Pray.Network

A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities

I received permission from Jon Graf to post the daily Connection! prayer devotions on Pray.Network.  These devotions are available as a free e-mail subscription from the Harvest Prayer Ministries website at http://connection.harvestprayer.com/.

I have found these devotionals to be not only inspirational but also great equipping for my own prayer life.  There aren't many devotionals that are actually about prayer - most have a quick prayer at the end and that's about it.  But this one has prayer as its focus.  I thought others on the Network might be interested in it.  I will attempt to post each one daily - although I'll inevitably miss here and there. 

I have previously written a Spotlight blog post on the Connection! devotional; if you're interested, check it out here: http://www.pray.network/profiles/blogs/praynetwork-spotlight-connec....

I hope you enjoy and benefit from this devotional as much as I have.

--Andrew

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Mar. 09: Renew My Mind

Father God, You who make all things new through the power of the Holy Spirit, renew my mind, I pray! May I not conform to the things of this world, but instead may I be continually transformed by the renewing of my mind with Your Word.

Lord in many ways I have been lazy and undisciplined in regards to the use of my mind. Forgive me, I pray, and renew my mind. I lay before you my use of my computer and technology, my TV and DVD viewing, the things I read . . . (Pause and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.)

I have entertained philosophies of the world that are contrary to Your Word. Lord, forgive me and renew my mind. I lay before you the way that I have rationalized behavior or condoned values of this world. . . (Pause and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.)

I have watered down the truth of Your Word in order to condone my sin. Lord forgive me and renew my mind. I lay before you the excuses that I have made for my thoughts, attitudes, and actions that are contrary to Your Word . . . (Pause and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.)

I have allowed fear and anxious thoughts to overwhelm me. Lord, forgive me and renew my mind and make my heart steadfast. I choose now to cast all of my cares and fears onto You and ask that Your peace be poured out on me . . . (Pause and allow the Holy Spirit

to speak to you.)

Give me, I pray, a fresh hunger to study Your Word, that I might be equipped for every good work. And Father, in a world of watered-down truth, empty philosophies, and hopelessness, empower me by Your Spirit to be prepared to answer everyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that I have. May Jesus be seen clearly in my daily living. Strengthen my faith, Father, for Your Word says that if I do not stand firm in my faith I will not stand at all. O God, help me to stand. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Romans 12:2; Colossians 2:8; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Philippians 4:7-8; 1 Peter 3:15; Isaiah 7:9

Prayer Points

Praise God for being perfectly just in all his works. Thank him for loving righteousness and justice (Ps. 33:5). Confess any ungodly bias you harbor toward any people. Commit yourself to viewing others with a loving, Christlike attitude. Ask God to help you value justice more highly in all relationships of life.

Pray for the uprooting of governments which oppress their citizens and withhold justice from them. Ask that justice will “roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (Amos 5:24) in countries held in the grip of lawlessness.

Prayer Pointer

“He who prays as he ought, will endeavor to live as he prays.” —John Owen

–Adapted from Pray the Word: 31 Prayers that Touch the Heart of God by Tiece L. King. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 10: Fearing God

Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you” (2 Chronicles 14:11).

The one fear that delivers humans from all other fears is the fear of God. When this fear is rightly understood and lived by, we need not fear anything else. Every day we must choose between the fear of humans and the fear of God. The fear of God comes to us at the moment of salvation. Just as we receive the Spirit of God, God places in us His fear (Jeremiah 32:39). When we fear God, it shows in how we live. To fear God means to cherish an awesome sense of His greatness, His grandeur, and His excellence. We act on what we have in our hearts.

One of the greatest gifts we can leave our children, and the next generation, is a godly testimony of faith in Christ, as evidenced by how we fear God. If we have had a foundation of faith laid for us, praise God. If we have not had this, we still must press on in Christ Jesus. We are accountable to seek God and honor Him with all our being.

Asa was a king who had a mixed heritage. His great-granddad was King David, the man after God’s own heart. His granddad was King Solomon, a man compromised with lust. His father was King Abijah, who was idolatrous. Even though they all served God with their mouths, it was their actions that proved their faith or their faithlessness and whether they truly feared the Lord.

In the midst of a crisis, against innumerable odds, Asa and all of Judah sought after and cried out to God, and they were victorious. The “fear of the Lord came upon them; and they plundered all” (2 Chronicles 14:14). The fear of the Lord is one of the enablements of God for us to face the enemy and overcome. In a lost person, the fear of the Lord is consuming dread of God. When Asa and his armies attacked the cities around Gerar, the fear of the Lord, a dread, came on all those pagan villages.

They were literally afraid of Jehovah God, and with good reason. But for Asa and Judah, the people of God, the fear of the Lord was not a dread, but a reverential awe of God. They cherished that sense of the greatness and grandeur of God. When we have the fear of God in our lives, we reverence, respect, and honor God. We will seek God.

Such fear of God means we know the character of God. He is God, sovereign, holy, great, and awesome. We understand our obligation to God: to love Him, obey Him, and trust Him. Finally, as we fear God, we gain a pervasive sense of the presence of God. This sense of God’s presence has a controlling effect on a person because we know He is with us.

Asa served God when God’s people were under attack by the world (2 Chronicles 14:9). It is no different today. What are we to do? We are to do the same thing that Asa did. We cry out to God, asking Him for help. He is Jehovah Ezer (Psalm 33:20), the Lord our Helper. Then we are to recount the greatness, faithfulness, and power of God in our past.

He saved you and sustains you. He has provided for you and He has protected you, even when you were unaware of it. God often tests His children for the purpose of building their faith in Him. The test is never meant to make us rely on our flesh, friends, or family. We are tested so that our faith in God increases. We are tested to show if we will seek the Lord or forsake Him. We are tested so the fear of God can be displayed in our lives. When the other nations heard of the power of God and the victory He gave Asa, they feared God also (14:14). This fear was a terror because our God is an awesome God.

Lord Most High, for revival to come, I need to seek You. I praise You for the seasons of rest You give. Let me not waste them or use them for selfish reasons, but allow me the sense to use them for times of kingdom building and preparation for further service, just as Asa did (2 Chronicles 14:1). Father, will You manifest Your fear in my life? It has been there since salvation, but allow it to be seen and recognized by those around me. Grow Your fear in me to completion (v. 14).

Prayer Points

Praise God for being a welcoming Father. Thank him for preparing an eternal home for all who believe (Jn. 14:2). Confess any unwillingness to show Christian hospitality to others (1 Pet. 4:9). Commit yourself to the practice of hospitality (Rom. 12:13). Ask God to help you separate Christian hospitality from self-absorbed “entertaining.”

Pray that the members of your congregation will excel in showing mutual care and intentional acts of love toward each other and to outsiders. Ask God to move your church out of its “comfort zone” when it comes to showing hospitality.

–Adapted from Praying with Fire: Seeking His Presence through the Revival Passages of Scripture by Mark Partin. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 11: Awareness

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.—Psalm 139:1-3

As you begin to develop a relationship with your neighbor, always be aware that God loves your neighbor more than you do. God has provided for the needs of your neighbor from the riches of his eternal glory. God has a preferred future for your neighbor, filled with hope and promises. More than anything else, God wants a personal relationship with your neighbor that is every bit as intimate as the one he shares with you. God wants to give your neighbor his salvation to new life.

So as you begin to move toward the fantastic privilege of being used to introduce your neighbor to the Lord Jesus, never, ever forget that this is God’s plan, God’s hope, God’s dream, God’s desire for your neighbor.

Be aware that you will play an important part in the process but that God is the one who will be saving your neighbor. Here’s an illustration that might help. Imagine God making his way down some superhighway toward your neighbor’s life. Imagine yourself “merging” onto that highway and simply following the direction God has already set.

One of the things I need to remember every day of my life, and most often in my desire to be used to bring others to Christ, is that God works around the clock. Sometimes I wonder if God created us with a need to sleep so that we would be “out of the way” once in a while, so that he would be able to get some work done without our interference. Each morning, as you and I open our eyes, we need to check in with the Lord to find out just how far he has traveled down that highway while we’ve been sleeping. We need to be tuned in to God’s working closer and closer to the heart of our neighbor’s greatest need.

Celebrate the marvelous fact that God has invited you to be part of the greatest enterprise in his world: reconciliation—that is, restoring the relationships of men, women, and children in your neighborhood to the God who has created them and loves them!

Praise God this day for his amazing love and salvation! Praise him for his watchful care for you and your neighbors every minute of every day! Praise God for calling you to be part of his great work of renewing relationships with your neighbors!

Prayer Starters for Praying Psalm 139:1-3

  • Thank God for his knowledge of you and of everything about you.
  • Ask God to give you the courage to evaluate and confess anything in your life that you aren’t pleased to have him know about. Ask God for his forgiveness and help in putting things right in your life.
  • Thank God for his commitment to you and your neighbor.
  • Ask God to help you join him in his mission to adopt your neighbor into his family and to introduce your neighbor to the Savior.

Prayer Points

Praise God, the giver of all good gifts (Mt. 7:11). Thank him for the greatest gift of all: his Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior (Lk. 22:19). Confess any lack of thankfulness for all of God’s gifts to you. Commit yourself to giving your time, talents, and resources for the gospel. Ask God to grant you a heart of generosity (Lk. 6:38)

Pray by name for one unsaved friend or loved one. Ask God to open this person’s heart to receive the indescribable gift of salvation through faith alone (2 Cor. 9:15; Eph. 2:8-9).

–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 12: By This All Men May Know

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34–35)

This passage, along with the Great Commission, was part of Jesus’ parting instructions to His followers. It was the essence of what He came to teach. It is similar to the second part of the greatest commandment—that we love our neighbor as ourselves. God is love, and His disciples are to be so known for their love for one another that this has been called the badge of Christians.

People living outside the church see that love and they are drawn to Jesus. They want to get in on it. When we love, we let our light so shine before men that they see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:18).

Do you want to know how we are to love one another? Like Jesus loves us. Paul wrote, “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). And in Colossians 3:12–14, he wrote, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” There can be no greater love. I think the phrase “bear with one another” is important. When someone hurts us or offends, we are not to try to get even. We are to bear it in love. That’s what Christ would do. And we are to forgive, as Christ has forgiven us.

There is a fellowship in the church that is like no other. We love to be together, for when we are together, Christ is in our midst. The fellowship is a precious experience, especially when we pray together, for Christ always lives to make intercession for us (see Hebrews 7:25). I feel He is right there among us praying with us and loving us. That fellowship, love, and acceptance is the promise that comes from following this command.

One of the members of our Four Flats Quartet (which became Barbershop Harmony Champions of the Pacific Northwest), became a student at our Christian college right out of World War II, not because he wanted to be a Christian, but because he wanted to be with a girl who was attending there. For a long time he resisted the Christian gospel. When we sang in churches and an altar call was given, he said his knuckles got white because he was hanging on so tightly to the seat in front of him. One day, during spiritual emphasis week, I gave him a list of all the reasons I thought he should give his heart to Christ and asked him to turn the paper over and list the reasons he should not accept Christ. He fumbled with the paper for a while, then he said, “I guess there aren’t any.”

That night he practically dove to the altar and gave his heart to Jesus and later became an effective preacher of the gospel. I believe that was a situation where we virtually loved him to Christ. He couldn’t resist the love he saw in the believers on campus.

Lord, this command to love one another has to be so close to Your heart since it so closely reflects Your own nature and practice. Help me to love as You love. Pour Your love into my heart through Your Holy Spirit. Forgive me when I make excuses for not loving someone. Break through hard hearts that have resisted Your love, even as they have proclaimed Your name. Lord, please make the congregation I am a part of to become known as Your followers because of the depth of the love we have for one another.

Prayer Points

Using Psalm 145, praise the King whose greatness goes beyond your comprehension (145:1, 3). Give thanks for the opportunity to worship him. Confess any unwillingness or negligence in daily worship (145:2). Commit yourself to meditating on his works and proclaiming his great deeds daily (145:3-7). Ask God to lead you in worship that brings him joy.

Ask God to prompt the saints in your church to join in praising him for his grace, compassion, and patience (145:8-10). Pray that such praise will convince many to follow the Lord (145:11-13).

–Adapted from Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life by Norval Hadley. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 13: Praying for Cooperation and Collaboration Enhances Mission...

There are several ways to enhance the missions outreach of the church through prayers for greater cooperation and collaboration.

Partnering increases the power. While doing it on our own is a high value for many, in the Church it is very seldom the best way. God has designed us to work in cooperation for His purposes, not just in one local congregation but all across the Body of Christ. Sometimes that cooperation is expressed in denominational partnership. But God also calls us to a geographic partnership in the city or community where our church exists or in the region/city of the world our church has missionaries or ministries. Paul and Peter often wrote their letters to the churches in a city or region and instructed them to be read in all the different places where the church met.

Paul mentions the partnership in the gospel as one church helping another in resources and prayer, asking for doors to be opened, and blessing to result from his preaching. The Global Day of Prayer, held on Pentecost Sunday each year, is an example of a community-based opportunity to pray with other churches for God’s global mission.

Discover the common interests of other congregations. While it may not be all that common, it is certainly biblical that one church pray for the missions outreach of another and find out how their strengths might come together to better serve God’s kingdom purposes. Do you know the strong missions churches in your city or area? What do they have to offer that you might benefit from in your church? What do you have to offer them? Why not pray for an open door to partner?

Cooperate in training and mentoring. When it comes to world evangelization there is always more to be learned. Often God is revealing a new approach or strategy to someone down the street in another church, across the city, or across the nation or world. It is important to ask God for opportunities to learn and grow. Ask God to direct you to training programs and conferences that will benefit your church. Ask God for the proper equipping opportunities for those your church might be sending out. Ask God to show you what your church has developed that might be of help to another congregation.

Create consortiums and partnerships in financing missions. Sometimes the answer to your prayers for resources is the more effective use of the resources God is giving you. Two churches sending two different people out to do the same task in the same region may not be the best use of resources. Talking together and cooperating can create more effective ways of doing God’s work. Some cities have formed consortiums so that when the committee so decides, immediate funding for a missionary or project can be available. Praying for effective ways to partner might be one of the most important tasks of the missions leadership in the church.

Pray in concert over key mission issues. It is helpful if someone in your church subscribes to a key missions oriented on-line news service. They bring regular reports on kingdom issues from around the world and help expand the vision and excitement for prayer among the people of the church. Of course you can’t cover all issues but you can pick out the ones most relevant to your own missions program or whichever ones the Holy Spirit lifts out for your attention.

Rejoice together. Some cities have found it very encouraging to have a united, citywide, missions conference where prayer, equipping, and rejoicing can encourage and expand the vision for world evangelization. Today the gospel is making extraordinary advances in very difficult places. A citywide conference can highlight these victories and be of great encouragement. Singers and musicians with a heart for missions can also lift the spirits of the people. Videos and special technical presentations are possible when many churches are working together. Most of all it is God’s heart that we work together as one. When we pray together in such a context, we emulate the church in the upper room during that memorable Pentecost when God came in power and many were converted. 

Conclusion

As churches create a powerful prayer ministry for world missions, they also create a ministry model that affects the way their missionaries go about their work. “The medium is the message” was a key phrase and the name of a bestselling book a few decades back. Author Marshall McLuhan was convinced that the context and medium of a message influenced its impact as much as the actual words. When prayer is the foundation and framework for our world missions activities, the power of that “medium” will both model the approach and increase the effectiveness of all that is done.

Prayer Points

Praise our God, who is unfailing in love and great in compassion (Psalm 51:1-2). Give thanks for the forgiveness of all your past, present, and future sins through Jesus’ death 2,000 years ago! Confess that your sin has been against God himself (Psalm 51:3-5). Commit to the full integrity of having God’s truth and wisdom in the inner recesses of your heart (Psalm 51:6). Ask God for full cleansing, purity, joy, and gladness (Psalm 51:7-9).

Pray for a pure and steady heart for each of your household members and friends (Psalm 51:10). Ask God for a willing spirit to stay in the joy of his Spirit (Psalm 51:11-12).

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer (An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry) edited by Dan Crawford; (Chapter 72: Equipping the Church for Global Praying by John Quam). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 14: O Lord, You Are My Strength

Before you begin, sit quietly before the Lord. Ask to be given a “willing spirit”—willing to repent, to change, to listen, to obey.

Father, thank You for the promise of Your Word that those who hope in You will renew their strength. You alone are the source of all strength, for You are the ruler of all things and in Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to me. Strengthen me to stand firm, to stand for righteousness, to stand for Your kingdom! Like Daniel, may my life be characterized by integrity and “above-reproach conduct.” Even in the midst of injustice, may I be one who turns to You in worship and thanksgiving. May I always run toward You and not grow weary.

Empower me, I pray, to walk and not faint. Help me to not fear or be dismayed, regardless of the situations that I am in, or the condition of the world around me—for You are God and You hold all things together. Hold me together, I pray! Strengthen me and help me—uphold me with Your righteous right hand and with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart in all of His fullness—in all His fullness! Have mercy on me, Father and help me to lean on You and find my strength in You alone for my spirit is willing but my flesh is so weak and I confess to You, Lord: the weakness of my faith and flesh . . . O Lord, have mercy!

The undisciplined use of my mind . . . Renew and strengthen my mind by Your Word!

The sin that I yet hold on to . . . Wash me and cleanse me.

The timid ways in which I still live . . . I turn from a spirit of fear and trust in Your name!

Increase my faith. Destroy doubt and unbelief in my heart and mind and empower me to live boldly. May the sphere of influence in which You’ve planted me resonate with the praise of Your name and the imprint of Jesus be left on all that I touch. For Your name and Your renown are the desire of my heart. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 40:31; 1 Chronicles 29:12; Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 6; Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 41:10; Colossians 1:17; Ephesians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Matthew 26:41; Romans 12:29; Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:8

Prayer Points

Read Psalm 24 and praise God as the King of glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, the Lord almighty! Give thanks for God’s power poured into your life and ministries. Confess any attempts to live and minister by your power instead of the power of the Spirit. Commit yourself to being a channel of his powerful love. Ask God to give you clean hands, a pure heart, integrity of soul and honest speech (24:4), so his power can flow through you unhindered.

Pray that God will bring a powerful revival to your nation. Ask him to bring his almighty, King-of-glory presence into your neighborhood through your own example and words.

–Adapted from Pray the Word: 31 Prayers that Touch the Heart of God by Tiece L. King. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 15: Father, Send Revival!

Lord, change my heart; give me a surrendered heart, a hungry heart to know You. Show me excuses I make for not serving You and not being faithful to Your church. Show me the idols I have allowed and hidden in my heart. By faith, let me remove them. Father, teach me to seek You and obey Your Word.

Lord, I praise You for Your faithfulness, Your mercy, and Your protection and provision.

Let me not be overwhelmed by the great numbers that oppose me. You are my God.  Just as You did with Asa, let opposition drive me to seek You. Father, You are my refuge. Teach me to trust and rest in You as I cry out to You and obey You.

Lord, I praise You for Your Word and ask You to continue speaking to me. When Your Word comes to me through a human agent, let me receive it.  I praise You. Let Your Spirit move on me. Teach me to abide in You always.

Show me anything You have told me in the past that I have failed to do. Lord, narrow the focus of my life, so that I magnify You. Give me courage to deal with idols and high places that I have tolerated but never removed. Let me restore Your altar in my life. I want to live in covenant with You. Teach me to seek You deliberately with all my heart and soul. Show me any area where my heart is divided. I want to obey You. I want to glorify You. Let my soul long after You. Father, send revival among Your people. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer Points

Read Psalm 139 and praise the all-knowing one who perfectly knows you in every action, thought, and word (139:1, 4). Thank God for the comforting knowledge that he is with you wherever you go (139:5-6). Confess any attempt to flee his all-knowing presence (139:7-12). Commit yourself to learning more about these wonderful human bodies he has made (139:13-16). Ask him to give you a love for knowing his thoughts (139:17-18), an informed hatred for those he hates (139:19-22), and an “open-book” relationship with him (139:23-24).

Pray that your nation will repent of willful ignorance of God’s thoughts and ways. Ask that the beauty and purpose of human life be accepted and promoted (139:12-16).

–Adapted from Praying with Fire: Seeking His Presence through the Revival Passages of Scripture by Mark Partin. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Your daily posting has blessed many, Andrew. Over 1430 views . . .

Mar. 16: Be Alert

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” —1 Peter 3:12

You may already have noticed that when you make the commitment to pray for your neighbor, the Holy Spirit develops the desire within you to care for your neighbor. When you make yourself available to God, he will take you up on your offer. So, please, for Jesus’ sake and your neighbor’s sake, be alert. Follow God’s example. Keep your eyes and ears open, attentive, and ready to respond.

Relationships with your neighbors can be based on a variety of things. Be alert to how the Spirit may open doors for you to grow in your relationship with your neighbor. Keep your eyes and ears open, not in an intrusive or nosy way, but in a way that reflects the concern of Jesus for each individual. Look for small and seemingly insignificant ways in which you can serve your neighbors.

Don’t make a big deal out of the things you do. Your neighbors may not even notice at first, but that doesn’t matter. God notices. For example, when you drag your trash barrel back up the driveway, maybe you could drag your neighbor’s barrel up too. If a stray newspaper is caught in your neighbor’s shrubbery, pick it up. Also be alert to ways in which the Holy Spirit will open up ways for you to engage in conversation and service.

Edith Bajema tells this story: “Years ago I lived on the sixth floor of a high-rise apartment building in southeast Denver. My neighbor, Vera, was an elderly woman. During the four years that I was her neighbor, I never observed anyone coming to visit. Her life seemed to center around three outings a day—in the morning, in Mid-afternoon, and late in the evening—when she would take a walk with her pet schnauzer, Otto. One day I realized that I had missed Vera and Otto. So I wrote a note that simply said, “I’ve missed you and Otto. Is everything okay?” and taped it to her apartment door. That evening, when I returned home, there was a note taped on my front door. It read, “I didn’t think anyone would notice. Otto is dead.”

It didn’t take a lot of intelligence for me to realize that my neighbor was suffering from a deflated self-image and grief. I took the elevator back downstairs, walked across the street to the bakery, and bought a half dozen cookies. I returned to Vera’s front door and knocked. “How about making me some tea?” I asked. That night Vera and I shared tea and cookies. We also shared our stories, and she cried softly but deeply as she shared how much she missed Otto.

That conversation helped lead into a friendship between Vera and me. Vera isn’t a Christian . . . yet. But throughout the years her Christmas cards have changed from those with little dogs wearing holiday bows to cards with a spiritual hint to them. And Vera keeps asking questions about my church and my relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is working in Vera’s life, and I know that someday she’s going to take that critical step into her Lord’s open arms. Be alert to what’s happening with your neighbors. When God opens a door, walk through it.”

Prayer Starters for Praying 1 Peter 3:12

  • Praise God for the amazing truth that he is concerned about even the mundane and insignificant things that happen in our lives. Nothing we bring to him is too small for his attention and concern.
  • Thank God that he has promised not only to listen but also to be thoughtfully attentive to all your prayers.
  • Ask God to sharpen your spiritual sight and hearing to the needs and concerns of your neighbor.

Prayer Points

Read Psalm 108 and praise the Lord, whose love is higher than the heavens and whose faithfulness reaches to the skies. Give thanks for specific acts of faithfulness to you so far this week. Confess any unfaithfulness which has robbed God of his glory. Commit yourself to praising God among the nations (108:3). Ask him to show you the nations in our cities and around the globe.

Pray that everyone will see clearly that human strength cannot win the battle for peoples’ hearts (108:12-13). Ask God to gain the victory over spiritual enemies that bind the unsaved.

–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 17: Making Disciples

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)

This is the Great Commission, Jesus’ last command to His disciples. Most Bible teachers feel that because He issued this command last, He meant it to have great importance for the church. Devout followers of Christ down through the ages have served tirelessly, often in the face of fierce opposition, to take the gospel message and make disciples in all nations, to all people groups.

While I was executive director of Evangelical Friends Mission, I was aware that the places where it is easy to take the gospel message had all been reached and now there remained places and cultures where Satan has had hundreds of years to put down his roots,and he does not give up that ground easily. We were also constantly monitoring our progress toward the fulfillment of this Great Commission, and I read and heard reports on the estimated number of people groups that still did not have a Christian witness among them. Because of the drive to fulfill this command, there is a strong emphasis on reaching the unreached—going to new people groups.

Part of the motivation to reach all peoples comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” This commission is given in different forms in all four Gospels. In connection with the giving of this command in Luke 24:49, NKJV, Jesus gave another command, which I’ve chosen to include here, rather than to list it separately: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

In Acts 1:8, He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Then the NKJV version says, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” If we hope to be successful missionaries, then we must receive the Holy Spirit in all His fullness. I’m convinced that the most successful Christian ministers have a strong emphasis on missions. C. W. Perry, the beloved pastor of one of the largest Friends churches, used to say, “The church God blesses gets outside itself.” God honors a ministry that seeks diligently to fulfill this command. The wonderful promise in connection with this command is Jesus’ promise to be with us always, even to the end of the age. All of us want His presence with us.

I wonder if we can really have that if we are not in some way involved in the mission of seeking to take the gospel to all nations. As an act of obedience to the second part of this command, I have given almost a lifetime to writing this book. (I started it while I was young, but I laid it aside for years when I was extra busy.) I saw that Jesus commanded us to teach others to observe all things He had commanded, but as far as I knew there was no book, outside of the Bible, that taught all the things He commanded.

Lord Jesus, I want to follow You wherever You lead. You are so clear with Your command to go into all nations, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching. Please give me an increased passion for world missions. Show me how to pray daily for Your heart concerning the world. If there is any way that I am to be involved beyond my prayers and my giving, please show me. I want to move in Your authority to see You receive increased glory around the world.

Prayer Points

Praise the Lord, who made and cares for heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them (Ps. 146:1-6). Give thanks for his personal care for you. Confess instances of putting ultimate trust “in mortal men, who cannot save” (146:3). Commit yourself to putting your hope in the Lord your God. Ask God to help you hand your cares to him through daily prayer.

Pray that God will continually prompt his people to join him in caring for those oppressed or otherwise in need (146:7-10). Ask God to grant corporate and individual wisdom, persistence, and love in seeking to extend his kingdom.

 –Adapted from Encountering Jesus: Praying the Commands of Christ into Your Life by Norval Hadley. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 18: Prayer – the Direct Link

What does kingdom praying entail? Kingdom praying includes that dimension of intercession that reaches beyond our immediate surroundings. Praying about personal, local matters often happens more naturally and more consistently for most of us. My problems, my work, my family, my needs, and the concerns of those close to me—these tend to come more spontaneously to my heart and mind. Of course, personal, local praying is valid. In fact, it is essential. God longs for us to bring our personal burdens to Him.

Yet kingdom praying is a level of praying that reaches beyond us. Kingdom praying, then, seeks to discern what God wants to happen in His kingdom, and prays for that to take place. In kingdom praying, we seek to attune our hearts to His heart’s desire and pray for its fulfillment.

What is God’s heart’s desire? He expresses it throughout the Scripture: “that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations” (Ps. 67:2). God wants all people saved! Peter expressed it very plainly that our Lord is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9, NIV). Our Lord’s heart’s desire is for all people to love and worship

Him and become a part of His kingdom. Thus, His desire, according to His Word, must become the mission of every follower of Christ, the mission of every church.

The staggering fact before us is that at least two-thirds of the world’s population do not know and love God’s Son. What can God’s people do? Throw up our hands? As a matter of fact, yes, like Moses did—in intercession.

Hear again the psalmist quoting God: “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance” (Ps. 2:8, NIV). In one of the most astounding statements in the Bible, God makes a connection between our asking and the nations being saved. He declares a direct link between the prayers of His people and the accomplishment of His heart’s desire. He reveals that kingdom praying is a priority strategy in making Christ known and loved.

Sovereign Lord, today I am asking for the nations! This is a huge request, but one I know is upon Your heart and is completely in Your perfect will, for it is clearly stated in Scripture. If Your desire is for the nations to bow before You, this is now my desire also. Keep my mind and heart fixed upon Your kingdom purposes as I pray…don’t allow me to continually be tempted to default to the little prayers of my own kingdom! Thank You for the privilege of prayer…and that You allow me to ask You for things of eternal significance! I praise You that I am able to change the world one prayer at a time!

Prayer Points

Praise God as “the Mighty One, God, the Lord” who owns “every animal of the forest . . . the cattle on a thousand hills . . . the creatures of the field . . . the world . . . and all that is in it” (Ps. 50:1, 10-12). Give thanks for the blessings God has put under your care. Confess any irresponsible decisions you have made with his resources. Commit to being a wise and faithful manager of all he gives to you. Ask him to prompt you to wise stewardship from a spirit of thankfulness (50:14-15).

Pray for God’s special treasure of loving relationships. Ask his help in managing these with great care and joy.

Prayer Pointer

“Prayer is first and foremost an act of love.” —Brennan Manning

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer (An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry) edited by Dan Crawford; (Chapter 73: Kingdom Praying by Minette Drumwright Pratt. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Mar. 19: The Indwelling Holy Spirit

How I thank You, Father, for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for bringing me, by the blood of the Lord Jesus, from death to life, and from being under the law to being under Your grace. May Your great love and tenderness compel me toward greater obedience.

I ask, Father, that You forgive me for the ways that I have allowed sin to continue to reign in my life . . .for attitudes that I have nurtured that are full of self and detrimental to my relationship with You and others . . .for focusing on the darkness of this world, instead of the light of Your presence. May my mind and attitudes be controlled by the Spirit and produce life and peace.

For actions and habits in my life that do not push me toward greater Christlikeness, forgive me, Lord. Crush the walls of excuses that I have erected that keep them so firmly in place! O God, may Your Word dwell in me richly and may whatever I do or say be done in Your name, that You might receive glory and praise.

Make me to be, I pray, a slave to righteousness and lead me toward holiness! Help me to live under the law of the Spirit, to live and move and have my very being in You alone, for I know it is Your desire that I be holy and blameless. Make me alive in Your Spirit that I might be like a tree planted by the water and never fail to bear fruit. May I live by the Spirit so that I will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature and keep in step with what the Spirit is doing. May the fruit of the Spirit be born in my life in ever-increasing measure. May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control be evident in my words, actions, and reactions. Conform me, I pray, to the image of Jesus, for I ask these things in His name. Amen.

1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 6:13; Romans 8:6; Colossians 3:16-17; Romans 6:19; Acts 17:28; Ephesians 5:26-27; Jeremiah 17:8; Galatians 5:16, 25, 22-23

Prayer Points

Praise the wonderful God who causes mountains and hills to burst into song and all the trees of the fields to clap their hands (Isa. 55:12). Give thanks that the Lord “comforts his people and [has] compassion on his afflicted ones” (Isa. 49:13). Confess any lack of joy which you may have and admit to God your failures to receive his joy. Commit yourself to considering all of life as pure joy, whatever the circumstance, since Jesus Christ is alive and victorious over all. Ask the Lord to restore to you the joy of his salvation (Ps. 51:12), so that you may be a prime exhibit of Christ’s life-changing power.

When your church gathers to worship, ask that members will have a taste of the joyful assembly that is heaven.

Prayer Pointer

“Christ actually means prayer to be the great power by which his church should do its work.” —Anonymous

–Adapted from Pray the Word: 31 Prayers that Touch the Heart of God by Tiece L. King. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

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