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Archive for the tag “prayer”

Day 40 Prayer Alphabet

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

Have you ever prayed with someone who prayed with such familiarity and authority with God that it made you feel like you barely knew God? I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt every time they heard Jesus pray? I wonder if that’s why they asked him to teach them to pray? They clearly didn’t ask Jesus to teach them to preach, lead, or even disciple. The only asked him to teach them to pray.

Based on my own experiences through prayer, I concur with Mark Batterson when he states, “If we change the way we pray, everything changes. It changes the way we work, the way we parent, the way we lead. It changes the way we prioritize and strategize. It changes the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we speak. Prayer changes everything from the inside out.

“The word prayer often induces feelings of guilt simply because we don’t do enough of it or because we feel inept when we don’t know what to say. For the record, I’ve never met anyone who felt that they pray too much or too effectively! All of us fall short. But instead of feelings of guilt, the thought of prayer should induce unbridled excitement because nothing is more potent than kneeling before God Almighty.

“While my prayer batting average is no better than anyone else’s, I’m determined to get back into the batter’s box because I can’t get a hit if I don’t take a swing. And if I swing enough times, I’ll hit a few homers and accumulate a lot of RBIs. So quit worrying about striking out, and swing for the fences!

“Don’t beat yourself up over past failures or present struggles. Simply do what the disciples did. Ask Jesus to help you, to teach you. Let their simple request become your modus operandi: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’

“It doesn’t matter how much you know. Do you have a teachable heart? Are you hungry to learn? Are you open to change? Wisdom is knowing how much you don’t know. So you have to start there and ask God to teach you.”

Have you ever gotten to a point where you were praying the same words over and over? Or maybe your worship time felt small or cliched? The lyrics on the screens were like greeting cards? When this happens, we start saying words that someone else wrote but never expressing love to God in our own words. This kind of relationship with God isn’t enough. We must find new ways to worship; our own words to sing. God wants to hear our voices, our words, and our praise.

Batterson writes about, “the story about the grandfather who walked by his granddaughter’s bedroom one night and overheard her praying the alphabet, literally. ‘Dear God, a, b, c, d, e, f, g.’ She prayed all the way to ‘z’ and said, ‘Amen.’ The grandfather said, ‘Sweetie, why were you praying that way?’ The granddaughter replied, ‘I didn’t know what to say so I figured I’d let God put the letters together however He saw fit.’

“Sometimes I feel that way too. I have no idea what to say when I pray. And that’s OK. The first objective of prayer is prayer about what to pray about. Prayer isn’t about outlining our agenda to God; it’s about getting into God’s presence and getting God’s agenda for us.

“If you don’t know where to start, or if you get stuck, go back to the Bible. Start reading, and God will start speaking. That’s when you need to stop reading and start praying. Words, phrases, or verses will jump off the page and into your spirit. You need to circle them in prayer. And don’t be in such a hurry to get through the Bible that you don’t get the Bible through you.

“Prayer is the difference between appointments and divine appointments. Prayer is the difference between good ideas and God-ideas. Prayer is the difference between the favor of God and the luck of the draw. Prayer is the difference between possible and impossible.

Prayer is the different between the best we can do and the best God can do. -Mark Batterson

Begin where you are!

Prayerfully, Paige

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Day 39 Holy Ground

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

I just watched the first episode of “The Bible” mini-series today. How perfect God’s timing is, yet again, to see Moses’ life-story and then be reminded of it in today’s devotion from Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle

“Tending sheep.

“Can you imagine a more monotonous existence? And Moses did it for forty years. He must have felt that God had put him out to pasture. He once dreamed of delivering the people of Israel out of captivity, but that dream died when he killed an Egyptian taskmaster and fled the country as a fugitive. Moses spent the next forty years in spiritual exile on the backside of the desert.

“Then God appeared to him in a burning bush.

“I have a feeling that Moses got up that morning, put on his sandals, and picked up his staff, figuring it would be an ordinary day just like the day before, and the day before the day before, and the day before that. But you never know when or where or how God will invade the routine of your life.

“Jewish scholars used to debate why God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. A thunderclap or lightening bolt would have been more impressive. And why the far side of the desert? Why not the palace or a pyramid in Egypt?

“They concluded that God appeared to Moses in a burning bush for one simple reason: to show that no place is devoid of God’s presence, not even a bush on the backside of the desert. So they gave God a name I’ve learned to love: The Place. God is here, there and everywhere. So it doesn’t matter where you are; God can meet you anywhere.

“There are two moments in Scripture when God gives the same curious command: take off your sandals. The first one happens on the backside of the desert with Moses before God delivers Israel out of Egypt. The second one happens just before God delivers Jericho to Joshua. As Moses’ assistant, Joshua had heard the story of the burning bush a thousand times. But no one can live off someone else’s experience, someone else’s story. We need our own epiphany, our own testimony.

“So why did God ask them to take off their sandals?

“I think it was an act of humility, an act of worship. It was a way of acknowledging absolute dependence on God. It was a way of removing any obstacle that could get in the way of God and Moses, God and Joshua.

“One last observation, because sometimes the obvious eludes us. The holy ground wasn’t the Promised Land. It was right where Moses was standing. Don’t wait to worship God until you get to the Promised Land; you’ve got to worship along the way.

“This is holy ground. This is a holy moment.

“Right here. Right now.

“Take off your sandals.”

The purpose of prayer is not to give orders to God; the purpose is to get orders from God. -Mark Batterson

Are your sandals off?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 38 Climb the Watchtower

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost.” Habakkuk 2:1

In Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle, he writes, “Watchtowers served a variety of purposes in ancient culture – as built-in defense systems in the walls of ancient cities, as built-in pastures so shepherds could protect their flocks from wild animals, and as built-in vineyards for protection form thieves. Watchmen would climb into their watchtower, station themselves at their guardpost, and scan the horizon for enemy armies or trading caravans. The watchmen were the first to see, and they saw the farthest. So it is with those who pray. Intercessors are watchmen and watchwomen. They see sooner and see farther in the spiritual realm. Why? Because prayer gives us a unique vantage point.

“I wonder if that’s how Elijah felt as he prayed for rain on top of Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:42). God has just answered an impossible prayer on that very mountain. Elijah defeated the 450 prophets (1 Kings 18:16-39) of Baal in a sudden-death showdown on Mount Carmel. The God who sent fire can certainly send rain, right? That miracle gave Elijah the faith he needed to pray hard. And that is one of the by-products of answered prayer. It gives us the faith to believe God for bigger and better miracles. With each answered prayer, we draw bigger prayer circles. With each act of faithfulness, it increases our faith. With each promise kept, it increases our persistence quotient.

“Geography and spirituality are not unrelated. That’s why the Israelites built memorials in places of spiritual significance. During seasons of repentance, they would often return to those ancient altars to renew their covenant with God.

“I have to believe that David revisited more than once the battlefield where he defeated Goliath. That Abraham made a pilgrimage back to the thicket where God provided a ram. That Peter rowed out to the place on the Sea of Galilee where he walked on water – and it renewed his faith. That Paul built a personal altar on the road to Damascus where God knocked him off his high horse. And that Zacchaeus let his grandkids climb the sycamore-fig tree where he had gotten his first glimpse of Jesus.

“Where we pray is not insignificant. The Israelites pitched the tent of meeting outside the camp for a reason. Jesus prayed on mountains, by water, and in gardens for a reason. We need to find a place where we are free from distraction, where we get good reception, where we can focus, and where our faith is strong.”

As mentioned in previous posts, there is nothing magical about circling something in prayer, whether literal or figurative, but there is something biblical about it. There are times when we have to mark God’s territory; to take a step of faith and pray a perimeter around a promise that God has put in our heart.

Going back to places of spiritual significance can help us find our way forward again. -Mark Batterson

Do you have a place to pray?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 34 Raise Up a Remnant

“And the remnant shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.” 2 Kings 19:30

“At critical junctures in history, God raises up a remnant to reestablish His reign and rule. It’s rarely a majority. In fact, it’s almost always a small minority. But all it takes is a faithful few to begin a reformation. says Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle.

“Reformations are birthed out of rediscovering something ancient, something simple, something true. Every generation needs a reformation. Every generation needs to tear down its idols and rebuild its temples. Every generation needs to repent of its sin and rediscover the ancient truths.

“If my people (2 Chronicles 7:14), who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

If we circle the promises of God, God will deliver on them. It’s not a question of if; it’s only a question of when. But if we are determined to pray as long as it takes (see post Day 17 Do Not Delay), revival will come. It’s as predictable as the sun rising in the east. It’s as inevitable as the sun setting in the west.

“We will bear fruit above! Heaven will be populated because of our prayers. But the root of revival is prayer. We’ve got to press into the presence of God as never before. We must covenant to seek (2 Chronicles 15:12) God with all our heart and soul.

“We never know how or when or where a move of God might begin. But if we hit our knees, God will extend His mighty right hand on our behalf. If we lay a foundation of prayer, God will build something spectacular on top of it. If we intercede like never before, God will intervene like never before.”

When the prayer meeting becomes the most important meeting, revival is around the corner. -Mark Batterson

Are you ready to begin a reformation?

Prayerfully, Paige

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

Day 32 Get a Testimony

“…and by the word of their testimony…” Revelation 12:11

I have loved hearing from so many of you, the stories of how Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker and/or Draw the Circle has impacted your life. I believe that sharing these testimonies increase our faith and get us excited to keep praying!

Batterson says, “When God answers a prayer, no matter how big or small, we need to share it. It’s a stewardship issue. If we don’t turn the answer to prayer into praise, it may very well turn into pride. Giving testimony is the way we give God all of the glory. But we also need to share it because others need to hear it. If we don’t share our testimonies of how God is working in our lives, then others are tempted to think He isn’t working at all.

“When we share a testimony, we are loaning our faith to others. When we listen to a testimony, we are borrowing faith from others. Either way, the church is edified and God is glorified.

“A testimony is powerful, in part, because we cannot argue with it. It’s irrefutable and undeniable. A personal testimony is our secret weapon, and that’s why the enemy wants us to keep our testimony a secret. It’s not a testimony if we don’t share it with others. If we don’t share our testimonies, we are robbing God of the glory He deserves. And we aren’t just holding out on God; we are holding out on those who need to hear it.

“No amount of education can compensate for a lack of first-person experience. We don’t get a testimony in seminary; we get a testimony by being tested.

“Remember the Samaritan woman who was totally transformed by a single encounter with Jesus at the well? She went back to her village and shared her testimony. That testimony sparked faith in those who heard, but their faith was secondhand faith. They needed their own encounter with Jesus, and that’s exactly what they got. The transition from secondhand to firsthand faith is evidenced in their words: ‘Now we believe (John 4:42), not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves.

“We cannot live off of someone else’s experience forever. Secondhand faith is as dangerous as secondhand smoke. We need a faith with our own name on it. We need to own it, and it needs to own us. We can’t just know what we believe; we need to know why we believe what we believe what we believe. And it must be continually upgraded.

“Don’t be satisfied with simply going to church; get into God’s presence. Don’t be satisfied with hearsay; get a word from The Lord. Don’t be satisfied with secondhand faith; get a testimony!”

Most of us are educated way beyond our level of our obedience. -Mark Batterson

What’s your testimony? Please don’t hesitate to share it! Email, call or text me – or better yet, share it with our praying community by commenting below!

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 31 Spell it Out

“What do you want me to do for you?” Matthew 20:32

I’m not sure about you but so many of the devotions, from Draw the Circle, have impacted my daily prayer life. This one in particular is one of my favorites as Mark Batterson reminds us to know what we want from God and ask for it specifically. I love the story as Batterson tells it:

“More than a thousand years after the original Jericho miracle, another miracle happened in the same place. Jesus was on His way out of the city when two blind men shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David (Matthew 20:30), have mercy on us!’ The disciples saw it as an inconvenient interruption, but divine appointments usually come disguised. The disciples would have walked right past this ‘miracle waiting to happen.’ They had places to go and things to do. But Jesus stopped. Then He asked the two men a loaded question: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

“Is that question even necessary? They are blind. Isn’t it obvious what they want? Yet Jesus forced them to define exactly what they wanted from Him. Jesus made them verbalize it. He made them spell out exactly what they wanted Him to do, but it wasn’t because Jesus didn’t know what they wanted; He wanted to make sure that they knew what they wanted.

“What if Jesus asked you the same question: What do you want me to do for you? Would you be able to spell out the promises, miracles, and dreams God has put in your heart? I’m afraid many of us would find ourselves at a loss for words. We have no idea what we want God to do for us, and then we wonder why it seems like God isn’t doing anything for us. The great irony, of course, is that if we can’t answer this question, then we’re as blind spiritually as these men were physically.

“Most of us don’t get what we want simply because we don’t know what we want. We’ve never made a list of life goals. We’ve never defined success for ourselves. We’ve never circled God’s promises. And we’ve forgotten most of the prayers we’ve prayed before they’re even answered.

“If faith is being sure of what we hope for, then not being sure of what we hope for is the exact opposite of faith, isn’t it? The more faith we have, the more specific our prayers will be. And the more specific our prayers are, the more glory God receives. If our prayers aren’t specific, however, God gets robbed of the glory He deserves because we second-guess whether or not He actually answered them. We never know if the answers were the result of specific prayers or general coincidences that would have happened anyway. Well-defined prayers give God an opportunity to display His power in new ways. Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in well-defined answers.”

It’s not our responsibility to worry about when, where or how God answers our prayers. It’s only our responsibility to discern what God wants and then humbly and specifically ask Him for it. And look for holy surprises along the way because He may answer our prayers differently and even better than we originally requested!

Batterson poses critical questions for us today: “We need to identify our Jericho – the promise we are circling. What promise are you praying around? What miracle are you marching around? What dream does your life revolve around?

“It’s easy to get so busy climbing the ladder of success that we fail to realize the ladder is not leaning against the wall of Jericho. Eternal priorities get overshadowed by our everyday responsibilities, and we pawn our God-given dream for the American dream. So instead of circling Jericho, we end up wandering in the wilderness.”

Obviously our Jericho changes over time and during different seasons of life. Begin where you are today. Define your dream, claim your promise, spell out your miracle, and pray specifically to God for it.

Most of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want. -Mark Batterson

What is your Jericho?

Prayerfully, Paige

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

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