Wednesday, February 26, 2014

All Kinds of Prayer: Prayer of Faith

Prayer of Faith
Ephesians 6:18

Sunday was a great day in the Lord. It didn’t snow and we had a full house. It was good to have the children with us for part of our worship. This Sunday I will continue to look at, “Defining Moments: On the Way to the Cross.” Let’s anticipate a move of God’s Spirit on our lives, together.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people.  Ephesians 6:18 (NCV)

Paul is urging us to pray on all occasions (always). It is not just a suggestion. To grow in your relationship with God, prayer has to be the central part of your life. He goes on to say, “with all kinds of prayers.” To assist us to be victorious, God has given us various kinds of powerful prayer. Intercessory prayer was the focus of last week. This week we want to look at the prayer of faith.

Many times in the Psalms we see David disheartened and distraught at the beginning of a Psalm, but by the end of it he is trusting the Lord for his deliverance. A prayer of faith is knowing the heart of God so much that you pray His ways with the confidence that it will be done. Notice I said, “His ways.” This is a bold and faith-building prayer that totally trusts in God and His word. To pray with great faith we need to be immersed in the Word of God.

Read Psalm 31 and observe David’s prayer of faith. May your prayers be as forthright as his.

Lord, I trust in you; let me never be disgraced. Save me because you do what is right. Listen to me and save me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a strong city to save me. You are my rock and my protection. For the good of your name, lead me and guide me. Set me free from the trap they set for me, because you are my protection. I give you my life. Save me, Lord, God of truth. I hate those who worship false gods. I trust only in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, because you saw my suffering; you knew my troubles.You have not handed me over to my enemies but have set me in a safe place. Lord, have mercy, because I am in misery. My eyes are weak from so much crying, and my whole being is tired from grief. 10 My life is ending in sadness, and my years are spent in crying. My troubles are using up my strength, and my bones are getting weaker. 11 Because of all my troubles, my enemies hate me, and even my neighbors look down on me. When my friends see me, they are afraid and run. 12 I am like a piece of a broken pot. I am forgotten as if I were dead. 13 I have heard many insults. Terror is all around me. They make plans against me and want to kill me. 14 Lord, I trust you. I have said, “You are my God.” 15 My life is in your hands. Save me from my enemies and from those who are chasing me. 16 Show your kindness to me, your servant. Save me because of your love. 17 Lord, I called to you, so do not let me be disgraced. Let the wicked be disgraced and lie silent in the grave. 18 With pride and hatred they speak against those who do right. So silence their lying lips. 19 How great is your goodness that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you have given to those who trust you. You do this for all to see. 20 You protect them by your presence from what people plan against them. You shelter them from evil words. 21 Praise the Lord. His love to me was wonderful when my city was attacked.22 In my distress, I said, “God cannot see me!” But you heard my prayer when I cried out to you for help.23 Love the Lord, all you who belong to Him. The Lord protects those who truly believe, but He punishes the proud as much as they have sinned. 24 All you who put your hope in the Lord be strong and brave.      — Psalm 31 (NCV)

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

All Kinds of Prayers: Intercession

All Kinds of Prayers
Ephesians 6:18

Last week we looked at how Paul is urging us to pray on all occasions (always). It is not just a suggestion. To grow in your relationship with God, prayer has to be the central part of your life. He goes on to say, “with all kinds of prayers.” To assist us to be victorious, God has given us various kinds of powerful prayer. Many people don’t realize this to be the case.

Beginning with this Faith Builder, I am going to look at the various kinds of prayer Paul is referring to.

We have the prayer of intercession where we can pray for other believers and situations that seem insurmountable. It is pleading with God for not only your needs but the needs of others. Intercession is warfare. It is refusing to let go until the Father’s will comes to pass.

Just like going into battle, soldiers cannot take on their enemy if they leave their weapons behind. We must go into the battle armed for spiritual conflict. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We have to first recognize that Jesus is in control of each situation. Ephesians tells us that Jesus rules over forces, authorities, powers, rulers, and all beings in this world. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He provides us with the Armor of God described in Ephesians 6.

Intercessory prayer is the key to seeing breakthroughs in your life and in the lives of those around you. Jesus gave a great model of intercession in the story of the persistent friend. We see a friend who knocks on his neighbor’s door at midnight to ask for three loaves of bread. The neighbor does not want to get up but Jesus said, “because of his friend’s persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:8). This passage is not showing us how God does not want to answer our prayers. It is showing us that through our persistent intercessory prayer, He will give us what we need.

How many times have you set out to pray for something or someone and you have been distracted? You had good intentions to pray every day but it only led to once a week and then once a month. Unfortunately that shows our Heavenly Father how serious we are about receiving what we prayed for. The Bible mentions God searching for those willing to fight the spiritual battle for their land. In Ezekiel, God says, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Could the Lord be doing the same today in our country? Looking for just one who would intercede so our country would end up in revival instead of judgment?

The enemy of our soul does not want you to know the power of intercessory prayer. Your marriage, finances, health, job, friends, spiritual growth, your country, depend on your prayers.

We have been praying for Beth Bishop, Lorna Morse, Ed Bradner, and David Price – for the Lord to heal them of their cancer. Don’t give up! Keep praying as if their healing depends on you. I know there are many others you are praying for. That’s what I love about our church. We get busy praying fervently for God’s Will to be done. Choose today to show God how serious you are in your intercessory prayer. He is looking for that kind of gumption in someone.

Take the time to read Romans 8:26-34 and see how the Spirit of God is committed to us and gives of Himself in order to make intercession possible.

I am looking forward to Sunday as we continue to look at, “Defining Moments: On the Way to the Cross.”

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

All Kinds of Prayer: Always Pray

Always Pray

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” Ephesians 6:18.

After Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God in order to stand your ground when evil comes, he says to always pray. To continually grow in your walk with Christ, prayer needs to be a central part of your life. If you only pray when you are with other believers or at church, then it may be an indication that you have a shallow prayer life. Is prayer a daily discipline for you or do you only pray when you are in trouble?

To pray regularly requires discipline. Most people are up and down when it comes to a consistent prayer life. Falling in and out of prayer due to not getting enough sleep, the busyness of life, or just getting distracted could be some of the pitfalls we find ourselves in. Paul mentions “always,” and when broken down in the Greek it can be more accurately translated “at each and every occasion.”

Prayer is not optional for the Christian who is serious about his or her spiritual growth. Let’s all drop the excuses and realize we have the time to do whatever we want to do. If it’s truly in your heart to pray then you will find the time. If it is not in your heart to pray then you have bought into the devil’s lie that it is not important enough. For that I will be praying for you.

Why not start this day out right and stop what you are doing and pray? May God help you to see that consistent prayer is the only prayer to have. Just say no to those things that keep pulling you away from your time in prayer.

This Sunday I will be starting a new series I call, “Defining Moments.” Our lives are marked with major events that define our direction and solidify a certain outcome. There were many moments like that as we see the story develop in the Passion of Jesus toward the cross and resurrection. I am looking forward to worshipping with my church family this Sunday.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


John 16:33

What is with all of this snow? Makes you want to go south for the winter. What a concept! There are several people from our church that have done just that. I’m not bitter or anything… I know! – I can plan a pastoral call. It’s the least I can do.

I was reading John 16 the other day. Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure. He is telling them that He will no longer be with them but He will return for them. Jesus mentions that their grief will turn into joy in time. Before Jesus turns toward heaven and prays He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33.

Jesus said they will have trouble. Some believe that if they have enough faith then they will not experience hardship or trouble. If you believe that then you may want to tell Paul, the early believers, and modern day believers they didn’t have enough faith. All throughout the Scripture we see passages that show us the many hardships early believers had to endure. One thing is certain, God did not plan the hardships. The enemy of our soul planned for many attacks and difficulties to discourage people of faith and keep the Gospel from spreading. As a matter of fact, the enemy is still working nonstop to prevent people from experiencing God’s fullness.

Paul lists several imprisonments, beatings, being exposed to death, stoned, shipwrecked, and many times in danger of losing his life. The list goes on and on (2 Corinthians 11). There are many other accounts of different believers tested and tried. But regardless of what the enemy tried to do, he was unsuccessful in overcoming them. Each one found themselves in the trials of life not because of a lack of faith. They were more than conquerors because of their faith and hope in Jesus. A person of no faith would have fallen under the pressures of life.

When Jesus said that we would have trouble in this world, He used the Greek word thlipsis which describes a situation so difficult that it causes one to feel stressed, pressured, or crushed. It is describing an unbearable situation. Jesus tells us to take heart. The Greek word literally means to be courageous. Some translations say, “Fear not.” It is something you would say to someone who is facing some kind of hardship.

Then Jesus tells us, “I have overcome the world.” The word “overcome” is the Greek word nikos, which is also the word for victory. The way they use the word implies not one victory but multiple victories. So what Jesus implies is this: “I have overcome the world; I am still overcoming the world; and I will always be overcoming the world!” And that is who we place our faith, hope, and trust in.

It is interesting to look at the word, “World.” It is the same Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 4:4 when Paul refers to Satan as the “god of this world.” Satan is not god of this earth, but he operates through human systems that have been put in place by man (from politics to the internet). Satan uses them to attack the church and God’s people.

So take heart, Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the Father rooting you on. No matter what you may be going through – never give up! Grab hold of Jesus' words and be an overcomer. Everything Satan ever tries to use against you, remind him that you were bought with a great price and you will finish the assignment given to you by God Himself.

Walk in the victory of Jesus today!

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike