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Category Archives: Prayer

I can do it myself!

From our earliest days, we learn the phrase, “I can do it myself.” Whether learning how to tie our shoes, coloring inside the lines, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, walking to school, learning to drive, heading off to college, and a host of other activities, self-sufficiency is the flag that we fly.

As parents, we want to raise confident, independent, self-sufficient children. We want them to be able to stand on their own two feet as they face the world. It is a character quality and a mindset that each one needs to develop.

When it comes to spiritual matters, however, that sense of independence and self-sufficiency can become our greatest weakness. We will avoid asking others for help because “I can do it myself.” My wife and I were in a small group years ago where one of the couples was moving to a new home. They refused to ask for help on moving day until one of the group members confronted the couple and said, “You are robbing me of the chance to serve and use my gifts.”

Our independent spirit will hinder us from developing a deep relationship with God. Rather than burden God with our needs, we will attempt to solve them in our own power. Our sense of self-sufficiency will cause us to live like functional atheists who confess faith in God but rely on our own abilities.

Our independent, self-sufficient spirit will prevent us from getting close to other people. “I can do it myself” will keep one from sharing prayer requests or telling another person what we are dealing with and how they can encourage us. It can foster a sense of pride that says “I don’t need you.”

Independence and self-sufficiency can be a tremendous strength. But it can also be a tremendous weakness. We need discernment to know when to stand alone and when to ask for help from God and other people.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2020 in Culture, Personal growth, Prayer

 

A guide for corporate prayer

Periodically, our church will gather together for a corporate Concert of Prayer. Rather than talk about prayer or share prayer requests, we pray. My friend, Tim Jack, once developed a tool that uses the Scriptures to guide our prayer requests. I adapted it to use in our gatherings. Here is the guide we used for last night’s Concert of Prayer. Click on the link if you’d like to download a pdf copy.

A Concert of Prayer

January 5, 2019

Never stop praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NLT)

 

Adoration & Thanksgiving

 

Psalm 138:1–8

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.         On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased. All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

  • Personal praise (1-3) leads to corporate worship (4-6). Worship leads to increased faith in God (7-8).
  • We have freedom in worship—thanks, praise, sing, bow down
  • We praise God’s name (character). We give thanks for his love, faithfulness, answered prayer, strength, deliverance

 

Confession

 

Confess personal sin – Psalm 51:4

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

 

Confess national sin – Ezra 9:6

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.

 

Confess corporate sin – Nehemiah 1:7

We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.

 

Supplication

 

Spiritual insight and power – Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

  • Pray for greater vision, faith and confidence in God

 

Government leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • Pray for our city, state, and national leaders
  • Pray for the upcoming elections in the fall

 

Knowledge of God’s direction – Colossians 1:9

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

  • Pray that God will guide our elders as they lead our church
  • Pray for the finance board as they manage our finances
  • Pray that we would discern where God is at work and what he wants us to do for his kingdom
  • Pray for the annual meeting

 

Provide financially – Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • Pray that God will grant us a spirit of generosity and we will know the joy of giving
  • Pray that God will meet our needs and cause our budget to increase

 

Passion for the lost – Romans 10:1

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

  • Pray that we become more outward focused
  • Pray for the ministries that reach into our community—Awana, Trunk ‘R Treat, Women’s Dinner
  • Pray for unbelievers by name
  • Pray that God will add new believers to our church

 

Preachers, evangelists – Ephesians 6:19

and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,

  • Pray for our missionaries
  • Pray for the leaders of our ministries
  • Pray for open doors and increased boldness

 

Every attender engaged – Ephesians 4:15-16

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

  • Pray for the membership class in March
  • Pray that all find a place to serve

 

Willing to change & adapt – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

  • Pray that we would be less rigid; more flexible
  • Willing to do whatever it takes to become fruitful and effective

 

Multiply our effectiveness – John 15:8

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

  • Pray that we will be fruitful & effective, not just busy
  • Pray that we see growth in depth—children, youth, adults
  • Pray that we see growth in numbers

 

Revival & renewal

  • Pray that God will breathe new life into our church
 
 

Pray for your pastor

NIcholas Batzig of Ligonier Ministries has written an article entitled, “5 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor in 2020.” I can certainly identify with what he states in his second paragraph.

Pastors need the saints’ prayers because they are ever the object of the flaming arrows of the evil one. In addition, the world is eager to run them over at any opportunity. As one of my seminary professors so illustratively put it, “Ministers have a bull’s eye on their backs and footprints up their chests.” Sadly, this is even a reality for pastors within the context of the local church.

Click on the link to read the full article and his five specific ways to pray for your pastor.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2020 in Ministry, Prayer

 

How to pray for your pastor

Jeramie Rinne gives a number of practical ideas you can pray for on behalf of your pastor. Read his article, How to Pray for Your Pastor, to find his suggestions. Then strive to put them into practice as you pray for your pastor.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2019 in Ministry, Prayer

 

Moscow Conference 2019 – September update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Carol and I leave in six weeks on October 16.

As on previous trips, we will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. Here’s an outline of the lessons I’ll be teaching during the conference. We will be combining lecture, small group discussion, and some other creative learning activities.

  1. Session one – Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring.
  2. Session two – Case studies; biblical examples of training and mentoring.
  3. Session three – Who? What do you look for in a trainee?
  4. Session four – What? What should you develop in a young leader?
  5. Session five – How? How do you train them?
  6. Session six – Failures. Not everyone you invest in will follow through.
  7. Sessions seven – Panel discussion; Q & A.

Thanks to your generosity and God’s provision, the trip is fully funded. Enough funds came in that allowed us to do something special for the attendees. We purchased a quantity of relay batons and we added a label that says, 2 Timothy 2:2, in Russian. At the end of the seminar, we’ll give each participant two batons, one to keep as a reminder of the lessons and one to give to someone that they train.

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God for his generous provision.
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.
  • Pray for Carol and me as we head to California in two weeks for a short visit with our kids and Carol’s parents and sister. When we return, we will finish preparations for the Moscow conference.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.

 
 

Moscow Conference 2019 – July update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Because of your prayers and generosity, the trip is now fully funded. We’ve purchased our tickets and made our hotel reservations.

As on previous trips, Carol and I will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. I am starting to work on the lessons for the conference. The sessions will include: (1) Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring; (2) Who? What do you look for in a trainee? (3) What? What should you develop in this person? and (4) How? How do you go about doing it? I want to combine biblical teaching with creative activities and small group discussions so as to make the conference practical and helpful.

This past week, I sent in the preseminar assignments. If the participants complete the work, they receive a discount on their registration fee. To get them thinking about the topic, they are to answer the following questions:

  1. Read Exodus 18. What was Moses’ challenge? What was Jethro’s recommendation? What type of people was Moses to look for? What was the result?
  2. Read Exodus 17:8-16; 24:9-18; 33:7-11; Numbers 11:24-29; Numbers 13:1-14:45; Numbers 27:12-23; Deuteronomy 34:1-12. What kind of experiences did God and Moses use to prepare Joshua to lead Israel? What lessons did Joshua learn? What skills did he gain through those experiences?
  3. Read 1 Timothy 2:2. What did Paul instruct Timothy to do? What kind of character qualities was Timothy to look for in the people he was to invest in?
  4. Read Ephesians 4:11-16. What gifts and/or gifted people are given to the church? What is their role? What happens when they do their job well? What happens if they don’t carry out their responsibility?

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God that Carol and I have our visas, airline tickets, and hotel reservations. We praise God for his provision.
  • Praise God that the trip is fully funded!
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.

 

9:38

We started the first two days of my Harmony of the Gospels class in Elista at 10:00AM. On the third day, we began at 9:00AM so as to finish by noon and get on the road back to Krasnodar. At 9:38, everyone’s phone started ringing. I was annoyed because they were all to turn off their phones so as not to be distracted during the class. I soon learned that their phones were not ringing but rather sounding an alarm as a reminder to pray.

The church in Kalmykia has taken Matthew 9:38 literally. In that verse, Jesus tells his disciples, “therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” At 9:38 each morning, the Christ followers in Kalmykia pause to pray about their outreach efforts.

I paused my teaching and one of the brothers led the class in prayer.

Perhaps I should learn from their example and encourage the folks in my church to do the same.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2019 in Evangelism, Prayer, Russia, Scripture