Tag Archives: Prayer

Busy or Unbelieving?

What don’t we pray more? What is at the root of our prayerlessness? Kevin De Young answers:

Here is my favorite paragraph:

You don’t need to work and work at discipline nearly as much as you need faith. You don’t need an ordered life to enable prayer, you need a messy life to drive you to prayer. You don’t need to have everything in order before you can pray. You need to know you’re disordered so you will pray. You don’t need your life to be fixed up. You need a broken heart. You need to think to yourself: “Tomorrow is another day that I need God. I need to know him. I need forgiveness. I need help. I need protection. I need deliverance. I need patience. I need courage. Therefore, I need prayer.”

Read the whole thing here.

(HT: KD)

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The Cost of an Olympic Prayer Band

This is a picture of Pastor "Bike"Yesterday, I received prayer bands for my family reminding us to pray for the persecuted church in China, especially during the Olympics. Here is how the idea got started:

Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan, known for traveling across China on a bicycle to evangelize, was arrested by Chinese police just two days before the Olympics began. Pastor Bike was the inspiration for the recent partnership between The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association to create the Olympic Prayer Band.

Earlier this year, Pastor Bike pleaded with VOM staff to ask Christians to pray for persecuted Christians in China during the Olympics. The pastor voluntarily preaches the gospel openly in China despite being persecuted. He has asked for his identity to be revealed to bring continued attention to the persecution of Christians in Communist China.

Pastor “Bike” was the inspiration for this movement of prayer…and he is currently paying the penalty in a jail cell:

On Aug. 6, Pastor Bike was arrested while trying to deliver medicine to his ailing wife. His wife and another pastor were also arrested. We have also learned this week that Chinese officials are opening a full investigation of the Olympic Prayer Bands that were distributed to house church members within China. Despite this increased pressure from Chinese authorities, Chinese Christians continue to ask for prayer and to make their plight known.

Obviously, you don’t need a prayer band to pray for the persecuted church in China and across the world. Let’s pray that the Lord would allow pastor Bike and others to rejoice in suffering, knowing that this is not their final home.

You can order your own prayer bands here and also make a donation to the Voice of the Martyrs.

(HT: Voice of the Martyrs)

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Lions, Lies and a Living Faith

Do you ever feel like every one’s against you? I’ve met people who simply have a knack for getting on people’s bad side. I’ve also known those folks who were conspiracy theorists–everything in life is designed to get them or make them miserable…I’m the victim…it’s someone else’s fault! The truth is we are all sinners and that we all contribute to our own circumstances in one way or another. But how do you handle those circumstances? How do you react on those rare occasions when you are truly wronged? What get you through those times?

Consider Daniel. He has been through the ringer, and we are only up to chapter 6! This week he will quickly find himself in his most challenging predicament yet–The Lion’s Den. At the beginning of our text things seem to be settling down, until a group arises who desire to take Daniel down. Why? Because he had “distinguished himself…from the others due to an extraordinary spirit.” They are so bent on his demise that they trick the king into making a law against praying to any god apart from Darius. This is no conspiracy, they government was out to get him! Daniel’s crime was being a godly man of prayer. How would he respond? He continued to pray as he had done previously.

I wonder, if a similar ordinance went out today how many Christians would be convicted of praying to this God? We must be careful here. I don’t think Daniel was in any way trying to seem spiritual before others. I don’t think he was showing off his religion in a way that made him look good. We’ve seen over and over the ways in which Daniel transfers glory to God for everything good in his life. This testing and trouble that he is going through seems to reveal his true loyalty. He is revealed as one who truly loves and seeks to obey God.

There was of course another man who was wrongly accused, and hated by a select group of people in authority. The only accusation available to them was similarly one “in regard to the law of his God (Dan. 6:5).” Here’s what He said about the outward appearance of religion:

Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 6:5-6And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

So when the testing comes, what will be revealed in your life? Perhaps you are in need of encouragement but don’t know where to turn. Maybe you are finding yourself in the middle of a situation that requires serious faith and commitment right now. Regardless of where you find yourself, I hope that you will join us as we consider our corporate need for God’s replenishing work in our lives. Things may seem smooth now, but just as we’ve seen in Daniel’s life, the lion’s may be just around the corner.

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What Prayer Says About Our Heart

Have you had many conversations with non-Christians lately? How did that go for you? Do you think the conversation left a sense of desire in the person’s mind to know more about you and your motivation at work or your attitude? Or, was the centerpiece of the dialogue sports or the recent elections? Did you pray before the conversation…or had you been praying for this person for some time? How should we interact with outsiders? How should we pray for the lost?

This week at Redeemer, we will be considering Prayer and the Gospel, from Colossians 4:2-18. Paul exhorts the Colossians to be devoted to prayer with an attitude of thanksgiving (verse 2). But at the same time, we should be praying for God to “open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ…(verse 3)” Paul says that as we are praying we should also be “conducting ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders…making the most of every opportunity…seasoning our speech with salt. (verses 5-6)”

So, are you frustrated with evangelism? Have you been fervent in your prayers for the lost? Have you been devoted to prayer and thanksgiving for who God is for us in Jesus Christ? Do you look to make the most of every conversation, hoping that God will open a door for the gospel? What would it look like for you to begin to approach your conversations with non-Christians with wisdom? Join us this week as we consider these things, praying that the Lord would indeed open a door for His Word to be revealed!

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Why Are My Prayers So Foggy?

You don’t have to look very far in the Bible to notice warnings against wealth and power. The Bible does not say that wealth and influence are sins, but the fog that they can produce around our hearts is what we are to be on guard against. Sometimes great worldly power can fool our hearts into thinking that all our needs can be met apart from the power and mercy of God. This fog can only be navigated by the guiding light of God’s Word, made visible through His Spirit. Perhaps this is why God inspired 2 Samuel 23-24, to remind us of our need of Him, regardless of our bank balance or position on the corporate ladder.

David was not lacking in military strength. In the second section of 2 Samuel 23 we are introduced to David’s Mighty Men. This is a group of 30 plus men who are utterly devoted to protecting and obeying their King. Three of them in particular are especially powerful and intimidating. These three are so devoted to the Lord’s anointed that they were willing (and able by the way) to break into the Philistine camp and bring David a cool cup of water from the well of Bethlehem. The rest of the mighty men were no slouches either. They were responsible for some of the most courageous and heroic acts in the history of Israel! Anyone who became an enemy of the mighty men would have been shaking in their boots.

How does David respond to such power? He takes a census. He counts the people in his army. Why? Doesn’t he know how God has caused the victory in the past, whether by many or by few? Has he forgotten about the young boy who killed a skilled warrior-giant with a stone and sling shot? David’s mind was foggy and the fog was caused by power. We don’t know exactly how David sinned by taking the census, through motive or pride, but we do know that God was greatly offended. So offended that he causes a pestilence to destroy 70,000 men! This fog can also blind us from the consequences of our sin.

Let me ask you; How devoted are you to your King? What are you willing to risk for His pleasure? Are you experiencing fog in your life? Have to tried to convince yourself that you could get rid of things (which have control over you) in your life without a problem? Why have you not rid yourself of them up to this point? How do you respond when you are clearly convicted of sin? We see at the end of the book of 2 Samuel the Lord was moved by prayer to end the plague in Israel. How are your prayers…foggy? Join us this week as we consider these last two chapters of 2 Samuel, asking God to give us clean hands and pure hearts that we not lift our soul to another besides Him!

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