Monthly Archives: September 2013

Put Your Boots On, Soldier!

 

Put Your Boots on, Soldier!

Have you ever wondered what you were put on this earth to do?  I have.  Up until recently this one idea consumed much of my thoughts.  I think a lot of Christians struggle with this same question.  God created us to fellowship with Him, to pray for others, and to share our faith with the lost.  Simple, yes, but very difficult if you don’t have the right tools.  The body of Christ is, in essence, sitting  by and watching while our world crumbles around us and Satan thrives in Christian lives and churches as well as everywhere else.

As children of God we are called by the Almighty God, our Abba Daddy, to fellowship with Him in a church with other believers and by praying daily.  You might be asking, “Praying for what, exactly?”  The answer isn’t difficult at all, it’s just…big.  True prayer and fellowship with God begins with us, personally, when we embark on our prayer lives, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian.  We pray, not just for ourselves, but for others, beginning with those we’re closest to, like immediate family and friends.  As we grow in our prayer lives and in our fellowship with our awesome God, we grow in fellowship with other Christians, God begins to open our eyes to what’s really happening in the world around us. We begin to see God’s power at work and our prayers answered in lives and events.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, these things are essential to the healthy Christian life.

Be honest with yourself.  Where are you in your spiritual growth and your prayer life today?  If your answer convicts you, a good place to start is Prayer Boot Camp from Prayer Portions by Sylvia Gunter. Moreover, I recommend you get it.  It’s not a small book by any means.  It may cost you an pretty penny, but think of it as a lifelong investment.  The following is an excerpt:

Prayer Boot Camp pgs 263-265 of Prayer Portions

Prayer is not a formula.  It is primarily a love relationship expressed between you and your loving heavenly Father.  He is all-wise, all-loving, all-forgiving, all-powerful, all-able to hear and to answer.  This study…is merely a good starting place to grasp the enormous privilege we have as God calls us to Himself to speak with Him face-to-face. (Scripture references have been highlighted for importance)

What is prayer?

1.  Relationship-verbalizing total child-like dependence on my faithful Father-John 1:12, Matthew 6:9, 7:11.

2.  Intimate two-way conversation between two people who love each other, talking with God – James 4:8.

3.  Standing in the gap – a. between a need and God who can supply – Ezekiel 22:30.  b. between a need and Satan the adversary – Matthew 16:19, Ephesians 6:10-18.

4.  Pleading the promises – Joshua 23:14, 2 Corinthians 1:20.

5.  Acknowledging entire dependence on the Sovereign God – John 15:4.

6.  Asking God for something – Matthew 7:7-8.

7.  Ministering to God – Deuteronomy 10:8.

8.  Pouring out our burdens on our caring Friend – Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7.

9.  The beginning of every move of God – Habakkuk 3:1-2.

 Who can pray?  (pg 264)

Those with a clean heart – If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18).

Those with clean hands – Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand on His holy place?  He who has clean hands and an pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false (Psalm 24:3-4).

Those who forgive – When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25).

Those who come in faith – If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Matt 21:22).  Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Those who belong to Jesus – You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it (John 14:14).

Those who are His child – Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God (John 1:12).  Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matt 6:8).

The humble – The tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, an sinner” (Luke 18:13).

 

To Whom do we pray? (pg 264)

To God the Father in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit – Matt 6:9, John 14:14, Romans 8:26-27.

 

What are the basic ingredients? (pg 265)

Adoration:  Praise God for His attributes–magesty, holiness, goodness, sovereignty, power, love, grace, etc.  Psalm 103, 145, 147

Confession:  Ask God to reveal sin.  Agree with God about your sin.  Repent of your sins.  Accept God’s cleansing.  1 John 1:9

Thanksgiving:  Thank God for His blessings: material, physical, personal, spiritual, etc.  Ephesians 5:20

Supplication:  Intercede for others and petition for your own needs.  Philippians 4:6

Boot camp is excellent training for battle, but it is not the real war.  There are no victories unless an soldier goes to war.  There are no heroes in boot camp.  You may know all about prayer.  There will be no prayer victories unless you actually pray.  Prayer victory is based on praying, not on how much head knowledge you have about prayer or how many prayer requests you take.  God wants to show Himself strong in answer to your prayers.

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The Sleeping Giant

Are you asleep?  I don’t mean physically, I mean spiritually.  In essence, the body of Christ has been asleep for the past 50 years or more.  To put it bluntly, we sit by and watch while the world around us goes to Hell in a handbasket, and sometimes we don’t even notice that.  We’ve become so concerned with how to survive in our own private lives that we’ve forgotten about others: our famiies, our neighbors, our church, our government, our world, and ultimately the body of Christ.  We need to pray for one another for strengthening in the time to come.

Satan has us exactly where he wants us; enslaved in our own fears and engrosed in our own survival.   Hollywood has become our favorite past time, and divorce among Christians is just as high as with non-Christians.  We hear of shootings every other day and disasters happening in unlikely places.  Yet what do we do?  We sit by and watch and perhaps even wonder, “Where is God in all of this?”.   The answer is; He never left us.  We left Him.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are a sleeping giant.  We’ve got to wake up, and the only way to do that is by accessing God in our daily lives.  He is still there through all the chaos.  Can you feel him?

Time is of the essence.  So let me introduce you to one of my favorite Bible studies: a book called Prayer Portions by Sylvia Gunter. Moreover, I recommend you get it.  It’s not a small book by any means.  It may cost you, but think of it as a lifelong investment.

For the present, I want to talk with you about Intercessory Portions, a chapter in Sylvia’s book.

Introduction to Intercessory Portions

Praying world-changing prayers begins as you and I obey God’s promptings in the “little things” close at hand.  God entrusts His best secrets to people who have their ears tuned for listening and whom He can trust to follow through.  Are you willing to be awakened at any hour of the night with one of God’s prayer assignments?

(You may ask yourself) does prayer really work?  I mean, at nitty-gritty places like the (store)?  I’ve taken prayer to the streets at churches and schools, on mountains and on interstates at 65 mph, in historic districts and in rapid transit stations…I take God’s holy nudges very seriously.  A few intercessor-friends in particular make a vital difference in my life.  (One can be so sensative about specific people, that he or she dare not ignore the slightest urge to pray for them.)  That is how you learn–by experience, Heb. 5:14.  We may miss the call of God to intercede here and there when we don’t listen and obey instantly, but we grow and learn.  God constantly fine-tunes our antenna to His still small voice…I don’t usually start with the ABC’s (of prayer).  I think the church has heard more instruction about prayer than we are doing.  We probably don’t need any more seminars, studies, sermons, or even books on prayer.  We just need to be doing what we already know.  However, it is helpful to go back to the basics and see again that our foundation for prayer is solidly biblical.

Next month we’ll start getting down to the nitty-gritty of intercessory prayer.  I’ll post more excerpts from Prayer Portions: Prayer Boot Camp on page 263.  In the meantime, keep a running list of things that concern you and prayer requests from others and refer to it every day.  Commit to prayer every day for them and for your spiritual growth.  Most of all, pray that you will grow closer to God with each passing day.  Go easy on yourself at first.  If you’re not familiar with praying regularly, start by giving Him 10 to 15 minutes of your time every morning.  If you can’t even do that, give Him time on your morning route to work, or when you’re doing dishes.  God never despises meager beginnings.  Trust me.

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