Tag Archives: Effective prayer

Sparrow Song Ministries Interview

Below is a video I taped with a dear friend of mine, Karla Akins. She has an online ministry called Sparrow Song Ministries and she wanted to interview me about my book, The A.S.K. Principle. Many of you may remember the post series I did on this book back in the early part of 2018. We got together after several tries and this is the result. It was posted on her web site just last week. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Lead a Quiet and Peaceable Life

1 Timothy 2:2

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Have you ever wondered why there is such turmoil in our country recently? We have seen mass school shootings increase many fold. People are blaming different things for this. Some say we need more gun control, yet in the cities with the highest gun violence they also have the strictest gun control laws. Others say it is a result of the mental health system in our country and want to spend money to fix that. Still others blame the parents of the children and even adults that are doing these things, saying there is trauma that is unresolved in their lives. We simply cannot agree, so no solutions are found.

There is the cry of the LGBTQ community. Many say they should be normalized in every area of our society and given the same rights as any other citizen, including marriage, pastoring a church, and being boy and girls scout leaders. Others say it is clearly a sin according to the Bible. Christians should not be made to bend their beliefs to serve their needs or incorporate them into society. Some states make laws that you cannot even counsel a person with thoughts about these varying lifestyles because of the trauma it will cause. Others say we must counsel them on the dangers of some of these lifestyles. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There is the climate change community. They say we are rapidly destroying this earth by our human consumption, putting dangerous gases into the atmosphere that will eventually warm it up to the place that the polar ice caps will melt completely and weather will be more dynamic than ever before. Others say climate change has been going on since the beginning of time and climate will continue to change in cycles. It has nothing to do with human interference. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There is the thought that police target people of race more than whites. Those who believe this say this is the reason there are a higher percentage of blacks and Hispanics in prison per capital than white people. They say police will go after a person of color for no reason and provoke them to act wrong, then take it out on them all the way up to the point of killing them. The other side says perhaps it is because those communities carry out a higher percentage of crime per capita than other races and that they tend to defy authority, which causes a problem when police try to arrest them. Race relations go down the tubes steadily. We simply cannot agree, so no solution is found.

There are many more issues: abortion, immigration, terrorism, cyber security and more that fall into the same problem area. There are two sides to the story and we just cannot come to the place of agreement. The congressional approval rate was 20% in January of 2019. 62% believe our news is biased. The President’s approval rating is 45%. We don’t trust anyone in public office to look out for the needs of the greater population, and we don’t trust the media to truthfully tell us what is going on. Is it any wonder our lives are not peaceful and quiet. Why is it like this?

I would proposed to you that it is the churches fault. It is not the fault of the politicians, the media or the president. It is not the fault of your state and local governments. It is not the fault of the school board or the county superintendents. It is my fault. It is my pastors fault. It is my church boards fault. It is my denominations fault. It is the fault of the Christian church. Yet this fault can be corrected.

We have for too long criticized, made fun of, put down, degraded and laughed at what goes on in politics and the media instead of taking up prayer for them. We have exhibited our pride, thinking we can do better than them when we know nothing about why decisions are made the way they are made. We have deluded ourselves into thinking an election will change things. There is only one way we can change what is going on in this country, and that way is prayer.

I included verse 1 here because it completes the thought of verse 2 and it is worth looking at again. We are to make supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks for kings and all that are in authority. We cannot separate these two verses. Supplications should be given when an urgent bill is before our congress and they are making decisions. Prayer should be given when they are mulling over legislation in a committee. Intercession should be made when they face accusations such as our president is facing right now. Giving of thanks should be made regularly for those who are giving their lives in public service.

This doesn’t just apply to your party and your ideals. Paul says to all men (we can include women here as well). To all that are in authority (both sides of the aisle and from every state). For our President, who would be king in this context. Not just in our country, but around the world. All is an all-inclusive word and we have no right to leave anyone out.

Many of you know the formula for revival but I will review it here. According to 2 Corinthians 7:14, we must first humble ourselves. This is our biggest stumbling block in the church. We want to criticize and all those other things listed above. But none of those things come from a humble heart. They come from a prideful heart. Before the church does anything else, if they want to see true revival, we must humble ourselves. This comes before we pray, before we seek God, and even before we repent. That is how important it is. Yet we come to God with our head high and our scripture verses saying God must do this or that because He says if we ask He will do it. We come telling God what to do instead of beseeching Him on our hands and knees, knowing we are not at all worthy to receive an answer. Humble ourselves and think about everybody else and not ourselves. We have not gotten this first step right and that is why this country and this world is in such disarray.

Next we must pray. Pray with all our heart, desiring God’s will not ours. Pray, supplicate, make intercession every day for all men. Our ongoing prayer is effective as James 5:16 tells us. Then we must seek His face. Not seek our own way. Not seek what our party line wants to do. Seek Him, Jesus Christ. Be in His word regularly, seeking His wisdom and guidance in your prayers and supplications. Then we must repent. Individually we must repent. We must repent for our nation and it’s evil ways. We must stand in the gap. Do this and God promises He will hear our prayer, forgive our sins and heal our land. I do a much better job of breaking down this scripture and the concept of prayer in my book called “The Ask Principle”. I pray you have picked up a copy from Amazon.

What is that biggest prayer that is needed for those in authority? That they would know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. That every one of them would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and turn their lives over to Him. That they would study the scripture on the decisions before them and follow God’s will in every decision. If this would happen, we would not only be living quiet and peaceable lives, but we would see revival spread across this country faster than a wildfire in a field of grain.

It’s time church. Don’t take the wrong path any longer. Do what you are called to do and pray! We can make a difference!

For All Men

1 Timothy 2:1

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

I find it fascinating that Paul doesn’t just say pray for all men. Wouldn’t that suffice? Wouldn’t that be enough of a challenge all by itself? Many of us have a moderate prayer life (I am raising my hand) and have a tough enough time remembering who we are supposed to pray for day after day (I need to work on that). But here Paul exhorts us not only to pray for all men, put to give supplications, intercessions and the giving of thanks. He has just quadrupled our prayer life! What would happen if we all did that? This world would change, that’s what. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these things that Paul is exhorting us to do.

The word supplicate means to ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly.
Supplication comes from the Greek word deésis. It means to entreat, pray or supplicate for someone’s needs. When you look at the word’s origins it indicates this prayer or entreaty is for a need that is urgent and heart-felt. This is not a prayer that is done flippantly or just in passing. This is a prayer that denotes an immediate need, like money being supplied before the electricity is turned off or that a sudden intense pain would go away. These are things we typically pray for, but the word used here should give us a sense of urgency even more than normal.

How intense are we when we make supplication? I have to admit that many times when someone comes with an immediate need, I will say a quick prayer and consider it done. I have done my duty. I have prayed for my friend, or fellow worker, or whoever it is. But a supplication doesn’t stop after a simple prayer, or even a longer prayer. A supplication doesn’t stop until we have exhausted all words and are worn out from praying. We may start praying while standing, but we end up on our knees in tears as we weep before the Lord and present our supplication. I have had a few times of prayer likes this, but not near as many as I should have.

The word prayer here is the Greek word proseuché which literally means prayer or a place of prayer. This is the type of prayer we pray most often. We bring our requests to the Lord with words that flow from our lips. This can be a prayer in our human tongue of in our heavenly language. For those of you not familiar with this, Paul talks about the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14. He also mentions praying with “groanings that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Many believe this is the gift of tongues given to the people who were in the upper room in Acts 2. I suggest you research this for yourself if you are not familiar with it.

There are many ways we can pray. There are many styles of prayer. I have done a lot of research into prayer over the years and even wrote a book about prayer. It was a book 30 years in the making. It was a study I started in 1990 and finished when I was undergoing cancer treatment. I always knew it would be a book and God gave me the time to get it all together. He has a purpose for everything. If you are interested in seeing a glimpse about the book, I have started blogging a few excerpts from the book on https://theaskprinciple.com. You can also buy a copy of “The Ask Principle” on the site or from Amazon.

Intercessions is the Greek word enteuxis which means to stand between God and someone else and seek God’s will for them so they will “hit the mark.” Isn’t that what we want for those around us? We want them to find the will of God for their lives, or for their situation. Many times, we pray for the solution we want which may not be what God wants. I would have liked my cancer to disappear before treatment and many people prayed that way. But God had a better plan and the results were amazing. I am even considering a career change because of what God has done.

When we pray for a sick person, we typically pray they will get well quickly. Perhaps we would be better to pray that God gives then strength until He is ready to heal them. When we pray for our relatives to get saved, perhaps we should pray that God sends someone to them to show them the way to salvation. When we pray for someone to be delivered, perhaps we should pray that God will keep them safe until He is ready to deliver them. If there is one thing I have learned it’s that God has His own timetable. We need to pray that God’s will be done in every situation. Not our will, God’s will.

Then Paul mentions giving of thanks. Do you find it hard to be thankful? Do you find it hard to find ways to be thankful for those people around you? Thankfulness is one of the key ways we can be at peace in our lives. There is ALWAYS something to give thanks for. If it’s sunny, give thanks for the sun. If it’s raining, thank God for the rain. If it’s heavy snow and winter, thank God that He promised spring would come. If you’re sick, thank God that He is your healer. If you are stuck and feel alone, be thankful you are not at the bottom of a sewer with the rats. If you are in the bottom of the sewer with the rats, be thankful you can still think enough to be thankful.

One fond memory I have from my younger years comes from my mom’s office. She was a church secretary at the First Congregational Church in West Boylston, a grand old church right in the center of town. On the wall in her office was a plaque that read “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes but then I met a man who had no feet.” This saying has stuck with me all my years. There is always someone in worse shape than we are. We should be thankful.

And we should give thanks for those around us. Thanks for their health, for their families, for their jobs, for their cars for anything you can think of. So many people like to go around putting people down and backbiting others. What a world this would be if we were all thankful for the people around us. If we spent our energy thanking them for the little things they might have done instead of worrying about their not so pretty points, we could change their disposition. If enough people did this, a whole shift would take place in our society. We would see a thankful people all around us, and a smile from every face.

The four points mentioned above are to be done to all men. To all women. To all children. To everyone. Therefore, we have no right to be angry with someone because we are to pray for them. We have no right to look down on someone because we are thankful for them. We will not be bothered by the little quirks in someone’s life because we know how to intercede for them. Our own disposition will be so much gentler and kinder when we follow this simple approach Paul mentions to Timothy.

So often when someone wrongs us or lashes out at us, we take it personal and just get upset with them. We do not know what they have been through that day or what has caused them to feel like that. Then we take the short time they were with us and blow it out of proportion. If we would take time to pray with them or for them, and also give thanks for them in some way, we would see the world through a better light. Instead of being upset at what they said or did to us, we would be thrilled that our attitude was not affected by that word or deed. Instead we rose above it and helped them out at the same time. Do you see how life-changing this can be?

Practice prayer. Practice supplication. Practice intercession. Practice thanksgiving. Practice it with all men, with everyone. We can make a better world!