Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

More than the civil wars that have ravaged the continent of Africa, the Muslim terrorist attacks against Western culture, the genocides that continue to plague human history, we are engaged in a very real and ongoing spiritual battle. The devil has waged war against God and anything related to God.  That would certainly include His creation. This means you!  No one is off limits.  The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy everything God has for you.  Kill, steal and destroy your life, dreams, joy and peace of mind—all of the blessings of God. You can’t win this war with natural weapons.  Bombs, AK 47’s and hand grenades won’t help you here.  To win this war you have to tap into supernatural weapons.  Access those  weapons that God has granted us coupled with His limitless power.   Thus far I have mentioned praise/worship and discernment as mighty tools available in our arsenal against the powers of darkness.  Next up for discussion:   the power of prayer.

What is prayer?  In simple terms, it’s just communicating with God.  For most of us the majority of the time we communicate through spoken words.  But keep in mind, we can interact with God through our thoughts.  I loved the answer the great evangelist Billy Graham gave when someone asked if God hears our silent prayers .  He wisely said:

“Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26). (http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=3828)

God really does have it all covered.  Sometimes life becomes so heavy that we don’t know how or what to pray.  But we have an all-knowing God who sees and knows the words of our hearts and the words of our thoughts.  Though most of us most frequently pray aloud and some would argue that verbal prayer is better, know that God “hears you” in your silence.

P= Praise, Persistence,

In prayer take time to praise God.  Everyone likes a compliment.  God is no different.  Tell God how awesome He is.  Thank Him for His goodness, His love and His mercy.  Bombard Him with sweet, adoring words from your mouth—what the popular bible verse says is the “fruit of your lips” (Proverbs 12:14) . The more you do it, the more you will begin to feel and connect  to His presence and power.  And we know praise and worship moves God to fight our battles and give us victory over the Enemy.

It is common practice that people set aside time alone to pray in a quiet place.  It may be early morning before confronting the day, late at night before going to sleep  or any other set time.  However, the bible instructs us to “…pray without ceasing(Thessalonians 5:7).  In addition to that quiet time, know that you can and should talk to God all the time.   Need help with a challenging situation? “Lord help me to resolve this.”  Did the Lord show you favor at work? Thank him right then and there.  Something heavy on your heart? You don’t have to wait until you get home to tell God.  Even in the midst of a crowd you can share your concerns. The more we talk to God, the more we grow in relationship with Him and vice versa. Get in the habit of talking to Him all the time and before you know it, it will become second nature.

Persistent prayer also comes in handy when we are enlisting God’s help or looking for God’s guidance.  A wonderful example I’ve heard of this was a preacher describing how his little girl would latch on to his leg and not let go until he moved to get the cookie she politely asked for.  In her simple act, the Lord revealed to him that the same tenacity and persistence that this little girl showed in getting what she desired, is the same way we have to latch on to God and pray until He moves on our behalf one way or another.  God may not always answer by giving   exactly what you want, but persistent prayer encourages Him to move in the way that He knows is best for you.  So after you pray, and after you’ve prayed, pray, pray again.

R=requests

“Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God (Philippians 4:6, NKJV). No matter how big or seemingly insignificant, God wants to be included in every aspect of our lives.  Just take a look at yourself and everything around you. The make-up and complexity of something as simple as an eyelash is astounding, much less our entire human bodies and  all the things of nature.   The phrase “spare me the details” doesn’t apply to God. God is a God of intricacy and intimacy.  He wants to hear about, be involved in and orchestrate every detail of our lives.

I love the example the biblical character Nehemiah represents for presenting our requests before God.  He went to God for anything and everything.   When he needed pardon from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the destroyed walls of the city, what did he do? He asked that God let him “ prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy…” (Nehemiah 1:11, NKJV) in the sight of the king.  Not only was Nehemiah given pardon without hesitation, but the king went a step further and  gave him extra assistance in going.  Through our prayers we can call down the favor of God.

Got haters or opposition causing trouble in your life?  Check Nehemiah again.  When his enemies tried  different tactics to prevent him from rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah didn’t curse, didn’t physically retaliate, didn’t  lose his cool.  Just like a child who tells their parents about the bully at school, Nehemiah simply went to Father God in prayer.   His simple request was this: “…O God strengthen my hands….” (Nehemiah 6:9, NKJV)  and “My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works…”(Nehemiah 6:14, NKJV).  And voila!  Checkmate!  The very next verse,  the  words of Nehemiah’s victory:  “The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days”(Nehemiah 6:15).   You see the devil just can’t win when a child of God cries out and He decides to step in. So the next time Satan comes and tries to step to you, brandish your weapon! Kaboom! Hit him  with your prayers!

 

A=Answers

The beauty of prayer?  It’s an exchange not one one-sided.  It’s a dialogue not a monologue.  It’s collaborative not selfish.  When we speak, God speaks back.  When we speak God delights in our act of worship through prayer.  When He speaks He speaks life into our being.  Yes..it is important to praise and present your petitions before God.  But also take time to hear what God is saying to you.  Open your spirit and tune your senses to see how God is leading.  He may speak through a person, His Word, your thoughts, a feeling, a song…anything.  Trust that the enemy will always try to hinder you from praying because he knows how powerful of a weapon it is.   Without it you are extremely open and vulnerable to attack.  Just like soldiers must stay connected to their generals for guidance, so we must stay connected to God Almighty for all that we need.  It is through prayer that God will dispatch his Holy angels to fight on our behalf.  It is through prayer that God moves the obstacles in our lives. It is through prayer that God heals, delivers, blesses, empowers, guides, defends and protects us.  So pray and simply trust God. Pray and believe God to answer (in different ways—another topic) in His perfect way, according to His perfect will and in His perfect timing.  I guarantee He will never steer you wrong.

Y=Yes

Prayer is indirectly a sign of worship.    When you pray to God you are saying God I acknowledge you, God you are real and God I am dependent on you.  You wouldn’t pray to something or someone you didn’t believe in. In essence you are saying yes, You are God.  The lie?  A good prayer has to be fancy, eloquent and have a barrage of big words.  The truth—the beauty of prayer is that you simply do it.   That you intentionally reach out to God.  God doesn’t look at the details of the eloquence of words.  He looks at the genuineness of your heart. The amazing thing is as you grow with God and spend time in His holy Word, you will learn to allow his Spirit to guide your prayers and naturally begin to pray according to the promises of the scriptures.  When we pray in obedience to God and declare our yes to Him, this opens the door for God to partner with us in overcoming the forces of darkness.  So if the devil  insists on riding your tail, have no fear! TKO him with your prayers!

This post does not begin to scratch the surface that is the vastness of prayer.  Minister Maurice Belfonte, youth minister at Shekinah Youth Church/Greater Allen AME said it best in this facebook post:   “Prayer redirects, reconnects,  reorders,  recovers,  reinvigorates, refocuses,  reveals, reduces, restores, reactivates,  reminds, replaces,  reforms, recommits.  Just a few things that Prayer has done for me.  I could go on and on. The moral of the story is:  #PRAY.”

So after you pray and after your pray, pray..pray again…and  yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

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It would come on suddenly…the migraine headaches, the palpitations, the squeezing pains in my chest.  Occasionally at first. You know–when I was out of my comfort zone.   Speaking in front of a crowd,  writing this blog,  any monumental change.  A twinge of anxiety that would assert  it’s presence and disappear as quickly as it came.   Then it seemed to happened when I thought about the tasks I had to do for the day or even my life.  Really God? You’re going to have me doing this, going here, doing that?  Why me? How am I going to do all you called me to do?  But by God’s grace I pushed past that. I was good.  I got it Lord. No fear. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).  I had licked this thing so i thought.  But then, more relentless.  More insidious. More forceful.  Suddenly everything seemed like a task and  everything brought on panic attacks.  I didn’t answer this text; I didn’t check in with this person; I have to call my family; I have to go there, finish this, do that.  My mind wandered and my body reacted to the most irrational thoughts.  I couldn’t sleep, I was tired and I couldn’t take anymore.  I mentioned it to a few folks–casually threw out a “yall pray for me” and tried to downplay it.  I prayed, I rebuked and demanded that this thing called panic go! Get out of my life.  It seemed to get a little better, but this time the devil was stubborn and was hell bent on not budging.

Hmm…alright.  New month.  My fasting the first 3 days  should take care of this.  Day 1 and 2, it seemed this thing is getting worse instead of better. Lord…don’t you see what’s going on? Don’t you see me fasting and praying?  By the morning of the third day, I literally thought something was squeezing me.  Waves of pressure and panic seized me intermittently.  I had 3 events that day and couldn’t go to the first because I felt so sick.  With tears pouring down my face, I cried out to the Lord that August 3  and said “Lord I need You. I am tired of feeling this way.  I can’t do this without You.” That was all my Father needed to hear.  One of His dependents was crying out to Him and He wasn’t having it.

You see, in this world where independence is esteemed, encouraged and exalted, dependency is viewed as a sign of weakness.  Women boast of being financially independent of men, children eager to taste adulthood strive to  move independent of their parents and every one wants to be their own boss.  But I am not ashamed to say that I am absolutely dependent on HIM.  When we humble ourselves and realize we are truly nothing without God, that  His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that He is looking “….to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV), then we will really learn to lean on and trust  in Him.  You see dependency brings deliverance; dependency brings breakthrough; dependency shatters bondages and breaks every chain.

How can I articulate the  awesomeness and sovereignty of God ?  How absolutely NOTHING escapes Him?  How my last blog post “Remember My Chains” unbeknownest to me, was a prophetic plea for my own struggles? How God remembered my chains and arranged the entire weekend to break them just because He loves me?  How I called Dr. Pat (Lunch Date With Jesus), that gifted praying intercessor who prayed for me on a non-prayer conference day?  How after her prayer, I had strength to attend the only event that I was ordained to attend out of 3:  an informal get-together with my fellow Greater Allen Haiti missionary team family.  How evangelist Caroline Clemmons, a mentor and guide to many did a praise dance and exercise to that encouraging song “Break Every Chain” that charged the atmosphere for praise, worship, warfare against the devil and ultimately ushered in the very presence of  God’s Holy Spirit? How all I could do was worship and bow in the presence of Jehovah Mephalti (the Lord my Deliverer) until I was weak and passed out, overwhelmed by the power of God as He broke the chains in my life and used others to intercede for me.  Chains were shattered all around the room that night.  God absolutely blew us away.  Words cannot articulate that experience.

Yet that wasn’t enough.   God loves to stun, shock and amaze. Jamaican people have a phrase that a certain person may be “extra.” Meaning extravagant, over the top, excessive. For me, God can never be too “extra.” His “extra”means extra favor,  extra blessings, extra mercy and extra grace.  Still reeling from the night before, the next day  the Reverend Terrence Mckinley Director of Ministries at Reid Temple AME North Campus who has  had such a positive influence on the lives of so many of us as the former young adult pastor of Greater Allen AME,  ends his powerful sermon on hope with an  altar call.  An altar call and a mighty prayer to the song”Break Every Chain”; the very song from the night before. The words that stuck out the most to me in that prayer? Something to the effect of ” don’t stop praising.  Your mind getting right and your heart getting regulated is in this praise.”  I was beside myself. God who am I that you are mindful of me?  God was saying it is finished. Signed, sealed and delivered.  There is nothing like the love of God.

So you see good people, we have to learn to develop a healthy and necessary dependency on God.  If He was filing taxes, could you be claimed as one of His dependents?  Those who learn to rely on Him won’t lack any good thing.  Because I learned to  depend on Him, yet still I rise….

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323