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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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Oct. 06: Bhodala People

(This story illustrates things that could happen to this community.)

Gopi, a Bhodala fisherman, paddled his small dugout canoe up to the rough deck of a little hut built over the water in Gujarat. Excited he shouted, “Maria, Bhau is coming home!” A tiny woman suddenly stepped out from the hut. She looked amazed, then started to cry. “Gopi ran to her and continued, “Bhau did not die at sea. The Pakistanis captured him but some kind Pakistani Muslims are helping him to come home.” Maria responded, “Allah has answered my prayer!” Gopi decided then and there to buy a compass so his son would never get lost at sea again.

Both India and Pakistan have over the years detained hundreds of the Muslim Bhodala fishermen who were forced to cross into forbidden Pakistan’s territorial waters in hopes of getting fish to sell. Commercial boats are taking most of the fish, so family-run fishermen are desperate. When they are detained, their boats are usually confiscated and left to rot. The 8,000 Bhodala’s are Muslim in name only.  

Pray that God will shower mercy on these unfortunate people. Pray that the Bhodalas will hear Jesus words as given in Luke 6:21: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” May they embrace Jesus and come into His kingdom soon.

 

Mark 4:39-41, NLV

He got up and spoke sharp words to the wind. He said to the sea, “Be quiet! Be still.” At once the wind stopped blowing. There were no more waves. He said to His followers, “Why are you so full of fear? Do you not have faith?” They were very much afraid and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!”

Pray that the Lord will protect the Bhodala people, and give them the gift of faith in the one who stills the water.

Oct. 05: Bended Knees

“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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

The first sign that scandal has hit heaven is prayerlessness—when the sweet fragrance of the prayers of God’s people cease to ascend to His throne. The church begins to depend upon technology and talent, substituting man’s ingenuity for God’s power. The church begins to run on bureaucracy rather than on the bended knee.

When prayer is replaced by form and function the church becomes spiritually anemic. Andrew Murray states, “Prayer is the pulse of life; by it the doctor can tell what is the condition of the heart. The sin of prayerlessness is a proof for the ordinary Christian or minister that the life of God in the soul is in deadly sickness and weakness.”

The church must recapture her distinctive. She is not built upon manipulation and money. She is built upon the might of God. If the church is to be light in this perverse generation, she must humble herself and pray. She must understand that victory comes from her knees.

Holy Spirit, draw Your Church close and infuse us with a fresh desire to seek Your lovely face.  May we be seen as people of grace and light in the midst of a culture that cannot comprehend Your glory.  Transform our hearts by Your powerful Presence as You prepare Your Bride for her wedding day

Prayer Points

Praise God, who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). Thank God for those who led you to Christ. Confess that you are sometimes afraid to introduce others to Christ. Commit yourself to building friendships with people who do not know Jesus. Ask God to help you identify a friend who might be open to conversion.

Ponder in prayer what it will be like when “all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD” (Ps. 22:27). Pray for the coming of that day.

Prayer Pointer

“Prayer is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble: prayer is a life attitude.” —Walter A. Mueller

Adapted from The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippit. 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

Oct. 07: God’s Call to Prayer

“O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come” (Psalm 65:2).

I believe that God is calling His people to pray as part of His strategy for retaking planet earth. As men begin to respond in prayer, God begins to move in amazing ways. Dr J. Edwin Orr said it this way, “When God gets ready to do something new with his people, He always sets them praying.”

God is doing a new thing today. If you want to be “in” on what God is doing, you must begin praying with greater passion and intensity. If you want purpose and meaning to life, and if you want your life to really count for God and to make a difference in this world…PRAY! Prayer is what God is calling His people to do today as a part of His plan for this world.

Holy God, the fact that I am able to seek Your face in prayer awes me.  May I never take this amazing privilege lightly or for granted, because it was bought with a price – the life of Your own Son.  Give me the patience to wait expectantly and passionately in Your Presence. Help me to listen to what You place upon my heart and in my spirit to do for and with You to make a difference in my home, church, community and world. 

Prayer Points

Praise the Lord your God, who “goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). Thank God for his presence in your life. Confess times when you think that just a little more money would make you even more content in God’s presence (Heb. 13:5). Commit yourself to wanting what you have, rather than scrambling to have what you want. Ask God to simply supply your needs and to give you contentment with his choices.

Pray that you can teach your children or grandchildren to be generous with their time and money. Involve your friends’ children in joining you to participate in acts of love such as giving new and used toys to a battered women’s shelter.

Prayer Pointer

“Love to pray—feel often during the day the need for prayer, and take trouble to pray.” Mother Teresa

Adapted from the article Praying Men can make a Difference by Dave Butts, author of Prayer and the End of Days: Praying God’s Purposes in Troubled Times. 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

Oct. 08: Asking the Right Questions

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

To sense a need or a call to meditate on a particular passage in Scripture, I need to start by praying over it and specifically asking God these questions:

  • What do You want to teach me?
  • Are You rebuking or correcting me?
  • What training in righteousness do You have for me?

Praying over a passage gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to accomplish His purposes without our getting in His way.

Holy Spirit, what do You want to teach me today?  Please show me the things I may have said or done that grieve You. Help me to listen to Your heart so that I may be trained more fully in the ways of Your Son today. 

Prayer Points

Praise God for his sovereignty. Thank him for using ordinary people to prompt effectiveness in the Christian movement. Confess those occasions when you knew God was calling you to take a stand . . . and you didn’t. Commit yourself to depending on God’s power with renewed faith to act on those opportunities which shape the church of tomorrow (Col. 4:5-6). Ask, “Lord, what can I do to bring about positive change in your church?”

Pray that your worship together reflects a celebration of who God is. Pray for the empowerment of all God’s children to use their gifts and talents in service of the sovereign Lord.

Adapted from The Path toward Passion: Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s by Dean Trune.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend  (Click on the blue title for more information about this resource).

Oct. 09: Temptation Prompts Us To Pray

…Jesus never yielded to temptation.  Never.  The pressure to say “yes” to it just kept mounting.  But Jesus always said “no.”  Do you understand why Hebrews tells us that Jesus “suffered when he was tempted”?  That same verse (Hebrews 2:18) goes on to explain that this is why “he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  Far from being unable to empathize with our struggle because he breezed through similar struggles himself, Jesus understands exactly what we’re facing – and far worse.

The writer of Hebrews now draws an application from this truth: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  Temptation should prompt us to pray!  Why?  Because Jesus understands our predicament, because he has successfully fought – and won – similar battles, and because he has explicitly invited us to approach him in prayer when cornered by temptation.

Gracious God, when I am struggling You are my hope!  When I am tempted, You are my strength!  Thank You that You have given the example of Your Son Jesus to me so that I can know He understands when I am lured by what I know will bring me harm.  Help me to come to You immediately, as soon as I am tempted, so that I might fight off the schemes of the enemy to damage my heart and my life.  Lead me to victory one battle at a time! 

Prayer Points

Praise Jesus, the gentle shepherd. Thank him for walking beside you and showing you the way. Ask God to make his presence obvious to you. Confess those times when you failed to recognize the Lord’s guidance and protection. Commit yourself to thanking God for his quiet presence.

Pray that the voice of the shepherd will break the hearts of those who desire to be led. Ask that you will be a reflection of his gentle nature (Phil. 4:5).

Prayer Pointer

“The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.” —Mother Teresa

Adapted from Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Oct. 10: Giving Wings to Prayer

Prayer is the manifestation of a humble heart. Humility secures the grace of God and our victory. The humble heart is not an option; it is a necessity. E. M. Bounds, who well understood the life of prayer, said, “God puts a great price on humility. . . . That which brings the praying soul near to God is humility of heart. That which gives wings to prayer is lowliness of mind. It gives access to God when other qualities fail.”

Victory flows from the heart of humility because the grace of God is applied. When we understand this principle, our whole perspective changes. And the greatest example of this principle is the Lord Jesus. Immediately before going to the Garden of Gethsemane and on to Calvary, Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Father, my own ego assaults me daily.  Help me to die to self continually so that my victory will flow from a heart of humility.  Thank You for Your precious grace through the Son who has overcome the world! 

Prayer Points

Praise God, for his mercy endures to all generations. Thank him for receiving you without hesitation. Confess thoughts which prevent you from exploring God’s mercy. Commit yourself to listening to his still, small voice. Jesus whispers, “Come unto me.” Ask God to help you see the many ways he shows you his mercy.

Pray that God will create tender hearts in his people, the church. Pray for renewed passion to share Christ and his mercy.

Adapted from The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippit. 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

Oct. 11: Overcoming Evil with Good

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

To pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done” is to partner with God to replace evil with good, death with life, sickness with healing, etc. Turn this into a personal prayer. Name the areas in which evil, sin, or despair are active in your life. Then pray for the kingdom of God to come by renouncing the evil and replacing it with good.

The kingdom of heaven is the rule of God, a situation in which everything works God’s way. Think about what life would be like in heaven anytime you have a moment today. When you see things that are not at all like heaven, pray quietly for the kingdom of heaven to come to earth, right there. Spiritual warfare can be as simple as an act of kindness when animosity or sarcasm or a reprimand is expected. Pray for the things that make Jesus strong to become strong in each situation.

Lord Jesus, in Your kingdom, everything works as it should.  Show me how to align my prayers with Your heart so that goodness will overcome evil, and so that Your kingdom will be more powerfully evident in my home, at work, in my church, and wherever I place my feet or open my mouth to speak. 

Prayer Points

Praise God, the Creator of the heavens. Thank God for his awesome handiwork, for the beauty reflected in the stars, the moon, the clouds, and the sun. Confess those times when you wondered if God was real and you questioned if he loved you. Commit yourself to praising the Creator of the universe as you see the stars, sun, moon, and clouds. Ask him to provide you peace, knowing that he cares for you.

Ask God to help you let go of those you worry about. They, too, are in his hands.

Prayer Pointer

“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” —E. M. Bounds

Adapted from Power Praying: Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer by David Chotka. 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

Oct. 12: Prayer Poured Out Before God

There are two passages of Scripture in Revelation that you may not have noticed before that are exciting in their presentation of prayer and evangelism: “Each one has a harp and they are holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8). “Another angel, who had a golden censor, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:3-4).

After each of these incidents, in which the collected prayers of God’s people are poured out before God, angels are loosed upon the earth to cause events intended to bring people to repentance and salvation. God uses the prayers of His people to bring about the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom.

Hear my heart O God!  I long to know the depths of Your heart, that I might participate in the activity of angels!  Use my prayers to affect change on this earth, Father.  May my passion be for the hearts of others who are living in darkness that they might share in the joy of eternal life! 

Prayer Points

Praise God, who is the great physician. Thank him for healing broken hearts. Confess those times when you failed to help those who sought to experience the Savior’s healing touch. Commit to serving God by serving them. Ask God to reveal names of individuals who suffer from pain, rejection, and spiritual death.

Pray that those experiencing pain will be moved to seek the healing power of the one who suffered pain, rejection, and brokenness for all humankind.

Adapted from the article Praying Men can make a Difference by Dave Butts, author of Asleep in the Land of Nod: Thirty Days of Prayer Toward Awakening the ChurchThis book is available atprayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Oct. 13: Perfect Peace

After praying over a passage of Scripture, I like to read the passage over and over again (especially if I have not memorized it) and allow the Holy Spirit to highlight a verse or concept for me. I was once led to a portion of Isaiah 26:3 in the middle of a meditation time: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Even though there are sixteen words in that verse, the Holy Spirit led me to concentrate on the phrase “perfect peace.” I did not consciously make a mental effort to pursue that phrase; yet, I ended up there first spiritually and then mentally. Meditating on that phrase raised some questions and led me to make some observations about my life.

Here are some of my observations. First, I know a large number of Christians, but I do not know any Christian who has perfect peace. Why? Second, I knew that I did not have perfect peace but for the first time in my life, I realized that I desperately wanted perfect peace. I concluded that, for my life, the only way to live in perfect peace was to have complete trust in God. This particular meditation time led me into a deliberate attempt at trusting God on a deeper level, and I continue that journey today.

Holy Spirit, I confess that at times, I struggle to trust. I know in my head that I can fully believe Your word and Your promises, but that realization needs to move to the depths of my heart. Help me to begin a fresh journey of faith that keeps my mind steadfast as I trust in You. Thank You for the promise of perfect peace that You will pour into my heart.

Prayer Points

Give all your praise to God, for his faithfulness endures forever. In quiet reflection, thank God for his faithful presence during your times of greatest need. With humility, confess your attempts to manage life without him. With a desire to reflect God’s faithfulness, commit to recognizing his power. Ask that you will see his faithfulness each day of your life.

God’s faithfulness is communicated through you to others. Pray that you will reflect a sustaining, patient presence with those who observe God in you.

Prayer Pointer

“To pray is nothing more involved than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting him to exercise his own power in dealing with them.” —O. Hallesby

Adapted from The Path toward Passion: Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s by Dean Trune.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Oct. 14: Finding Satisfaction in God Alone

Let me offer a good reason to pray when tempted.  Every temptation is a solicitation to illicitly fulfill a desire that God wants to satisfy in a good and wholesome way.  Listen to what James has to say on this score.  First, he defines temptation as the product of our runaway desires: “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:14).  Next, James tells us not to be fooled by this process: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers” (v. 16).  In what sense are we likely to be fooled?  And what is the truth that will deliver us from this deception?  James spells it out:  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights…” (v. 17).

James would tell us to remind ourselves, when tempted, that the very desires which are pulling us toward sin can be met in a much better way – by presenting them to the Giver of all good gifts, by asking the Giver to satisfy us.  Have you ever prayed along these lines in the midst of temptation?  Try it.  Open your mouth and say, “Lord, I’m feeling the tug of sin.  Would you please satisfy the desire that sin is promising to fulfill?”  It may help you to identify what that desire is.  But even if you can’t put your finger on it, cry out to the Giver with the simple entreaty, “Lord, satisfy me.”

Father of heavenly lights, each day I struggle with the “tug of sin.  Would you please satisfy the desire that sin is promising to fulfill?”  Help me to recognize that “every good and perfect gift” comes directly from You, and that nothing else can fulfill my needs.  Whenever temptation rises up in me, may I always recognize that my deepest longings can only be met in Your embrace.

Prayer Points

Praise your all-powerful God for conquering sin and death. Thank him for new life in Christ and for saving you from the torment of sin and the agony of eternal death. Confess to God any apathy toward his powerful love in your life. Ask him to develop moment-by-moment awareness of his love for you and a passion to share this love with unbelievers. Commit to praying regularly for unsaved friends, family members, and neighbors. Ask that God will use you to reflect his love, his life, his lordship.

Pray that those who strive for earthly power will come face-to-face with its futility and surrender all to Jesus.

Adapted from Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Oct. 15: Humility: The Essence of Life

Jesus knew the heart of the Father. And out of this knowledge He endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). Philippians 2:8–9 says, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also

God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (emphasis added).

Jesus knew humiliation preceded exaltation. The essence of His life was humility. And although He exists in eternity (past, present, and future) as God, He chose to humble Himself by becoming man. As a man He spent much time in prayer. He did nothing on

His own initiative; He depended on the Father for all things. His humility was exemplified by His prayer life.

Name above every name, forgive me for taking prayer for granted…for generating words with ritual sameness rather than speaking to You from the depths of my heart.  I have chosen the busyness of my life over knowing Your heart more fully and deeply.  Continually remind me of the sacrifice of Your Son, who humbled Himself to die on a cross, that I might spend my life in utter dependence upon You. 

Prayer Points

Praise God, who is the bread of life. Thank God for the strength he provides you to live each day. Confess those times when you have complained about weakness or yielded to the desire not to press on. Commit yourself to doing those things which nurture spiritual energy. Ask God to reveal to you ways by which he would have you offer “bread” to others.

Pray that God will provide the energy needed to deal with unexpected circumstances in your family life, remembering that he will sustain you.

Prayer Pointer

“Set the tone of the day with early morning prayer, and spirituality then tends to prevail and prayer becomes easier.” —Ernest B. Gentile

Adapted from The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippit. 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

Oct. 16: The King's Return

“Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).

Until the return of the King and His influence is exported to earth (i.e., until His “kingdom comes” and His “will is done on earth as it is in heaven”), the church of Jesus Christ is at war with evil in all its forms. Our job is to do exactly what the angels in heaven did—to cast out evil as we wage war against the author of evil, leading to his expulsion from earth forever.

To pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is to declare open war on evil in all its forms. It is to partner with God in destroying sickness with health, in casting out evil with good, in upholding the name of our true King whenever the false one attempts to control us or destroy us. It is to identify completely with His name, His rule, and His love.

King Jesus, may Your kingdom come in my life, my home, my church, my community and beyond as I yield myself to Your service.  Give me eyes to see the life-giving strength of Your hands as I partner with You to fight against the schemes of the enemy.  Show me how to destroy his works by bringing good and light into dark and painful places, until You come again.

Prayer Points

Praise God, the Father of all. Thank him for allowing you to call him “Abba”—Daddy. Confess your fear of seeing him as Father. Commit to seeking this attribute of God. Ask God to eliminate any barriers which complicate your ability to experience “Abba” as comforting.

Ask God to reveal himself as a loving, welcoming Father to lost and lonely people you know.

Adapted from Power Praying: Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer by David Chotka. 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

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