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Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

"Prayer changes things, prayer changes things; if you believe, you shall receive, prayer changes things. . . " - Lyrics of "Prayer Changes Things" popularized by voices like Mahalia Jackson and the Georgia Mass Choir.

Prayer Changes Things

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I have heard it said throughout the years. I’ve heard it during testimony periods upon testimony periods in church. I have heard the choir sing it with conviction from the choir loft time and time again. Plenty of other bloggers and other online content creators have shared it in one way or another in the blogosphere, noting how much prayer can impact things powerfully. Some even question if this idea of prayer changing things is even so. It’s nothing new to me in my spiritual journey.

But as I prepare for the 30-Day Prayer Challenge coming up this September, I can’t help but reflect on the notion that prayer changes things.

“Change requires action.”

John C. Maxwell

Beyond simply expecting something to happen because you have prayed over it or on it, laying it out before the Lord, I wonder what comes along with that for you. For me, it usually paves the way for a changed outlook on my part. I am a firm believer that even if prayer doesn’t change the outcome, it will most definitely change the outlook of the one praying if it is sincere and genuine supplication and petition to God Almighty. That’s what I expect out of prayer at the bare minimum: a new way of looking at the situation that sent me to my knees in the first place.

Ask yourself: What actions do I need to add to my prayer life?

Do you need to pray more for others than yourself?

Do you need to begin to get comfortable praying with others?

Do you need to find a way to listen to God more than you speak?

Join the 30-Day Prayer Challenge

If any of these are part of what you desire to do within your prayer life, I invite you and implore you to join us this September in the 30-Day Prayer Challenge. Simply add your email via the sign-up form and receive the FREE September 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar. In addition, you will receive weekly emails encouraging and equipping you for a stronger prayer life.

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Active Faith Sports

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ – Luke 18:11-12 (ESV)

Prayer provides us with the possibility of purging ourselves.  We can simply empty our spiritual cup and pour out our deepest worries and fears.  We can hang on with the hope that God provides us through prayer.

Prayer is about making the powerless more powerful.  Prayer is about trust.  Prayer is about telling on ourselves and spilling it all to God, hoping that He will hear us and help us.  Prayerful people are powerful people.

But there is a problem when one’s prayer life becomes powerless.

Stacy Adams

Prayer becomes powerless based upon a few factors such as:

  • Attitude: I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get (v. 12)
    • Boasting is considered prideful.  Don’t get beside yourself and lose sight of your true focus during prayer.
    • You do not have to say a lot about you since the Lord knows your innermost intentions and desires, especially your sins and trespasses.
    • Act like you know that God knows you intimately and wants your submission.
  • Approach: God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector (v.11)
    • You can become powerless by placing the focus on the wrong thing.
    • Your focus needs to be on the Savior, not yourself
    • Approach Him and His throne of grace with humble submission
    • Approach the Lord with your own issues, not comparisons to others
  • Actions: For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (v. 14)
    • Your actions within prayer lead to how God handles your situation and supplication.
    • Do you truly believe that God heard this man’s prayer as humble and honorable?
    • Allow your actions to show your readiness to receive from God, whether it be rebuke or reward.

Prayer has the power to help us hold on for a little longer and endure our current circumstances.  It has the ability to power us and keep us going throughout the day to day.  Prayer can help us continue to have an everlasting hope of the eternal.

We will continue to look at the power of prayer over the next few weeks.  Look at some Prayer pointers offered through our other posts.

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“Never stop praying.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
Prayer is endless work.  There are all sorts of ways to look at prayer as a Christian.  One serious reality is that prayer is to be continual.  It is to be ongoing more than occasional.  Christians are to pray always and in all ways.
Pray Always
We have to stay at prayer all of the time no matter what.  We need to stay prayed up day after day, moment by moment.  We cannot simply start and stop regarding prayer.  We are to pray always.
Pray All Ways
I used to hear people start prayer with words and phrases like: “Bow your heads and close your eyes…” or “Let us pray.” Prayer does not require any type of formality or format.   There is no definitive prayer position.  You can stand or kneel, bow or lift up your head.  You can repeat your favorite verse, speak from your heart or simply commune in silence with the Lord.  Prayer is free flowing.

 

All you need to really know and do is pray continually, understanding that prayer is endless work.

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The Promise of Prayer

 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. – 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Prayer is a promising exercise.  Aside from its ability to help believers release tension and pressure as well as express themselves openly to God directly, prayer comes with a simple promise.

Prayer may not change the outcome.

The promise of prayer is that it can change our own outlook.

Prayer can change our outlook on matters both big and small.  It can actually alter our own perspective on our position within the midst of misery or the precipice of a problem.

“Prayers never die.” – E.M. Bounds

Once we pray, the promise still holds true.  The promise is all about change.

You may not God’s mind or His intention like the prayer of Hezekiah when called out to get his house in order through the prophet Isaiah.  Yet, prayer offers us power to change our walk along this journey of life.  You can make changes in your life due to your prayer life.

Here is how to tap into the ever-changing power and promise of prayer:

  • Put prayer into effect.
  • Take advantage of what God can offers you through prayer.
  • Always stay connected to God through an active and responsive prayer life.

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A Simple Prayer

Lord,
All I ask is for the strength to hold on and make it through to the next phase of what you have for me in this life.  I do not want to find myself living a life of regret.  I do not want to see myself in a downward spiral, simply existing instead of exceeding Your expectations of me or Your desires for me in this life.
I ask this, seeking no honor for myself.  You take the credit and You get the glory for what You make of me.  Just strengthen me thoroughly to endure all that I must undertake and undergo to get where You have for me to go.

I ask this is Your name, a name that has power and might, the name of my blessed Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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Morning by morning new mercies I see. . .– “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Every single day is a blessing.  Yes, I know that it can be considered a given, but today I have good reason to say so.  After tossing and turning all night with a head cold, I could hardly sleep.  I awoke in a stuper this morning and in no condition to even try to go to church, possibly infecting everyone near me.  I awoke and celebrated the goodness of God.

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

I celebrate the fact that God is in charge.  He can slow us down when we will run ourselves down to the bone and keep on until there’s nothing to wear out left.  God has stopping power.  He can stop the planets in the middle of their orbit.  He can command the birds of the air to feed a runaway prophet and the fish of the sea to leap into the nets of a small boat for Simon Peter.  God has power.

He gives us new mercies daily.  He doesn’t try to pass off yesterday’s mercies as just as good or in working condition.  He gives us the best that He has to offer.

Lord,
I just say thank you for not leaving me in yesterday’s condition and
allowing me to awake today in a new condition.
Yes, Lord, You are powerful!
Amen.

Read my article. . . Fantasy Sports are More and More Popular These Days

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But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Matthew 24:36, 42 (NIV)

You don’t typically see folks in such a frenzy like you do today since Hurricane Sandy has struck the eastern seaboard of the United States.  From the Carolinas to New York and parts of New England, we saw the devastation and destruction left from a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

Then take a look at what the Lord says for us to do.  He wants us to keep watch.  He wants us ready with both anticipation and expectancy, holding onto the hope that only He can offer us.  Don’t get swept of in the storm of the present confitions of today.  Keep your eyes open with your everlasting hope resting in what heaven can provide us.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
– Colossians 3:2 (KJV)

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 For ever, O LORD,
thy word is settled in heaven.
– Psalm 119:89

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.

-Psalm 119:9-11(NIV)

Look at the Word of God.  Look into and seek the things that God wants to share with you.  Oddly enough, the Word tends to strike us right where we are in our lives.  Whether we are up or down, happy or sad, it touches us and it speaks to us through the Spirit of God.
Start keeping track of your daily inspirations from God and His Word.  Jot down in a journal or notebook how God speaks to you daily.  Keep track of it.  Refer to it on your down days or just during your down time. 
Write openly and freely about what the Lord says to you with the Word.  Keep your journal as your own private sanctuary for you coming before the presence of God with the burdens of your heart and soul.  Let loose and see what God does with your thoughts, expressions and feelings.

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“I more fear what is within me than what comes from without.”

Look at the history of Protestantism and you will find Martin Luther looming and lurking somewhere nearby.  See where he confronted the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and faced the challenges of going forward in a faith movement as an enemy of the church.

Imagine the ridicule Martin Luther faced.  Think about the humiliation he suffered at the hands of other religious leaders.  He was considered a heretic.  He was made into an outcast.  Nevertheless, he held onto his faith.
Martin Luther was a man just like any other man.  Yet, he was a man of deep conviction.  He devoured the Scriptures and took them to heart.  He allowed the Word to guide him and direct him, even to the point where he abandoned tradition.

Look at what his enduring faith produced.  The entire Protestant realm of Christianity stems from Luther nailing those ninety-five theses to the doors of the church.  He founded what we call Lutheranism today.  He made history by holding firm to his convictions and not keeping with the status quo.  He made a major difference in religious history.
Let such a legacy influence your walk with Christ.  Live your life with such a degree of faith that you live without regrets.  Live a life full of enduring faith.  Let your faith speak and come to life by the way that you live for the Lord.
History will tell of Martin Luther’s storied life.  It will reveal his shortcomings.  It will teach us about his attachment to parts of Catholicism that caused divisions among his own followers.  It will show him just as vulnerable as any other man or any other Christian believer.  It will also share how he made his mark on history by making history by having enduring faith.


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/martin_luther_2.html#KklbTLLCHD968kVp.99

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It’s Wednesday night.  You can see them coming into the sanctuary.  They have been beaten down and broken down by the business of the day.  The boss didn’t understand.  The kids aren’t listening.  The neighbors don’t care.  You’re the shepherd of the house of God and this worn-out flock.  What do you do?
Offer that lengthy sermon that God laid on your heart late last night? How about that solo that Sister Moore promised to sing once she recovered from tonsillitis? Maybe you can ask Brother Deacon to read the church’s treasury report and just ask for an offering, then send them on their way.
“Short prayers are long enough,” C.H. Spurgeon said.
That sounds right on time.  Inspire them as they sit and listen to you call on God for their sakes.  Lift their spirits with a brief calling upon the Almighty.  Share in prayer.
Don’t drag it out.  Don’t drag it on.  Just say a short prayer.
Lead into it with an anecdote or a summation of what a hectic day may have entailed for some of your congregants.  Start with a story, then say a short prayer.  Send them home lifted up by your prayer and encouraged to know that the man of God is in prayer for them, not just looking for their tithes and offerings or volunteer time.
By the way, that lengthy sermon may have been meant more for you and your own edification than a bunch of busy people who came to church in the middle of week.

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