Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

If you do not know about the Village Church in Dallas Texas you might have heard of their Lead Pastor Matt Chandler. Chandler is an outstanding preacher who is reformed in his theology and has an energy that many cannot compete with. His passion for the Word and the lost are a testimony to all of us in the church today. This past week it came out that Chandler had a brain tumor and I would like to post an article from Christianity Today as reported by Ted Olsen. Olsen writes;

Some sad news from The Village Church today:

On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren [Chandler] that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.

Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.

The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.

We pray for Matt and his family and the Village Church. We will continue to pray and stand alongside of our brother who proclaims the truth unashamed.

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Prayer – Part 3

holy-spiritIf we really want to experience God in and through prayer there are a few things that we have to realize. The first thing is that God does not operate on our time table and moves through prayer in His timing and according to His Will. This is probably one of the hardest aspects of prayer for any Christian to grasp. God moves according to His Will which is beyond our comprehension. Learning to wait upon God to move can be frustrating if you let it, but it should be a time of reflection on what you are praying and exactly what it is you are asking from God. Self centered prayers will never be answered (see James 4).

The second thing that we need to realize is that persistence in prayer is a missing element in the Church today. We look at prayer as some mystical chant that we offer up and then God responds. The Bible clearly teaches that there is something to persevering in prayer. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus gives us the Parable of the Persistent Widow. I would suggest that any Christian read through this Parable many times to drink it in. Persevering in prayer helps us to depend on God in greater ways. This life of faith that we are living is played out over time. When we learn to stay prayerful for needs that are pleasing to God He reveals Himself in greater ways and is glorified more greatly by us when an answer comes. Don’t give up on prayer! Keep going! At the end of the Parable of the Persistent Widow Jesus asks “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Our level of faith matters to God and it should matter to us when we cry out to Him about our needs. Our faith is strengthened through diligent prayer.

The third thing a Christian must realize about prayer is that it needs to be according to the Will of God. God longs to move through prayers, but they need to be aligned with His desires. The best way for that to happen is to get into the Word everyday and take note of what the Biblical writers were praying about. Read through the book of Psalms, The Lord’s Prayer, the book of Acts, and what Paul prayed for concerning the Church at Ephesus. In Acts 3 & 4 you will find a story that spans those 2 chapters. It concerns Peter & John are being persecuted by the establishment for a miracle and preaching about Jesus. After they are let go by the establishment they return to someones home and a prayer meeting breaks out. Acts 4:24-31 is what they prayed and what happened through their prayer. When we pray according to the Will of God great things begin to happen.

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Prayer – Part 2

prayer-4Not so long ago a man sat across from me at my desk telling me of the struggles of other Pastor’s in ministry. This man is a person who is involved with a thriving Men’s Ministry in his area. One of the areas that seemed to be lacking was that of prayer. He went on to tell me of a sin that Pastor’s who he talked to admitted having in their lives that held them back from prayer. I was completely blown away by this statistic. It had me wondering how many people in God’s Church are struggling with besetting sins that hold them back from crying out to God. Sin must be dealt with! The starting place is on your knees crying out to God to release you from whatever has its control on your life. Prayer is the only place that you will find forgiveness and healing.

One of the biggest problems for some could be that they are looking for instant deliverance. That does not always happen. But one thing that is certain is that God longs for His people to cry out to Him and confess their sins so that they can not only be forgiven, but that there can begin a process of renewal as well. Philippians 4:4-7 says;

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

If you are not going to approach God through prayer you cannot expect His movement in your life. If you do start to approach Him you will find forgiveness, healing, and a greater desire to walk with Him. We have too many gimmicks and programs in the Church that just are not working! We need to get back to the basics of our faith. Our Churches need to be crying out to God! Our prayers together will only be affective as we live in holiness before Him. If you really want to see transforming power in your life and in your Church then start by taking care of the besetting sins in your life through prayer. If you commit yourself to this you will see God move in your life. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Prayer – Part 1

prayer-31I have come to realize that the greatest gift that Jesus left for His disciples was prayer! We see in the beginning of the book of Acts that Jesus tells His disciples to wait from power on high. They spend their time waiting and then Pentecost comes and the Church begins with power that results in many conversions. As we go beyond the day of Pentecost we see the Church at work. One of the most prominent things that is clear to anyone is that the Church continued to pray and received from God the power, direction, and strength to fulfill their call. For those of us who spend regular time in the Word the book of Acts and the New Testament passages that talk about prayer can seem average to us. That is perhaps the biggest problem with our calling upon God with faith that He is working.

Perhaps we have tried to pray and did not see the results we wanted so it has now become some type of basic routine in a routine Christian life. But why would God give us this gift if it was not meant to have greater results? Perhaps one of our problems with prayer is that we not only give up easily, but we don’t pray in a way that lines up with the Will of God. If you would read through the book of Acts in one setting and look at the different types of prayers going on you will discover that the Church prayed the Will of God. Put more simply they prayed to accomplish something for the Kingdom. How often does the Church today pray about its Sunday Service through the week? How often do we pray for healing, revival, conviction for sin in our lives, power from the Spirit to be greater witnesses, and a greater desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled through our local assembly. Maybe the biggest problem with prayer is that we are not seeking God’s Will, but our own. When we don’t get what we want we just let it become some ritual or routine we go through and think that we are pleasing God on some level.

As I read the New Testament I see all the wonderful passages on prayer and believe that God wants us to pray with a greater expectation than I see in the Church. It could be that we have become so result driven that when things do not immediately change we think that prayer really does not do anything at all. I do know that through the centuries individual Christians, Churches, and Mission Organizations have been radically transformed by prayer. I do not want to miss out on what God has for me and my Church by not seeking God as much as I possibly can. What would become of our Churches, families, and lives if all of us prayed several times a day for only 15 minutes each time to start off with? I believe with everything in me that radical transformation would happen. The Church has been stepping backward for far too long not to seek God and wait for Him to move. Are you praying? Are you willing to let God begin to transform you in new ways? Are you wanting greater power from on high? Get on your knees and start praying. It is not a routine, it is a privilege!

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John Piper on Prayer

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