Intercessory prayer

Pray as if God wouldn’t answer without your petitions, even when you know that others are also praying  for  the same things. Picture yourself in God’s throne room presenting a plea that will influence the destinies of people and nations. Prayer can be that important, that pivotal, sometimes. However, be humble enough to know that He values the prayers of others and that you are one of many. He is gracious and will value your petition even when it is one among millions. Thus, we also ought to pray to please the heart of God because we have the power to bless and please Him through our prayers. Intercessory prayer is not just for the needs of people; it is also one way among others of ministering to God Himself, which is a high and holy calling open to all His people.

Pray with passion as much as you can. Avoid slavish devotion to long laundry lists of all those things that everybody in church is supposed to pray for. Of course, all those things really are important to pray for, but our prayers tend to lose power when they lack concentration, passionate purpose and persistent devotion. Pray whenever possible from the heart, from the gut. The Holy Spirit will often move you through your own emotions. It will not always happen, but you should be ready for it. Focus on one person, one situation, one need, and stay with it for a while. Do not be afraid to get emotionally involved with a need, for that is the stuff of powerful prayer. Nor should you be a slave to emotions. You will often need to pray when your emotions are not as you would wish, and when you feel listless and disinterested.

Do not just tick off names and lists. Don’t get into that trap, because you will rob your prayers of power and you will also quickly become bored with praying. It is better to ignore things from the long “laundry lists” and concentrate on just a few things, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide you in the choices of what to pray for now and what to leave till later.

In brief, it is better to pray for just a few needs and pray for them well, than to rattle off long lists while congratulating yourself that you have prayed for them. Prayer is not an endurance contest.

Praise and worship gives power to prayers of intercession, but this alone is not the reason for praise and worship. We must be always ministering to God as we pray.  Beware of being so caught up in the laundry lists that you forget to pause now and then to praise and adore God. Praise is never a waste of time.  Rather, it is the very purpose of our human existence. Sing much. Adore Him constantly. Tell Him often that you love Him. He loves to hear that, but we often forget to tell Him.

Sing to the Lord in a loud voice as you drive alone in your car. When you are going about repetitive and dull, but necessary, tasks, such as dishes, laundry, mowing lawns, this is a good time to worship, out loud when possible, or silently, to yourself, when it is not. Send up many little prayers in the times between your quiet times.

The Discipline of Giving Thanks

                God commands His people to give thanks at all times! But we don’t do it. We get caught up in problems, and then we focus on the little negatives instead of the big positive of God’s presence in our lives. I am as prone to panic attacks as anyone else. When a problem comes up, a bill I can’t afford, a medical crisis, something going wrong with my car, something valuable breaking, a deadline I can’t seem to meet—when any of these things happen, I have learned the secret of not losing sleep and letting it steal my joy. What is that? Give thanks to God for all you do have. Dwell on the positive. The way to do this is to practice the discipline of giving thanks. Do it all the time. Do it on the good days and on the bad days. When something good happens accept it as a gift from God and thank Him. You will be surprised how much this one simple practice can change your mood. You will have to step out on faith very often when you give thanks. You won’t feel like giving thanks, but don’t listen to your feelings. If you give in to negative thoughts you will be giving permission to the devil to walk all over you. Remember that thoughts of doom and gloom do not come from God. Start practicing thankfulness as a daily discipline and I promise you that you will see the difference! Don't get into the trap of trying to figure out solutions when you need to be working on other things, or when you need to be sleeping. Faith always involves letting go. Get your mind off the problem as much as possible and fix on the positives of what God has done for you. We all need to learn how to walk away from problems instead of worrying ourselves to death. Giving thanks focusses us on God and as we release our tight hold on the problem we open the way for His solutions. Worrying is a sin. It blocks God's blessing and gives the devil a pathway into our minds. When you need to take some action, if you need to take action, trust that God will help you to do the right thing. Get your mind off the thing that vexes, go about your business, and practice the blessed task of giving thanks.

Christian Victory

The secret of victorious living is constant reliance on the Holy Spirit. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness Colossians 2: 6 & 7(N.I.V.). We are saved by faith in Jesus. Most of us Christians have no difficulty in believing that. If we then believe that, it should be easy for us to believe that the same Jesus Who saved us will also give us the power to live a life pleasing to God. Everything we receive from God comes in response to faith. There can be no reliance on our own human will-power in living victoriously. Without the connection to Jesus we are always defeated. It is only in Him, through the Holy Spirit, that we are able to live as we should for God. Whatever comes from our own strength, our own resourcefulness, our own determination, will meet with defeat because God is not glorified by our reliance on our own abilities. Faith in God connects us to God’s Holy Spirit. Only by faith may we continue to live as we should. We dare not say that we can reach heaven without faith in Jesus. In the same way, we dare not say that we can live our lives for God without this same faith. Learning to live victoriously is nothing more than learning to live always by the power God imparts through faith in Jesus and by the Holy Spirit.