A Powerful Prayer

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Over the last month I’ve written about prayer. I’ve encouraged you to pray whenever you need to, wherever, and with whomever (or nobody at all) – as it should be.

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, the best prayers in the world are in the Bible. We’ve read them many times and are often surrounded by descriptive text. I’m referring mostly to many of the letters that Paul wrote. What better way to pray to God then to personalize and pray it to Him. Of course, it could become rote if you did it often enough, much like the Lord’s Prayer has become ritualistic in some circles. But there are so many prayers that you would only return to it every six months or so.

Look at Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus, beginning in verse 16. Imagine if you were to pray that over your church leadership during a prayer time at your church!

Think about those words. Apply them to someone in your circle of friends. They are so rich in depth and meaning. Commit it to memory. You won’t regret doing so.

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The Ultimate Multitasker

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. Psalm 121:1-8

The Lord never sleeps. Have you ever thought about that? He doesn’t need to because He’s God.

Each of us requires from 4-8 hours of sleep each night to recharge our bodies. Up to one third of our existence is in bed.

So, in the darkness of the night, when traffic and noise around us is at a minimum, God is keeping watch. Of course, the rest of the world is awake and He’s considering the events and affairs of 7 billion people, so how could He sleep or why would He?

Recently, my wife made an astute observation that I’ve had to think about: God is the ultimate multi-tasker. Seven billion people, and easily 50 times the number of problems, wars, tyrants, dictators, corruption, and an infinite number of situations to consider.

And yet He has time for you and me.

As you lay asleep at night and wonder about your life and family, praise Him for He is good. When you rise the next morning, do the same. It’ll make the day go much smoother.

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Perplexing Times and the Peace of Christ

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:36

This verse is even more relevant as the days of Christ’s return approaches. I’m not suggesting it’ll be tomorrow or the next day, but you never know.

Everything in life is confusing and perplexing now. It used to be that you could predict certain things to occur like clockwork. Not any more. It’s like the world’s been turned upside down. It’s a global phenomenon.

So, when Jesus tells us to be alert and to pray to have the strength, it has significance, especially given the times we’re in.

He may not explain everything that’s going on now but He will give us the peace to get through it. And peace will be something that many will need.

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What Is He Telling You?

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Hebrews 5:7

Another aspect to the prayers of the righteous is reverence, which goes alongside humility. Just as when we pray that familiar prayer, “Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed by thy name”, that’s the reverence the writer of Hebrews is talking about.

The other aspect to this verse is the tears and cries. We don’t get emotional when we pray. Jesus did. He was facing death square in the eyes.

And yet we see very troubling societal evils turned into cultural norms that should bring us to weeping: sex trafficking, pedophilia, slavery, abortion, and blatant corruption to name a few. Just listing those sins grieves me as I’m sure it does many of you. Fortunately, we can be certain it grieves God so we’re on the right side of the issue.

Okay, so now what? What do we do with this? I think we ask God what we can do about it? We can’t do everything but we can do something. The little steps we take against these evils add up. Part of it is awareness and the other portion is rolling up our sleeves and doing what it takes to get the job done.

What is God telling you?

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Teaching Fellowship and Prayer

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

The First Century believers were obviously big on the basics as seen in this verse. They had to be.

A side note: they were probably the first Baptists (breaking of bread seems to be a particularly worldwide Baptist feature…).

Teaching, fellowship, and prayer are three fundamental activities of any healthy and growing group of believers.

That’s why in 2020 when the government shut down the churches, we were all affected by it. That physical contact and presence makes all the difference in the world. Yes, ministry occurs in the virtual/online world, but there’s nothing like shaking hands or hugging a fellow believer who is struggling or going through rough times. The same can also be said of praying and teaching.

Over the next few months, church leadership around the world will have some big decisions to make as governments continue to push vaccine mandates and vaccine passports. When they tell churches that all parishioners have to be vaccinated to attend, what will pastors do? Will they keep the doors open for the unvaccinated? I don’t have to be a Nostradamus to see these kinds of actions coming in the very near future. I suspect and hope that elders and deacons (or whatever church leadership is in place) are discussing and praying over these these things now. There’s no reason to be left flatfooted when the government does come knocking, even if it means losing their 501(c)3 non-profit status or being fined or even being jailed.

I don’t write these things lightly because my point in writing these devotionals is to encourage and exhort, but I see some dark times ahead. I wish it weren’t so and I hope I’m wrong.

But we should pray against all of the madness and confusion that’s all around us. We’re headed towards something but have no idea what each day holds.

Pray with other believers. Pray pray pray.

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