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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. 17: Running the Race in Prayer

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

All too often we look at prayer as a ‘quick fix” to a difficult situation. Have you ever said, “I’ve tried everything else – I might as well pray! Often we only have “time” to offer a few quick prayers hoping to bring God into the situation so that everything will be fine. . and sometimes this proves to be the case (although probably more because of God’s great love for us than from the power of our prayers).

If you are involved in a work of God, and hopefully we are all active in a ministry of some sort. you need to look at prayer not as a quick petition, but rather as part of the longterm strategy for accomplishing the work that God has called you to. It involves a commitment to pray and work until you see completion. An illustration from the sports realm might be helpful. Many would liken prayer to a series of sprints while instead, we would be better served to see prayer as a long-distance runner would view the course before him.

Father, so often I am guilty of offering up a quick prayer with little thought that the King of Glory is on the other end!  Show me how to be constantly aware of Your Presence in the midst of lives and circumstances so that I will commit to praying until You move. 

     

Prayer Points

Praise God, for he is truth. There is no deception in him. Thank God for his revealed redemptive plan. Confess those times when you have doubted the reality of God’s righteousness. Commit to faith those things of God which are most difficult for you to accept as his truth. Ask God to help you see his truth revealed to you each day—in nature, in godly relationships, in the renewing of your mind through Christ Jesus.

Pray that God will reveal the deceit and persuasive powers of false gods and cult leaders.

Prayer Pointer

“Prayer is for the helpless.” —O. Hallesby

Adapted from the article Prayer Strategy for Ministry by Dave Butts, co-author of Pray Like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings. 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 18: Truth in the Inmost Parts

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place” (Psalm 51:6).

It is very beneficial to take time to reflect upon a passage of Scripture you have committed to memory.  I can memorize Scripture without meditating on it, and I can certainly meditate on Scripture without memorizing it. I find it extremely beneficial when I both memorize and meditate on a particular passage of Scripture, so the vast majority of my meditation happens this way. Memorizing a passage tells me what it says. Meditating on a passage tells me what it means to me right now. I love reflecting and sensing what God is communicating to me about a passage that I have committed to memory. Hopefully, what I have memorized has not only impacted my mind but also my heart. By meditating on that passage, the Holy Spirit can harmonize my mind, my heart, and my spirit to teach me truth in my inmost parts. It is a beautiful thing.

Holy God, so often I become proud when I memorize a verse or passage of Your Word, when what I really need to do is apply it to my life.  Help me to reflect upon the truth of Your Word as expressed through Your heart so that the Holy Spirit can teach me the truth deep within my being. 

Prayer Points

Praise God for his agape love, a liberating power, expressed through selfless acts. Thank God for times when you have experienced his unfailing love for you, his child. Confess those times when you failed to love him. Commit yourself to modeling God’s love in all your relationships with others. Ask God to make you sensitive to those occasions when unconditional love can be expressed in your actions.

Pray that God will give you a vision for what he is accomplishing through the lives of those who are close to you.

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. 19: Praying for Those Who are Tempted

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

When you are tempted, take the opportunity to pray for somebody else who may be undergoing a similar temptation.  This is a bit of wisdom that I picked up from Bill Thrasher in A Journey to Victorious Praying.  Thrasher suggests that we ask God to give us a “prayer burden” when we’re tempted.  This is a deep concern to intercede for another person.  For whom?  Ask God for a name, if nobody immediately comes to mind.

Thrasher points out that by using a temptation to do wrong as a motivation to do right – to pray – we turn the tables on our enemy, which often results in his leaving us alone.  I’ve tried this and it works.  When I’m struggling, for example, with wandering eyes (the kind that latch on to any possible object of lust), I have found relief in praying for a particular friend (it’s hard to choose just one) whom I know is also facing this temptation.  What’s that line from William Cowper’s poem?  “And Satan trembles, when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”  That’s what happens when we begin to treat temptation as a prompting to pray.

Father, forgive me for failing to pray for those who struggle with the same temptations I deal with from day to day.  Give me fresh resolve to use my struggles as a reminder to pray for others.  Let these acts of care help me to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy.

Prayer Points

Praise God, for he is long-suffering. Thank God for his willingness to suffer for you. Confess those times when you failed to do so, for those times when you lacked patience with God’s process. Commit yourself to being willing to suffer for his sake. Ask him for the ability to be long-suffering.

Ask for a patient, long-suffering attitude with family members or friends who may be especially irritating to you.

Prayer Pointer

“Praising God is the secret of having increased blessings in your life.” —Don Gossett

Adapted from Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Oct. 20: The Necessity of Prayer

“O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2, KJV).

“By prayer the bitterest enemies of the Gospel have become its most valiant defenders, the greatest scoundrels—the truest sons of God, and the vilest women—the purest saints! Oh, the power of prayer to reach down, down, down where hope itself seems vain, and lift men and women up, up into fellowship with and likeness to God! It is simply wonderful!”  (R.A. Torrey, How to Pray)

Throughout church history the greatest revivals have typically followed periods of spiritual darkness. During those periods, small groups of people desperately desired spiritual awakening. Prayer was viewed as a necessity and not an option.

Glorious God, make Yourself known in the midst of Your people!  We are living in times of spiritual darkness, and yet, we have neglected coming to You in prayer.  Draw us to Your heart, Father! Revive us!  We are desperate for a touch from You. 

Prayer Points

Praise God for his righteousness. Thank him for the consequences of sin which move you to repentance at the foot of the cross. Confess times of anger when you felt God was not fair. Commit to accepting your circumstances as God’s justice at work which shapes his world. Ask God to help you see his righteous acts as acts of love, designed for you.

Pray for the judges in our courtrooms. Ask that their ability to discern truth will be strong and their wisdom to deal fairly with offenders will be of God.

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

What a grand statement from Torrey!

Oct. 21: Your Will Be Done

“…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

The kingdom of heaven and the Holy Spirit’s presence and power are connected. It is very clear from the teaching of Jesus that our Lord was intimately concerned about the coming kingdom of His Father. That is the plain sense of this second line from the Lord’s Prayer. In fact, it is striking that Jesus told us to ask for that kingdom to come—as if our prayers in this matter would make a difference. In fact, they do. There is a sense in which the kingdom of heaven is coming—there will be an end to time when all evil will be destroyed and truth will prevail. But there is another sense in which the kingdom of God is already here—by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  Read Acts 1:1-11 and underline all of the references to the kingdom and the Holy Spirit.

Lord, Your kingdom is now…and Your kingdom is not yet. What an incredible mystery, and yet it compels me to pray! What an incredible privilege You have given to Your people! Through the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit, my prayers make a difference in heaven for the sake of what is happening on the earth. May I never take for granted this grace-filled gift of prayer and intercession, which allows my heart to give a voice to what is in Your heart. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Prayer Points

Praise God for his comfort. Thank God that he holds you close and calls you his child. Confess those times when you have rejected God’s love. Commit yourself to seeking God’s comfort through the people in the church and his Word. Ask him to deliver you from your desire to handle your pain alone.

Pray that the members of your congregation will reach out in ways which comfort those who are disheartened, discouraged, and depressed.

Prayer Pointer

“Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” —1 Samuel 12:23

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. 22: Depend on God

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” (Nehemiah 1:5-11).

Nehemiah had a difficult task ahead of him. After hearing a report of the poor condition of Jerusalem and its inhabitants he believed that God called him to travel to Jerusalem and take the lead in seeing the walls of the city rebuilt. He needed favor from the king in order to do so.  His immediate response was to weep and pray: “For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Neh. 1:4) Out of this time of mourning came the powerful prayer recorded in Nehemiah 1:5-11 (see above).

Note how Nehemiah focused on prayer as an integral part of this mighty work of God… not as a quick fix, but as a continued dependence upon God for help and direction.  Nehemiah’s prayer was not an act of devotion wedged into an already busy schedule. He stopped what he was doing and gave himself fully to God in prayer. The task ahead was too daunting for anyone but God Himself.

Father, help me to be a prayer warrior like Nehemiah!  Give me the deep desire to give myself fully to You when I pray.  Forgive me for not taking time to seek Your face continually, fasting as necessary!  Allow my heart to soften so that I can weep over the things that grieve You!  I want Your direction and discernment…not my own ideas and desires.  Give me a heart of flesh and passion for Your kingdom!

Prayer Points

Praise God, whose “every word . . . is flawless.” Thank God for being “a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Prov. 30:5). Confess times of not believing or listening to his Word. Commit yourself to hearing God speak to you today. Ask him to truly be your refuge.

Pray for God’s flawless Word to be clearly and practically preached throughout the world. Ask God’s Spirit to open hearts so that his kingdom and righteousness may grow.

Adapted from the article Prayer Strategy for Ministry by Dave Butts, The Devil Goes to Church: Combating the Every Day Attacks of SatanThis 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. 23: Meditating on the Word

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).

Sometimes while I am meditating on a passage, the Holy Spirit will lead me to another passage that contains the same or a similar idea or concept. That is when I realize that God has my attention! God simply glorifies Himself as He reveals how His Word is consistent and is woven together to show Himself as the Great Almighty Lord of Truth. If allowed, God will continue to expand our comprehension of His greatness and bigness.

Recently I was meditating on James 2:12–13: “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!”.

As I was concentrating on that passage, the Holy Spirit transitioned me, along the theme of mercy, to Hebrews 4:16: “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”

I love when God does that. He was reminding me that since I receive mercy I ought also to be giving mercy. Great concept!

Gracious Father, so often I read Your Word just to satisfy my “quiet time” requirement rather than to know You better.  I don’t take time to meditate and seek out the truths You want to teach me.  Forgive me for my negligence and grow my desire and passion to meet You in the pages of Your Word!

Prayer Points

Praise the Lord, who is able even to weigh your motives (Prov. 16:2). Thank God for times he has brought conviction to lead you to needed change. Confess any sinful actions, words, plans, or motives the Spirit brings to your attention. Commit to the Lord whatever you are planning to do, asking that he then make your plans succeed (16:3).

Pray that the leaders of your church will be motivated by love, faithfulness, and the fear of the Lord rather than pride (16:5-6). Ask God to keep your heart pure toward your leaders and to use you as an encourager for them.

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. 24: Keeping our Promises to Pray

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). 

You can’t miss the three “all’s” and one “always” in this verse.  Paul is encouraging us to pray for others at the drop of a hat.  Or, as we’re prompted, at the drop of a concern.  Concerns that people bring to our attention in casual (or not-so-casual) conversation.  We must cultivate the habit of immediately interceding for those who have just unburdened themselves on us.  Their concerns should be recognized as a prompting to pray.  Not eventually.  Right now.  Because we all know the guilt of forgetting to pray for those to whom we made that simple promise, “I’ll be praying for you.”  The guilt only intensifies when these folks see us a few days later and say, “Thanks so much for praying for me – God has really turned things around.”  We smile and say, “Oh, it was nothing.”  And it was nothing.  Truth be known, we had neglected to pray for them as we had promised we would.  When we don’t intercede as soon as we encounter these needs there’s a good chance that we’ll never get around to doing so.

Gracious Father, forgive me for all of the times I have neglected to pray for those who have entrusted me to lift their needs and concerns before You.  Give me courage and opportunities to stop and intercede as soon as someone asks.  May I continually recognize what an honor it is to be asked to come before Your throne on behalf of another. 

Prayer Points

Praise the Lord, whose name is a strong tower to which the righteous run and find safety (Prov. 18:10). Thank God for the safety he has brought to your life. Confess any area in which your walk is not consistent with bearing Christ’s name. Commit to living all your life under God. Ask him to give you the courage that comes from knowing he cares for you.

Pray for those in your care to be under the strong tower of God’s care. Ask God to assure them of their safety in his strong and tender presence.

Adapted from Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Oct. 25: Humility Is Made for Prayer

This generation must learn that victory comes from the Lord, not from our own abilities. We have attempted to convert the world with the methods of the world. We have learned the ways of Hollywood and the power of psychological and emotional manipulation. But we have been left defeated.

We must now enroll in God’s school and learn His method. The method of God is simple, humble, and holy praying men and women. God can do more with a defeated Moses in the desert than He can with a slick, powerful Moses in Egypt. God is looking for broken men and women who will seek His face.

E. M. Bounds describes this principle by stating, “Humility is an indispensable requisite of true prayer. It must be an attribute, or characteristic of prayer. Humility must be in the praying character as light is in the sun. Prayer has no beginning, no ending, no being, without humility. As a ship is made for the sea, so prayer is made for humility and so humility is made for prayer.”

Holy Spirit, I have often attempted to pray for the sake of my own agenda, and have been self-righteous as I come before You with my fancy words and false purposes.  Forgive me for inserting my own plans into my intercessions rather than seeking Your face.  Draw my heart into the depths of humility, remembering that You are looking at my heart, unimpressed with the activity of my mouth.  Show me how to come before You with a humble spirit, and a deep desire to meet You in the place of prayer. 

Prayer Points

Praise God, the source of knowledge (Prov. 1:7). Thank God for the wisdom to apply that knowledge in everyday situations. Confess times of leaning “on your own understanding,” not acknowledging him (Prov. 3:5-6). Commit to acknowledging God in all your ways. Ask him to help you trust in him with all your heart.

Pray for neighbors who do not yet “fear the Lord.” Ask God to open the eyes of their understanding to know him.

Prayer Pointer

“Through intercessory prayer God does something that would not otherwise be done.” —Maxie Dunnam

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. 26: Living in the Will of God

The will of God is larger than dealing with what some call “power-encounters.”

Living in the will certainly means to participate in the name, which includes power, but only power as a secondary reality. The point of doing the will is to know Jesus, His character, His nature, His person, His very life. It is to be in intimate communication with Him, and through this, it is to know exactly what God wants done.

God’s will then can never be reduced to some task—even if it is a “power-encounter.”

God’s will is first and foremost friendship with God. Listen to what Jesus said about this matter: “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15, NASB).

It is to know the Son, and through Him, to enter into the will of the Father. To fail to know Jesus and His true name is to practice lawlessness, regardless of whether the so-called “good things” we do look powerful or not. All tasks that we are required to do must arise from knowing and loving God in a relationship in which we are alive to God.

Lord God, so often I rush into Your holy Presence to “drop off” my list of needs before You instead of preparing my heart carefully.  Knowing and embracing the character, nature, person and life of Jesus should be my continual means of entering into Your perfect will.  Slow me down, Father, that I might pray from the place of friendship and intimacy that is Your desire for me.  Give me a deep longing to know You better and to seek after the things that are upon Your heart so that my “doing” will be fully informed by my “being” with You. 

Prayer Points

Praise God, the one who ultimately dispenses justice (Prov. 29:26). Thank him for leaders in your country and community who consistently hold up God’s just standards. Confess ways in which you have not followed those standards in your own life. Commit to acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Mic. 6:8). Ask God to use you to help bring this way of life to your part of the world.

Pray for your world missionaries. Ask God to remind them that “fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Prov. 29:25).

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. 27: What Is it You Want?

“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it’” (Nehemiah 2:4-5).

(Neh. 2:1-9) Nehemiah knew that he was the man whom God expected to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. His strategy was prayer. He first asked God to prepare the way for him to receive favor from the king. But then, he knew that he must ASK the king for his help. Having confidence in the Lord’s plan and provision, he did just that, even though he was afraid. How many of us pray, but then don’t continue on in faith to be the answer to our own prayers? Do you wonder how many prayers God might have answered differently if we had just been obedient in our actions? Sometimes God desires (and requires) the next step beyond obedience to intercede … the obedience to act on behalf of the person or situation for whom or for which we are interceding. An interesting note; Nehemiah breathed a prayer to God just before responding to the king’s question, “What is it you want?” (Neh. 2:4-5). He utilized the strategy of prayer for preparation and also to gain the wisdom to speak the words God wanted him to say: “Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king…” Jesus tells us not to fear when we stand before kings and authorities on His behalf for He will give us the words to say (Luke 21:12-15). Nehemiah experienced this same promise from God.

God of heaven, create in me the faithful heart of Nehemiah, so that I might not be afraid to be the answer to the prayers I pray.  Help me to prepare the ground in prayer and ask for Your wisdom in every situation so that I might be confident in Your plans and provision.  May I continually act in obedience, even if it might mean stretching my experience to trust that You will give me words to say in uncertain situations. 

Prayer Points

Praise God for being both high above you and intimately within you. Thank God for making you a friend of Jesus as you follow his ways (Jn. 15:14). Confess times of damaging that friendship by acting as if you didn’t know Jesus and his ways. Commit to living in loving, obedient partnership with him (15:15). Ask Jesus to increase your appreciation of the gift of his friendship and fellowship.

Pray for those you love to continually “walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous” (Prov. 2:20). Ask God to give them discretion in choosing friends and associates.

Adapted from the article Prayer Strategy for Ministry 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

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