Without question Israel, and its capital city, Jerusalem, are of paramount
importance in the plans and purposes of God. And we know God uses believers to
work with Him in prayer for the carrying out of His plans, His mysteries, on the
earth (see 1 Cor. 14:2).
That's why He commands us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6,
NKJV). But this does not mean we are to pray simply for the absence of war. It
also means we are to pray for Jerusalem to fulfill its prophetic destiny.
Understanding the word "peace" is a key to understanding this command. The
Hebrew word for peace is shalom. The root word for shalom is shalem, which means
"whole." Shalom therefore means the peace that comes from being whole. God's
will for Jerusalem is that it be whole—undivided. But about 12 years ago the
Israeli government was leaning toward dividing the land and eventually,
Jerusalem. So we took a group to Israel to pray about the upcoming elections.
The night before Jesus was crucified, He gathered the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and made just one request: "All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41, The Amplified Bible). It seemed like such a simple thing--all the disciples had to do was stay awake and pray.
Jesus told the disciples to pray with Him because He wanted to prepare them for the trial that was coming. But they kept falling asleep.
Jesus, on the other hand, did pray, and as He did, an angel strengthened Him in spirit, enabling Him to endure the cross. The disciples didn't pray--they slept--and proved that the flesh truly is weak.
This is why prayer is so important. As Christians, many of us have the idea that everything in our lives will be perfect simply because we are Christians. But Jesus clearly warned us, "In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you]" (John 16:33).
That's not to say we should be negative. But we need to be realistic and understand that very few things in life are perfect. Jesus said we would have to deal with temptation, tribulation, trials, distress and frustration. These things are part of life on this earth--for the believer as well as the unbeliever.
When temptation comes, our spirit is willing to do what is right, but our flesh will not help us. Our flesh will pull us under if we don't pray and ask God to strengthen us in spirit and to circumcise our hearts to resist temptation.
Crucifying the flesh is never a particularly enjoyable experience, but as followers of Christ, we are called to suffer as He suffered. First Peter 4:1 tells us, "So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God]."
It is important to understand the difference between suffering in the flesh and suffering demonic affliction. Giving up the selfish appetites of our flesh does not mean we are to suffer from sickness, disease and poverty. Jesus died to deliver us from the curse of sin. But unless we are willing to suffer in the flesh, we will never walk in the will of God.
The apostle Paul wrote, "But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]" (1 Cor. 9:27).
Paul is speaking here about self-discipline. Self-discipline is keeping ourselves going in the right direction without being pressured by someone else.
The problem is that somehow we have gotten the wrong idea that everything in life is supposed to be easy. We need to be people who are self-motivated and self-disciplined. We must do what is right because it is right, not because someone is forcing us to comply.
When we get up in the morning, we should set our thoughts on walking in God's will all day long. We might even say to ourselves, "Even if I need to suffer in order to do God's will today, I purpose in my mind and heart to be obedient."
Remember--even in the face of our suffering, there is hope, for Christ has overcome the world! Paul wrote, "Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer" (Rom. 12:12). Decide ahead of time that you will face each day with the determination to please God, whether your flesh is willing or not.
Joyce Meyer is an internationally recognized minister and author of more than 60 books. read more
When Jesus died on the cross, He opened the way for us to get personal with almighty God.
Ask any believer if spending regular quality time with God is a challenge, and he or she will almost always say yes. We manage to make time for lots of other things—entertainment, work, school and church events—but we find it difficult to spend daily time in fellowship with God by praying, worshiping and reading His Word.
I too experienced this difficulty until God taught me a valuable lesson on crisis management. I used to spend time with God once in a while or when my life was in big trouble. Then the Lord told me to seek Him continuously, or diligently. Eventually I learned that if I ever wanted to stop living from one emergency to the next, I needed to seek God every day as if I were in desperate need of Him—even during times of tremendous prosperity and blessing. read more
God is going to fill the church with enjoyable prayer that is refreshing and invigorating.
I probably know more about boring, unanointed prayer than any other person on Earth—or I ought to. I've engaged in enough of it during my lifetime! Though I have felt called for more than 20 years to be a person of prayer, it was not until recently that I learned the true secret to a successful prayer life.
I started searching for the secret in my college days, but it eluded me. I read books on prayer and the deeper life in God, but when it got down to actually praying, I was an absolute failure. read more
God wants us to be living sacrifices, full of zeal to serve Him every day.
My husband always seems happy. Within five minutes of waking, Dave is humming, singing or listening to music as he gets ready for the day. He is definitely a "morning person."
But years ago, I didn't want any music on in the morning. I didn't want singing or humming or noise of any kind. I wanted silence so I could think. The morning was definitely not my favorite time of day.
Back then I didn't realize how important the morning is--especially those first moments after we awaken. God is eager for us to wake up and talk to Him.
The psalmist David talked a lot about mornings, saying, "This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps. 118:24, paraphrased). David didn't always feel like rejoicing, but he decided to rejoice in God's new day.
It is never good to give in to grumpiness. An irritable attitude can keep us from enjoying God's presence. Psalm 100:4 says that we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Without thanksgiving, we can't even get through the gate!
If we want to enter God's presence, we must lay aside all murmuring and complaining. We must offer ourselves to Him every day with joyful hearts and mouths full of praise, even if we don't feel like it!
Satan tries everything he can to capture our thoughts early in the morning. He wants to get us thinking about all the wrong things as soon as we wake up.
His intent is to steal our peace and joy by upsetting us as soon as our alarms go off. That is why it is important to learn how to defeat the devil early each day. Every morning is a new opportunity to start your day right.
The Bible says, "Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name" (Heb. 13:15, The Amplified Bible).
God is greatly pleased with our sacrifices of praise, and our prayers rise before Him as a sweet-smelling fragrance. Nothing makes Him happier than when we bring ourselves to Him each morning and say: "God, here I am. I want to be a living sacrifice to You."
Even in the Old Testament, God's people brought freewill offerings to Him (see Ex. 35:29). They all had various sacrifices such as animals, grains and cereals. The Bible tells us that Moses rose early in the morning, built an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. Then he prayed and read the Book of the Covenant (see Ex. 24:1-7).
Thankfully, God no longer asks us to build an altar out of rocks, slaughter a bull, drain its blood and build a fire in order to honor Him with a burnt sacrifice. But He does want us to offer our lives each day in dedicated service and praise to Him.
There are countless opportunities to praise God throughout the day. If thankfulness for your many blessings suddenly rises in your heart, stop right then and tell the Lord how grateful you are for all He has given you. Say: "I worship You, Lord, for You are worthy to be praised. I need You, and I just want to tell You that I love You. Thank You, Father, for everything."
Today I still need a little more quiet than Dave does in the morning. But we both have found the way to start our day out right.
Each morning we set our hearts and minds to follow God and choose to practice 1 Chronicles 16:10-12: "Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually! [Earnestly] remember the marvelous deeds which He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He uttered."
God doesn't want a dead sacrifice anymore. He wants us to be living sacrifices, full of zeal to seek His face and serve Him every day. All we have to do is wake up and say: "Thank You, Lord. I give You a sacrifice of praise. I give You myself, a living sacrifice, ready to live for You today." read more
Prayer leader Mary Glazier founded windwalkers International Ministries to teach other to soar upon the wind of the Spirit of God.
Mary Glazier knows firsthand that the Spirit of God is moving all over the world. Mary, an Alaska native, is founder and president of Windwalkers International, a prayer network of more than 4,200 intercessors and prayer groups in 44 states, four Canadian provinces and five nations.
Her ministry, originally given the name Intercessors of Alaska, began in 1990. Aglow International called upon Mary to "seek a battle strategy for the state" in response to the desperate need for a spiritual awakening. Suicide, alcoholism, rape, child abuse and family disintegration were rampant statewide. read more