Prayer with Praise

I had the privilege of going with my dad last weekend to a church in which he ministers on a regular basis.  On the rare occasions that I do go with him, I always find the people very warm and welcoming.  The presence of the Lord is always experienced, and we usually find humor in some situation to enjoy.

As my dad preached, he began discussing the frequency in which God’s people often forget to praise God during prayer.  “You need to offer something sweet,” my father said referring to praise.  Instead of simply asking God to do this or do that, we need to praise Him for who He is and thank Him for the past prayers that He has answered.

Praise in Battle

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Most of us are familiar with the story of King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah in 2 Chronicles 20.  The people of Judah were facing some deadly enemies.  Immediately, the people sought the Lord, which is always the first step that should be taken in any crisis.  People began to hear from the Lord, and the consensus was that God would deliver them as He had before.

King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go in the front line of the battle, singing, “Praise the Lord for His mercy endures forever.”  Their enemies became confused and began slaughtering each other rather than the people of Judah.  After all was said and done in the battle, the people of Judah took spoils from their enemies.

The Results of Our Praise

When you and I offer praises to God, even when it is the last thing we wish to do, we will find that our situations are not as big as they seem.  We will find that our spiritual enemies flee because they become confused.  We will find that we are taking spiritual spoils from our enemies

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According to Isaiah 43:19, the Lord does new things.  He makes a way where there seems to be none.  The entire chapter of Isaiah 43 is filled with reasons to praise God.  Throughout the chapter, God promises to bring His people victory over their enemies.  Most of all, He declares His love for us.  He vows that He has blotted out our sins and transgressions.  He is holy and cannot allow sin in His presence, yet, He redeems us from our sin through Jesus Christ and calls us righteous in his sight

 

What Will You Offer?

Although it is perfectly fine to offer your petitions and requests before God in prayer, it is vital to remember to offer something sweet.  Do not simply use prayer as a “give me, give me” session.  God is so much more than our personal genie.  Use your prayer time to give honor and praise to God.  Use scripture when you are not sure of what to say.  The Psalms and many passages in Isaiah offer many words of praise and worship.

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Jesus gave us an example of how to pray in what we know as the Lord’s prayer.  The model prayer begins with praise then goes into various petitions then ends with an acknowledgement of who God is.  Certainly, we do not want to become legalistic in our prayers, but we do want to take time to offer praise to our God.  He is worthy!

A Call to Prayer

The subject of prayer is one that has been widely explored in Christian circles, yet no one could ever say too much on the subject.  Prayer is how we speak to the Lord.  There are varying types of prayers such as prayers of praise, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.  It can be the highlight of our day, or, sadly, it can become a mundane, repetitious act that we perform out of obligation.  It is sad to say that, with many people, it often becomes the latter rather than the former.

The Purpose of Prayer

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Certainly, no one could say specifically why God has ordained prayer in the manner that He has.  Yes, He wants a relationship with us, and, of course, prayer draws us closer to Him through Jesus Christ.  However, there is a mystery to prayer.  In Daniel 10:12, we are told that Daniel’s prayer was heard the first time he made his petition, but some type of war in the heavenly places delayed his answer.

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah desperately desired children.  She poured out her heart to God, and her request was granted.  It would also be interesting to note that the priest thought she was drunk.

In the New Testament, Jesus had some things to say on the subject.  He gave His disciples instruction as to prayer.  A pattern was given, yet, He warned them to avoid vain repetition.  Jesus was not saying we could not repeat prayer requests because He told the parable of the unjust judge and the widow.  The widow persisted in her request for the judge to relieve her of her adversary.  The judge finally granted her request because of her persistence.

Prayer Is Spiritual Warfare

Persistent and strategic prayers are a part of our spiritual warfare.  After Paul explained each part of the armor of God, he concluded his discourse by making a reference to prayer.  Although we do not totally understand it, prayer moves the heart of God.  Prayer changes circumstances.  Prayer makes the impossible possible.

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Of course, we can not take any credit.  The glory belongs to the Lord.  He established this way of communication for which I am completely thankful.  Although God is sovereign, He gives us choice.  We must choose to participate in our relationship with Him.

Back to Prayer

When God’s people pray, mountains are moved.  Nations are spared of judgment.  People are saved, delivered, and healed.  There was a time when people prayed for long periods of time, not caring who heard them.  While I am not saying that you have to pray for a certain amount of time, I do believe we need to sacrifice time to pray for our nation, our world, our leaders, and each other.  Sometimes, it means spending less time on another activity.  Whatever the cost, we must be willing to spend time in prayer.  Jesus did, and He is our example.

 

If you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you can have it today.  Romans 10:9-10 (MEV) states the following:  “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth is made unto salvation.”

On Guard

Throughout the Bible, we are instructed to be on guard, or, to guard various area of our lives.  Our hearts and minds are also to be guarded. If God’s word tells us not once, but several times, to be on guard, then it is important that we pay attention.

Guard Your Heart

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Proverbs 4:23 (CSB) states the following:  “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”  The word guard comes from the Hebrew word natsar meaning to observe, keep close, or serve as a watchman.  The only way to successfully guard your heart (spiritually speaking), which is said to be the source of life, is through checking everything that tries to enter.

At important events, particularly those involving government officials, a security guard is often posted at the entrance to check the guests for identification.  It is vital that the guards know who is entering the building because someone who wants to bring harm to a government official could be entering.

It is the same way with your heart.  As tedious as it may seem, you must check everything that comes to your mind because it will eventually make its way to your heart.  The thought must be identified by being lined up with what God’s word has to say about it.  If what is about to enter does not line up, it must be turned away.

Guard Your Mind

In order for the aforementioned security guard to prevent someone from harming a government official, the potential perpetrator must be stopped from entering the building.  Once he has entered, it is more difficult to stop him from doing harm.  It can be done, but often it is not without a cost.

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If you want to keep poison from entering your heart, you must guard what enters your mind.  Of course, you must set an extra guard at the door of your heart, but, if you watch what enters your mind first, entrance to your heart is highly unlikely.  Philippians 4:7 states that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.

The key word is peace. If I am listening to the Holy Spirit, I will not have peace about something that is harmful. Neither will  you.  If a thought lines up with the word of God, peace will follow.  The peace God gives is not like anything else.  This peace will warn or confirm ahead of time before it is too late.  This type of peace does not make sense to others.  The only way to have the peace that guards is to sit at the feet of Jesus, so to speak, through prayer and study of the Word.  If you have no intimate relationship with Him, there is no true peace.

Guarding your heart and mind is just the beginning.  We have to guard our words, our relationships, and so much more.  This is a job for the Holy Spirit.  He is the look-out, but we must keep our focus on Jesus so we can know when we need to pay heed to a warning, or proceed on the path.

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I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for God’s ways that direct and guide.  If we listen, they will keep us from unnecessary trials.

 

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, there is no time like the present.  Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.

Will You Stand in the Gap?

I love my country.  The United States has always been my home, therefore, I have great patriotic feelings toward this land.  The United States of America is a blessed nation.  God’s hand has been on her from her beginning.  I am afraid that God will eventually allow our nation to reap the fruit of her deeds.

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What is troubling is the sight of our nation going further down the slope of immorality.  The immorality that I am speaking of is not the building of a wall.  My intention is not to demean anyone because that is not of God, but there comes a time when the truth must be spoken.  It is my intention to speak the truth with as much love and humility as possible.

For many years, immorality has slowly taken over our nation.  I will not list all of the nation’s sins in this post except one.  There is one that is becoming more blatant and celebrated, and that is the killing of innocent babies. When such an atrocity is disguised as a woman’s right, I feel such sadness in my spirit.

The Gap

America needs a turn around.  I realize that the latest abortion ruling took place in the State of New York, but the responsibility falls on us as a nation.  Since Roe v. Wade in the 1970’s, people have been desensitized by the enemy of our souls to the sanctity of human life.   Like any other sin that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus, the act of aborting human babies has become more blatant and celebrated.  Although I feel anger and sadness over this issue, hating the culprits will not solve the problem.

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In Ezekiel 22:30, the Lord was looking for someone to stand in the gap for another straying nation.  What is meant by standing in the gap?  Intercession through prayer is how we can stand in the gap for our nation.  There are cases in the Bible in which the prayers of God’s people changed the most dire of circumstances.

Of course, standing in the gap might also include speaking the truth in love at certain times.  I am not saying that you must get a picket sign and go scream at someone, but I am asking you to seek the Lord about ways you can stand up for the rights of unborn children.  If your actions are led by the Holy Spirit, you will not be wrong.  Fast, pray, and then take the action that the Lord might be leading.  It could be writing a letter, sending an email, or making a telephone call to any one of the parties who can bring change.  On a more challenging level, the Lord might be calling someone to adopt a baby, or help a single mother who is struggling.

Will You Stand?

I am challenging you to spend time praying for our nation and leaders.  The individual states have certain rights, but these states are still part of one nation.  When babies are being killed, and now can be killed up to birth, it is time for everyone to get involved.  These are our children.  They are the future!  If Jesus Christ does not return, life will go on even after you and I are gone.  We need young people!  We can not afford to write off the lives of our unborn babies as if they are nothing.

Pray for change to come to this situation.  Pray for repentance and revival to rise up in our land. God cares about these unborn babies.  He knows each of them, and He has not forgotten them.  Proverbs 6:17 speaks against the shedding of innocent blood.  Jeremiah 1:5 proves that God has a plan for every life that is put into a womb.

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Certainly, I do not have all the answers to the problem, but I know God does.  I also know that this type of post is unusual for this blog, but I have to speak someway.  I want to do all I can to stand in the gap for our nation and for the unborn.  Will you stand in the gap too?