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    Thanks for dropping by Coffee Cup Friends, your Online Reading Room! Here, you will find stimulating writings by our top-notch team of writers. You'll find everything from short inspiring devotionals to life-changing articles. So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the time you spend with us. Be encouraged, restored, and informed. Blessings on your day, Cinda


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Archive for the ‘Prayer Dynamics’ Category

Prayer Basics

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Commands to Pray According to God’s Word
family_prayer2“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18
“Keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
“Let everyone who is godly pray to You.” Psalm 32:6
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:6
“Pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
“Pray in this way. ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your name…’” Matthew 6:9-14
“Pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
“Brothers, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25

This I Know

Posted by Cinda On June - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

bible3prayerI know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late.
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.
Author: Eliza M. Hickok

Get Ready!

Posted by Cinda On June - 12 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

ark“When I return, the world will be as indifferent to the things of God as the people were in Noah’s day. They ate and drank and married – everything just as usual right up to the day when Noah went into the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all.” – Jesus (Luke 17:26-27)

“Lord God, today, as in Noah’s day, many in this Christian nation are indifferent to the things of God. We have removed You from the ‘platform’ of our hearts.  Forgive those of us, who are called by Your name, who are more interested in the world than in the Word.  By the conviction of Your Holy Spirit, cause us to abandon the values and attachments of this world in order to keep those precious garments of righteousness You gave us, to be unspotted by the “dirt” of wrong choices and to be ready, watching and praying for Your return.  Cause us to live as though You were coming today.  In Jesus name. Amen.”

Contributor: Peg / All Rights Reserved
Coffee Cup Friends

Praying Through the Armor of God

Posted by Cinda On April - 16 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

armorofgod“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle, you will be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.” Ephesians 6: 10 – 18

Father God, thank you for assuring me of victory today! By faith I choose to follow Your battle plan and to prepare myself according to Your instructions.

In preparation for the battles I may face today, by faith I put on the belt of truth. Your Word is true. Renew my mind through the truth of Your Word. Help me to not compromise Your truth through my thoughts, speech or actions. Expose in my heart the lies that I can be tempted to believe. The truth about me is that I am Your child – bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. The truth is that You love me dearly. The truth is that nothing can separate me from Your love today.

By faith I put on the breastplate of righteousness. Your word says I am righteous in Your eyes because I trust in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And, You have accepted me as your child. I also make a commitment before You to seek to do, say, think and believe what is right, today. May I be known as one who does what is right regardless of what it costs me. May the righteousness of Christ shine through me.

By faith I put on the sandals of the Gospel of Peace. I know I will face situations today that could cause me to become worried or concerned. I also know that is not how You want me to live my life. I make a commitment to, “…not worry about anything but pray about everything” (Philippians 4: 6-7) so that I may experience Your comforting, reassuring peace throughout my day, regardless of what circumstances come my way.

armor_of_god02Lord, I hold before me and around me the shield of faith. My faith is in You and You alone. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Apart from You, I can do nothing. Help me use my shield of faith today in a strong, effective way to stop all of Satan’s fiery darts in whatever form they may take. Help me to use my shield of faith to resist and extinguish his attempts to make me doubt You or view myself or others negatively. By faith I can claim victory over _____________.  When I face temptation, strengthen my faith in You; remind me that the victory has already been won at the cross.

By faith I put on the helmet of salvation. Thank You for saving me and bringing me from darkness into the light. Thank You for forgiving me in Christ. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. I surrender myself to You today. Help me keep every thought under Your control and in accordance with Your truth.

Lastly, I take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Bring to my mind verses to help extinguish every fiery dart of Satan. Let Your Word be a sharp instrument in my mouth to defeat the lies of Satan. In every situation I face, help me be vigilant and alert to the deceptions of the enemy. And help me use Your Word to gain victory because I realize that as I know the truth, the truth will set me free.

So, Lord, I go now into my day rejoicing that You have chosen me to represent You to this lost world. May others see Jesus in me.  I know that You live in me and I know that You are greater than Satan, who is in the world. Father, as I walk through this day with You, let me walk in the confidence that I am prepared for the battles of this day, for by the power of Your Holy Spirit,  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4: 13)

In the name of Your precious Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ,  Amen

Thoughts on Intercessory Prayer #1-12

Posted by Cinda On March - 19 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

Jennifer Kennedy Dean is Executive Director of The Praying Life Foundation, a respected author and speaker, and contributor of Coffee Cup Friends. “Thoughts on Intercessory Prayer” is a must-read if you want to grow in your prayer life and relationship with God.

prayer1. Prayer is the most aggressive, pro-active, offensive, invasive action one can take in any situation. Prayer reaches into the spiritual realm and accesses all the power of heaven for the circumstances of earth. (Live A Praying Life) “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

2. What God wants to do on the earth, He will do through intercessors. When God wants to change the course events will take on their own, He searches out an intercessor on whose heart He can place His  desires. (Live A Praying Life) “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30

3. Through an ongoing prayer relationship with the Father, He will reproduce His heart in me, shaping my desires to match His. He will take my self-centered heart and fasten it on Him. (Live A Praying Life) “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

4. Prayer is the means by which you will be freed from your earth-bound, time-bound thinking to participate in eternity. (Live A Praying Life) “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

5. Prayer will work as God intends for it to work when it becomes what God intends for it to be. Prayer is not an activity, but a relationship. Prayer is not a formula, but a life. Only when we have learned to live prayer, breathe prayer, be prayer—only then will the power promised in Scripture consistently be your experience. (Live A Praying Life) “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18

6. Don’t focus your faith on an outcome. Instead, focus your faith on God. (Live A Praying Life) “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’.” Daniel 3:16-18

7. His sovereign decree has established prayer as the bridge between the spiritual realm— where the Word of God is settled forever and all the promises are already ‘Yes’ in Christ— and the material realm. Prayer bridges the gap between heaven and earth. (Live A Praying Life) “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10

8. God initiates prayer. Scripture tells us that God is awakening desires, initiating spiritual hunger, creating in His children the inclination to seek Him. When you pray, you are opening your life to His power and provision. (Live A Praying Life) “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelations 3:20

prayer089. True prayer is when God’s heart is expressed through your words. Prayer in its highest form occurs when the words I articulate, with my mouth or in my mind, are merely the containers for God’s thoughts and desires. (Live A Praying Life) “I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.” Isaiah 51:16

10. God’s heart is the beginning point of prayer. Powerful, earth-changing prayer starts in the heart of God and flows through the hearts of His people. (Live A Praying Life) “The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Psalms 25:14

11. God wants to answer prayer in such a way that He will be glorified. He wants our lives to be billboards upon which He can advertise Himself. He wants our lives to be stages upon which He can perform. He wants our lives to be trophy cases in which He can display His mighty deeds. (Live A Praying Life) “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalms 50:15

12. As you are learning to live a praying life, prayer takes on a much broader definition than “saying prayers.” Much of what prayer is accomplishing cannot be condensed to a list. Sometimes the direct answer to a specific petition is the least important aspect of what prayer accomplished. Most important is what has occurred in the heart of the praying person. (Live A Praying Life) “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.” Psalms 119:76-77

By Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Used with permission.

Thoughts on Intercessory Prayer #13-24

Posted by Cinda On March - 19 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

13. Your need or your desire is simply His entry point into your life. In meeting your need and fulfilling your desire, He is drawing you to deeper dependence on Him and deeper intimacy with Him. (Live A Praying Life) “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

heartwall14. You cannot know the desire of your heart until you know the heart of your desire. Usually, what we describe as “the desire of my heart” is really a secondary desire orbiting around the true desire. What we think we desire is really the way we have imagined the true desire will be met. We often mistake the desire of the moment for the desire of our hearts. Give Him access to your heart. He will peel back the desire of the moment and show you the desire of your heart. To the desire of your heart, there will always be a resounding “yes” from heaven. (Live A Praying Life) “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11

15. God has a good, loving, and productive purpose for scheduling waiting periods into the prayer process. When He has called on you to wait, it is because the wait is necessary to the outcome. He is doing something during the waiting period that He could not do without it. (Live A Praying Life) “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalms 130:5

16. His desires poured into our hearts so that they become our desires—this is the secret of powerful and effective prayer. (Live A Praying Life) “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” John 4:34

17. It is His pull on our hearts that causes us to desire Him. Our longing for Him is but the echo of His longing for us. (Live A Praying Life) “This is love: not that we loved him, but that he loved us… We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:10, 19

18. Through a consistent, daily intake of His Word, God will reveal His heart and direct our prayers. His Word becomes the mold in which our prayers are shaped. (Live A Praying Life) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

19. The person who is abiding in Christ has desires that are God-shaped. Out of the life that is abandoned to God and His purposes flows the prayer that God has promised to answer. (Live A Praying Life) “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” John 15:7

20. Power flows from purity. Seek purity and you will find power. (Live A Praying Life) “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Psalms 24:3-4

21. The Spirit’s quiet whisper bids me bow before Your throne ‘Til my heart’s deepest yearnings are the echo of Your own. (Live A Praying Life) “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

22. Faith is not knowing how God will bring His will into being; faith is knowing that God will bring His will into being. God’s ways are not our ways, but you can be assured of this: He is faithful and trustworthy and your heart can safely rest in Him. (Live A Praying Life) “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful to those who keep the demands of his covenant.” Psalms 25:10

23. He does not have “one size fits all” answers. God’s agenda is always bigger than the immediate  circumstances. The immediate circumstances are going to merge with an eternal agenda. (Live A Praying Life) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your  thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

24. We seek God through the spiritual disciplines. By engaging in the spiritual disciplines, we keep our lives open to God so that He can do in us and through us what He desires. He can fulfill His purpose through us when we are accessible to Him. (Live A Praying Life) “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalms 57:2

By Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Used with permission.

Thoughts on Intercessory Prayer #25-38

Posted by Cinda On March - 19 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

milk-and-meat25. The same scripture is received as “milk” by some and as “meat” by others. Some believers, it seems, have not ingested enough of the Word to develop a mature spiritual digestive system. They can only access what they can skim off the surface. Others, though, have taken in enough spiritual food that their spiritual digestive systems can metabolize meat. They can access the deeper, more substantive truths in God’s Word. How have they reached this maturity? The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “…who, by constant use, have trained themselves…” Hebrews 5:14. Do you want to move on from milk to meat? Make constant use of the Word of God. (Live A Praying Life) “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14

26. To live in intimacy with God, we must build into our lives the discipline of solitude and silence. We must respond when the Lover of our souls calls us to a place of solitude to be alone with Him. (Live A Praying Life) “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14

27. The promise of prayer is a transformed heart. Through the ongoing flow of prayer we are brought into contact with the Father’s heart. As we behold His glory, we are changed into His image. Our lives begin to reflect Him. Our desires begin to reflect His desires. The promise of prayer is a heart that matches His. (Live A Praying Life) “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

28. Dear friend, put away childish things—little flesh-shaped desires; short-sighted, earthbound understanding. Yield yourself to His bigger agenda. Let Him do more than you can ask or even think. Let Him do His full and mighty work in you. (Live A Praying Life) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21

29. Faith is not believing something; faith is believing Someone. Faith is not committing yourself to an idea, but to a person. Faith is responding to the present-tense Voice of the Father. (Live A Praying Life) “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even  though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

30. Leave behind that tame, tepid, play-it-safe, follow-the-rules kind of faith. We have been called to an outrageous faith—a reckless faith that risks everything on the trustworthiness of God. (Live A Praying Life) “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” Hebrews 11:17-19

prayingwoman231. Obedience is crucial for powerful praying. Disobedience dulls my spiritual hearing. It causes me to los my ability to hear the subtle nuances of His communication. Jesus once said to His enemies, “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you cannot hear what I am saying” John 8:43. Do you see that you can hear the words, but not hear the heart? Do you want to hear Him? Do you want to hear all the layers of His words? Do you want all of Him? Then He must have all of you. (Live A Praying Life) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-12

32. Holding on to anger and bitterness is cutting off the flow of His power through us. The scripture tells us that unforgiveness gives the enemy an opening—an opportunity to carry out his schemes. (Live A Praying Life) “And what I have forgiven-if there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

33. Think of your Spirit-directed prayers as “smart bombs” falling on enemy territory. Your persevering prayers are systematically demolishing the enemy’s strongholds. The air war is preparing the way for the ground troops to invade. (Live A Praying Life) “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4

34. Spoken prayer will not reach its potential unless it is grounded in listening prayer. In listening prayer, spoken prayer is born. (He Restores My Soul) “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1

contemplatingwoman235. Brokenness is the ground from which spiritual power grows. Welcome brokenness. Embrace it. Don’t fear or resist it. Like the kernel of wheat that falls into the ground to die, the outer layers of your flesh—self-centeredness, pride, self-trust—must be broken so that the life within can emerge. (He Restores My Soul) “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

36. God engineered your salvation not only for the purpose of cleansing you of sin, but also for the purpose of filling you with Himself. The work He is doing in you—the breaking, the crucifying, the cleansing—all have one purpose: to prepare His chosen dwelling place for His presence. (He Restores My Soul) “The priests went into the sanctuary of the LORD to purify it. They brought out to the courtyard of the LORD’s temple everything unclean that they found in the temple of the LORD. The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley.” 2 Chronicles 29:16-17

37. The trust of which scripture speaks is not an emotion or a doctrine, but a way of living in which every thought, every word, every act is an expression of total dependence upon the Father. The righteous live by faith. Faith is not something that you get out and dust off when you want something from God. For your spiritual life, faith is the air in your lungs and the blood in your veins; it is the active ingredient in your spiritual composition. (He Restores My Soul) “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21

38. Everything God requires of you, He has already provided for you. When God provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac Genesis 22:13-14, He introduced Himself as “God Who Provides.” What does He provide? He provides what He requires. He required a sacrifice and He provided a sacrifice. Through the Son’s indwelling power, He has already made available everything necessary for living out your new life. (He Restores My Soul) “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Used with permission.

Thoughts on Intercessory Prayer #39-52

Posted by Cinda On March - 19 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

bricks39. Every act of obedience to the voice of the living and present Jesus steadies the heart. As a house is built brick upon brick, so a steadfast heart is built obedience upon obedience. (He Restores My Soul) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-26

40. As you submit to God’s work in you, the acoustics of your heart are improving daily. The word acoustics means “the ability of an enclosure to reflect sound waves in such a way as to produce distinct hearing.” If a structure does not have the proper shape or dimensions, or if it is cluttered with objects that absorb or redirect sound waves, sounds will not be distinct. God is reshaping, molding, and cleansing your heart so that His voice will be clearly heard. (He Restores My Soul) “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Mark 9:7

41. Praise is the spontaneous and natural overflow of the inflow of His life. (He Restores My Soul) “All my springs of joy are in you.” Psalms 87:7 NASB

42. Praise is a powerful spiritual antioxidant, keeping your spiritual immune system strong. It destroys spiritual toxins before they have a chance to do damage. Praise changes your focus, fixing your eyes on the Supply rather than the need. Just try to remain discouraged or hurt in the midst of genuine praise. You can’t do it. (He Restores My Soul) “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” Psalms 71:8

43. As you praise, you are releasing tremendous spiritual power. Praise dispels the enemy’s troops. Praise lays the groundwork for the display of God’s power. (He Restores My Soul) “He who sacrifices thank  offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalms 50:23

biblereading1144. Outward forms of worship were intended to express true, inward worship. The danger is that they will disguise inward emptiness. The Holy Spirit is the guard against empty, surface religion. (Heart’s Cry) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

45. Jesus has pulled you into His inner circle, those to whom He will impart His secrets. A person who is following a doctrine need not listen. There is nothing new to know. The person who is following Christ must be continually listening. (Heart’s Cry) “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

46. Prayer is not a benign, feel-good, stress-relieving exercise. Prayer releases the power of God to change the circumstances of earth. (Power Praying) “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

47. Are you willing right now to open your entire life to the flow of His power? Even knowing that His power may interrupt cherished sin patterns or challenge comfortable beliefs? Do you want all of Him more than you want any other thing? You can have all of Him that you make room for. (He Leads Me Beside Still Waters) “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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 you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:17-19

48. As you live moment-by-moment in His power and presence, He will speak through you to those around you. Jesus wants to speak His healing, encouraging, strengthening, eternal, life-giving words through your mouth. (He Leads Me Beside Still Waters) “The lips of the righteous nourish many.” Proverbs 10:21

49. God is in the details. He is engineering even the smallest detail in order to establish His divine purpose. Happenings that seem random, choices and decisions that seem spontaneous and uncalculated, paths that cross in seemingly serendipitous ways—all are being put in order by the Lord. (He Leads Me Beside Still Waters) “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” Proverbs 16:33

bibleinspired50. The kingdom of God is not idle chatter, or empty words, or even eloquent and reasoned arguments. The kingdom of God is power. When Christ in you becomes Christ through you, the power of God becomes operative in your world. (He Leads Me Beside Still Waters) “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

51. God is able to do more than all we can ask or even conceive of. When you ask God for the best thing you can think of, you ask Him for less than He can do. When you feel that your request pushes the limits of His power, He wants to do more than you can imagine. (He Leads Me Beside Still Waters) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

52. You are the temple of the living God. You are the place where His glory dwells. He lives in you; you are His house. He says of you: “My house will be a house of prayer” Luke 19:46. (He Leads Me Beside Still Waters) “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

By Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Used with permission.

Guidelines for Prayer

Posted by Cinda On March - 17 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

In a little pamphlet entitled, “What every Christian should know about PRAYER” (author unknown), there are 8 conditions suggested for effective prayer. They are quoted here as a general guide:

biblereading1. BE PREPARED in heart and mind. Put other tasks away and read Scripture before praying. If possible, prepare a special place just for you and Jesus.

2. REALIZE the presence of Christ in your life, feel His nearness. “I am with you always.” Matthew 28:20

3. BE CONFIDENT. Pray with faith, expecting your prayers to be answered. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

4. BE RECEPTIVE to God’s message to you. Accept His wisdom; don’t “preach” to Him. It’s as important in prayer that we listen to the voice of God as when we lift up our voices to Him. The voice of God? Often it’s the indescribable peace we get in our inner being. Sometimes, it’s a special word from “His Word” that gives us clear direction or better understanding of something we’re going through. Sometimes it’s just having the assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5

5. DEVOTE yourself to God with all your love and desire; put yourself totally in His control; surrender your life to Him. There’s no better place to be.

6. BE MODEST in the way you pray. Don’t pray to “show off” to others. Think of prayer as a dialogue between you and your Father in Heaven, because it is. A loving, growing relationship with the One who loves you and pours out His tender mercies on you, anew each morning.

7. DISCIPLINE yourself with daily prayer. Be consistent. Be persistent. We do what is important to us! In the beginning, even schedule it in as you would other activities. “Just do it” until it becomes a natural part of your day. That special time of your day you look forward to and desire above all other.

8. BE UNSELFISH as you pray. For whom are you praying? Don’t ignore others for your own interests. As we pray for the needs of others, God will move on your own.

Not quite sure how to pray? Consider these six areas in your prayers…

praisegod2THANKSGIVING … offering our prayers in return for God’s gifts to us. His greatest gift is Jesus. Remember to thank Him for His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in all believers. His blessings. Gratitude for body, mind, and life. Family. Friends. Once you get started, you’ll find the list is endless.

CONFESSION … telling God about our sins, failures, and so on. Confession means “coming into agreement with God” concerning what He has already said in His Word about sin. We confess these to experience His forgiveness. It’s a show of humility and our daily need for the Savior.

PRAISE … worshipping in the highest, most personal way. A heart surrendered to the Almighty. It’s worshipping God’s greatness and love, not only for “what” He does, but for “who” He is.

PETITION … asking for our needs of health, of strength, and our walk with Christ. Whatever needs we have, knowing that the God of the universe who made us, also sustains us.

INTERCESSION … praying for the needs of others. The down-trodden, the oppressed (physically, emotionally, and mentally), our enemies and those who have hurt us. Those who witness for Christ. Again, the list goes on. Ask the Holy Spirit to impress on your heart for whom you should pray.

GUIDANCE … asking God to teach us to live like Christ, according to His Word. To guide us and direct us on our journey through life. Prayer moves the hand of God…in your life and the lives of others!

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Too Busy for Prayer?

Posted by Cinda On March - 17 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

contemplation8Huh? How does someone forget to pray? More than likely, it’s that they don’t want to pray (due to time and schedule pressures, feelings of inadequacy to pray in comparison to the way others pray, etc.) or they have little regard for the power of prayer, or never experienced its potential. In either case, it’s basically a problem of FAITH! Since we know that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17) we must discipline ourselves to study God’s Word and allow Jesus (Who is the Word), to speak to our hearts. I am reminded of the title of a book by Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline, the Glad Surrender. Sometimes, we must discipline ourselves daily to read our Bibles and pray. Once this discipline has been established, soon it will become the “glad surrender”, something we look forward to doing, rather than “having to do”. Something we truly miss when it’s not a part of our day. But, when fellowship with God through His Word and prayer truly becomes a priority, be ready for a most incredible journey, one that is guided by the Holy Spirit, Himself. It’ll be a glorious, supernatural transformation like no other. You won’t want to miss it!!!

 The most obvious help to overcome sleepiness while praying is to not wait until the end of a long, hard day… almost an afterthought somewhere between brushing teeth and shutting off the light. Pick a time of day (even if it’s only five minutes to start with) when you’re awake and aware. Many people feel the morning hours are the best for them. Late risers might try going to bed a bit earlier and setting their alarm half an hour earlier.

Keith Miller says in A Taste of New Wine, “I began to see as I never had, the relationship of my prayer life to my physical and emotional life. A large glass of hot water and a few minutes of regular exercises just before one’s prayer time each morning can change the whole climate of one’s relationship with God and with other people. Because we are to come to Him with our whole lives … not just our ‘spirit’.”

and, this keeps me from settling down to pray! Keith Miller (A Taste of New Wine) addresses this problem directly and in an easy to understand way.

“For a long time I had been disturbed about the problem of a wandering mind during my time of prayer. I would be trying to pray and suddenly my mind would jump to a business appointment I needed to make. For years I had forced these things out of my mind to get back to ‘spiritual things’. But now, thanks to another Christian friend, I began to jot them down and then go back to prayer. I was at last realizing that God is interested in my TOTAL LIFE and that these things which came into my mind during my time of prayer might be significant things for me to do, or places for me to go. This also made it easier for me to get my mind immediately back to my other prayers. Sometimes a vision of someone I resented would come floating into my prayers or some situation that I did not want to think about. Instead of suppressing it, I began to offer the person or the thing immediately to God in prayer, asking Him to make my thoughts about this person or situation more like His. I began to keep a list of people for whom I wanted to pray. And, before I knew it, I discovered that God was touching more and more of my life through this time of prayer. I realized by experience that the Incarnation means that God has made the material world of people and things His concern and that we must make it our concern for Him.”

What does all this mean for me? It shows us that it does no good to struggle with our distracting thoughts. As Keith’s sharing illustrates, there is something positive we can do about a wandering mind! Instead of fighting these thoughts, saturate them with prayer!

contemplation1God knows what we need even before we ask for it. When we have no idea how to pray, the Holy Spirit prays within us. Paul tells us that Jesus lives to “make intercession for us.” With the Father already knowing our thoughts, Jesus praying for us constantly, and the Holy Spirit praying within us “with sighs and groans too deep for words”, why should there be any question about forming our prayers from what is in our hearts? Actually, we make all our prayers to the Father, through Jesus Christ, His Son, in the power of the Spirit.

We are told to make our request known to God … for our sake, not His. We need to get used to asking God to supply all our needs, as He said He would. Here is the element of trust. If we don’t ask, it shows us that either we think we can do it all ourselves (which is obviously not so, or we don’t believe that God is willing or able to grant our petitions. It could, therefore, boil down to the question of faith to see if we are truly “feeding” on the Word of God.

Basically, a good rule is to look up references to prayer (Old Testament as well as the New Testament) so we can get a feel for how one approaches God and what one says. Praying some of the Psalms (for some, the Good News Bible or The Message are easier to understand for this type of reading) is a helpful way to get started. Studying the Lord’s Prayer is excellent, also, as well, as Jesus’ prayer found in John 17. (You might want to get W. Phillip Keller’s book, A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer especially if you take time to sit down and “re-write” it to God in your own words… making it personal.

God doesn’t want vain repetitions, wordy, showy prayers. He wants honesty. Simplicity. Believing Jesus’ words that “he who has seen me has seen the Father”, we can call upon Him, realizing that He is with us at all times. And, by the Spirit within us and speaking to God in Jesus’ Name, (as affectionately and trustingly as we would to our own father, mother, friend, or other loved one), we will know that it’s not so much the words we use, but the sincerity in our hearts. Even if we don’t “feel” like praying, it’s better to go to the Father and confess that and thank Him that He hears us anyway, despite our feelings, than it is to not pray at all.

Note: The Good News Bible and The Message are good paraphrase versions of the Bible for casual devotions, but for a more in-depth study of God’s Word, we recommend a more literal translation, such as the New American Standard Bible, or something similar.

If some of the previous thoughts haven’t helped much, there are plenty of good books and pamphlets available. But, remember this… praying is something that should be as natural as talking to a friend, but it is also something that is learned. (Remember, Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. Luke 11:1) How do we acquire and develop a sense and understanding of music? The real sense of music will only come when we cross that threshold and surrender ourselves to the discipline of study and appreciation of the art.

The more we pray, we soon find out that prayer has meaning. Read the parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14. Read also Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 18:1-8. And, read our Lord’s prayer in distress in Luke 22:39-46. Then, John 17. This chapter is truly profound. As you read, grasp the absolute love and compassion Jesus has for those who have placed their faith in Him, and the amazing relationship Jesus has with His Father.

Not sure how to go about it? Seek God through His Word, the Bible. Doing this, you come to know God and His character. Then, open your heart to Him and talk to Him as you would your best friend. As you grow in your spiritual walk, your prayers will become more and more Christ-focused and less on yourself. Although, God always wants us to share everything that is important to us. Everything that concerns us. Trust Him. He will meet you at your point of need! He loves you!

prayer07BOTTOM LINE? Prayer is conversation with God. When you have conversation with another person, you don’t do all the talking. You also listen. We praise God, thank Him, ask His guidance, request things for ourselves and others, make confession of our sins and shortcomings, and then we read His Word. We listen to that “still, small voice within,” or hear a sermon, or talk with a Christian brother or sister… in order to listen to what God has to say to us. There IS growth in understanding the effectiveness of prayer.

There is “canceling” prayer where we’re actually asking for the opposite of what we need (without realizing it), and there is “affirming” prayer, which comes with knowing what the Bible says about God’s will and our authority in prayer as Christians. But that goes beyond the scope of these thoughts. Throughout the New Testament, there are statements of what we have already as Christians and our position in the eyes of God. In the whole Bible, there are 7,000 promises of God to us. The only way to pray affirmatively and effectively is to “get serious” about Scripture, God’s Word.

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