As in previous election years, a solemn assembly—this time in Philadelphia on Sept. 28-29—could be a turning point for a nation in critical condition. read more
All Stories in Men
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God does not always respond to prayers, even those initiated out of great need.
Consider the times God has seemed not to answer your prayers when you asked for what you consider to be good things. Why didn't He come through? God doesn't answer our finest prayers if what we've asked for: would enable us to stay rooted in wrong understanding would allow us to hold onto something we need to release would enable us to follow a path away from His will.
God does not always respond to prayers, even those initiated out of great need, when the human soul is seeking a wrong answer. He does always respond, however, to obedience and surrender in the soul of a believer who has humbled himself and turned from his own personal agendas and wicked ways.
I believe God has said, "If you want to get everything you pray for, pray right prayers." Right prayers issue forth from a heart that desires to see His truth manifested and His will being done--and makes itself available to help carry out His will.
God doesn't need Christians who will take on the devil. He needs Christians who will humble themselves and trust in Him. He can take care of the power stuff Himself! read more
An evangelist told me about a trip he made to India a few years ago. Shortly after J. John arrived, he heard about a saintly woman called Sister Theresa (not Mother Teresa) who had a powerful gift of the word of knowledge. J. John was able to meet her, and he said to her, "If you have a word for me, I would be so grateful."
He said she turned around and left. He feared he had offended her. But she came back to him an hour or so later with a list of 13 items (some of which almost bowled him over they were so accurate), ending with these words, which he will never forget: "God likes your company and asks that you give Him two hours of your time every day. That's all. Goodbye." Wow! read more
What I call positive prayer affects us on a daily basis.
But what does "positive" really mean? Is it just "positive thinking"--the habit of putting the best face on all circumstances? Or is it, for a Christian, something much more?
I'm convinced it is. Some Christians you meet just radiate joy and hope, often in the face of circumstances or difficulties that many of us would find daunting. Are they overlooking their problems, deluding themselves about life's sometimes ugly realities?
No, they are not. I think what all of these Christians have found is something far more dynamic than merely thinking positively, fine though that is. It is what I would call "the power of positive prayer." The Christians you just love to be around when the flight is cancelled or the barbecue rained out are the people whose lives are soaked in the presence of God's promises and goodness. They are neither naive nor self-delusive about life.
They simply have decided to spend more time focusing their minds on God's promises than on life's problems. And it is that determination that turns their whole lives into ones of positive prayer--a prayer based not on feeling, but on a decision of the mind.
In the past I wrote about the impact upon my own life of the "praise" books by Merlin Carothers. A decorated former U.S. Army chaplain, Carothers showed how the shock of serious setbacks can be deflected immediately--and sometimes the setbacks actually reversed--by choosing to praise God amid them. Praise unleashes God's power on our behalf.
But what I call positive prayer affects us on a daily basis even more deeply than this. Over a period of time it reshapes our entire thinking, and we find ourselves praying the way God almost certainly would want us to pray if we had the faith that He was truly going to act in our circumstances.
Does this mean that we should expect God to answer every prayer we make, instantly? Of course not. It does mean we don't simply believe in the reality of God's love for us and His ability to alter the entire universe, but we come to know the reality of that power as if God had actually allowed us to be the residence, in a way, of the kingdom of God itself.
Of course, that's exactly what Jesus Himself said: "'The kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:21, NIV). We don't "know" this in the same way that we know that it's raining outside (because we see it), but because we have come to experience this love over and over again.
Few people have written about this principle more excitingly than the Australian clergyman Canon Jim Glennon, from Sydney. In his book How Can I Find Healing? Guidelines for Sick and Worried People (Bridge-Logos), Glennon tells the story of his own recovery from a paralyzing fear that would at times almost incapacitate him.
The fear forced him to see what God's promises were in the Bible. He found, for example, 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV), and he began to repeat this verse to himself hundreds of times a day until the reality of God's Word--of God's love and power toward Jim Glennon--took root in his mind and pushed out the fear altogether.
Of course, God allows difficulties to come our way, and Glennon wryly refers to them as part of "a theology of permitted difficulties." But he also shows us that if we take care always to be right with God, especially by repenting of any bitterness or unforgiveness, we can draw in a daily and growing way on God's great power and experience the joy and peace He wants us to have.
God knows that we cannot have a problem-free life, but He has given us provision to be victorious and joyful in the midst of it. The wonderful starting point is the power of positive prayer.
* David Aikman is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. A former foreign correspondent with Time magazine, he is the founder of a global fellowship of Christians in journalism. Based in Burke, Virginia, with his wife, Nonie. read more
If the prayer of one righteous man avails much, just think about what the prayers of two or more righteous people will accomplish.
It has been my privilege over my fifty-plus years as a Christian to always have a prayer partner. There are so many advantages in having a prayer partner. This passage in Matthew gives two very important reasons for us to pray with others. Jesus tells us, "Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:19-20, KJV). read more
I can think of nothing worse in the world than for something that God is in to be happening and I not recognize it.
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." -Genesis 28:16
The most wonderful thing that can happen to anybody is for God to turn up. The problem is that we don't always recognize Him at the time, and we only see later that it was God. read more
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