Monday, December 22, 2008

Quote; Unquote . . .

Intercession is not a recognized occupation.

Prayer is usually unnoticed by the crowds. It’s hidden - nobody knows about our hours in the prayer room - it feels lowly – When you pray, you are trusting in God rather than yourself - it’s humbling because right in the middle of the prayer room you are confronted with the humility of Jesus. You begin to taste something very important about Jesus - and you see your own lack - your pride and sin. Self rises up when unnoticed. We all want to be important, but ... Jesus became nothing ... so that we could be set free.

We must do the same and learn to embrace the cross. He was obedient and God lifted Him high and honored Him. The Message Bible says in Philippians 2:8-11:

“Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth - even those long ago dead and buried - will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.”

Debbie Przybylski, Intercessors Arise

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why You Must Cotempalte Contemplative Praying?

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When the Soul Listens

Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer

Jan Johnson

NavPress, 1999, 184 pp., ISBN 1-57683-113-2

To purchase this book click here.

Jan Johnson is the author of several books on spiritual disciplines and building a relationship with God, including Enjoying the Presence of God. This book is divided into four sections: Beyond Asking, How Contemplation Works, Wisdom in Contemplation, and What You're Likely to Hear God Say. Jan's purpose is to help us learn "to meet with God in life-transforming encounters in which your heart comes to rest in His presence." (26) You will find this a good addition to your normal Bible reading and prayer disciplines.

"To trust Him is to understand that total immersion in what He is doing with our life is the best thing that could ever happen to us." (7, Introduction by Dallas Willard)

"Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God's presence, and it makes you better able to hear God's voice correcting, guiding, and directing you." (160

"For many years as a Christian, I never sought God just for God Himself." (18) "One of Jesus' greatest promises was this: 'I am with you always.' (Matthew 28:20), but we may not experience this." Contemplation reconnects us with God in the midst of life's distractions. (19)

"Contemplation is…a way to face the needs of the hungry soul through simply being with God." (20)

"At the root of these problems of disconnectedness is the fact that my spiritual life is about me and what I want. It is not centered upon God and what God wants. We understand prayer to be mostly about asking God for things, and when God doesn't seem to answer, we are wounded, disappointed, and eventually hardened toward God. Why didn't God play fair?" (22)

"It comes down to this: Either we are struggling to control our own lives--or we are learning to rest in God and take our cues from Him." (24)

"First and foremost, however, prayer is about aligning ourselves with the will of a powerful, loving God…." (24) "The spirit of Christian prayer is the attitude of surrendering ourselves to be vessels of His good purposes." (25) "As we understand prayer correctly, we move from devotion to the tools to devotion to the Master." (25)

"More and more, the issue is knowing God Himself, and learning to perceive and follow God in all His ways. My spiritual life is more about God and what God does, less about me and my strivings." (31)

"The life that God asks from us is simple. It consists of loving God and paying attention to God, and in so doing, we sense His mind and heart." (31)

Contemplative prayer helps us change our inner person, the attitudes of our heart that drive us, rather than focusing on changing our outer behavior. (34) The Pharisees focused on the behaviors themselves, but did not let God reshape their hearts. (33)

The disciplines of abstinence--solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, and sacrifice--help train the soul to listen to the small voice of God. (35) Over and over Scripture commands us to listen. (42)

"Waiting on God is an honorable pastime in Scripture, even though it's not popular in our typical life in the fast lane." Waiting for the Lord can be full of expectancy and peacefulness. (46) "But the point of resting, waiting, and listening is to build relationship." (47)

"Before contemplative prayer can become something we want to do, we must understand God as someone we want to be with." (50)

Contemplation is rooted in the study and meditation of Scripture. This keeps it from becoming a way to put words in God's mouth. (54) One first reads and then meditates. "Meditation invites you to settle in a verse or passage, finding words and images in which you can nest and rest. You insert yourself into the text, thereby letting it insert itself into your heart." (55)

"When we meditate, we focus on a Scripture and ask, 'What if I had been the person Jesus healed? What would that experience have been like?' Entering the text this way retrains the soul by helping us encounter God in a personal way and live in the sense that we have been spoken to personally by God." "So meditation is different from Bible study. In Bible study, we dissect the text [ask it questions]; with meditation, we enter into the text [let it question us]." (56)

"Meditation investigates, contemplation wonders." (57, quoting Avery Brooke) "The task for us, then, is to fix the eye of our soul upon the greatness of God." (57) "The more we meditate and contemplate, the more God permeates the ordinary moments of life." (58)

"Some Christians object to meditation because it uses the imagination. It is wiser, however, to give our imagination to God to be retrained by Him than to withhold it. The process of spiritual formation allows every part of our being to be embraced and schooled by God, and the imagination needs retraining as much as anything else. If we ignore our imagination, it finds entertainment of its own. When activated by the images and truths of Scripture, the imagination enables the penetrating Word of God to become active in our lives." (59)

"Contemplation comes down to this: paying attention to God." (69) "The chief end of contemplation…is acquaintance and fellowship with God." (69, quoting Richard Baxter)

"As we linger on a character quality--say, God's generosity--we long for that quality in ourselves." (69)

"Listen with the heart and mind opened wide. This invites us to be changed." (71, quoting Wendy Wright) "The world becomes less centered in us and more centered in God." (71)

Some questions:

  • "How open to God are you? How open would you like to be?
  • "You may believe God listens, but do you believe God speaks?
  • "What are the greatest distractions that keep you from believing God is always present?
  • "What would make prayer more attractive to you?" (76)

"The two primary tools of the contemplative way are the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude." (79) These are undervalued in our culture. "Solitude is not being alone--it is being alone with God." (80) "Solitude is not turning one's back on the world; it is turning our face toward God." (81) "Silence and solitude are outward, physical manifestations of the inward surrender of the heart. We relinquish talking, analyzing, and enjoying the company of others in order to attend only to God." (83)

"Your first priority is no longer to get what you want, but to listen to the heart of God and see what God wants. You still make requests--which are part of our relationship with God and honored by God--but surrendering to God is now the bigger issue." (85) "Listening from the heart puts…our spirit on tiptoe--alert and listening." (85)

Q. "What changes have to occur in your lifestyle to make solitude a priority in your life?" (86) "It is better to have a daily practice of ten minutes [of] solitude than to have a whole hour once in awhile." (86, quoting Henri Nouwen)

Try a retreat center or park. Or try an hour in your backyard or balcony as soon as you can. See what happens. (87)

It takes time to learn to center yourself, to bring your thoughts and attention into your heart to listen to what is happening in your soul. (90) Centering is moving to God's wavelength, thinking the kind of thoughts He thinks. Centering calms us and makes us alert in God. (90)

You can't fight distractions. Better to jot yourself a note and let them go. "Turn within, again and again, no matter how often you are drawn away." (96, quoting Madame Guyon)

"Posing questions to God helps us stay alert in the silence, and it provides structure for anyone made uneasy by the open-ended nature of contemplative prayer. We offer questions in silent contemplation, and then wait. Sometimes a thought will come, but more often the answer will surprise us, coming at an odd moment later that day…or week or year." (99)

First surrender yourself to be filled with His presence. Then ask in the right context. (99)

"The whole point of asking, seeking, and knocking in order to inquire of God (see Matthew 7:7) is to interrupt our constant pull toward independence from Him. Without the discipline of inquiring after God, we often follow the normal method of doing things, which is to size things up from our own perspective and make decisions on our own, with little thought of asking God's direction. Asking invites God into our situations, great and small." (100)

"God's pattern is to go before us, and if we inquire of the Lord, we will know how to follow." (101)

Some foundational questions:

  • "What are You telling me about my relationship with You?
  • "What are You telling me about how my character needs to change?
  • "What are You telling me about how You want me involved in advancing Your Kingdom?" (101)

"As we wait for answers, a kind of 'simmering process' seems to go on, and it must be allowed to do its work." (104)

"Asking God questions requires an extended time of waiting for an answer." "Waiting on God is a problem only if you're in a relationship with God for utilitarian purposes--to get the prize from the vending machine. But if you're in the relationship for God Himself, waiting means you still have what you want--God--even while you wait." "Those who practice contemplative prayer get used to waiting on God in expectant alertness." (106)

"What we can expect most of all is to be loved. Love--which is the core of the good news--is the key feature of contemplative prayer." (111)

"Much of what comes to me in contemplation are clues about how to specifically obey what I already know is right." (112) "Expect your heart to change and to find the grace to obey." (113)

"More than anything else, contemplation is about creating a space in which a change of heart can occur, and then a change in our behavior." (113)

Expect to be examined and to see your flaws, your real self. (113) Let down your guard and be open to what God says. (115) Expect to see the defects in your desires, your soul's neediness, your core beliefs about yourself and God.

"You may not realize until later that day or the next the wordless communication you received." While you may hear nothing now, you may have prepared yourself to hear later. (119)

An agenda to try just for a starter: (120)

  • Let go of thoughts, relax, and maintain silence.
  • Be aware of God's presence.
  • Surrender in the Spirit.
  • Accept others. (let go of anger and resentment)
  • Repent and seek forgiveness. Be willing to change
  • Contemplate God. Listen and look for him to show you some aspect of himself.
  • Receive (such as a sense of being God's 'beloved.'
  • Praise (using praise psalms)
  • Intercede (prayer for others)

If what you hear is patient or kind, it's probably God. If it's boastful, proud, rude, angry, resentful, or self-seeking, it's probably not God. (129)

"Confirmation often involves repeating what we think we heard from God to people we trust. They often confirm for us and possibly add to it, becoming vehicles for God speaking in our lives." Ask, "Does this sound like something God might say to me? Something I need to hear?" (137)

"Contemplation carries over into life. It "turns us into patient, others-centered workers that others want to have around." (139) "Listening to God makes us more likely to carry out His values in our culture." (140)

"The best way to stay on track spiritually is to understand that God is likely to say to us what He has said before to people in Scripture. God's messages as expressed in broad themes of Scripture have not changed; He is anxious for us to absorb these truths." (155)

"God confronts us." "'Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven't, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all,' says Oswald Chambers." (165) "In an authentic relationship with God, we trust God enough to let Him probe us." (165)

* * * * *
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Your comments and book recommendations are welcome.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Course on Prayer for Pastoral Leaders

An interesting note from Professor Dan Crawford - - -

The first semester of the new course on prayer (which I taught online) has been completed at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary – using Giving Ourselves to Prayer. I thought you might be interested in the final comments of the nine students enrolled:

===>Click headline or book cover to oder or find out more information . . . Click here to review the table of contents . . .

· “My prayer is that this class would become a required course at the Seminary and that it would be required to be taken the first year.” C.S.

· “I agree the course ought to be required. I don't think we can properly prepare people for any kind of ministry without a solid and deep understanding and practice of prayer. Prayer has become a major focus in my life, as God calls me to be a prayer warrior, and to lead others out of spiritual dryness into the glorious riches known through prayer. ” M.F.

· “Definitely in agreement here that this course ought to be required. The significant impact of this course for all ministers is too great to pass up. Thank-you so much for those final words on the video. They help 'finalize' my new definition of prayer.” C.A.

· “I'm completely grateful for this course (and agree--it should be required!) and thank God that hears our prayers and answers. This semester has been filled with answers to prayer and so I lift up praise to our Father.” B.Y.

· “I did not know how much I needed this course- to refocus my heart and mind to prayer and the importance. It was an answer to prayer which I did not know I had asked.” K.M.

· “My eyes have definitely been opened to the responsibility I have to partner with God on an individual level, a community level, a church level, a country level and a world level.” J.F.

· “Through this course my definition of prayer has become more ‘omnipresent’. I feel like I have a better global perspective on how my prayers can make an impact and the change that it brings.” C.B.

· “Thank you for all your efforts for the course of prayer.” S.O.

· “WOW! Our prayers have so much power! May we remember that!. J.P.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Pray the Kingom Prayer for the next 21 Days ...

In October Dale Schlafer preached a three week series of messages on The Kingdom of God. To end the series he asked folks, if they felt led, to place their name on a 3x5 card indicating that they would pray the prayer each day until Thanksgiving."The responses, from the people who have prayed the prayer, have been amazing and very encouraging," said Schlafer in a recent report. "We encourage you to join in making this a part of your devotions."


My God,
You have placed me in you Kingdom and today I gladly acknowledge you as my King. Take every area of my life and use it in Your Kingdom to bring glory to Your name. Lord, I believe your Word instructs me that I am to operate with Your authority & power as I live out my life in the Kingdom.

Your Word is clear. I am to walk in supernatural authority and power as did Jesus. However Lord, I ask you to increase my faith as my head knowledge far surpasses my life style, and my fear of man limits my involvement in Kingdom activity. I really want to live in Kingdom power- but I have problems believing that I can do so. Increase my faith until doubt is extinguished! Holy Spirit fill me! Holy Spirit empower me! Holy Spirit anoint me to live a Kingdom lifestyle.

As best as I know myself, I tell You today that there isn't any gift that You have for me that I don't want. If You want to use me in a way that I'm not used to, I yield myself to that. There is no place I will not go by your direction. It is my heart's desire to want to choose to follow the Holy Spirit's promptings. I declare today, on the basis of Your Word, that I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God sent to be involved in the message, the signs and the deeds of Christ's Kingdom in this region.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!

Authored by Dale Schlafer

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Prayer. The antidote to "unmeditated" sermons

Phil Miglioratti interviewed Zach Eswine for Praying Pastor

Praying Pastor ~ Zach, your book, Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with our Culture, seems to have been prompted by a gnawing concern in your gut - Am I right?

Zach Eswine ~ Yes. I suppose that concern has three roots. First, I'm concerned that we have a tendency as preachers to forget where we've been. There was once a time when we did not know where the book of Exodus was. We had never heard of Arminianism or Calvinism. We did not have the answers or the position that we now have. Yet, our Lord met us with His grace and grew us. We need God to remind us where we have been so that we can give others the same amount of time, grace, and room to make mistakes that we have needed to get where we now are. Second, I'm concerned that as preachers, we not only learn to say what the Bible says; we also need to take into account how people hear what the Bible says. A person who has not been raised in Sunday School will have a very different frame of reference for the words we use. We need to learn to account for this when we preach. Third, once we learn to say what the text says with a sensitivity to how people hear these things from their cultural backgrounds, we still have no lasting spiritual power in our preaching unless God intensifies the presence of His Spirit's work in our preaching. To sum up my concern? (1) Remember where we've been (2) Preach like a missionary who translates the text for people (3) Believe that the intensified presence of the Holy Spirit is the greatest need a preacher of any generation or culture has. Testimony and contextualization without the immediate working of God's Spirit is like taking a toy-shovel to a blizzard. God knows this and has wisely prepared us with what we need--which is, Himself.

Praying Pastor ~ "Post-Everything" ... How has the "post-everything world" infiltrated every congregation (regardless of size, style, or systematic theology) and what does that mean to the pastor slugging it out 6 or 7 days a week in relative obscurity?

Zach Eswine ~ By "post-everything" I mean that there is essentially nothing new under the sun. No matter what cultural climate a preacher serves, the human heart has not changed. Some preachers will do their work in postmodern climates. Others will serve in climates that more fit the descriptions of pre-modern environments. But no matter which climate a preacher serves, whether churched, unchurched or in-between, God is the supreme expert the preacher needs. To put it somewhat crassly, God knows how to use an Ipod. He has seen the Matrix and the Lord of the Rings. He has read the greatest philosophers and understands the nuances of their out-workings in societies. God speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, English, etc . . .In other words, we must be careful of acting as if God is an elderly frail man who does not know what to do with these young people, the internet, and the global realities of our current generation. As if we have to teach God about what's happening. When we lose sight of God's wisdom, we rush to strategies other than His for the power we need to navigate those daily challenges that confound us. In other words, no matter where we preach, the fundamental issue remains: will we actively wait upon God and seek His power for the substantial healing our congregation or community requires? If we will, then not only will our sense of control frighteningly diminish, but our preaching discussions will subsequently change. We will still talk about power-point, drama, inductive versus deductive forms, pulpits or no pulpits, and the debate between propositional or more narrative forms of sermon styles. But these discussions will move from the front seat of homiletics to the back as preachers begin to bring the work of the Holy Spirit through Christ by and with God's Word to the forefront of our concern again. No matter what "ism" we face, we must not only take our responsibility to understand and navigate that "ism" wisely, we must also recognize that understanding and wisdom apart from the illumination and empowerment of the Holy Spirit will leave us planting and watering with no sunshine or rain to birth the roots and the fruit of our labors. Only such attention can keep our roots from withering and burst our labors into fruitfulness (Psalm 1).

Praying Pastor ~ What is the role of prayer in crafting biblical sermons that connect with culture?

Zach Eswine ~Prayer acknowledges that we are limited, that something more than our resources, abilities, skills and planning is necessary for us to accomplish our goal in preaching. We believe that Christian sermon-making is of a different order than secular speech-making. Both can powerfully move people and change their lives. But only one can make an eternal difference. If we learn that speech-making involves attention to the speaker, the message and the audience, then sermon-making must pay attention to the speaker, the message, the audience and the living God. Along with saying what the biblical text says, prayer is what leads us to this "fourth" category of communication. By it, we look to God's present persuasion in the preaching moment. But not only do we acknowledge by prayer that we need God's active presence and power, we also demonstrate our belief that God possesses exhaustive knowledge of our culture in general and the individuals we minister to in particular. In the task of faithfully expounding the Scriptures in context and pastorally understanding people in their environments, we ask God to illumine His word and the human heart of these people so that we know what to say. Our active prayer-lives as preachers declares our belief that God is not only present and powerful, but He is also wise, knowledgeable and intimately familiar with what the people we serve need. It is as if we have a family member or intimate friend that we can converse with in order to better understand and communicate with this person and that one. But better than a human confidant, we have access through Christ to the One who created our listeners, providentially governs their lives, cares for them and knows them through and through. Prayer describes this conversation with God for the well-being of our sermon listeners. Prayer is a gift of God's grace. It is like Gideon's smashed glass or Joshua's shouts or the staff of Moses. The thing in itself has no power to change anything. Furthermore, it is inadequate for the task. And yet, the inadequate thing when it is given to us by God, instructs us that the power we need does not come from us but from Him. Prayer is the primary means that we have to expose ourselves as clay jars who need a power greater than ourselves to ignite. Jesus paid for our prayerlessness. His active life of prayer is accounted to us by faith. Forgiven, flawed and limited we lift our voice to the One who has no limits, no flaws, and true might for the moment.

Praying Pastor ~ In your section on "slowing down" you direct the reader/learner to focus on God ... What do you mean by:
  • Talk about God
  • Talk to God
  • Listen to God
  • Talk for God
Zach Eswine ~I'm building upon an idea from Eugene Peterson. A preacher's calling makes him noisy if he or she is not careful. We talk so much about God and for God that we may feel as if we have actually talked to God and taken silent time to listen. When this illusion happens, we start to only offer people our first-drafts. Our conversations and sermons give unmeditated words, thoughts and ideas to people. A habit of giving people our unmeditated messages slowly decays our interior lives. Like a tree that dies, we do not see the damage until it is too late because the decaying tree continues to bear fruit. Fruit-bearing hides interior disease but only for a while. Eventually the disease engulfs the tree. So it is with us. In the Wisdom Literature of the Bible it is the fool and not the wise who constantly chatters. As preachers we become foolish when we constantly vent our own opinions, assume that problems must be solved immediately, assume that we know the answers before we've heard the nuance of the question, and when we become impatient with taking time to consider, wait, meditate and pray over a matter. Talking and listening to God are necessary to make sure that we are speaking from a posture of active waiting rather than impatient wrangling. Otherwise, we eventually become hollowed-out preachers building our ministries on yesterday's sermon series' and second-hand testimonies from what we used to experience. We also begin to lose our ability to readily discern Jesus' voice from the competing voices in our hearts, our congregations and our community. We need to ask and listen in order to know which voice most resembles our Master's voice on a given matter. He knows this about us. In His kindness He calls us to slow down, to wait, to listen. Such commands are grace-giving. They fit our frame and intend our good. No wonder our Lord often withdrew to quiet places early in the morning or late at night. Our speaking about and for God is meant to flow from a hear that has first spoken to God and hear from Him. We need each other's help as preachers to receive the strength His grace gives us to enjoy and inhabit a live of active converse with God.

Praying Pastor ~ Agree or disagree? Prayer is vital to connect with the text (God's words about his Word) and with the context (culture).

Zach Eswine ~We do not mean to imply it, but when we do the work of understanding God's text for the sermon without prayer, we actively imply that (1) the bible is the same as any other book, (2) our human brainpower all we need to understand the Word of God, (3) we actively contradict the regular teaching of the Bible itself that only by prayer and God's giving of wisdom can we understand His word. "Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from your law." Likewise, when we approach our neighbors or cultural artifacts such as films, poems or songs without prayer, we unwittingly imply that (1) we can adequately navigate the human heart on our own (2) that our ideas about people or things are without need of further instruction from God, (3) that reaching people with the gospel is a matter of applied formula, i.e., "if I do this, they will do this." The problem is this: Often, people will not reject the gospel because they do not understand what you are saying. Sometimes people reject our sermons precisely because they do understand what we are saying. The issue for them is not the absence of information. The issue is something in their heart. Only God can break the idols of the human heart. Only He can disrupt how such idols blind our own interpretations of the Bible and of each other. Prayer is the means Christ has purchased for us by which we listen to and learn from God about the text He wrote and the people He created. Prayer puts us in our place and preserves the truth that we are not God.

Praying Pastor ~ Zach, please write a prayer for the pastor who wants to prayer-saturate the sermon preparation and sermon presentation processes . . .

Oh Father, slow us down, wake us up, open our ears, humble our hearts, rouse yourself, thunder your speech, see us undone, see the blood shed from your Son, see our limits, our sins, our inabilities and draw so very near that we can hear you breathe, if that were possible, and from there, reach into us O God and prove yourself the lifter of our heads. And then, gracious, masterful, Lord, our Creator, redeemer and friend, fill our lungs and give us voice. For the glory of Jesus in this our generation, fill our lungs and give us voice in such a way that when this generation hears our feeble words with their ears, their broken and sin-sick hearts will know along with ours that it is your voice truly, calling to us. Tell us O Lord that it is time to come home to you. We are hollowed out. You are in tact. We are diseased and decaying. You are vibrant and flourishing. Proclaim yourself to us in Christ O Lord that out of our own personal need and comfort and repentance and forgiveness and faith, that out of our own human experience of such things we will testify in our generation of Jesus until you come or until we breathe our last here, whichever comes first. Return our preaching to testimony. Return us preachers to human beings. Forgive us for preaching as if we are orators rather than martyrs, gods rather than creatures. Exalt yourself O Lord. You are our greatest desire and need. Not to us but to your name be glory and honor. Restore your voice. Restore you voice in this generation we ask. Remember your servants who cry out to you through Christ. Amen.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Developing a Dynamic Prayer Life

Developing a Dynamic Prayer Life

“To the average Christian the command ‘pray without ceasing’ is simply a needless and impossible life of perfection. Who can do it? We can get to heaven without it. To the true believer, on the contrary, it holds out the promise of the highest happiness, of a life crowned by all the blessings that can be brought down on souls through his intercession. And as he perseveres, it becomes increasingly his highest aim upon earth, his highest joy, his highest experience of the wonderful fellowship with the holy God.”
Andrew Murray

God desires that we partner with Him in prayer. We have a dynamic role in determining the measure of the quality of our life because God opens doors of blessing when we pray. But we have to rise up in prayer and partner with Him or we will not see these blessings (James 4:2). It is wise to develop your prayer life. God seeks for those who will stand in the gap and pray (Ezekiel 22:30). The prayer room is an excellent place to develop a dynamic prayer life both personally and corporately. I have seen it happen many times. Individuals seem to leap forward in prayer in an incredible way when they catch the vision of 24/7 prayer.

Why does God love our prayers?

It seems to be a mystery, doesn’t it? Prayer and intercession draws us into intimacy and at the same time, humbles and transforms us. When we ask God in prayer, we interact with God’s heart. He loves when we verbalize our prayers. He wants us to ask in order to receive (James 4:2). He even withholds blessing if we do not ask. God will answer and be gracious to us if we pray and ask (Isaiah 30:18-19). When we pray we are in governmental partnership with Him, and we are changed on the inside as His Word abides in us. We are filled with His heart, and our effectiveness in prayer increases. We then decree God’s decrees with power from on high (Job 22:27-28). Wrong things are made right, the sick are healed, the bound in sin are freed, and revival is released in geographical areas. It’s marvelous!

God initiates prayer by declaring his will in His Word. We respond by praying His Word. Then He answers us by releasing His blessing because of our prayers. Our prayers are actually very powerful even during those days when we feel they are very weak. Prayer and intercession cause us to internalize God’s Word because when we speak His ideas back to Him, our minds are illuminated and our hearts are touched. His Words impart life as we saw in the last chapter (John 6:63). His Word builds us up and delivers us (1 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 4:12, Acts 20:32, James 1:21). God’s mind then dominates and saturates ours, renewing us as we pursue Him in prayer.

I like to hear stories about Charles Finney because my husband comes from New York. Charles Finney was a lawyer from New York in the 1800’s who was greatly used in revival in that state. He soon quit his law practice and went into times of prayer and fasting. In 1857 in just eight weeks 500,000 people came to the Lord through his ministry, and 80% of them continued on with the Lord. Daniel Nash and Abel Clary were two men who believed in prayer. They would go ahead of Finney to the cities where he was going to preach, and they would cry out to God in prayer for those cities. Within three months after Nash had died Finney’s traveling ministry stopped, and he became a pastor. These amazing results were because of prayer!

In the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8, Jesus exhorts us to cry night and day. We must learn to be steadfast in prayer with great endurance. But Satan’s warfare against us is to undermine our faith by losing heart and confidence in prayer. But the Bible promises us that will reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:7-9). If we look at Jesus’ disciples, their request was not to have a big ministry or great fame. They asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). They saw that everything that happened in Jesus’ ministry was because of His prayer life. Throughout the Bible we see that those who God used greatly were men and women of prayer.

“Christ, who in this as well as in other things is our example, spent many whole nights in prayer. His custom was to pray much. He had His habitual place to pray. Many long seasons of praying made up His history and character. Paul prayed day and night. Daniel’s three daily prayers took time away from other important interests. David’s morning, noon, and night praying was doubtless on many occasions very long and involved. While we have no specific account of the time these Bible saints spent in prayer, the indications are that they devoted much time to prayer, and on some occasions long seasons of praying were their custom.” E. M. Bounds

Action Plan for Your Prayer Time

It’s good to have an action plan in the prayer room during quieter times while listening to the worship when there is not active verbal intercession. This will help you stay focused and engaged. It will keep your mind from wandering. Realize that you are speaking to a real Person who loves you. Be attentive, and focus your mind on the Father who sits on His throne (Revelation 4). As people pray in the prayer room, listen and pray with them. Let’s look at some ways we can develop a dynamic prayer life in the prayer room.

  • Have a personal Bible plan - Daily read several chapters in the Bible or whole books of the Bible. There are several Bible plans. Find one that is helpful for you.

  • Pray the Bible - Pray the apostolic prayers and other biblical prayers. Pray phrases of what others are praying in the prayer room.

  • Have a prayer list for others - Include specific places (cities, nations) and people (friends, ministries, unsaved, governmental authorities, etc.).

  • Pray for strategic social issues - Pray about current disasters, and social crises. Pray regarding the issues of abortion and homosexuality, etc.

  • Have a personal prayer list - Pray for your personal circumstances such as your physical, financial, and relational situation.

Pray for your own heart (intimacy, fear of God, purity, speech, a spirit of prayer, etc.)
Pray for your mind (your understanding of God’s purposes, a spirit of revelation of God’s emotions, will for your life, and end-time purposes).
Pray for your ministry (anointed hands and words, contending for God’s purposes, authority and conviction in your words, insight into the secrets of God’s heart, fruitfulness).

  • Pray for wisdom - Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer, says to pray for the following:“Revelation of God’s personality and Word with wisdom to walk out the practicality of love and humility (Ephesians 1:17).

Knowledge of God’s love for me (Ephesians 3:17-19, 1 John 3:1).
Revelation of God’s will for my life (Colossians 1:9).
Revelation of God’s End-Time purposes (Daniel 11:35, 12:10).
Reveal to me eternity (Psalm 39:4-6, 90:12), the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21), the Judgment Seat (1Corinthains 3:11-15), the resurrected body (1 Corinthians 15) and hell (Revelation 20:11-15).”

Houses of Prayer will help us develop dynamic prayer lives. The prayer room strengthens our prayer life. When we draw near to God in the House of Prayer, he will draw near to us (James 4:8). In the prayer room we get to know God’s love for us in a deeper way. We grow in confidence that God loves us and discover His heart for us. We then turn away from sin, and we comes to the realization that “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is for me” (Song of Solomon 7:10). The devil can’t get us with his accusations and condemnations (Revelation 12:10). In the prayer room we delight in God and His Words and He delivers us (Romans 7:22-25). He washes us with His Word

God’s end-time strategy is day and night prayer. God is calling us to believe and develop a radical prayer life. His end-time prayer movement will be full of the Spirit and the Word of God. Our prayers will not be vague and without life. As you come to Him in prayer, picture what God wants to do in and through your life. Picture with the eyes of faith what He wants to do in your city. Picture the answer in your mind, and pray towards that vision. Your prayers will influence those around you in a powerful way. Developing a dynamic prayer life is the wisest thing we can do with our life. Nothing will happen without it.

24/7 Prayer Arise News

  • New Book: If you would like to purchase my new book called Intercessors Arise: Personal Prayer that Changes the World, click on the headlinet. This book has 33 motivational teachings about prayer to help you develop a dynamic prayer life.

  • 24/7 Prayer Arise is working again - Over the last several months I have had many problems with my computer and sending these network letter out. Please forgive this long delay. Now we are back in operation.

  • 24/7 Prayer Arise: Releasing the Power of 24/7 Prayer in Your City - Please pray as I finish writing a book on 24/7 prayer. This book will include a DVD showing how God is developing 24/7 prayer throughout the world. It will be in 7 languages. Graham Power, founder of the Global Day of Prayer, will be writing the foreword. Please pray for God’s help, creativity, and anointing and for favor with the right publisher.

“They may start from different points, and travel by different roads, but they converge to one point: they are one in prayer. To them God is the center of attraction, and prayer is the path that leads to God. These men (and women) do not pray occasionally - not a little or at odd times. But they pray in such a way that their prayers enter into and shape their very character. They pray so as to affect their own lives and the lives of others, and to cause the history of the church to influence the current of the times. They spend much time in prayer, not because they watch the shadow of the dial or the hands on the clock, but because it is to them so momentous and engaging a business that they can scarcely quit.” E. M. Bounds

Together in the Harvest,

Debbie Przybylski, Intercessors Arise

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Preparing Leaders for Reflection and Prayer Days and Short Retreat

Preparing Leaders for Reflection and Prayer Days and Short Retreats
Preparing Leaders for Reflection and Prayer Days and Short Retreats

Dr. Evelyn Davis, International Training Consultant (with others assisting), will train participants how to facilitate half or full days of reflection and prayer, and short retreats, May 13-22, 2009 at White Oak Conference Center in Winnsboro, SC (not far from our JAARS location in Waxhaw).

The reflection and prayer topics are: A Spiritual Inventory and Spiritual Markers ; Personal Worship; Finding A Rhythm of Rest ; Life Tasks : Strength for the Journey ; Our Time of Need; Prayer Areas and Issues; and The Servant Leader . The two retreat topics are: Life Pa ssages and the Missionary Experience and New Testament Images of Adult Growth and Change.

The total cost for accommodations, meals, and the basic books and materials is $675 .

The detailed information, with an application form, is below. Please consider sending one or more persons from your branch or entity, and pass the information on to anyone that you think might be interested. Please note that partial scholarships are available if needed .

For the detailed information, and an application form, contact
===>Click headline to access complete brochure . . .

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New Release Helps Pastors with Intimacy in Prayer


>>>Note: I asked Alice Smith to explain how a book on intimacy in prayer can connect with pastors (especially men in ministry) - You may be surprised at her reply!

===>Click headline to access information on how to order this book . .

===>Click here to read a sample chapter from her new book - Intimacy & the Practice of Prayer

Alice Smith writes ...

When I wrote my first book on intimacy with Jesus, "Beyond the Veil", back in 1996 I was frankly surprised at the response I received. First, I was surprised at how many people were looking for help in how to become an "intimate" of Jesus'. Truth is, Jesus has no favorites, but He does have intimates.

Second, I was amazed at how many men, particularly pastors, bought my book, read it through, and were transformed by it's message. Today, more than a decade later, I continue to receive e-mail from pastors (particularly men) who claim that "Beyond the Veil" has been life-changing for them.

Frankly, some godly men find the issue of intimacy in prayer difficult to embrace. Sometimes because of personal issues. And sometimes because of poor public models some have witnessed. Men, you need not fear intimacy with the Master. Peter, James and John were closer to Jesus than the other disciples. John was an intimate of Jesus'. The concept of the ‘bride’ of Christ can be confusing.

When God refers to us as a bride, He means that He is married to the idea of remaking you and me into everything we are capable of being. This “I do” we say to Jesus is allowing the Lord to fulfill His kingdom potential in us.

Of course I am grateful that my first book became a bestseller, some now call it a classic book of our time on intimacy with God.

In October, my follow-up book was released. I've written "Spiritual Intimacy with God" to help readers find a deeper connection with Christ--life at a deeper level. In it, I explore topics such as:

==> Intimacy killers
==> The four seasons we will journey through in the process of intimacy
==> What we can learn about intimacy from biblical mentors
==> What gifts God gives to help us develop intimacy
==> The rewards of intimacy
==> Intimacy and the practice of prayer

Allow me to express my heart. We cannot find what we do not seek, and we will not trust what we do not know, so let's pursue God's heart together. That's right, you and me. Let's take the risk of being known and loved by Jesus--let's move joyfully into the place of spiritual intimacy and grow deeper in our love for Him.

I invite you to join me as we plumb the depths of the Lord's heart and uncover the things that have hindered us from remaining there. We'll look at our reasons for keeping Him at a distance and discover that He could never, would never, and has never forsaken us. (Heb. 13:5) This book will equip you to equip others also.

Please accept this free download of Chapter Seven, "Intimacy and The Practice of Prayer" as a gift. I encourage you to consider purchasing this book for yourself, your spouse, your church leadership team, and your intercessors.

Alice Smith

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Secret to Finishing Strong

1966-JANUARY 24-JOURNAL ENTRY~ There is no more rewarding experience in all of life than to stimulate men to new and fresh insight in their present surroundings and circumstances; I had the joy and privilege of presenting the lecture on devotional reading this morning to the City Evangelical Ministers Meeting. There was only a 30 minute slot available but I believe the Lord made the most of it.

It was not long before the men were on the edges of their chairs hurriedly taking notes and looking at God’s Word in new light. My main thought was simply, “I believe the ministry is the greatest calling in the world, thus we must give it our best by first feeding our own souls on the Word. Then we will be ready to feed those who come to listen and respond. We read, meditate and pray over what the Spirit says in the Word. We must read prayerfully for our own soul’s sake before we go sermon hunting.”

2008-OCTOBER 21-REFLECTION~Richard Foster from Life With God, “…the Church in the west is very much like those roses (a bouquet on his table) still some blossom showing but wilting because it has been severed from its roots. Prayer is the root system. And it is a life of prayer that needs to be reestablished in our lives. What we so desperately need today is not individualized prayer experiences that we can turn on or off at will like a faucet, but prayer as a constantly flowing life.”

One recent estimate reveals only 1 in 10 pastors are finishing strong. When asked how we have come through the past five plus decades, my answer is simply, our family and friends pray for us.” To our readers who are not pastors, may we remind you this October to intercede daily for your spiritual leaders, especially your pastor and wife. James reminds us, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”

SAYING YES TO GOD~bob and marilyn yawberg- Vol. IX # 19===>Click headline for website . . .

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Inner~View #49: The "Revisioned" 29:59 Plan

The "Revisioned" 29:59 Plan Released!

Praying Pastor ~ interviewed Daniel Henderson ... Daniel how did you become involved with Peter Lord, the original designer of this resource?

Daniel Henderson ~ An elder in my church suggested I contact Peter Lord. This man had been greatly helped in his prayer life by The 29:59 Plan, especially as a follow-up tool after the Prayer Summit experience. Not knowing if Pastor Lord had any plans for future distribution of this powerful prayer tool, we agreed that it would be worth a phone call.

In a subsequent meeting with Pastor Lord, he indicated that he had been praying for the right ministry to come along with the same heart as his own to take the 29:59 to a new generation. He felt we were the answer to his prayer. He was an answer to ours as well.

Praying Pastor ~ The original version has been revised several times and sold over 600,000 copies since 1976. This edition is "revisioned" - What does that mean and how is it different?

Daniel Henderson ~ We have maintained all the basic content of the original version with the same daily tabs and intercessory focal points. We reorganized his teaching on prayer to fit the “4/4 pattern of prayer” that I introduce in my books, Fresh Encounters and PRAYzing!(NavPress). We added some inspirational prayer quotes and, of course, gave it a whole new look.

Praying Pastor ~ Describe the focus and format of the 29:59 Plan...

Daniel Henderson ~ Peter Lord designed this three-ring binder prayer guide to help the people of his church spend 30 minutes a day in balanced, biblical prayer. However he did not want the 30-minute time suggestion to be legalistic, so he called it the 29:59 (one second short of 30-minutes). It is a clever name.

The prayer guide provides a worship-based approach with many tools for extensive intercession on a variety of vital subjects. The front part of the book includes basic instruction on how to use the guide, teaching on prayer and a guide to praying the scriptures. Then, the 8 tabs (one as a daily tab and the others representing the seven days of the week) provide powerful scripture-based prayers with sheets for interceding on a variety of issues each day. The tabs and sheets can be moved around because of the 3-ring format. It is very versatile but very practical.

Praying Pastor ~ This resources is valuable for any Christian but talk to us about how it can be strategically beneficial in the life of a pastor...

Daniel Henderson ~ Of course, the tool is vital in helping a pastor maintain a biblical, balanced personal prayer experience. Additionally, it will benefit the pastor because it provides strong encouragement for people to pray for church leaders. If a pastor can distribute the plan widely within his congregation he will also have his people praying in unity on the same issues every day. This is a great blessing.

Praying Pastor ~ Explain the four "strokes" of praying and does the sequence make a difference?

Daniel Henderson ~ The “4/4” pattern as a simple, powerful and memorable approach to using the pattern Jesus gave in his landmark prayer instructions in Matthew 6:9-13. It is very similar to the 4/4 time in music.

  • The Upward Stroke is a focus on “Reverence” (worship) in keeping with the instruction “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
  • The Downward Stroke is an emphasis on “Response” (surrender) in line with the phrase “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
  • The Inward Stroke represents our “Requests” as we consider what it means to say, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This involves trusting the Lord in the areas of resources and relationships.
  • Your browser may not support display of this image.The Outward Stroke represents “Readiness” for the spiritual battles of everyday life in keeping with the idea, “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Praying Pastor ~ Along with the explanation of this method of praying, the book is divided into daily sections with many journal pages. What should the user expect to see aside from space to write their prayers?

Daniel Henderson ~ The daily divider tabs are probably my favorite part of the 29:59. Peter Lord did a wonderful job in creating scriptural prayers of worship to kick-start the daily prayer time. Then the balanced approach of the areas of intercession is so powerful. Obviously, we are encouraged to pray for personal needs, family members, our church, fellow believers and our nation. But, we are also challenged to pray for things like our enemies, missionaries, the peace of Jerusalem and suffering Christians around the world. I have loved the urging to keep a comprehensive and balanced prayer strategy based on the scriptural promptings to do so.

Praying Pastor ~ Praying Scripture is a large section of the guide book - Why is that so vital and is there a one-size-fits-all approach to praying scripture?

Daniel Henderson ~ I believe the best way to talk to God is in His own words. Not only does the 29:59 offer a regular array of scriptural prayers, but the user is shown how to create their own scripture-based prayer time from the Psalms, using the 4/4/ pattern. This provides a lot of inspiration and many choices.

Praying Pastor ~ Aside from their personal use of the 29:59 Plan, how can a pastor implement this resource into their congregation?

Daniel Henderson ~

  • I think a pastor would be wise to get this tool into the hands of as many people in his church as possible, allowing them to grow in their prayer lives – but also helping them pray in powerful agreement based on the daily themes of the 29:59. This would bring great blessing to the church. As the New Year approaches, it is an ideal time to get this into the church.
  • Intercessors, prayer coordinators and church leaders will find that this tool brings a fresh depth and balance to their prayers. It is easy to get stuck in a rut – or only focus on those areas that are naturally interesting to us. This tool broadens our focus and keeps us well-rounded in our intercession.
  • Pastors' Prayer Groups could also benefit by praying in agreement by using the tool daily in praying for their people, one another and their city.

Praying Pastor ~ Daniel, please write a prayer for every pastor or praying person who senses the Spirit prompting them to investigate this resource...

Daniel Henderson ~
Father, we confess that we are so good at talking about prayer – but often fall short in actually practicing this wonderful spiritual discipline. As pastors we are skilled at telling our people to pray –but often fall short in providing the tools that actually show them how to do it. I pray that you will allow this wonderful, classic guide to be used in increasing the prayer level in our churches. Teach our people to pray in systematic and strategic ways. Bless Pastor Peter Lord in his retirement years with the joy of knowing that his legacy of teaching prayer will continue for many years to come. Use this tool to ignite fresh vision for seeking your face and experiencing the power of your hand of blessing and provision. Because of Christ, and in His name, I pray . . . AMEN.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

National Prayer Leader on 2 Chronicles 20:1-23



Text: 2 Chronicles 20: 1-23

Let me begin by asking a dumb question. Someone said there is no such thing, but I am about to prove them wrong.

Do you ever like to see trouble invade your life?

DUMB RIGHT? Kind of like asking do you like having a root canal? Do you enjoy it when the waitress dumps your dinner in your lap at the restaurant? All of us would agree that we don’t like to see trouble come because it is like an enemy invasion.

It takes joy and turns it into sorrow; peace and calm and turns it into turbulence.

No one better captured the turbulent nature of life better than did Max Lucado in his book In The Eye of the Storm when he told the story of Chippie the parakeet getting sucked into a vacuum cleaner, being washed clean by cold running water and blown dry by a hot blow dryer. It was a turbulent experience to say the least. When the owner was called and asked how Chippie was doing following the experience she responded: “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore, he just sits and stares…..” Not hard to understand why?

Your story may be different from Chippie’s, but admit it: we don’t like to see trouble come.

What we like is life free of troubles.

Surely this was true for King Jehoshaphat whose troubles started when 3 enemy armies are poised to invade his peaceful land. He looks out to discover trouble with a capital “T” is staring him in the face. Life is suddenly threatened.

QUESTION: What can we learn from King Jehoshaphat’s example that could benefit us when trouble invades? What we can learn will be greatly beneficial in moving someone here tonight from experiencing the pain of trials to the glory of revival.


    2 CHRON.20: 3a “And Jehoshaphat was afraid….”

When word comes that there is trouble in the land, note that he did not bury his head in the sand and hope it would go away…

He didn’t hold a pity party and say: Why is this happening to me?

He got real with reality by recognizing that things were not right &and by the way, the reference to being afraid is not alluding to a cowering fear, but rather a recognition of trouble.

The NIV uses the word “alarmed”. Picture an alarm clock going off. Does it bring fear?

No! It says it’s time to wake up….

Why is that significant for us today?

If there was ever a day when the church of the Lord Jesus Christ needed to get real with reality it is today. Alarms are going off all around us and we cannot afford to sleep through them.

While many of us have been asleep and too comfortable, America’s been invaded by powerful, pervasive enemies. Let me mention 3:

  • A new paganism that is taking immorality to new depths. It’s unreal what can be seen on TV and elsewhere today. The spread of filth and garbage is beyond imagination!
  • Post-modernism that is challenging all absolute truth and belief systems ultimately seeking to make truth relative as opposed to absolute.
  • A rampant liberalism is stretching us way beyond the boundaries of the Biblical standard we hold dear far beyond anything we thought possible.


Well, not very well! Why so?

For some time now, Biblical Christianity in America, the spiritual roots upon which our nation has been founded, have been under attack from these enemies. We have seen the Bible, prayer and the Ten Commandments removed from our schools.

Additionally we have seen Biblical marriage come under attack by those who would make it other than a relationship between one man and one woman. By doing so, we see the family structure as society has known it since God established the home set to be destroyed.

We see abortion continue to take lives of millions of innocent babies. The holocaust is great and sad!

And one could go on & on about attacks on morality and Christianity and all we have held dear in America.

But to make matters worse, the church of the Lord Jesus for the most part appears to be oblivious or blind to the reality of it all.

We are much like the church at Sardis in Revelation 3: 1-3. Read text! Like Sardis, we have reputations, but in many cases we are dead and if not dead, we’re asleep and need to wake up to reality.

George Barna’s book, The Second Coming of the Church, contains a scary statement about the condition of today’s church:

“At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, I believe the Church in America has no more than 5 years – perhaps even less to turn itself around and begin to affect the culture, rather than be affected by it…we must re-kindle our passion for God, recapture a sense of urgency about ministry, and respond strategically to the challenges before us.”

That statement was made in 1998 and we are now some years removed from that declaration.

Has the church heeded those words? Sadly, most of the church does not even know they were spoken and if they did, my fear is that they would likely not care.

Jimmy Draper said something about the church in recent years that says it all: “We don’t care and we don’t care that we don’t care.” The picture is one of an alarm clock ringing, but no one heeding. At best we hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.

Such apathy begs a question: How long will God be patient with us? God’s word to the church at Sardis was to wake up or else. Verse 3.

Let us not forget that the Bible is full of stories of God dealing with His people in judgment when they went astray? We see it in the case of Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Assyrians in 722 B.C. The Babylonian army under King Nebuchadnezzar did same to Southern Kingdom about 100 years later even destroying Jerusalem in 586 BC.

For 70 years the people that God desired to bless, prosper and use suffered in captivity in a foreign land. Like much of what we see in our day, they had been going through the outward motions of religion, but spiritually their hearts were not where they needed to be.

I believe we can summarize the state of the church with this description: we have swapped a Biblical world-view for a “believe whatever you want world-view.”

Why is that important? It is important because it is your world-view that determines what you value and how you respond to your culture when it seems to be going haywire.

Sadly, it is not just the general population that is off-base in a non-biblical worldview, but this is seen even among many, many people who call themselves Christians.

The situation grows worse and worse. The alarm clock is ringing, but we let it ring unheeded. Traditional values and Judeo-Christian morality is fast slipping away and we remain asleep.

Is there an answer? Certainly and King Jehoshaphat demonstrates for us what it is.


“And Jehoshaphat turned his attention to seeking the Lord” V. 3b…

Note v.12… “We are powerless.”

Let me tell you something about this King lest you think he was a wimp: Jehoshaphat was one of those rare kings that had lot on the ball. He had a great track record and yet there comes a time and place that this great man has to confess he wasn’t sufficient of himself for the reality that had come his way.

With what we are facing in our culture today as we face the reality of our enemies and the inroads being made and as we look at the church and its failure to be salt and light in making a difference, we must recognize that we don’t have it either! We are certainly not adequate for what we are up against. Agreed?

I remind you that Jesus never said: Without me you can do many things or some things or even a few things. He said without me, you can do nothing.

What do you suppose nothing means in the Greek???? Zero/ Zilch/ nothing!


      V. 12 b

“O our God, won’t you stop them? We have no way to protect our-selves against this mighty army. We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you.” V. 12 (Living Bible)

What we see here in a word is trust... absolute dependence. He was trusting God to step into action because human action wasn’t going to be able to handle it. Here was a man who recognized that though the troubles were big, they were not bigger than God!

I have good news for you today: God is bigger than our problems too.

What we see next is God go into action and provide glorious victory as the 3 enemy armies turn on each other and not one Israelite dies in conflict! Totally a God thing!

Would you not like to see God by His Spirit change the landscape in America in the days ahead? How in the world would we ever hope to see that happen?

The same way it always happens as seen with Jehoshaphat and with others in this book and in history: Serious believing prayer.

The only hope for the church and the culture in America is for a movement of God that brings revival to our churches and spiritual awakening to our nation.

Every time God did that in the past, He did it in response to a movement of repentant, united, fervent, dependent prayer.

May I remind you today of the glorious promise given in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that says it all: “If my people, who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”

If we took that seriously, what would happen? Let me offer a history lesson:

America has had 2 Great awakenings in times of dire need… 1 in the beginning of the 1700’s and then in the late 1700's and early 1800’s.

Sadly, the last great movement of God happened in late 1850’s, but, my what a movement it was: called The Layman’s Prayer Revival. It came at a time when the nation was beset by grave problems: Slavery, financial prosperity making money god and religious extremism giving Christianity a black-eye along with a spiritually anemic church.

What happened? Layman Jeremy Lanphier, on Manhattan Island in NYC called for a prayer meeting at Fulton Street on Sept. 23, 1857 at noon hour. He and 6 others came together. Then in the weeks and months following, hundreds then thousands came together for prayer and before long they were meeting 5 days a week. It is believed that as many as 50 thousand were praying together in NYC at the height of the movement!

Results were awesome in NYC, but similar movements happened simultaneously across this nation. The result was the conversion of 1 Million people. If we had such a movement today, it would be the equivalent of 20 million saved.

And it all happened through a movement of prayer!

It is fascinating to me today that we see God birthing an exploding Christianity in Latin America, in persecuted China and in Africa?

Why not America? Could God not so move in America?

Yes, but we must have 3 things occur:

1. Get a proper motive: the glory of God. Henry Blackaby told me one day at lunch that he believes that Southern Baptists want a revival. He said our problem is that we want it so we can have more success and God is not going to give it to us with such a selfish motive.

2. We must get honest enough to deal with our sins through repentance. Sadly, we don’t even want to acknowledge sin let alone repent of it. So much more could be said at this point.

3. We must get desperate enough to cry out to God with a heart that yearns for His activity in our behalf.

There is really a bottom line issue: do we believe that prayer makes a difference?

Let me in closing speak to that from personal experience: As many of you know, 7 years ago, a tumor was found in my neck. Two surgeries followed with news I had a rare form of Thyroid cancer that had gone into lymph nodes (6 of 16). 35 radiation treatments were to follow.

I put out a plea far and wide for prayer for healing and to suffer minimal side effects of treatments. They could be harsh from what I read in 3 areas: major swallowing problems/ severe dry mouth/ vocal cord damage.

I did so well with the treatments that my Radiation Doctor commented. I told her that I had 1000’s praying for me. I wish I could tell you she jumped for joy and praised God. She made no comment; in fact she changed the subject. What she could not change was the fact that something was at work, or should I say “Someone was at work.”

But the real miracle in my battle with cancer, though I understand God doesn’t always work the same in everyone, is that prior to radiation, I asked for my blood marker for cancer called Calcitonine be checked.

It’s to be between 0-10 and mine was near 6000 prior to my 2nd surgery… off the chart. She said it was a good idea. Hold onto your seat belt, because it went from near 6000 to undetectable in the blood before I had one treatment as a result of prayer and it has remained 8 or less over the past 6 years.

When at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston for a check-up, my specialist looked at the before and after results and said: “Sir, I need to tell you something: you are a very lucky man.”

I said “Doctor, I need to tell you some-thing. Luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was the power of God working through the power of prayer.”

In closing: If we are ever to see revival come and we desperately need it, I can assure you, that luck will have nothing to do with it.

Only a movement of God brought about by the desperate sincere prayers of His people will bring God to display His glory and bring revival!

Would it not be awesome if He began that right here in this church? It has to begin somewhere!!!

The question is, are you ready to face the reality of our problem and then admit that you are inadequate for the problem? If so, will you then begin to focus on God intervening by seeking Him and His healing for the church and the land like never before?

Doug Metzger has been a Pastor in PA, NJ, GA and CA and has served nationally on the staff of the North American Mission Board in Personal Evangelism and as Director of Strategic Focus Cities and as Director of Prayer. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has a passion for preaching the Word and prayer.

He can be contacted at 909-693-9114 or at 36464 Byron Trail, Beaumont, CA 92223

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