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God wants our communication with Him to be unencumbered by rules and legalism.
Do you realize that even directing a thought toward God qualifies as silent prayer? It's true! Whether you have been praying for years, are just learning to pray, have hit a "slump" in your spiritual life or simply want your prayer life to improve, know this: God wants you to learn to pray more effectively, and He wants your prayer life to become more fulfilling.
Short, simple prayers can be mighty beyond description, but this does not take away from the fact that prayer is also a grand mystery. Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian who wrote many profound books while imprisoned for his faith, wrote: "Prayer is the most wonderful act in the spiritual realm, as well as a most mysterious affair." read more
Short, simple prayers can be mighty beyond description, but this does not take away from the fact that prayer is also a grand mystery. Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian who wrote many profound books while imprisoned for his faith, wrote: "Prayer is the most wonderful act in the spiritual realm, as well as a most mysterious affair."
I believe the greatest mystery of prayer is that it joins the hearts of people on Earth with the heart of God in heaven.
Prayer goes into the spiritual realm. It brings things out of that unseen realm and into the world around us, right where we live. It ushers spiritual blessings into our natural, everyday lives and brings spiritual power to bear on our earthly circumstances.
We human beings are the only creatures in our known universe who can stand in the natural realm and touch the spiritual realm. When we pray, we connect with God, and He affects our daily lives beyond our comprehension.
I believe prayer is one of the greatest powers available in the entire universe. That's a bold statement, given the other kinds of power that are available today, but I am convinced beyond the slightest doubt that it is true.
When we think of atomic power, we think of forces greater than we can imagine. When we think of something as basic as fuel power in a motorcycle on the highway, we think of something extremely noisy, intense and potentially dangerous.
But every kind of power we encounter on Earth means nothing in heaven. Atomic power could wipe out an entire city of people, but it cannot give them eternal life. This power once commanded the attention of every nation, but it never healed a broken heart. Fuel power takes us where we want to go in the world, but it does not help us make any spiritual progress in our lives or move forward in God.
Prayer opens the door for God to work. It is the activity that you and I can engage in on Earth when we need the power of heaven to come into our lives and bring wisdom, direction, encouragement or a miraculous breakthrough. Prayer connects us to the power of God—and that is why it is a greater force than anything else we can ever imagine.
Only the power of prayer can move the hand of God. And only the power of God can change an individual heart, free a person from bondage and torment, overturn disappointments and devastations, break an addiction, or heal a person's emotions. Only God's power can bring peace, instill joy, grant wisdom, impart a sense of value and purpose to a person who doesn't know what to do in life, and work every kind of miracle.
The awesome, tremendous power of God—the greatest in the universe—is released in our lives through simple, faith-filled prayer. And because we can pray, we have extraordinary power. We can overcome problems we thought we could never overcome; we can do things people did not believe we could do; we can make brilliant decisions. We can walk in victory through all the challenges in our lives.
I have learned that God has not made prayer complicated. Sometimes our religious mind-sets and "systems" present prayer in such a way that it seems out of reach for many of us. But God wants our communication with Him to be unencumbered by rules, regulations, legalism and obligation. He intends for prayer to be an integral part of our everyday lives.
If you want power in your life—power over anything—I encourage you to simply pray!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind and her first novel, The Penny (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. read more
Using a map of the world as an aid to prayer helped me discover several keys for influencing both those residing in my "Jerusalem" as well as those living at "the ends of the earth" (see Acts 1:8).
1. The Motivation Key: biblical purpose. Having a map in my hand motivated me to move beyond mere "bless me" prayers to touch multitudes that have never heard the good news of Jesus. More specifically, it added a biblical purpose to my praying. Purpose is defined as "something set up as an object or end to be attained" or "what one seeks to achieve."
When I first began praying for the nations I was driven by God's promise to His Son, "Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the ends of the earth as your possession" (Ps. 2:8, NLT).
I almost stopped using this promise as a basis for my praying after a Bible professor, who heard me quote it in a seminar as a foundation for praying for the nations, suggested the verse was given exclusively by God to His Son. It wasn't for us, he said.
Thankfully, I read the rest of my Bible before tossing the promise aside and discovered in Romans 8:16-17 that any promise God gave His Son is ours as well. That's because we are co-heirs with Christ of all the Father has given Him.
Paul wrote: "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16-17, NIV). The New Living Translation reads, "Everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too."
That settled it! I could ask God for both my neighbors and the nations. This has provided me with a biblical purpose and a powerful motivation. And holding before me a map of both my nearby neighborhood and the distant nations brings this purpose alive every day.
2. The Ministry Key: biblical passion. The second key helped release in me a biblical passion. For many people, prayer provides a specialized ministry when other popular callings may seem out of reach.
Most followers of Jesus won't become apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers (see Eph. 4:11). The majority won't serve as bishops, deacons, or elders, or even sing in a church choir. But all can embrace a twofold ministry that truly has eternal implications.
First, every follower of Jesus can minister to the Lord. This concerns our personal worship. It focuses on a passion for the Lord. There is no higher calling than ministry to the Lord.
Second, every follower of Jesus can minister to the lost. This concerns our personal witness. It focuses on a passion for the lost. It involves not only praying for those who don't know Jesus but also developing a plan to share our faith in Christ with them. This includes supporting missionary endeavors in distant nations with our resources.
Notice how the psalmist links these two themes in a single psalm: "Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; bless His name. Each day proclaim the good news that He saves. Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does. Tell all the nations that the Lord is king" (Ps. 96:1-3; 10, NLT).
Holding a map of the nations (and our neighbors) before us in prayer and saturating that map with worship and intercession brings Psalm 96 alive in our praying.
3. The Mandate Key: biblical pattern. All true followers of Jesus have been given a mandate to help fulfill the Great Commission. Praying over a map of the world (that includes a map of our neighborhoods) brings new life to this mandate. It also provides us with a biblical pattern to help carry it out.
A mandate is defined as "a resounding directive" or "a clear and focused objective given by a person or persons in authority." Another definition reads, "To put into one's hands; to command or entrust."
We discover our mandate from Christ in such commands as, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20, NIV).
Luke provides a description of the biblical pattern for fulfilling this mandate when he tells in his gospel how the early church responded to Christ's command: "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 5:42).
4. The Mission Key: biblical plan. The final key introduces to each believer a biblical plan that enables us to truly affect both our neighbors and the nations for eternity. This model for missions is increasingly being described as the "prayer, care, share" plan.
Based largely on such Scriptures as Luke 10:5-9, it has been embraced by Mission America, a coalition of 80 denominations and 400 parachurch ministries, as its primary objective for influencing our communities as well as nations.
Prayer focus. When Jesus commissioned the 70 to go forth with the gospel, He admonished them, "'When you enter a house, first say, "Peace to this house"'" (Luke 10:5). Prayer for our neighbors (and nations) is the primary blessing we can give them. Prayer additionally prepares the way for the rest of the plan to be effective.
Care focus. Next in the Luke 10 model, we read Jesus' commands to "'Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you,'" and "'Heal the sick that are there'" (vv. 7,9). His words speak of a willingness to fellowship with those around us as well as to look for ways to meet their needs (such as through healing the sick). These qualities embody the care focus.
Share focus. Finally, Jesus said, "'Tell them, "The kingdom of God is near you"'" (v. 9). God's kingdom, of course, is revealed only through Jesus Christ. Thus, to witness to a lost person about Christ is to point that person in the direction of God's kingdom. To lead him to Christ is to bring him into the kingdom. What began with prayer and was nurtured in care now opens the door to share who Christ is and how He can transform that person's life.
We have an urgency to vastly increase an army of those who are focusing prayer on all the nations of the world, especially in light of intensifying global tensions. Therefore, we encourage believers to pray daily for their neighbors and the nations.
Dick Eastman is international president of Every Home for Christ, a global home-to-home evangelism ministry that has planted more than 2.6 billion gospel messages in 198 nations. His books about prayer and evangelism have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. read more
When we intercede in prayer, we plead our case before the eternal judge of the universe. Every case we present to God calls for genuine preparation. Without proper preparation a lawyer would make a fool of himself before the judge, his client, his adversary and the gallery of people.
Before we prepare a case, we must first prepare ourselves. We do this by experiencing salvation, coming to know God and recognizing our position in Christ. read more
You may struggle with feelings of inadequacy regarding your fathering abilities, but you have a God-given role to protect and provide for your family. And you have great impact on developing character in your sons.
Fathering is at the heart of masculinity, of what it means to be a man. Godly fathers put others' needs before their own. If you're like me, you spend the majority of your conscious thought and effort on satisfying your own wants and needs. It's almost an unconscious response to life. But if we are to be authentic men and fathers, we need to rethink that attitude and consciously make sacrifices so others can benefit and prosper.
When fathers neglect this duty or are absent from the home, predators attack families. Young men, such as gang members, who are raised without the influence of older men often become marauding wolves themselves–predators preying on women and children for their own self-gratification. read more
Live in a sex-charged culture, without getting zapped!
Jim is in my office one Saturday morning crying over the lust, guilt and terrible sexual choices that are destroying his life. I don't know whether to empathize with his pain or kick his butt for going to sleep on his watch!
I remind him that the battle for sexual integrity demands constant vigilance. It's a wrestling match with Satan, and any time you let your guard down, you get body-slammed. read more
"Integrity" is a word that is widely used—and widely misunderstood. If you were to ask the average person for a definition of integrity you'd probably hear a lot of hemming and hawing. The origin of the word makes its meaning very clear. "Integrity" comes from the Latin adjective integer, which means "whole" or "complete." In mathematics, an integer is a positive or negative whole number or zero—a number without any fractional part.
A person of integrity is honest and upright. His soul is not divided or compartmentalized. read more
Question: Doug, I'm married and know that 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says, "Treat … older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity" (NIV). But I struggle with impure thoughts when I'm around women. What is the best way to keep my mind sexually pure?
Answer: I recommend a few strategies. One, wear a rubber band on your wrist and every time you lust at a woman, snap it. This will stop reinforcing this behavior. Two, memorize some Scriptures on purity so you can access them when in need. Three, do what 1 Timothy 5:1-2 suggests—view all women in the context of a relationship. read more
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