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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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Feb. 12: Spiritual Longing

The great advances in the kingdom of God today are taking place in poorer nations of the world or in countries where Christians are persecuted. Many reasons contribute to this phenomenon; however, one factor cannot escape our attention. Where there is revival, a deep sense of need has preceded it. Need always drives people to prayer. Jesus came to the needy, hurting, and suffering segment of humanity. And so it is today.

Many Western evangelical Christians have refused to acknowledge their need. We have great programs to win the world but little power. We have beautiful buildings but empty pews. We have gained political clout but have lost our spiritual passion. The church in the West would do well to heed the message of the churches where revival exists. It is not enough to have information about revival; we must hunger and thirst for it. There must be an extraordinary prayer movement if we are to see the glory of God. It can no longer be business as usual. We must awaken from our slumber and seek the Lord.

Righteous Father, how desperately Your Church in this nation needs a touch from You. Awaken the slumbering bride, Lord, and show us our neediness! Fill us with the kind of spiritual passion that we see in so many other nations around the world! Give us a sense of desperation and desire, of longing to experience You in all Your fullness and glory! Draw us close, and stir our hearts to seek You in Your holiness. Revive us and set us on fire for Your kingdom’s sake.

Prayer Points

Praise God, the giver of wisdom and power (Dan. 2:20). Give thanks for opportunities to worship with others, to learn from God’s wisdom, and to be touched by his presence. Confess attempts to survive through mere human wisdom and power. Commit yourself to carefully applying what God teaches you today. Ask God to empower you to live accordingly.

Pray for unsaved persons you know by name. Ask God to work through the power of his Holy Spirit to convict them of sin and lead them into his truth (Jn. 16:7-11). Ask God to use you to love them.

–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.

Feb. 13: Tools in the Hands of a Mighty God

 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him” (Psalm 67).

Every year almost 700,000 international students flock to college campuses in the United States. They are far away from home, many for the first time, navigating a strange culture and attempting to take classes in a language different from the one that is most natural to them. Many of these students want to impact their nations in a significant way, but most are not Christians. These students are a huge untapped resource for the cause of Christ, but about 70% of them will never see the inside of a Christian home unless we reach out to them. The reality of this situation is staggering when we consider that these potential kingdom workers already know the language, customs and layout of their own countries. Through hospitality and acts of love, our families and churches can become the hands and feet of Christ to them, bringing many into the Kingdom of Light! Then, by training them to reach their own nations for Jesus Christ, these young men and women can become incredible tools in the hands of a mighty God.

Gracious Lord, please give me a heart for the nations, for I long to see all the ends of the earth fear Your Name! Help me to see the big picture of how reaching out to one young student can change the world for Jesus! Let me be one of many in my church to seek to build relationships with young men and women from all over the world so that they might have an opportunity to see the living Christ in our homes! Teach me to stretch beyond what is comfortable to learn from and minister to these young students, so that they will see Jesus in me and know that I care about them.

Prayer Points

Praise God, the changer of times and seasons (Dan. 2:21), who is in control of all of history. Give thanks for this new day. Confess any misuse or waste of time. Commit yourself to taking hold of today’s opportunities and to enjoying the special pleasures God provides during this season. Ask him to guide you to make wise and efficient use of your time.

Pray that your church leaders will be protected from overloaded schedules. Ask God to give them wisdom as they lead the church and care for their other concerns.

Prayer Pointer

“When we say to people, ‘I will pray for you,’ we make a very important commitment.

The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern.” —Henri Nouwen

–Adapted from Revolution on Our Knees: 30 Days of Prayer for Neighbors and Nations by Dave and Kim Butts. 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.

Feb. 14: A Change in the Atmosphere

In 2 Chronicles 6-7 we see the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. While “the whole assembly of Israel was standing there” (2 Chron. 6:3) Solomon prays a dedicatory prayer in which he invokes the presence of God. “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. Now arise, O LORD God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness” (6:41-42). Of course the presence of God entered with dynamic power.

There is a different atmosphere in churches that pray together and who have praying people. Worship seems more powerful. There is a sense of connection with God that is not there in non-praying churches. Praying together invites the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. A number of years ago at our prayer leader’s convention, Dr. Tommy Barnett, pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Phoenix, Arizona, said, “The presence of God in the midst of a church is directly proportional to the amount of prayer that takes place there.”

When the Spirit of God is manifestly present, other things happen. People hear Him speak, giving direction and encouragement. The church in Antioch saw this truth in action: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3). During a normal time of prayer and worship, the Holy Spirit gave crucial direction that forever changed the world—Saul (Paul) began his missionary work.

He will do that as you pray together as a congregation.

Gracious Holy Spirit, fall upon the community of believers with whom I worship and change the atmosphere so that Your power is able to ignite us towards praying Your kingdom purposes! We have grown dull and complacent, and our prayers seem perfunctory and superficial. Awaken our spirits to the Presence of the King in our midst! Teach us how to pursue His agenda and align our hearts with it! Transform our faith community into a house of prayer for all nations!

Prayer Points

Praise God as the one who sets up leaders and deposes them (Dan. 2:21). Give thanks for your own opportunities to lead others. Confess any negligence or cowardice in leadership. Commit yourself to being a leader of integrity wherever God gives you influence. Ask God to grant you wisdom as you influence your children, friends, employees, and others.

Pray for “all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:2). Pray that leaders who uphold God’s principles will be brought to power throughout the world so that the gospel will be unhindered.

–Adapted from the article The Benefits of Praying Together by Jonathan Graf.  Check out this powerful resource also written by Jon Graf: Praying Like Paul: Learning to Pray the Kingdom for those You Love, 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.

Feb. 15: Breaking Free from Boredom

The early Church in Acts did four things when it gathered together. “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). I don’t think that means 25 percent of the time was given to each, but it clearly shows a significant importance was put on each element. If our church gatherings were measured against those four things, where would we stand?

Clearly, corporate prayer was given a significant place in early Church meetings. In our day, most churches relegate prayer to a pastor or leader praying once or twice in a service, maybe a worship leader offering a simple prayer amid a song set, perhaps there is a time for people to come forward and be prayed for. While these are important expressions of prayer, they do not usually constitute powerful, corporate prayer. Instead, corporate prayer has been relegated to the weekly prayer meeting, certainly an important service and event for a church. Unfortunately many churches have disbanded these due to lack of interest or sheer boredom.

Most prayer meetings have become a few sitting around in a circle, taking requests about all the physical and personal needs of the church’s members, then praying until each one has been mentioned. It is hardly a dynamic time of powerful corporate prayer.

Congregations need to experience powerful, dynamic, earth-changing corporate prayer. And the best place to experience it is in the Sunday morning worship service. Why? Three reasons:

1. Because prayer is not truly corporate unless it is done with all of the people. The morning worship is the only place where you have most of your people each week. Acts 12:5 tells us that “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” We can have good times of people praying together at other moments, but the value of an entire congregation calling out to God in agreement is extremely powerful. When a congregation agrees on something and prays, it is effective!

2.  It teaches people how to pray. These days, most believers never participate in times of praying with others. They may observe prayer a few times in a worship service, but they are never required to try it. As a result, most believers do not have any confidence to pray. When they can see and hear others pray, that can grow their own prayer lives as well.

3.  It is easier to have a leader-led prayer time in the morning worship service than at a less formal meeting. This is important for prayer to be truly effective. Often times well-meaning pray-ers will take the prayer meeting away from a leader to pray about their own agendas. This will not happen in a worship service. As a result, a season of prayer is allowed to be guided by biblical principles.

Father, You alone are worthy of my highest praise, and You alone hear and answer the cries of Your children. I long for the day when the leaders of churches everywhere call for significant times of corporate prayer to seek Your face in an expression of unity and agreement. Give my own church boldness and eagerness to call upon Your name in seasons of powerful intercession as the corporate Body of Christ!

Prayer Points

Praise God because “he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things” (Dan. 2:21-22). Thank God for revealing himself to you in his written Word. Confess any lack of interest or discipline in regularly reading and meditating on God’s Word. Commit yourself to a steady and balanced spiritual diet. Ask God to be your teacher, leading you to knowledge and wisdom.

Pray that God will use you to lead unsaved people out of the darkness of ignorance and rebellion into the light of his truth.

Prayer Pointer

“The prime need of the church is not men of money nor men of brains, but men of prayer.” —E. M. Bounds

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 46, Praying Together Vs. Private Prayer by Bruce M. Hartung). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Feb. 16: Vulnerability in Prayer

The martyred Dietrich Bonhoeffer helps us understand the place and function of the fellowship, of the community of believers: “The fact simply remains that where Christians want to live together under the Word of God they may and they should pray together to God in their own words. . . . Here all fear of one another, all timidity about praying freely in one’s own words in the presence of others may be put aside where in all simplicity and soberness the common, brotherly prayer is lifted to God. . . . It is, in fact, the most normal thing in the common Christian life to pray together.”

Is there reluctance of Christians to pray together (except when led by a worship leader in a formal worship service)? Perhaps in the traditions and experience of some of the readers, the answer is “No.” Yet I see considerable reluctance, even in some group prayer, to move very deeply into significant prayer issues. If my perception is correct (as well as my own reluctance), why? There are likely as many responses as there are people, each with particular concerns and discomforts. But one set of possible reluctances based on my own life and ministry experience, seems relatively clear to me. If we stay in our individual prayer modes, we, while we share with God, have little or no personal vulnerability to others in the community of Christ. Thus, our classically American individuality is preserved, as are both our exaggerated view of privacy and a sense of the preservation of our personal space.

The core issue is personal vulnerability to each other. While I know that I am vulnerable to God, who knows my most inward being, I, frankly, am less likely to share that vulnerability with someone else, even if that someone is a member of Christ’s Body. Praying together—or at least prayer together in some depth—requires the presentation of myself as less than ideal, less than piously all together, less than whole. It requires the presentation of myself as who I really am rather than who I would like others to believe that I am. It requires as much honesty before others as it requires before my God.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for my self-centered mindset that is concerned with what other people think about my prayers when I am in a corporate gathering. Help me to continually remember that I am not talking to others, but to You. My focus is pulled off of Your heart, and my trust in the Holy Spirit to speak through me is compromised when I try to sound “competent” in prayer in front of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please equip and release me to seek Your face with others and give me complete confidence to simply converse with You as others join me in agreement.

Prayer Points

Praise the most high God, whose kingdom is eternal and who is sovereign over all the earth (Dan. 4:2-3, 17). Thank God for being your Lord, as well as your Savior. Confess any pockets of resistance to his rule in your life. Commit your full and lifelong allegiance to the Lord. Ask him to use you in extending his rule.

Pray that your family will be God’s loyal subjects in his kingdom. Pray that “the footprints that we leave will lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey.”

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 46, Praying Together Vs. Private Prayer by Bruce M. Hartung). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Feb. 17: United with Christ

In the book of Revelation, John tells us that the collective prayers of all the saints, gathered in the golden bowls before the altar, are mixed with the offering incense and go up before God. God’s response to those prayers is to initiate the beginning of the end time with “peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” In other words, our prayers usher in the end of history and the second coming of Christ. When we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” we are praying God’s purposes. Our prayers are contributing to God’s final solution to the problem of evil. We are co-laboring with God.

Many more prayers of this nature can be found in scripture, prayers that will allow us to touch the world for God. To pray this way is to pray in Jesus’ name, for these are the very kinds of prayers that Christ presents to the Father every day. When we pray this way, we are united with God in His purposes. We are united with Christ in His ongoing intercessory ministry. What a great thing to be part of. This makes prayer really effective and really exciting, don’t you think?

Abba Father, You have created Your people to seek You and to align our hearts with Your purposes. Thank You for the amazing knowledge that I am joining Jesus in His ministry of intercession when I pray! I am in awe that You desire for me to be involved in Your work on this earth. Give me a fresh enthusiasm to join Jesus as a watchman on the wall, standing against the evil one’s schemes so that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord!

Prayer Points

Praise God, the one who rescues and saves (Dan. 4:27). Give thanks for specific ways he is caring for you right now. Confess any areas in which you are worrying instead of praying and accepting his loving care (Phil. 4:6-7). Commit a concern to God, thanking him for his care for you. Ask him to help you believe in his willingness to handle it.

Pray that your family and friends may be rooted and established in love and may have “power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [they] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19).

–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) 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.

Feb. 18: Good News for a Captive World

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’”

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household’” (Acts 16:25-31).

Who was the real captive in this dramatic story in Acts 16? Certainly Paul and Silas, as well as several others, were sitting behind prison doors, their feet fastened in stocks. However, they were singing and worshipping the Lord at midnight. When a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the prison, it was the jailer who became a captive of fear, ready to kill himself.

The Lord’s intervention through an earthquake certainly set free those who had physical chains like Paul and Silas. But it was the presentation of the Good News of Jesus that set the real captive free. A jailer who was ready to kill himself over his apparent failure to keep his captives, was himself set free as he encountered Christ though Paul and Silas.

This story, typically without the earthquake, has been re-enacted throughout history. Jesus sets men free. He said of Himself in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Free from sin and its eternal consequences, free from fear, and free from death itself. The Gospel is indeed “Good News” to those who are captive. The preaching of Christ is not of more rules and regulations, but freedom to all who desire to receive the gift of life in Christ Jesus.

Lord of Compassion, I thank You for setting me free from sin and death. I rejoice in this freedom! Help me to speak everywhere I go of Your love, grace, and power to set the captives free. I ask You to please bring Your saving grace into the lives of those around me who don’t know You. May the Good News that sets the captives free, flow from every Christian church around the world.

Prayer Points

Praise God, the ultimate owner of all, who gives and takes away the privilege of managing those resources (Daniel 4). Thank God for specific resources he has put under your care. Confess any attempts to own (rather than manage) “your” money. Commit yourself to being a faithful steward who puts God’s kingdom and righteousness first (Mt. 6:33). Ask him to teach you the secret of being content in any and every situation (Phil. 4:12).

Pray that God will give you, your family, and your friends the daily provisions you need (Mt. 6:11). Ask also that you all will excel in the grace of giving (2 Cor. 8:7).

–Adapted from Revolution on Our Knees: 30 Days of Prayer for Neighbors and Nations by Dave and Kim Butts. 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.

Feb. 19: Faith Grows As We Pray Together

Praying together increases the faith of a congregation to believe God for the miraculous. In Matthew 17 and Mark 9 there is the story of the father who brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples. They could not cast it out. The boy was taken to Jesus, who spoke a word and the demon left. Later the disciples come to Jesus and they were baffled. Why? Because they knew how to cast out demons. (The story takes place after they had been sent two-by-two into villages casting out demons and healing the sick.) They asked Jesus why they couldn’t do it. Jesus said two things: “because you have so little faith” (Mt. 17:20), and “this kind can come out only by prayer” (Mk. 9:29).

I wonder if the disciples attacked this demon issue cavalierly or routinely. They knew the words to say, the steps to take. But nothing worked because they were not prayed up enough. Their faith was not there as a result. There is a clear connection between prayer and faith (beyond the fact that we are supposed to pray in faith).

I believe the most significant thing that is lost in a church that does not have corporate prayer is faith. The main reason most churches are stagnant and do not see God at work in miraculous ways in their midst? Most churches and individuals do not know what it is to pray in faith anymore. But faith grows as we pray together.

Father, forgive my lack of faith! Release me from the stronghold of my own unwillingness to pray with others. Increase my faith to see You work in the midst of Your people…and even through my own life. Help me to see my faith grow as I stretch myself to willingly pray with other like-minded believers.

Prayer Points

Praise God for his holiness and righteousness. Thank him for promising to work all things together for good. Confess any coldness of heart. Commit yourself to becoming more and more conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Ask God to renew your love for him as it was when you first believed.

Ask God to lay on your heart those for whom he desires you to pray. Request the Holy Spirit to show you how to pray for each person.

Prayer Pointer

“Productive prayer requires earnestness, not eloquence.” —Anonymous

–Adapted from the article The Benefits of Praying Together by Jonathan Graf. Check out this powerful resource also written by Jon Graf: Praying Like Paul: Learning to Pray the Kingdom for those You Love, 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.

Feb. 20: Desperation in Corporate Prayer

“I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” (Ezra 8:2-23)

Ezra records a time of corporate prayer surrounding a three-day fast. The priest Ezra was taking a group of Jews back to repopulate Israel. They were going to cross dangerous terrain and needed protection. The interesting thing here, however, is that Ezra had a solution—the king would have likely given them soldiers to go along—but he refused to take it. He refused to do the obvious thing in favor of relying on God

We need to learn from that. The more desperate we are about something, the more vibrant our prayers. When going to prayer corporately, look for ways to impress a sense of desperation upon the group. Remember what happened in churches following 9/11? Prayer meetings were full for several weeks. Why? Desperation. As you pick the focus about which to pray, figure out a way to build in desperation. We can’t solve this, God. We need You.

Holy God, how casually I often enter into Your Divine Presence! I have not marveled at Your wonders or extolled Your greatness. I have simply said the same tired words I always say. Sometimes prayer is so routine that I have lost the freshness of a new experience with You as I come before Your throne.  Make me desperate to know Your heart, Lord, and to seek You in Your holiness as I recognize my complete unworthiness and inability to “fix” situations on my own. Help me to see my hopeless, deplorable condition apart from Your grace-filled power!

Prayer Points

Praise Jesus for being “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Thank him for always being with you regardless of your circumstances. Confess your weakness and inability to escape certain temptations. Commit your way to the Lord’s total control. Ask for his help today to overcome sin in your life.

Pray that believers will be strengthened to recognize God’s voice and reject the enemy’s lies and tricks “in order that Satan may not outwit us” (2 Cor. 2:11).

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 48, Prayer in the Corporate Worship Service by Jonathan Graf). 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.

Feb. 21: Communities of Authentic Encounter

David Hilton, a psychiatrist, pastor, and former missionary, says somewhere that the task of the contemporary church is to change from being communities of pretense to communities of authentic encounter. I believe that he is correct. What place does authentic encounter, person-to-person, occur more clearly than when two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ with Christ present as promised, where they share their struggles realistically and personally together and where they pray together in the name of Christ, at the foot of His cross and with the power of His empty tomb?

Thus, the question is more than praying together vs. private prayer. It is both/and. Additionally, it is the personal vulnerability and depth of individual sharing that takes praying together from pious soliloquies, surface chatter, and religiously correct formal language to the deeper areas of personal risk (and therefore deeper personal healing) made possible by personal vulnerability, openness, and authenticity.

Medical researchers are just beginning to understand what the early Christian community understood: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (Jas. 5:14-15).

Loving Father, You have designed Your people for Yourself and in Your own image. And, You have said that where two or three are gathered in Your Name, You will be present in our midst. Help me to learn how to be fully willing to seek Your Presence both in solitude and in the company of others! Show me how to have an authentic encounter with You even in the midst of many others as our hearts align with Your purposes. Allow me to be a risk taker, both in sharing my own needs, but also in willingly opening my heart to the needs of others. Pour out Your healing power in the midst of Your corporate body and stretch us out of our zones of easy comfort to embrace a world You are longing to bring into Your kingdom!

Prayer Points

Praise God for his limitless power. Thank the Spirit for being “in you” and for being “greater than the one who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). Confess moments when you have limited God’s power because of doubts or unbelief. Commit yourself to living in the presence and power of God every day. Ask him to make you more aware of his presence and protection daily and not to take it for granted.

Ask God to help children choose their friends wisely. Pray that young people will not give into the “evil desires” of this world (2 Tim. 2:22).

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 46, Praying Together Vs. Private Prayer by Bruce M. Hartung). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Feb. 22: Leaving the Choice to God

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”  Lamentations 3:32–33

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it [a thorn in the flesh] away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:8–9

“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.”  James 5:14–15

Sometimes when we pray we don’t know what God’s will is for the specific situation we are praying about. We don’t know if He will grant our request or not, so we pray and leave the choice to God. Even if we don’t know His will, our prayers are still prayers of faith. By faith we are sure that God hears. By faith we are sure that He cares. By faith we are sure that God will do what is best. But we don’t know what his best is. So we pray with hope. It may well be that most of our prayers are prayers of hopefulness.

It’s okay to pray prayers of hopefulness. God is pleased with them. Prayers of hope are valid prayers, so long as we are not asking for things we know to be contrary to God’s will. James reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). Our hopeful prayers say to God that we look to Him as the great Provider. With such prayers we posture ourselves as His dependent children. God is honored in that!

Jehovah Jireh, teach me to pray with great hope and fill me with faith to believe that You are at work to orchestrate the best circumstances of Your will for my life and for the lives of those whom I love and care about as well as for those I will never meet this side of heaven. Give me a heart of grateful trust in Your goodness and Your mercy, for You love Your people more deeply than my human heart could ever comprehend. Show me how to continually posture myself as a dependent child seeking the heart of my compassionate, all-powerful Father.

Prayer Points

Praise God for his abundant mercy. Thank him for not punishing you as your sins have deserved (Ezra 9:13). Confess any secret sins which hold you back from full fellowship with God. Commit yourself to turning away from sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and living completely for God’s glory. Ask God to restore the joy of his salvation and to grant you a willing spirit (Ps. 51:12).

Ask the Lord to create a hunger and thirst for him and his Word in the lives of unsaved persons you know. Pray that you will be sensitive to their struggles and questions.

–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) 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.

Feb. 23: Language of the Heart

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:2-6).

We both remember teaching in Thailand several years ago, which required from one to three translators depending upon how many different language groups were represented. Sometimes the translator would not have a word for what needed to be translated, so much discussion would ensue to get the right meaning. By then, what we wanted to relate lost much of its effect. Sometimes the process of translation was long and involved, or so fascinating that we would forget what we had just said when it was time to move on to the next statement.

The apostle Paul knew that he must be clear when presenting the Gospel; otherwise, his message would not be received seriously. Likewise, every preacher sometimes struggles to make sure the message being preached is clear and relevant to those who are listening. Imagine preaching without the benefit of a translator in a language you are still trying to learn! We have heard many stories from those who have unwittingly used the wrong words while trying to impart a spiritual truth, only to have everyone begin to laugh, or get confused looks on their faces. Imagine the difficulty of trying to preach in the heart language of a group of people who desperately need to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. Paul’s prayer requests certainly apply to many missionaries today!

Amazing Lord, I am in awe at Your creativity! You have crafted an amazing world filled with colorful people, who are vastly different from one another in language and culture. Into these lands You have called Christian workers, many who preach Your word in a second language. Would You anoint these preachers for this crucial task, and help them to clearly proclaim the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost? Give them confidence that Your Holy Spirit will speak through them so that Your Name will be made famous in the smallest villages and the largest cities throughout the world!

Personal Prayer

Rejoice in God’s majesty, glory, and might. Thank God that in all things he works for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). Confess any fear, worry, or anxiety you may be feeling about your present circumstances. Commit your day to God and rest in his good planning for your life (Prov. 3:5-6). Ask for his peace to remain with you throughout your day.

Pray that believers everywhere will walk in truth and unity. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw them closer to each other.

Prayer Pointer

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” —Abraham Lincoln

–Adapted from Revolution on Our Knees: 30 Days of Prayer for Neighbors and Nations by Dave and Kim Butts. 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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