Prayer Cover

Colossians 1: 3

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.

It is important that we pray for each other as we see in the example Paul set for us. We need each other’s support. Jesus said that while we are in this world we will have trials but to take heart because he has conquered the world (John 16: 33). We do not have to crumble at the trials of the world because he has triumphed. He has provided the way for us to triumph over the challenges of the world. One of the tools we have is prayer. We can pray for our own needs and that is good but sooner or later we learn to get out of our little sphere and pray for others. As you sow prayer into the lives of others, you sow into the Kingdom of God. This is a continuing message of sowing and reaping because all of the Kingdom of God works by this principle. And as we sow, we also reap. We do the work of God and God takes care of our needs. As you spend your time planting seeds for the betterment of others, God is at work in your life. As you pray for others, you are forced to turn your mind off of yourself for a moment. That allows God to work for you because you have released your care for your own issues for a time.

Also know that I, following Paul’s example, pray for you every day. Everyone who receives these daily emails gets covered by prayer. Likewise, pray for me, all of you. As you pray for me and keep me built up, I have more to pour out to you. That is how it works. As we support each other, we are each edified more than if we just pray for ourselves.

One Voice

Ezekiel 22: 30            GW

I looked for someone among you who could build walls or stand in front of me by the gaps in the walls to defend the land and keep it from being destroyed. But I couldn’t find anyone.

More than once the nation of Israel worked themselves into a position of destruction. God’s desire was to save them. He sought someone who would stand for them, someone who would bear the burden of prayer for the nation. Sometimes He found someone, Moses for example. In today’s verse, we see God’s lament that He could find no one willing to “stand in the gap” for the nation. How important is one person? Reread the verse. For the want of just one faithful person, the entire nation suffered.

Who are you in the body of Christ? Do you feel like a nobody? Well, Israel sure could have used you all those years ago. If God could have found just one faithful person, He could have saved an entire nation.

What is the condition of your nation? Or your town, state or province, for that matter. You may be the only thing that is standing between your town and destruction. The prayers of a righteous person are effective and powerful (James 5: 16). They can save a city. You may not be the best orator in your town. You may even be bashful about praying in public. However, in the sanctity of your home, you can save the nation.

Never minimize the importance of just one person. Especially, do not devalue the power you have in your land. There is no one unimportant in the body of Christ. Turn off the TV and pray for an hour. Pray for you political leaders as well as other leaders, pray for your nation, you church, your pastor, your state and town. Pray for the teachers, police and fire fighters, and so on. There is no shortage of people and institutions you can pray for so don’t feel like you are only a little toe in the body of Christ. You may be the one God is counting on for prayer. That makes you important.

Evil for Good

Psalm 35: 12 – 15

They repay me evil for good, to the bereavement of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer kept returning to my bosom. I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother. But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together.

Let’s get real for a minute, especially with the holidays upon us. Life is not always fair though I believe it should be. David suffered what many of you have. People don’t treat you as you treat them. When they were sick or troubled, you humbled yourself and prayed for them as you would your own mother. However, without provocation they turn on you. They backbite and scoff saying all sorts of untrue and hateful things about you. The worst part of it for most of us is that these “friends” are usually Christians. That really hurts. Then when they have trouble again, Dad taps you on the shoulder and asks you to pray for them. Well, I don’t always want to pray for those people either, so I know how it pains you. I have argued with God about praying for people who aren’t nice to me. Now at the holidays, these issues seem to take on even greater proportions. So, what are we to say to this and how are we to deal with it.

Our praying for those obnoxious and hurtful people has way more to do with our relationship with Dad than those people. He asks us to pray because He is working with us. He binds Himself to us through these requests. When we do His work, i.e. blessing the unlovely, we move closer to Him. My survival technique, therefore, is to make it about God and not about them. It is something Father and I do together and it becomes a bonding experience, kind of like surviving a disaster. It still isn’t easy at times but the more I require Him to pray with me and through me, the easier it becomes. Face it, it is a lot harder praying for the people who don’t deserve it but that is where maturity enters in. David prayed for the hateful, spiteful people in his life because he knew it was the spiritually mature thing to do. He knew his father wanted him to. That does not make their behavior just or right. It’s just that God has to turn to the mature among us for these things. We don’t have to like it but when you find yourself growing together with God through the shared experience, it becomes tolerable.

So as you attend the company Christmas party and family get togethers this year, make sure to take Jesus with you. Pray before you go. Actually, begin praying now. Let the Lord speak and move through you. Let his voice and love soothe you and bless all God’s children in his name.

Healed to Help

Matthew 5: 44                         (King James Version)

But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. 

These are the words of Jesus from early in his ministry. We see him taking his own advice at the cross when he prayed to his father from the cross to forgive those who crucified him. Jesus knew something that we are hopefully all learning. When people act out, they are really revealing their own brokenness. When we are healed and walking in our office and authority, then these people’s offenses become an opportunity for ministry rather than a time for us to be offended. I am learning that people can do things that are prime stimuli for me to lose my peace but that it is really my decision to allow them to steal my peace or not. The stronger and more complete my healing, the less their stuff gets on me and the less it offends me. You begin to see that the people who strike out at you or attempt to hurt you are really only exhibiting their own emotional damage. As God heals their wounds, they will not feel the need to strike out at others or hurt others. Their language will correct itself and they will be able to become others centered instead of being so selfish and self-centered. We can help these people. First, physician, heal thyself. Allow God to do a work in you so that you are not susceptible to other people’s problems. Then, learn to sincerely pray for these people. Help them. Also, as you grow and people do not so easily offend you, when someone does something that once had the power to upset you, you will find that you can meet them at their point of need right then and there and minister to their need.

The Grand Intercessor

Romans 8: 34

Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Jesus completed his work on earth and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. And what does Jesus do now? Is he retired? No. He talks to the Father about our needs. I’ll bet he brags on us too. I can imagine him saying, “Father, just look at that child of yours, how she has reacted in love to that person. Father, send a special blessing to that child of yours.” Can you imagine that? How wonderful. And when he sees us struggling, he tells the Father that we need a little help. What a magnificent thing this is. Jesus sits next to our heavenly Father and prays on our behalf. Thank you Jesus!

Looking For a Partner

Ezekiel 22: 30

And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

There is so much misunderstanding about our Father’s character and heart. This has never been more true. People still think that a life with God is about what you give up or more to the point, what He takes from you. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of who He is.

We are quite familiar with John 3: 16 but sometimes I wonder if we have every really heard it at all. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God so loved us that He gave. His love for us causes Him to give, not take away. He is the God of good things and He longs to bless us not curse us. Human beings brought the curse into the world, not God. He created a place of good and of plenty.

In today’s selection we see God trying to find someone who would “stand in the gap” for the land. He didn’t want destruction to come onto the land, He wanted someone to intercede so that He could save it. But … He found no one. You see, humanity has sown seeds of destruction and those seeds are going to produce a crop unless God intervenes on our behalf. Unfortunately, when God gave us the authority over the earth that meant that the power and the responsibility fell to us. He gave His authority to us. He, therefore, no longer had the right to do anything He wished in the earth.

To this day He needs human actors to stand, pray and allow Him to work through them. He wants to save the land just as He did when Ezekiel wrote these words. He is a good God and wants to redeem the lands we live in. He wants to bestow blessings on our countries, towns and villages. He is looking for people who will partner with Him to remove the destruction and bring about healing and blessing. His plans for us are always plans for our good so let’s stand in those gaps and be the conduits of His love, grace and mercy.

Fret Not

Psalm 37: 7b

Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Do you ever have a problem with this or am I alone. Well, you can rest today and I will preach to myself. I am sorry but I do struggle right here. I should be holier than this but here we are. I see people behaving poorly, mean-spirited and selfish and then I get all holier than thou because they are prospering more than I. I had to have a conversation with God about this just this week. You know what surprised me the most about it? It was that He let me say my peace. Before I actually opened my mouth and let the junk come out I checked my heart and found that He will let us talk about our stuff, even our unholy stuff. You know, He was not the least surprised that I am not yet perfect nor that I had these feelings.

I encountered this once before in my life. I witnessed people living the high life who really did not behave very nicely to God’s people. Well, one of the ended up in prison and the other died young. That is why God has us pray for these folks. And that is the worst rub of all – when we have to pray for the bad actors but then, I’m not all that pretty at times either so hopefully someone is praying for me. Yes, it is easy to chaff at praying for those who are prospering even amidst their wickedness but when God tells you something to do it is for your benefit that He is instructing you. There is something inside of you that needs breaking through and our Father knows that when you pray for these folks you do yourself a favor as much as you do them.

God says, “Don’t fret.” In the 8th verse we find out that fretting only leads to evildoing. Somewhere in that fretting is jealousy and the complete absence of the love that Jesus brought into the earth. In fretting is stress to your heart. It is another one of those things which will steal life from you like unforgiveness and a judgmental attitude. God wants you free. He wants to give you that abundant life that Jesus promised. All of His instruction, then, is intended to lead you into abundant life.

As hard as it is for me to say and as hard as it is to do, let us agree to pray for these people. When they are enjoying the fruit of your prayer they will never even know that God is granting them favor and blessing because of your intercession for them. I know that can sometimes cut deeply but know this, your Father is very proud of you and in this way you can actually give Him joy. You will get your turn, well, at least I am counting on it. Let us do our work in our own hearts so that we may glory in all that the lord has for us. But let us not fret or instill anger and jealousy in our hearts. Be at peace. Shalom.