Monday, 3 March 2014

"The shadow of His wings!" Psalm 36:7

This is a small interruption in my "prayer" blogs! I was stirred up yesterday by hearing someone saying that because a colleague was ministering and doing the will of God, she was being attacked by the devil. Also, recently, I have heard more than once that extraordinary argument, saying, "I must be doing something right, because the enemy is attacking - with sickness, accidents, financial upheaval etc etc!" Where does it say that in the Bible? Does the Bible say anywhere that we will be under severe attack when we serve the Lord? No! My Bible tells me that, as a believer, I am hidden  with Christ in God. (Col 3:3) What safer place could there be? The enemy has to get through both my Saviour and my Father to reach me!

We have Psalm 91 and countless other references in the Old Testament alone to tell us that Almighty God is our strong tower and our refuge. He covers us with His feathers and keep us safe from harm! Then in the New Testament, we are given all the armour in Ephesians 6 and told to stand strong in the battle, and that we are more than conquerors. Jesus commands us to ask that we may receive and our joy will be full!

Of course, there is an enemy against us! Peter describes him like a lion prowling around seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (See also Psalm 17:12) 
Jesus is the  Lion of Judah! 
Now I can see that if a person is not watchful, because they get caught up in serving the Lord, then maybe satan will have an opportunity. But we have been given weapons of our warfare - we have been chosen to be victorious with Christ! We are overcomers - not because of what we do, but because of what HE has done on the cross. Once for all satan has been defeated. Read Colossians 2:8-15 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-7.

The war has been won. There are still battles to fight, but the Lord protects His children. Stay close to Him. That is the safe place. Don't allow the fear of lies that you can be harmed when you step out in the will of God. God's will is the safest place you can be!

You are the apple of God's eye and He keeps you SAFE! 
Deuteronomy 32:10
"He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; he encircled him, He instructed him, he kept him as the apple of His eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings..."

Why don't you pray the words of Psalm 17:7-9 and Psalm 18:1-3.

Ps 17:7-9
Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
From the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me.

Ps 18:1-3
I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

You are saved, you are delivered because you have been translated into the Kingdom of His light through the death of Christ on the cross for you! You are precious and chosen and a child of God. Hallelujah! Praise Jesus today! 






Friday, 14 February 2014

"Teach us to Pray" 5

"Give us this day our daily bread"  1
This is the first mention of asking for ourselves! "Give us ..." How often have the prayers of God's people been "Give us, Give us, Give us"? How often have we come with a shopping list of all the needs, or sent to prayer partners sharing only the sicknesses, the difficulties, the problems and heartaches? Of course, we need to share the burdens of others. We need to pray. BUT just think back on the first few phrases of the Lord's prayer - all about our Father God, His wonderful praiseworthy name and character, His wonderful will in Heaven to come to earth to set men and women free. How glorious! 

I believe our intercession and prayer will be so powerful, if we ensure that we spend more time in praising our amazing God, and considering all that Jesus has done for us, and thanking Him for His gifts and blessings, and His incredible promises, than we do in the asking. Actually many problems get solved in worshiping Him, and healings will flow as we wait in His presence. Our lists will be a whole lot shorter!

However, Jesus does tell us to ask. Ask for our daily bread - for our material provision, our homes, our food, our clothes. We ask for today!  In the same chapter as He teaches the disciples about praying, Jesus tells them not to worry:

Matt 6:31-34
"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

When we ask in His name, and He answers, how our faith grows for the tomorrows that we don't know about yet. Cares, anxieties and worries will disappear. His faithfulness to us never never ends.

John 16:23-24
"Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."

So, pray in faith, trusting your loving heavenly Father to provide all you need and all your family needs. Psalm 23:1 "The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not lack!"
Find other verses and scriptures about God's joy in providing for His children!

Of course, this is not just about asking for our own needs - but for others also - this is the part in the Lord's prayer where we can pray for others we know in desperate situations, particularly in other parts of the world. Let us claim God's wonderful promises for those of His family suffering in so many places. Pray provision for the missionaries you personally know. Don't be overwhelmed trying to pray for the whole world, but ask the Holy Spirit to lead you specifically.

"Teach us to Pray" 4

"Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven"  (2)

This is the second post on the above part of the Lord's prayer, so scroll down and read the other one first - indeed all the posts which are marked Prayer from the start, so that you can get the complete picture.

At our small house-group the other evening, a friend shared about the Garden of Gethsemane and how Jesus went through with that and all that followed, so that He could die on the Cross that terrible death and take our sin and pain and guilt. We are forever forgiven and cleansed and free when we have come to Jesus and received Him.  As I thought again about this, I realised what Jesus said to His Father when He was praying in the garden. Have a look at these scriptures from the Gospel accounts: 
Matt 26:39
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Matt 26:42
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."
Mark 14:36
And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."
Luke 22:42
 "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

Jesus totally surrendered to His Father's will. Then, we know that on the Cross, He cried out, 
       "It is finished!"

Jesus has totally completed all the Father's will on earth. Because Jesus has done it all and our salvation is complete, absolutely everything we need to do God's will is accessible in Jesus Christ Himself. He has completed the Father's will. We only need to come to Him and find our all in all in Christ! All grace, all strength, all wisdom, His gift of righteousness, all healing, all peace and love is to be found in Jesus - in His FINISHED work. He is the completeness of all the will of God in Heaven, come to earth!
So, when we pray "Thy will be done ...", we pray with faith and confidence in Jesus Christ - it is not about our own ability or strength. He has won the victory at the Cross!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

"Teach us to Pray" 3

"Thy Kingdom Come ..."  
The rule of King Jesus in our lives, and in the world! What an amazing thing to pray. At this point in the Lord's prayer, having come into His presence with praise and worship and receiving the love of our Father, now we bow at Jesus' feet and ask Him to be Lord in our lives. In Romans 14:17, you will read that "the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." 
The Kingdom of God in our lives is about the fruit of the Holy Spirit growing in our lives, about Jesus' life in us.  

Let's pray for the Kingdom of God, His rule of love and righteousness, to become more and more evident in our own lives and our families - from there to reach out with His love into our communities and world!

You may have a specific circumstance where you want to see things changed by the love and power of God. Speak "Thy Kingdom Come" into that lost life, or the child or person you love who is ill or suffering. Speak "Thy Kingdom come" into your own life where you may still be trying to overcome a habit or addiction. God will do it! As you speak, ask Jesus to be on the throne of your life.

Learn to be led by the Holy Spirit. Not long prayers, but heart prayer for His Kingdom of love and peace to come.

"Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven"
This part of the prayer follows on from the last phrase. As we ask for His Kingdom to be revealed and to come and transform us, then we need to ask for HIS will to be done in our lives. In Colossians 1, Paul prays a wonderful prayer for his readers, which now includes us! The first thing he asks is that they may be filled with the knowledge of God's will! As we come to this part of the Lord's prayer, this would be a good prayer to pray for ourselves, our family, our friends and our church fellowship.

Col 1:9-14
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

 In Ephesians 5, we find 2 verses about knowing the will of God:
Eph 5:10
"... finding out what is acceptable to the Lord."
Eph 5:17
"Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

If Paul tells us to be not foolish but understand the will of God, then it is possible to know God's will. It is not something airy-fairy or mystically unreal. He has a plan for each of our lives and it is a good plan. Read Jeremiah 29:11-14. 

One way to pray God's will is to pray His Word. Find promises and truths as you read your Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to specific words for you and those you pray for. Declare these promises and truths of God's salvation, healing, comfort, strength etc as you pray. Pray His Word into our lives. 

Jesus said that His food was to do the will of His Father who sent Him. (John 4:34). Immediately after this He talks of the harvest ready to reap. His will is for many souls to be harvested and brought into His Kingdom.  
John 6:38-40
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

God sent Jesus from Heaven to earth so that ANYONE who believes in Him should not die but have eternal life!(John 3:16) THIS is God's will! Eternal life, fullness of life. 
John 10:10 - "He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly"
There may be tests and trials as we pray for His will to be done in our lives. There will certainly be changes in our pattern of living and lifestyles. BUT it is the way of eternal life and joy for us and for others! And remember, that just as we come to Jesus by faith, our walk with Him continues in simple faith and in the abundance of His grace. Only He can give us the grace and strength to walk in His will!

So, as we pray,
"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven", we are praying for all that means in bringing many to salvation, healing of mind and body, fullness of life in Christ! 

Practical helps: Write in your notebook any scripture you find about God's will and how He wants us to live. Look at Jesus life on earth to see how He portrays Heaven and God's will.


Saturday, 8 February 2014

"Teach us to Pray" 2

"Hallowed be Thy Name"

We have come into His presence, we have acknowledged our wonderful Father in Heaven, almighty God, with Jesus reigning at His side - and we, through the mercies of the living God, reigning with Him in Heavenly places! How can our heart not cry out in praise and worship and honour to the Lord?

Lift up our hearts, lift up our voice and our hands to love and praise God. 
To worship Jesus. 

Ps 100:4
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

Ps 34:1-3
"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together."

The "name" of the Lord means His character, His personality, His whole being! We praise Him for Who He is, as well as for what He does. He never changes, He is always faithful and true to His Word. He is our Rock, our Fortress, our Deliverer. He is our Shepherd and Saviour! As we read our Bibles, we can jot down references to the Lord's name and character, and note the wonderful works of His hand. Spend time worshiping HIM in the Spirit. Read a praise psalm, or a hymn or chorus which expresses your heart to love Him.  Let Jesus Himself lift you up as you praise and worship HIM! 

As we come into God's presence and reverently worship His Name, He will give us revelation of His love and power, Of Who He IS - the great "I AM"! I just cannot think of a better way of beginning our prayer time - coming into Father's presence, letting Him love us, and then loving and worshiping Him - receiving insight and knowledge of God Himself, of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit.

"Holy Holy Holy!
Lord God Almighty!"

"Our Father  in Heaven,
Holy is Your name!"


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Teach us to Pray 1

The disciples came to Jesus and said "Please teach us to pray!" (Luke 11:1) These were Jewish men and women who would have learnt to pray from childhood. But they saw, as John's disciples had seen, that there was something different about their Master's prayer. He would take time to go aside with His Father, and would return full of the Holy Spirit, with power to heal the sick and calm the storm! His was no formal praying. They wanted to know more! Let's look for the keys He gives us as we follow His pattern given in 
Luke 11:1-13 and Matthew 6:5-21.
"Our Father"
Come into Father's presence as His child. Be quiet in His love for you. Remember you have access into His throne room, not by any merit of your own, but because of the precious blood of Jesus, which has made you clean. So you can come and enjoy just being in His arms, protected, loved, warm, safe. 

Heb 10:19
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus ..."

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to go into a quiet place to pray, to shut out other interference. So turn off the problems and worries that crowd your mind, as you just relax in your Father's love. In the first letter of John chapter 3, verse 1, we read how great a love our Father has lavished upon us as His sons and daughters. Sunbathe in that love as His chosen precious child before you continue into further prayer. Maybe also He will speak words of grace, comfort and love into your heart. Then, when you pray, it is from that position of being a loved, treasured daughter or son of Almighty God - your Father!

"Who art in Heaven"
Our Father Who is pouring His love into our hearts lives in HEAVEN! He is with us through His Holy Spirit on earth. As we come to Him, into HIS presence, He will help us see from His perspective. He will show us Heaven's view! 

Ps 11:4
The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven; ...
Jer 17:12
A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.

As we see God in His splendour and holiness and power, and remember that He has raised Jesus from the dead and Jesus is now seated "at His right hand in heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion ... and He (God) has put everything in subjection under His feet ...",(Eph 1:18-22), then oh how awesome it is to pray to this mighty all-powerful Lord and King! THEN, on top of that we learn in the next chapter of Ephesians  that we too are " raised up with Him, and seated in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus." (Eph 2:4-7)
This is the place He shows us all the riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus! This is the place we come to learn about the inheritance that is ours in Christ.
We see who we are in Christ, the amazing truth of our righteousness in Him. This is the place where we can pray, outside of all the entanglements of earthly life and the turmoil of the world. Above satan's rule. Above all sin and pain and sorrow. It is real enough - but here we have the place of God's covenant promise and riches of grace!

Why not read Ephesians 1:18-23 and Eph 2:4-8. 
Then pray the first line of Jesus' prayer again:

"Our Father, Who art in Heaven ...."

Practical helps: Why not have a prayer notebook. In it you can jot down scriptures as you find them. There are so many wonderful verses about the closeness of our Father and His tender care for us. If you are not sure you are a child of your Heavenly Father, then click on the post label called "Becoming a Christian" and read that and other posts on this blog.  Jesus loves us and He died for us, so that as we believe and receive HIM, we will be redeemed from the power of sin and death and brought into the Kingdom of God and our Father's forgiveness, cleansing and love! 
"Beloved, now we are children of God!" 1 John 3:2

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

"Teach us to Pray"

A friend said the other day, "I don't know how to pray." This was a cry from her heart the same as the cry from the disciples when they said to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray ..." Luke 11:1. Maybe, like this friend, you do talk to Jesus, and to your Father in Heaven, but you don't recognise that is prayer. Perhaps your heartcry is to make your prayer time alive and real. I certainly need to increase my prayer life and understand more of what it means to spend time with God. Let's start out together with open hearts to learn from Him. The key is all about a growing relationship between us and the Lord. Just as a child has simple little words to start with and not even sentences, so we can come with our simple prayers - and He delights to hear us! But a child grows and learns, and so can we, and as we learn to pray, we will discover depths of love and trust in our heart for the Lord, who hears and answers!

On the next few posts, I will be sharing some great and exciting truths to be learnt from the pattern Jesus Himself gives us in His prayer, which you can read here in Luke 11, in answer to His disciples request. It is also found in Matthew 6:9-13.

Before we begin here is an outline about what personal prayer is - and what it is not!


What prayer is: 

Talking to God and listening to Him, learning to live in His presence.  He loves us and wants us to spend time with him. He longs for us to bring His Kingdom rule into our circumstances and families and communities. 

What prayer is NOT:

Matt 6:5-8
Prayer is not a parade of fine words to be admired by others! 
It is not for public display. 
It is not a string of requests, or a shopping list of needs.
It is not using repetitive words.
It is not boring!

Prayer consists of
Connecting with God
Listening to and loving Him       
Thanking Him
Knowing His forgiveness and cleansing 
ReceivingHis love and promises
Hearing His gentle voice
Praising Him
Asking
Confessing His Word and truth
Worship

Talk  to God as your
                                               Father       Matthew 6:9  
"In this manner, therefore, pray: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.

                                    Friend  John 15:15 
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

                                         Faith-giver   Mark 11:22,24 
 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God." ........
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." 

Jesus tells us plainly that prayer is essentially secret intimate communion with our Father.

Let's ask the Lord to increase our prayer life, to deepen our knowledge of Him and His overflowing grace for us, as we come to Him. 

Jesus gave us a pattern for prayer when He taught His disciples how to pray. This prayer has become a repetitive set of phrases for many, but it is a powerful and exciting way to come into God's presence. The next posts will begin to take us on a journey of discovery. Come and explore with us!