Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31: A Way to Pray: Pray the Lord's Prayer

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen”  (Matthew 6:9‑16).

"The Lord's Prayer may be committed to memory quickly, but it is slowly learnt by heart." - Frederick Denison Maurice

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, Jesus gave them the Lord’s Prayer as a model. This prayer is perhaps the most well-known and most often repeated prayer in the world. I have prayed this prayer together with Episcopalian priests, Lutheran pastors, Baptist ministers, Orthodox believers, Charismatic laymen, and a Catholic archbishop. In many languages and in many countries, the Lord’s prayer is loved. 

One pastor broke the Lord’s Prayer down into these elements:

Papa: “Our Father in heaven…” God is our Father. This title expresses the close personal relationship God has with us, His children.

Proclamation:  “…Hallowed be your name, …” Hallowed means to honor that which is holy. In Old Testament times, your name was an expression of who you were. So, when we honor God’s name, we honor Him.

Promise: “…your kingdom come…” Ready or not, God’s kingdom is coming. This is the cry of every believer who is waiting for the Messiah.

Providence: “…Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This phrase asks God to make His kingdom manifest here on earth, but it also calls on us to implement His will in every way we can. God’s Will is done in heaven at all times, we must pray so His will can be done here on earth too.

Provision: “Give us today our daily bread.” In the desert, God provided daily manna for the Israelites. At the last supper, Jesus made the bread a symbol of His own body. When we ask God for our daily bread, we are asking for daily sustenance, both spiritual and physical. Never worry about tomorrow, just thank Him for today’s provision.

Pardon: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus told the parable about the man who was forgiven by the king and then refused to forgive a much smaller debt. This phrase reminds us to walk in forgiveness towards others. When you plant a seed of forgiveness, you will receive forgiveness yourself. 

Protection: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Even if you walk through the valley of death, God will be there with you and He will protect you. 

Praise and Power: “For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.”  All praise belongs to the Father. All power belongs to Him. This phrase reminds us of God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and eternal.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30: A Way to Pray: Pray the Word

“For the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12).

“One Word from God will change your life forever.” Kenneth Copeland

The only weapon God has to work with is His words. God is Spirit, He does not physically move on the earth, instead He uses His words. God’s Word created the world. God’s Word defeats Satan.

God’s words are what led us to salvation. You got saved when you believed God’s words. When God wants to move on this earth, He uses words.

Words are the only weapon we have for defeating Satan. Words are the only tools we have for changing lives.

God’s Word in My mouth is just as powerful as God’s Word in His mouth.

You are only one verse away from receiving your miracle. If you will grab hold of one of God’s promises and memorize it, confess it, and claim it as your own, you can activate God’s power in your life.  

If the word of God can create the mighty galaxies, then it can release the miracle you need.  

 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3 - KJV).

The words of God are “life to those that find them and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:22).

“Your word has given me life” (Psalm 119:50).

 “God sent forth His Word to heal your diseases” (Psalm 107:20). 

Jesus is the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1,14).            

Someone once prayed, “If only I could see a vision of Jesus, I could be healed.” Your vision of Jesus is in the Bible. God sent his Son for a season, but He left His written word for all eternity. Treat the word of God with the same respect you would show Jesus if he walked into your room. The word has the same power to heal today as Jesus had when he was physically present.

God’s word is permanent, not like the newspaper, or like a doctor’s report. The report of a doctor can change but God's word will never be altered.

The word is eternal, it is unchanging, it is the will of God.

“The word of the Lord stands forever” (1 Peter 1:25).

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

“Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89 - NIV).

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 - NIV).

“The LORD said to me, “... I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled" (Jeremiah 1:12 NIV).

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20 -  NKJ).

On the basis of one word, Peter walked on the water "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:29).  Don’t put on your swimming trunks when Jesus tells you to walk on the water.

Work the Word, pray the Word, and the Word with work for you! 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29: A Way to Pray: Pray on Behalf of Others

“Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren” (Genesis 25:21).

"To stand before men on behalf of God is one thing. To stand before God on behalf of men is something entirely different." - Leonard Ravenhill

“Daniel, will you pray for me?” I am frequently asked. My typical response is to grab the hand of the person who is asking and immediately begin to pray. If I wait until later, I might forget. Rather then promising to pray and then breaking my promise, I usually try to immediately spend a moment in prayer.

Prayer is often talked about and rarely done. A true prayer warrior is a treasure to be appreciated. I greatly value the people in my life who regularly pray for me.

Recently, we were doing a Gospel Festival in the Muslim nation of Pakistan. While we were there, a pastor’s wife back home in the United States had a sense of urgency to pray for our protection. She started to pray. When we returned home, we shared how we were shot at while we were in Pakistan. She figured out that she was stirred to pray at the same time we were in danger. Her prayers saved our lives!

When we pray for others, we can have a big impact in their lives.

Who do you know that needs prayer? Who do you know that needs help? Who needs to be saved? Who needs healing? Who needs a touch from God? Begin to pray for them right now.

Your prayer releases the angels of heaven. You prayer moves the hand of God. Your prayer destroys spiritual blinders. Your prayer brings supernatural provision, healing, protection, and salvation. Your prayer is a mighty wall, a strong shield, a tall hedge; between the enemy and the person you are praying for.

Your prayer goes where you cannot go. Your prayer impacts people you never met. Your prayer changes lives throughout the earth. Your prayer reaches into the future and impacts generations that are not even born. Your prayer reaches across oceans, over mountains, around barriers, and across borders.

No law can block a prayer. No religious belief is immune to the power of prayer. No political ideology can halt the results of prayer. No country is closed to the supremacy of prayer.

If you know someone who needs prayer, begin to pray right now. Your prayers will change his or her life! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28: A Way to Pray: Pray without Limiting God

"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

“O believing brethren! what an instrument is this which God hath put into your hands! Prayer moves Him that moves the universe." - Robert Murray McCheyne

Scientists continue to marvel at the size of the universe. Light travels 186,000 miles per second. The sun is 93 million miles away so light takes about eight minutes to travel from the sun to the earth. Against the backdrop of our solar system, our planet is quite small.

But, our sun and planets exist in one small corner of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is so big that at the speed of light, it would take over 100,000 years to travel across the galaxy. If our entire solar system was the size of a quarter, the sun would be a microscopic piece of dust in the middle of the quarter. The nearest star to our sun would be two football fields away. The Milky Way has millions of stars spread out across these distances.

Beyond our galaxy lies billions of other galaxies. These galaxies are billions of light years away from us. As far as we know, the universe continues in every direction into infinity.

The earth is set at a precise distance from the sun which makes it possible for life to exist on this planet. Any closer to the sun and it would be to hot to live, any farther away and we would all freeze to death.

There are so many species living on the earth that no one knows the exact number. So far zoologists have recorded 20,000 species of fish, 6,000 species of reptiles, 9,000 birds, 1,000 amphibians, 15,000 species of mammals, and over one million species of insects. Yet, they think there might be several million more species still waiting to be discovered. Each species is unique and beautiful.

Just think. The same God who created the vast expanses of the universe and who created an infinite variety of plants and animals cares about you. I think He can handle your problem.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27: A Way to Pray: Pray for the Impossible

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?... (Genesis 18:14). 

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” - Corrie ten Boom

What is impossible in your life?

Do you face an impossible situation? Have you been diagnosed with a disease impossible to cure? Are you facing an impossible economic problem? Do you feel it is impossible for one of your family members to ever turn to God?

In Mark chapter five, we find the story of the woman with the issue of blood. She faced an impossible situation. For twelve long years she suffered with her disease. She spent all her money on the doctors. The doctors took her money but offered her no hope. They told her she would recover. In fact, she continued to get worse.

But one day, she heard about Jesus. She heard how Jesus healed the blind and the crippled. She said to herself, “If I can just touch the edge of his garment, I will be healed.”

In the midst of her impossible situation, she put her eyes on Jesus. She pushed through a crowd of people and managed to touch the edge of his clothes. Immediately, she was cured of her suffering.

Jesus turned around and asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples were confused. They said, “Jesus, you are in the middle of a crowd, hundreds of people are touching you.” But Jesus knew that her touch was different. Many people were touching Jesus, but this woman touched him with her faith.

The woman identified herself to Jesus and told him what she had done. Jesus said to her, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Jesus turned her impossible situation into a miracle. Jesus will do the same for you. Whatever situation you are facing today, know that with God all things are possible.

I encourage you to use your faith to reach out and touch Jesus right now. Believe God for the impossible! Believe God for your miracle! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26: A Way to Pray: Pray for Souls to be Saved

“…We will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.” (2 Chronicles 20:9 - NKJV)

“O God, give me souls or I die.” - John Hyde

John Hyde was an American missionary who ministered in what is today northern India and Pakistan in the early 1900’s. Today, he is known as “Praying Hyde.”

In 1896 Hyde traveled around to many villages in Pubjab. He wrote, “This year there were no conversions in the villages. There were last year. What is the reason?” His solution was to fall to his knees in prayer. He began to cry out to God for lost souls. He often prayed all day long and through the night, forgoing food and sleep. He was often seen crying as he prayed, “O God, give me souls or I die.”

Hyde’s passion for prayer led to the formation of the Punjab Prayer Union. Their goal was to dedicate themselves to praying for revival.

Hyde saw a need to encourage and train pastors so he invited a group of local pastors to the city of Sialkot for a convention in 1904. Before the first meeting, Hyde spent thirty days on his face before God in prayer. Because of the prayer saturated environment, there was a great outpouring of God’s Spirit. Many confessed their sins and pledged themselves to seek God.

At the Sialkot Convention in following years, there was great “brokenheartedness for sin” and a burden for lost souls. One brother who attended the convention describes what he saw, “Oh, what an awful vision I have had! Thousands of souls in this land…being carried away by the dark river of sin! They are in hell now. Oh, to snatch them from the fire before it is too late.”

In 1908, John Hyde announced at the Sialkot Convention that he was believing for at least one soul to be saved everyday. He asked God, not just for a seeker, but “a soul saved, ready to confess Christ in public and be baptized in his name.” In a nation where some churches went years without any conversions, many thought his goal was impossible. But, John Hyde began to pray and travel and preach. He encouraged those who worked with him to find lost sheep.

One of his friends reported that Hyde “would engage a man in a talk about his salvation. By and by he would have his hands on the man’s shoulder’s, be looking him very earnestly in the eye. Soon he would get the man on his knees, confessing his sins and seeking salvation. Such a one he would baptize in the village, by the roadside, or anywhere.”

By the end of that year, over four hundred new believers had been baptized! In 1909, John Hyde asked God for an even more audacious request. He wanted two souls to be saved every day. If the daily quota was not filled, his response was to stay up all night in prayer crying out for God to give him souls. As he focused on soul winning, he found himself drawing closer to the heart of God. He preached, “When we keep near to Jesus it is He who draws souls to Himself through us.”

Over eight hundred people were saved that year and at the Sialkot Convention in 1910 the vision was enlarged once again. That year, Hyde set a goal of leading at least four people to Jesus every day. His example challenged other pastors and missionaries. Some ministries that had experienced years of little or no fruit suddenly saw hundreds coming into the kingdom of God.

Much of what God has done in Pakistan and northern India in the past one hundred years can be traced back to the original Sialkot Convention and the prayers of John Hyde.

Day 25: A Way to Pray: Pray Habitually Like Jesus Did

“And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray” (Mark 6:46 - NKJV).

“If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.”  - Martin Luther

Jesus made it his habit to pray. Every day, he would steal away to spend time with his Father. We should develop the same habit of prayer in our own lives.

A habit is any action taken on a daily basis. First, you form habits, then habits form you. Your current life is the sum total of all your past habits.

Your future destiny is the sum total of the habits you will develop. Show me a person with good habits and I will show you a person who will be successful. Show me a person with bad habits, and I will show you a person who will fail in life.

After you develop a bad habit, you become a slave to that habit. But, if you develop a good habit, that good habit becomes a friend that will lead you to success.

I have discovered that my success relies on my habits; the habitual actions I take on a daily basis. My health is the result of my habits. My wealth is the result of my habits. The books I write are the result of my habits. My weight is the result of my habits. My friendships are the result of my habits. My spiritual health is the result of my prayer habit.

Based on my personal experience, you can form a new habit by doing something new for 21 days. The amazing power of forming habits is that anything you do twice becomes easier. The more times you repeat the action, the easier it becomes.

If you are unhappy with your spiritual walk, you must change your prayer habits. A great prayer life is the result of design. You have to choose to live a life of prayer. Spend time every day in prayer and you will see amazing results.  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24: A Way to Pray: Pray for a Harvest of Souls

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37).

“Prayer is the only adequate way to multiply our efforts fast enough to reap the harvest God desires.” - Wesley L. Duewel 

When I was growing up, my family lived on a hill overlooking a huge cotton farm. All spring and summer, we watched the cotton plants grow. They began as tiny sprouts peeking up from underground, then they grew rapidly. By late summer, the field was densely covered in green plants. By early fall, the yellow cotton flowers faded away, leaving cotton balls in their place. Then the plants died and turned brown. Now, the field was almost completely white. When the field looked like it was covered in snow, I knew the harvesting was about to begin. I always remembered when Jesus told his disciples, “Behold the fields are white unto harvest.” Jesus was talking about grain fields, but the principal is the same. There comes a time when the fields are ready to harvest.

How can we help harvest the fields of lost souls in this world? In Matthew 9:37, Jesus told his disciples to pray for laborers. He knew there was a huge harvest waiting to be gathered and he also knew that it would require lots of work to bring the souls into the kingdom of God. So, he told his disciples to pray for laborers.

I believe the disciple did pray! I know they prayed because God answered their prayers.  In the next chapter, Jesus sends out laborers into the harvest field of Judea. These laborers were the disciples. In other words, the disciples became the answer to their own prayers!

I believe that when the disciples began to pray, God softened their hearts and prepared them to bring in the harvest. When you begin to pray for souls to be brought into the kingdom of heaven, God will use you to save people. You can become the answer to your own prayers. If you want God to send you to a specific country, begin praying for that country. If you want God to use you in a specific type of ministry, begin praying for those who have needs in that area. This will prepare your heart to reach out to those in need, and once your heart is ready, God will use you to touch lives!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23: A Way to Pray: Pray to Light Your Life on Fire

...Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).

"It is only when the whole heart is gripped with the passion of prayer that the life-giving fire descends, for none but the earnest man gets access to the ear of God." - E. M. Bounds

Your prayers light the fire of God inside you!

The fire of God is the burning passion that exists in the hearts of those who are committed to serving God. This fire creates an appetite for righteousness. Fire produces love, reverence, and passion for God. Fire is found in the fervor and intensity of worship. Fire falls when God’s children yearn to be consumed with a divine adoration for God. It creates a craving hunger for God Himself.

God’s fire drives the preacher to preach. God’s fire forces the teacher to teach. God’s fire compels the evangelist to evangelize. Fire gives birth to an obsessive enthusiasm for winning the lost. God’s fire sustains the soul when trials and tests come your way. God’s fire enables the Christian to live a holy life. The fire of God judges between right and wrong. The fire of God purifies that which is not worthy and destroys imperfections. The fire burns away chaff and leaves gold. It challenges, compels, and produces mighty men and women of God.

The fire of God is not given to make us cozy, but holy. The fire of God is like the fire in the belly of a steamship; it provides the thrust for the voyage upstream. The fire of God is like the fire in a hot air balloon, uplifting the spirit to higher heights. The fire of God is like a campfire, supplying warmth on a cold night. The fire of God is like the flame in a lighthouse, giving direction and warning of danger.

The fire of God is the difference between dead religion and a living relationship with Christ. The fire of God separates those who play at church from those who are the church. The fire of God differentiates between those who preach life changing sermons and those who only share comforting monologues. The fire of God divides the worshipers from the ones who only want to be entertained. The fire of God is the difference between the impotent and the powerful. The fire of God is the defining characteristic of the passionate follower of Christ.

The fire of God rings the death toll for the forces of the kingdom of darkness. The fire of God energizes God’s people with His power and truth. The fire of God burns away sinful thoughts, motives, and desires, and leaves behind a renewed mind. The fire of God removes sadness and replaces it with the joy of the Lord. The fire of God is the sign that true revival has finally come. The fire of God calls sinners to repentance and inspires people to live a life of holiness. The fire of God enlists, trains, and empowers believers for world evangelism.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22: A Way to Pray: Pray Desiring God's Presence

“Come near to God and he will come near to you... (James 4:8).

“...the purpose of prayer is to reveal the Presence of God, equally present at all times and in every condition.” - Oswald Chambers

God is more than a religious belief, or an icon on the wall, or a deity to mumble prayers to before eating a meal, or a list of rules to live by, or someone whose meetings we attend. He is our friend. God wants to walk with you and talk with you on a daily basis. His greatest desire is to have a relationship with you. God created you to be His friend.

The Hebrew word for “presence” means “face,” “in front of,” or “to see one’s face.” When my wife wants my attention, she sits on my lap and with a hand on my cheek turns my face to look her in the eyes. She enjoys my presence as much as I enjoy hers. Being in God’s presence simply means spending time with Him, talking to Him “face-to-face.”

The greatest gift God has given you is His presence. The greatest gift we can give God is a desire to be in His presence. We reveal our desire for God’s presence by the amount of time we spend seeking Him. Pursuit is proof of desire!

Many make the mistake of only seeking God’s blessing instead of celebrating His presence. It is important to seek God’s face, not His hand. We love God because of Who He is, not because of what He has done or can do for us. God is not an eternal Santa Claus. We should chase His presence, not His presents. It should not be just “I want blessings from God,” it should be, “I want God.” The marvelous thing about seeking the Giver is that when you find Him, you also receive His gifts simply because He loves you.

In God’s presence you will find:
* Abundance (John 10:10)
* Comfort (Isaiah 51:12)
* Deliverance (Psalm 34:19)
* Encouragement (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
* Favor (Proverbs 12:2)
* Forgiveness (Psalm 103:3)
* Healing (Exodus 15:26)
* Joy (Psalm 16:11)
* Love (1 John 4:8)
* Patience (Psalm 37:7)
* Peace (John 14:27)
* Protection (Psalm 91)
* Prosperity (Psalm 25:12-13)
* Rest (Exodus 33:14)
* Strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
* Wisdom (Proverbs 2:6)

Miracles in Mexico!

Check out this video about what God did in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21: A Way to Pray: Pray Expecting God to Answer

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

“O believing brethren! what an instrument is this which God hath put into your hands! Prayer moves Him that moves the universe." - Robert Murray McCheyne

Prayer is not a one-way flow. It is not just you talking to the ceiling and hoping God hears you.

Prayer is a two-way conversation. You speak to God. He talks to you.

One of the richest rewards of prayer is hearing God’s voice.

Sometimes God speaks audibly. Other times He speaks quietly to your spirit. At times, He will speak to you through a feeling of peace. Often He speaks to you through His Word.

God is always speaking for those who will take the time to hear. He is like a radio station that is always broadcasting. If you tune in to the right channel, you will hear what He is saying.

When you pray, take time to listen. We have two ears and one mouth, so I think God might want us to listen to Him twice as long as we speak.

If you will call out to God, He will answer you! God is there right now, just waiting to have a conversation with you. Take the time to hear His voice. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20: A Way to Pray: Pray Expecting God to be Faithful

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”  - Oswald Chambers

Prayers are answered, not because we are faithful, but because God is faithful. As human beings no matter how hard we try we will fall short. But God the Father gives us the perfect picture of faithfulness.

People can let you down. A brother or sister may back out on you. Your friends may desert you. But you can trust God to be there for you when you need Him the most.

In the Hebrew language, the word “faithfulness” comes from the same root word as “trust, loyalty, integrity, and steadfastness.” God is absolutely true to His word, His promises, and His character.

Faithfulness is part of God’s nature. God is not going to back out on you, fail to keep His promises, or disappear. God is not going to change. He is absolutely trustworthy.

Here is proof that God is faithful:

* “...he is the faithful God…” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

* “…he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4).

* “God…is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

* “The one who calls you is faithful…” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

* “...the Lord is faithful” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

God is faithful, His promises are true,

you can trust Him, to take care of you.

When you are lonely, and when you are upset.

Look to God, He is not done with you yet.

While you are tired, and while you are sad,

For help, just ask your Heavenly Dad.

Even if no one else is ever around,

His blessings for you will always abound. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19: A Way to Pray: Pray Continually

“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 

“All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer...” - John Wesley

How much time should we spend in prayer? Sometimes, people strive to be spiritual and pray a lot, but they disappoint themselves when they are unable to fulfill their prayer goals. They tell themselves, “I am going to get up every morning at 5:30 and pray for two hours every day.” The next morning the alarm rings and they turn over and sleep until it is time to go to work. In the midst of taking time for our family, studying, working jobs, and recreation it is often difficult to find the time to pray.  

Smith Wigglesworth regularly saw unbelievable miracles occur in his services and many people were raised from the dead under his ministry. Someone once asked him how much time he prayed each day. This man wanted to know the secret to Wigglesworth’s success. He probably wanted to discover the magic number of hours Wigglesworth spent in prayer each day. Wigglesworth surprised the man by saying, “I never pray for more then fifteen minutes at a time. . . but I never go more then fifteen minutes without praying.” In other words, Wigglesworth had a continual relationship with God.

Someone once pointed out, “It is better to pray a little bit a lot, then it is to pray a lot a little bit.” Is it better to take a girl out on one big date, or is it better to spend every waking moment with her? God wants us to be aware of Him all the time and to consult Him about the little details of our lives.

This does not mean we should forsake setting aside a specific time to pray. It may be helpful to make an appointment with God and to write it down in your Day Timer. But, even if you spend a set amount of time praying each day, do not forget about God the rest of the time. 

Since I heard the story about Smith Wigglesworth, I have tried to mentally remind myself of God’s presence every fifteen minutes. Everyone has a lot of time that can be used for prayer. We can pray on the way to work or while waiting in line at the post-office or while we take a shower in the morning. Instead of beating yourself up trying to set aside time to spend with God, allow Him to come and spend time with you while you do your everyday activities. I exhort you to “Pray continually.” This is what it means to make God the center of your life!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18: A Way to Pray: Pray with Specific Requests

“What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied” (Luke 18:41).

"He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day." - John Bunyan

Johnny climbed up into Santa’s lap. “What do you want for Christmas?” Santa asked. In response, Johnny dug deep into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out a list.

“There are one hundred and fourteen presents that I want this year, Santa,” Johnny said very seriously. “First, I want a new video game. Then I want a toy airplane that flies with a remote control. I also want new sneakers and a new bike,” Johnny begin to list what he wanted with precise detail. The man inside the Santa suit sighed. He could tell he would be there for a long time.

When we talk to God, we should be like Johnny and pray with specific requests.

Recently, I was ministering at a church. A man with a bad back came up for prayer. When I asked him what he wanted prayer for he said, “Pray that my disability money will be enough to keep me going through the end of the month.” Instead of asking God for healing, he wanted a trivial miracle.

The blind man who came to Jesus knew exactly what he wanted. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied, “Lord, I want to see.” He could have asked Jesus for a silver coin or a word of blessing, and Jesus would have complied. But, because he asked Jesus for his sight, his whole life was changed.

Know what you want and be bold in asking God. If you pray a wishy-washy prayer, don’t be surprised if nothing happens. Give God a chance to work on your behalf and ask God for exactly what you need. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17: A Way to Pray: Pray to Stand in the Gap

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30).

"When we pray for others the Spirit of God works in the unconscious domain of their being that we know nothing about, and the one we are praying for knows nothing about, but after the passing of time the conscious life of the one prayed for begins to show signs of unrest and disquiet. We may have spoken until we are worn out, but have never come anywhere near, and we have given up in despair. But if we have been praying, we find on meeting them one day that there is the beginning of a softening in an inquiry and a desire to know something. It is that kind of intercession that does most damage to Satan's kingdom. It is so slight, so feeble in its initial stages that if reason is not wedded to the light of the Holy Spirit, we will never obey it, and yet it is that kind of intercession that the New Testament places most emphasis on." - Oswald Chambers

Zadok straightened up and stretched out his sore back. All day long he had been moving heavy stones in the hot sun and now he was exhausted. He glanced to either side. On his left, he saw his friend Meshullam working hard. To his right, he saw the people of Tekoite using mortar to build the wall. He wiped the sweat off his brow with his free hand. In the other hand, he carried a sword.

He squinted down the length of the wall into the setting sun. Throughout the night, he planned to stay right where he was in case the enemy attacked. He figured tonight was the night the enemy might try to take the city. The men were all tired from working hard but the wall was not high enough yet to offer any real protection. All around the city there were far too many gaps in the wall. So, Sadok decided to stand in the gap so the city would be protected.

Along the bottom of the wall rode a figure on a horse. It was Nehemiah. Zadok waved at him and Nehemiah shouted back, “You are doing a wonderful job. Soon the wall will be finished.” Zadok smiled. It seemed like Nehemiah had been everywhere ever since he had arrived from Babylon. All day he circled the wall, encouraging the men, and lending a hand wherever it was needed the most.

Like a tornado of energy, Nehemiah had come ready to rebuild the walls of the city of David. Single handedly, he had convinced the city fathers to begin the work. At first everyone thought the project of rebuilding the walls was impossible, but now the walls were almost finished.

Of course, some were mad at Nehemiah’s success. People like Sanballat preferred that Jerusalem remain weak and defenseless. Because of the threat of attack, Nehemiah asked each man to work with one hand and to hold a weapon in his other hand. They would be ready if the enemy appeared. Each man pledged to stand in the gap and to defend the city with his life.

Today, there are many holes in the walls that protect our society. Slowly, the enemy has been attacking different areas that used to be protected. Marriages are under assault. Teenagers are being attacked from several directions. Morality has slipped. We need to pick up the weapon of prayer and use it to stand in the gap. You and your prayers are the only thing standing between the devil and the victory he desires.  God is looking for a modern day Zadok to help rebuild the walls of our society by standing in the gap with prayer to defeat the enemy. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16: A Way to Pray: Pray as a Watchman

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night...” (Isaiah 62:6).

God's greatest agency; man's greatest agency, for defeating the enemy and winning men back is intercession. -S. D. Gordon

The enemy planned a nighttime assault on the city. They carefully wrapped their weapons in rags  so they would not accidentally scrape a sword on a rock. They put camouflage paint on their faces so they would not be seen in the dark. Their plan was to sneak up and to place their ladders against the city walls. Quietly, they would climb up and silently overwhelm the soldiers. By the time the inhabitants of the city woke up, they would already be enslaved.

On top of the city wall there was a watchman. His job was to keep an eye out for the enemy. But it was a boring job. Never in his life had anyone attacked. He was tempted to fall asleep. It was the middle of the night. It was cold. Surely it would not matter if he closed his eyes for a short time.

In his mind, he struggled with competing thoughts about his duty versus his comfort. It would be so nice to rest. But, his job was to keep an eye out for the enemy. He decided to take one last walk along the wall before taking a nap.

He stared out into the darkness. Clouds covered the stars. But, then a small breeze briefly blew a hole in the clouds and for a moment light shined through. The watchman saw a brief gleam, a small flash. It attracted his attention. He squinted into the darkness. He saw hundreds of humps scurrying on the ground towards the wall. What was that? As one hump came closer, he spotted the tip of a helmet and a long spear. It was the enemy.

The watchman ran as fast as he could to the bell in his guard shack. He grabbed the cord and begin to pull with all his might. The loud bell rang out into the night. The enemy, realizing that surprise had been lost, shouted and began to sprint towards the walls. Inside, the city’s defenders woke from their stupor and struggled to put on their armor. The first to arrive at the top of the wall were there just in time to push the ladders away from the walls. A furious battle raged.

By dawn, the battle had been won. The enemy slinked away like a dog dragging his tail on the ground. The watchman was celebrated and treated like a hero. He had saved the city from destruction!

When we pray, we serve as watchmen for our nation, our culture, our people. The enemy is always trying to attack, but the vigilant prayers of a faithful believer will keep the enemy at bay.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: A Way to Pray: Pray with Groans of Intercession

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

May God open our eyes to see what the holy ministry of intercession is, to which, as His royal priesthood, we have been set apart. May He give us a large and strong heart to believe what mighty influence our prayers can exert. And may all fear as to our being able to fulfill our vocation vanish as we see Jesus, living ever to pray, living in us to pray, and standing surety for our prayer life." - Andrew Murray

This week there was an earthquake in Haiti. We have done two Gospel festivals in Haiti and we have friends in Port au Prince. I have not been able to get in contact with them because phone lines are down and they are not answering e-mail. I don’t know if they are alive or dead, injured or hungry or in need of shelter. But, even though I don’t know how to specifically pray for them, God does.

As I began to pray in an unknown language for my friends in Haiti, I felt God’s Spirit in my belly. God began to give me words in a heavenly language for me to pray. As I prayed, I sensed that angels were being dispatched to help my friends in Haiti where they needed the help the most. God’s Spirit helped me target my prayers accurately.

When we do not know how to pray, the Spirit helps us pray. The Holy Spirit lives inside you, and if you allow Him, He will help you pray.  If you don’t know how to pray or what to say, put your trust in God and let Him pray through you. Open your mouth and give Him control. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, He will never take control without your permission, but if you give Him control, He will begin to pray with your voice.

From your belly will begin to flow rivers of living water that will bring healing to those who most need it.

Another time you may want to let the Holy Spirit pray through you is when you do not know what do in your particular situation. Are you trying to make a major decision? Are you facing an unknown danger? Are you being attacked by an unfamiliar enemy? Begin to pray in your heavenly language and God will give you words, perhaps even groans, which will bring direction and clarity to your situation.

You are not alone. When you don’t know how to pray, God is with you. If you allow Him, He will help you pray and then He will answer your prayers. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: A Way to Pray: Pray with Understanding

“... I will also pray with the understanding...” (1 Corinthians 14:15- NKJ).

"The greatest answer to prayer is that I am brought into a perfect understanding with God, and that alters my view of actual things." - Oswald Chambers

Paul said to pray in tongues and to pray with understanding. Praying with understanding means that you “understand what you are praying for.” Let me give you an example of how we pray with understanding.

Every birthday, we have a tradition in our family. I think our tradition is better then the normal traditions of blowing out candles, having a birthday cake, or giving presents. Our tradition on birthdays is to have each member of the family pray for the birthday person.

As we pray for our family member who is having a birthday, we pray for many specific things. Here are some of the things we pray for:

1. We pray for their HEALTH in the coming year. We ask God to keep them healthy and whole. We ask that they would have good eating habits and exercise regularly.

2. We pray for their GOALS to be met in the coming year. We ask God to give them a clear vision for the future and the wisdom to know what steps to take.

3. We pray for their SPOUSE and CHILDREN. If they do not happen to be married yet, we pray for God to protect their future spouse and to bring him or her at the right time. If the family member is married, we ask God to bless them with a loving marriage.

4. We pray for their RELATIONSHIPS. We ask God to provide godly friends. We ask for God’s blessing on them in their role as a son or daughter, father or mother, and sister or brother.

5. We pray for God to give them MINISTRY opportunities. We ask God to make them a shining light in the midst of a dark world. We pray that they would walk in all the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.

6. We pray for their SPIRITUAL WALK. We ask God to give them a hunger for God’s word, for prayer, and for praise and worship.

7. We pray for their FIANANCES. We ask God to provide for every need. We ask God to provide them with fulfilling work. We ask God that all the work of their hands would prosper.

8. We pray for their MIND. We ask God to keep them mentally alert and to give them good grades in school. We pray for their education. 

9. We pray for their PROTECTION. We assign angels to watch over them. We ask God to keep them from harm and to protect them from anyone who would want to injure them.

10. We pray for FAVOR over their lives. We pray for them to have open doors.

11. We pray for them to receive the DESIRES of their hearts.

12. We pray for them to have a year of HARVEST. We ask God to give them an abundant harvest on every seed they have sown into the kingdom of heaven.

Finally, we pray that the coming year would be the birthday person’s best year ever!

I encourage you to make this a tradition in your family. When someone you know has a birthday, turn it into a significant spiritual occasion by speaking blessing over his or her life. Pray for them on their birthday as a way to set the tone for the entire coming year of their life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13: A Way to Pray: Pray in the Spirit

“...pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).

"The true spirit of prayer is no other than God's own Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the saints. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings. It naturally leads to God, to converse with him by prayer." - Jonathan Edwards

It is God’s will for every believer (including you) to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17‑18). This means it is God’s will for you to be filled with the Spirit. 

You can ask with complete confidence for God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Know that it is His will for you to have the gift of the Spirit. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14‑15).  You do not have to beg for the Holy Spirit, but you do need to specifically ask. "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:9‑13). The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, he will not force Himself upon you, He will only enter your life at your invitation.

You can pray in a spiritual language. The Spirit is continually praying to God on your behalf in a special language which is only understood by God. You can pray in this new tongue by opening your mouth and allowing the Spirit to speak using your vocal cords. Jesus promised, “These signs will accompany those who believe...they will speak in new tongues” (Mark 16:17).

Isaiah prophesied this new tongue would bring refreshing to weary believers, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” (Isaiah 28:11‑12 - KJV). This new tongue is like a “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).  

 On the day of Pentecost, one hundred and twenty disciples began to speak with other tongues when they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Cornelius and his entire household spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 10:44-48). When Paul laid his hands on the believers in Ephesus “the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues”  (Acts 19:6).

Paul was originally filled with the Spirit when Ananias laid his hands on him (Acts 9:17). Later, he wrote to the church in Corinth “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you” (1 Corinthians 14:18). Paul said that praying in the Spirit edifies (builds up) the believer (1 Corinthians 14:4).  Paul specifically commanded the church in Corinth “...Do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:39). Exercise builds your muscles, in the same way, praying in tongues builds your spirit. Jude told us, “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12: A Way to Pray: Pray Like a Child

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread will give him a stone...If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13).

“The story of every great Christian achievement is the history of answered prayer.” - E. M. Bounds

What is the Father’s heart? The simple petition of a humble child reveals the heart of a father.

As I write this, Jessica and I are about to become parents for the first time. In just over one month, our son will be born. As we get closer to the due date, our instincts for parenting continue to grow and manifest. Jessica has decorated the nursery and carefully chosen baby seats, high chairs, clothes, diapers, and all the other paraphernalia that you need to care for a baby. Yesterday, I caught myself thinking about how to start putting aside money to pay for our child’s education. As loving parents, our goal is to do everything we can to provide for our child, protect our child, and raise our child in the best way possible. God the Father feels the same way about His children.

When we come to the Father with a prayer request, we are like little children. He looks at us as His children and we should look to Him with the same simple faith that a child has when she looks at her beloved daddy.

Imagine a little child running up to her father and shouting, “Daddy, daddy, I’m hungry.” How would the father respond? If a son asks for bread, would the father give him a stone? If a daughter asks to be picked up, would a loving father beat her instead? No, a loving father is attentive to the needs of his children and will do anything He can to make his child’s life easier. God will do the same for us!

The child comes to her father with a simple faith. In her eyes, her daddy is the solver of all problems. Her daddy is superman. For her daddy, nothing is impossible.

Jesus said, “You must become as a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 18:17). When you pray today, trust God with the same simple faith that a child has towards her loving father. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11: A Way to Pray: Pray in the Name of Jesus

“...I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14). 

Avail yourself of the greatest privilege this side of heaven. Jesus Christ died to make this communion and communication with the Father possible. - Billy Graham 

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray, when they saw a man who had been crippled from birth. Every day this man would sit at the temple gates begging for money. “Give me some money, please give me some money,” asked the crippled man when he saw Peter and John.

Peter said, “Look at us!” Excited, the man gave them his full attention because he expected them to give him some coins.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have...” The man’s face dropped, “It’s just my luck to ask a poor person for money,” he thought to himself. But then his ears perked back up as he realized Peter was not finished speaking yet.  “...but what I do have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk," commanded Peter. He did not have any money to give the man, but he did possess the healing power that is in the name of Jesus.

Suddenly the crippled man felt blood rush into his legs. He could feel them for the first time in years. He looked up and saw Peter reaching out his hand, and without thinking he grasped the outstretched hand and stood up. Instantly his feet and ankles became strong.

Hesitantly he took a step, then he took another step, and another step. He was walking! He began walking faster, then he tried to hop up and down. Finally he ran around the temple court shouting “Praise God,” and showing everyone how he could walk and leap. The crowd in the temple court was astonished because they all recognized him as the man who was once crippled.

Peter asked the crowd who came running, “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if we made this man walk through our own power? Through faith in the name of Jesus this man whom you see and know was made strong.” 

When the priests arrived, they were greatly disturbed because the apostles were talking about how Jesus rose from the dead. They commanded the captain of the temple guard to place them under arrest. The next day all the rulers, elders and teachers of the law asked Peter and John, “By what power or what name did you heal this crippled man?” These men knew Peter did not have any power on his own, so they asked this question in order to discover whose power was behind the miracle.

“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed,” Peter answered. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

The rulers were deeply disturbed because the apostles were preaching and healing people in the name of Jesus, so they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.    

But in a prayer meeting later that night, Peter disobeyed their command and asked God, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the Holy Spirit fell, and all who were at the meeting began to speak the Word of God with great boldness. As they preached, many people in the city of Jerusalem were saved and healed because of the power of the name of Jesus.