PRAY, PRAY, PRAY

These were actress Candace Cameron Bure’s powerful words for fellow parents after her daughter’s baptism.

She said her heart was “overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace” last Sunday after watching her daughter, Natasha Bure, publicly profess her faith through baptism.

Bure thanked Pastor Dudley Rutherford of Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, California, for baptizing her daughter

“As a mama, there’s nothing that tops this day. Nothing!” the “Fuller House” star wrote on Instagram:

“My three adult children have now all professed their faith, love, service, and devotion to Jesus Christ; Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Savior of the world.”

She also said “walking the talk” is essential for parents’ own Christian journeys, especially as their kids observe. “How you handle the hardships in attitude and character by praying, submitting to God, and honoring the Lord in your decisions speaks volumes to your kids, even if you don’t think they see it at the time,” she said. “Be the example you wanted to have growing up. God is faithful, even when you aren’t.”

The actress added another essential reminder: “Read the Bible. And read the Bible to your children.”

Research has found Bible engagement is an essential indicator for children maintaining faith in adulthood.

And considering the mandate we see in Proverbs 22:6 — “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” Bure’s Scripture-based advice is essential for all parents.

PROPHESIED END TIMES CATASTROPHES

As chaos reigns in Ukraine, Christians and Jews around the world are turning to God in prayer. History demonstrates God uses catastrophes for His purposes.

Faithwire has reported prayer gatherings between Christians and Jews, of Ukrainians coming together in public squares to seek God’s guidance, and of religious and political leaders invoking the sovereignty of God. Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, the chief rabbi of Kyiv, reportedly invited Christian leaders to join the Jewish community in praying Psalm 31, a hymn of protection, over the evolving situation in Ukraine, according to Eternity News.

Others, still, are calling for a day dedicated to prayer for a nation under assault by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Pro-Ukraine demonstrators carry signs and Ukrainian flags near Russia’s UN Mission, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in New York. World leaders Thursday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “barbaric” and moved to slap unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow and those close to President Vladimir Putin.

“In these days of uncertainty and fear, we pray that each of us might again turn to the Lord and receive God’s gift of peace, work for God’s justice, know God’s reconciliation and love, and choose paths, not of hatred or destruction, of violence or retribution, but God’s way of justice, mercy, and peace,” Archbishop of Canterbury, Just Welby wrote in a pastoral letter published Thursday.

CBN News senior international correspondent George Thomas echoed the archbishop’s words, urging Christians to come together to pray for Ukraine this Sunday, Feb. 27. “Will you join them?” Thomas asked from the balcony of his hotel room in Lviv, Ukraine. “And will you join us, the entire world, in this prayer?”

All over the world Christian leaders and politicians are calling for prayer. Sadly, it required a catastrophe of this dimension to get Christians to unite in prayer.

POWERLESS PRAYER

‘‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. James 5:14-15

The clearly expected outcome –the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.’ In verses 17-18, James continues to assert the miraculous power of prayers, offered in faith:

‘Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.’ James 5:17-18

Clearly, James believed that prayers offered in faith would result in the physical, miraculous intervention of God. When we look at the life of Jesus, and the amount of time and energy he devoted to healing the sick, which was an expression of his deep compassion for the suffering, it is easy to see that James was closer to the truth than most Christians are today.

Jesus relied on miracles to confirm his words, moreover, He told us that those that believe in Him will do even greater works than He did. Do we really believe Him?

I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.John 14:12-14

Powerless prayers have been rendered as such by the long, slow erosion of faith among God’s people, and that erosion has been made possible by the embracing of false traditions. For example, the kind of prayers that close with ‘not my will but yours, be done’. This is not stated in faith, in expectation of an outcome, but more as a catch-all – ‘please ignore everything I just asked for, if it doesn’t suit you.’

This is not the model of discipleship we are to follow and teach, where we are completely unaware of the will of God, and our prayers are at best guesswork. Paul urges us to walk ever more closely with God, and increasingly understand his will.

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ Romans 12:1-2

As we yield to God’s mercy and walk closely with him, our ideas are changed. We jettison old ways of thinking, as healthier, more life-giving inspiration arises in His company, and as our minds are renewed, we become more attuned to Him and to His will. Only then, in our closeness with God, where His good, pleasing and perfect will is known, can we pray effectively.

In the early church, the lived experience of the Christian faith was far greater than it is today. There is much we have lost and must seek to restore. Back to the church as God intended as revealed in the Book of Acts.

Praying effectively: James sums it up well:

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.’ James 1:6-8

 Adapted from the excellent article "The Prayer God Can’t Answer" by Duncan Edward Pile Patheos Nov. 23rd 2021

OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS CHRISTIANS FOR OUR CITIES AND NATIONS

Christians are under attack as never before. Now, those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage and just two genders created by God are being labelled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and, schools.

Intercessors can change the atmosphere in their cities through prayer, worship, and a corporate spiritual authority far greater than any demonic threat or attack.  The posture of our hearts and the words from our mouths determine the atmosphere in a place.  The power of our praises and our prayers can shift atmospheres in a room, a building, a neighbourhood, and even an entire city.

We are still to see what God’s response will be to the prayers of the thousands of saints that gathered to pray in Washington just prior to the election.

Thousands pray in Washington September 25th and 26th 2020

 In the early Church, unity was so strong that Scriptures speak of a “great grace” that was released in the city.  This grace opened the door to miracles, signs, and wonders, and salvations on a daily basis (see Acts 4:32-34).  Earlier in this same chapter, it speaks of their daily fellowship and breaking of bread.  Because of these things, God’s grace empowered them to do far beyond what they could have done in the natural.

This should be our desire as we come together as watchmen in prayer over our cities and nation.  We can pray in such agreement with heaven that the atmosphere over the city begins to be permeated with the grace and favour of the Lord.  Our spiritual adversary will continually find ways to spread fear, chaos, turmoil, and hopelessness over the land.  It is our responsibility to displace those demonic spirits by keeping our corporate prayer altars ablaze. 

We must use our authority in Christ to displace rulers in high places and declare the work of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection.  Let’s agree together to speak life instead of death, order instead of chaos, and faith instead of fear.

POWER OF PRAYER TO RELEASE GOD’S POWER TO ACHIEVE HIS PURPOSES

Great testimony from a pastor, Jason Hubbard. He admits the church he led was not a praying church until God stopped Jason in his tracks and challenged him about whose church it was. Did Jason truly believe the church could function as God’s church without prayer? That was the question God put to Jason. Listen to the transformation that occurred when Jason confessed his folly to the church and they obeyed God and became a praying church.

GOD USES SO CALLED NATURAL DISASTERS

Fire causes an atheist to prayer. Wow! Here’s an ABC report this morning of an atheist’s change of heart during the fires in South East Australia. Read to the middle of this post where he saw God change the wind and save them:

News Channel is chatting to David Geoffrey, the owner of the Wave Oasis bed and breakfast in Mallacoota.

Here’s what David’s saying;

Well, [conditions] are a hell of a lot better than they were. It doesn’t look like it was midnight like it was just before. There’s actually some light coming through the smoke. There’s obviously dangers of spotting and the fires are running up in a northerly direction back towards the Princes Highway. I know that much. But before, it was… It was… Mate, you just don’t want to go through something like this. It was terrifying.

And, um, I’m pretty… I’m a bit emotional still but I’m grateful that our animals are alive and that our guests that were with us are safe. We’ve stayed together. And, yeah, it was horrendous.

I want to give God the glory because, mate, I had a good friend, ex-firie, well, former head of fire department here in Mallacoota, Graham Clarke. He’s been giving me the heads-up. He’s in Canberra but is totally surrounded by fire where he was and was good enough to ring me and he said, “David, it’s at the airport.” So, I knew where it was. The airport in Mallacoota is five or seven minutes away in the car. I knew it was hitting town because the sirens start up.

At that point, I was praying. I was an atheist. I was praying to God, praying to Jesus, turn the wind. You wouldn’t believe it – but I’m going to tell you the honest to God truth. It pushed this thing back against itself. Literally we felt the wind come from off the beach, it shouldn’t have, but it did, but it went back at it. I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t recognise it. It was unbelievable…. We thought it was a fire front about to run over the top of us but what it was was, I believe, God’s intervention, absolutely, through prayer, because it absolutely just burst its smoke and the redness was the sun coming through the smoke, not the fire about to destroy, you know, obliterate all of us down here. Because there’s nothing they could have done if that had happened. It doesn’t matter how many fire trucks you have.

ANOTHER POWERFUL ANSWER TO PRAYER – AB2943

California’s controversial AB 2943 has been withdrawn by its author, Assembly member Evan Low.

This is an answer to much prayer. The consequences of this Bill becoming law would have been catastrophic for Christian leaders as I pointed out in recent posts, particularly the post that included this video of Dr Michael Brown addressing the issues raised by Senator Ricardo Lara in support of the Bill.

Assembly Bill 2943 would have made it illegal to sell any service intended to change an individual’s sexuality or gender identity.

“I knew this was an emotionally charged issue, so I spent the past few months traveling up and down the state meeting with a wide variety of faith leaders,” Low said in a statement released on his website. “I was heartened by the conversations.”

Luis Javier Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016 and a former member of the LGBT community, has served as a staunch opponent of AB2943 in recent months.

“This allows people to become aware that change is possible,” says Ruiz, now a spirit-filled Christian. “All the false narratives about conversion therapy camps and their horror stories are not who we are. For me, nothing was forced. I can speak for many that it was a love story. It has allowed our voices to be heard and prayers to be answered. It’s time to come out of silence for what we believe in. We know that the battle is already won.

“I just want to thank Evan Low. We are praying for him and we know how big of an impact this will have and the backlash he might get. We want him to know that we are by his side on this.”

Bethel Church in Redding, California, released this statement, praising Low for his change of heart:

“We are grateful for Assemblyman Low’s courage and humility in his willingness to dialogue with California pastors and once-gay people these past months. He took time to hear how AB2943 would impact people of faith and particularly once-gay people, and has shown commitment to creating opportunities for further dialogue.”

After meeting personally with pastors, professional counsellors, and former homosexuals who lead ministries to others in the LGBT community, Low decided to continue the dialogue beyond this legislative session.

PEOPLE WHO MAKE A LASTING DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD PRAY

Image result for picture of Jesus christ praying in the garden

Prayer needs to be the first thing we think of, for things to succeed, not the last thing we do when all else fails. The people who make a real and lasting difference in this world are people who first and foremost pray. They pray because they understand who God is and His capabilities (omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent). He is our creator, He loves us and made us in His image to be in communion with Him. Many will choose to trust God more when they realise that not to trust God is to distrust Him. To distrust God is to distress yourself and disconnect from others.

“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39 

Timing of this event: 11 pm-2 am – Jesus leaves the disciples and goes to pray for three hours. Goes back to the disciples twice, wakes them, calling them to prayer. During the third hour, the sweat was pouring out of him “like blood”. The angels come to his aid, and Jesus is in charge of his body once more, despising the coming shame and trauma he is about to endure (“like a sheep before the shearers is dumb, he does not open his mouth”).

The objective of prayer is not to inform our Saviour and Lord of our needs (God knows everything), but to transform our situations and lives in our time of need (God knows we need it).

God designed prayer to be an effective spiritual muscle that we can freely exercise, in Jesus name, anytime, anywhere and for anything.  The Bible tells us how that “….the effective, heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man – a believer, can accomplish much when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and has tremendous power. 

HOW DO YOU PRAY?

DO YOU BELIEVE ?

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:12

God is able “to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or thinkEphesians 3:20

Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8

You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2

Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace” Hebrews 4:16

But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” Matthew. 17:21

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.John 15:7

Related image

What are you petitioning God for in this new year? Are you desiring to go into the land promised to you by the Lord? Whatever you are taking to the Lord in prayer, refuse to advance without His presence and intimate fellowship with Him. Refuse to view other people as a structure to build your own platform. Value the relationships God has cultivated in your life. Give honour to them without idolising them, all the while maintaining that deep personal relationship with God, giving thanks to Him in everything.

Moses understood that unless the Lord went with them there was no point going anywhere. Same goes with us, unless we know we are hearing rightly from God, then spend more time in prayer, prayer and fasting if necessary until breakthrough comes. It will, if you are serious and have a humble and contrite heart.

If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how will it be known that I have found favour in Your sight, I and your People? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and Your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?Exodus 33:15-16

Remember also, vague prayers are inferior to specific ones.