Your Ultimate Prayer Partners

Your Ultimate Prayer Partners

…We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. – Romans 8:26, NRSV

The end of Romans 8 is so rich that one could spend hours contemplating the truths there and still not reach the end. It is encouraging to know that when we are in prayer we never pray alone, for the ultimate partners in intercession are with us. With just a cursory glance we see the Holy Spirit involved in our prayers in five ways (Romans 8:26-27):

1. The Spirit helps us in our weakness

2. The Spirit intercedes when we do not know what we ought to pray for.

3. The Spirit prays with sighs too deep for words.

4. The Spirit and the Father are in sync with one another.

5. The Spirit intercedes in accordance with God’s will.

Each of those principles deserves much consideration, but they demonstrate the reason our prayers are so powerful: it is not our own spirituality but the participation of the Father and the Holy Spirit in our season of prayer. It is by the presence and power of the Spirit that we cry out to our Abba (Rom 8:15-16). Even more, we read in verse 34, “It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.”

The Father, Son, and Spirit are intertwined in your prayers in such a way that we are ultimately confident that our prayers are much more powerful than we can imagine. They are much more in tune with God’s will than we know. They are in process of being answered as we utter the words.

This is why Romans 8:28 is truer than we realize. Never separate that verse from prayer! Your prayers matter because your ultimate prayer partners are tirelessly enmeshed into the eternal providence and power of God! Never be intimidated by prayer! It unlocks a Divine partnership!     

Thanks for reading, JD

7 Days of Prayer: Wednesday

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Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. ~Matthew 28:9 

Father God, higher than the heavens and yet nearer than our own breath, we give you all honor and praise. You deserve more than we can offer, but we want to offer you our worship. Jesus, like the first disciples filled with awe as they witness your resurrected glory, we desire to declare your strength, power and love. You are worthy! We are unworthy, so we gather at your feet in recognition of our sin and your grace.

Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come. ~Revelation 4:8

Holy Spirit fill our church with the passion of worship! In Your presence we rejoice and lift up your name. May every person gathered in the assembly of the Saints know the power of the blood of Jesus that cleanses the soul and raises our hopes. We worship you as a people filled with joy because of the righteousness you have given us freely.

Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come. ~Revelation 4:8

Father we come near to you, though we were once afar off, through the blood of Jesus … confident to enter into Your Sanctuary, because we are cleansed from all sin and we shout your praises because you have loved us and freed us from our sins! You made us into a kingdom and priests and we praise You because you have all glory and dominion for ever and ever! (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 10:19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5-6) Because of who you are and what you have done, we offer up our church as a house of prayer!

Because we praise you Lord…

*We look to You to lift us from our doubts and struggles

*We ask you to bring the lost into this assembly and help them to see the joy of following you

*We turn away from selfishness and self-satisfying demands and instead focus on the cross

*We seek to decrease and ask you to increase in our hearts

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor. ~Psalm 29:2

God let it be enough for us to sing and express your praises today. We still have many requests and needs, but just for now, we just express these praises in the warmth of your surrounding presence.

Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come. ~Revelation 4:8

All in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen!

 

Pray!!!

77777

This guest post by Ray Hawk addresses some concerns I have as well. JD

In 1563 a book was published called Acts and Monuments. It’s popular title became known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. This was finally shortened to Book of Martyrs. It is a description of the Catholic Church’s persecution, in that period, of Protestant believers, due to the belief that they were heretics.

Throughout my church experience I often heard prayers which included these words, “Lord, we thank thee that we may assemble free of molestation.” Few, if any ever thought the day would arrive when modern day Christians would forfeit their lives rather than deny Jesus as their Savior. Yet, recently, twenty-one Coptic Christians were lined up and murdered for that very reason. What kind of reaction has there been to these murders?

Some are like believers in Germany in 1938. They knew Jews were being rounded up and shipped out to concentration camps. Their attitude was, “They’re Jews, not Christians.” An almost equal view was held by some in the United States. “It’s in Germany, not here. No business of ours.”

Some see the term, “Coptic Christians” and shrug off the atrocities because “they aren’t members of our church.” Some are sympathetic, but that’s so far away and what can I do? So prayers are offered that strangely seem to be detached. Some even dismiss the apostle’s statement, “because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:9) due to the view of who is a real believer. Others look at it as middle Easterners fighting among themselves.

What can we do? The atheistic Russian government seems to be more interested in protecting those Christians than ours does. Our government, if it isn’t apologizing for the conduct of Islam and attempting to portray it as peaceful and loving, is apologizing for our actions believing they caused these deserved problems. The politics of the day seems to be one of appeasement. “Give the terrorist jobs and they will be happy,” is one liberal’s solution. “Sit down and talk with them and apologize for opposing their terrorism and they will quit,” is another pseudo wise answer. These resolutions seem to be an excellent example of Satan’s deception on those who want to leave a foolish legacy!

Neville Chamberlain returned to England on September 30, 1938 waving an agreement signed by Adolph Hitler. He shouted to the crowd, “Peace in our time.” Their applause only proved how blind they were. We have politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as believers in Christ, who are wearing Chamberlain’s attitude as eyewear.

Economists, generals, conservative think tanks, and others are warning us of a total collapse which will make the Great Depression pale in comparison. Rather than listen, we continue our mad rush to eat, drink, and be merry. Like Judah and Jerusalem, in the book of Isaiah, we don’t think it will happen. No nation can rush blindly into hell without getting burned! I hope such a course can be averted. If not, then we need to stand up as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:14-18). We need to pray for those who are being murdered as well as their families. We need to pray for our leaders that they will open their eyes and return this nation to honoring Yahweh (1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:17).

Pray? What good will prayer do? Absolutely nothing if we possess that attitude. The kind needed is, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Do we believe? If so, pray!

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

77777Ray Hawk is a retired minister living in Jackson, TN. 

Prayer from Genesis 1-3

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Father,

Create me anew each day. Work within me in such a way that all will be ‘good’ in your eyes. Help me to hear and obey your voice. Give me discernment to know when I hear the voice of the Serpent who lies. Cover me with grace when I sin.

I acknowledge that I am from dust and to dust I will return. My trust is in You to bless the work of my days in this life, and to deliver me when this body returns to dust.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I am reading through the NRSV Daily Bible this year. In my prayer journal I often use the Scriptures I’m reading to write prayers. I may share those from time to time here, though probably not every day. Thanks for reading! JD

The Devil’s Foothold

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…don’t give the Devil an opportunity. ~Ephesians 4:27

Let’s not deceive ourselves. We give the devil a lot of opportunity to have his way. Mostly because we cave in to our ‘old man’  – unredeemed patterns of thinking. Often we do so willingly.  Living the life of faith is described by Apostle Paul as a ‘fight‘ and a ‘war‘.

Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. ~Ephesians 4:27, Amplified Version

I’m not going to hate on Olympic champion Michael Phelps. Nobody has a body like his, fashioned to accommodate his amazing swimming ability, without dedication and training. No doubt he has impressive knowledge about workouts, diet, and purposeful living. But for all of his accomplishments and ability, why is it that what we know about his personal life is that he was busted for smoking pot and now a second DUI? I don’t know if he is religious, but I can tell you that he has given the devil a foothold in his life.

He (and he is not alone in this) does give us a vivid reminder that no matter our determination to overcome, we are all likely to fall. Sometimes we resist successfully. Sometimes we catch it early and repent. Sometimes we go into a downward spiral.

The reason I’m not going to hate on Mr. Phelps is because I feel sure we all recognize the truth that we can so daily give the devil opportunities to drag us through the mud. Anyone who says, “that could never happen to me” is a fool.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. ~Ephesians 6:11

Reading through Ephesians chapter six gives us strength to fight back against the traps and deceptions of the devil. As we read through this list of weapons for spiritual warfare we recognize that this is a serious battle, not a Sunday School lesson.

Truth – We need to know the truth about the devil, yes, but also about the triumphant Jesus. We need to admit the truth about who we are and what our real weaknesses are so that we can wage war. Satan wins when deception clouds our vision of the truth.

Righteousness – We fight with confidence, knowing that the devil cannot steal the righteous place we have before the Father. It is sealed by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus.

Readiness – In spite of all of his efforts the devil cannot keep us from readily bringing the gospel of peace to the world around us. We do not let our personal setbacks keep us from advancing the kingdom.

Faith – We continue to wage war by trusting God more than we trust ourselves and more than we believe the lies of the enemy. We do not lean on our own understanding but depend on God to direct our steps – even when we cannot see the path ahead.

Salvation – Christian, you are secure. This battle might leave us scarred, wounded, and I suppose in some circumstances may even take our lives. The devil has not won, even if that is what happens! Nothing can take you out of the hands of the Savior. (Although I do believe we can walk away and lose our salvation, there is nothing that can be done to us to rob us of our eternal assurance).

Scripture – Do not neglect the Scriptures … the sword of the Spirit… in your battle. Memorizing God’s Word, placing it down into your heart, will give you temptation resisting power. Praying the words of Scripture give you confidence and are able to overpower the enemy who is a liar and a thief.

Prayer And yes, prayer … we cannot make it without prayer. Read all you can about prayer and study prayer. But most of all, pray. Pray when you are weak, when you feel you have let God down, when you feel the oppressive influence of the devil. Pray that God will tear down and root out the foothold of Satan in your heart. He will!

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. ~Ephesians 6:18 

*What are the devil’s footholds in your life? Be honest with yourself and confess them to God.

*Are you willing to reject those and repel them through the power of God’s Spirit?

*When you feel the temptation drawing you away from God’s path are you willing to use the weapons at your disposal to resist?

*When you find yourself in the gutter, will you come running home to God assured of his forgiveness?

*When you remove the devil’s foothold will you replace it with God’s  ministry to others through you?

Thanks for reading,

John

Christians Under Fire: Let Us Pray

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This is the letter “N” in Arabic. It is being used to brand Christians in Iraq who are being persecuted and murdered by ISIS terrorists. The letter “N” stands for Nazarene. 

Let us all commit to pray without ceasing for this tragic circumstance. The hatred of our Enemy for The Nazarene is  greater than we can comprehend.

God we need the mighty conquering power of your awesome omnipotence to defeat evil and hatred in our world. We know You are stronger than any ruler on earth. God send out your angels to minister to to the hurting, bring food to the hungry, and shelter to the refugee. Send victory such as John saw in his vision when he heard a voice like thunder and saw the white horse with a bow, a crown, and who went out as a victor to conquer.

God, hear the cry of your people under the terror of persecution; pay attention to their prayers and ours. We call to you from the ends of the earth, our hearts broken and without strength. Lead your persecuted people to a rock high above their enemies. Be a place of safety for them and help them to find refuge under the shelter of your wings.

We know that your eyes roam throughout the earth to show Yourself strong for those whose hearts are completely Yours. I pray for a global outcry to arise against the killers and those who have terrorized your people. Lord, roar from Zion and raise Your voice from Jerusalem; shake the heavens and earth, and be a stronghold for your people.

We wait for You, Lord. We await your declaration – a time when You will rise up and gather the nations, assemble kingdoms, in order to pour out Your indignation on them, all Your burning anger against those who would kill and torture your children, our brothers and sisters.

Our faith and confidence is in You, God, The One who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns darkness into dawn and darkens day into night, who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the earth— Yahweh is Your name! We await the day when Yahweh will become King over all the earth—Yahweh alone, and His name alone!

Father we believe that  whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Thank you for every person on earth who believes that Jesus is the Son of God! Send your relief…in whatever way Your wisdom demands.

This is the confidence we have before You: Whenever we ask anything according to Your will, You hear us. Hear our prayers today Lord!

In the might and powerful name of Jesus, Amen!

(Scriptures used in this prayer come from Revelation 6:1-2; Psalm 61; 1 Chronicles 16:9; Joel 3:16; Amos 5:8; Zephaniah 3:8, 14:9;  I John 5:4, 14)

John