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Day 33 Prayer Covering

“Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other.” Exodus 17:12

As posted on Day 17 Do Not Delay, if we are going to intercede for others, we need to be sure that others are interceding for us. We need a prayer covering.

Mark Batterson says, “Intercession is spiritual warfare. It’s not for the faint and feeble. By definition, praying hard is hard. There will be times when our hearts are breaking because of a prayer burden. There will be seasons when the labor pains become intense because the Holy Spirit is birthing something new in us. And there will be times when we feel the enemy launching a frontal assault on our family or business or church. That’s when we need to stay on our knees and pray through.

“In Exodus 17, we find a blow-by-blow description of an ancient battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites. As long as Moses was lifting up his arms, the Israelites were gaining ground. But when Moses grew tired and lowered his arms, the Israelites lost ground. That’s when Aaron and Hur stood alongside Moses and lifted up his arms until sunset.

“Spiritual battles are fought the same way. The victory is won with knees bent in prayer and hands raised in worship to God. The enemy cannot be defeated any other way. No victory has ever been won apart from prayer and praise.”

There will be times and seasons in our lives when we no longer have the ability, strength, will, words or faith to pray ourselves. These are the times and seasons when we need a prayer partner or prayer circle to hold up our arms, just like Aaron and Hur did for Moses.

Moses most likely made the headlines the day after the Israelites defeated the Amalekites. But in the grand scheme of God’s story, we must look for the footnote behind every headline. The footnote is prayer. And the true kingdom heroes are the Aarons and the Hurs.

Batterson states, “Prayer is the pen that writes history. Don’t worry about making headlines; focus on the footnotes. And if you focus on the footnotes, God will write the headlines.

If you intercede for others, make sure others are interceding for you. -Mark Batterson

Who is your Aaron and your Hur?

Prayerfully, Paige

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Day 30 Abide in Me

“If my words abide in you…” John 15:7

Have you ever read the Bible cover to cover? It’s a tough commitment but one that I highly recommend. I recently did this in a class format called The Bible in 90 Days and cannot say enough great things about it. You will not finish the last words written in the book of Revelation an unchanged person! For more information, visit biblein90days.org.

Mark Batterson even stresses the importance of getting into God’s Word in today’s devotion, “One of the surest ways to get into the presence of God is to get into the Word of God. If we get into God’s Word, God’s Word will get into us. It will radically change the way we think, the way we live, the way we love. But it requires more than a casual reading. In fact, the Bible wasn’t meant to be read. It was meant to be memorized and meditated on. It was meant to be prayed and practiced. We have to abide in the Word of God and let the Word of God abide in us.”

I remember reading through the Bible and many times wondering why so many words were repeated until I realized that they were important words we must pay special attention to; words not to be forgotten. One of them being the word abide, which is repeated no less than eight times in John 15. John 15:7 states, ‘If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.’

Abide in this context means to stay, to hold fast, to stand still, to be moved, and to tarry. This represents continual action; something we do for the rest of our lives. The more we do, the closer we get to God. And the way to do this is to abide in His Word.

To stay – sometimes we need to stay in God’s presence a little longer like Jesus did the night before His crucifixion. The more we are in His presence, the more He can use us because He can trust us the most.

To hold fast – Our most effective defense is the Word of God just as Jesus used it when He was tempted by Satan. Abiding in His Word is the way we hold our ground.

To stand still – Exodus 14:13 says, Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.’ When we face problems or situations we cannot solve or change, we may feel like panicking, but that is the time we need to stand still and wait on God.

To be moved – New passions are conceived in us when the Word of God gets in our spirit. We cannot abide in God’s Word and not be moved into action. Inaction is no longer an option.

To tarry – Just like the disciples tarried in the upper room for 10 days, we must tarry in His Word. We can’t do something for God if we aren’t with God. The best way to get into His presence is to get into His Word.

Batterson recommends, “Wherever you read the pronoun you, insert your name. It will help you take what you read more literally, more personally. It will also remind you that your life is a unique translation of Scripture. If people like what they read in your life, they might just want to pick up the Book that inspired your translation!”

Reading without meditating is like eating without digesting. -Mark Batterson

Are you in His Word?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 29 A New Prayer

“Sing to the LORD a new song.” Psalm 96:1

We all have routines that we follow as a necessary and important part of life, such as taking showers and brushing our teeth. And while routines are necessary and important, some routines become bad routines if we don’t change them. As Mark Batterson writes in Draw the Circle, “One of the great dangers we face spiritually is learning how and forgetting why. Call if familiarization. Call it habituation. Call it routinization. Call it whatever you want, but when we learn how and forget why, we start going through the motions spiritually.

“Six times the psalmist tells us to sing a new song. Evidently God gets tired of old songs. He doesn’t want you to worship Him with just your memory; He wants you to worship Him with your imagination as well. Love isn’t repetitive; love is creative. As love grows, you need new lyrics and new melodies. You need a new song to express new dimensions of love.

“Jesus warns us, ‘When you pray (Matthew 6:7-8), don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!’

It’s easy to pray the prayers we know and are familiar with, followed by an amen. But like the psalmist states, we need to sing a new song and pray a new prayer. “If we’re not careful, we pray without thinking – and that is just as destructive as thinking without praying.” says Batterson.

As mentioned in post “Day 26 Game with Minutes,” try a new prayer posture or a new time of day to pray. Pray out loud or start a prayer journal. Kneel when you pray or start a prayer walk. Change your routine, do something different, and pray a new prayer!

If you want God to do something new, you cannot keep doing the same old thing. -Mark Batterson

How will you change your prayers today?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 28 Quit Praying

“We’ll done good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23

Have you ever wondered why some of our prayers aren’t answered? I wonder if it’s because God won’t do for us what we can do for ourselves? God is honored when we ask Him to do things that only He can do. That way He gets all of the glory!

“There comes a moment when praying becomes a form of spiritual procrastination. It’s time to stop praying and start acting.” says Mark Batterson in his 40 day prayer challenge, in Draw the Circle.

“Quit praying about the program and fill out an application. Quit praying for the friend you hurt and make a phone call. Don’t just complain to God about your coworker; circle them in prayer. Don’t just pray for missionaries; write a check.

“We are called to pray about everything, but there comes a time when praying can be a form of disobedience, laziness, or negligence. We can’t just pray like it depends on God; we also must work like it depends on us. At some point we have to quit praying and start acting.

“Christianity was always intended to be a verb – more specifically, an action verb. The title of the book of Acts says it all, doesn’t it? It’s not the book of Ideas or Words. It’s the book of Acts. And if we said less and did more, I believe we would have the same kind of impact the first-century church had.

“When we talk to God, God will talk back to us. He will provoke us, rouse us, stir us, goad us, and prompt us. When we say ‘amen,’ inaction is no longer an option.

“When everything is said and done, God will not say, ‘Well said, good and faithful servant.’ He won’t say, ‘Well thought,’ ‘well planned,’ or even ‘well prayed.’ There is only one commendation He will give: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”

Don’t just pray about it; do something about it. -Mark Batterson

There have been several times in my life when I’ve had to quit praying and start acting. what a blessing to see God at work in the midst of my action and God to be given all the glory!

What do you need to quit praying and start doing something about?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 27 Double Circle

Have you ever fasted for something? Perhaps fasting during Lent is something you traditionally do each year. But fasting doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be reserved only for the Lenten season.

Mark Batterson encourages us, in Draw the Circle, “There are times when circling something in prayer isn’t enough. We need to double-circle it with prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21 tells us that certain miracles only happen in response to prayer and fasting. And fasting will take us further into the presence of God than praying. We still need patience and endurance, but fasting has a way of fast-tracking our prayer life like a hyperbolic chamber that speeds healing or a hyperlink that gets us someplace with one click. Fasting is hyperprayer.”

There are lots of different types of fasts: a Daniel fast consisting of fruits and vegetables, a fast lasting from sunrise to sundown, a complete food fast done over a short period of time, or a media fast like TV or Facebook. Whatever type of fast we choose, we need to establish a timeframe and an objective. For example, we can fast for deliverance from the yoke of bondage, discernment in an important decision, God’s favor, dedication to God (a new year, new job, new business, or financial, relational, or emotional breakthrough), or simply to seek God’s heart.

Fasting provides willpower; a way to crave God more than you crave whatever you are fasting. Fasting breaks down our pride, our bondages, and our will. It helps break bad habits and build good habits. It is the way we break down our spiritual calluses and regain sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

Batterson says, “I’m more and more convinced that the answer to every prayer is more of the Holy Spirit. Need more power? Then you need more of the Holy Spirit. Need more wisdom? Then you need more of the Holy Spirit. Need more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control? Then you need more of the Holy Spirit.

“We need to be filled with more of the Holy Spirit, but we have to empty ourselves first. And one of the best ways to empty ourselves is through fasting. If you double-circle things with prayer and fasting, don’t be surprised if you receive a double-blessing!

If you want to break the sin habit, you’ve got to establish a prayer habit. -Mark Batterson

Is there something you’ve been praying for that you need to start fasting for?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 26 Game with Minutes

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

If you are a book reader and haven’t read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, put it on your reading list as it’s a great one! So great that each time I am reminded of it, I pull my copy out and read it again!

Mark Batterson reminds us of Brother Lawrence in today’s devotion: “On January 30, 1930, Frank Laubach began a prayer experiment he called ‘the game with minutes.’ He was dissatisfied with his lack of intimacy with God and decided to do something about it. One of the inspirations for Laubach’s experiment was Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk whose singular purpose in life was to live in the presence of God. For Brother Lawrence, this didn’t mean retreating from the routine of life; it meant redeeming every routine and turning it into prayer. For decades, Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen of his Carmelite Monastery, washing dishes and preparing meals, but he turned his chores into prayers. After many years of practicing the presence of God, prayer became a way of life. In the words of Brother Lawrence, ‘The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.’

Laubach launched an experiment to see if he could have contact with God at every waking moment. He began to pray for everyone he encountered which turned his routine life into a daily adventure.

Batterson encourages us to “pray for the people you are meeting with, prior to walking into the meeting. Ask God for favor, discernment, and grace. Then when you leave, pray blessing on them. A prayer of blessings isn’t just something for pastors to pronounce over congregations at the end of services. It’s your right and responsibility to pronounce blessings over everyone in your life – from your children to your colleagues to your customers, and everyone in between.

“The key to praying without ceasing is to turn everything into prayer. It usually starts with big things like problems and dreams. Then it graduates to little things like chores and routines. And eventually, your entire life becomes a continuous prayer. Every thought. Every action. Every moment.”

Can you imagine only talking to your spouse or child once a week? Sometimes once a week is all the time we give God. And if that’s true then there is no way we can have an intimate relationship with Him.

“God is only a prayer away. The shortest distance between you and Him is the distance between your knees and the floor. But you don’t have to hit your knees or bow your head or fold your hands to be heard. Prayer isn’t something we do with our eyes closed; prayer is something we do with our eyes wide open. Prayer isn’t a sentence that begins with ‘Dear Jesus’ and ends with ‘Amen.’ In fact, the best prayers don’t even involve words at all. The best prayer is a well-lived life, day in and day out.”

Like Laubach, try turning your prayer life into a game. Try a new prayer posture (kneeling, walking, palms up, or eyes open), praying at different times of the day, creating a prayer list or starting a prayer journal. If you want to see a difference in your life, do something different.

Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. -Mark Batterson

What new prayer posture, prayer time or place to pray will you try today?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 25 A Prophetic Voice

“I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets. Numbers 11:29

I attended a Chris Tomlin/Kari Jobe concert tonight. Three and a half hours of amazing music and worship, but what filled my spirit more than anything else was a young boy behind me, most likely around 10 years old, who knew the words to every song (in Spanish and in English). And he sang each one with such conviction, and delight that I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face!

Mark Batterson says in his book, Draw the Circle, “Prayer isn’t just the way we cultivate our own potential; prayer is the way we recognize potential in others. Like Paul who saw gifts in Timothy that Timothy couldn’t see in himself, we, through prayer, are enabled to see through prophetic eyes. We are given supernatural insight. Then we are prepared to speak with prophetic boldness into the lives God has positioned in our path.

“The more we grow in grace, the more prophetic we become. According to 1 Corinthians 14:3, a prophet speaks words of comfort and encouragement as prompted by the Holy Spirit. And prophets come in all sizes and shapes. The more we pray, the more prophetic we will become.

“You’re a prophet at work and a prophet at home. And your words have the potential to change lives by helping people discover their identity and destiny in Jesus Christ. You don’t have to influence thousands of lives to make a difference. Maybe you’re called to influence one person who will influence thousands. The fruit of their life is your reward.”

I believe that God uses people to speak the right words at the right time so that He gets all the glory. Just like the little boy who sang in my ear tonight!

Prayer is the way we recognize potential in others. -Mark Batterson

Are you cultivating your own potential, or recognizing potential in others?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 24 Find Your Voice

“The word of the LORD came to me.” Jeremiah 1:4

Mark Batterson writes about our unique “voiceprint” in Draw the Circle stating, “All of us have a unique voiceprint, not just physically but spiritually as well. God wants to speak through you differently than through anyone else. Your life is a unique translation of Scripture. It doesn’t matter what you do – politician, preacher, entertainer, homemaker, teacher, musician, lawyer, or doctor. You are called to be a prophetic voice to the people God places in your life. But the key to discovering your prophetic voice is cultivating a prophetic ear. If you want to find your voice, you need to hear the voice of God.

“We live in a culture in which everybody wants to be heard, but many people have nothing to say. Don’t worry about building a platform. If you listen to God, people will listen to you. Why? Because you’ll have something to say! And God will give you a platform to speak from. So how do we hear the voice of God?

“The first thing to do is open your Bible. When you open your Bible, God opens His mouth. The surest way to get a word from the Lord is by getting into God’s Word. God will speak to you. Then God will speak through you.

“In the process, make sure you have no unconfessed sin in your life. Sin doesn’t just harden the heart; it also hardens our hearing. In fact, it makes us turn a deaf ear to God because we don’t want to hear the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. But if you aren’t willing to listen to the convicting voice of the Spirit, you won’t hear His comforting voice, forgiving voice, or merciful voice either. Sin creates relational distance, and distance makes it harder to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. But if you get close to God, you won’t miss a thing He says. And if you incline your ear to God, God will incline His ear to you.”

The more we spend time with God, the more we will recognize His voice. I don’t want to miss out, do you?

If you want to find your voice, you need to hear the voice of God. -Mark Batterson

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 22 Prayer Fleece

“I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor.” Judges 6:37

You may have heard someone use the term ‘putting out a fleece’ in reference to making a decision. This term comes from an event in the life of Gideon where he wants to know what to do, so he “tests” God by placing a wool fleece on the ground and asking God to give him a sign with it (Judges 6).

Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle devotion states, “There are moments when we need to turn our desires, ideas, and dreams into prayer fleeces. Now, we have to be very careful when it comes to putting fleeces before the Lord. Generally speaking, signs don’t precede our steps of faith; signs follow. But there are occasions when it’s OK to ask God for confirmation because of our uncertainty. I don’t think we should do it often, and we shouldn’t approach it in a haphazard manner that amounts to nothing more than picking petals off a daisy, saying, ‘She loves me; she loves me not.’

“So here are a few cautions when it comes to fleeces. First, if God has already answered our question in Scripture, then you don’t need to even ask it. Don’t seek revelation when God has already given it. Second, check your motives to make sure they aren’t selfish. The fleece must come out of a genuine desire to honor God and do His will. Third, you have to be willing to accept whatever answer you receive without second-guessing it.”

I’m sure Gideon was filled with insecurity when the angel spoke over his shoulder telling him to rescue Israel. But God reassured him with: “I’ll be with you.” I’ll be with you is all we need to know isn’t it? “If we could come to grips with two fundamental truths, they would transform our lives; God is with us and God is for us. That is all you ever need to know.” says Batterson.

Maybe we’ve been asking the wrong people for answers (a boss, spouse, friend, sibling or colleague) and simply need to ask God instead. Seek God instead of answers and the answers will seek you.

When God gives a vision, He always makes provision. -Mark Batterson

What are you asking God for today?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 21 Set Your Foot

“I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on.” Joshua 1:3

I remember when I first told my kids about The Circle Maker and circling things and people in prayer. I know they thought that there was something magical about it (since they started asking me to circle all kinds of things in prayer!) but there isn’t anything magical about physically circling something in prayer, only Biblical (i.e., when the Israelites followed God’s orders and circled the city of Jericho until the wall came down). It isn’t a magic trick to get what you want from God. You should want what you get from Him (and if you don’t, you won’t be drawing prayer circles, you’ll be walking in circles).

Circling something in prayer simply means “praying until God answers.” It’s being determined to pray as long as it takes (ALAT – see post Day 17) and remembering that if we stop praying, we could give up just short of a miracle (see post Day 18). “Drawing prayer circles starts with discerning what God wants, what God wills. And until His sovereign will becomes your sanctified wish, your prayer life will be unplugged from its power supply. And getting what you want isn’t the goal; the goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles, and dreams He wants for you.” says Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle.

Having no idea how God would break down the walls, the Israelites obeyed God’s commands and circled Jericho over and over again. As Batterson states, “They circled the promise thirteen times over seven days! Why? Because even though they didn’t know how God would deliver on the promise, they knew that God would come through somehow, someway! And God didn’t just show up; He showed off His power.”

God is not a genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish. -Mark Batterson

Below is an excerpt from The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson to provide you a sense of the Jericho March –

The first glimpse of Jericho was both awe-inspiring and frightening. While wandering in the wilderness for forty years, the Israelites had never seen anything approximating the skyline of Jericho. The closer they got, the smaller they felt. They finally understood why the generation before them felt like grasshoppers and failed to enter the Promised Land because of fear.

A six-foot-wide lower wall and fifty-foot-high upper wall encircled the ancient metropolis. The mud-brick walls were so thick and tall that the twelve-acre city appeared to be an impregnable fortress. It seemed like God had promised something impossible, and His battle plan seemed nonsensical: ‘Your entire army is to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day you are to march around the city seven times.’

Every soldier in the army had to have wondered why. Why not use a battering ram? Why not scale the walls? Why not cut off the water supply or shoot flaming arrows over the walls? Instead, God told the Israelite army to silently circle the city. And He promised, after they circled thirteen times over seven days, the wall would fall.

The first time around, the soldiers must have felt a little foolish. But with each circle, their stride grew longer and stronger. With each circle, a holy confidence was building pressure inside their souls. By the seventh day, their faith was ready to pop. They arose before dawn and started circling at six o’clock in the morning. At three miles per hour, each mile-and-a-half march around the city took a half hour. By nine o-clock, they began their final lap. In keeping with God’s command, they hadn’t said a word in six days. They just silently circled a promise. Then the priests sounded their horns, and a simultaneous shout followed. Six hundred thousand Israelites raised a holy roar that registered on the Richter scale, and the wall came tumbling down.

After seven days of circling Jericho, God delivered on a four-hundred-year-old promise. He proved, once again, that His promises don’t have expiration dates. And Jericho stands, and falls, as a testament to this simple truth: If you keep circling the promise, God will ultimately deliver on it.

I pray that you will keep circling your Jericho and that God knocks down the wall, giving you every square inch of the promise, miracle, or dream He wants for you!

Prayerfully, Paige

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