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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Many days mark the starting point of something new. Yet, today marks the start of multiple new beginnings.

  • 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge
  • Shawna Cook of Brown Girl Bible Study releases pre-orders of her new book
  • Jeremiah Journey Week 35 continues with Live @ Lunch Bible Study

2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

Romans 12:12 (ESV)

As we embark on this prayer challenge to pray more day by day, we must keep the latter portion of this verse in mind.

“. . . be constant in prayer.”

Let us stay constant in prayer and consistent in our prayer life. Let this challenge serve as a means for you to learn more about prayer and your own prayer life as well as deepening your relationship with God through prayer. Join the challenge today!

Orders Being Taken for Brown Girl Bible Study

View the broadcast recording

My recent guest on Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce was Shawna Cook of Brown Girl Bible Study and she shared about her upcoming book which is a journal through the New Testament epistle of Philippians. Visit Brown Girl Bible Study to learn how to order your copy today.

The Jeremiah Journey Continues with Live @ Lunch Bible Study

We’ve been doing it chapter by chapter week by week. The plan is to continue doing it: chapter by chapter, week by week throughout 2021. It’s all 52 chapters of the Book of Jeremiah for all 52 weeks of the calendar year. It’s all about the weeping prophet and how he carried God’s message to God’s people despite their resistance and refusal to hear him openly. It’s all about getting a better understanding of what God’s Word says and what God’s Word has for you to learn and live out today.

Join us today!!
Word cloud of chapter 35

It all happens every Wednesday at 11 AM PST on our YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out today and visit our Bible Study & Beyond playlist to view past livestream episodes.

This week we look at chapter 35 and the rewards of obeying God’s commands. The chapter includes the Rechabites and their commitment to the commands of their forefather Jonadab. God uses this group of individuals and their collective dedication the commands of Jonadab to demonstrate a vital lesson to both Israel and Judah. Look further for more information on chapter 35 online beyond my own blog posts if that helps your Bible study and understanding of the text. There are other blogs with insights into the descendants of Jonadab and their obedience.

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"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

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

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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Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard, which was at the house of the king of Judah (v. 2, NASB)

The Danger of the Royal Treatment

Jeremiah has found himself the target of royal displeasure. He is not the first character within the Bible to experience such treatment. Elijah was forced to take off and flee the wrath of Jezebel and Ahab in 1 Kings 19:3-8. It sounds awfully similar to John the Baptist in his dealings with Herod that led to his own imprisonment (Mark 1:14). It gives a whole new meaning to the term the “royal treatment.”

It was Jeremiah’s prophecy that had King Zedekiah on the defensive. God had broken down the bleak future of Zedekiah and his mother at the hands of the Chaldean invaders with an eventual death in Babylon. According to the words of the Lord, prophesied by Jeremiah, Zedekiah and his mother would die before the 70 years of captivity ended. They would never see the everlasting covenant with God’s redeemed people from Babylonian captivity.

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Jeremiah’s Prayer (in a Word Cloud)

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God’s Response to Jeremiah

31 “Indeed this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My wrath since the day that they built it, even to this day, so that it should be removed from My sight, 32 because of all the evil of the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their leaders, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

jeremiah 32:31-32 (NASB)

The Lord offers His justification for allowing the invaders from the North to lay siege against the corrupt city of Jerusalem and all of its inhabitants. His explanation described their disobedience and disregard for Him and their covenant.

They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen to accept discipline. – Jeremiah 32:33 (NASB)

Everyone is responding to the first siege by the Chaldeans differently, especially as God reveals more of His plan.
IsraelJudahJeremiah
Chaldeans attacked the city of Jerusalem, sieging it & setting on fireZedekiah imprisoned the prophet Jeremiah based on his prophecyBuying land from Hanamel & buried the deed
Indeed, this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My wrath since the day that they built it. . . (v.31). . .Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it (v.4, NKJV)People will buy fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land (v. 44)
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God’s way of dealing with them was to allow the abomination to be abolished by its invaders (v. 4, 31). There was no absolution for such act as defiling the the “house which is called by My name” in the Lord’s eyes. He would rather reserve an “everlasting covenant” for the remnant that would return to the land, another generation of the people sent into captivity. This being revealed in God’s response to Jeremiah’s prayer linked directly to the prophet’s directive to purchase the plot of land in Anathoth from his relative by the “right of redemption,” for in the future they will buy and sell land just as they had done before (v. 44).

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But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “ 

Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

Day 3 Reflection

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I found myself digging deep yesterday. Nothing was ultimately wrong. I just went there. I took a moment to take my mind off of everything that I had going on and coming up, and I simply sat still for a moment and enjoyed the sun beaming down on me in the stillness of the moment.

That’s not my normal modus operandi. That’s not the way that I regularly handle a highly compacted schedule. But I found it both necessary and refreshing. In that brief moment, I was able to refocus and take my mind off the fact that I had not eaten bread in 4 or 5 days. I did not even think about not having meat since Saturday night. In fact, I paused and reflected for a moment on how much I did not feel like I was missing meat. I thanked God for encouraging words from others like Natalie Cone as I pushed through Day #3. It was necessary time to refocus.

Focus on Faith

Matthew 4:4 helps me to negate any notion that our lives hang in the balance without any support from heaven. Let us recall that the Lord is a Provider, often called Jehovah Jireh in the Old Testament. And what the Lord provides is sufficient, enough to carry us through until He comes through again to amply supply our needs and answer our supplications. No, we do not live by bread alone. And the Lord is the source of our daily bread no matter who He might use to get it to us. But we are to daily depend on “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NKJV).

Focus on Fuel

I will refer back to Matthew 4:4. We don’t live by bread alone. If this remains unclear for you, think about the wide variety of vegetables available to you. Take inventory of the varieties of legumes and nuts. Try to keep track of all of the pulses and types of seeds available to us day after day. Let the vast amount of choices provide you with options for your meals and snacks.

Focus on Fitness

Things went a little different yesterday. Instead of a standard walk for a fitness break, I played with the dog and she kept me busy dodging and dipping as we covered about 3/4 of the backyard. Today, I might take another detour from the norm. If nothing else, I know that I have not lacked motivation. I have remained consistent with my mornings of modified pushups and my evenings with some deep breathing and stretches. I have been sleeping more soundly and feel no loss of strength. By this weekend, I might go for a longer run and possibly walk a par 3 golf course. I have yet to decide, but I know that if the last 3 days are any indication of what today brings then I am more than ready to fully engage.

“Success is knowing your the purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”

John c. maxwell

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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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Let God Hear

I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word. – Psalm 119:147

In the morning and in the evening are times when God should hear from us. It isn’t reserved just for in times of trouble.

However, many people just wait until it is troubling. They wait until then to call on God. They wait until a deadline is fast approaching. They wait until they are backed up against a wall.

Let God hear from you daily. Come before His throne and lay out your heart to Him. He’ll hear you.

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“A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.” – D.L. Moody

If you have faith, it should show somehow.

Your faith should be evident by what you do.  Otherwise, it is not faith.  It is rhetoric.

You have faith to lean and depend upon God.  You trust God when you have faith.  There should be something that you do that shows others that you trust God.  It should come out through what you do for the Lord.

“The whole being of any Christian is faith and love. Faith brings the person to God, love brings the person to people.” – Martin Luther

 

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“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” – Acts 5:20 (ESV)

We need to step out in faith and speak “all the words of this life.” The angel of the Lord freed the apostles from the jail that held them in bondage, but he insisted that they go share the message with the people.  Their instructions told them to specifically speak in the temple.  That was where they were divinely directed.

Where has the Lord directed you?

Has the Lord directed you to share your prayers with the world? How about your praise? Think hard about it.  Let the Holy Spirit lead you to where God has for you to go with your prayers and your praise.

Perhaps, if you listen to the urging of the Lord, you will discover how much He wants you to publicize your prayers and your praise.  He can lead you to a plethora places.  He can lead you into the public space to share with others.  Let Him lead you to the parks and recreation centers, even the bus stops and train stations.  Maybe, if you get that divine inspiration, you can lead a prayer at city hall or the courthouse steps.

Let Him lead you.  Let Him use you.

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