"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" - Ephesians 6:18
The Priority of Prayer
Referred to over 500 times in the Scriptures, everyone can exercise this fantastic resource. It's a ministry all of us are called to. In fact, it is the most important activity a Christian can engage in.
It is absolutely incredible that we each have a priority connection directly into the Throne Room of the Universe! It is amazing to realize that this astonishing resource is so available and so rarely used. It is unquestionably the most powerful weapon we could possibly have. And it is the deciding factor in spiritual warfare.
The Elements of Prayer
One of the key elements of prayer is worship. This part is the most fun. How glorious it is to simply celebrate the greatness, the beauty, the majesty, of God. And His love. And the precision of His caring.
This leads us to the petition(s). It may surprise us to realize that it is very appropriate to discuss with Him our own needs, and in detail. The "Lord's Prayer" includes, "Give us this day our daily bread." Indeed.
Your needs come first, or you can't help others. "The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits,"( 2 Tim 2:6). When you take a flight on an airline, the flight attendant will point out to you that if the oxygen masks should be released, and you are flying with a child, you first put on your own mask, and then assist the child. You can't give to others what you haven't got yourself.
But the real labor of prayer is intercession for others; "...supplication for all saints."
Artillery in Warfare
You are, in effect, in the position of the "forward controller" in the battlefield, with a direct line to Command Headquarters, and you are commissioned to call in the fire you need.
There are many types of fire. Enfilade: direct, offensive fire. Supporting outreaches. Pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor 10:4). Freeing captives. Removing trammels and shackles. Also, defilade fire: indirect, attacking the enemy's hidden assets; anticipating where the enemy may be lurking and hiding.
And there is flanking fire. Are you about to be outflanked? An indirect assault from your most vulnerable side? What is your most vulnerable side? Self-_____? (Fill in the blank yourself.) Our "strongest suit" is usually our weakest suit. Remember Peter.
Be very specific. "Win the war" isn't a very operative petition. "Hit the enemy" isn't very useful to a squadron commander. Be very specific. Direct the resources with precision. Pick your targets carefully. Use a rifle rather than a shotgun. Satan will yield only what he has to.
Always go for the leverage. Recruit the radical. Interdict the most critical logistics. Go after the foundations. Know your mission and focus.
Be strategic. Even pray for what is prophesied (thus, ostensibly inevitable). Prayer is God's way of enlisting us in what He is doing. Lord's Prayer: "Thy Kingdom Come." Knowing that the 70 years of captivity were almost over, Daniel prayed for his people (Dan 9:2ff). And Gabriel interrupted this prayer by giving Daniel the most fantastic prophecy in the Bible.
Don't impute any limitations on your HQ. Don't assume any restrictions on the assets available (Mk 11:22-24; Jn 14:13-14; 15:7; 16:23-24). Don't ask for small arms fire when a blockbuster may be called for. Only prayer can really change things. The prayer closet is far more effective than the ballot box.
The value of concentration is basic in military strategy. Coordinated fire is always more effective. "Where two or three agree..."
But don't assume a solution with inadequate G-2. Maybe an accurate assessment is our first priority. Remember, in accordance with His Will. Discover it through His Word. It is to be a dialogue, not a monologue. Always to the Father, through the Son (Matt 18:19, 20).
"With all perseverence." Hit and run tactics rarely yield any lasting results. Persistence is always a key to victory in any calling. Don't ever give up.
A Few Hints
You can't get a clear connection with headquarters with excessive static on the line. This can be the result of unconfessed sin, (Isa 59:1-2; Ps 66:18) an unforgiving spirit, selfishness, (James 4:3) etc.
Be serious and organized. Use a notepad or notebook. Keep a battlefield record and also keep your Headquarters abreast of your awareness of victories!
Don't be discouraged; that is a victory for the enemy. Realize that God finds many ways - each day - to ask you, "Do you trust me?"
Recognize that God often will veto our requests for our own good. (Moses' denial of entry into the Promised land, Paul's "thorn in the flesh," et al. Even Christ in Gethsemane subjected His petitions to the Father's will.)
It's obvious that much more can be said on this crucial topic. However, we don't need more articles, books, videos, or conferences, on prayer. We need more prayer.
The Armor Of God: Our Heavy Artillery »- Koinonia House
Articles on Spiritual Warfare »- Koinonia House
Take This Job and Love It
By Mary Southerland
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16, NIV).
Friend To Friend
We all want to be successful in our work. Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses. It doesn't really matter because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place.
Many people never experience success in their work because they are in the wrong work to begin with. Not me. As a high school student, I knew exactly what I wanted to be - a nurse. My mother was a nurse and I wanted to be just like her so I signed up to be a student volunteer at the hospital where my mother worked. When I told her the good news, she thought for a moment and then simply said, "That's great, honey. You'll make a wonderful nurse."
On my first day, I eagerly donned the required red and white striped uniform and reported for duty. The head nurse welcomed me and explained that I would be checking each patient to make sure they had water to drink, magazines to read and a listening ear. That sounded simple enough. "Oh, and one more thing," she continued. In retrospect, I should have instantly recognized the danger in those words and run for the nearest exit. In my ignorance, I stayed. "Since we are short-handed, I may ask you to do just a few things to help the other nurses on duty," she said. "No problem" I assured her.
At that precise moment, a scream pierced the air! The head nurse calmly looked at me, smiled and said, "Could you check on that, please?" Surely, I had misunderstood her. "Now!" she continued. Taking a deep breath, I headed in the direction of the scream, praying that that it was nothing more than the celebratory cry of someone who had just won a million dollars.
As I neared the room in question, a bedpan flew through the doorway in front of me, landing at my feet. Furthermore, the bedpan was not empty. I decided right then and there that nursing was not for me, turned in my candy cane apron and raced for the nearest exit. Mama was waiting for me as I stepped off the elevator. She smiled, handed me the cars keys and simply said, "See you at home." Fortunately, I had a wise and wonderful mother who knew me well and from that day on encouraged me to be the teacher God created me to be.
I truly believe many people are living stress-filled lives because they have never sought and discovered God's plan and are trapped in jobs and careers that simply do not fit. Every day, they feel like the proverbial round peg being jammed into a square hole - a painful and frustrating process.
What does fit is God's plan. In Psalm 23:3, David writes, "He leads me in paths of righteousness." In this verse "righteousness" simply means "right things." The Shepherd has a plan for His sheep. Unfortunately, so does everyone else. The difference is that God's plan is filled with the "right things" He shaped and created us to do while the agendas of others tend to service their own purposes instead of God's. God empowers His plan, but when we step into our own agenda or a plan created by anyone else, we are stepping into and relying upon our frail, limited strength. Soon, we will be empty and stress will flood in, filling the emptiness with anxiety and tension. Don't waste another day just doing the "next" thing. Take a long, hard look at your work, your job, and your agenda to make sure you are in the right place - doing what you were created to do in this world.
You have probably heard the statement, "I climbed the ladder of success, and when I reached the top, I realized it was leaning against the wrong wall." Not long ago, I came to a crossroads in my life that made me question the path I was taking in ministry. I asked God to either change me and the way I was doing ministry or change my ministry. He did both! Once again, I realized that God wants the highest and best things for my life. That really is His plan. Don't settle for anything less.
Father, I want to follow Your plan for my life. Help me to walk in daily obedience so that Your unique and perfect plan for my life will naturally unfold before me. And when I am discouraged or stressed because of the work I am doing, give me Your peace and the assurance that I am in the right spot doing the right things You created me to do.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
The amazing truth is that more than we want to know God's plan for our life - He wants us to know it and stands ready to guide us. God always reveals His plan to an obedient and seeking heart. Are you willing to do whatever God asks you to do?
Read Jeremiah 29:11 and record it in your journal. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (NIV).
Seek God and ask for His direction.
Seek His will by searching His Word.
Pay attention to the passion of your heart.
Realistically evaluate your abilities.
Take into account your natural talents.
Consider the advice of those who know you best.
Then step out in faith, trusting God to help you make the right choice.
Then step out in faith, trusting God to help you make the right choice.
More From The Girlfriends
God gives us His truth to learn and then to apply. God has a unique plan or "recipe" for each one of us. Our greatest opportunity for success is to live that plan. I believe God tucks into our very soul a discontentment with anything but His life "recipe." If we approach each day searching for His handprints in every situation, choosing to walk in obedience to His Word, we will surely find ourselves right in the middle of God's purpose and plan.
Mary's Bible Study Take This Job and Love It, offers six principles from the life of the Proverbs 31 woman that will help you be successful in your work, no matter where you work or what your job may be. Study guide included.
It's not too late to enroll in Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, and have access to all of 2011 studies. The current topic is How to Handle Hurt. We will experience pain and hurt but we can learn how to handle the hurt in a way that honors God and assures a life of victory.
Girlfriends in God , P.O. Box 725 ,Matthews, NC 28106 ,www.girlfriendsingod.com