How God brings prayer focus from the Word.
This time of isolation has changed us in many ways. Have you noticed how much more we’ve been on devices these days? Of course, many of us HAVE to be, as our jobs moved to being digital. But many more of us have just turned to Netflix or Amazon Prime movies to fill the void. I am not any different, even though my job (which has always been from home) keeps me online as well.
But the other thing that God has done in my heart is moved me to more of a time of prayer – looking for ways I can encourage other saints to join in with prayer. In that vein, I started a 5 week online Zoom prayer meeting twice a week in the mornings for my church. Granted few of us showed up, but it has been a wonderful time for me personally.
I would like to share just a few of the things God has shown me through these prayer times, that I have shared with our prayer team.
Prayer focus: 2 Chron. 7:14
“… if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
We know that we have a power through prayer that the world does not know or understand. But we also know that we must first let the Spirit search our own hearts for any sin that might hamper our prayers.
As you step into your prayer closets today, I urge you to open wide your hearts before the Lord, let Him search and refine, be quick to hear and repent. Let us be the vessel of hope and healing to a world that is deeply broken and wounded. Let us put aside all wrath and jealousy, anger and hatred. We KNOW that love is the greatest weapon we have for a lost generation. Let us beseech the Lord on how He wants us to use our prayers to release the Love and Hope and Mercy of God to those who are longing for all of these things.
Prayer focus: Phil. 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:4-9
I have talked with so many in these past few days that are struggling with anxiety. The virus, then the isolation, then the social unrest and violence has left them without emotional “margin” in their lives… (think of writing all the way to the edge of the paper, with no margin to make notes or changes to make the writing better – there is no extra space – no margin.)
The Lord brought me to Phil 4 this morning, especially verses 4-9. What a sweet gift today!
1.) The very first thing that God encourages us with in the midst of anxiety? REJOICE!
And it’s not a hope they can rejoice, it is actually a command. God NEVER tells us to do something that He doesn’t enable us to do. So even in the midst of fear and anxiety, we ARE ABLE to rejoice. We can CHOOSE to rejoice. What a lovely release that is. To step outside of ourselves, so to speak, to focus on God and His abundant blessings, to rejoice in Him: in His goodness and mercy and love and grace. It helps to silence those anxious thoughts, if only for a moment.
2.) The next thing that came up in prayer was verse 5: “Let your gentle spirit be known to all”.
That word translated here gentle spirit carries with it elements of forbearance and reasonableness. Boy, the Holy Spirit smacked me over the head as He searched my heart as to whether my attitude of forbearance, sweet reasonableness, gentleness was what people saw when they looked at me. That’s one of the treasures I find in prayer – the Spirit doesn’t let me stay where I am, but uses the scriptures to push me “further up and further in” to the heart and mind of Jesus.
3.) The last thing the Lord impressed was the REMINDER that the Lord is near!!
That word has the connotation of being physically near as well as being near in time. He is physically close to us and the time of His return is close to us. Scripture tells us when 2 or more are gathered in His name, He IS in their midst! What an encouragement this was this morning. Whether the time of His return is in the months to come or still millenium away, He is near! All of these things, when we follow the encouragement in verse 8 and meditate on these true, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable things… our anxiety is set aside – even for a moment. Our hearts are lifted to the divine connection with the Lord and we can pray with open hearts as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
May our days be filled with rest and health and a deeper transformation into the image of Jesus! You are a treasure to me, each and every one of you, as you each embrace the power of this ministry of prayer.
Scripture reminder in today’s prayer: Rev. 2:1-5
This morning the Lord didn’t impress any specific verse on my heart beforehand, but God centered our prayer time on the church. The TRUE church, not the VISIBLE church. The messages my pastor has been bringing this past month has been on Reset – and we prayed that these would truly help us seek the Lord for a rest of our hearts and our lives.
Last night I sat outside and was listening to Pandora radio and a song came on that I had heard when I was just a baby Christian. Immediately a flood of memories and emotions poured over me from those early days: the tremendous passion and zeal of my first love for Jesus. I’ve grown in 44 years, but it is so easy to fall into the patterns of the mundane of life.
In prayer this morning, the Lord brought all this back, in relation to this passage from Revelations. And our prayer turned to asking the Lord, as He reset our hearts and lives, that He would bring that HEAVY reminder of our first love of Jesus. That we would not allow the mundane to define us or our faith; but that we would remember and let the excitement of that first love stir us spiritually to live vibrantly with the Lord TODAY.
Prayer for you all today:
Lord, I lift up the church right now, right here, online. And I ask that we would let Your word teach us to pray. Help us see how to pray through the scriptures You lead us to each day: that we would see how Your word is to train and guide our lives, not just fill our heads. Father, make us a people VITALLY in love with You, allowing Your Spirit to examine us and taking our anxiety to You in hope, trust, and joy! In Jesus’ name.