Prayer Tip: Is Bitterness Draining You of Life?

Are you (any hint of) bitter?  “All bitterness is ultimately toward God.” (since at the very least, God allowed ‘it’.)

Ephesians 4:30-31 (NASB)
30  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… 31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Bitterness towards people requires forgiveness….there is no other way to get rid of it – vs.32.  It is actually self-destructive.  Someone has said, “Bitterness is like you drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”  A big key in forgiving others is choosing to focus on how much God has forgiven you.

But what about bitterness towards God?  That requires surrender … which comes out of trust which comes by God’s grace which comes out of humbling myself.  Possibly the greatest statement of faith in the Bible was made by Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…” (13:15)  Can you truly believe that God causes all things to work together for good? Rom. 8:28  He really is that BIG.

We can’t really comprehend the extent of the destruction caused by being bitter …. And not just to ourselves, through our bitterness ‘many (everyone around us) are defiled’. Heb. 12:15

It should be obvious that bitterness hinders/chokes out the effectiveness of prayer.  A bitter person cannot experience the repentance that God blesses. (Heb. 12:17)

Pray ‘search me, O God’ this week to surrender and forgive and experience an unprecedented realm of largeness in your praying.

Prayer Tip: Are You Experiencing a Fearsome Storm (Overwhelming Adversity)?

Read Mark 4:35-41 when Jesus calmed the storm.  The disciples woke Jesus up with the question, “…do You not care that we are perishing?”  It sounded like they doubted His goodness and maybe His power. What did they expect Jesus to do?  Did they just want Him to express sympathy for their plight or actually do something and help bail water out of the boat?

Are you in the middle of a storm?  What do you fear? What do you want Jesus to do?  Would that really be the best and “fully satisfy” your need?  How do you know?

Jesus spoke to the wind and waves and all became perfectly calm – totally unexpected and beyond what the disciples had imagined possible.  Then Jesus asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid?”  What did Jesus want from the disciples?  What would faith look like with wind and waves sinking the boat?

What would faith look like in the midst of your storm? That may not be obvious…. but the passage suggests that at least we should not be fearful, that we should experience a profound peace in the midst of crashing wind and pounding waves.

We are to walk by faith and not by sight. Ask God for the gift of faith that gives you profound peace and sense of well-being in the midst of your storm.  Praise Him for what He’s going to do to fulfill His promise to ‘take you to the other side’.  Then you might ask if there is anything you need to do.

Prayer Tip: Wandering Sons and Daughters

I have a growing Wandering Sons and Daughters list that I pray for regularly. 

I pray that they (and all people) will know ‘fear of God’ in order to detect and hate their sin.  Psalm 36:1-2 NIV  (John 3:36 is true for every person.)

My request:  Abba, help them come to their senses and return home to You, the perfect Father, and know that You wait with open arms.  Luke 15:17-20

A verse I pray:  ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.’  Jer. 24:7

I give praise and thanks to God who is El Qanna – the Jealous One.  He laid down His life to win our all-consuming love and will zealously love us (read discipline) to exclude any and all others.  Ex. 34:14; 1 John 4:10; Heb. 12:6

I confess/acknowledge Him to be the Faithful One who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) and often ask help to avoid getting in His way.

I pray for His help and wisdom as parents to graciously speak truth in love according to the need of the moment and to eagerly wait with ‘a ring and a robe and family celebration’.

Meet you at the Throne.

Prayer Tip: Fruit Bearing: Why So Little?

Have you ever asked why so few coming to Christ in your area of the field when Jesus said, ‘..the fields are white (very ripe) for harvest’?  I have.

I’m sure there are a number of factors that must be considered but Jesus instructed us to start with prayer (and some self-examination).  Matt. 9:38

 “The Church has not yet touched the fringe of the possibilities of intercessory prayer. Her largest victories will be witnessed when individual Christians everywhere come to recognize their priesthood unto God and day by day give themselves unto prayer.” – John R. Mott

 “Pray for “all men.” We usually pray more for things than we do for men. Our prayers should be thrown across their pathway as they rush in their downward course to a lost eternity.” – E.M. Bounds

I’m guilty of cursory praying and not enough intercessory praying.

 May God give us eyes to see Him more clearly, ears to hear what He is saying, hearts to believe “He is good and ready to forgive and abundant in loving kindness to all who call on Him”, and the will to pray for the eternal even more than the temporal.

Prayer Tip: The Importance of Prayer

If God will do whatever He wishes, regardless of whether we pray or not, then we do not need to pray at all, and the Lord’s instructions on praying for the Kingdom and the Will are superfluous. But the truth is that God waits for a Remnant to rise up and to pray in agreement with His Purpose before He does anything – He will do nothing apart from the Church. Apart from HIM, we CAN do nothing; apart from US, He WILL do nothing –Chip Brogden

Do you agree?

Whether you do or not, the point is to PRAY.  Pray in agreement with His purpose and pray as though God waits for your prayers in order to take action.

Prayer Tip: Unthinking Prayers

How many times have you prayed for God to come and be with you or with a loved one?  I think one of the most repeated assurances by God in scripture is that “I am with you.  I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

We waste most of our time trying to get God to do something He has already done—or praying for God to do something He told us to do. —Jacquelyn K. Heasley

So change those requests to declarations of thanksgiving and praise for what He’s done and promised He will do.

Often I do ask that those for whom I’m praying be keenly aware of His presence and experience His comfort and provision and peace and rest in their situation.

We can pray with utmost confidence the promises of God.

Prayer Tip: Praying As You Live

“It is as men live that they pray. It is the life that prays. All lack of power to pray aright and perseveringly; all lack of power in prayer with God points to some lack in the Christian life.”  Andrew Murray

How shall we then live? Think about it…

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB) Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) We live by faith, not by sight.

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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.

John 6:63 (ESV) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Abide in Him and let His words abide in you… prayers answered!  (John 15:7)