How to pray effectively

God’s Word has always been the ‘Mother of all Bombs (MOAB).’  When a follower of Jesus uses it in prayer, it is deadly, accurate and terrifying in its effectiveness.  But, the enemy knows that.  So he devised a strategy to defuse it (to destroy the ‘explosive’ element in the bomb).

#  The explosive power of God’s Word

  • The reason the Bible has an explosive element is that God’s Word contains the decisive decrees of the Owner and Ruler of the Universe.  His words are the final authority in any situation.
  • When we pray Scripture verses into a problem the results are guaranteed.  ‘The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’ 1
  • For example, ‘Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.’ 2   The Old Testament background is, “…Elijah… said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’” 3
  • Then he proclaimed God’s words again: “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.’”  4   He believed God so ‘Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.’ Elijah’s prayers were based on God’s word, as we base our prayers on what God says in the Bible.

# The evil one’s strategy

  • The devil knows how to ‘destroy’ the power of the Bible.  His previous attempts through the ages to destroy the Bible physically, all failed.  He can however, like in the case with Eve, sow doubt about God’s Word.
  • That means we need to watch out for doubting theologians and ministers, books written by apostates that deride God, and programs and websites that malign the Bible.

#  Examples of the devil’s ‘arguments’ that sow doubt: 

  • The creation account is fiction and not part of Scripture.
  • The world-wide flood is a fairy tale.
  • Matthew and Luke copied from Mark, so they are just a product of men.
  • 2 Peter was not written by Peter, Paul did not write this or that letter, et cetera.
  • The resurrection is impossible.
  • Miracles are impossible.

Conclusion 

How should we react to the devil’s strategy?  Remember that the devil wages this war against the Bible because it is so powerful and effective.  What a glory to have such a powerful weapon to enjoy and employ in prayer!  And God wants us to pray and use it without ceasing.

References

  1. James 5:16b
  2. James 5:17
  3. 1 Kings 17:1
  4. 1 Kings 18:1
  5. James 5:18

Deride Clinton and Trump, or pray?

David’s love for the Lord caused him to always ask God’s direction and help in prayer. Eventually that is the only recourse for a Church under siege.

Although we are not citizens of the United States or live there, the Trump/Clinton election battle is intriguing.  Let’s compare the candidates and the country with the history of Saul and David.

#  Israel no longer wanted God to be their King.

The people of Israel told the prophet, Samuel, that they wanted a king like all the other nations.  Samuel felt that they rejected God as their King.  It can be compared to the USA where there are many organisations and groups that fight to get rid of God.  The general impression is that the people of America don’t want God as their King.  God’s faithful followers resist it, but because the devil is the ruler of the world, he controls most of the media.  Thus we are aware of the efforts to banish God from public life.

#  Israel got what they wanted.

God told Samuel to give the people what they wanted, a king.1  Saul was ‘an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites – a head taller then any of the others.’ 2  Both Trump and Clinton, though not young, have impressive accomplishments.

#  Saul could not stand firm against social pressure.

Initially Saul defended the Israelites against their enemies.  Then God commanded Saul to punish the Amalekites because they attacked His nation (read Church).  Saul did not obey God, but submitted to the people’s desire to save the best possessions of the Amalekites.  Will the president elect take a stand against God’s enemies (abortion, gender issues, same sex marriage, opposition to to marriage, et cetera), or capitulate to the wishes of the masses?

#  Saul wanted to look good in front of the people.

Saul was not interested to obey God, but to look good before the people.  He asked Samuel, ‘Please honour me before the elders of my people and before Israel….’ 3  Both candidates promise everything to everybody.  Fine, but what about the Church?  Will the chosen president honour God through obedience to God’s commands, or capitulate to what the general media wants?  Saul persecuted David so intensely that he in a sense lost his mind and killed all the priests of Nob.4

#  Saul focussed on the minor instead of the major.

What was Saul’s end?  Because he was so intent to destroy David, he neglected the duties of kingship.  The nation was overrun by its enemies.  That might happen in the USA, but not necessarily by the invasion of a foreign nation, but invasion of foreign doctrines that are detrimental to the nation.  The family is under siege through confusion about the roles of men and women, et cetera.  Biblical values like love for the Lord, are devalued.

#  David’s reaction to persecution.

How did David, whom we take in this blog as a type of the Church, react?  David constantly went to God through prayer. 5  David found his strength in God. 6

Conclusion

David’s love for the Lord caused him to always ask God’s direction and help in prayer.  Eventually that is the only recourse for a Church under siege.  God never fails to answer prayer, but it needs committed people like David, who loved the Lord and trusted Him.

References

  1. 1 Samuel 8:4-22
  2. 1 Samuel 9:2
  3. 1 Samuel 15:30
  4. 1 Samuel 22:6-23
  5. 1 Samuel 23:9-12;  22:5;  17:45
  6. 1 Samuel 23:16;  30:6

A remedy for the scars of life

What does one do when life does not smile on you; when cheats and deceivers make you miserable; Body fusewhen you have been defrauded; or when some event causes you to give up hope? It would be interesting to know how many people have been defrauded by the brilliant scheme of a charlatan, betrayed by a best friend, or spouse, or lost their life savings, et cetera. There are very few Christians who have not had reason to feel dejected or angry at some time or other.

 

Jesus has good news (not that we always want to hear it). He wants us to forgive and bury the hatchet against others and also against ourselves (how many times have we felt remorse over a foolish remark or a thoughtless action).

 

Jesus has a very good reason why He wants us to forgive. Our bodies were not made to carry overloads. They cannot handle stress and anger. That is why Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’  1

 

Our bodies are a circuit with a fuse that fails when the electricity load (unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy, et cetera), is too high. Jesus is willing to be our ‘fuse.’ He offers to carry the overload of worries, anger, rejection, disappointment, et cetera. In our bodies, the fuse that goes may cause a stomach ulcer, allergies, a heart attack, or other illnesses.

 

What does the Bible teach? A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.2 How do you have a cheerful heart when everything around you seems to crumble? Experience has taught us that the solution is prayer. The Holy Spirit wants us to pour out our hearts to Him and He will give us peace.

 

Through many hours of prayer, peace and understanding will come, since the Holy Spirit knows exactly what happened, and wants to help us get healed. Often we cannot change outside circumstances, but we can change our attitudes.

 

Another aspect we sometimes forget is, does God have a special lesson or plan that He wants us to master? Maybe God wants to teach us perseverance, or prepare us for a bigger task. Those are things that the Holy Spirit will reveal in time as we prevail in prayer. One thing He will tell us, is not to please the devil by living in defeat or hating somebody, or even ourselves, for mistakes we made (often in ignorance).

 

We can run to the doctor, and many times we have to. But, we should be very careful not to despise God’s advice in His Word. For example, Nehemiah was very stressed about Jerusalem’s plight. The king he served made a remarkable observation, ‘This can be nothing but sadness of heart.’ Remember, our help comes from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth. 4

 

References

  1. Matthew 11:28
  2. Proverbs 17:22
  3. Nehemiah 2:2
  4. Psalm 121:1

 

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