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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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Apr. 25: Pray so that All Might Be Saved

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7).

Prayer is the Lord’s strategy for bringing the lost into His kingdom. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).  We know without a doubt that this is God’s plan. If our families are not clear minded and self-controlled, then His plan to involve His people in the ministry of Christ and in the salvation of others will fall short. We must obediently pray for all people – even those who persecute us or mistreat us (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28). And it is critical to pray for those in authority over us! As a family, begin to pray for government leaders, co-workers, teachers, etc. Make a list of neighbors, friends and family members who don’t know Christ and begin to intercede for them!

Lord God, Your plans are perfect!  Give me a heart for the lost in my family, my neighborhood, my nation and the world!  May I commit myself to intercede for everyone in authority and for those who treat me badly.  Help me to teach these important principles to my family and friend by my faithful example. 

Prayer Points

Praise God for his great mercy. Thank God for forgiving you and bringing you back after failure and rebellion (Zech. 8:7-8). Confess times of presuming on his patience and mercy. Commit yourself to consistent obedience from a heart of gratitude for God’s forgiveness. Ask him to forgive your debts as you have forgiven your debtors, and to lead you not into temptation but to deliver you from evil.

Pray that the unsaved in your network of relationships will be won to the Prince of Peace by seeing fallen Christians restored. Ask God to show them his healing through the mending of your own life.

–Taken from the article Living for God in the Last Days by Kim Butts, author of The Praying Family (Creative Ways to Pray Together). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

Apr. 26: Confidence in the Lord’s Victory

“But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

When I put on God’s armor daily I am reminded that I am in a battle. Awareness floods into my soul that I have awakened to danger that day. But even more there is the quiet assurance that I follow the Commander-in-Chief of the Lord’s Armies. He has provided both victory and protection for me in the midst of the day’s struggles. He has loaned me His very own armor. So with great joy, I pray, gratefully accepting and clothing myself with His armor. Alert to the battle, prepared through prayer, I move through the day’s battles, not with fear, but with confidence in my Lord’s victory.

“Lord, today I thank You for Your armor. In faith now, I put Your armor on, that I might be fully clothed with You, Lord Jesus, and take my stand against the enemy. I submit myself fully to You Lord, resisting the devil, believing Your Word that he will flee from me. Thank You for the victory You provide daily on my behalf.”

Prayer Points

Praise God as the God of truth. Thank him for replacing the facades of your life with the substantive realities of his truth. Confess any time you’ve rejected difficult aspects of that truth for the appealing glitter of Satan’s lies. Commit yourself to honesty with God, other people, and yourself. Ask God to lead you into fuller and fuller application of his truth to your lifestyle.

Pray that such truth-oriented living will break through the lies the Deceiver has used with unsaved neighbors. Ask God to speak his truth in love to one of them through you today.

–Adapted from The Devil Goes to Church (Prayer as Spiritual Warfare) by David Butts. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

Apr. 27: Go Where God Sends You and Pray

“When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause” (2 Chronicles 6: 34-35).

Notice two important keys to victory: “…wherever you send them, and when they pray to you…”  Victory for the people of God is always dependent upon following the Lord’s will.  Solomon presented a powerful one-two punch for physical and spiritual victory: go where God sends you and pray.   Solomon certainly had in mind those who would fight on behalf of Israel, but we need this strategy as we are doing battle daily with the enemy of our souls. Though we must remember that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood as it was in the Old Testament, it is still a very real struggle and the need for this sort of authoritative praying and submission to the leading of God is essential.

Father, I submit my life to you completely. I will go wherever you send me, and I will pray as I go. May your Presence and Power go with me always.

Prayer Points

Praise the Lord Almighty, who allows city dwellers around the world to seek him (Zech. 8:20ff). Thank God for letting you find him. Confess times you have become indifferent and inattentive to his presence. Commit yourself to ongoing communion with him throughout the day. Ask God to regularly fill you with the joy of his salvation (Ps. 51:7-12).

Pray that God will move the hearts of national leaders throughout the world to provide open doors for the spread of God’s salvation. Ask that the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15) very soon!

–Adapted from Pray like the King (Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings) by David and Kim Butts. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

Apr. 28: Become an Overcomer

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12 KJV).

When it comes to spiritual warfare, most often I thought in terms of not being overtaken by the enemy.  But after watching a school wrestling match recently, I realized that is only half the picture. Winning in wrestling means more than simply not being overtaken.  The resisting is fierce, but to win, you must turn the tables and pin your opponent.  You must become the aggressor, not just the resistor. One pair of wrestlers, in a seemingly one-sided match, grappled through each round with one contestant racking up points at every turn.  It seemed obvious who the victor would be as the same boy clearly dominated the entire match.  Suddenly, in the last seconds of the bout, the underdog gained leverage and in an instant the previously-dominating contestant was flipped over on his back and pinned.  Amid the cheers you could hear the winner’s father yelling, “And that is why you never give up!  That is why you never give up!”

Can you hear it?  Can you hear the Father yelling, cheering us on not only to keep from being overcome, but to be overcomers ourselves—often in the last seconds of battle? Don’t give up.  Keep resisting and look for that opportunity to turn the tables on the enemy.

Father, teach me to be an overcomer—an aggressor, not just a resistor as I wrestle in prayer against the enemy.

Prayer Points

Praise God for the fullness of life he brings, from blessings of old age to a community filled with playing boys and girls (Zech. 8:4-5). Give thanks for your own physical and spiritual life. Confess any ways in which you regularly waste moments of your life. Commit yourself to diligent self-control. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce this part of his fruit (Gal. 5:23) in you.

Pray for someone you know who is going through especially difficult times without the comfort of God. Ask God to use you in drawing that person to himself.

–By Sandra Higley, author of A Year of Prayer Events for Your ChurchThis book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

Apr. 29: Sin Hinders Prayer

“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer” (Psalm 66:18-19).

Recently when I was confronted with a list of twenty sin-identifying Scripture texts, I at first thought, “My heart is clean before God. I don’t have anything to confess.” But I went through the list anyway, and to my amazement I found five areas of sin that needed to be dealt with. So I clearly identified what was offensive to God, confessed those things, and claimed God’s forgiving grace. Through that I again discovered complete freedom in prayer. We can’t have the privilege of prayer without purity of heart. Not only does sin hinder prayer; prayer hinders sin. The two are always opposed. The more careless we are about sin, the less we will pray. The more we pray, the less careless we will be about sin. Both sin and prayer are powerful forces. Which one is moving you?

Father, the struggle to stay away from sin is a daily battle.  Please examine my heart continually and convict me of anything that keeps my prayers from being heard. 

Prayer Points

Pray that the unsaved around you will see such a difference in your God-honoring values that they will leave materialistic life-styles to take up their cross and follow Jesus. Ask God to continue the fulfillment of his promise to Abraham through you (Gen. 12:2-3).

Pray that people will be convinced of the folly of living for this world’s toys. Ask God to give his people the selfless perspective to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.

–Taken from Love to Pray by Alvin J. VanderGriend. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

Apr. 30: Devote Yourselves to Faithful Prayer

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).

When we have thankful hearts, and minds that are alert (watchful) to the enemy’s schemes, we will be better able to maintain the faithful practice of prayer. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Your family can determine to obey this command by setting aside time each day to pray individually and together. The Father will reward your faithfulness. If this time is difficult to find, sit down together and plan what activities are taking away opportunities to spend time in prayer together. It may only take a few minor adjustments to find a segment of time to pray together daily. Perhaps all it will take is to turn off the television or give up excess time at the computer, etc. Talk about what being devoted means. Ask yourselves if you are more devoted to other activities than to prayer. Determine to change your priorities if this is the case.

Awesome Lord, my busy life often gets in the way of faithfulness in my prayer life.  Help me to see prayer as a natural part of every aspect of my everyday life so that intercession becomes like breathing to me.  Give our family a deep desire to devote ourselves to prayer.

Prayer Points

Praise God for his faithfulness in calling you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9). Thank God for the privilege of being his adopted child. Confess those times when you’ve foolishly acted like an orphan rather than as one of God’s own children. Commit yourself to strengthening the fellowship you enjoy with Christ and with other Christians. Ask God to reveal to you anything that might hinder your fellowship with Christ.

Pray for a close and loving bond to grow between the members of your immediate family. Ask that this bond will be rooted only in Christ Jesus.

–Taken from the article Living for God in the Last Days by Kim Butts, author of The Praying Family (Creative Ways to Pray Together). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

May 01: God’s Hand of Welcome

“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).

Access to the throne of God is the foundation of all prayer. All prayers must approach the throne. Every true believer is welcome there. Access to God’s throne is an amazing privilege. The One we approach is the sovereign, all-powerful, holy Ruler of the universe. What a privilege to be welcomed into his presence!  God’s throne, we are reminded, is a throne of grace, not a throne of judgment. This means that if we have come into his presence through the blood of Christ, we are acceptable to him. God doesn’t scrutinize us to screen out unworthiness. He extends a hand of welcome.  We are invited to approach with complete confidence. We won’t run into a closed door. We won’t have to beg or grovel to get in. God is expecting us. He is glad we have come.

Life-giving Lord, I give You thanks for the mercy and grace You have generously offered me as You invite me into Your throne room! I praise You that You consider me worthy of Your welcoming embrace.

Prayer Points

Praise the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who with his blood “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). Thank the Lord that he covenanted with Abraham long ago and that you have the blessing of being part of God’s own people. Confess any tendencies that you have to judge people by color, ethnicity, or background. Commit yourself to showing no favoritism, just as God shows none (Acts 10:34). Ask that you will do your part in the kingdom of priests who serve God (Rev. 5:10).

Give thanks for the gifts, abilities, and perspectives of those whom God has given to you, and ask his blessing upon them.

–Adapted from Love to Pray: A 40 Day Devotional for Developing Your Prayer Life by Alvin J. VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

May 02: Aligning with God’s Will

“Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” (Psalm 79:9).

Revival comes to those who are desperate for it. Many today are talking about spiritual awakening and even beginning to pray about it. But have we allowed God to place within us the burden necessary to pray desperately for God to show up in our midst? Are we willing to “pray the price” to see God move in a powerful way in the Church today? As I continue to learn how to move my prayers into alignment with God’s will, praying Scripture has become increasingly important. As I pray God’s Word I find myself praying in ways I would never have found myself praying before. So it is as we begin to place ourselves before the Lord in asking for a burden for revival. I have been greatly impacted by the prayer of Psalm 79. This is a powerful prayer for revival. It was prayed from the broken heart of the psalmist, who saw the people of God under attack and the promises of God unfulfilled.

Help me, O God my Savior, for the glory of Your name. Deliver me and forgive my sins for Your name’s sake. Help me to pray with the passion and understanding of the psalmist. Give me heaven’s perspective on events that take place, both in the nations, and in those things in my own life. Give me the wisdom to pray for Your intervention.

Prayer Points

Praise God for communicating with you in his inspired Word. Thank him for providing a “lamp to [your] feet and a light to [your] path” (Ps. 119:105). Confess any doubts you’ve harbored concerning the authority of God’s Word in your life. Commit yourself to treasuring the words of God more than daily bread (Job 23:12). Ask God to feed you spiritually as you look to his Word for guidance throughout this week.

Think of one specific family. Pray that this family would set aside time every day for family devotions and prayer. Ask God to make this practice a blessing in their family life.

–Adapted from Asleep in the Land of Nod (Thirty Days of Prayer towards Awakening the Church) by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

May 03: World-Changers

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). 

We need to understand the truth of God’s Word that is clearly apparent from the Old Testament through the New Testament, where Jesus is spending His time as an intercessor: there is nothing more powerful in the kingdom of God than intercessory prayer. God is calling His people to pray. All Christians are exhorted to pray for others and to watch God work in astonishing, astounding ways. Some people are better at it than others. There are some people whose main spiritual gift is intercession. But we are all called to be intercessors and to make a difference in the world through intercessory prayer.

Most of us do not look at ourselves as “world-changers.” We do not see ourselves as having the power or influence to change the direction of nations. As Christians, however, we affirm the power of God to impact the nations. That power is released through the prayers of people just like you and me. Would you make a commitment today to change your world? Take a step in prayer. Begin to pray more for the people around you, as well as for world leaders and the flow of world events. Bring the amazing power of God to bear upon this world and see what our awesome God will do!

Lord Jesus, I want to join You in the ministry of intercession and to become a world-changer through my prayers.  Please give me the desire to stretch my heart towards the people You love in my family, neighborhood, city, nation and world so that Your plans and purposes may be accomplished in their lives. 

Prayer Points

God sends his teaching like rain and his words like the dew (Deut. 32:2).  Praise God for being your teacher (Ps. 71:17). Thank God for the privilege of receiving his instruction through his Word. Confess any lack of attention you’ve paid to God’s teaching. Commit yourself to listening closely to what God has to say to you. Ask God to reveal himself more clearly through his Word each day.

Ask that God will shower the blessings of salvation on unsaved people in your community as they learn of Christ.

–Adapted from the article Intercession: Unleashing God’s Power on Earth by Dave Butts. Click on the link to read the rest of the article.

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

May 04: Do Your Prayers Begin in Heaven?

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26-27).

When we pray, we are God’s instruments. God is at work in all our praying. He makes his will known to us so that we will ask for the very things he longs to give us. Out of love, he burdens us to pray for others so that, in response to our intercession, he can pour out blessings on them. And it’s the Spirit, says Paul, that makes our prayer possible. We don’t know what to pray, but we don’t have to. The Spirit is there revealing God’s will to us in the Scriptures and bringing God’s prayer concerns to life within us. He is nudging us through circumstances and opening our eyes to the needs around us. He is searching our hearts and trying our ways so that he can bring us to true repentance. He is revealing the glory and the goodness of God so that our prayers will be filled with praise and thanks.

We can be confident that God will hear when we come to him. God answers every prayer that starts in heaven, every prayer born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, every prayer based on a sure promise from his Word. If prayer starts with God, then the first order of business as we learn to pray is to learn to listen to God’s whispers, to tune our hearts to him, to respond to his promptings.

Lord, teach me to pray. Help me to understand your purposes, to feel your burdens, to see what you see, to hear the groans you hear so that my prayers may be pleasing to you and may accomplish your purposes.

Prayer Points

Praise God, whose name is great among the nations (Mal. 1:11). Give thanks that the gospel has reached around the world and into your heart. Confess any sin that has hindered you from gaining a clear vision of God’s work in the world. Commit yourself to God’s plan for the gospel to be preached in the whole world (Mt. 24:14). Ask God to use you in that plan.

Boldly intercede for the work of gospel missions worldwide. Pray by name for world missionaries whom your church supports. Ask God to protect them and prosper their work.

–Adapted from Love to Pray: A 40 Day Devotional for Developing Your Prayer Life by Alvin J. VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

May 05: Lay Aside Your Fear

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

You wake up in the morning and the thoughts from yesterday’s events bring worry or stress. You think about the day ahead of you and fear or tension fills your heart. Your concern over family members or other relationships begins to weigh down your day before it ever really gets going. Many of us look at such situations as just normal life. But there is a warfare aspect to these thoughts. God’s Word teaches us that He wants us to lay aside fear . . . that worry and anxiety are to be given over to Him. He wants to set us free from these thoughts that damage our lives. If God wants us free from such thoughts, you can count on the fact that the devil wants us to wallow in these fears. The Christian that spends his or her time worrying or in fear is a Christian who is being made ineffective in kingdom matters. When the enemy can manipulate our thoughts away from trusting God, he has won a victory.

Father, grant me Your protection in the most common areas of spiritual attack: my mind, my heart, and my mouth. Help me to keep my thoughts fixed on You. Keep my heart in Your care. May my words always please You. Please help me today to live completely under Your

Lordship and in Your victorious care.

Prayer Points

Praise your Father as the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries (Dan. 2:47). Give thanks for the mystery of salvation through Christ, which has been revealed to you through God’s Word and Spirit (Eph. 3:3-6). Confess that there are times when you do not rely on his wisdom and insight in your daily struggles. Commit yourself to spending more time in God’s Word and prayer, seeking to understand the mystery of your life in Christ. Ask God to fill you with a spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph. 1:17).

Pray for those you know whose minds have been blinded by the gods of this age, unable to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).

–Adapted from The Devil Goes to Church (Prayer as Spiritual Warfare) by David Butts. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

May 06: Worship and the Kingdom of God

“…so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom (Psalm 145:12).

Psalm 145 is a kingdom prayer that is ultimately about two things:

Worshiping God.  This hymn to the Great King extols the Lord for His mighty acts, for His awesome glory and benevolence to His people.  King David’s praise is lavish and all-encompassing. His deepest worship is expressed in this magnificent prayer of praise!  Although many separate the two, praise is an important element of prayer.  It is communicating to God how we feel about Him.  It is the kind of prayer that pleases the heart of God immensely.

The Advance of the Kingdom of God.  The testimony of praise can result in the salvation of the lost.  Praise is an acknowledgment to the nations of who God is!  Praise extolling the Lord’s kingdom gives Him glory and serves as a testimony to others.

Lord God, it is a privilege to give You praise!  As I lift up Your Name, may all men, women and children all over the earth know of Your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom! 

Prayer Points

Praise God, who is the source of all wealth and prosperity on earth (1 Chron. 29:12). Give thanks for all the material blessings God has given to you. Confess any occasions when you have tried to “store up for yourself treasures on earth” (Mt. 6:19). Commit yourself to remembering that wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, are a gift from God (Eccl. 5:19). Ask him to open your eyes to new opportunities to use your possessions for the benefit of others.

Pray Eph. 1:18 for any unsaved person you know, asking especially that his or her spiritual eyes will be opened to see the eternal treasure of life in Christ.

–Adapted from Pray like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.

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

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