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Battle Plan for Prayer

Praise Thursday – Preemptive Prayer

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What would you do if you knew someone was getting ready to attack you?  If you were the leader of a country and you knew attack could happen any day?  You would start doing everything possible to prepare – looking at resources, evaluating troop placements and developing a strategy.

This is what Chapter 27 talks about in The Battle Plan for Prayer. Alex and Stephen Kendrick remind us that our preemptive plans start in prayer. Last week, we talked about OFFensive prayer – seeking to take new ground for the kingdom. So, the spiritual battle for our heart is real. The Bible reminds us that we have a real enemy who is out to steal, distort, distract and destroy.

Christ himself recognized Satan – he resisted and rebuked him throughout his ministry on Earth.  I John 3:8 says, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Satan is simply a symbol of evil. He is not a fable. Not a figment of our imagination.  The Bible specifically mentions Satan by name in more than one dozen books. So, taking a posture of preemptive prayer is critical.


Today we’re talking about taking a stance of preemptive prayer. Because we have a real enemy seeking to attack us at any moment. How do we know Satan is real?  We have the story of Peter in the Gospels.

Jesus taught Peter and the rest of the disciples to preemptively pray, “do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:13). Then, on the night of Christ’s betrayal, Jesus warned him, “behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you” (Luke 22). Later that same evening Jesus instructed him to “keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

But…Peter fell asleep instead, and a few minutes later he was awake and off guard. Peter emotionally overreacted, hacked off a man’s ear, abandoned Jesus, then adamantly denied Christ three times instead of being loyal like he had promised a few hours earlier. He never prayed preemptively, so as a result he wept bitterly, was devastated and depressed for days, until Christ restored him.

We must learn to pray preemptively, lifting everything in our lives to the Lord. Prayer is the way we spiritually fasten in our armor and ask God to protect us before stepping into the heat of combat.


How can we pray preemptively? By understanding how the enemy attacks. If we know his moves, we can prepare and pray more specifically.

The book gives us four of the devil’s signature schemes.

#1 – Distraction. Psalm 55 reminder that David wrote, “I’m restless in my complaint and I’m surely distracted because of the voice of the enemy.” Satan will constantly try to get us off track.

#2 – Deception. Jesus said whenever Satan speaks lies because he speaks from his own nature, “for he is a liar and the father of lies.” That comes from John 8:44. Strongholds, addictions and sins are founded upon lies…promises never delivered…false advertising. Sin will fail you, let you down and leave you empty. We are not strong enough to stand on our own. We need God’s presence and the Bible’s trustworthiness.

#3 – Derision. Satan’s lies include running you down or running down (deriding) someone else in your mind. Bringing up things from your past. Falsely presuming someone else is guilty.  Yes, we’ve been forgiven in the blood of Christ, but he keeps reminding us of old wounds and inciting doubt. In order to the fight the accusations, you need to be studying the Word; to help you find your identity in Christ. We also continue to pray for wisdom and discernment.


How can we pray preemptively? By understanding how the enemy attacks. If we know his moves, we can prepare and pray more specifically.

The last scheme is #4 – Division. One hallmark of the gospel is the unity it brings to everyone, since we are all one in Christ. But Satan knows that the “house divided against itself will not stand” (Mark 3:25).

Anger and argument among God’s people may not destroy the gospel, but it can destroy our testimony and our effectiveness in sharing it. Disunity paints Christians and our faith as weak, hypocritical and phony.  So, we can’t live foolishly, ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). We should pray for God to help us stay focused on his will.

Ephesians 6 reminds us of the spiritual armor: truth dispelling his lies; righteousness from Christ worn around our chest and lived out in bold active and grateful obedience. Prayer is how we stay together. It’s what unites us and it’s what helps protect us.

The question is not whether the enemy is coming out to engage you in battle. He will. Seen or unseen. The question is whether you’re going to prepare in prayer first, or wait until the devil has you in his grip before you call on the One who has already defeated him.


Lord, thank you for alerting us in your words to the tactics and activity of the devil. Thank you also for equipping us with spiritual weaponry to stand firm and push back against his assaults and his campaign of lies, distortions, distractions and accusations. Help us not to be ignorant of his schemes. Give us the grace to discern how the enemy will try to attack so we can wisely pray preemptively and prepare ourselves to stand firm. Keep us steady, Lord, clear-minded, braced, ready, walking wisely and living in victory. Fix our eyes upon you by faith, kept by your power. In Jesus name. Amen.

Thanks for listening!
-Joe, Lilly and Hannah

Praying Offensively

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The legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant is given most of the credit for this statement:  “Offense wins games, Defense wins championships.”  He actually did say that, but the credit can also go to a high school basketball coach named Dave Thorson, who wrote in a coaching manual, “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”

So with all due respect to Coach Bryant and Coach Thorson, today we’re leaning on games and tickets. On Offense.

Because today we want to encourage you to pull out the most important tool in your tool belt, or weapon in your arsenal – PRAYER.

And encourage you to go on the OFFensive with your prayer.  Now, just like I would remind my students, let’s not get this confused.  I mean OFF-ensive, not uh-FEN-sive!  Going on the OFFensive.

The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick is a journey of learning how to pray more biblically and strategically.  We’ve been sharing these strategies for the last few months.  We’re reminded to fight the battles of our life with prayer first.

So…OFFensive prayer.  Back to that. Sometimes we need to play defense.  But not all the time.   Sometimes we get caught too much in praying against.  Alex and Stephen remind us that there are things we need to pray FOR, not just AGAINST.  Look at the Lord’s Prayer – our model from Jesus Himself.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.”

So what’s the OFFensive part?  “Thy Kingdom Come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.”  Those are all things we’re asking FOR, not just things to pray against.

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Our prayers are not just about standing our ground against the enemy but taking new ground FOR the Kingdom.  We can pray for open doors for the gospel; for the outpouring of humble and repentant hearts, for the Holy Spirit to fill us with wisdom, discernment and knowledge of his will and to help us raise up a generation that will honor His name.

The book encourages us to think about these questions:

  • What is the most loving thing I can ask for right now?
  • What could I pray for that would be overwhelmingly good?
  • What could greatly advance God’s kingdom in my situation?
  • What could I pray for that would really glorify God?

Scripture is rich with OFFensive prayer.  Jesus encouraged this in Matthew 7:11, “if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give what is good to those who ask Him?

When we love someone, we say we want nothing but the best for them.  3rd John says, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”

We know God is good.  We know He is preparing good things for us.  So we should be active in seeking and asking for those things.  Praying that he will do more than we can ask or imagine – because His glory is the ultimate goal of all praying.

So maybe instead of praying, “Lord, please help my church members not to fight in this next board meeting,” pray “Lord, bring loving unity and humility to our gathering, providing for greater ministry opportunities.”

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Think about ways to OFFensively pray out of the Bible.  Colossians 1: 9-12 says, “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”

Wouldn’t you want something prayed over you like that?  That’s incredible!  This is how we use the word of God, the model we’ve been given, to drive an OFFensive prayer.

Paul does this again in Philippians 1: 9-11. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

So…one thought is to consider OFFensive prayer as a way to encourage your pastor, since it is Clergy Appreciation Month. Every pastor needs encouragement in his or her life and ministry.

If you are a lay-leader in your church, take the lead on these types of OFFensive prayers for your pastor.  Treat them like a friend or family member, because he or she is both. Provide a listening ear and safe place for your pastor to share.

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Bob Briner, a former tennis pro, sports agent, college athletic administrator, and author of a great book, Roaring Lambs, wrote this before his death in 1999:

Our freedom is not so much under fire as it is under-used. We have so much more freedom than we actually use. We are free to become people of prayer. We are free to delve deeply into God’s Word. We are free to visit the sick, comfort the hurting and provide for the poor. We are free to become active and productive in our churches. Most of all, we are free to live holy lives of obedience. Our concern should not be so much about freedom, but about responsibility to the debt of love we owe to the Lord Jesus.

Bob’s talking about an OFFensive strategy.  So remember that while defensive prayer is important, offensive prayer can have an important place in our lives. let’s ask God to do something really, really good for HIS glory.

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CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, thank you for giving me prayer to help push back against the darkness.  But thank you, too, for enabling me to use prayer as a way of inviting your blessing, enjoying your presence, and actively investing, lovingly, into other’s lives. For while your strength and power amazes me, Lord, your love amazes me even more…because I know what I’m like; I know what I deserve. Yet, you still take care of me and transform me.  You keep turning my negatives into positives.  You keep giving me opportunities to win, advance and conquer.  And for this, I praise your name!

Our word of the day today is…
slapdash
adjective // SLAP-dash
This means done or made without careful planning : haphazard, slipshod

One of the first known uses of slapdash in English came in 1679 from the British poet and dramatist John Dryden, who used it as an adverb in his play The kind keeper; or Mr. Limberham: “Down I put the notes slap-dash.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines this sense in part as “[w]ith, or as with, a slap and a dash,” perhaps suggesting the notion of an action (such as painting) performed with quick, imprecise movements. Over 100 years later, the word acquired the adjectival sense with which we are more familiar today, describing something done in a hasty, careless, or haphazard manner.

 

Thanks for listening!
– Joe

 

The Ways of the Holy Spirit

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Today we explored another section of the book The Battle Plan for Prayer, from Alex and Stephen Kendrick. This week we focus on the importance of the Holy Spirit in our prayer life.

The Holy Spirit is the engine of the Christian life. The Holy Spirit guides us and empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own.  The Holy Spirit, as the rushing, mighty wind we read about in John 3:8 and Acts 2:2, can and should breathe life into every segment of our prayer life!

Prayer is an admission that WE are not in control but that we are under GOD’S control (Psalm 103:19). God urges us into prayer because He has given us the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction.

The point of this study and this book is to offer Him our best work of prayer, but we still understand that we trust in the Holy Spirit to take it to the next level

John 14:12-17

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.”

Remember that the Holy Spirit is what guides our prayer – we are still inadequate without His spirit guiding us!

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Powerful prayer starts with the Holy Spirit.  Paul reminds is in Ephesians 6:18 –

“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.”

We all have the Holy Spirit within us – do you realize that?  Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance…”

We must be filled with, submit to, and walk in the Spirit, instead of following our sinful flesh. Ephesians 5:18 “be filled with the Spirit,” is not a suggestion – it’s a command!  It’s a daily decision to submit and live walking in the Spirit.

We can ask God every morning to fill us with His Spirit and surrender to His Lordship.  When we obey and abide in Christ, which means to accept and act in accordance with something, we become more tuned in to the voice of the Spirit within us.

Let’s share what the Kendrick brothers write about three things that happen when we allow the Spirit into our prayer life:

#1 – He reveals God and His word to us.  John 14:17 – “The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 16:13 – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

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#2 – He prays for us.  Wait.  The Holy Spirit prays for us?  Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

It’s awesome to think that we have two perfect prayer partners – Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Hebrews 7:24-25 says, 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

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#3 – He guides our praying. The Spirit inwardly reminds and leads believers to cry out to our father in prayer.  Sometimes we may say that God speaks to us; but it’s less of an audible sound and more of an internal knowing.  This drives us to do something specific for the glory of God.

It’s the Spirit saying, “this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

Does God communicate with us personally?  The testimonies from scripture indicate YES!

Acts 9:10-19: God directs Ananias to seek out Paul.

Acts 8:29-30: The Spirit directs Philip to seek out the Ethiopian reading Isaiah.

Our prayers are not bound by our limitations because the Spirit has no limits and he is living inside of us!

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me; and fill me with your wisdom and insight.  Just as you’ve sent Him here to testify to Christ through your people on the earth, I pray that my heart will desire him for that very reason – that my life will bear living witness to Jesus.  Fill me with your Spirit.  Teach me to walk in your Spirit and pray in the Spirit.  Everywhere I go, with everyone I encounter.  In every place, be glorified in me.

Thanks for listening!

-Joe, Lilly and Hannah

Praying for Wisdom

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Our Praise Thursday prayer series continues today, inspired by the book The Battle Plan for Prayer, from Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

Today we’re exploring: what is wisdom and how does it help us? How often do we pray for wisdom?  How might wisdom guide our strategic prayers?

Proverbs 4:7-9 (The Message) says:

3-9 When I was a boy at my father’s knee,
the pride and joy of my mother,
He would sit me down and drill me:
“Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!
Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!
Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life;
love her—she keeps her eye on you.
Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!
Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it;
never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.
She’ll garland your life with grace,
she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”

So…based on that…can we assume that gathering wisdom is of supreme importance? The overwhelming answer is YES.

Prayer is a key to unlocking wisdom; prayer yields wisdom; then wisdom yields better prayer.  Wisdom is “the ability to apply knowledge to a given situation.” Taking what you know or research and making it work really well.

This involves friendship, marriage, parenting…it unlocks things that have been mysterious.  Wisdom helps you locate the straight, sure path.

Proverbs 4:12 reminds us that wisdom helps us keep from stumbling.  It keeps us from making rash or foolish decisions.

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Wisdom helps you see things from God’s eternal perspective.  He also promises to give it!

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

But we should also ask for it.  Proverbs 2:4 reminds us to seek it like a precious metal or hidden treasure.  God gives it to us without reproach, insult or condemnation.  He wants us to bear fruit – he’s on our side – because when we grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of God, He receives the glory.

He receives glory through our integrity, honesty, humility, purity and our faithfulness.  Our good relationships glorify Him.

King Solomon sought the Lord for wisdom – even when he was invited to ask for ANYTHING from God! This is in I Kings 3:9…

“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

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God answers our prayers every day for wisdom simply by giving us the book of Proverbs – every time they read these passages, the Kendrick brothers say, “it’s like taking a giant smart pill or anti-idiot medicine.”

The Proverbs point out the differences between:

  • Hard work and laziness
  • Righteousness and wickedness
  • Honesty and dishonesty
  • Humility and arrogance

Discovering what is BETTER is a key takeaway of Proverbs:

Proverbs 16:32 – Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 15:16-17 – Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with turmoil. Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.

Proverbs 15:19-22 – The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway.  A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish man despises his mother. Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,
but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. Plans fail for lack of
counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

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We get wisdom from God, so praying for it should become a daily habit and a source for developing our prayer strategies.

Wisdom is not exclusive to older people – those who desire it can start receiving it at an early age.  Self-seeking, so-called mature people can still be unwise.

God puts His name on the line if wisdom is something you really want:

Proverbs 2:6 – For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

16:20 – Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

3:21-24 – My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Wisdom: pray for it often and expect it promptly!

CLOSING PRAYER:

Lord, you are my wonderful counselor and the source of all wisdom.  I take you at your word that when I ask for wisdom – from a heart that’s ready to put it obediently and faithfully into practice – you will surely pour it out upon me freely.  Because I surely need it! Every day and in every way.

I pray you’d help me view life from your eternal perspective rather than the world’s. Help me think long-term and understand the causes and effects of my choices.  Give me the discernment between what is good, better and best, and help me make right decisions in light of it.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Today’s Word of the Day is: tendentious (ten-DEN-shus), an adjective marked by a tendency to favor a certain point of view.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe, Hannah and Lilly

His names. Our blessing!

Battle-Plan-Hero-699x200Today all three of the Afternoon Drive co-hosts were in the studio to talk about “The Wonder of God’s Names” from the book “The Battle Plan for Prayer” by the Kendrick Brothers. IF you want to find out more about the book click HERE.

We also gave you a a little teaser about tomorrow – which is the last First Friday of  the 2017 season! WNZR is going to be there with Dogtoberfest! Click HERE if you want to know more!

Oh may your glorious name be blessed and exalted above all blessing and praise!” Nehemiah 9:5.

Let’s imagine someone named Dr. John Smith. He is called different names at different times. His father calls him son, his wife calls him sweetheart, his patients call him doc, and his friend at church: brother Jack. At the hospital he’s the doctor with the best bedside manner, and at the local restaurants, he is that happy Christian who leaves good tips. John is not multiple people. He is one man with multiple roles and character traits. Each of John’s names or titles reveals a little bit more about who he is, what he does, and how he relates to others.
In like manner, the Bible reveals that our one God has many names. When we pray to Him, we may come to Him for a wide variety of reasons. Because he is eternal and limitless, and many titles and descriptions used of him in the Bible are vast and astounding. But that’s the point. Each name of God helps us to understand, value, and worship him even more.
Unlike the Egyptians and Greeks, who prayed to different mythical gods depending upon their need, we worship one God who alone is living and limitless, maker and master, holy and most high, Savior and sovereign of all, and everything we need in all circumstances.
As we discover and get familiar with different names of God, we not only better recognize God for who he is, we can relate to him more personally and intimately.
God’s names reflect his invisible attributes, his eternal power, and divine nature. What an honor to discover more about God! His names are priceless to him, a privilege for us to know, and powerful for us to pray. We are constantly referring to God’s names in our prayer interactions with him.
God wants us to know his names so we can know him better. They are another way we worship and praise him – by recalling a name for him that specifically reflects an attribute we want to honor or call upon to help address a specific need.
That’s why we must never take any of God‘s name in vain or use them flippantly. Rather, we praise and worship him and his name will honoring his attributes, power, and position.
When we call upon Jesus Christ as our Lord, the other names of God take on infinitely more value to us. Jesus then becomes our savior, King, and high priest. God the father becomes our heavenly father and Almighty God. The Holy Spirit becomes our helper and counselor. When we pray to God, we too can address them according to who he is and what he’s done, and lean on our understanding of his unending power and glory. Jesus modeled for us how to pray based upon his unique identity in the situation, like when he said, “the harvest is abundant but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out the workers into his harvest. “ Matthew 9:37-38
He also has more formal names. in our time of need, God is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our provider. When we struggle with sickness, He is Jehovah Rapha – the lord our healer. When we need comfort, he’s Jehovah Raah – the lord our shepherd. When we are fearful or stressed, He is Jehovah Shalom – the Lord our peace. And when we need to be forgiven and cleansed, He is Jehovah Tsidkenu – the Lord, our righteousness.
The point is to seek him, worship him, and pray to him for who he is.

So as you pray strategically, remember to call out to your God by his names as you learn them. He loves to hear his children acknowledge him for all he does and all he can do. And doesn’t he deserve it? After all, he is God, our salvation. (Psalm 148:13)
PRAYER: Lord, your name is great, just as you are great. And while you are one God – creator of all, without rival – I praise you that you are more than I realized and everything I need. Thank you for allowing us to call on you at all times, in all circumstances, and for promising to be our all in all had every moment. I worship you today, Lord God, my Savior, my sustainer, my friend, my reason for living. Amen.
Today’s Word of the Day was:
vituperate (vye-TOO-puh-rayt), a verb meaning:

1 : to criticize or censure severely or abusively
2 : to use harsh condemnatory language

Thanks for listening!
– Joe, Hannah and Lilly

Praise Thursday – the Will of God

Battle-Plan-Hero-699x200Today Joe and I shared about the Will of God from our study series  in the book The Battle Plan for Prayer

John 6:38
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

1 John 5:14
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

The best place in the world of any of us to be is squarely in the middle of God’s will. It is His perfect that will bring Him the most pleasure. It’s not only what’s best for us, but it’s what will yield God the most glory. He has promised every one of His children that we can live in His will continually. Some people are convinced that God is a mystery, Yet the best strategy to use first of all in beginning to seek Gods will for specific questions is to pray like Jesus did – to pray in surrender to it from the onset. Not my will, but yours be done.

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The presentation of ourselves can lead to the revelation of His will.

Second, we should pray in accordance with what we already know to be His will. The chief goal of God’s will is that He will be glorified in all circumstances.
1st Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, Lord, not to us
    but to your name be the glory,
    because of your love and faithfulness.
If your desire is for the glory of God to be elevated and made known, be assured His will is going to be accomplished in you.

God’s will is to advance His kingdom – the seen and unseen parts. In Heaven and on Earth.
Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

As you align your goals with His kingdom goals, He promises to provide everything needed for your life to flourish.

Third, God’s Will is for Christ to be Lord
This is giving Christ all the power and authority in every arena of your life.

So as you follow Christ as Lord, you’re saying with your life (not just your words), that you intend to give Him your full allegiance.

Titus 3:8
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Glory. Kingdom. Lordship. Those are the 3 major components of His overall will for you. He also wants you living a pure, sanctified life.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
These verses are telling us that God wants us to produce fruit no matter where we are in life.

Philippians 2:2
then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Much of His will, therefore, is readily known. Not only does His word declare it, but the spirit affirms it in your mind and heart. So your quest for Gods will on a specific issue, be it a large one or a small one, it’s not a separate matter from the other elements of His will. They’re all tied together. The heart that isn’t only praying for His will, but is also surrendering to it simultaneously, whatever the Lord reveals His plan to be, will not miss his desires when all is said and done, because He will bail you out when you take a wrong turn.

Proverbs 16:9
In their hearts humans plan their course,

    but the Lord establishes their steps.

The leadership that God gives as you pray your way through hard decisions is not to be evaluated merely by the physical events happening around you. Sometimes the most difficult, painful, fearful, or illogical path is the one that ends up being the open door. The one bearing His fingerprints.

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

This is not just an emotional peace that shows up for a few hours and then morphs into panic and confusion by nightfall. This distinctive ‘peace of Christ’ settles in and is often confirmed by other believers. The enemy may try to agitate you into doubting it. But being reverent and trusting and prayerful will lead you to the right door. And that’s faith. That’s obedience. That’s where His will for you shines and bears fruit. And that’s the kind of praying that leads remarkably to peace.

PRAYER:
“Lord, I know I’m in skillful hands as I pray for You to show me Your will and lead me faithfully into it. I accept from You specific guidance through your word to give me ‘a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ for this moment. Thank you for being Heaven – and – Earth beyond me in size and scope. Yet, somehow, stooping down to involve Yourself in my details. Tune my heart to the desires of Your heart. Align my mind with your thoughts. Guide my path to the center of Your plans and help me pray and live in accordance with Your will. I love You, and I will follow You. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

We also gave away a pair of Sonfest tickets! Our Sonfest trivia question for today was “What is the name of Sarah Reeves’ husband?” The answer to this question is “Philip Kothlow”

Congratulations to Lisa from Mount Vernon who correctly guessed the answer to our trivia question!

If you would like to know more about Sonfest or to buy tickets click HERE.

Congrats to Maddie from Mount Vernon for being our third caller; she won two tickets to The Lion King Jr. show from MTVarts this weekend!

If you would like to know more about this show are just more about MTVarts click HERE.

Our word of the day today was:

Shofar
SHOH-far

Definition: the horn of an animal (usually a ram) blown as a trumpet by the ancient Hebrews in battle and during religious observances and used in modern Judaism especially during Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur.

Thank you so much for listening to the Afternoon Drive today!
-Hannah Radke

 

Prayer and the Word of God

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Today our Praise Thursday focus on prayer is about using the Bible as an inspiration and model for prayer. All inspired by the book from Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

The command of the Lord is pure; enlightening the eyes (Psalms 19:8)

If your heart is right with God and others, and you are ready to pray, then what should guide your praying?

Prayer doesn’t need a script. It is personal; unique.  Even with this much freedom, God provides powerful resources for us to pray specifically and strategically – this helps us know that our heart is in sync with God’s.

We are fickle – hot and cold.  Emotions today, forgotten tomorrow. But when we pray with words inspired by scripture, we are assured that our prayer is anchored in bedrock truths!
———-
Maybe you think you don’t know the Bible well enough to do this…so…

Pray about it and God will guide you.  James 1:21 says “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

John 15:7 says “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

God can help you find the right verse for the right time!
——
We can easily recite and use our favorite lines from TV shows and movies.  The same principle can apply to the Bible – but it’s better because it’s alive, active and not stale or generic.

Unlike other books or movies or shows, the author and inspiration for the book is RIGHT THERE with you as you read!  Like Paul said, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

The whole story of Nehemiah’s prayer in the Old Testament is an example of this type of prayer strategy – we can do the same thing.  When we are fatigued, we can remember Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
——-
When stressed out or outmatched by situations and stress, we cry out to him like David did in Psalm 61:2:

“From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

If you doubt yourself, remember Psalm 9:10, 63:5, 17:15, 51 verses 10 and 12, 118 verses 1 and 21; 84 verses 8 and 11; and I Chronicles 29:11-12.

OUR CLOSING PRAYER:
“Thank you Lord, for your word. Thank you for not leaving me here to guess what you’re like or what you’ve promised to do. I pray you not only fashion your word in my mind, but also use it to direct my hands and feet to serve you, obey you and stay clean-hearted before you. May I truly love your word and cling to it as my lifeline; to your truth, love and wisdom. Amen.”

We’d also like to wish congratulations to Monica from Mt. Vernon who won our How I Became a Pirate tickets! And to Ruth from Howard who won our Sonfest Artist Trivia!

Thanks for listening!
– Joe, Hannah and Lilly

Persistence Vs Impatience

Persistence is a necessary part of praying effectively. If God answers in 20 minutes or 20 years we should never give up on him. Through scripture God reveals that he wants us to trust him patiently on our knees.
When we walk by faith and show our dependency on him as we come before his throne. In fact he may use delays in our life to reveal our hearts and our level of trust in him. Time we must wait upon the Lord in faith. When King Saul became impatient with God he unwisely took matters into his own hands and paid a heavy price losing God’s blessing in the process. Zechariah waited on the Lord for a child he was shocked and delighted when the angel of the Lord told him he would have a son. Jesus said watch therefore and pray always, and Paul wrote that we should pray without ceasing and to continue earnestly in prayer being vigilant in it..

Scripture teaches this recurring lesson it time and time again so that we could catch the absolute importance of it. We are not meant to pray one time for our needs or desires and then quit or throw the prayer out the window if it’s not immediately answered. His timetable,. But he is clearly pleased when we exercise faith and persistence because it reveals a heart that is ignoring him and dependent on him. So don’t get discouraged in prayer. In the parable of the persistent Widow if an ungodly, will respond to a persistent request, how much more will a loving God respond to the Persistence of his children?

Sometimes you might think the problem is God, but never is it God. It’s always our lack of patience. We are accustomed to immediate responses. A fast-food meal minutes after we order it. Seconds after we text a friend, a response. A family photo posted to the internet the minute after we take it. God is not our bellhop, and does not owe us an immediate response. He can answer immediately if He wants, but He will wait for the perfect time, ant it’s always gloriously better than ours. We don’t know if God’s answer will come immediately, days after, or years after we pray. He’s on the throne and operates from a perfect vantage point. God waits, and sometimes He says “Even before they call, I will answer.”

You must believe that God can answer a prayer quickly, while also acknowledging God’s sovereignty enough to know that he knows what’s best for you and for His glory, and not to lose heart in seeking Him. Psalm 37 tells us to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 27 says be strong and Let Your Heart Take courage. Psalm 130 says I wait for the Lord. God is very patient and will not delay responding to our prayers even one more day beyond what is right. His timing is perfect. Not just to the year or day, but to the second. To the minute.
Trust him and continue casting your cares upon Him with persistence and patience.

“Lord, we have proven in Your word that what seems like delay is actually evidence of your care and love. So I ask you to help me apply the peace that distinguishes us as children of a good, loving Father. Where my flesh demands immediate action, help me to accept Your answer on Your terms. Strengthen my faith to believe that You can act in a moment, to wait and keep praying.”

Thanks for listening!
-Lilly

Obedience Vs Rebellion

Hebrews 10:22 New International Version (NIV)

22 “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Sometimes we hide behind prayer – we hope it will cover for disobedience in other areas.  God may tell us to do things, but we keep “praying about it,” with no steps of action.

A lifestyle of obedience, while not a condition that earns salvation, is a major key to answered prayers.  We need to be serious about what God says and strive to be obedient.

Luke 6:46-48

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”

The logic couldn’t be more clear in John 14:15 – “if you love me, you will keep my commands.”

We’re not perfect, but how can we argue with that statement?  To not follow him with faith and submission while claiming total allegiance, is the same as saying our love for Him is a cup of lukewarm coffee, at best.

Prayers generated by a rebellious heart are contradictory to one another.  In Joshua 7, when Joshua was trying to understand the defeat at Ai, 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep.”

The better course of action, God said, was to go find the source of the problem, remove it from the camp and then the relationship would be restored.  Instead of hiding behind prayer, pray while being obedient.

God instructed several of the prophets to stop praying for Israel or the wayward generation – we read these in Jeremiah 7:16-17, Ezekiel 20:31 and Isaiah 1:19-20.

Obedience matters.  Not in a legalistic way, but we must remember that life as a Christ-follower should never be an attempt at doing as little as necessary.  A person truly in Christ is always moving in a direction of greater obedience to Him.

I John 3: 3 and 7

3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Prayer offers you the ongoing incentive to keep pursuing it!  Wanting to be close to God is worth it.  Hebrews 11:25, 5 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”

Look at the things you’re praying for. Are they happening?  Are they clearly marked by God’s blessing?  If not, it might not mean your life is out of phase with God’s word, but you might want to “check in” just to see. We need to seek to identify any hold of resistance or rebellion in our lives.

“Father, I pray you would forgive me for my past disobedience and rebellion.  Things I’ve never really confessed or done the hard work of forsaking. Wash me clean and turn my heart toward obeying You quickly. Today I’m going to obey Jesus Christ. I’m going to quit resisting Him and arguing with Him and rationalizing with Him and hiding behind prayer. I’m going to obey. Lord, help me obey.”

Our word of the day was Soi-disant
adjective ||  swah-dee-ZAHNG

Soi-disant, which in French means literally “saying oneself,” is one of hundreds of French terms that entered English in the 18th century, during the period known as the Enlightenment. Even as political antipathies between France and England were being played out on battlefields in Europe and America, English speakers were peppering their speech and writing with French. Soi-disant first began appearing in English texts in the mid-18th century as a disparaging term for someone who styles or fancies himself or herself in some role. Crêpevis-à-visétiquette, and sang-froid are a few of the other French terms that became naturalized in English at that time.

Thanks for listening!
-Lilly

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