Prayer

Pray, Pray Again, Pray Some More

Pray, Pray Again, Pray Some More

Encouragment, Prayer
Sometimes we treat prayer like the little boy or girl that disbelieves in Santa Claus after he fails to deliver their wishes. We’ll earnestly pray to God but give up quickly when we do not miraculously receive according to our desires. A few will give up on God altogether, declaring that prayers unanswered by their standard is scientific evidence that God does not hear or even exist. Others will point to some problem with the prayer; the petitioner didn’t have enough faith or there was some sin in their life or some flaw in their method of prayer that prevented God from answering. I don’t know why God sometimes answers some prayers rapidly or miraculously while at other times delaying His answer; I just know that He does. Jesus taught, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and yo
Prayer Warriors

Prayer Warriors

Encouragment, Prayer
Order to Report for Induction The King of Kings, To: You Greeting: Having submitted yourself to a local congregation composed of your neighbors and friends for the purpose of growing in Christ. You are hereby notified that you are called to serve on the battlefield of prayer. -------- In all nations of the world forces of evil have combined and contrived to silence, contain, or destroy our brothers and sisters in Christ. Their weapons are fear, torture, death, intimidation, lies, apathy, intolerance, anger, division, hate, busy-ness, distractions, and false accusations. In some nations silence is insured by the edge of a sword, in some by laws enacted to prevent the preaching of the Gospel or even carrying a Bible, in other places intimidation and self-serving cultural expect...
Prayer: As Necessary As Breathing

Prayer: As Necessary As Breathing

Encouragment, Prayer
Prayer, like breathing, is not only natural but it is also necessary for our new life in Christ.  I think that we can all agree that it's a bad thing to stop breathing.  Breathing is so important that it is an automatic function. We don’t have to remind ourselves to breathe. About the only time, we even think about it is when we’ve become short of breath through exertion. Recently Betty and I were hiking up the side of Mt. Ranier in Washington with some family.  The elevation was high and the going difficult. Not only was the trail steep but it was covered with a thick layer of packed snow. During that hike, John, an experienced mountain hiker, showed me how to change my breathing to adapt to the higher elevation. The same can be said of prayer, we may need to adjust our prayer to chang
Prayer: As Natural As Breathing

Prayer: As Natural As Breathing

Encouragment, Prayer
I know that people stress out over prayer.  They hear the beautifully articulated public prayer of an old saint and feel that their prayers fall far short.  I remember feeling that way. Whether it was the prayers of a great-uncle that literally prayed around the world when he was asked to bless the meal for a family gathering. Or the wonderfully crafted prayers of any of a number of pastors and leaders. In comparison, my prayers felt flat and short. Here’s what I learned. Prayer is as natural as breathing. Think about it for a moment.  What is the first thing that a baby does after being born? They breathe.  Before they make the welcome sound of a baby’s cry they have to breathe. When it comes to our spiritual re-birth in Christ - prayer is like a baby’s breath.  The first thing we do i
Unite My Heart

Unite My Heart

Encouragment, Prayer
This article is longer than usual. It is the text of the sermon I presented at New Life Community Church in Henry Illinois on June 29th, 2014.  One day at a nearby campground Chet was settling in to listen to the Cub-Cardinal game on the radio.  Now Chet was not just a Cub fan, he was THE Cub fan.  He had a Cub Cozy for his cola.  A Cub Jersey was his shirt of choice when he could get away with it.  He even displayed his Cubness on the roof of his camper with a carefully painted logo - just in case someone would fly over. Not only did Chet listen to every game he kept a scorebook and recorded every ball and strike, run and out. Somewhere along the third inning Art walked by. After exchanging campground pleasantries Art asked how the game was going. “Cubs are up 2 to 1 in the third
A House of Prayer

A House of Prayer

Encouragment, Prayer
The first event after the hosannas of Jesus entering Jerusalem was the cleansing of the temple. Mark records it this way -  “Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.”” (Mark 11:15–17, NASB95)  As I thought on this I began to wonder about Jesus’ motivation for these actions. His cleansing of the temple seems out of character, a rare moment of anger and aggression. So why then, why th
The Practice of Prayer

The Practice of Prayer

Encouragment, Prayer
Want to know something funny?  I have this article idea that uses Philippians 4:6-7 as its centerpiece.  In case you're not familiar with it the passage goes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7, NASB95) So here’s the funny part, I am stressing out over coming up with the perfect example to showcase this passage.  Times when someone practices something before it is needed like a Boy Scout practicing knots, or a sailor battening down a hatch in calm seas, or a soldier practicing rifle tear down and assembly long before they enter the battlefield. So here I am being anxio