Thoughts on Prayer

July 4, 2017
Praying for Those in Authority

by Rick Renner

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour….
— 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Even if we don’t like the way things are going in our government, we must obey the apostle Paul’s exhortation in First Timothy 2:1-3 to pray for our governmental leaders. Before you dismiss Paul’s instructions to pray for those in authority as too simplistic, remember that he lived at a time of grossly immoral governmental leadership and that he ultimately was martyred by Nero — the very “king” he asked people to pray for! In First Timothy 2:1-3, Paul declared, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour….”

Paul gave us six prayer commands in these verses that God expects us to obey — regardless of who is calling the shots politically. In this passage of Scripture, he clearly defined guidelines for us to follow when we pray. Rather than rush to God with accusations, complaints, grumbling, protestations, and whining, we are to follow the positive approach in prayer Paul provided. He began by saying, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications….”

A Right Attitude
The word “supplications” is a translation of the Greek word deisis, which describes the attitude of one who beseeched a king. Access to a throne was a great privilege in the ancient world, so when an individual approached a king, he showed respect and gratitude for the privilege.

As Paul began to outline his instructions regarding how we should pray, he reminded us of the kind of attitude we ought to have when we draw near to God. Before we utter a single word in prayer, we must clearly understand in our hearts that we have been afforded a great privilege to access the throne room of God. Regardless of the thoughts swirling around in our minds or the complaints we may be harboring in our souls, we need to come into God’s presence with hearts of respect and gratitude. We certainly are not to enter His presence ready to unabashedly spew ugly, disrespectful, or slanderous words at Him as though it’s His fault that things aren’t going the way we wished they were going!

Therefore, the first thing we need to do when we prepare to pray for our government is get our attitudes right.

A Prayer of Personal Consecration
As Paul continued, he wrote, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers.…” The word “prayers” — the Greek word proseuche — literally means an exchange or a surrender and pictures a person who comes into the intimate presence of God to consecrate himself as a first matter of priority.

So Paul affirmed that our first responsibility as believers before we ever utter a request or a complaint regarding others — before we utter anything else at all — is to enter the presence of God and get our own attitudes and thoughts right before Him. Then with clear hearts we can receive His thoughts and know His ways in the place of prayer. When our own attitudes are corrected and realigned, it usually changes the way we pray concerning others, because our words reflect the Father’s heart instead of our own personal preference or opinions.

Everything must be surrendered to God and the power of His Spirit before anything else is spoken to Him in prayer.

A Prayer of Intercession for Others
Once a believer has dealt with his own wrong attitudes and his need of consecration, Paul wrote what to do next. He said, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions….”

The word “intercessions” is the Greek word huperentugchano, which means to appeal to God on behalf of someone else. Once you have dealt with your own attitude and consecrated yourself to the will of God, you are in a position to appeal to God about someone else.

Perhaps you sense the Holy Spirit’s leading to pray for someone who is unable to pray for himself, such as a novice believer who simply doesn’t know how to pray effectively, or for a government leader whose spiritual condition and unwise decisions are negatively affecting masses of people. In other words, you sense the Holy Spirit’s leading to assume an intercessory position and to focus your prayers toward a specific individual or situation. And if you have made sure your own heart is clear of clutter, you can pray for others in this way while remaining free from any selfish agenda or wrong attitude.

A Prayer of Thankfulness
Paul continued in his list of prayer guidelines by saying, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks….” According to this verse, you are also to give “thanks” while you are in God’s presence. This phrase “giving of thanks,” which is a form of the Greek word eucharistos, depicts an overflowing, grateful heart.

Let’s be honest — it’s difficult to be grateful and thankful when you are harboring a complaining attitude at the same time! God knows this. So He instructs you to allow thankfulness to flow from your heart, which will literally shift your “inner atmosphere” during your time of prayer.

So before you start griping about a political leader — or anyone else for that matter! — first take time to think of reasons you can be thankful regarding that person. This will change your tone and make you more effective in prayer. And rest assured — God will appreciate your change of attitude!

A Prayer for Everyone
Paul continued, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men….” The word “all” means we are not to show favoritism or to be picky about the people we pray for. Regardless of their spiritual status or political affiliation, we are to pray for “all men.” This is a good test, because if there is someone you think you can’t pray for, it probably indicates a problematic attitude inside you that needs to be consecrated to God. This is very important to understand, because your inability to pray for someone actually reveals a deep need for change in you.

A Prayer for Governmental Officials
Next, Paul said that we must pray for “for kings.” If anyone needed prayer, it was the unsaved kings who possessed lofty positions of power and authority in the First Century AD! But Paul broadened the scope of this divine command by saying that we are to pray for all who are “in authority.” The word “authority” used here is huperarche and depicts prominent governmental officials. Ponder that for a moment. That means we are to pray for all prominent governmental officials — even those whom we don’t care for at all! Paul told us the reason for all this praying is “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior….”

Most believers in New Testament times had no option to vote, so they did what they could do and followed Paul’s six prayer commands. I’m sure if they had been given the right to vote, they would have rushed to the polling booths to cast their votes. But the only vote they could cast was in prayer — so they prayed! Since their governmental leaders were entrenched in power and there was nothing they could do to change it, these early believers took their role in prayer very seriously. And ultimately the power of those prayers brought about change far greater than any election day could ever produce!

Remember — our democratic system allows us to vote, and we must exercise this cherished right. But once the election is over, we have to face the fact that the men and women who have been placed in positions of power are there because of the democratic system that elected them. They represent the choice of the people who put them there. If we are unsatisfied with the outcome, our opportunity is coming again a few years down the road to change the situation. Yet even so, our greatest effectiveness will be found as we enter God’s presence in the authority of Jesus’ name and fulfill these six prayer commands given by the Holy Spirit to the Church through the apostle Paul!
Moscow Good News Church
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I cherish the right to vote. It is a freedom that cost the lives of many. At the appointed time, I will exercise that privilege to make my voice heard via my voting ballot. However, I realize that I don’t have to wait for an upcoming election to cast my vote for righteousness. I take my place in prayer, in obedience to Your Word, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, and I pray with all manner of prayer and supplications. Seated together with Christ Jesus and by the authority of His name, I pray with confidence according to Your will, knowing that You hear me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!
Moscow Good News Church
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I exercise my rights on earth and in Heaven. I pray for those in offices of governmental authority as I exercise my authority in Christ through prayer. I operate according to the divine law of love, and I refrain from criticism and negative speech. Instead, I speak words in agreement with the will of God and the establishment of righteousness in my land.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Moscow Good News Church
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
Do you have the right to vote? If so, do you appreciate it? Do you actually vote, or are you among the millions of people who no longer go to the polls and just trust that everyone else will do the voting?
How often do you pray for those who are in authority? Often people feel free to criticize leaders, but they fail to pray for Which category do you fit into? If you are one who criticizes only, how will you change after reading today’s Sparkling Gem? Will you begin to pray for those who are in authority?
Without looking back at what you read today, can you recall the six prayer commands that Paul gave to us? Since these are commands, it would be good for you to memorize them so you can make them a regular part of your prayer life.

June 4, 2017 — Pentecost Sunday

When Peter taught masses of people gathered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:31-33), he gave them assurance that what David had prophesied centuries before had come to pass in Christ’s resurrection and ascension to heaven. Ever since Jesus sat down on the throne of highest honor in heaven, He has been interceding for us. In fact, Hebrews tells us that Jesus lives to pray for those who belong to God.

One of the most remarkable aspects of prayer is that when we pray for others, we are joining our Savior in His full-time, eternal vocation – making intercession for the saints. When you and another person run a marathon, serve together, or pray together, you grow closer to each other.  That’s what happens in our relationship with God:  this partnership in prayer can bring a deeper friendship and intimacy between us and Christ than we ever imagined possible.  Moreover, it is a profound mystery that when we pray, we are joining the Son who sits on the throne next to the Father in highest heaven. It is His life, His Spirit, within us that is praying as we live and move and have our being in Him.

Through the gift and vehicle of prayer, we are privileged to draw into ever closer union with Jesus as we experience His heart of compassion and love for others.  Prayer: “Heavenly Father, open my eyes to the great gift of joining Jesus Christ as He intercedes for all believers. Forgive me for taking for granted the access I have to the throne of grace. Grant me a fresh vision of the Savior, that I might more often and more earnestly enter into this gift of prayer.”

Around us is a world lost in sin, above us is a God willing and able to save; it is ours to build the bridge that links heaven and earth, and prayer is the mighty instrument that does the work. If we do our part, God will do His.  -E. M. Bounds

Excerpt from “Praying the Promises of God”, entitled At God’s Right Hand.

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FIVE DAILY PRAYERS:

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:1-16; NKJV)

According to a few commentators, some Jewish rabbis believe that this psalm was intended to be read in case of demonic attacks. I have embraced their insight and find myself turning to these words every time it feels like the enemy’s activity is increasing.

Pray this psalm over family members by name, over your home, and over church family.

The Peace of Jerusalem

We are scripturally commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). In fact, there is a promise that those who do so will be blessed and those who do not will be cursed. The Lord loves this important city and wants all of its inhabitants to be safe and blessed.

Power for Miracles and Souls

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8; NKJV)

This passage promises the power of the Holy Spirit. One day, it occurred to me that, since I long to see a new level of anointing as I minister, I should pray this verse daily.

The Prayer of Jabez

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” (I Chronicles 4:10; NKJV)

Years ago, after I read The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkerson, I decided to do my own study on this passage. At first, I had a bit of a hard time praying that God would bless me. It seemed rather self-serving and not very humble, but gradually, I realized that if I was blessed, then I could bless many other people.

The Power to Get Wealth

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18; NKJV)

I always believed that if I had wealth, then I would be able to help establish God’s covenant in the earth. But I had never systematically decreed to receive the power to get wealth.  Since this is a promise given to God’s people under the Abrahamic covenant, I realized I needed to claim it for my life.

These five prayers are not merely ritual or routine. They have become daily bread—God’s promises to sustain me through all times and seasons.  I encourage you to ask God for your own daily bread! What are the promises of God that you need to claim each and every day? You will be delighted at the new level of authority, favor, protection, and answers you will receive from Him as you faithfully decree His word over your life!

(Excerpted from Generals.org, by Cindy Jacobs)

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My Prayer for Next Year
Marshall Segal / December 27, 2016

Psalms 65:11 – You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.

What dreams do you have for the New Year? What do you wish would be different about you, your marriage, your family, your job, or your ministry?

Some of us may have been thinking about this since late last January when our shiny new resolutions had already grown stale and started to mold. Why do our good resolutions seem to go bad faster than a quart of milk and carton of eggs?
Far too many resolutions fail because we fail to pray. We set out with courage, ambition, and even some exhilaration. We might pray over our resolution(s) on that first day of January, like praying in the driveway before a long car ride. But before we’ve even made it out onto the highway of another year, we’ve already left prayer behind, and with it, the power needed to persevere in any new habit or pattern. Without prayer for God’s help, our most meaningful resolutions will either fade and fail altogether, or even worse, seem to succeed, but fail to say anything significant about God. Before you make any new resolutions, resolve to pray. If you don’t resolve to do anything else this year, resolve to pursue change and growth through prayer, and not through your own resolve.

Now into the third day of the New Year, I’m thinking less about what I will do differently, and more about all that God might do in me and through me. The changes I need most in my life — my devotional life, my marriage, my eating, my exercise, my ministry — can’t start or end with me, so I must pray.

My new prayer, over every other prayer for next year, is this:
Lord, teach me more about yourself than I already know, humble me again with all that I do not know, and make what I do know more alive and real in my heart and life.

Lord, help me see more of you than ever before.
Every new day, and every New Year, begins with the same prayer; “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). With the Spirit in us, and the infinite wonders of the very words of God himself before us, we never have any reason to be content with what we already know. Without a doubt, we should expect to see and understand things about God this year that we’ve never seen before.

We never stop praying that God might “give [us] the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of [our] hearts enlightened,” that we might know more of him — his hope, his wealth, his power (Ephesians 1:17–18).
Satan spends every second of every day lying to us about God (Revelation 12:9). We expose and defeat him with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17–18). Ask God to show you more of himself in his word this year than you’ve ever seen before.

Lord, reveal just how little I know of you.
Satan is so devious that he turns even our knowledge of God into a temptation to sin. Ignorance of God will always lead to evil, but even knowledge of God can become ungodly. We may know enough about God to be saved, but most of us also know plenty to become proud.

As the apostle Paul warns, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God” (1 Corinthians 8:1–3). It is tragic when the theology that should utterly humble us strangely causes us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3).

True theology — however refined, however developed, however articulate — sounds like worship:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him” (Psalm 8:3–4). As God shows you more of himself, ask him to help you to see just how little you know, and just how little you deserve to know what you do. Ask him to make you humble.

Lord, make what I do know of you more real in my heart.
From an early age, the world taught us to measure progress in all the wrong ways. We spent twenty or more years learning a little more math, or a little more history, or a little more science, and we measured ourselves year after year by test scores and final grades. But the Christian life is not simply a Systematic Theology course. Maturity is measured by a spiritual heart monitor, not a theological Scantron. By character, not head knowledge.
How do we turn what we know into true Christian growth? Through prayer. Prayer is the match that lights the kindling of knowledge we’ve gathered over time. Tim Keller writes, “Prayer turns theology into experience. Through it we sense his presence and receive his joy, his love, his peace and confidence, and thereby we are changed in attitude, behavior, and character. . . . Prayer is the way that all the things we believe in and that Christ has won for us actually become our strength. Prayer is the way that truth is worked into your heart to create new instincts, reflexes, and dispositions.” (Prayer, 80, 132).

Too often we have loved what we’ve learned about God more than God himself, and when we do, our lives remain essentially the same. We learn more and more, but never change. But if we never really change, have we really known God at all? Keller continues, drawing on John Calvin, “You may know a lot about God, but you don’t truly know God until the knowledge of what he has done for you in Jesus Christ has changed the fundamental structure of your heart” (78).
More of God, less of pride, and more like Christ. As the sun sets on another year, may the Son rise like never before on the horizon of our hearts.

Edited by: Jim Young,
President of Capitol Commission

Numbers 6:24-26 – The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

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“It is not the arithmetic of our prayers — how many they be;
nor the rhetoric of our prayers — how eloquent they be;
nor their geometry — how long they be;
nor their music — how sweet their voice may be;
nor their logic — how argumentative they be;
nor yet their method — how orderly they be;
nor even their divinity — how good their doctrine may be, which God cares for:
but it is the fervency of spirit which availeth much.”  (Bishop Joseph Hall, 1808)

Pray for Israel!  God has a plan, but our prayers do play a part in stopping the attacks of the enemy and calling forth God’s perfect will in every situation as we see things happening around the world.  God can expose any plans for harm toward Israel and nullify the strategy of the UN or anyone against Israel.

Pray for the members of the Trump Administration – that they would seek wisdom from God.  To pray for each member by name, go to www.GetOutThePrayer.com and see each member of the cabinet.  You can also join Capitol Hill prayer partners every night from midnight to 6 AM EST to read and proclaim the Word of God over our nation, following the instruction on the website mentioned above, a ministry of Intercessors for America.

Psalms 121 says, “I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection comes only from the Lord – our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.  He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall.  God is my Keeper, He will never forget or ignore me. He will never slumber nor sleep, He is the Guardian-God for His people, Israel.  Jehovah Himself will watch over you, He’s always at your side to shelter you safely in His presence.  He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night. He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity as He continually watches over you. You will be guarded by God Himself. You will be safe when you leave your home, and safely you will return. He will protect you now, and He’ll protect you forevermore!”

Persistent prayer changes things!  Keep on praying!  We don’t always see God’s Sovereign hand at work, but He is always working!  Keep trusting Him for amazing things and by your faith, call forth His will in your home, in your city, in this nation, around the world and all over the earth.

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