Desperate Times call for Desperate Prayer

477907061The Lord answers King Solomon’s prayer with incredible hope. It says in 2 Chron 7:14-15, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” It was after the dedication of the temple that the King had an encounter in the night from the Lord. King Solomon had asked the Lord in the dedication prayer to forgive the people of God if they repent from going astray from Him and finding themselves being carried away into bondage.

God’s answer was if His people would cry out to Him with humility and prayer, there would be a radical change. He wasn’t talking about a sweet little prayer before we eat or bedtime but a heart felt, gut-agonizing prayer for God’s intervention. We have relied on our own abilities to gather a crowd and just talked about prayer without much praying.


It’s time to humble our-selves and pray! Not just speaking eloquent words to be heard by man but to cry-out in desperation to God.   (tweet)


It’s time to humble our-selves and pray! Not just speaking eloquent words to be heard by man but to cry-out in desperation to God.

The answer to our problem is not in the politicians, it’s not in building physical walls and it’s not just in gathering a group for the sake of unity, the answer will only come from our Heavenly Father’s response to His people’s prayers. We have moved from acknowledging that God is our only answer to focusing on our own ability as the answer. It’s that same independent controlling attitude that says, “We can Fix it Ourselves”, that we also see as we read the account of those building the Tower of Babel in Gen 11:1-9 . They were going to do it their way not Continue reading

Rock Hard is Only Good in Marbles!

564757841Rocking fields in southern Idaho was an early temporary job that my friends and I would do. We would get paid to walk behind a tractor and trailer in the unplanted fields in early spring, picking up rocks that the freeze would bring to the surface through the winter. We would work, hang out and play around the fields and harvest equipment. Yet, I didn’t fully understand the whole process of sowing and reaping even though I grew up around the farming industry. But it was these memories that would later bring understanding and clarity to many Biblical principles that I would enjoy studying.

One such parable that we find is in Mark 4:3-20, where Jesus talks to the crowd about the farmer who sows seeds in the field. He reveals to His disciples deeper insight once the crowd leaves and it is more intimate. (vs10-11)

As Jesus unfolds this story to us He reveals the farmer as a messenger spreading seeds, which is the Word of God, in the field. The focus is not on any faultiness of the messenger or the seed, but on the condition of the soil. In Luke’s account of this parable, Jesus explains that the soil represents the field of our heart. (Lk 8:12)


Often we allow the weeds of life’s circumstances to defile our heart, causing God’s Word to fall on unprepared heart-soil. (tweet)


conditions are likened to four different types of soils along with the outcome of planting the seed in each one. Therefore, as the Word of God falls on our heart we find it necessary that the condition of our heart be receptive and prepared for bearing good fruit.

In Ps 51:10 King David knew that he had a heart condition making him drift from the things of God. After his sinful action and consequences of them, he cried out to the Lord, saying “Create in me a clean heart, O God”. David knew he had let his heart be defiled. To often along the journey of life we also allow the weeds of life’s circumstances to defile our heart, which can cause different reactions to God’s Word.

Back in the Gospel of Mark Jesus explains the seed falling on well-trampled and hard soil; where the birds of the air or the enemy of our soul comes and easily steals away the Word of truth, before it has a chance to be planted. Then secondly, we see the seed falling on shallow soil that has no depth because of underlining rock.


Let us be good farmers of our heart’s soil, making ready for the planting of God’s Word. (tweet)


lets us know if we don’t allow His Word to go down deep and bear roots in our life that at the first onslaught of persecution we will succumb to the pressure and the Word will wilt in us. Making our spiritual life stunted and immature.

Thirdly, when the Word falls amongst the soil of our heart full of thorns and thistles, it begins to grow and it is immediately choked-out by the weeds. Representing the cares of life overtaking our attention and priority stifling any spiritual growth.

Finally, the seed falls on good soil. It’s only when the Word of God is planted in good soil that it will produce a fruitfulness some thirty, sixty or a hundred fold. So we must tend to the field of our heart and make sure it is prepared for the word to grow in us. We do that by prayer and fasting, praise and worship and communing with the Holy Spirit. Let us be good farmers of our heart’s soil, making ready for the planting of God’s Word.

Having an Attitude of a Warrior

187139402Do you remember the heroic acts of the passengers on the United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2001? It was a normal day until the ordinary gave way to the catastrophic. The enemy had no other plans than to kill, steal and destroy their lives and many others. When these heroes realized what was going on they decided not to allow the enemy to inflict unjust destruction upon them. They rose up against the terrorists— they fought back. They counter-attacked the enemy sacrificing their own lives but literally saving hundreds in Washington, D.C. These heroes were not going to sit by and take whatever their enemy dished out.


As a good soldier of Christ, we must have the attitude or heart of a warrior   (tweet)


As Christians, we need to continue to build upon the foundation laid by Jesus on the cross. We must put on and use the armor God has provided for us. We must not allow the enemy to get our eyes off the souls who are facing sure destruction without our intervention. As a good soldier of Christ, we must have the attitude or heart of a warrior. The apostle Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” (II Tim. 4:7). In summing up his life, he affirms that we must fight spiritual battles. It’s a “good fight” because it is the will of God that we combat the forces of His enemy. In Him, we are more than conquers (Rom. 8:37)! Over two hundred years ago Edmond Burke said, “All it takes for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing.” You can apply that saying to your entire spiritual life as you pursue God’s plan.


We must remember our fight is not with flesh and blood and that our weapons are mighty in God    (tweet)


The Christian is as bold as a lion and must stand for righteousness. God Himself is described as a warrior in Isaiah 42:13. Psalms 144:1 states, “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” God is not only a warrior Himself, but He trains us to have that same attitude and heart so that we can execute righteousness in the land. The prophet Joel declared, “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up,” (Joel 3:9). How many times are we confronted by the enemy and we do nothing but quake in our boots? It’s time for us to wake up the warring spirit within us and get ready for the battle at hand. David, though young and inexperienced in battle, stepped up to fight Goliath. Many might ask why he would take a stand against a mocking giant. Well as he himself said, “Is there not a cause,” (I Sam. 17:29)?

David had a warrior’s heart. He refused to allow an overgrown, ungodly Philistine to mock his God or defy His armies. His previous fight with the bear and the lion prepared him for this epic battle. God prepares and equips us to become spiritual warriors for His kingdom as we walk with Him along the journey. Having a heart and attitude of a warrior is a part of our spiritual D.N.A.

We must remember our fight is not with flesh and blood and that our weapons are mighty in God as Paul says in 2 Cor. 10:3, 4. Therefore, our attitude must consist because of spiritual content such as prayer, scripture understanding and obedience to God’s statues.

Blessed is the Nation that Comes Together in Prayer

praying in a huddleAs the clock struck twelve, the crowds had only one thing on their mind—getting to the place of prayer. The whole city was shut down, businesses closed their doors, schools dismissed class early, and even the legislature had called it a day. The year was 1905, and from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., the eyes of the city were looking to God for his guidance. The mayor of Denver had declared a day of prayer, resulting in more than twelve thousand in attendance in downtown prayer meetings.

During this same time, over two hundred businesses closed for three hours of prayer in Portland, Oregon. In Burlington, Iowa, many stores and factories closed to allow their employees to go to prayer meetings. There seemed to be a yearning and anticipation for a fresh move of God sweeping through people of every social and ethnic level. Churches were bulging full of people praying and seeking God. The news of the great Welsh revival spread through the land like wild fire, causing a hunger to be aroused in America. The result of this great move of prayer was powerful. Many denominations recorded a significant increase in their membership. Things were beginning to be stirred and get in place for the soon coming Azusa Street Revival in 1906.

Nearly fifty years earlier, a similar movement of prayer took place, bringing our country to its knees. It all started in 1857, in Manhattan, New York, area, with an individual named Jeremiah Lanphier, who had a burden from the Lord to start a noon prayer meeting. He advertised and promoted it, which soon brought a steady increase in attendance. Before long, prayer meetings began to spring up in almost every public building downtown. The local newspaper’s publicity thrust a landslide of prayer, beginning a movement that spread throughout New England

The revival that followed had no boundaries going out in every direction changing lives. Shortly after the revival had begun, the country found itself in the middle of the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. Yet, due to the moving of God, many of the men who lost their lives had been prepared for eternity through God’s grace and mercy.

The effects of this revival touched even the White House. President Lincoln, being concerned about America and how it had become too successful and self-sufficient, full of pride, gave his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer. On April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said, “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” The results of this great revival not only carried on, but also lasted for many years. It had begun in a passion for prayer and was sustained with faithfulness of prayer!


When God’s people come together in persistent powerful prayer, God breaks in with radical results!       Tweet


Mathew Henry once said, “When God intends a great mercy for his people, he first sets them a praying.” We must find the place of prayer! Revival has never come through great preaching or successful programs. We must set ourselves to prayer, seeking to be changed by the power of God. Only when we have touched the hem of his garments will we see a visitation of God!

I Want It Now!

200157668-001A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything, brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit. Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way. The scriptures teach us in Colossians 4:2, “to continue earnestly in prayer,” and in Romans 12:12, it says “continuing steadfastly in prayer.”  We are exhorted to be persistent in our prayer life.

Jesus shares a parable in Luke 18:1-8, driving home the point of persistent prayer. It says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily…”

                        A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything,                                   brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit.    (tweet)

            When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be praying in unbelief. That’s totally contrary to scripture! The continual knocking or coming to the judge brought the widow’s answer. The Bible does say in James 1:6-8, that we must have faith when we pray, but being continuously in prayer doesn’t mean you have unbelief. On the contrary, I think it indicates that you do have faith in God. Your action of continual asking shows you believe He will answer.

I like what Marilyn Hickey says, “Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.” If you think about the farmer’s process, he plants his seed then waters it day after day until he sees a sprout breaking through the soil. The farmer is like the diligent believer who plants his seed and then through continual prayers of faith waters it until the answer breaks through and comes to pass. Keeping with this analogy, if praying continually is wrong then the farmer watering his seed daily would also be wrong.

                    Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving,                          unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way     (Tweet)

            Let’s look at I Kings 18:41-45. We see Elijah telling Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of an abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. That’s when this story gets very interesting. After Elijah prayed, he sent his servant to look for rain clouds. Six times his servant checked and didn’t see anything, Elijah continued in prayer. The scriptures say, “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ The downpour from that small cloud broke three and a half years of drought. This all happened because Elijah wouldn’t quit praying—he had faith to be steadfast in prayer.

            Living a life of prayer will always be a life of adventure and power. Ephesians 6:18 tells us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  In other words be tenacious and persistent in prayer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the answer to your prayers immediately. Keep knocking on Heaven’s door.

This Place Works Great!

praying-for-rainDriving to church one Sunday I was so encouraged when a car passed me with the driver in serious prayer. It was obvious to me by her actions and demeanor that she was interceding for the upcoming service. She was transforming her car into a prayer room on the way to her church.

The scripture describes prayer as taking place in many different settings. We see in Matthew 6:6, “… when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” In Luke 6:12, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray. He also prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk. 22:39) and Peter prayed on the housetop in Acts 10:9.

Susanna Wesley the mother of Charles and John Wesley prayed during the day in her rocking chair. She had nineteen active children and as you can imagine finding time and place for prayer was almost impossible. But, knowing the need and the power of prayer she would sit in her chair placing her apron over her face making it a place of prayer. Her children were instructed never to disturb their mother when she was praying under her apron.


            “The intensity of the storm paled in comparison to those who were bombarding Heaven with cries for revival”   (Tweet) 


There are so many different places of opportunity to nurture your prayer life. Families can pray together at the kitchen table after breakfast or evening dinner. Those in the marketplace can have prayer meetings in their office cubicle or conference room before work. On your commute to work every day turn your car into a holy time of prayer.

Being in Guatemala, in a flimsy tent under a cloudburst, along with hundreds of serious prayer warriors impacted my life to my core. The intensity of the storm paled in comparison to those who were bombarding Heaven with cries for revival. Few were even aware of the storm outside. These hungry hearted believers were not going to allow anything to hinder their prayers. I was reminded of how often, back in the blessed U.S.A., we allow our prayer focus to get off track. Yet here in a remote area of the Guatemalan mountain, these people didn’t even flinch at the raging wind, pounding rain or the flapping tent. It was a glorious time of intense intercession that is seared in my memory.

Our places of prayer should be a place that helps keep our focus on heaven and not those around us. If we are praying so that others can see us and our pride can be stroked, then we have missed the mark and purpose of prayer. Matthew 6:1-6, lets us know if we are looking for man’s approval and praise then we will receive the rewards of man. Wouldn’t we rather have our rewards come from God who sees in secret and rewards us openly? Therefore, wherever you find your place to be, make it a holy place with Him.

The overall view in scripture is that there is no one place to pray that is superior. The only criteria is that we pray in a place and manner that allows us to focus on the Lord. God wants us to spend quality time with Him, wherever that might be on a roof, in a tent or elsewhere. He longs for our undivided attention. Remember prayer is communication with our heavenly Father, whether we are alone or with others, it is talking and conversing with Him.

Any Time is the Perfect Time

clock time The times of prayer can be as different as the places of prayer. Looking back to my childhood I can remember my parents, being involved in many different prayer meetings. Therefore, they would bring different ones of us children with them to the various meetings. In fact, I feel I had the privilege of cutting my teeth in prayer meetings. As I look back over the many years there is one definite fact that I’ve come to realize about prayer. That is, there is no one set time to pray, on the contrary the scriptures reference many different times of prayer.
In Psalm 55:16-17 we read David’s words, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” The religious culture of that day held prayer three times a day. We see this also in Daniel 6:10, “…he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”


The perfect time for prayer is any time that allows you to connect

to the God that loves you. (click to tweet)   


For many years, I have been involved in morning prayer meetings. I started this routine when I was just out of bible school and attending a church in Rockwall, Texas. God used my pastor to stir thousands to pray in the mornings for one hour. The scripture Mark 1:35 was the inspiration, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out …and there He prayed.” This teaching swept through America and abroad. motivating multitudes to get up early and find their place of intercession each morning..
Some churches hold all night prayer meetings. Luke 6:12 tells us that Jesus prayed all night, “… He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” When I was a youth pastor my pastor would call the whole church, to an all-night prayer meetings. Different departments were assigned to lead different hours through the night. As well, I remember a time in Haiti some years back where I had the privilege to attend a prayer meeting. Thirty of us, with the stars as our backdrop, prayed from night until early morning on the housetop.
In 1857 New York City was ablaze with the fire of prayer. God had placed a burden to pray at noon for revival and spiritual renewal on Jeremiah C. Lamphier. This movement of noon prayer spread like wild fire across the city and then the country. At one time the famed newspaper editor Horace Greeley sent a reporter by horse and buggy to count the attendance at the different noon prayer meetings and was only able to get to twelve locations, but counted 6,100 who had come to pray.
We see in the last 10 years across the globe the explosion of 24 hour continuous prayer and praise meetings. Inspired by David’s tabernacle (1 Chr. 23:5; 25:7), where 288 singers and 4,000 musicians that were dedicated full-time to minister to the Lord and serve others. In Luke 18:7 Jesus says that God will bring justice to those that “cry out day and night to Him.
Believers are crying out to God in prayer every hour of the day and night. Whether it is morning, noon or evening, once a week or special times, there is a stirring in the belly of the church to cry out to Heaven in prayer. The perfect time for prayer is any time that allows you to connect to the God that loves you

His Eye is on us…

Mother watching childI am reminded how growing up, my brothers and I were a little bit rowdy, well maybe not just a little. So often we would hear my mother say, “I have my eye on you”. This was not necessarily a negative statement dependent upon our actions. If our actions were disruptive it would bring correction and if they were good then it always brought reward and affirmation. My mother’s words were rooted in feelings of endearment. Her eyes were on us because she knew us and loved us.

In a time of corporate prayer and seeking the Lord, I was reminded of what God spoke to King Solomon at the end of a Solemn Assembly. God’s people had gathered together for the dedication of the new temple and now God speaks to the King saying…

2 Chron 7:15-16   Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. NKJV

When God’s people come together in a unified heart, focusing and positioning themselves on God and His will, not only will He come in healing, physically and spiritually. But we see that Gods eyes and ears will be on them. For where His heart is, His eyes and ears are also. God loves His children!


He will keep His eyes on us because He is passionately in Love with us!  (Tweet)


Where the scripture says He will keep His eyes on us, I believe it’s a direct outcome of His passionate love for us. In Deut 32:10, we read where it refers to His children as the apple of Gods eye and earlier it says that His people are His portion. In other words you get the idea that God is crazy in love with us.  In Romans it tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from that love. That’s a huge statement! Not just a few things, but nothing can separate you and I from His love. Whether, natural or spiritual, there is not one thing big or small that can divide us from His incredible love.

He will take notice of their action and mark the place as holy, a place that is sanctified and separated unto Him. There is protection and blessing when He watches over us. He listens for our cry with a greater level of attentiveness, because we have touched His heart.  Just as a mother can now purchase technical products, such as audio and visual monitors that help them keep their ear and eye on their babies. It’s all because of their love and desires to be a good parent.

Some individuals have a warped concept of God and His love for them. Whether it’s because of a bad example of a father figure or a lack of understanding, they see God as a cosmic kill joy keeping an eye on them to catch them in a mistake.

This cannot be any further from the truth. In 2 Chron 16:9    We read that God is looking for an opportunity to move powerfully in behalf of His people. It says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

As we seek Him and move towards Him in prayer, we need to be confident in the fact that His eyes are on us. Knowing God sees and moves towards us with the desire to show His love on our behalf.

Continuing in an Attitude of Prayer

praying handsIn Acts 6:4 we read the words of the apostles, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer…”. This phrase “give ourselves” implies a personal action and responsibility. It says that they “gave” not that it was given to them or that it came natural to them. They had to make the effort and take the time themselves to press into a life of continual prayer and studying the scripture. They were diligent to give themselves to the Lord. They found faithful men to serve and care for the physical needs of the people, so that they could spend more time alone with God.  These leaders understood that there were deeper levels and depths of knowing God that they must attain to do what they were called to do. Therefore, it was essential for each of them to press into God so that they could meet the spiritual needs of others better. They knew before they talked to man about God that they must first talk to God about man.

So often I hear people say, “if I had more time” or “if it was my job” I would spend more time seeking God in prayer and the studying of the Word. But the apostles were as busy as anyone else if not more and they didn’t use those excuses. Instead it says that they gave themselves to prayer and the word. They didn’t allow anything to distract or to keep them from pursuing more of God.

In Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians he exhorts the believers to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17) This isn’t just for leaders, but for every Christian.   In Luke 18:2-8, Jesus shares a parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow where He brings out the overlaying message, “That men always ought to pray and not lose heart,” (Luke 18:1). So many believers seldom pray or they fizzle out when they haven’t seen the results they are looking for quick enough. We have become a society that demands instant everything, instant food, instant banking and instant messaging. This same attitude has flowed right into the fabric of the church and our relationship with the Lord. God wants us not to lose heart in our pray life.


  We Must know before we talk to man about God that they must first talk to God about man.    (Click to Tweet)


Jesus and the Apostle Paul exhort us to pray. It’s about as optional as breathing is to your body. Paul stirs young Timothy in his letter, “I desire therefore that men pray everywhere,” (I Tim. 2:8) and then to the believers at Colossi he says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).

In James 4:17 we are warned, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” If we know that we are to pray in an attitude of continuous prayer and we aren’t doing it we are in sin. Samuel declared it was a sin for him to cease from praying, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you,” (I Sam. 12:23). Isaiah declared, “And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You…” (Isa. 64:7).

A Christian who does not have a disciplined prayer life is disobedient and powerless. The Lord grieves when His children are in such a state. He loves His children and wants to see them walk in victory. The Holy Spirit is always wooing His children to come in communion with Him not just occasionally but to walk in an attitude of continuous prayer.

Not Just Thanksgiving but a Life of Thanksliving

I heard a sThankfulness - sunsettory about a little boy who was handed an orange by a man trying to be kind. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.”

As rude as this boy in the story seems to be, what’s more shocking is that this attitude is prevalent throughout our society. Everywhere we turn we can see it filtering through this great nation of ours. We have raised a generation of self-absorbed people that are blinded to everything other than their desires and needs. We have forgotten the simple act of gratitude.

We have made our own worlds that revolve around us! We have set ourselves as kings of our own kingdoms! It’s nothing more than a “Me, Myself and I” society that we are slipping into. The scripture says in 1 Tim. 3:1-2 that in the last days men will be lovers of themselves and unthankful along with other selfish attributes. Through our actions we have nurtured and raised a generation of unthankful people.

I am reminded of the story of the ten lepers that stood afar off as Jesus entered a certain village. They lifted their voices so that Jesus could hear them and cried out saying “have mercy on us!” Jesus responded by telling them to go and show themselves to the priest, who had the final decision in pronouncing them clean or defiled.

As the lepers went in obedience to His words, the very disease that had kept them estranged from society incredibly dries up and instantly they are healed. Now if this was the end of the story it would be a great lesson on obedience and God’s mercy, but it goes even deeper. The story continues with the scene of only one of the ten returning to give thanks for the miracle from God. The author points out that this healed man was not a Jew but a Samaritan. He wasn’t educated in the traditions and things of God. Yet he knew enough to be eternally grateful for the life changing miracle he was given. Many times those who profess to be Christians are out-done by unbelievers.

Where were the other nine? They all had been unfairly handicapped by this demoralizing disease. They had all been separated from society and their families and dreams. Yet, when they were radically healed and set free by a merciful loving God that heard and responded to their cries. The majority of them didn’t even have the time to come and say, “Thank You”.

It’s time we ourselves develop a habit of gratitude towards God and be obedient to the scripture, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thes 5:18 NKJ).  We can become a person of gratitude by being thankful in three simple areas.  First, by being thankful for everything He has done in our lives. Secondly, being thankful for everything He is doing in our lives and thirdly, walking in faith by being thankful for everything He is going to do in our lives.

When we become grateful in these areas it will develop a heart of gratitude in us. Once we learn to be thankful to God we will see that same attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude flow out to and through others.

It truly is time to stop the madness of self-centeredness and develop a lifestyle of thankfulness, not just thanksgiving but Thanksliving!

Normal People Can Do Great Things Too!

Many Years ago, in the year 1787 at Hampton Sidney College in Virginia, there were three students who prayed out in the woods once a week, in the morning. As you can imagine when the other students found out, they began to make fun and persecute them. The president of the college, John Smith, was so impressed with their commitment that he invited the three young prayer warriors to hold their weekly prayer meeting at his house.

The result of those three young students taking a stand in prayer was two hundred students coming to Christ that first year. By 1795 Yale University was experiencing revival as well. By 1802 one third of the student body converted to Christ. Many say this was a direct response to the seeds that were sown in prayer years earlier.

If you think about it, those three students were nothing but normal students with a tenacious burden for God to move on their campus. They weren’t well known preachers or highly talented individuals. They were normal! History doesn’t tell us that they had anything but a desire and boldness to prayer. And maybe we can’t even say they had boldness because they were praying in the woods, possibly to hide from everyone. But these normal students prayed to a God that holds the whole earth in His hands and history records the rest of the story.

We will probably never know the full impact of our prayers until we get to Heaven. But one thing is certain there is power in prayer. In James 5:16-18 we read, “Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” I translate this verse like this, “The persistent powerful prayer of a believer brings radical results.”

God has granted us an unbelievable privilege in prayer. The problem is that many times we don’t understand the opportunity we have. We fall prey to the thoughts and false understanding that we have to be great to do great things for God! In I Kings 18:41-45 it tells how Elijah, instructed by the Lord, tells King Ahab that it wouldn’t rain for years except at his word. We then read in James 5:17 that Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for three and a half years.

Then the same normal man prayed again and a cloudburst broke the drought. The Bible says that Elijah was a man just like us with the same opportunities and hindrances to his prayers. (James 5:17) In other words, he wasn’t anything special nor was he God’s favorite. He was just a normal person like you and me. Galatians 2:6 tells us that God is not a respecter of persons. He treats us all fairly and equally, therefore if Elijah had that kind of result so can we.

God uses Normal people that know Him and trust Him to do extraordinary and great things in the earth. Don’t allow the lie of the enemy keep you from doing great things for God. The enemy is always trying to tell us that we are nothing special and can’t be used by God. Being normal doesn’t keep you from doing great things! Being normal positions you to be used by a great God when we trust and rely on Him.

We Must Have a Change!

Ifootball8t would seem every direction we look there is unrest and turmoil in our cities and abroad in the earth. The majority of the news is filled with tragedy and upheaval.  Whether it’s racial tension in our cities, misuse of power in the government or terrorist activity in different parts of the earth, it seems to be one thing after the other. We must have a change!

When things are not going the way we think they should, in our lives, in our communities or even throughout the world, what should one do?  I believe it’s time to pursue a change that can only happen through God. Let me share a portion of scripture that is addressing this same scenario.

In 2 Chr 7:13-16 we read “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people…”. Here God gives His people the answer of what to do when there is turmoil and catastrophe in their land and all about them. This passage goes on to say, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways…” I love how God doesn’t beat around the bush but says, “if My people” which is talking about Christians or those that believe in God.  Then it goes on to say that if they bend their knee or come into subjection to the authority of God and pray, along with seeking His face and turning from wickedness then God says He will respond.  By hearing their prayers, forgiving their sins and healing their land God will move in their behalf.  In verse 15 He then declares with promise that He would stamp His name there, indicating His approval, as well as, He would be attentive to their prayers in that place forever.

God is talking to the children of Israel in a time of serious trouble.  Letting them know that He has a promise to those that will get serious and begin to move towards Him.  The believer must humble themselves before God, which is an act of surrender and acknowledgment of His Lordship. Then with a heart of desperation we must turn away from the things that have our attention and time and turn towards God and His purposes.

There is more to seeking God than just talking to Him, even though that is part of it.  Seeking is being aggressive in finding Him, doing whatever it takes to do His will. Too often we handle our prayer time as if we were giving our wish list to Santa Claus. God wants us to cry out to Him with a heart that desires His purposes, being willing to flee from the wickedness that entangles us and keeps us from Him.

If the believer does these things then things will be turned around and changed for the better. God gives us the promise that He will change our circumstances when we make a change in ourselves.

When we turn our hearts towards Him through the place of prayer, God will take notice.  He will respond to us in power when we seek Him with all of our heart. There will be a change when we finally surrender our ways to His ways. He has promised that if we turn towards Him and obey Him, He will move in our behalf.

Raised in Prayer

praying with sonThe April sun broke through our kitchen window. I had sleep in my eyes. My siblings and I sluggishly forced ourselves to eat our morning oatmeal. There was nothing uncommon about this morning in 1967. It began like any other typical day. Until, the telephone pierced the silence and brought all of us to attention. My mother answered in her normal cheery voice, but immediately her tone changed. Her cheerfulness went to a devastating, “Oh my God” and from that moment my life changed forever.

Our daily priorities were obliterated by the news that my dad had just suffered a heart attack (that would later become fatal). As my mother hung up she insistently cried, “Everyone go and pray in the front room for your dad.” The sluggish sleepiness that just moments earlier was so prevalent vanished as we all began to cry out to the Lord. In the midst of disaster, we prayed!

Praying became a natural response in times of crises and need in our household, because it was instilled in us as a daily way of life. I can remember how my mother loved to take walks on our ranch in the beautiful Rocky Mountains to pray. On several occasions we would run up the trail to catch her only to find her deep in prayer. It was memories like this that had a profound impact on my life.

I believe some things must be caught not just taught. Joshua had evidently caught something as he followed Moses. The young Joshua saw the results of Moses’ communion with God. He talked to God and then walked in His power every day. Joshua caught the spirit of prayer and abiding in God’s presence. I love Exodus 33:11 where it says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” Picture this scene: Moses returned to camp and to his responsibilities but Joshua stayed in the Lord’s presence. Evidently Joshua caught something; he understood that a life of intimate prayer and communion with God will result in a walk of power.

A lifestyle of prayer was birthed in my own life through being raised in the shadow of many great men and women of prayer. Even once I had left for college and then continuing down the road to marriage and raising a family; it seemed that God would always place me in the midst of men and women of prayer. Through colleges and seminaries rooted in prayer such as Christ for the Nations Institute and others. Speakers that taught and motivated us to minister out of the place of prayer, as well as, great Pastors such as Dr. Larry Lea, who were used to call a generation to pray. God was definitely orchestrating in me a lifestyle of prayer.

Over the years I have reflected on many of those days and memories and have been encouraged that I had caught an attitude of prayer to sustain me in and through my life. It has kept me through many trying times and has become a lifelong message of mine as well as a book I have published, “Igniting the Power of Prayer”. It is my desire to see God’s people live a life empowered through a life of prayer.