For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to become sidetracked from prayer, on a regular basis, by the “stuff” of life. Work, family, friends in need, and even church obligations pull at us constantly, demanding our immediate attention. It isn’t always easy to pray.
The real power to live life victoriously is found in our consistency. Consistent efforts in any area – professional, religious or otherwise – yield success. We cannot expect to reap a harvest where we have not sown! In fact, it is this law – the law of sowing and reaping – that the Lord says will endure forever. (Genesis 8:22.) Like the law of gravity, its application is timeless, its results guaranteed.
Why, then, do we so easily fail to be disciplined in our prayer lives, when we know that consistency will produce a great harvest for us?
Our reluctance is rooted in a wrong belief: that Jesus is a detour, not the highway.
I have a confession to make. There are days when I just don’t want to pray. Or write. Or do anything “spiritual.” I’m not alone. Pastors have days when they just don’t want to deal with another person, or another problem. Moms and dads just can’t fathom dragging their kids through another tedious family devotion.
Don’t get me wrong. I love prayer. I love all things related to the Lord and His Spirit. I love celebrating what He has done for us and getting to know Him, and His people, better. But I am just tired sometimes. My flesh cries out for “downtime,” for a place where I am relieved of responsibility and free to just “be.”
This week, I had the honor of interviewing Pastor Jason McGee, Senior Pastor of One Family Church in Shrewsbury, MA, for His Inscriptions readers. My husband and I have known Jason for several years, and helped him plant his church in Shrewsbury.
One of the things that most impressed me during the church plant was his emphasis on prayer. I was curious to know, several years later, how he views prayer and what priority he gives to prayer in his growing congregation. Here are his thoughts.
The Lord once said to me, “I am a Speaking Spirit.” To define Himself in this way is to emphasize His desire for communication with His creation. Although He is Spirit, and seems very different at first from our own flesh and blood, we must remember that we, too, are spiritual beings who have the capacity to hear what the Spirit is saying:
“Draw near to listen to My “Speaking Spirit,” and you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of who I am and what motivates Me!”
These are His words for us in this season. How do we get to know this “Speaking Spirit?” We return to one of God’s introductions of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:
“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him [Jesus], the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” ~Isaiah 11:2
Of course persecution will increase, but let's not let that upstage what God is doing in the foreground of this story - expanding His Kingdom. - Southeast Asia's Regional Director, Voice of the Martyrs Ministry
Ever attended a prayer meeting, only to find record-low turnouts? This may be the reason: 82% of American adults prefer to pray silently, by themselves. A new study just published by a Christian research organization, the Barna Group, gives insight into exactly what is happening in Americans' prayer lives.
Who is most likely to pray? What do we pray for? To whom are we praying? The answers are intriguing to me, and I'm guessing they will be to you, too! Today's post contains a link to an informative Barna Group article, which every Christian leader and layperson should read. Are we missing something by not praying together? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com
One of the fun parts of this ministry is that I get to meet all kinds of amazing people who love the Lord! One of my favorite people is Teresa DeMatos, who co-pastors the church I attend with her husband, Lee DeMatos. Together, they have experienced some powerful encounters with Jesus and - even more exciting - some very personal answers to prayer.
"Power to do the impossible resides in the spirits of those who know Me," I heard the Lord whisper early yesterday morning. I am more convinced than ever that every day that we neglect God is a day that we give more ground to the enemy. What is deposited in us cannot be taken from us, but in order to be effective against the world's daily assaults, in order to do the impossible, we must tap into God's power at least daily!
Having a “Type A” personality has become synonymous with being perpetually occupied, moving quickly from one task to the next, or prioritizing tasks at the expense of relationships. Type A’s are typically happier when busy, value efficiency, and maximize the use of their time. I know what I’m talking about. I am one.
This week, as we Bostonians celebrate Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon, I hear the Lord speaking about the spiritual races we are running. He’s saying:
Too often we want God to agree with us in prayer, when the real work of prayer is to agree with God! We see in scripture that we are to pray with “all kind of prayers and supplications,” and jump joyfully into prayer, asking God to agree with our human assessments of life’s difficult situations. Then we wonder why our prayers didn’t work. I know. I’ve done it!
Here are just a few of my not-so-fruitful prayers: “God, would you take that difficult person out of my life?” Or, “Can you please (I even said please!) get me out of this trial?” Or even better: “Make my children (wife, husband, etc) obey you!”
I’ve found that God is not interested in agreeing with my flesh. My human nature. Nor will he override someone’s free will to get them saved! While praying through our emotions can be cathartic (David did it in the Psalms), it’s not the most fruitful way to pray. So what really works?
To believe God for greater things requires that we know God in greater ways. Asking boldly in prayer means we must move beyond superficiality. God's compassion is stirred by those who attend to Him daily, listening to His words and seeking His face. God is looking for deep friendship with His people, and for those friends, He has great promises. Here are some of the promises He is making for this season.
"And pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." ~Ephesians 6:18, NIV
Most Christians realize early on that it takes a mixture of both prayer and action to fulfill the Great Commission. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Good works alone won’t fulfill God’s purposes any more than they’ll get you into heaven. (They aren’t rooted in the leading of the Holy Spirit.) And isolated prayers won’t accomplish everything, since someone must still put food on the table for the hungry!
It takes a partnership between the two: a “syncing” of Mary’s God-infused stillness with Martha’s active sense of mission. Only when we begin to balance the two do we really start fulfilling the Great Commission. One look at Isaiah 58:6-9 seals this truth. (Hover your cursor over scriptures in every post to read them.)
In a culture that seems to have forgotten its Godly heritage, how can we bring God back to the center of our Thanksgiving celebrations and prayers? Will it be disrespectful to other faiths to say "grace" at our table? How do we remove some of the awkwardness of prayer if our families are not accustomed to praying together on a daily basis?
This Thanksgiving, I'd like to give you some practical ideas to honor God as you celebrate the harvest with family and friends. Grab a pencil and jot down the ones you think might work for your festivities. Above all, don't let a fear of offending others keep you from shining your light! You might be surprised at how attractive that light becomes!
As I write to you on this Election Day, the winner of the 2016 election has not yet been determined. Even as this decision unfolds, the Lord is stirring me to remind you that the warfare and deception we have seen on a national level applies to believers at an individual level. Satan, our enemy, is still "seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8.) To forget this would be to surrender again to an apathy far more dangerous.
Thankfully, many Christians have been stirred by the election process to wake up from apathy and passivity, and are praying fervently for our nation. If you are one of these people, it might comfort you to know that the fear, complacency or even apathy you have felt for some time is not entirely your fault, although the enemy would like you to believe it is!
Many of you in the His Inscriptions community responded positively to last week’s post, which included a reminder of God’s promise to bless those who set aside time for Him. You may remember that part of the specific promise the Lord gave was to “release strategies to help you bring the full tithe of your time and energy into the Kingdom.” (For the full post, click here.)
This week as I studied, the Lord gave me a strategy to share with you, which I have found immensely helpful. It is the idea of a “mini” Christian prayer retreat. What I will share with you is an adaptation of a plan outlined in Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s new book, entitled “Living Forward.” (Click here to preview the book.)
Developing an arsenal of prayer is critical, especially in the end times. We need to be ready to pray scriptural prayers that build our faith in specific areas and keep us immune to the enemy's lies.
With this in mind, I occasionally condense scriptures on specific topics into simple prayers that I can pray daily. This week, the Lord impressed on me the need to pray the verses from 2 Thessalonians against deception, a key tactic of the Antichrist in the end times. Deception leads to hopelessness, but the Lord has given us specific promises of hope to carry us through difficult days.
Take time today to print or download Prayers for the End Times in the Subscriber Resource Library. It's free with your subscription to His Inscriptions. I pray you'll begin to use it daily to inoculate yourself against the fears and anxieties that come from the enemy's lies!
The famous comedian, Woody Allen, quips that "eighty percent of success is showing up." I'm not sure about the numbers, but I do think there's some truth in this. Ask any pastor and you will find that one of their primary concerns is how to keep people coming back to church, week after week, when most people simply crave "down time" on the weekends. We are tired, world-weary, and longing for rest. How do we find the energy to "show up" when we feel like there is nothing left to give?
Matthew's gospel reads:
Studies show that only 1 in 5 Americans reads their Bible on a regular basis, even though 88% own a Bible.* If you're like most people, you want to connect with God - and even have what you need to do so - but life gets in the way. Distractions, necessities, and even emergencies pull you away from your scheduled time with God, and by the end of the day you feel frazzled, empty, and guilty. There's got to be a better way!
That's why His Inscriptions exists.
This week, instead of my usual blog post, the Lord asked me to share a special announcement with you concerning this ministry. Please indulge me as I try to sum up in a short letter what God has been saying in the past few weeks! I believe this vision will inspire you - and perhaps confirm some things He might be saying to you, as well.
In prayer this morning I heard the Lord say, “Your victory does not lie in your defense but in your offense.” He followed this with a prophetic word (below) that will encourage you to resist the temptation to trust in your defenses and instead, to advance with Him in a victorious offense!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if our entire nation joined together in prayer for America, just like the Israelites convened at the sound of the trumpet to pray? Now, more than ever, our government needs prayer. Our families need us to pray. And we need God to heal our land. Thankfully, thousands of Americans are planning to pray together this week, and you can be a part of this historic event.
Thursday, May 5, 2016, is the National Day of Prayer, a day set aside for prayer by Presidential order since 1988. Here's a list of 10 things you can do to strengthen your prayer life on this national day of prayer:
Because prayer is a work done mostly in secret, it is rare for an intercessor to immediately know whether his prayers are effective. It is rarer still for someone to realize they are being prayed for, since humility constrains us from boasting about our praying!
Yet from time to time, we do hear of amazing answers to prayer, and have the joy of knowing that there is indeed power released when we pray. In the midst of a very difficult week, God allowed both me and my pastor to see the power of prayer. I want to use this story as a "case study" on prayer.
I had spent most of the week in what you might call "Mary" mode, and was really enjoying the time I'd set aside for intensive prayer. So far, things were going very well. The house was quiet and I managed to spend several hours each morning in focused prayer. Although intercession is not my primary calling, it is, for me, a powerful passion. But as the end of the week neared, all hell broke loose.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.