Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Grace Changes your Motivation for doing Good Works

I am not married because I help my wife, Jessica, in the kitchen; I help my wife in the kitchen because I am married. When I help Jessica with housework, my work does not make me more married. I simply help her because I’m her husband. In the same way, you cannot become more righteous through what you do for God; rather you are excited to help God because you are righteous.

Under the New Covenant, our motives become more important than our actions. It is all about motivation. You can have the exact same action with the wrong motivation. A woman forced to have sex is raped. A woman paid to have sex is a prostitute. A woman who willing gives her body to the man she is married to is a wife. In all three cases, the outward action is the same (sex has occurred), but the motivation determines whether the act is a loving action or a repulsive one.

God’s grace is a believer’s motivation for good works, but “religion” is a whore. Our relationship with Jesus should be like a marriage. Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. The marriage bed is all about relationship. But religion is like a man who visits a prostitute: the physical action might be the same, but the love is absent.

Once there were two restaurant owners. The owner of “The Grace CafĂ©” was an immigrant who was proud of living in his new country. He put a huge American flag on a pole right in front of his restaurant. Because of his patriotism, people flocked to eat his food. When the restaurant owner across the street saw all the increased traffic because of the flag, he put up his own flag, not because he was patriotic, but because he wanted more business. Both restaurants now have flags, but there is a difference in their motives. The first owner has a “flag with patriotism,” the second owner has a “flag without patriotism.”

In the same way, some people do good works “because of grace” and others do good works in an effort to get grace or look like they have grace. One Christian man tithes because he is in bondage to legalism. He has been taught from the Old Testament that he will be under a curse if he fails to tithe. Another Christian man tithes because he loves God and he gives out of a motivation of thankfulness. They both put the same amount of money into the same offering plate, but one does it out of legalism and the other does it out of love. One is the equivalent of a spiritual prostitute while the other is part of the bride of Christ.

In another case, one man refuses to drink alcohol because he thinks it is a terrible sin. Another man refuses to drink alcohol because he has had a revelation that his body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and he does not want to pollute that temple. Same behavior—not drinking alcohol—but one man is motivated by legalism; the other is motivated by grace.
You cannot become righteous through your own efforts, neither can you stay righteous though your own efforts. You need God’s help to change ingrained sinful habits. For many, the desire to change becomes a daily struggle with the flesh. This leads to a “works mentality” where people try to do what is right. But, even if they manage to keep their outward actions right, many still fight with inward temptation.

Doing the right thing is of little value when one inwardly wants to sin. The only truth that can set us free, both inwardly and outwardly, is God’s grace. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). For us to truly be free of the heavy burden of temptation—temptation to sin and temptation to trust in our own attempts at good behavior—we we must come to Jesus, the personification of grace. Our self-effort is worthless; we must learn to rely on Jesus. Through Jesus, victory over sin becomes easy.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Prayer Shaming is Shameful

Immediately, after the tragic terrorist attack in California, there was another attack – this time on Christians and the power of prayer. The New York Daily News blasted the offensive headline in capital letters, “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.” They attacked four Republican candidates for president who offered prayers for the victims. Ted Cruz said, “Our prayers are with the victims…” Rand Paul said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders…” Lindsey Graham tweeted, “Thoughts and prayers are with #San Bernardino” and Paul Ryan asked people to “Please keep the victims of #San Bernardino in your prayers.” This attack on prayer quickly became a trend on Twitter and is now known as #PrayerShaming.

This is an attack from Secular Progressives who refuse to believe in God. If there is no God, then prayer is simply a waste of time. But if there is a God, then prayer is not only important, it is vital. During this time when prayer is being attacked, I want to encourage you not to neglect the Christian’s duty and privilege to pray.

Do you believe prayer is important? Do you live a life of prayer? The words “pray” and “prayer” are mentioned 329 times in the King James Version of the Bible, yet while many people believe in prayer, far too often we do not take the time to do it. Why is this? I think the reason many fail to pray is because most do not understand the importance, the significance, and the power of prayer.

Prayer is your lifeline to God. It is your connection to the most powerful force in the universe. Prayer is like an SOS from a sinking ship. Prayer saves, sanctifies, and delivers. Prayer is a weapon for destroying the enemy, the devil. Prayer is the key to your relationship with God. Prayer is a way to make your petition known to your King.

E.M. Bounds writes, “[Prayer should not be regarded] as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty." I agree with Andrew Murray “Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian.”

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

A great secret to a life spent in prayer can be found in the example of Smith Wigglesworth. This famous preacher regularly saw amazing 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 and 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 than fifteen minutes at a time, but I never go more than 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 than 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 you 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. All of us have 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. Our day is constantly filled with little opportunities to pray.

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!

“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 than 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. So she began to pray for us. When we returned home, we shared how we were shot at while we were in Pakistan. She compared the difference in time zones and 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. Do you know someone who needs prayer? Help? Salvation or healing? A touch from God? Begin to pray for them right now.

Your prayer releases the angels of heaven. Your 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. Lift your voice to the Lord and pray on their behalf. Your prayers will change his or her life! When a terrorist attack occurs, instead of being considered a failure of prayer, it should be an invitation to pray even more.

About Daniel King
Daniel King ( is a missionary evangelist who has preached the Gospel in over sixty nations. He has led over one million people to Jesus in the past ten years. Daniel and his wife Jessica live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Daniel King’s latest book, The Power of Prayer: 31 Days to Radically Change Your Prayer Life is available on Amazon. It is an easy-to-read book that reveals the secrets of powerful prayer. It will enhance your prayer life and make your time with God more meaningful.