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pray

If My People Will Pray

Friends

We live in unusual times.  In America, our economy is currently doing great, but nothing else is.  America is reeling again.  Families have been ripped apart and individual lives have been torn apart.  One day we are reeling from devastating hurricanes, the next day we are torn apart by racial divisions, the next day we are ripped apart by another shooting.  The pain is palpable, the shock tangible.  Can America still be healed?

It’s a time of economic prosperity but moral poverty.  America needs a national healing: in our government, in our schools, in our businesses, in our neighborhoods, in our families, in our homes, in our bodies, and in our hearts and minds.  But how do we do it?  How do we pray for healing and restoration?  

God is calling out to us, "America, you need Me!"  There is no political solution.  There is no social band-aid that can be applied.  There is no law that can be passed that will heal our sickly land.

Instead, we need to get on our faces before the Lord acknowledging our own sins and shortcomings, not pointing the finger at others but rather at ourselves.  And whatever our views on climate control and gun control and immigration reform and President Trump and social justice may be, we need to implore the only one who can heal our land.  What else is needed to get our attention? 

Like it or not, our nation was founded on biblical principles, with God at the center of our nation, and America can only be great if America is good.  Without Him, our condition is terminal.  With Him, there is hope—but we must act now.

In 1952 President Harry Truman signed a bill into law, making the National Day of Prayer for America an annual event on the first Thursday of May, encouraging millions across our nation to unite together to pray.  We have come a long way since that day.

And now, more than ever, maybe America needs more than a National Day of Prayer, however great and needed that is.  Maybe America needs days of prayer, hearts that are continually shaped and changed by prayer, lives that are loving and bold because of prayer, a nation that comes back to our God with a spirit of prayer, that is continually asking for His grace and healing.

Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin or how to pray.  We just know we have a deep ache in our hearts that cries out for God's mercy, and a longing to see Him heal our land.  And maybe other times we wonder how effective our prayers even are.  

Yet God is faithful, no matter how we feel, and over all that swirls around us in our nation today.

That same power that broke prison chains, raised Lazarus from the dead, and parted the Red Sea, the same power that healed the blind man, and delivered the delirious from demons, that same power is at work still today.  He is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever.

May we stand together and pray for God to heal our land and strengthen His people. May we pray for all those in authority.  May we pray for God’s miraculous intervening, for blind eyes to be opened, for many to see the power of our Lord as never before.

And for times when it’s difficult to know even what to pray, we can trust these words as a place to begin, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”   Romans 8:26 NLT

We are never left to fend for ourselves, wrestling in worry, consumed with fear, or driven towards hate.  He reminds us He is with us, He will help us, that He has not lost control, but has a plan.  And His purposes will prevail.

He hears our prayers, He knows our needs.  There's great power in uniting together, turning our hearts towards God, and praying on behalf of America, our nation. 

Remembering today this powerful truth upon which this nation was founded.  We are "One Nation Under God."  He is where our real hope is found, not in our leaders, not in our economy, not in the condition of our nation today, or any other day.  "...my hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5 NRSV

What is our part?  What can one person do?  In, Luke 5 there is a great story of a group of guys who took a friend who was paralyzed and in need of healing to the feet of Jesus.  In this account, we find three characteristics that this guy’s uses to help their friend get to Jesus.

•Compassion:

  This man was healed because his friends cared.  It all starts with us caring about people who are hurting.  Romans 15:2 NLT says, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord”.  God used these guys because they were sensitive to a friend’s need.  Believe it or not He will use us when we are not preoccupied with our own needs and start caring more about others than we do ourselves.

•Faith:

The men believed God would heal their friend.  Take a look at Luke 5:20 NIV “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”  It was not the paralytic’s faith that made him well; it was the faith of his friends.  How many people do you know who are so paralyzed they cannot believe in God?  That’s when we have to believe for them.

•Intervention:

These friends did not just pray for their friend; they took action as well.  It’s not enough just to pray for someone who is hurting.  We must act!  Jesus says in Luke 14:23 NLT “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.”  There is a slew of examples in the Bible of people taking others to Jesus.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

Come Sunday and be a part of Healing for a hurting World!

 

 

Start On Your Knees

Friends

Do you ever wonder if prayer really works?  You are praying about something and Satan whispers to you, "This is a waste of time.  Forget it!  Who do you think you are?  What do you think you are doing?  God is not listening.  Don't waste your time."

Ephesians 3:20 Living Bible says, "God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes."

Prayer can do whatever God can do.  His resources are available to you.  Twenty times in the New Testament it says, "Ask."  It's encouraging to know that things that are out of my control are not out of God's.  I may not be able to change a situation, but I can pray, and God can change it.

This coming Sunday we are going to look at several problems that you and I have as followers of Christ have when we talk about prayer.  When you read the bible it says, “pray all the time.”  Paul writes in Ephesians 6:18 NCV says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.  To do this you must always be ready and never give up.  And always pray for all God's people.”    How can I pray all the time, I have a job, family, and the list goes on?

When we read the Bible, it’s clear that the apostle Paul prayed all the time, but can we possibly pray continuously?  Ephesians 6 above explains that we should pray always and anywhere, with all kinds of prayers whenever a thought comes to mind.  We should ask for everything we need, and always be ready by having a plan for our prayers, never stopping or giving up, but praying for everyone.  We should develop the habits of keeping a running conversation with God instead of talking to ourselves, and schedule times for specific kinds of prayer throughout our day.

I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now.  If I can pray and ask God for anything or to change things and if God is really in control of everything, why don't I get everything I pray for?  Good question.  Here are three things to remember:

God is not a genie in a bottle.  You don't put in a prayer, rub the side and get whatever you want. If every prayer were answered, we would be spoiled brats.  Do you give your children everything they ask for?  I hope not.  You know what's best for them.  You can see the bigger picture.  If you can see the bigger picture for your kids, how much bigger is the picture God can see?

Sometimes Christians pray in conflict.  Just go back to last Sunday night, you get two Christians praying at the Super Bowl for different teams.  Whose is God going to answer?  Obviously, somebody has got to lose.  God develops our character through these situations, thank God, He knows what is best for us.

God knows what's best and you don't.  If you think you do, that is very presumptuous.  First John 5:14 GNT tells us, "We are sure that He (God) hears us if we ask Him for anything that's according to His will."  Look at the phrase "according to His will."  The attitude of your prayer needs to be: "Lord, this is my prayer request, but Thy will be done."  That's what Jesus prayed, "Lord if it's possible, let this cup pass from me.  Nevertheless, let Thy will..." (Luke 22:42 GNT).

But you don’t have to stop with a morning prayer!  You can continue to pray all day long.  You can pray with your eyes open!  You can pray on your bus ride to school, or when you are in the car.  You can pray in the middle of a conversation with your friend, when you don’t have the right words to tell your friend.  You can pray when someone treats you unfairly and you need God to help you hold your tongue.  You can praise God when a beautiful sunset catches you by surprise.  You can pray in your bed at night - but don’t let this be your only prayer time, since it is SO easy to fall asleep and miss your time with your heavenly Dad

This leads to another problem we face, developing a strategy to pray all during the day.  The best model is found in Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV, In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.   And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.   And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

There may be no more familiar prayer in the entire world than the Lord's Prayer.  It does not seem to matter where you go in the world; if you were to invite people to repeat those words with you most people could say them.  We may not know many other portions of scripture, and we may not know any other prayer or passage well enough to say from memory, but most of us could work our way through the Lord's Prayer.  There might be some division over one part of that prayer, and that would involve whether to say forgive us our trespasses or forgive us our debts or perhaps forgive us our sins.

The Lord’s Prayer covers every need of our lives.  The Lord's Prayer is not just a ritual that people pray.  It is a pattern for living.  It is a model for how to manage your day.  If you do this, you will have more energy.  You will have more peace.  You will be closer to God.  You will have more power in your life.  You will have more confidence.  If you will do it, Jesus says, “This is the way you ought to pray.”  Pray throughout your day.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

Come Sunday and help us to become better at Praying!

How To Look At Prayer

Friends

There is no greater privilege for anyone than being able to personally talk with and speak into the ears of Almighty God.  I love the stickers that are around our church that say “Pray, You Never Stand Taller Than When You Are on Your Knees.” 

No church program, religious event, political effort, or humanitarian cause can trump the awesome power of what God can do in response to the prayers of His people.  I love the verse found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  If ever we needed this verse it is now!  It is for our community, our state, our nation, and the whole world.

I can teach you about prayer, and that is what we are looking at during this series; but the most important thing I can teach you about prayer is your fulfillment in prayer and your fruitfulness in prayer will not be dependent upon how much you know about prayer, but how much you know about God.  The more you understand God, the better your prayers are going to be, the more effective they will be, the more fulfilled they will be, the more satisfying your prayer life will be.

It's not about learning all about prayer.  That's important, but more important than that is understanding God, and it starts with the fact that God is a multidimensional God.

Multidimensional God means that He is not just one dimension and when you start looking you can see this in many different things.  Romans 1:20 NIV, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Just think, God created you.  God uses His Word, people, and circumstances to mold us.  All three are indispensable for character development.  God’s Word provides the truth we need to grow, God’s people provide the support we need to grow, and circumstances provide the environment to practice Christlikeness.

How’s your prayer life?  It’s a simple question, but it can be tough to answer.  Literally it sounds like, “How has your talking to God been lately?”  Emotionally it might feel like, “Sum up your relationship with God at this point in your life.”  Bible reading, by comparison, is clearer and more “objective.”  How many pages?  How far along in your plan?  Which books have you been reading?  What have you learned?  Prayer does not fit into an Excel spreadsheet quite as easily.

God means for your life — married or unmarried, student or employee, young or old — to run on the power of prayer.  Prayer fuels the engine of your heart and mind. It’s not Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, or Instagram; it’s prayer.  You need God in and through prayer more than you need anything else.  We will not do anything of any real and lasting value without God, which means we will not do anything of any real and lasting value without prayer.

And yet you probably feel as insecure about your prayer life as you feel about anything. Prayer might be, at the same time, the most pivotal and most puzzling activity in the Christian life.  It is the lifeline and life-mystery for believers.  We know we need to pray, but we know we don’t pray enough.  And we are not always sure we are even doing it right when we do pray.  Should I even be asking God for this?  Should I still be asking God for this?  Do I even know what I need?

There are times in life when you will be motivated to pray.  It may be because of a crisis, a hope, or a fear that feels all-consuming.  But prayer should also be a part of your daily schedule.  And not just before meals or when going to bed.  I am talking about a time set aside solely to focus on the Lord and your relationship with Him.

When looking at the Bible is there a verse that tells us to pray?  1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT, “Never stop praying.”  You and I are encouraged to pray all the time.  The result of this means we should never be far from the attitude or action of talking and listening to God.  Prayer should be a natural part of our thinking.  Not just in our worship but in our work.  Not just in quiet moments but also in our chaos.  We pray because He’s there.  We pray because He’s God.  We pray because He cares.  We pray because He is a good God. 

Okay so what if you don’t pray all day long, is that wrong or a sin?  I don’t think any one prays all day long.  That would be impossible.  But if we were to say that kids play constantly or that teenagers text their friends constantly, we would not mean they never do anything else except playing or texting nonstop. 

We would just mean that throughout the day, kids are often trying to integrate play into what they are doing.  Many of our youth communicate hourly with their friends on social media.  Likewise, God desires that prayer become an ongoing opportunity we take full advantage of – quietly praising, thanking, and leaning on Him at any moment and context in our minds and hearts.

The way we should look at prayer is a crucial part of the life of a believer.  It is a priority and a passion. 

So, determine today that prayer will be the priority God wants it to be in your life.  Choose to start each day in prayer.  To end each day with prayer.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

See you Sunday, don’t stay at home, come learn to pray with us.