A prayer of thanksgiving

Praying Woman“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3:16

Father God, to me every day is a day for giving thanks. You have blessed me beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

But, America sets aside one day each year as a conscious reminder of how we are blessed to live in America. You brought us to this country so that we could worship You freely and without condemnation.

So many others around the world do not have this freedom and I want to lift each person up to You for guidance, safety, and fulfillment of your promises in their life. Some will be martyred today, before the sun sets on them, for their belief in the One true God. Others will continue to live in fear as they gather in secret to worship and learn more about You as they study the Bible and pray.

God, I pray that someday, around the world. that each country will have a designated thanksgiving day. A day when they were given the freedom to worship You and share their faith with others.

And Father God, let every American start this Thanksgiving Day on their knees, truly thanking God that we live in America. Let their focus be on all that You have freely given to us and let the Holy Spirit speak to each Christian on how we can give back to You this coming year. Ask us how to live life in a way that is not taking our freedom for granted, but using it as a means to live a life reflecting your Son, Jesus Christ, who provided that freedom. Let us come together as one Christian body. Bring a revival to America, Lord, and let it begin in me.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen

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The “proper” way to worship

Interior-large-worship“And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”

Nehemiah 8:6

Bullying hurts. We teach each of our children how to avoid the devastation of bullying from other children. Hopefully, we are also teaching our children how to interact with others who are different from them without putting the other child down.

But what about bullying in our churches. Oh, it may not be as obvious as some of the things that happen in our schools, but it’s there. There seems to be such a division in our denominations that we use their beliefs as put – downs against each other.

For instance, I overheard as I was leaving a church one time. First man:”I am having some pain in my back today.” Second man: “Just think, if you went to the Pentecostal church down the road you could go up and let them pray you well!” And they both laughed sarcastically. When did praying for a healing become a negative? Maybe one church is more open about their prayers, but does that make them wrong? Or….maybe God is trying to open our eyes to pray more boldly.

If we raise our hand to swat at a fly in church, we may be labeled as charismatic. If we want music with more praise to it we may be labeled as new age. And f we DON’T want praise music, well, we get labeled as stuck in a rut. If a church is huge they are following the world. If a church is small, they don’t have anything to offer. Why do we have to label??? I have seen large churches that have prayer warriors working inner city. And I have seen large churches that are just for the notoriety. I have seen small churches with Holy Spirit power. And I have seen small churches that were led by the few who were left from a bygone era and don’t want it to change.

Personally, I let the Holy Spirit direct when and how I worship. I often am driving down the road, listening to K-Love (my favorite Christian station), and a song will touch my heart right where I need it. I will raise one hand in praise (don’t worry, I don’t close my eyes) and thank God for sending that message to me. In my prayer room, I often kneel with my head bowed and my hands reaching upward to my God. And how I pray is however the Holy Spirit leads me. Quietly in worship, loudly to let Satan know his place, or in an unknown tongue because I don’t have the words. All I want is to be able to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit without being judged.

Let’s stop the bullying and name calling. It’s time to accept the Holy Spirit as our guide and if a person raises their hands in praise in a Baptist church, well, let’s praise with them even if we don’t raise our hands. And if a person sits quietly in their pew and praises in a Pentecostal church, then let’s praise with them however God leads us. Together we can bring revival. But separate we can bring destruction to the family of God.

 

The moment you begin praying

 prayer-warriorsWhile I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.”                                Daniel 9:20-23a

I have often wondered why I should pray. I mean, God is sovereign; He knows all and directs all and is all. How can anything that I say to Him change things?

First, let’s think about God. What are His thoughts? What does He stand for? What is His desire for us? God will never change from Who He is.

  • God cares about us
    • He listens to our prayers and answers when we pray for anything that is good for us. Matthew 7:11
  • God is good
    • God hears us and responds favorably when we ask according to His will, because if we walk with Him, our will is aligned to His. Psalm 37:4
  • God is patient
    • Praying in the spirit is praying with understanding of God and His desires. Prayer that God answers line up with His ability to know the proper timing. Romans 12:12
  • God is eternal
    • Prayers that affect another person’s eternal life are always heard by God. He will supply what is needed for each person we pray for to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So when I pray for my family to receive Jesus as their Savior, He will provide a way for them to know Him. John 6:27
  • God is jealous
    • God provides our needs; He hears and understands what it takes to live on earth. God will not answer a request to provide anything that He knows will take the place of Him in our lives. Praying for a new job, but the answer doesn’t seem to come? God may know that this new job would take up so much of your mind that we put God at the back of our thoughts. 1 Corinthians 10:21-23
  • God is righteous
    • God answers all prayers for righteousness. Matthew 5:6
  • God is merciful
    • Our prayers must be merciful. We can take anything to God that is from a forgiving and contrite heart and know that He will answer. Isaiah 57:15
  • God never gives up
    • We may think that God does not hear us, because it is taking so long to see the answer. God never gives up in doing good. He never stops offering His way of life to our fallen self. Until the end, God will respond to our prayers for goodness, mercy, and salvation. But remember, God also gave us a free will and how we or our loved ones respond is not something we can control through prayer. We can pray for a softened heart and many times that happens because of the testimony we see in front of us. God never gives up. Colossians 1:23
  • God is holy
    • Our requests must align with God’s holiness. He is ready and willing to answer all requests that glorify Him and His holiness. Romans 12:1

Does God answer prayer? Yes. He responds to every prayer offered within His attributes. When I fall to my knees I will ask God to create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me before I start asking. And I know, that as soon as I do this, God will send the word out for action.

Cotton – candy promises

cottoncandymedThen the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand.  Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.”

2 Kings 18: 28 – 32

Ah, the promises of the world around us. The fleeting, disappearing promises of the world. Just like cotton candy, these promises disappear at the first hint of rain. We wrap our lives around the artificial sweetness of the world, layer upon layer of lies and empty promises. And then wonder where it went when the waters of life come.

And it is no different now than it was when Hezekiah was  leading the people of Judah to follow the one true God. The world (Satan) will put things in front of us that fit with our idea of comfort and stability. He will reach watch us and wait until he sees a weakness, a gap, where we have not altogether turned our lives over to God and he will pounce with a fierceness that we won’t even know what hit us until it’s too late.

Let’s look at Satan’s “promises” in the opening verses and see how many of them appeal to us.

  • “I can keep you safe from all your enemies.”  Satan plays on fear and anxiety, distrust and self – sufficiency. He will instill these emotions into our lives by pointing out the weaknesses in our leaders: in the churches, communities, families, government, and especially our homes. He will cause us to look at the failures, and we all have them, rather than the good that has been done through leaning on God. Just like in the Garden of Eden, Satan strives to bring doubt to our minds about God’s sovereignty and power. “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me.”  But Satan can be brought down in this one thing. By pointing out the weaknesses in people, no matter what their rank in our lives, he is encouraging us to look to God and to trust in Him and the Word that He has GIVEN to these leaders. We should always rightly align God’s preached word with His written Word – the Bible.
  • “I will provide for your every want.” “Then each of you will eat of his won vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern.” Satan encourages “self.” Pride, annoyance with sharing, and fear of losing hold of life’s possessions are some of the tactics he uses to become greedy in holding on to what we own and not letting go. He promises that whatever you want in this life can be yours if you just kick the other person out of the way and grab it. Our families are splitting apart because fathers, and mothers, are working twelve to fourteen hours a day to “provide” for their families. Children are being raised in nurseries, preschools, and day cares from the time they are six months old and younger! And most of these are either public owned institutions where the Word of God is forbidden or private owned schools where the Word is limited to a denominational view. Where are the hugs and kisses of an involved Mommy when a child needs them? Love is not the issue; how we interpret that love is. Many mother’s must work outside of the home, but we must choose what is the better good for our children and spouse. And, please, don’t get me wrong, I know it is a tough world out there and money is not easy to come by. But there has to be a priority set. We must not let Satan determine what we “need.” God has designed the family to fill our every need. And it is not just the mother’s who are falling into the trap of living for their work, fathers are, too, if not more so. Gotta climb that ladder, gotta spend more time entertaining the client, gotta spend more hours at work. In my book, Submission is NOT a Four – letter Word, I wrote “God designed men to be the strong disciplinarians in the family and the reward is seeing their children grow up strong in the Lord and in their roles as men and women. Once grown, these adult children become accountable to God and His discipline….both men and women have the characteristics of God, but discipline of the children, the man is the strong one. The woman administers the rules of the house and disciplines to keep order, but it would take away from the woman another characteristic of God if she was the primary rule – setter and disciplinarian: that characteristic is nurturing the children.”  Where are our children going to see God’s plan for the family if we refuse to let go of our wants and put them first.
  • “I will make you rich.” Ah, we’ve all had the dream of living the “good life.” Plenty of “grain and wine; bread and vineyards; olive trees and honey; that we may live and not die. Back to the Garden of Eden and Satan’s first attack on the family. “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it (the Tree of Knowledge), your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  We are encouraged to “live for the world.” Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, let me live life on my terms, make my own decisions on what is good and what is evil. And the world promises that if we do this, we will have wealth and prosperity. God says in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  In the world, we desire wealth, fame, fortune. In God, we desire an honest life, a true family, and righteousness. God will replace the worldly, destructive desires we have in following Satan, with healing, rich desires for living a Christ – like life.

We are called to be strong in the Lord and His way; not our way. We are called to live life following His Word as our fulfillment, not the cotton candy sweetness that Satan uses to appeal to our earthly comforts. We are to give up the artificial sweetener of the world and feast on the honey of God.

 

Prayer for @realDonaldTrump: Psalm 35

Father God, You have placed Donald Trump into the leadership position of the greatest country in the world. My prayer is that he is leaning on You and your understanding for each of his decisions and that he confesses each sin daily. Fill him with your Holy Spirit when he wakes up each morning and release him from unhealthy pride. May President Donald Trump humbly pray as David did:

“O Lord, oppose those who oppose me.
    Fight those who fight against me.
Put on your armor, and take up your shield.
    Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
Lift up your spear and javelin
    against those who pursue me.
Let me hear you say,
    “I will give you victory!”
Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me;
    turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
Blow them away like chaff in the wind—
    a wind sent by the angel of the Lord.
Make their path dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me.
    I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
So let sudden ruin come upon them!
    Let them be caught in the trap they set for me!
    Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.

Then I will rejoice in the Lord.
    I will be glad because he rescues me.
With every bone in my body I will praise him:
    Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong?
    Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”

Malicious witnesses testify against me.
    They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
They repay me evil for good.
    I am sick with despair.
Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.
    I denied myself by fasting for them,
    but my prayers returned unanswered.
I was sad, as though they were my friends or family,
    as if I were grieving for my own mother.
But they are glad now that I am in trouble;
    they gleefully join together against me.
I am attacked by people I don’t even know;
    they slander me constantly.
They mock me and call me names;
    they snarl at me.

How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?
    Rescue me from their fierce attacks.
    Protect my life from these lions!
Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.
    I will praise you before all the people.
Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
    Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
They don’t talk of peace;
    they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
They shout, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

O Lord, you know all about this.
    Do not stay silent.
    Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
Wake up! Rise to my defense!
    Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.
    Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!
    Now we will eat him alive!”

May those who rejoice at my troubles
    be humiliated and disgraced.
May those who triumph over me
    be covered with shame and dishonor.
But give great joy to those who came to my defense.
    Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord,
    who delights in blessing his servant with peace!”
Then I will proclaim your justice,
    and I will praise you all day long.”

Lord Jesus, I fall on my knees and cry out to You to be a constant reminder to our President that he has no power without You. I ask Lord, that his relationship with You is so tight that his every desire is directed by You. Bless him, Father, and lead him as he leads America.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Thirty Days of Prayer for @realDonaldTrump – Day 1: His Salvation

Join with me in thirty days of praying for our President Elect – Donald J. Trump. God is ready to bless America again, but only if we stay on our knees and fight the battle together.

donald-trump

“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”

Romans 13:11

Father God, my sovereign Lord, creator of heaven and earth. You are faithful to the faithful and we have seen your glory in this election. So many Christians praying for your will to be done. Dedication to what is right, fasting and praying to remove all obstacles and we believe that You have shown your power once again over the rulers of this world. I believe in the foundation of our country Lord, and that it is built on the cornerstone that man has rejected; your Son, Jesus Christ.

And now the battle for continued blessings on America begins. My first prayer for our President Elect – Donald J. Trump, is for him to realize that You are calling him to be the one who leads America back to God. That he, himself, must not only follow the nuances of Christianity, but must accept the grace and forgiveness that Jesus Christ has offered to him. He must humble himself to the greatness of God, ask for forgiveness from Him, and accept all that Jesus Christ has done for him. He must believe that Jesus not only died for him, but that he is forgiven and will someday have a Return On Investment that is not of this world. I lift Donald J. Trump up to your Holy Spirit for the whisperings of salvation, help him to hear, Lord, and receive. Surround him with solid, Christian friends and acquaintances that he might see that You are the Foundation that he needs to stand on in order to make America Great Again.

Help us to never grow weary of praying for our leaders, past, present and future.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen