Prayer brings Christian growth and development

Thesis #19: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Last week:  “Love affirms, but God’s holiness challenges us.  Prayer centers us in God’s love, but, then His Presence exposes us to His holiness – and moves us by grace and consecration, into deeper levels of His likeness”… 

This week:

…Prayer, then, is the basic context for Christian growth and development, not preaching, not left-brain discipleship programs.

The assumption here is that there is more growth in discipleship through prayer than any other personal effort.  I agree with the assumption!  I have personally grown more in my faith and my relationship with God from taking my Bible, opening it and reading it, and praying my way through what I read, to understanding and practice.    What happens in a church worship service is of little consequence if it does nothing to command the way we live our lives outside of that worship experience.  Prayer is more about personal change than any other practice in the Christian faith.  When you pray, it is just you and God.  One on one!  There should be no distractions, no hindrances to hearing Him as you commune with Him and He with you in your session of prayer. With the Word of God before you, the Holy Spirit within you as your guide,  through your prayers, and your own personal hunger for righteousness, for holiness…you will grow in your relationship with God!

Let’s pray:  “O God, You are my God!  I want to be your disciple, so I read Your Word and pray for understanding to apply what I read.  I ask, Holy Spirit, that You would put a deep, abiding hunger in our hearts now, for more of the Scripture and for more of close encounters with the Father!

Lord, we have found this world to be a confusing, messed up place and we don’t want to be it’s next victim!  So, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we turn to You, asking that you be our daily guide through the Bible so that each day we live is used to honor and glorify You before others.  We will do our best to honor the appointment with You in prayer, each day, keeping it above all others.

We love You Lord, and desire Your Presence within, to heal us and prepare us for Your use in this world and for our future with You in heaven!  AMEN!

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The Holiness of God Challenges Us

Thesis #18: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer Thesis number 18 by Doug Small says this: 

“Love affirms, but God’s holiness challenges us.”

Contemporary Christians narrowly see the dominant feature of God’s nature as love – and not as holiness.  Prayer centers us in God’s love, but then His Presence exposes us to His holiness – and moves us, by grace and consecration, into deeper levels of His likeness.

20) “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

21) keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”         (Jude 20-21 NKJV)

Prayer:  O God…You are a holy God!  We acknowledge your unequaled “holiness” in this prayer today.  I pray that reverence for You will grow in our hearts as we live between the tension of Your holiness and Your love.  May a healthy sense of fear take shape in us as you wow us with grace and with the experience of Your Presence!  You chose to redeem us from the curse of sin through the blood of Your slain Son.  The value you placed on our redemption is beyond our knowledge to perceive.  Not many fathers would give the life of their son to save anyone.  But You did!  The measure of this kind of love is incomprehensible to us!  All we can do is “thank You”, which seems so small, so insignificant, by comparison.  But, we pledge to do it – as insignificant as it may seem to us – for the rest of our lives.  “Thank You, again”, for redeeming us.  We hope our lives are a “melody” of living witness to Your saving love, healing grace and your awesome Presence through the power of the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth!  Amen!

 

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Prayer engages a Holy God

Thesis #17: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer Thesis number 17 by Doug Small says this: 

“Prayer engages a holy God, and its primary purpose is our transformation.”

 

In relationship with God, through prayer we transform: From deadness to life.  From guilt to justification.  From sinfulness to holiness.  From independence to dependence.  From rebellion to submission.  From unloved to unconditionally loved.  From isolation to fellowship.  From being a cosmic orphan to becoming a child of God.

Prayer:  O God, You are my God, my Savior and the Father of my eternal hope.  I give you thanks for Jesus Christ, my constant companion on this journey of life.  Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to me to impart the wisdom of God, the joy of serving God, and the gifts of power and unconditional love to serve your interests through my life upon this earth.  

Thank you for your transforming power that is constantly at work in my imperfect life.  Every day is a gift from You!  Help me, lead me, in living each day for Your glory, Your honor.  Teach me Your ways, show my Your paths.  Give me the grace to walk each day in them!  

Grant to me that I can be a blessing to others in need of Your comfort and grace every day I live.  I do – and I will – forever praise You all the days of my life!     

These things I humbly pray and request in the Name of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

 

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Prayer is God moving in us to move with Him

Thesis #16: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer then, is the process whereby God moves us to move with Him.  God is the Sovereign, the center of prayer.  He moves, and by prayer we are both awakened and enabled to move with Him, participating in His purposes.

(Song of Solomon 2:8-9 – NKJV)

08)The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills. 09)My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice.

Lord, we are weary of the “waiting”!  We so desire for your Presence to come, to join us, to move us along with You into the center of all You have for us.  We see the need all around us – need that can only be met when You are with us and when you go before us to prepare the way.

We curse the darkness that holds many against their will.  We lift up our voices to You, asking for a release of the Holy Spirit upon us and upon the people of the churches in cities across this nation and around the world.  We solemnly plead, in the name of Jesus, our risen Savior, that you begin it right here, right now, in us today!  Sweep across this land with a tidal wave of conviction to topple the strongholds of sin and lawlessness.  Change the hearts and minds of those bent on destruction and evil.  Raise us up in might, in power and through grace make us ministers of rescue to those floundering, dying in sin.

Come, move us to the place where You are at work, in the places where evil holds individuals captive against their will.  Where abounding sin needs to be broken by an outpouring of grace.  Raise us up O God of heaven!  Make us flaming firebrands here on the earth, calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls.

With broken hearts, we humbly request these petitions in the Name above all other names, the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Savior of all who call upon Him!  Amen!

 

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Prayer for the United States of America

July 7th 2019    by Judy Buck

“Let’s pray for our Nation”

All praise honor glory and power be unto you Oh Sovereign Most High God.  You are the one who tears down nations, plants nations and builds them up. You have not come to destroy us but to give us life and that more abundantly.  

We honor you for creating and sustaining our nation the United States of America.  We celebrate the work of your hand as you have called this Nation to be a light of the Gospel to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Father, as we put ourselves in remembrance of our forefathers and mothers, we first honor those who have loved you and served you in this nation and around the world.   We also put ourselves and remembrance and honor all of those who have served in the armed forces those who have risked their lives or have lost their lives to protect this nation and the rights for which it stands. In remembrance of all those who have served as overseers and the government workings of this nation we also honor and remember their sacrifice and service.  Father we come before your presence asking that we, as your people, will be strengthened by you and given grace by you to do our part to fulfill our destiny purpose and call for this nation. May your fame go out from us to our communities states and nation to bring glory and honor to you.

We ask you Father that you continue to give us righteous nation who serves and honors you and its in all its ways that you will continue to overshadow and protect us and keep us.  

Truly Father we are blessed by you in this nation.  As we celebrate the independence of our nation this Fourth of July May the colorful display of fireworks put us in remembrance of the colorful rainbow of promises that you have given unto us as your children!

In the precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the Anointed One. Amen 

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Prayer Begins With God

Thesis #15: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer begins with God.  It is grace empowered.  God wakes up our cold dead heart to the reality of His Presence and calls prayer out of us.  Prayer is always our response to the often-imperceptible Presence and working of the Holy Spirit (John 4:23). The absence of regular prayer indicates spiritual deafness, or worse, a hard heart no longer obedient when God calls.

Prayer:

“Like your disciples, we ask you to “teach us how to pray!”  But, not just the words.  Teach us the “value” of prayer to our lives in this world!”  May we grasp the connection between prayer and your power at work in and through our lives personally.  Help us to know how to use prayer daily, to pray past our own person and being, our own need, and pray for wisdom, strength, and courage to extend the grace you have placed inside us, to others we meet during the course of the day.  Reveal to us how much “prayer” is like an “umbilical cord”, always connecting us to you and keeping Your life flowing into our life!  Teach us how to stay “tethered” to You through a consistent, vibrant, prayer life.

We surrender our will to you now as we pray.  Your will, not our will be done, here on earth, just like it is in heaven!  Use us this day to distribute the “glory” of Christ’s transforming love by the transformation His love has brought to us personally through faith in You.  May we be blessed to know Your Presence is with us through out the course of this day!  It is in the name of Your Son, who is our Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth that we humble ask these things.  Amen!

 

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God Delights to Meet Our Needs

Thesis #14: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

07/21/19

Jesus said in the New Testament, “My house shall be called a house of prayer!”  Doug Small is the international director of prayer ministries for the Church of God and the founding president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY.  In a recent book, “The New Apostolic Epoch, Brother Small gives us The New 95 Theses – Proposals For Reformation.  I am using these to teach us more about Prayer.

A theses is a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.  I believe the following theses that I am about to read to you concerning prayer.  In the church, we do many things such as maintaining the buildings and grounds, keeping them clean, visiting the sick and needy, caring for those in need of care, disciplining, training, preaching the Gospel and a whole lot more.  The theses I am presenting today – theses # 14 – about prayer says this:

“God delights to meet our needs – nothing is to small to pray about, but, noble prayer delights to meet God’s need to do His will, to serve His kingdom purposes, to glorify His name.

Psalm 40:8 – “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is  within my heart.”

Matthew 6:9,10 – “In this  manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your  name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth  as it is in heaven.”

Hebrews 10:7 – “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” 

Prayer:  O Lord, Creator of all life, I come to give You thanks for my life, for hope and for the evidence of Your plan for my life.  The vastness and beauty of the earth all remind me of Your attention to intricate detail.  Thank you for creating such a place for me to live, find love, and to serve the interests of Your Kingdom in the splendor of Your creation.

Your capacity to care for each individual here upon the earth is exceeded only by Your love for each and every one of us who live here.  I reach back to You today, to humbly say, “I love You, I need You and thank You for the watch-care over the whole world and all the people in it.  Help me to be faithful in all the assignments I am privileged to be given by Your commission.  I ask all these things in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, Amen!

Prayer Teaching:  we often say “God is good!”  And our response to that is, …“all the time!”

Question:  But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and far better than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask for anything? 

Answer:  What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most?  What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great need, our endless need – the need of Himself?  Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner.  Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of prayer.  So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer.

George MacDonald

Mr. MacDonald says: “What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great need, our endless need – the need of Himself?” 

The illustration:  Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. 

Conclusion:  Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of prayer.  So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer. 

Have you had an experience recently, or in your past that caused you to “run” to God in prayer?

  • What was motivating you? Was it a financial need?  A need for “favor”?  Or was it just a need for reassurance?
  • When you got on the other side of the experience, what did you glean from it?

Is there anyone here today that understands or relates to the concept of “communion with God through prayer is our greatest need”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Healthy Prayer Does Not Begin With Us, But With God

Thesis #13: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Healthy prayer does not begin with us, but with God.  It is the space he creates, that He gives by grace, for communion and transformation.  In return, prayer is a gift we give back to God, measured by time and evidenced by worshipful consecration.  It’s privilege, not its center, allows for presentation of our needs (petition, prayer requests) and its duty, demands prayer for others, particularly the lost (intercession).  But its heart is always worshipfully free – it is a pure gift.

O God, creator of us all, thank you for this great privilege to cry out to you in prayer!  Our world is moving at an ever maddening pace away from You.  It is frightening to us to see and hear the reality of how humanity has moved so far from faith in You.

O God, help us in our feeble efforts to be a credible voice of testimony for You, Your great love, and Your desire to save unto the uttermost, those who call upon You. Our work is meaningless and will be fruitless without Your partnership in it.  We acknowledge Your sovereignty in our lives and pledge ourselves to call upon Your name always!  You have always been there and we believe in Your promise to never leave us alone all the way through this journey of life.

We ask all these petitions in the Name of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ!  And thank You again, for the privilege of prayer!

 

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Prayer is the heartbeat of the believer

Thesis #12: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small   

Prayer is at it’s heart, worship – and at it’s edge, mission. In between, God meets our needs.  Communion with God, not prayer requests, is the heart of prayer.

Prayer:  O God, may we see by your Spirit and by your Word, that prayer truly is the heartbeat of the believer who is effective and alive in the Spirit.  Your Word does tell us that “we have not, because we do not ask”.  So, we ask You first for contentment in You, for hope of a future reflected to us in Your Word.  As we pray, build up the muscle of trust and faith in You, in Your Word. We are so in need of Your Presence through prayer, yet we often find our prayers reduced to grumbling, complaining meanderings of self-centered petitions.  Give us the endurance to wait until you come and commune with us, overwhelming our hearts with Your loving, living Presence.  There is much to be accomplished for You and the Kingdom you have entrusted to our hands.  Lead us on in this world of hurt and pain, so we stand as beacons of hope and instruments of help for others along the way.  We humbly ask these petitions in the Name above all names, (our own included) the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Amen!

 

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Everything Depends on God

Thesis #11: “The New Apostolic Epoch”   By: P. Douglas Small 

A thesis is a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proven.  I believe the following thesis that I am about to read to you concerning prayer.  In the church, we do many things such as maintaining the buildings and grounds, keeping them clean, visiting the sick and needy, caring for those in need of care, disciplining, training, preaching the Gospel and a whole lot more.  The thesis I am presenting today – thesis # 11 – about prayer says this:

Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  First, they were to prayerfully wait in the Upper Room for empowerment by the Holy Spirit.  As they prayed, in accord, the Holy Spirit came.  In prayer, the church was birthed; and by prayer, it is sustained.  In prayer, it evidences its purest form – dependence on God (Mark 16:15; Luke 14:23; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:7-8). There is no true church where there is not ongoing demonstrated, deep dependence on God in prayer – by its leaders and the church itself, gathered in prayer.

Prayer:  Lord, teach us to pray, knowing that everything depends upon YOU!  Give us the courage to resist the voices screaming at us to strike out on our own.  From the collective experiences we have had, and know of from others, we “know” enough to get ourselves into deep trouble.  We confess, as Your church, we need You!  So, we pray, knowing that everything depends upon You.

But, we are also willing to work!  Lead us, guide us by your Holy Spirit along the journey so that we don’t misstep, so that our work is not in vain.  Give us a determination to seek your face in all we do that birth a knowing in our knower that we are moving in the direction you are pleased with.

Over and over, You have proven Yourself to us in our feeble attempts to hold onto You.  We love You and cannot see the way without You.  We confess our need of Your Presence in all of life and “wait” on You in prayer to move in on us.  Thank You for Your unfailing love and sustaining grace. Be with us in the days ahead.  We believe these days are critical to the future of this work to which you have called us.  Help us to stay focused on them and on You to guide us through them.  In the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, our Savior and Lord we pray.  Amen!

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