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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Baseball - positions


4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Out on the baseball field, there are different positions. You have pitchers, catchers, infielders, and outfielders. Each one has a different role and a different area of responsibility on the diamond. Pitchers throw and catchers catch, infielders throw to first and outfielders run like gazelles to make great plays. Of course, that’s the simplified version. What we have to remember, however, is that while there are different roles, we have a common goal. As Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game!” That’s something we can’t forget.


God gifts us all in different ways. If we get caught up in our position in the Christian life, we risk forgetting our purpose. As 1 Peter 3:18 says, that purpose is to: “…to BRING YOU TO GOD” (my emphasis).


Jesus came to remove the obstacles that separate us from God. He came to right the relationship between God and us. And when Jesus gave us the charge in Matthew 28:19 (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the game of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”) He wanted to reinforce that playing our positions well and doing our part is beneficial but the purpose is bringing people back to God. As John Piper said, “Life is not about getting people to heaven, but getting people to God.”


As you perform your tasks today, be diligent and use the talents you have been given. Mistakes and frustrations will come, and we can easily allow our attention to turn inward, forgetting that the purpose is to win the game. Winning in the game of life means giving yourself and others a chance to reencounter or encounter for the first time our living God through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us each a position to fill in Your plan. We pray that we would do our very best to use that position to bring others to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Baseball - opening day

Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Opening day is exciting! At least for baseball players and fans. For the player, the day-to-day grind of spring training is over and a new joy begins to form. When the repetition of spring training finally ends and playing games takes on purpose, both fans and players start to dream. It’s a new season. The slate is wiped clean from all the happiness or misery of the last season. Off-season moves have been made. The buzz is high because the record is 0-0 and every team feels as though they have a chance to make a playoff run. I find it fun how baseball is basically life in microcosm.


The Scripture passage (Hebrews 10:9-18) reminds us that Jesus came, and if we are in a relationship with him, he has wiped our slate clean. Specifically referencing Jeremiah 31:34, he says, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Last season, last year, yesterday... anything before today, no longer has weight. When we encounter the Living God, opening day has arrived!


Just as the boys of summer get excited for the start of the season and games that matter, we have joy in the fact that our lives matter in Christ. From the moment we recognize the grace that has been given to us by God, our once meaningless lives find purpose. Where there was no hope, we now have hope. When we’re tired and broken, we can be strengthened and encouraged knowing we are no longer alone. We don’t have to fight only for ourselves. We now have a team: Jesus and other believers throughout the world.


In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul reinforces our opening day mentality:


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!


As you go through your day, dwell on the amazing reality of your clean slate. Yesterday holds no weight. The new day is here.


And if you feel like you’re stuck in spring training, take hope that opening day is near and there is a Savior who accepted you even before you accepted him. Sing out Romans 3:24: “…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Dear Lord, we thank You that as Spring training winds down that You have already chosen us. All we have to do is choose You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Trust and Obey


2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Do you need strength to walk through God’s open door for your life? Here are some powerful prayer approaches to take when opposition arises!


First, in prayer, rely on God for your future. This will increase your faith in God and circumvent the words and attitudes of opposition that come your way.


Second, in prayer, accept God’s word by faith, and walk in His direction with confidence and courage. There is nothing like the Word of God to overcome all doubt and opposition.


Third, in prayer, do not be intimidated with fear when inundated with difficulties. He will bring you through every opposition by His wisdom and power.


Finally, in prayer, allow the Holy Spirit’s voice to be heard over the voice of failure. In God’s economy setbacks are springboards and stepping-stones to take you to the other side of the storm. The devil uses failure to condemn, but when you hear God speaking to your heart, you will overcome the devil’s opposition.


Keep it simple. Pray, believe, and obey. How much theology do you need to give half your sandwich to a hungry man? How much Hebrew do you need to be able to read the Word of God? Yet to bestow grace and mercy to a brother or sister in need is to obey the supernatural order of God. There is nothing mysterious about the supernatural; it simply allows people to do things they would not be able to do in their own strength. This is an invitation to the supernatural life that only God can provide.

Dear Lord, thank You for the strength that You give to us. Help us to go our and do the things You want us to do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

What Door Do You Need to Go Through?


Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.


What door are you facing right now? What has God called you to do that you have been afraid to do? The open doors God sets before us oftentimes lead to places where we don’t want to go!


Maybe that’s what you are facing right now. The Lord has shown you a door that He has opened and that He wants you to walk through—yet you really don’t want to. I’ve been there, and I can honestly tell you that as you step out in prayer and in faith, the Lord will bring you to the other side, and it will become a blessing to you.


The Lord doesn’t set out the whole plan for us at one time. He has us step out in faith and only gives us what is needed to take the next step. That’s how the Lord works. It really comes down to prayer and faith. Prayer is vital—you need to be in constant communication with the Lord to know where He is leading you and what He is saying to you! You need to be in His Word as well.


Finally you need to trust God. As much as we think we know what is best for our lives, the truth is that we don’t! Left to our natural selves, we have no clue what is best for ourselves, let alone anyone else. However, God knows you intimately. He made you. He knows how you are wired. In fact, God knows you better than you know yourself. He loves you, and He died for you. His plan for your life is good. The Lord is worthy of your trust!


Will you trust Him as you walk through your open door?

Dear Lord, we pray for the strength and courage to walk through the open door You have place before us. Prepare us now for what You have for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

See What God Can Do


Isaiah 40:29 (ESV)
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Can God use our weakened condition? Yes! That is one of the main points in my book It’s Time to Pray. God does not require a huge amount of strength, nor does He shun our human weakness! We are His instruments—it is God who sculpts a masterpiece from our human fragility.


Hudson Taylor was a missionary and wonderful man of God. Prayer was the foundation of his life and his ministry. He once said, “God chose me because I was weak enough. God does not do his great works by large committees. He trains somebody to be quiet enough, and little enough, and then he uses him.”


Ray Buker, an Olympic runner, began his junior year at Bates in the fall of 1920. For the first time since the war the college entered a team into the New England cross-country event held in Boston at the Franklin Park course.


Ray was a member of that team. It was a strange course, and although it had some gentle slopes, it had none of the steep hills that were characteristic of all his cross-country races in Maine. At about a mile from the finish Ray was so far behind the leaders that he was convinced that humanly speaking he could never place, even if he used his sprint for the last part of the race.


He prayed, telling the Lord that perhaps it was not His will that he should win and that he didn’t know how he could. The Lord answered, “Start to sprint.” Ray replied, “Lord, You know that one can’t sprint for a mile!” He felt that God’s answer entered his soul: “You obey Me, and you will see what I can do.” Ray began to sprint. He soon drew even with the leaders—and finished first.

Its amazing to see what God can do when we let Him. Will you let Him today?

Dear Lord, we want to be used by You today. Help us to put our complete trust in You and then to not forget to thank You for the answer. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Courtroom of prayer to God's throne


Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Every time we pray, we invoke the courts of Heaven. How do we enter the courtroom of God? When we enter the courts of Heaven for prayer, we don’t go in scared like when we enter the courts of our country. We enter the courts of Heaven as a Child of God because the One seated on the throne is our Heavenly Father. We go in boldly by the Blood of Jesus.

Daniel 7: 9-10 describes his vision of the throne room of Heaven. He saw innumerable angels ministering unto Him. When God’s Presence entered the courtrooms, demonic powers of hell, the dead spirits stood up and trembled. God sat down and books were opened.

What were these books? Even before you were born, God had a plan for you. He has written and planned things for you. The Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has felt what God has planned for those who love Him”. Those who have the Holy Spirit through Christ, to them God reveals His plans. So if you seek God, He will reveal His plan. And according to His plans, He will pass judgments on your behalf.

When we go into the throne room of Grace, that room becomes the throne room of Judgement for our enemies. Your victory in the battleground is dictated by your victory in the courthouse. Your battleground will become your playground if you handle your courtroom in prayer. Get your orders from God Almighty and don’t get up till you sense in your Spirit the victory that comes from God. Hallelujah! Amen!

Dear Lord, what a privilege we have to enter Your throne room of grace that we might obtain mercy and grace in any time of trouble. We thank You that we serve a great and mighty God. Let Your plans be revealed over our lives. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Liberation from curses


Proverbs 26:2 (ESV)
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
    a curse that is causeless does not alight.

Sparrows and swallows are birds that don’t descend until they find a place or a reason to land. Similarly, a curse will not come without a cause.

What is a curse? A curse is like a supernatural shadow that follows us and limits us from our full potential. It can affect people, families, physical locations, business, etc. and can’t be solved using medical sciences or technology.

A curse can come for many reasons – by demonic powers, from poor choices, due to handling God’s work carelessly, by being a Believer yet insulting the work of the Holy Spirit, from being disrespectful to God, etc. In spite of having all kinds of worldly pleasures, Peace, Joy, and Happiness would seem like a far cry. Why? Because of a looming curse.

Still, there is the Blood of Jesus that breaks every curse. Sometimes ancestral curses may lay claim on our lives but at the Cross of Jesus, all curses become null and void. The Psalmist David sang – “As the deer panteth for the waters, so my soul longs for you”. What was he singing? In the waters, the deer become untraceable as the predator loses its smell. In the same way, our enemies cannot sniff us out when we are immersed in the Holy Spirit. The moment we repent and give our life to God, His Blood takes over and then every curse has to flee from us as we have the anointing to enter God’s Presence. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

God neither answers our prayers based on the virtue of our merit, nor does He answer us based on our sinful lives. He answers us on the merit of His own character because He is a merciful God!

Dear Lord, we thank You that no curse can come into the dwelling place of Your children. We thank You for the Blood of Jesus that makes all our curses null and void. We thank You for Your power that is over all sin and darkness. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Efficient prayer


Luke 18:11 (ESV)
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

There are three characters in the parable narrated by Jesus in Luke 18 – a poor, justice-pleading widow, an uncaring judge, and an accuser. The helpless widow sought justice. She needed to clear a blame inflicted on her by the accuser. It seemed that she looked to restore that which was taken away from her. But the judge paid no heed to her plea.

There are two unique aspects to this parable:

1. This is the only mention where God compares prayer time to a judicial-court situation.

2. This is the only place where God talks of getting quick answers.

Like the widow, how many times have we prayed passionately and got no answers? In the parable, the widow didn’t give up. Day and night she kept pleading her case for justice against her adversary. The Bible says that though the judge didn’t care about the widow, her relentless behavior gave him quite a haunting headache. Finally, the judge gave in and granted her justice.

Jesus goes on to tell us that if the widow got her speedy response from an earthly judge, how much quicker will Our Heavenly Father answer those who cry out to Him day and night.

In verse 8, Jesus wondered if He’d find this quality of faith when He returns to earth. There are three things to learn from the widow’s ‘never-give-up’ faith: She was consistent before the judge, she was persistent in the presence of her adversary, and she was insistent by nature.

Jesus said this quality of faith in prayer will get us speedy answers.

Dear Lord, today we look to You for speedy answers in Jesus name! Nothing is too hard for You Lord and we declare Your word upon our situation. We thank You for holding our lives in Your hands. We declare You are in control of our world and You are the right Judge over all. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Father and child relationship


Luke 11:11-13 (ESV)
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Is a father-child relationship built on mutual interest? No, that’s between friends. Is a father-child relationship built on commercial value? No! Then, what is this relationship based on? Blood covenant! It is the father’s blood that flows through the veins of his children. They belong to him. When we pray, we enter the throne room of God with boldness by the Blood of Jesus. Nothing can keep us apart.

There are three allegories that Jesus cites:

1. Jesus is the Bread of Life. If we desire Him, He will come to us. With Jesus, we won’t end up with a stone that doesn’t edify or build.

2. God alone is the source of all good things. When we pray to the powers of the world, they swallow our time, good works, and relationships like serpents. Our Heavenly Father is the source of all goodness and when we pray to Him, He will only multiply our fish.

3. He provides without adding any sorrow to it. In the Middle-East, scorpions (white variety ones) can be mistaken for eggs when they cuddle up. They are a good example of baits in the world like drugs, alcohol, etc. that look attractive and promising but once they catch us, they switch. With their tail, they give us a poisonous sting.

Dear Lord, we are thankful that we are Your children and You are the source of all good things in our lives. We are nothing without You. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The 3 P’s


Luke 11:9 (ESV)
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Have you seen people waiting to take their exams? Do they watch TV aimlessly or sit around doing nothing. No! They prepare by studying for their exams. In the same way, studying the Bible takes ‘waiting’ with ‘preparation’, which is the essence of ‘waiting’ in prayer. That’s why the Bible says in Isaiah 40:31 – “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like the eagles. They shall run and not grow weary.”

Ask, Seek, and Knock are the elements of waiting (preparation) in prayer. These elements position us to handle God’s answers and revelations in wisdom, dignity, and anointing. Whenever we pray, we ought to open our mouths and ask God. We may think - God knows what I’m thinking. While that is true, it is important for us to talk to God so that we can hear from Him too, and thus make it a 2-way conversation.

Jesus teaches us to Ask, Seek, and Knock. They can be called the three Ps - - Pray, Perceive and Possess. Ask is to ‘Pray’, Seek is to ‘Perceive’ and Knock is to ‘Possess’.

Ask (Pray) - Whenever you go to ask God, pray and talk to Him.

Seek (Perceive) - Begin to seek God’s plan over your life. Begin to sense, begin to perceive what God wants you to do.

Knock (Possess) - Knock to possess God’s plan for your life by faith in Jesus name.

Dear Lord, thank You for the privilege to ask, seek and knock on heaven’s door for your Kingdom to be established over our lives. We thank you that you are preparing us to reach our destiny with you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Affectionate Father


Psalm 103:13 (ESV)
As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Am I an affectionate father? Like the geyser “Old Faithful,” do I spontaneously spew out love and affection on my children? Am I faithful to fill my son or daughter’s emotional tank with a warm embrace or a kiss on the head? Or am I so caught up in my own career and needs that I have no emotional capacity to give affection? Affection must be displayed.


A father with affection reflects his heavenly Father’s affection for him. It is out of an overflow of being comforted and loved by Christ that redeemed fathers show affection to their children. When the Holy Spirit gives us a warm and secure hug, we can’t help but hug our children and grandchildren. Eternal affection translates into earthly affection.


Perhaps you have a routine of kissing and hugging your children each time you leave home and when you arrive home. There is no rushing out the door until you have made emotional deposits in your most valued relational account. Your child is your lock-box of love, waiting with a tender heart to be touched by their daddy. Initiate hugs and kisses.


When a child’s heart hurts from fear, rejection, or physical harm, move closer with care and compassion. Listen with empathetic ears and outstretched arms. Affectionate fathers are up close and personal, distant fathers are unsympathetic and impersonal. Your seeds of affection reap a harvest of healthy adult children who want to come back home.


“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20b).


Since He sets His affections on you, you set your affections on Almighty God. A father who is first loved by his heavenly Father has the capacity to love his children appropriately and fully. Adult children who have experienced their father’s affection more easily show affection. So seek affection above and then apply it below.

Dear Lord, help us as fathers to show Your love to those You have given to us. Help us to strive to be the Father You have for us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Conversation between best friends


Luke 11:5-8 (ESV)
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.


Have you seen or heard conversations between best friends? Do they converse in a formal manner or do they use fancy words? Absolutely not! In fact, it seems like both have common interests and passions. God calls us His friends. Find out the heart of God and make it your burden and you will cultivate your friendship with Him.
If we’re friends with God, will we be spared from troubled times? Midnight hour - temptations, storms and discomfort will come. Never lose hope. Run to Jesus because He has life’s answers for you.

What do we learn from Jesus’ parable? Just as the friend in the story kept knocking, we shouldn’t give up but keep praying. Friends don’t give up on each other, do they? Persevere in the assurance of relationship.

Was the friend borrowing for himself? No, he was pleading for another friend. When was the last time you knocked the Gates of Heaven on someone else’s behalf? Have a Spirit to help others, to pray for others, only then can you develop a culture of mutual interest with God.

Dear Lord, thank You for being our friend whom we can approach any day or anytime. We are privileged to have a friend like You who gave up everything for us. We need more of your grace and power to be the hands and feet of You. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Jesus' prayer life


Luke 11:1 (ESV)
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

There are differences in the ways we pray because all of us are raised differently. Thus, our upbringing shapes our prayer style. For example, some religions focus on posture while others concentrate on chants. When we accept Jesus in our lives, we bring with us our old perceptions and mannerisms of speaking to God. We can’t say that any one style is the right way. What would then be the ‘ideal way’ to pray to God? Let’s follow the teachings of Jesus. Let’s neutralize our backgrounds and in its place develop a culture of prayer life based on the Holy Bible.

Luke 11:1 – Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

What can we learn from Jesus’ prayer life?

1. Jesus had a ‘certain’ place and time for prayer – that’s value and discipline for prayer.
2. Jesus started praying and He finished praying which means Jesus prayed with some sense of order and dignity.
3. Notice that Jesus’ disciples came to Him after He ‘ceased’ praying. Why? Because they knew that they could disturb Jesus while He multiplied bread, when He was tired and resting, or when He slept during the storm to wake Him to calm a storm. But the disciples knew that they couldn’t disturb Jesus when He was praying.

Dear Lord, thank You for showing us the right way to pray. We want our prayer life to be taught individually by You because our life cannot be compared with another and because You have a plan for our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Blessing


Luke 24:50-51 (ESV)
50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

What was this blessing that Jesus gave to these disciples as He ascended to heaven? Whatever He said, it caused the disciples to stop and worship Him. Then they returned to Jerusalem with great joy—not just joy, but great joy! How could these disciples, who had been through so much with Him, leave that place full of joy, even after Jesus had vanished to heaven?

The answer is simple: Jesus had all authority, and now it was going to be bestowed on them. In a short time they would engage the most powerful force in the universe—Spirit-empowered prayer. How could they not be filled with unspeakable joy?

Those in the teaching profession recognize that there are many ingredients that make an effective teacher. Nonetheless, no matter how many teaching theories or strategies emerge, the greatest and most effective method that teachers identify is example, example, and example. Jesus’s life was the supreme example of prayer. He began His ministry in prayer at His baptism. He prayed about all things. Now, Jesus was ending His time on the earth in prayer as He ascended to the Father.


Because we have many different gifts and unique parts to play in Christ’s church, we will leave a variety of legacies. However, there is clearly one great legacy open to all of us. I believe it is one to which we all should aspire. Let this be our prayer, Lord: “May the legacy of our lives be answered prayer, as was Yours.”

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can come to You in prayer. Thanks that we are each given unique gifts to use in Your ministry. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Forsaken But Praying


Mark 15:34 (ESV)

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Have you ever felt forsaken by the Lord? Abandoned? It is a lonely feeling to find yourself in the middle of a crisis or situation you can’t explain or do anything about. Can you trust Him with all the challenging events of life and live in faith? Even in the midst of suffering and pain? We must come to the conclusion and understanding that the Lord uses all things to accomplish His purposes in our lives. The Lord even uses evil things that come from the evil one (Proverbs 16:4).

Jesus claimed God as His Father, yet He lamented that the Father was withdrawing His love and care for Him. The Father abandoned Christ while Christ bore our sins on the cross. It was the greatest price that could be paid for our sin, Christ’s suffering. Though forsaken, Christ remained faithful to His mission—redemption for those who would choose salvation through Him.

There will be times in life when you feel abandoned. The burden may seem more than is humanly possible to bear. We want to ask why these events happen, but why? isn’t the right question. The right question is, will you worship and follow God even if He does not meet your expectations? Will you follow Him even when you feel forsaken? Will you still pray?

Dear Lord, when we feel forsaken and abandoned help us to know that You are always there. Help us to never stop praying. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Persevering Prayer


Matthew 26:36 (ESV)
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”

How much time in prayer is sufficient? Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Jesus was distressed and troubled, and He needed the disciples to watch with Him in prayer. He had modeled prayer, and now it was time for them to support Him in prayer. But they couldn’t even pray one hour. Is prayer this tough for you?

When we pray in the flesh, we are like couch potatoes trying to run a marathon—we are winded and simply do not have what it takes to finish. When we pray, we must pray in the Spirit. It is the Spirit who provides the strength and the energy to pray. The Spirit, pneuma in the Greek, is more properly termed “breath” or “wind” (Acts 2:2). Just like the couch potato trying to run, our flesh has no strength and no breath, but the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit fills us and gives us the strength and breath we need to pray. By praying in the Spirit, we can finish the marathon of life without running out of breath. We can persevere (Ephesians 6:18). We can develop the discipline of prayer. We can “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

One of the lessons about prayer our Lord repeatedly taught is we must persevere. This may be the greatest stumbling block to the prayer life of most Christians. Answers to prayers don’t come as quickly as we anticipate.

Let’s be completely honest with ourselves here—patience is not exactly something we practice a great deal in our nanosecond-response-time culture. My definition of lust is “I want it, and I want it now!” If there is a sure prescription for failure in prayer, it is the attitude of “I want my answer, and I want it now.” Our love of ease, impatience, and spiritual laziness don’t contribute to persevering prayer.

But why doesn’t God just go ahead and answer our prayers? That’s a great question. God has an end game with us—an eternal, essential purpose. That purpose is oneness with Him and being conformed into His image. Above all things, including answering our prayers, He wants to draw us deeply into Him. Persisting in unanswered prayer is the training ground for increased faith. It’s the place where God extends grace to us, and it is the perfect soil for character building. Unanswered prayer leaves us vulnerable before the Lord, the ideal place for surrender.

Dear Lord, help us to draw deeply into You. Help our trust be completely in You so that we can grow to be the people You would have us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Engaging the Enemy in Spiritual Warfare


2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

We need to learn this lesson—we experience the Lord three ways: through our personal experience, through the Word and prayer, and through our fellowship with others in our community. In all three of these realms Satan is at war to destroy God’s essential purpose: unity.

Satan lies to us about our personal relationship with Christ. He constantly attacks the credibility of God’s Word and diverts our attention away from prayer. Satan does this because he knows it is through the Word and prayer that we mature as Christians and become equipped to battle against him. And the enemy schemes to create division in our fellowship with other believers because he understands that division will discredit the love of Christ. Disunity in the body of Christ will cause people to doubt if Jesus really is who He said He is, the Son of God. Much of Jesus’s prayer in John 17 addresses His plea to the Father for the unity of believers with them (the Father and Son) and with one another (vv. 11, 21-23).

The Word of God reveals that there is a furious spiritual battle taking place right now in the heavens and the unseen realms (Ephesians 6:12). Most of us are unaware of this war. And if we are aware, there is an additional rebutting that takes place with many Christians when it comes to spiritual warfare. The thought of battling demons, evil spirits, or Satan himself is overwhelming and frightening.

The truth is that we are to war against Satan. God has called us to use the weapons of our warfare to defeat the enemy and crush him underfoot (Romans 8:37-39; 16:20; 1 John 2:13-14). Everyday people such as you and me are called to put on the armor of light and cast aside the works of darkness (Romans 13:12). We are called to bring God’s kingdom of heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10).

Through prayer and the Word of God we are able to discern the strongholds of the enemy and tear down his defenses (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The powers of darkness will be broken in our lives and the lives of others as we learn to war in the spirit. We will be God’s warriors, fully equipped to see the forces of evil destroyed and His kingdom and unity established in our midst.

Dear Lord, we pray for strength so that was can stand against the enemy. We thank You for Your word that shows us how to stand firm. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Praying Like a Little Child

Matthew 19:13-15 (ESV)
13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

There is no second-guessing about what we must be like to enter the kingdom of heaven. There is no test to pass to see if we have reached the right score on the righteousness scale. There is no spiritual timepiece to measure the minimum requirement for prayer and Bible study. There is only one required standard to enter the kingdom of heaven: childlike faith in Christ as Savior.

Little children are harmless and inoffensive. They are meek, free from malice, and without pride. Little children do not have ambitious ideas or desires for superiority. Where do you go to school? How much money does your parent make? These are questions that wouldn’t cross a child’s mind.


The question you must ask yourself is: Do I really trust my heavenly Father the way a little child trusts? Your prayers will reveal your belief system when it comes to trust in the Father. You see, I really do believe my heavenly Father is loving and faithful and has my best interests at heart. I believe He hears my prayers (John 14:13). I believe God the Father looks at me as one of His little children. He calls me up close to Him and says, “Tell Me what is on your heart, son.” He says, “Get quiet and listen to what I say to you.” So simple, so conversational, so unprofessional, so real. That’s the way He teaches us to pray. He desires the honest simplicity of praying like a little child, not praying to be heard by others or attempting to impress God. Can you imagine trying to impress God with your prayers? What a waste of time.

In coming to our Lord in prayer with the spirit of childlikeness, we will realize the Fatherhood of God in our lives.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would have a child like faith. We pray that we would trust You fully like a child trust his parents. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Miraculous in the Mundane


Luke 9:28-29 (ESV)
28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.

Too often we believe that we must answer the call to a particular service or put forth some heroic act to elicit the miraculous. I believe what the transfiguration of Christ reveals to us is that as we pray and seek God, we are changed and the miracles of God will slip into our ordinary life (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What qualifies as miraculous in our everyday mundane lives? It is one thing for us to encounter a great injustice and stay true to God as others see our godly character.

But what about praying for a coworker’s salvation? What about the wife who works and takes care of a home and prays for the ability to keep it all together? Are answers to prayer in these situations any less than miraculous? No, they are not.

Flashes of lightning, visions, dreams, revelations, and what we typically view as miraculous aren’t daily occurrences for most of us. I believe the Lord does want us to have huge answers to prayer every day and see miracles. That is what I am contending for in my prayer life. Truthfully I am not there. But I am a holding on, and I am putting into proper perspective the miraculous events in my daily life that aren’t lightning bolts from heaven.

When we go to work every day, we are plunged into toil and worldly things. The everyday sameness or lack of spirituality at work could cause us to miss what the Lord is doing. The same is true for those who care for children and the home or an elderly parent. But there is a great breakthrough that the Holy Spirit has planned for us. He wants us to experience His miraculous power in the dailiness of life. Prayer is the key to this experience. We can indeed live in an attitude of prayer the entire day, in every conversation and through every task we undertake. And it is through this that the mundane is truly transformed into the miraculous.

But the transformation of prayer can go much deeper. As we face the world every day, we face temptations, and this is where we need the Lord to purify us. Prayer is the vehicle that frees us from the bondage of flesh. Prayer is our road to transformation. “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:29, NIV).

Dear Lord, help us to be faithful as we pray. We ask that that prayer will be our road to transformation. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Be Still. Be Quiet.


Matthew 14:23 (ESV)
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

Silence is a stranger to most of us. To discover silence, we have to be like Jesus and go off to find a place where we can turn off the cell phone and the TV, a place with no bustling businesses or chattering people to deal with. The Lord calls us to this silence as much as He calls us to be with one another. What should our times of silence and being alone before the Lord consist of? This is where the prayer life of Jesus is such a profound example for us. Jesus shows us that these times of intimacy must first center on being quiet and listening.

We cannot put God in a box and make our relationship with Him a formula. But if we are going to follow the example of Jesus, we must get alone with God and silence ourselves. The silence that He invites us into is a silence of listening, a respectful stillness before our God. This kind of silence brings great joy, clarity, and purity to our lives.

Finding stillness may be one of the greatest challenges in our relationships with Christ and our prayer lives. There are two great hindrances we face every day in our search for stillness: our busy lifestyles and the constant noise of our culture. Are you busy? Where are you on the Facebook addiction scale? Enough said.

As simple as it may seem, we find stillness by making a choice, deciding to sit down away from all the clamor of our life and technology. God bestowed on us free will; it is not an illusion. We are not victims of our culture. We have control over the way we respond to everything that comes our way.

The science of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to reorganize itself by developing new neural connections) makes it very clear that when we make a decision, we change the matter in our brain. It is the scientific confirmation of God’s Word: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23: 7). Every time we steal away with the Lord in quiet retreat, we transform and renew our minds and conform to the communication pathways of the kingdom (Romans 12: 1-2). And it is in the stillness that our zeal for the Lord and His ways is given the chance to grow.

Dear Lord, help us to be still. Help us to transform and renew our minds. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Pray This Way


Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

Of all the things the disciples could have asked of Him, they asked to be taught how to pray. As you read Jesus’s words of how to pray, ask the Holy Spirit for fresh revelation, for how you can practically respond to His instruction.

Worship is the beginning and end of prayer. “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6: 9, 13, MEV) Jesus taught the disciples and us that in prayer we are to pay homage to the reality that this is His kingdom. God has control over everything, and He can and will answer our prayers. There is nothing impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). He desires His kingdom to come. It is His will, His purpose. He has set before us a vision of a renewed community and people in unity. Jesus’s prayer reminds us that extending God’s kingdom is included in our decision to follow Him.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Can we live in this kind of simplicity and trust, like a little child? Can we be grateful for the food, how little or much, set before us today? This is one place we repeatedly allow our peace and contentment to be stolen. We compare our provision to others.

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt 6:12). To be forgiven, you must forgive. You must live in forgiveness daily toward everyone: your spouse, friends, enemies, children, and most of all yourself. There is great freedom in forgiveness; it is the key to the kingdom—confessing our sins, seeking forgiveness, and forgiving others.

Christ instructs us to pray a very honest prayer, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). As shocking as the thought may be, the Lord tests us (Psalm 139:23-24; Jeremiah 17:10; 1 Peter 1:6-9). The Lord desires to produce pure gold out of our lives. Also, far too many of us are not in a position to face the temptations of sin and attacks of the enemy when they come. For our protection the Lord is able to chain up the roaring lion that seeks to tempt and destroy us (2 Peter 2:9).

Do you count yourself among those who need Christ to teach them to pray? I do. So let us come together and learn from the master teacher on prayer. Let’s pray for God’s purposes, provision, pardon, and protection.

Dear Lord, we ask that You would show us how to pray. Help us to study Your word and learn the lessons that You show us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Secret Place


Mark 1:35-37 (ESV)
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”

Where do you pray? Is where you pray really that important? Evidentially it is; Jesus specifically mentioned where we should and shouldn’t pray.

Where not to pray: in a location chosen so others can see you (Matthew 6:5).

Where to pray: in private in your room (Matthew 6:6).

While Jesus was in Capernaum, Mark indicated that Simon and his companions went to look for Jesus. When they found Him, they exclaimed, “Everyone is searching for You” (Mark 1:37, MEV). Jesus often went away in seclusion to pray, and everyone was trying to find Him. Obviously He didn’t stay close, and He wasn’t easy to find.

We see this pattern of the Lord’s early-morning prayer beginning at the start of His ministry. He repeatedly departed to a solitary place, either in the hills, out of town, or in a remote garden. Here He showed us the power of prayer in a secret place.

Here’s the deal. If you don’t have a familiar place, a quiet place away from others, you probably don’t have a habit of praying often. It is the great secret to prayer—you must pray in secret.

We live in turbulent and violent times. Uncertainty seems to loom around every corner. Raising children, working, challenges in relationships, and our quest for unity in our Christian fellowship are all under assault from the world. Yet the Lord has made provision for us in this tempest. God’s Word provides a way for us. He entreats us to enter the refuge where His watchfulness leads us to a place of safety.

The marvelous truth about the secret place is that it is not so secret. And we all are eligible for entrance. It requires but two things from us to enter: time and a love for Jesus. Put these two together, and we are given an opportunity to gain understanding into the nature of God.

Dear Lord, help us to find a secret place to pray.  Help us to make it a priority to come to You in prayer. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.