:16 that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.
Prayer may be as varied as the needs of the heart.
There are myriad ways to pray. If we pray from the heart in Jesus’ name, then the Father is pleased and he inclines his heart to hear us when we call on him.
II. The best time to prayer is when you feel the need to pray.
That’s simple, isn’t it? Paul instructs us to pray “on all occasions.” The Greek word is kairos, which means a particular moment when we feel our need for God. It speaks of coming to a crossroads, a time of need, a sense of our own weakness, and crying out to the Lord in prayer.
Sometimes we approach prayer superstitiously, as if we should only pray about “big things.” We don’t want to bother God with the “small stuff.” How foolish we are. He’s God! It’s all “small stuff” to him. Or perhaps we should say it another way, because he cares so much for us, even our “small stuff” matters to him. I think of our own three sons who are now grown. Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. It happened that none of our boys live nearby so we didn’t see any of them. But on Monday I heard Marlene remark that Mother’s Day had been a good day because we heard from all our family. Josh and Leah and Mark and Vanessa called from Dallas. Nick called from Birmingham. I’m sitting here smiling as I write this because we got to talk to our family on Sunday. Nothing could be better than that. No gift could be better than hearing from them. But if we are so glad to hear from our children, how much more is our Heavenly Father glad to hear from us. When our kids are in trouble and need our help, we want them to call and let us know. It’s the same with the Lord. He waits to hear from his children. And because we are his children, he will never turn us away.
The Lord waits to hear from his children. And because we are his children, he will never turn us away.
Many years ago when Marlene taught the little children in Sunday School, the lesson was about the truth that “God is always with us.” So she had the children draw a picture to illustrate that truth. One child drew a picture of a boy in bed, raindrops over the bed, and outside the window a sinister-looking creature. “Where is God with you?” Marlene asked. “He’s with me,” the boy replied, “when I’m in bed, in the dark, and it’s raining inside, and there’s a monster outside."
We’ve all had a few moments like that, when it’s raining inside and there’s a monster outside. The little boy is right. God is with us even then so go ahead and pray. God is near us when we need him most.
III. Effective prayer requires sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
Paul says we are to pray “in the Spirit.” That means “under the influence of the Holy Spirit.” It helps me to think about it this way. Praying in the Spirit means following the Spirit’s guidance as to when to pray. Because prayer itself is the language of heaven, the impulse to pray comes from the Holy Spirit. He not only invites us to pray, he also incites us to pray. Sometimes you will think, “I should pray about that.” Don’t ever brush that thought away. Do it. Go ahead and pray right then. Sometimes people may say, “I wish we could pray about that.” Take that as a message from the Holy Spirit and go ahead and pray. These impulses to pray may come at any time . . .
When we are on the phone . . .When we are talking with a friend . . .When we are listening to the radio . . .When we are sitting in church . . .When we are taking a deposition . . .When we are having a sleepless night . . .When we are getting ready for surgery . . .
If you think about praying, go ahead and pray. You don’t have to pray out loud. You can pray to the Lord without speaking any words at all, and the Lord will hear you from heaven. When the Lord speaks to you and says, “Pray,” don’t say “No.” Go ahead and pray.
When the Lord speaks to you and says, “Pray,” don’t say “No.” Go ahead and pray.
And pray about the things the Lord lays on your heart. Don’t be ashamed or worried that you won’t say the right thing. The Holy Spirit knows your heart and intercedes for us with wordless groaning (Romans 8:26-27). He comes alongside to help us when we pray so that our feeble prayers rise with power and enter the courts of heaven to be carried to the Throne of Grace. As an old gospel song says, sometimes we just need to “have a little talk with Jesus.” That song along says, “When you feel a little prayer wheel turning.” It’s hard to explain exactly what that means, but I know what that’s like. You can be sure that the Lord is turning the “prayer wheel” in your heart and moving you to pray.
So let’s not make this mysterious. Whenever you feel an inner urge to pray, do it! We would all pray a lot more every day if we became sensitive to the impulse of the Spirit in our lives.
IV. If you want your prayers answered, stay awake and keep on praying.
“Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (v. 18). Eugene Peterson gives us this version: “Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Paul uses a military term to get his point across. Consider a sentry guarding a base in Afghanistan, not far from a Taliban stronghold. Now compare that soldier with a security guard at the Kroger’s grocery store. Who will be more alert? It better be the sentry in Afghanistan. The one who believes he is on the front lines is going to be more alert. Our problem with prayer is that we think we’re a security guard at Kroger’s when in reality we’re like the sentry in Afghanistan. He has to stay alert because his buddies are depending on him. It’s life or death to them. We mess around in prayer because we think it doesn’t matter, when in reality we are sentries standing guard on the front lines of spiritual combat.
Whenever you feel an inner urge to pray, do it!
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to be distracted when you pray? Just as you bow your head, the phone rings, or your pager beeps, or some music distracts you, or you suddenly remember that you have to check the roast in the oven. A thousand things come crowding into your mind. Sometimes it seems as if the devil’s best work comes when we decide to pray. He unloads his full armory of distractions against us. Or perhaps you decide to spend an hour in prayer. So you get on your knees and begin to pray. You pray for yourself, the members of your family, all your friends, the leaders of your church, the missionaries you know, then all the missionaries in the world, then every country in the world. Finally you pray by name for every person in every country of the world (or so it seems). Then you look up and discover you’ve only been praying for five minutes!
Several years ago, during an “Ask Pastor Ray” night, one of the junior highers turned in the following question: “If God is up in heaven, why do we have to close our eyes and bow our heads when we pray?” Good question. We’ve all wondered about that from time to time. Here’s the answer: You don’t have to bow your head or close your eyes when you pray. We do that simply to keep out distractions. In the Old Testament men often prayed standing up, with outstretched arms, looking up to heaven, eyes wide open. I find that I do my best praying when I’m riding my bike-and I assure you that I keep my eyes open! Whatever helps you stay alert is the right way for you to pray.
We mess around in prayer because we think it doesn’t matter, when in reality we are sentries standing guard on the front lines of spiritual combat.
V. The Wider Our Circle of Concern, the Wider the Results.
Paul instructs us to pray “for all the saints.” This means we need to pull ourselves out of the rut of praying only for ourselves and our family. It’s perfectly legitimate to pray for those closest to you. But you have not exhausted the power of prayer if you stop there.
If you pray for your friends, that’s good.If you pray for your church, that’s also good.If you pray for missionaries you know and love, that’s even better.If you pray for other churches in your area, that’s wonderful.If you pray for God’s work in other countries, your heart is stretched to new horizons.

Think of your prayers in terms of concentric circles. Naturally you start with those closest to your heart and then move out from there. With every outward circle, you move away from yourself and closer to the heart of God. “For God so loved the world . . .”
How wide are your prayers?How broad is your concern?
When you pray, pray for the people of God around the world. And pray for those yet to be reached with the gospel.
Dr. Lee Roberson called prayer “the Christian’s secret weapon, forged in the realms of glory.” It is no accident that prayer comes immediately after the listing of the “armor of God” in verses 14-17. As someone has said,

Prayer is the Christian’s secret weapon,
Forged in the realms of glory.
Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.

Some of us who know a little theology would do well to get an advanced degree in “kneeology.”
With that we can quickly sum up Paul’s personal prayer request in verses 19-20.
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
He asks for two things: clarity and courage:
Clarity - that he might have the right words to say.
Courage - that he might say the right words at the right time.
Have you ever considered that the ability to communicate truth clearly is a gift from God? It comes in answer to prayer. If a pastor is not preaching well, it may be because his people are not praying well.

Paul wrote from a Roman prison where he was chained to a guard 24 hours a day. He was literally an “ambassador in chains.” Here’s what blows me away. Though he was innocent of any crime, he doesn’t say, “Pray that I can get out of here” or “Ask God to reverse my sentence” or “Pray that they will cut me loose from these chains.” In short, he doesn’t ask that his circumstances might be changed because he understood that behind the mighty Roman Empire stood the Lord God himself.
God had called him to that prison. He had work to do there.
So he asked for prayer that he might be clear and courageous to do God’s work while he was in prison. Did he want to be set free? I’m sure he did, but that wasn’t uppermost in his mind. Whether in prison or out, he wanted only to proclaim Christ to those who did not know him.
Pray for clarity and for courage. He doesn’t pray to be released nor does he ask that his life might be spared. He doesn’t ask for a miracle. He only asked for this:
That when he opens his mouth he will have something to say, and
That he will have the courage to say it.
What a man. What an example for the rest of us.

Two Take-Home Truths
Let me summarize the teaching this way:
1. No one ever outgrows the need for prayer.
Most of us find it hard to say “Pray for me” because that seems like a sign of weakness. And it is! But that’s why we need prayer in the first place. If we were strong, we could do it all ourselves. Here is the real truth about you and me . . .
We aren’t that strong.We aren’t that smart.We aren’t that clever.We aren’t that wise.We aren’t that brave.
That’s why we need others to pray for us. No one is so strong that he is beyond the need of prayer. No one is so rich in blessings that he does not need someone to pray for him. As the old spiritual says, “It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” Sometimes we do not ask for prayer because we are overly concerned about our image. Our pride keeps us silent even in desperate moments. We want to keep up the image that we are in control, that we can handle our problems, that we are self-sufficient. After all, if people hear us asking for prayer, what will they think?
If they love us, they will think we need some prayer, and they will pray for us.
Sometimes we do not ask for prayer because we are overly concerned about our image.
Who is the greatest Christian of all time? I nominate the Apostle Paul. Who knew the gospel better? No one. Who preached it more fearlessly? No one. Yet he wanted the Ephesians to pray for him. Was Paul a failure? Not at all. He wrote a great part of the New Testament and opened Europe to the gospel. Yet he wasn’t afraid to admit his need. It is a mark of the right kind of humility when someone says, “Pray for me.”
2. No one ever outgrows the need to pray for others.
Someone you know needs your prayers right now. In the army of the Lord, every soldier needs help. Someone needs hope, someone needs patience, someone needs courage, someone needs love, someone needs determination, someone needs insight, someone needs strength, and someone needs guidance.
Someone will be wounded unless you pray.Someone will give up unless you pray.Someone will be deceived unless you pray.Someone will yield to temptation unless you pray.Someone will make a foolish choice unless you pray.Someone will grow faint unless you pray.Someone will collapse under the load unless you pray.Someone will go AWOL unless you pray.
There is always more than enough to pray about if only we would open our eyes and look around.

So let me return to the question I posed earlier. What would happen in our churches if everyone in the congregation was prayed for every day? What would it do for our worship? Our outreach? Our relationships? Our faith? Our vision for the future? Our leadership?
There is always more than enough to pray about if only we would open our eyes and look around. If we all started praying for each other every day, we wouldn’t be the same, would we?
I wonder if it could ever happen. I’m not thinking about another organization or some big program or another meeting to attend or reports to fill out. Those things are well and good and have their place, but that’s not what is on my mind.

Remember that Jesus said . . . “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were true of your church? My church? Every church?
Think of the word that would spread. “Those people really know how to pray.”
Think of the love that would grow.
Think of the lives that would change.
Think of the miracles God would do.
Think of the excitement on Sunday morning.
We would get up early and come to church eagerly, waiting to see what God was going to do. We would sing with new gusto and pray with new fervency and listen with new expectation. And who knows? Someone might just hang around and get saved.
Think of the impact around the world as we begin to pray for God’s work in Burundi, Pakistan, Laos, Gambia, Paraguay, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Hungary and Irian Jaya.
I think God has more for us than we have ever dreamed.
What if we really started to pray?
Some sermons answer questions. This one asks a question. Now it’s your turn to think about the

Our Father, we know so little about prayer. We stagger and stumble and pray our two-bit prayers, and then we feel guilty. Make us willing to learn from you. We say with the disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” so that we may receive all that you have for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10

Thank you all for praying this week.

As you know many leaders were in California this week and were not able to give us requests. Praise God they are home safely.

I will include those requests I received and then other areas needing prayer.

Please continue to pray for our FCA Huddle at Tremont. This week the leaders will be meeting to plan our next Huddle Tuesday, March 17th.Donnie Rice

Please be in prayer for our Pastors and Leaders

Please be in prayer for the upcoming Mission Conference and the many activities planned
Tammy Carroll

Praise God for touching lives in a real and powerful way.

Praise God for allowing circumstances in our church that cause us to focus on Him, knowing that He, alone holds the answers.

Praise God for our CBC family and the love we have for each other.

Praise God for raising up godly leadership, who proclaim God's Word boldly and without apology!

Praise God for providing us with a beautiful facility in which to worship Him.

Seek forgiveness for taking all the above for granted 99% of the time.

Seek forgiveness for focusing horizontally (on other people or circumstances) rather than vertically (on God.)
Pray concerning:
Evangelism/visitation team
Upcoming mission conference
MOPS this week
Upcoming missions trips
Jonathan St Clair: preparation for missions service
Luke and Becca (Reed) Voight as they graduate from Moody and are led to their mission field.
Employment needs:Time Cole, Don Wilson, Dan Dunham, Micah Whalen
Upcoming baby deliveries: Becca Ultch, Erin Zobrist
Lisa Reed's 13 y/o nephew, heart surgery today
College students
Summer Bible School
Upcoming opening of our new teen building

That's my list for this week. Let's never underestimate the power of our prayers to a loving, powerful, heavenly Father.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How to Build a Stronger Prayer Connection

How to Build a Stronger Prayer Connection
by Whitney Hopler
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Peter Lundell's new book, Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God, (Revell, 2009).

When you pray, do you sense God listening to you, or do your prayers seem to just float off into the air unheard? Do you hear what God has to say, or do you struggle to discern any message from Him? Do you pray frequently because you love to do so? Or do you often neglect to pray because you’re discouraged or worried that you’re somehow not praying correctly?

If your prayers seem ineffective, you can strengthen them to experience more of God’s power when you pray. Here’s how you can build a stronger prayer connection to God:

Develop a hunger for God. Ask God to help you want Him more than anything or anyone else in your life. When you’re hungry for more of God, you’ll naturally be motivated to meet with Him in prayer.

Seek intimacy with God. Be willing to make drawing closer to God your top priority. Make whatever changes you need to make in your life to allow yourself to spend significant time with God daily in prayer, and regularly confess and repent of sin that blocks your intimacy with God. Deliberately build the rest of your life around your relationship with God.

Pursue God with passion. Overcome complacency and distractions that can cause you to cut back on how much you pray. Simplify your life as much as possible so you won’t be too exhausted to invest lots of time and energy into prayer. Whenever you encounter challenges, view them as opportunities to pray and discover more about God’s plans for you. Ask God to give you a passion for the people and situations that burn in His heart, so you can pray with passion for what matters most to God.

Start a dead engine. Sometimes you may not feel like praying but know that you need to pray anyway. If you crank your prayers to life like you would a stalled engine on a car, your prayers will then begin to flow more naturally. Recognize problems as opportunities to tap into what God can do in your life; pray about whatever problems you encounter, no matter how frustrated or discouraged you are. Use written prayers (like the Lord’s Prayer) to start praying when you don’t have an idea of how pray about something on your own. Play praise and worship music – especially a song that proclaims what you’d like to pray about aren’t sure how to pray yet. Use a prayer notebook or a list of prayer topics to give your prayers clear substance, focus, and direction.

Get a faith lift. When you’re discouraged by challenges you’re facing, don’t give up praying. When you don’t understand what’s going on, keep trusting God. Ask God to give you more faith to help you hold on through the challenges.

Clean house. Lingering sins in your life can block the answers to prayer that God wants to give you – and also lead to spiritual lethargy, emotional turmoil, and physical illness. Clean out your soul by regularly confessing and repenting of whatever sins you know about, and ask God to reveal the ones you don’t so you can deal with them, too. Let go of grudges and forgive other people regularly. Ask God to keep your relationships with Him and others right.

Invite God to strengthen your character. Struggling through hardship gives you a valuable chance to grow in your character if you’re determined to trust God in the process. Pray for God to use your struggles to change you more into the person He wants you to become – someone who is more like Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal, correct, and transform you from the inside out.

Praise God. Decide to praise God for who He is even when you’re dealing with discouragement or trouble. Let your praise rise from your faith rather than just your feelings. Choose to praise Him every day, no matter what, since He is above your challenges. When you praise God, He will respond to your praise and actually become to you what you praise Him for – from your healer, to your provider.

Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Open your mind and heart to the Holy Spirit when you pray and yield your own prayers to the Spirit’s prompting. Let the Spirit guide your prayers, empower you, and connect directly to your spirit as you’re praying.

Practice God’s presence. Develop a continual sense that God is with you at all times throughout each day – even as you go about the most mundane activities, like cleaning your house or commuting to work. Pray while you do various tasks, offering your efforts to God’s glory and thanking Him for His presence with you. Say short prayers that you can say in a single breath to focus on a particular need you may during the day. If you’re too busy to notice God’s work around you every day, cut whatever activities you can out of your schedule and slow down. Think of God as you move from one part of your day to another, and use even brief times between activities (such as while waiting in line to pick up your kids up from school) to pray.

Listen to God. Quiet your mind and heart before God to listen to Him. Ask God to help you be willing, patient, and perceptive, and to learn how to discern His voice speaking to you above your own thoughts or thoughts from other people or the evil side of the spiritual realm. Trust that God will respond and speak to you. Whether you hear an audible voice inside your mind, receive a mental impression, or sense God speaking in some other way, listen carefully.

Pray out loud. Verbalize the prayers you have inside your mind. Lift your voice to God either quietly or loudly, remembering that He loves to hear you speak.

Be specific. Clearly identify what you’re seeking when you pray. Don’t be vague; tell God exactly what you hope to receive. Then place your desire in God’s hands and trust Him to do what’s best. Expect Him to respond with a specific answer.

Pray God’s Word. Find and apply Bible verses to whatever situation about which you’re praying. That way, you’ll be praying not merely by your own desires, but according to God’s promises. You can pray Scripture either by reading it verbatim and affirming what it says, personalize it as if it were written directly to you, or paraphrase what it says in the context of what you’re praying about. Then trust that God will do in your life what He promises in His Word.

Fast. Take your spiritual prayers into the physical realm to show God that you’re serious about being humble and broken before Him as you pray. Offer your body to God as a living expression of your prayers.

Pray at a special place. Establish a particular place to go to regularly for prayer and focus on God whenever you’re there. Try to find a quiet place where you can be alone: a nearby church sanctuary, a corner of your backyard, a room or part of a room in your home, etc. When you travel, designate part of your hotel room as your prayer place. Dedicate your special place as sacred to your time with God.

Pray at a certain time. Schedule a regular time to pray – first thing in the morning (which is ideal, if possible), during lunch, or even before going to bed at night. Establish a minimum length of time to pray daily, as well, to keep other demands from intruding. Guard that time when you plan other activities, and intentionally neglect your to-do list while you’re praying so you can get the full time with God.

Speak body language. Express your prayers in physical ways, from lifting your hands and eyes upward, to bowing down in reverence before God.

Use prayer guides. Compile a custom-made prayer guide to help give structure and consistency to your prayers. While some days you’ll want to pray spontaneously, other days you can use a prayer guide that lists various people and situations to pray about, plus reminds you of how God has answered past prayers.

Minimize distractions. Do your best to focus your attention completely on God when you’re praying. If your mind wanders, ask God to help you focus. Write down thoughts that persistently pop up in your mind, so you can deal with them later. Pray for people whose names come into your mind. If any sinful thoughts (like those based in worry or lust) distract you, confess them as part of your prayer time.

Deal with unanswered prayer. When God hasn’t answered one of your prayers and you’re struggling, consider whether or not something may be blocking His answer. Do you have enough faith to believe He will really answer? Have you confessed sin in your life? Have you forgiven everyone you need to forgive? Do you have inner wounds on your psyche that need to be revealed and broken down before their effects can be overcome? Are you harboring self-pity in your heart? Does your whole lifestyle agree with your prayers? (If you’re praying to be healed of an illness, have you stopped smoking or overeating? If you’re praying for financial provision, are you avoiding debt and giving generously?). Are you asking for a blessing in order to hoard it, or to share it? Has Satan been infiltrating your life? Are there any strongholds of ungodly thoughts or behaviors in your life? Consider, too, that God may still be planning to answer your prayer but is just waiting for the right time. He may also be punishing you for something, trying to teach you something, testing your faith, or letting a natural order of events take place. Ask God to help you understand why He hasn’t answered your prayers. Even when you don’t know why, commit yourself into His hands and trust Him to eventually do what’s best, letting your unanswered prayers lead you see Him more.

Wrestle with God. When you’re facing a difficult situation about which God hasn’t yet answered your prayers, grapple with God over your desire versus God’s will. Have the faith and tenacity to say to God: “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” In the process, God will change your desires so that they line up with His desires for you.

Be both a sprinter and a marathoner.
Running the race of faith sometimes calls for sprinting (being quick to pray when opportunities arise) and sometimes for enduring a marathon (continuing to pray for people and situations when God is taking a long time to answer).

Keep asking God, boldly and persistently. Don’t worry about trying to be polite with God. He actually invites you to bug Him – forcefully and often – for what you need. Rather than assuming that your request must not be God’s will if you pray and don’t see anything happen, keep on knocking loudly on heaven’s door until an answer comes.

Engage in spiritual warfare. While the battle against evil is ultimately God’s to fight, He wants you to participate by exercising your authority against the evil you face. Pray God to protect you and give you the power you need to confront and overcome evil.

Agree in prayer. When you pray with at least one other person and God leads you how to pray together, your prayers will have more power than if you were praying on your own. Agree with God, making your requests in harmony with His will. Agree with the person or people with whom you’re praying, placing your expectations all at the same place when you pray and believing that God will answer.

Serve those for whom you pray. Ask God to show you specific ways in which you can serve the people for whom you pray. Then you all will experience the power of God’s love at work. Also, the more you serve those you pray for, the more you’ll be motivated to pray for those you serve.

Write it down. Write down answers to prayer you receive, mental impressions from the Holy Spirit, prophecies, and anything else that might help you to pray more effectively. Consider using a prayer journal.

Start a prayer group. Gather some friends to pray together regularly or hold prayer vigils for specific issues.

Expand your horizons. You can change and grow into person who prays more effectively if you expose yourself to the whole spectrum of Christianity. Visit churches of other denominations and learn how people there pray. Then try out new prayer styles yourself so you can experience all that God has for you.

Adapted from Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God, copyright 2009 by Peter Lundell. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.Peter Lundell, a former missionary to Japan, is a pastor at Walnut Blessing Church in Walnut, Ca. He has an M Div and D Miss from Fuller Theological Seminary and teaches widely on revival and spiritual warfare. Lundell is the author of two books, and his articles have appeared in numerous magazines.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pray for
-unity among believers.
-unconfessed sin.
-continual emptying of 'self' and filling of the Spirit.
-that the people of Cornerstone would be "All In."
Those in the military.
Salvation of friends and loved ones.
Spiritual growth of our teens.
Rest for the weary.
Strength for our missionaries.
Compassion for hurting.
Physical safety.
Love for God's people.
That we would know and do God's will

Please don't stop praying. Finish strong.
We cannot truly understand that God is all we need until we are in the position that God is all we have.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jeremiah 33:3

Call upon me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank You

I just want to thank all of you who are involved in our 24 on Tuesdays prayer time. Every Tuesday we have 35 prayer warriors praying round the clock for Cornerstone, our leaders and our families. I would love to start praying on Monday evenings, if anyone new members would like to pick an hour on Monday evenings to pray, please let me know.

Again, thank you all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Knock, knock

I've fallen behind in my blogging and hope to do more in the future.

Tonight I am thankful for the faithfulness of God. I pray that I will recognize God's moving in my life and never forget to thank Him for it.

Earlier today I was driving and praying (which is when God and I seem do our best communicating) and my specific prayer involved my wanting Him to open and/or close doors concerning His will in a certain area. I was deeply concerned that I had a VERY clear vision of what He wanted. After a few minutes He led me to remember how different details about this situation had fallen so neatly into place. In my head, He seemed to say, "I have already sent you the invitation and opened the door. Do you need to drive a Mac truck through it to know it's from Me?"

So it is time to stop asking and just follow Him out the door.

I think tonight it would be a good time to be obedient when He leads.