Archive for category Prayer

Don’t Focus on the Mountain – A Quote

There are two main principles I’ve picked up over the years as they pertain to cultivating the type of faith that moves mountains.  The first is this: Faith comes by looking at God, not at the mountain.

Some years ago a member of our church’s vocal team and I were invited by a Christian leader to go to southern India.  There we would join a ministry team of people from various parts of the United States.  We were told that God would use us to reach Muslims and Hindus and nonreligious people for Christ, and although we had no idea what to expect, we all felt called by God to go and consequently jumped at the opportunity.

When we arrived, the Indian leader met us and invited us to his home.  Over the next few days, he explained that his father, a dynamic leader and speaker, had started the mission in a Hindu-dominated area.  One day a Hindu leader came to his father and asked for prayer.  Eager to pray with him, and hoping he would lead him to Christ, he took his Hindu guest into a private room, knelt down with him, closed his eyes and began to pray.  While he was praying, the Hindu man reached into his robe, pulled out a knife and stabbed the man repeatedly.

My new friend, hearing his father’s screams, rushed inside to help him.  He held him in his arms as blood poured onto the floor of the hut.  Three days later his father died.  On his deathbed the father said to his son, “Please tell that man that he is forgiven.  Care for your mother, son, and carry on this ministry.  Do whatever it takes to point people toward faith in Christ.”

With more courage and faith than most people could dream of mustering, this man complied with his father’s wishes.  For over twenty years, he has been working with unwavering passion and intensity, starting more than one hundred churches and a medical clinic, along with many other kinds of ministries.

Every spring he rents a huge park, sets up a stage and a makeshift sound system, puts together some lights with bare wire and holds evangelistic meetings for a week.  He advertises with posters and through loudspeaker announcements all around town, and as a result people come by the thousands and sit on the ground in front of the stage, men on one side and women and children on the other.

The evening meetings start at six o’clock.  For about half an hour, they listen to recorded instrumental music, followed by a couple of special musical numbers.  Then comes the warm-up sermon.  Instructional, practical and relevant to everyday life, its simple objective is to show the listeners that Christianity makes sense.

At eight o’clock there are two more musical numbers, followed by the main message.  It is always centered on the person of Jesus Christ – who he was, what he did, how he died, how his death pays the price for sin and how his resurrection gives power to people who put their trust in him.

From nine until nine-thirty, listeners – whether Hindu, Muslim or nonreligious – are invited to put their faith in Christ.  They are asked to come forward to receive forgiveness, cleansing and eternal life and then are challenged to abandon whatever other god or religious system they brought with them to the meeting and to put their faith solely in Jesus.

–Bill Hybels, from Too Busy Not to Pray

In His Presence: Northpoint Prayer February 8, 2012

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – Matthew 6:10

Here’s the rub!  The God of heaven and earth opens His arms to all who do His will, but we His creation stand in opposition to Him and insist on only what we want.  Warm fellowship with the Father, power for life and ministry, an infinite supply of all that is good and needed, along with God’s perfect answer to all our prayers is available, if we pursue His purposes and submit to His will.  This is impossible for us but doable through Christ.  His death on the cross gives us fellowship with the Father and the indwelling of His Spirit.  Praise His name!

World Concerns:

Ask God to superintend in the changes taking place in Myanmar (Burma).  The ministry of the Gospel lies ministry deep in the history of this nation of 55 million, which is now experiencing some loosening in its authoritarian rule.  Ask God to bring a revival of Gospel ministry and to create circumstances conducive to the spread of His Word and the growth of His Church.  He is mighty to save.

National Issues:

Lord, let revival come to our land.  Let the rebellion be uprooted and thrown into the fire.  Let the life of Jesus Christ be allowed to flourish in the homes, in the schools, in the churches, in the public offices, on public lands, on private lands, let every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

- From the Prayer Wall of the Presidential Prayer Team

Missionary Matters:

Rey and Karen Cedillo are EFCA Hispanic Church Planters in San Diego County.  Ask for boldness in spreading the Gospel to the Hispanic community of Southern California.  Pray that they will wield the “weapons of our warfare” in the power of the Holy Spirit, so they will see a mighty harvest.  Pray for physical strength and personal encouragement to sustain them in ministry for years to come and for a new generation of leaders to be raised up.

Northpoint Ministry:

  • Worship Pastor – Keep on praying for our search for a worship pastor.  Ask God to lead our congregation to worship Him in spirit and in truth, not just in good feelings, so our worship truly honors Him and transforms us.
  • Adult Discipleship Groups – There has been a consistent effort to incorporate prayer into these gatherings.  Ask God to make prayer increase and grow deeper into our lives and into the body life of Northpoint.
  • Ministry Events – Ask God to accomplish His purpose in the Men’s and Women’s Prayer Teams, Men of the Word and Women of the Word, our ESL ministry, the Women’s Retreat, Dr. Keith Phillips in World Impact, and our Congregational Meetings.

A Pattern of Prayer – A Quote

Suppose one day you decide you need to up the ante on your physical fitness.  You get off the couch, hop in your car and head to a nearby health club to check things out.  When you walk in the door, you are greeted by a staff member who agrees to walk you from station to station, showing you each piece of state-of-the-art equipment.  At the end of the orientation he asks if you’re ready to set up a fitness plan – a thought that makes you a little queasy.

Seeing your hesitation, the staff member tries to explain his rationale further: “You need a routine in order to work every muscle group properly and consistently as well as to keep track of how many repetitions you complete at which weight and chart your progress over time.  Basically it’s the only way to avoid becoming unbalanced.”

Playing around is one thing; following an established regimen is quite another.  It’s true with exercise equipment and it is true with prayer.  But I get ahead of myself.

Looking around the fitness center, you see lack of balance running amok.  A behemoth with bulging deltoids walks out of the free wight area.  Still wearing his back belt, he tries to take a few laps around the track but stumbles and gasps in hopeless resignation.  Another guy glides effortlessly around the track.  Eyeing him, you figure he’s doing seven-minute miles without an ounce of strain registering on his face.  But from his scrawny upper body appearance, you would venture a guess that his wife has to open the pickle jars and lug in the logs to stock the fireplace.

Health club instructors know that without a carefully structured plan we’re all likely to become unbalanced.  That’s because we all tend to do what we enjoy and ignore the difficult or distasteful or untried.

–Bill Hybels from “Too Busy Not to Pray”

In His Presence: Northpoint Prayer January 9, 2012

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name – Matthew 6:9

Oh to know God for who He truly is!  The word “hallowed” reminds us that the One we pray to is utterly unlike us.  He is divine, we are human.  He the Creator, we the creation.  His is moral perfection, ours total depravity.  We depend entirely on all He provides constantly.

Prayer begins the journey of coming to know this holy God.  In the process, we find our rightful place in relation to Him, child to Father.

World Concerns:

Pray for Mexico, our neighbors to the south.  Ask God to make His Church strong and to enable them to lay a spiritual foundation for national stability and growth.  Pray that God will raise up sound, godly leadership in all levels of government, so the Mexican people can “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” to further the spread of the Gospel.

National Issues:

Ask God to arrest the spiritual decline of the United States and to deliver us from the temptation of using our freedom, which He gave us, to disobey Him.  Ask God to revive the Church in America and use us to restore our nation to the path of His righteousness.

Missionary Matters:

Rick and Brenda Eisemann, E3 Partners (Equip, Evangelize, Establish): Ask God to make the Gospel “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” as they coordinate outreach in Ethiopia.  Pray for their ministry to produce mature believers, who in turn make disciples of others.

Northpoint Ministry:

  • Worship Pastor: Don’t grow weary in praying for the process of filling this last key position on our pastoral staff.
  • John Sloan: Praise God for bringing him to lead our body.  Pray earnestly for effective ministry and spiritual protection for John and his family.
  • Missions and Outreach: Keep all of Northpoint’s outreach efforts in prayer.  Ask God to give us a heart for making disciples of Jesus Christ, both locally and worldwide.  It is the reason we are here.
  • Ministry Events: Ask God to accomplish His purpose in our Men’s and Women’s Prayer time, Men of the Word and Women of the Word, and ESL.

In His Presence: Northpoint Prayer January 4, 2012

Our Father in heaven… Matthew 6:9

First and foremost, prayer is about our relationship with God the Father.  He has authority over us, so we owe Him obedience; infinite love, so we know He seeks our good.  We fear Him as our Judge but run to Him as our Provider.  His power can accomplish anything, but in wisdom He does only what is best.  Our perfect Father gives the best gifts, not just to make us happy but to make us like Himself.  The Creator and sustainer of the universe is an affectionate “Dad” who desires us to spend time with Him.  That’s why we pray.

World Concerns:

Commit 2012 into the hands of the God who rules over all the affairs of men on earth.  Ask Him to advance His kingdom in every continent on earth and to protect and empower His Church, so that we bring Him glory in all things.  Ask that Christ be lifted up to draw all people to Himself.

National Issues:

Ask God to use us, Northpoint and His Church in America, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Let our nation trust Him in a troubled economy, look to Him to lead us in an election year, value Him above all things, obey Him at all times, and follow His will and wisdom as our only good.

Missionary Matters:

Ask God to open the eyes of the lost in the community around Cross City Church in Ohio.  Pray that He will use Scott and Ken to build a missional community, with leaders equipped to reach the lost and disciple new believers.  Pray for a growing, Godly, unified community that honors God in all things.  Pray for spiritual protection.

Northpoint Ministry:

  • Worship: Pray for leadership to worship God in spirit and truth.
  • Office staff and Ministry support: Praise God for their excellence and how they make our ministries effective.  Ask Him to empower their work, protect their homes, and shine in their lives.
  • Nursery: Ask God to protect the youngest at Northpoint, provide for their loving care, and prepare their hearts to receive Him as Lord.
  • Ministry events: Ask God to accomplish His purpose in the men’s and women’s prayer gatherings, Men of the Word, Women of the Word, and the winter youth retreats.

In His Presence: Northpoint Prayer

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land – Psalm 85:8-9

The Prince of Peace gives peace to His people.  The One who silenced the storm and calmed the sea with a word, will do the same in the hearts of those who fear Him, who humbly follow His will and trust in His grace.  Humble your hearts before Him to prepare for His coming.

World Concerns

Pray for the Church in China.  A thriving body of believers operates “below the radar” of the rest of society, most of whom have no concept of their existence, or even that of Christ.  Yet the hope of this nation of over 1.2 billion people depends on the faith and faithfulness of this miraculous believing band.

Ask God to grant His people supernatural strength.

National Issues

Ask God to give His people a voice to speak to this generation at this time in America’s history.  Pray that we will deliver the whole counsel of God’s Word to a culture that has become deaf to His voice.  Ask that our message resonate with the eternal relevance of His Truth, and be effective to capture souls and bring them from darkness to eternal light.

Missionary Matters

Pray for the ministry of World Impact, Los Angeles headquarters.  Ask God to use them as they bring Christ’s Truth and love to the inner city.  Ask God to direct them as they mobilize people of all ages and nationalities to be involved with God’s work in our urban communities.

Northpoint Ministry

  • Worship Pastor Search: Keep praying for God’s guidance and provision for this key pastoral position
  • Marti Wiegman: Ask God to continue to bless her in excellence in ministry and use her to equip women to live like Christ
  • High School Ministry: Ask God to make His truth clear to our teens, so they love Christ and live according to His will
  • Ministry Events: Ask God to accomplish His purpose in our Men’s and Women’s Prayer Gatherings, Winter Youth Retreats, the New Year’s Ruckus, Men of the Word and Women of the Word, and the Christmas concerts

Reflections on Advent

Kids and the holidays go together.  The crisp air of fall conjures up memories of my sister and me tittering with excitement at bedtime.  “Can you wait ’til Christmas?”  “No!  I can’t!”  “Me neither!”  The Sears Catalogue (our “Wish Book”) inspired multiple revisions of our gift lists that we prepared for our parents.  Spritz cookie dough squeezed out of the cookie press as we “helped” mom make cookies shaped like trees, camels, stars, and angels.  Cookies, fudge, and brownies loaded plates ready to take to Aunt Helen’s house.  Oranges and nuts filled stockings.  Grown-up hands guided little hands putting ornaments on trees and paper around packages.  Two curly heads poked themselves into every preparation.  Four dreamy eyes gazed at everything that set this season apart, getting ready for that big day.  To this day, the giggles of bright-eyed kids in PJs with feet in them (I think “feetsie pajamas” is the technical term) best capture the anticipation of the weeks waiting for Christmas to arrive.

That’s what these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about – anticipation and preparation.  We are getting ready for the Advent – the arrival of Christ.  This is a period when we look forward by looking back and use the past to guide our preparations for the future.

Just like kids at Christmas, we long for a big day to arrive.  Sure celebrations around the tree are a highlight.  I can’t wait to imbibe the strains of the Christmas concert.  No doubt you’re looking forward to a day or two off and extra quality time with family and friends.  Celebration nourishes our souls just like a turkey or ham fills our stomachs.  But multiple Christmases have taught us that the special moments pass and the daily grind returns all too quickly.  We’re looking for a better day – a celebration that doesn’t end.  We’re looking for Jesus to come and stay.

And if we spend hours preparing for that fleeting celebration, we need to commit our lives to preparing for the eternal one.  That’s the heart of Advent.  Using the big day in December to inspire our preparation for the endless day yet to come.

“For this reason you be ready too, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” – Matthew 24:44

“Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” – 1 John 3:3

Some day the King in the manger will come back.  We get ready for that day by honoring Him as king with grateful obedience.  We look forward to presenting Him with the gift of our purified hearts.

Our hope is fixed and certain.  How do we know?  By looking back.  Our hope rests in a God who has demonstrated His faithfulness by acting in history.  The God who IS (that’s what His name, Jehovah, means) shows us what He is like by what He does in our world and in our lives.

He demonstrated His faithfulness to Abraham by giving him a son – a miracle child.  He let us see His power by humbling Egypt’s mighty 18th dynasty at the hand of the eighty-year-old Moses.  He showed how he keeps His promises by giving Israel the Promised Land.  He acted as the perfect Father throughout Israel’s sordid history, all the while laying down promises of Someone to come.  Someone who would set things right.

And His people waited, anticipating that great day.  Through the ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs of life in a sinful world, they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah – the Christ.  Though their expectation dragged on for centuries, they were confident because of what God had done in the past.  The day seemed like it would never come, but it did.  It came quietly, but the birth of Christ forever changed the world.

So now, we wait.  Joyfully we prepare for Christmas.  Enjoy!  Wrap the presents.  Trim the tree.  Tell the stories.  Ready the feast.  Savor the moments.  But as you prepare to celebrate the past, remember to get ready for the future.  Jesus came to us once, and He promised He will come again.  We live between those two Advents, celebrating the incarnation – the babe in the manger – and preparing for the second coming – the return of our King.

Dave Dussault – Prayer Ministries Director

In His Presence: Sunday Morning Prayer

According to the riches of his glory, may God grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God – Ephesians 3:16-19

World Concerns

Ask God to strengthen His church in Nigeria, where a radical Muslim sect is killing Christians and pro-Western Nigerians, in an attempt to impose sharia law.  Pray for the protection and unity of God’s people, so that Christian love will stand out in contrast to the hate they are experiencing.

National Matters

Pray for Christian influences to increase among the major organs of our society: federal, state and local governments, the media, our educational systems, and business.  Ask God to make us bold, so we will stand out distinctly for Christ, in contrast the practices of those who are without Christ.

Northpoint Ministry

  • Worship Pastor Search: May God lead us to the man who will lead us in worship
  • Mark Kiker: Pray for sensitivity to the mind, heart, and will of Christ, as he chairs the Board of Elders
  • AWANA: Ask God to establish young people in the truth of His Word and to transform their lives through it.
  • Carranza: Pray that the Spirit of God will work mightily in and through our people and the people of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church this weekend.
  • Ministry Events: Ask God to accomplish His purpose in… the men’s and women’s prayer groups; the Tuba city outreach; Men of the Word and Women of the Word; the ESL ministry.

Missionary Matters

Bruce and Susan Camp, with DualReach, are promoting missionary efforts throughout the world and equipping churches in “all nations” to make disciples of “all nations.”  Pray for the mighty spread of God’s mighty Gospel.

Jesus’ Prayer Principles – a Quote

Hearing the disciples’ plea, Jesus seized a teachable moment.  This is what he said:

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men….  When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.  This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  (Matthew 6:5-13)

No other passage in Scripture reveals in such straightforward fashion how to pray:

  • Pray regularly – Jesus said, “When you pray…,” not “If you pray…”
  • Pray privately – God is not impressed by public displays of piety.
  • Pray sincerely – God is not interested in formulas.  He wants to hear what is on our hearts.
  • Pray specifically – Take the prayer we call the Lord’s Prayer as a model.

And the best news of all is that the advice Jesus offered his disciples two thousand years ago applies to all of us still today.

Choosing What God Wants

As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill – Psalm 2:6

Whatever the outcome, any election is a cause for great thanksgiving.  Elections are a time of change, sometimes drastic change.  Yet, election after election, our nation enjoys constant stability amid continuous revolution.  As Christians, we have the added confidence that every result of every vote occurs under the sovereign superintendence of our Lord.  Add to this the incredible privilege we have of placing our own leaders into office.  The democracy we enjoy as Americans is of inestimable value.  What a gift!

Every gift God gives us, though, is a potential idol.  As fallen creatures, we are ever prone to worship and serve the gift and forget the Giver.  As we pray for God’s hand to reign in the affairs of our nation, our hope and confidence shift to earthly institutions, which we seek to preserve at all costs.  We limit God to the confines of our meager understanding.  Our prayers become prescriptions for the Almighty and our motives self-serving.  “Good” comes to mean the success of our agenda, and failure means we just haven’t prayed enough.  We crave a tame God, whom we can train to jump through our hoops.

Praying for our leaders is God’s idea, and we are wise to follow His plan and purpose.  Paul helps give shape to how we pray for our leaders.

First of all, then, I urge , that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings, and for all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth… Therefore I want men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. – 1 Timothy 2:1-5, 8

Paul’s prescription is simple but intense: pray earnestly and in a variety of ways for those who wield authority.  We are to offer entreaties (requests based on urgent need), prayers (requests addressed specifically to God), petitions (requests expressed in a close, devoted relationship), and thanksgiving (gratitude for God’s blessings) regarding those who lead us.

How rarely we lift our leaders to the Lord!  In America, it’s so easy to complain about our leaders, and complaint easily turns to ridicule.  Yet we have the daily opportunity – really, it’s a command – to hold our leaders up in prayer.  How many wayward politicians wage political war on God, unopposed by the prayers of the saints?  How many Godly leaders battle on God’s behalf, without the earnest prayers of His people?

The American Christian has the privilege of entering the ballot box to have a say in who will lead our land.  But so much more than that, we have the staggering opportunity to enter the throne room of heaven and pray for divine influence over the lives of our rulers.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. – Proverbs 21:1

The purpose for our prayer, as Paul expresses it, is so we can live quiet, godly lives.  Once again, though, there’s a temptation.  This quiet, peaceful life is not an end in itself but the means to an end.  It’s not for our enjoyment but so God can use us to save a people to himself.  When we pray, we dare not ask with wrong motives, just to consume God’s blessings for ourselves (see James 4:3).  God blesses us so others will enjoy the gift of eternal salvation, and come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:4).

This election season, be in prayer.  But don’t stop praying on November 8.  In prayer, pursue God’s will in and through the lives of our elected leaders on a regular basis.  Align your prayers with the purpose of the King of Kings and your influence will be eternal.

  • Pray often and fervently for Christ to revive His Church and renew us in a faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16)
  • Ask God to renew the culture of the United States to strive for righteousness as it is defined in His Word.  Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34)
  • Ask God to raise up strong, committed, Christian men to lead our nation at all levels, starting in the home, extending to the oval office, and at all levels in between.  When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan (Proverbs 29:2)
  • Pray that God will make you a ready student of the Bible, a willing witness through the Gospel, and a regular pray-er, who seeks and finds God’s power and provision through time in God’s presence.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (james 5:16)

Also, you can click here for a good guide to praying for America’s leaders.

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