1 John 5:1414 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:1515 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:1616 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
1 Chronicles 16:1111 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always
Passionate Prayers for a Somber Season
From: CBN, and author: J.A. Marx
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 NKJV
I sobbed as he abandoned the Lord and ran into the arms of immorality. In time, his infidelities caused him to forget who we really were, and I woke up one day with the sickening sensation I was sleeping with a stranger. My anguished heart had to witness him shrivel in shame as he regressed spiritually.
Why? Why us? Why me?
The why questions that surface can shipwreck our faith. Part of me desperately hunted for an attribute, or a secret privilege, anything that might qualify me for an exemption from the devastating effects of humanity’s fallen condition.
But if all humanity fell after Adam and Eve ate the deadly fruit, then why not me? Why not us? Our status, wealth, and church attendance affected nothing—except to expose where the thoughts and intents of my heart vastly differed from his. I gave up my futile search for an exemption from pain.
The Lord’s refining heat intensified. In all His goodness, He exposed corrupt activities I was unaware of. That same fire tested my heart and my loyalty. The excruciating emotional pain and hardship activated in me new and creative ways to pray. Surrendering to the purifying process deepened my appreciation for Grace and Mercy.
I soon felt humbled and honored that the Shepherd trusted me to partner with Him in going after the one lost sheep, one Jesus loved and shed His blood for. An increasing passion to see this man healed and set free from darkness pushed me to my knees daily. And passion is the key word, for it incorporates heart, soul, and strength. The more I surrendered my frail all, the more I was empowered by divine grace and influenced by the Holy Spirit.
The battle raged on. The stakes high. Standing in the authority of Christ, I aggressively prayed over anything that physically touched the one I loved.
His shoes. I slipped my toes inside and declared God’s Word, that “his feet would not run to mischief.” Proverbs 6:18 KJV
I breathed Scripture onto his neckties hanging in the closet.
My fingers skimmed across his dress shirts, as I declared God’s righteousness over him. Through this, the Father confirmed my righteousness in Christ.
Hugging his pillow to my chest, I prayed a “renewing of his mind” into the very place his head rested and dreams lived. And the Holy Spirit gently realigned my thought patterns.
The outcomes of those prayers? In God’s hands.
The timing of the results? On God’s timeline.
In an agonizing act of my will, I pushed aside emotional turmoil and embraced His Word and His way, trusting He would work everything out for the good …
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5 NKJV
Although my world fell to pieces, God’s presence in me remained whole. Although a man un-chose me, the Lover of my soul remained faithful. His ensuing step-by-step guidance proved the Lord never had and never will leave me. His Word and Presence in my heart withstood every storm.
Today, God’s joy thrives in my soul. Prayers answered.
Are you presently praying for a loved one who’s on a destructive path? Do you feel the heat of God’s refining fire? Are you tempted to cry out, “why me?”
The Father can handle all your questions and will equip you to do battle in this season. You are more than a conqueror in Christ.
Pray unceasingly. Keep trusting. A harvest of joy will come.
Next Generation Faith
From: Our Daily Journey
Graeme was part of a group of self-proclaimed Satanists at my school. By God’s grace, he came to Jesus during an outreach event, began growing in his faith, and eagerly attended church youth groups. But one day I noticed he looked quite sad. When I asked why, he said his parents didn’t approve of his newfound faith. They wanted him to go back to his former way of life that included partying.
I was shocked that his parents wanted him to go clubbing instead of attending youth group. Having grown up in the church, I’d taken for granted my parents’ enthusiastic support for participation in faith-based activities. My parents are first-generation believers, so my children are growing up with parents and grandparents who love Jesus and actively teach them about God.
Timothy had a similar gift through the faith of his mother and grandmother, who taught him the Scriptures and helped him grow in his love for Jesus (2 Timothy 1:5). The apostle Paul encouraged him to build on this foundation and “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave [Timothy] when [Paul] laid [his] hands on [him]” (2 Timothy 1:6). He challenged Timothy to “never be ashamed to tell others” about God because He “has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7-8).
A faith heritage, Paul reminded Timothy, can be a source of continual confidence and encouragement. “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
May God help us teach the next generation about the hope we have in Him—a hope based in faith that has changed Graeme’s life along with our own.
The Unsurpassed Intimacy of Tested Faith
Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a commonsense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense. In fact, they are as different as the natural life and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, “Oh yes, I believe God can do it,” but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief (see Luke 9:28-42). Every time my theology becomes clear to my own mind, I encounter something that contradicts it. As soon as I say, “I believe ‘God shall supply all [my] need,’ ” the testing of my faith begins (Philippians 4:19). When my strength runs dry and my vision is blinded, will I endure this trial of my faith victoriously or will I turn back in defeat?
Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” Matthew 11:6). The ultimate thing is confidence in Jesus. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…” (Hebrews 3:14). Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges you will strengthen your faith. There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Faith is absolute trust in God— trust that could never imagine that He would forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6).