Thursday, May 26, 2011

Prayer Changes Everything

      One of my favorite verses has always been Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’  I guess you might even say it is my life verse because I return to it often and believe it as a promise for me. (I even have a cross stitched picture with this verse hanging on one of my walls to remind myself.)  Many times when I am alone with God in my quiet time, He will show me great and mighty things I didn't know.  These things may come from an impression as I pray, or something I write in my journal as I am waiting on Him, or a scripture that seems to stand out with meaning for the situation I am praying about, and always I have a sense of joy that He is fulfilling the promise of Jeremiah 33:3.
     I love to see answers to specific prayers such as we have seen in the past few days with our daughter-in-law, who is alive and home after a terrible automobile accident with only the loss of a finger!  My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude!  But what really gives me great joy is when God shows me the greater picture--not just the answer, but how He sees the situation--sometimes even how it all fits together in His plans and purposes, and how He will use it for good.  I see these as "the great and mighty things" that I didn't know.      
       Even though prayer has always been a major focus in my life--I have read many books on prayer, gone to conferences and camps with a focus on prayer, and been in many prayer groups--I seem to continue to need encouragement and reminders of how important it is to pray.  That's why I'm posting John Paul Jackson's monthly email newsletter.  I thought you might find it as encouraging as I do.

Prayer Changes Everything

May 2011
by John Paul Jackson

      My relationship with God changed dramatically in 1978. That was the year I started praying every day. I did so because my marriage was in trouble, my little business was in trouble, my job at a major corporation was in trouble and everything was going downhill. 
      You know what? I thought. If I'm going to get fired, I might as well get fired because I'm a raving Christian and not because I’m being a bum, like they think I am. So I started praying — not because I was passionate about prayer but because I really, really wanted to keep my head above water!

It is time to pray
      Prayer is so important. If you have read my partner letters or heard me speak recently, you know that I am concerned for the well-being of the United States. For three years, I have prophesied a “perfect storm” of dramatic events that will affect every nation on Earth. We have already seen many of these events take place, and unfortunately, this storm is far from over.
      Some of you have felt the effects of this storm, and others of you, by God’s grace, have not. But no matter the current state of your circumstances, I urge you to pray. Don’t wait until you have to pray, as I did. Don’t put off strengthening your dependency on God until your life is going downhill and you are desperate. Now is the time.

God the All-Sufficient One
       Something substantial happens in the spiritual realm when we acknowledge God as the All-Sufficient One who is capable of taking care of our every need. When we pray, we promote the spirit and make the mind subservient to the spirit. In other words, prayer helps us come into proper alignment.
       God is Spirit, and He is our Father. We can’t take a single breath without Him (Psalm 104:29), and everything we have comes from Him (1 Chronicles 29:14). As we begin to truly understand this, our prayer lives will transform radically because we will realize our dependence on Him. We pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18). We cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
      Most of us have a head knowledge of these truths, but we are still caught off guard when we realize that our Father genuinely does intend us to live care-free lives. He is the All-Sufficient One, and we are the ones He is all sufficient for.

God our Father
       As God’s children, we have the full, legitimate right to speak to Him as our Father, to make “all kinds” of requests. If we don't personalize prayer, we won’t get very far. After a while, we will just give up because we won't have the passion for it. It is very difficult to delight in something we don't long for. It is very difficult to desire something that doesn’t seem splendorous to us. We have to personalize prayer in order to have the passion.
       When we call upon His name and we understand the position that He has in our lives, our faith will increase, as well as our understanding that whatever we ask of Him, He will do. We can be confident of that: “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
       However, the reverse of that is also true. We will not see God answering prayer if we do not pray.
      So I want to urge each of you to pray. It is time to pull out the stops and become passionate about prayer. Speak to God on behalf of your people. Speak to God on behalf of the world. What burden has He put on your heart? Take it seriously, and pour it out in prayer before Him, remembering always that He is your Father and your words do not fall on deaf ears.

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