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Devotionals

Prayer

( from The Battle Plan for Prayer published by Lifeway press)

Daily Devotional

Locks, Part 1

Today and tomorrow, we are going to look at some biblical passages that tell us why God might not be answering our prayers.  They will serve as warnings to us, no matter what phase of life we are in.

LOCK 1 : UNCONFESSED SIN

Read Isaiah 59 : 1 -2 – 1 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

What hinders prayer according to this passage?

Why is this important?

Israel had questioned why the Lord had not heard their cries to Him ( Isaiah 58 : 3 - Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. )

In Isaiah 59 : 1 -2, Isaiah assured the nation of Israel that the reason their prayers were not answered was not because God us no powerful enough or even because He does not hear.  It was because of their unconfessed sin.  The people were not only sinful, they were unrepentant, resulting in a barrier between them and God.

Is there anything you need to confess to the Lord today? Do that right now.

 

Read Psalm 66 : 18 – 19 – 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

What hinders prayer according to this passage?

Why is this important?

What does it mean to have iniquity in your heart?

Iniquity means wicked behavior,  in this instance it means the desire to see harm, suffering or evil come upon someone else.  You might attempt to soften your feelings  of resentment towards someone by saying that you don’t want evil to come upon them, but you simply don’t want to see good come to them.  In reality, if you don’t desire someone to experience good in life, you are essentially desiring evil for him or her.  The absence of good is evil.

When you become aware of iniquity in your heart, what is the appropriate response?

God may not be addressing your prayers because you are not addressing your sin.  Ask God to make you aware of other sin in your heart and confess that to Him.  Make this prayer a regular habit in your life to keep the door of communication open with God.

LOCK 2 : FAMILY DISHARMONY

Another block to prayer is family disharmony.  God takes seriously how we interact with those in our family.  We are commanded to honor our fathers and mothers, and God expects us to do so.

Is there anyone in your family whom you have failed to live with in an understanding way lately?  How so?

What changes do you need to make today to better honor your closest relationships so that your prayers are not hindered?

Ask God for forgiveness and talk with Him about a reconciliation plan.  What are two or three ways you hope to see God work in that relationship?

Commit your hopes to prayer.

He is listening.

Locks, Part 2

 

LOCK 3 : BABBLING WORDS

 

For many people praying causes us to speak differently than how we speak at any other time.  It causes us to repeat familiar phrases, offer bland statements, and appear more spiritual than what we may actually be.

Jesus warned against practicing our righteousness before men to be noticed by them ( Matthew 6 : 1 - Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.) If we parade our prayers in a way to gain man’s approval, we might momentarily impress people, but we will not also receive God’s approval or the answer to our prayers.

Look at the warning Jesus gives in Matthew 6 : 7 – 8 – 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

What hinders prayer and why is this important?

Let’s make an important distinction.  The religious elite in Jesus’ day repeated special words or phrases in their prayers to get God’s and others’ attention.  The words themselves had no real meaning.  Jesus cautioned others against this practice not because of the repetition of the prayers, but because the prayers were not authentic.  Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 6 : 8 that prayer is a matter of the heart more so than words.

What promise does Jesus offer concerning the Father and prayer in Matthew 6 : 8? 

How will knowing this affect your prayer life?

 

LOCK 4 : FAITHLESS REQUESTS

Another reason God does not answer our prayers is because we offer faithless requests.  Sure we might pray to Him but our faith in His ability to answer those prayers is sadly minimal.

Do you believe that prayer is the most effective tool art your disposal? Why or why not?

Even the disciples who walked with Jesus daily, did not fully grasp the power of prayer.

Read Mark 9 : 17 - 29 :

17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;  18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.  19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.  20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.  21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.  22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.  23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.  25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.  26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.  27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.  28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?  29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Note the word ‘believe.  In this passage, a father asked Jesus’ disciples to drive out a demon from his son, but they couldn’t ( v. 18 ).  See the fathers honesty about his belief ( v. 24)

 

When the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to cast out the demon, He answered that the demon would come out “but by prayer” Prayer should always be out first response.

 

Read James 6 : 1 – 8 – 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

What hinders prayer and why is it important?

 

LOCK 5 : REQUESTS CONTRARY TO GOD’S WILL

 

Read 1st John 5 : 14 – 15 – 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

What hinders prayer and why is it important?

Make no mistake about it – God’s purpose will prevail ( Proverbs 19 : 21  - There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.)  We just have to learn to pray according to His will.  Read Romans 12 : 1 – 2 – 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

How do you understand what the will of God is?

Ephesians 5 : 17 - Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

God’s word reveals God’s will.  As we present ourselves to God, turn away from the backward values and vain thinking of the world, and allow Him to renew our minds, God’s heart, desires and good and perfect will, will become amazingly powerful and effective in our lives. ( Romans 12 : 2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

In our study this week, we have investigated to see if we are  allowing things in our lives that might hinder our prayers.  Though we all can “stumble in many ways” ( James 3 : 2 ) we must take our relationship with a holy God seriously and deal with any issue that could hurt us spiritually.  Knowing and loving God intimately is worth any sacrifice we need to make.

Take time to pray now.  Confess any areas in your life that may be hindering your prayers and ask God to help you pursue His heart and overcome every one of these issues. 

Keys, Part 1

KEY 1 : STAY CONSISTENT

Read Philippians 4 : 8 - 9 – 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Why is it helpful to think about things of good report when anxiety and worry tend to grab your attention?

What are some things of good report you need to make it a habit to think upon?

In Philippians 4 : 7, Paul promised that the peace of God would guard the hearts of believers.  In Verses 8 and 9, Paul assured the Philippians that the God of peace would be with them.  The peace of God only comes through the God of peace and His presence in our lives.

Think about some things causing you to be anxious.  Try using this chart below to help you get a perspective on your situation.

 

KEY 2 : TRUST GOD”S CHARACTER

Anxiousness can be a practical sign of a theological problem.  When we become anxious, we are refusing to acknowledge who God is and what God can do.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed how to deal with anxiety.  His solution is not in the collection of more desires met.  His solution is in confidence shown in God’s faithfulness and loving care.  Our peace does not come from what we have but in the One who has us.

Read Jesus’ description of the cure for anxiety in Matthew 6 : 25 – 34 - 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Jesus described different things that can cause us to become anxious.  Out of the things mentioned, what can cause the greatest anxiety in you?

Think about how has God provided for you in the last year, what are some of the things He has done for you?  Be specific and write it down or type a note into your phone to remember when the anxious feelings come to you.

When we trace God’s hand in our lives, it helps us understand that we are not on our own.  He is near and He is actively involved in our lives.

What does it mean to seek God’s kingdom?

What does it mean to seek His righteousness?

We do not seek God in order  to acquire more stuff from Him.  We seek Him in order to experience more of Him.  When we seek Him and His righteousness, our focus will shift from this earthly realm to the Heavenly realm, from possessions to His presence.

Every kingdom has a ruler.  Seeking God’s kingdom and having faith that He is on control and has authority over your life is a surefire way to eliminate worry.

In your prayer time today, thank God for His provision in your life.  Be honest about any needs that you have today.  Don’t just pray seeking answers for your concerns and desires.  Ask Him to help you seek His kingdom and His righteousness first.

Keys, Part 2

KEY 3 : STRIVE FOR CONTENTMENT

 

In prayer, we must constantly perform a self-investigation to determine whether what we are asking is a need or a want.

Read Paul’s instructions to Timothy, his son in the faith, in 1st Timothy 6 : 6 – 10 –  6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.  7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.       8 and having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

What did Paul tell Timothy should be enough to make him content?

Is anything causing discontentment in your life today?  Is it a need or a want?

With food and clothing, we should be content.  Paul never described the type of food or the worth of the clothing.  If we simply have those two things, we ought to be content.  Paul is talking about our very basic needs.

 

Read Hebrews 13 : 5 – 6 – 5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Based on these verses, what do we have that will never be taken away from us?

We are called to be satisfied with what we have.  While that process can be difficult, here is the secret : Remember that God is your helper.  We have the promise of His presence always.  HE is not a distant helper.  He is intimately aware of all our cares and concerns.  Jesus is our High Priest who stepped out of heaven to walk in flesh and H can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrew 4 : 15) This is why the writer of Hebrews says :

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ( Hebrews 4 : 16 )

 

Today, when you pray, focus on these things :​

  1. God, make my soul content.

  2. Thank you for what you have already given me.

  3. Remind me of the sufficiency of Your presence in my life.

Approach God’s throne with boldness today.  He is ever present and ready to help at the proper time.  His timeline doesn’t always look like ours, but we can be assured that He will always provide.

 

KEY 4 : MAKE A HABIT

 

Hopefully these practices you have learned will continue in your life far beyond this study, and these truths from God’s Word are creating habits in your life that will change you forever!

Would you say prayer is a habit in your life? Why or Why not?

What can you do today to make prayer a habit?

Read and be encouraged by the Scripture passages below concerning the power of prayer :

 

14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. (2nd Chronicles 7 : 14 – 15)

 

 

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

( Psalm 145 : 18 )
 

Prayer Strategy Target

Finally today we put pen to paper on the Prayer Strategy Target.

 

This week we will start filling in the slots around the target.  You will notice that each target has 12 spaces to write  and then one space to write in the bullseye.  The bullseye is where you write the name of the persons for whom you are praying. But, around the names, you want to write what you are praying for them.  Some of the spaces may be the same from person to person. Other spaces will change for each person you are praying about.  Today and the next few Prayer Strategy Days, we will talk about the specifics that you may pray about for everyone.  We will give you a total of six ideas.

General Request #1 : Pray that this person loves and obeys God.

If someone loves Jesus and obeys Him, so many other things, so many other things will gall into place. “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” ( John 14 : 15 ).  Obedience matters.  Not in a legalistic way. Not as means of pride or comparison with others. But life as a follower of Christ was never meant to be a casual attempt at doing as little as necessary – just enough to get by, just enough to feel good about going to the youth worship on Wednesday night. A person who is truly in Christ  is steadily moving in a direction of greater obedience to Him.

A lifestyle of obedience – while not a condition that earns salvation – is a major key to answered prayer.  Why should anyone call Jesus “Lord, Lord” if they’re not willing to or serious about doing about what He says? (Luke 6:46)

3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. . .  7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

1st John 3:3 and 7

General Request #2 : Pray that this person loves God’s Word.

If you are praying for a person to fall in love with God, with God’s Word and obey His commandments that are found there, then you are praying a powerful prayer.  There is nothing more important than loving God with all that we are.  It is the greatest of all commandments and WHY we are here on earth.

Pray that this person is open to the truth that can only be found in God’s Word.  Some people try to find a solid foundation for a sense of right and wrong apart from the Bible, but it is not possible.  Pray that person you’re praying for will see that the Bible is exactly the foundation they are looking for.  Pray that they would have open hearts to hear and apply God’s truth found in His Word.
 

Identifying the Enemy

 

To know how to pray in this battle, we must be aware of whom we are fighting.

We have a real enemy.  Our culture has made the Devil a comical costumed figure, but he is not an adversary that can be ignored or underestimated.

Satan is called the ruler of this world ( John 16 : 11 ).  He is described as exercising authority ovet he lower heavens, and working in the lives of the disobedient ( Ephesians 2 : 2 ).Unbelievers are characterized as being held in the domain of darkness ( Colossians 1 : 13 ) by the power of Satan as he blinds their eyes so that they cannot see the light of the gospel ( 2nd Corinthians 4 : 3-4 ).  He is the deceiver of the whole world as it is currently under his sway ( 1st John  5 : 19 ).

Satan uses windows of opportunity to steal, kill and destroy ( John  10 : 10 ).  He approaches God in order to make accusations against us ( Revelation 12 : 10 ).  His original temptation caused Adam and Eve to doubt God’s word. He is bold enough to afflict righteous Job ( Job 1 : 9 – 12 ), ask to sift Peter ( Luke 22 : 31 ), torment Paul ( 2nd Corinthians 12 : 7 ), and tempt Jesus Himself ( Luke 4 : 1, 13 ).

Knowing this, do you think Satan is intimidated to engage you in battle? Are you aware of his schemes in your life?

In the Book of Revelation, Satan’s demise is promised.  Read the description in Revelation 12 : 7 – 12  and see if you can tell that Satan’s actions are and what is his end?

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

 

How does Satan try to deceive people today?

What might Satan use to accuse you before God?

What two things are given to us to be able to conquer him ( v. 11) ?

In your time of prayer today, thank Jesus for His blood that silences the accusations of the deceiver.  Your testimony of God’s grace in your life sends the enemy packing!

When Satan reminds you of what you have done, remind him of what Christ has done.  Spend time thanking Jesus for salvation and praying against the enemy’s lying, scheming, deceiving ways in your life and the lives of those around you.  Pray for discernment to see how he is attacking you and for the courage to stand firm in your faith.

Are You On Satan’s Radar?

 

In yesterday’s devotional, we identified the real enemy.  We know about Satan.  Here’s a question for you though, Does Satan know about you?  Are you even on Satan’s radar?

Read Acts 19 : 11 – 1711 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.  13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.  14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.  15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?  16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.  17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

In this passage, God was doing amazing things through the hands of Paul.  Some traveling Jewish ministers were also attempting to exorcise demons from people.

When they tried to use the name of Jesus in their ministry, what did the demon say to them?

  What does this imply?

What did the demon do to them?

What does this passage teach us about winning spiritual battles?

The demons obviously knew about Jesus, but they were also fully aware of a missionary named Paul.  He had done enough to their kingdom to get their attention.

 

But these seven sons of Sceva?  They weren’t even on the radar.  No memos were posted about their lives.  No concerns about their power.

 

They attempted to use the name of Jesus to perform miracles, but the evil spirit knew they did not belong to Christ.  Without His power on their side, there was no hope that their ministry would succeed.

 

It begs the question: Do the forces of hell know me by name?

 

What are you doing to push back against Satan’s forces?

Are you acting on your own strength or relying on the authority of Christ?

Spend time in prayer today, asking God to empower you in spiritual battles.  Ask Him to keep your eyes alert to the enemy around you, and give you power and boldness so that you can stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.

Ephesians 6 : 11 - Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

The Armor of God

 

To be able to fight well in spiritual warfare, we must rely on the teachings of Scripture and on the One who lives in us who is greater than the one who is in the world.

Paul teaches us that to fight spiritual battles, we must put on the armor of God.

Read Ephesians 6 : 10 – 17 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Why do we put on the armor of God (v. 11) ?

What are we at war with ( v. 12 )?

Keep in mind that putting on the armor of God is not a battlefield technique, but a preparation technique.  Paul urges believers to take on the full armor of God to be prepared for the day of battle.  Then we will be able to stand strong.  Don’t wait until the battle is raging to gird yourself with the protection of the armor of God.

Let’s look at this armor in more detail.  There are six pieces of armor named in verses 14 – 17:

Belt of Truth

Breastplate of Righteousness

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

Shield of Faith

Helmet of Salvation

Sword of the Spirit

What are these pieces supposed to look like in your life?

Which piece of armor are you using the most right now? Is there a weak place in your armor that you need the Lord to strengthen?

Following the list of armor, Paul adds an essential element to our success in spiritual warfare.

Read Ephesians 6 : 18 – 2018 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We are commanded to pray throughout the entire battle.  What does Paul mean when he says to pray “in the Spirit?”

To pray in the Spirit is to be inspired, and led to pray by God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8 : 14 – 16  - 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God ) When we are right with the Lord and surrendered to Him, His Spirit will fill us and lead us to cry out to God and pray for specific things and to pray specific verses back to God.  Read Romans 8 : 26 – 27 – 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

What did Paul ask the people to pray for concerning him ( v. 19-20)?

After explaining how to put on the armor of God to prepare for the battle against the Enemy, Paul asked for prayers for boldness.  The same missionary who penned the words “ I am not ashamed of the gospel” ( Romans  1:16 ) still asked for others to pray for him so that he could share the gospel with others.  He was rallying prayer support so that he could fight against the schemes of the Devil in his life and in his ministry. 

If Paul asked for others to pray that for him, why wouldn’t we pray that for ourselves?  We all have shared prayer requests before, we pray for the sick, for jobs, for family, or for those who have lost a loved one.  These are all wonderful and needed topics of prayer.  How often do we ask people to pray for us that we would be bold in sharing the gospel?

Who in your life needs to hear the gospel?

Who can you ask to pray for you that you would be bold to share the gospel?

Ask them today.

Contacting prayer warriors to pray for you not only provides prayer support but also accountability.  Send out those messages and then pray that God will open a door for you to share with boldness.

Take Every Thought Captive

 

Begin today by reading 2nd Corinthians 10 : 3-5 – 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

What phrases or words grabbed your attention and why?

What do you think it means to take :every though captive to the obedience of Christ”?

Just like the spiritual battles we fight are unseen, some of our most difficult struggles are inside our own minds: pride, insecurity, lust, fear, distrust, doubt, worry.  Sometimes not even our family or closest friends know our deepest, most troubling thoughts.  Jesus always knows.

Read Hebrews 4 : 12 – 13 – 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

The Word of God is the tool to know if our heart is in line with His, to know if our thoughts are under His authority.  We cannot take up physical arms to fight spiritual battles. A gun or a knife can’t help us fight doubt or worry.  We must learn to fight these battles on our knees.  Through the weapons of prayer, we can demolish internal strongholds – lies Satan tells us to separate us from God’s truth.

What kinds of strongholds could Satan be attempting to establish in your life?

What kinds of strongholds could Satan be attempting to establish in the lives of those closest to you?

The struggles are real.  Instead of testing out all physical options, attempting frivolous arguments, or garnering all the professional help we can find, have we honestly prayed that the dominion of darkness would be thwarted?  Have we prayed for these strongholds to be broken down in the name of Jesus?  Remember, prayer is not our last line of defense, it’s our only line of defense.

Read James 4 : 7 - Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  According to this verse, what is the solution for spiritual victory over the Devil?

Finish your time today by praying for spiritual victories over these spiritual strongholds.  Submit to God in prayer and ask Him to take captive every thought so that you may be fully obedient to Him. Lift up the words of the final petition of Jesus’ model prayer:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6 : 13

Prayer Strategy Target

We will continue our Prayer Strategy Day today talking about a few other general requests that you can pray over any person regardless of where they are in their life.  Last week we hit:

 

General Request #1 : Pray that this person loves and obeys God.

General Request #2 : Pray that this person loves God’s Word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we will look at two more requests.

General Request #3 : Pray that this person will love and serve others.

Consider 1st Peter 4 : 8 – 11 – 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

“Above all, love each other deeply” (charity in these verses means love).  What a challenge.  It isn’t always easy, but what a payoff if we do.  We should be know by our love for one another.  So as you are praying, pray that this person would love and serve others. 

General Request #4 : Pray that this person will have faith instead of doubt.

When you pray, you should rest in the fact that God is not unaware, unable, uncaring, unwilling, or unlikely to answer.  That’s why He keeps prompting you to ask in faith.  Your heart can be right with God and with others, and yet your doubts during prayer can create roadblocks.

Peter, for example, unnecessarily denied Jesus three times. Sometimes we, too, might quietly deny God’s faithfulness, goodness, or ability in our hearts when we approach Him.  This lack of faith will clog up your prayer life.  You’ll quit wanting to come close to God if you don’t trust Him or believe He is good.

So when you are praying for others, pray that they would trust in God’s faithfulness.  That they would take Him at His word and believe that He understands their needs and is able to help.

Next week, on Day 5, we will look at the final two characteristics of what we can pray for others.