Archive for November, 2011

 Thirty-seventh in the series Get close to God

We have something at our disposal that can help people more than money or even all the wisdom or power in the world.  All it takes is a little compassion for others and a little of our time.  We don’t even have to leave our homes to give it to them.  In fact, it doesn’t even come from us.  But we hold the key to unleash a force that can meet all their needs along with a peace and contentment that surpasses anything this world can offer. 

Before you say, “Oh, no, not another lecture on prayer!” and click off this post, let me ask you something.  Have you ever wondered what a difference you could have made in someone’s life had you stopped to pray for them?   I’m not going to add to what hundreds of authors have already covered concerning communication with our Creator.  I’ve just been pondering lately what could happen if I really got serious about intercession.

“Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”  (1 Samuel 12:23.)

The Bible is full of verses commanding us to pray for ourselves and others.  This implies that if we don’t, good things that could happen, won’t, and lives that could be changed, won’t be.  “You do not have because you do not ask.”  (James 4:2.)

Just before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me.”  But instead of lifting him up in prayer, they fell asleep.  I’m the same way, though.  The best way I can watch your back is to cover you with prayer, but I don’t do that nearly enough.

I am guilty of the sin of prayerlessness, squandering this precious gift, resulting in blessings withheld and needs unmet.  Why do I do this?  We all nod our heads in unison when asked if we believe in the power of prayer.  But does that apply to us personally or just to the godly saints like Samuel?  I think our prayers lack fervor and passion because we tell ourselves, “I don’t know if God is really paying attention to me or will do what I ask, anyway.”  So we go through life doing the best we can and only bother God as a last resort.  Jeff Patton refers to this as “prayerless striving” and it causes us to miss out on the adventure of seeing the Lord do so much more through us than we could ever do by ourselves, not to mention the sweet fellowship experienced as we grow closer to him.  Whatever we do for God, we need to do it with him.   “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”  (Psalm 127:1)  Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is dead, also.  Both are needed.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.”  (Hebrews 11:6) 

I just finished reading through the book of Acts, and it really struck me how often the first Christians would get together to pray.  It’s no wonder people were being filled and led by the Holy Spirit to do some pretty spectacular things.  I’ll mention just two examples: the first time Peter was released from prison the believers prayed for boldness and God rocked the house-literally!  When he was put back in prison, they prayed again and an angel broke him out.  Paul later encouraged the Colossians to “Devote yourselves to prayer” and assured Timothy that “I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.” 

I tend to take a casual attitude toward prayer, like throwing something up at the ceiling to see if it will stick.  I need to realize that God takes all of my prayers seriously, and that he answers every single one of them.  It may not always be the way I would prefer them to be taken care of, but since God knows best and wants the best for me, I need to be OK with that.  He sees the big picture-I don’t.  I thought Monty Waldron gave us some good advice when he challenged us to ask ourselves, “Am I more focused on what I want or what God wants for me?”

I have been blessed many times from being on the receiving side of my prayer warriors’ faithful petitions.  I’ve been rescued time and time again from so many things, it could fill a book; including a tornado, being run over by a van, and often at work as a network engineer when I have been able to “somehow” find solutions to things that were way over my head, like recovering files that should have been lost forever.  Perhaps the biggest miracle of all has been the return of one of my family members to Christ and the restoration of that marriage.  This is the result of having family and friends who constantly remember me in their prayers night and day. 

My sister, Karen, arranges roses in the basement of a flower shop, which most people would consider a lonely job.  But she gets in a lot of uninterrupted conversations with her Heavenly Father and prays over each bouquet as it goes out, for the recipients to receive a touch from him in some way.

Frank Peretti brought to life the war of spiritual forces in his book, This Present Darkness, when the angels were able to overcome the demons in that town only when the people in that little church got down on their knees.  I need to dust off my spiritual weapons and join the battle!  We have been given a second chance to keep watch for Jesus, because when we do it for others, he says it’s as if we’re doing it for him. 

There is a benefit that is often overlooked when interceding for a friend.  Sarah Young in Jesus Calling says that God not only comforts us but also enables us to be a channel through whom he can comfort others.  “Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of whatever flows through it.”

A final thought: you may be the only one praying for someone today.  Let’s keep watch for our friends.  If we don’t, who will?

Click here for the entire Get Close to God series

Engines, Guns, and a Baby

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Videos

Great fun, delicious food, and wonderful fellowship.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Check out our return to the Peterson farm as we try out an ATV, rifles, and pistols for the first time.