Why Pray?

Today’s Passage: James 5:13-18
 
Today’s Devotional Thought From Pastor Kyle:
 
How many times in our lives have we been told to pray? We hear it weekly from the pulpit and in our Sunday school classes that we must pray, pray, pray. Why do we pray and what do we pray for? We pray to have fellowship with God. Think about how you interact with your best friend. Do you make time to talk to them daily? We should do the same with God and make time to have conversations with Him.
 
Today’s passage in James shows us what to pray for and how prayer is powerful. In verses 13 and 14 we see that we should pray if someone is suffering, when we are cheerful, and when someone is sick just to name a few. We even are told that it is good to call those in our church to pray with us and even confess our sins to one another. We are not to gossip and judge, but to go to the Lord for help and resolution. 
 
The end of verse 16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” If you remember last week we talked about how we are made righteous through Christ and if you are His child than your prayer is powerful. Verse 17 and 18 mentions Elijah and how his prayer was powerful.
 
I want to encourage you to take your conversations with God as an opportunity for Him to communicate with you and you with Him. He can reveal answers to questions, help those in need, and give you peace that we all seek in life. Let’s all take 5 minutes right now to go to the Lord in prayer and thank Him for his Grace and forgiveness.


The Answered Prayer

Today’s Passage: 1 John 5:13-15
 
Today’s Devotional From Pastor Joe:
 
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1st John 5: 13-15) 

“Ask, and it shall be give you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). Jesus Himself never spoke of unanswered prayers. However, there is a limitation placed on the prayer that God will answer with a “yes” to His children. Our petition must be “according to His will”.

Why?

Because of the very instant that we turned, by grace thru faith and called upon Jesus to save us, we became children of God. God became our Father. Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants only the very best for us. In contrast, the world hates us and has nothing good for us. When we pray for something that we lusted after as children of the flesh, the first Adam, God says “no” because it is not good for us. The prayer of the believer in the will of God is the most powerful.

The prayer of Joshua that held back the sunset (Joshua 10:12), the prayer of Hezekiah concerning the defeat of the armies of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:15-19), and the prayer of the believers in Acts 4:24-31 (to name only a few) are indicative of the power of prayer from the heart of one who believes. Can you imagine what God will do for the one who realizes that the life He has called us to live is far better than anything we could have imagined for ourselves, that would pray asking to have the very heart of Jesus and to know the passion that Jesus has for, and the joy He received in, doing the total will of the Father. 

This is God’s will for us so pray for it unceasingly and unreservedly in total surrender and expect it to happen. A trouble free life? No. In fact, the world will hate us even more and Satan will throw everything he has got at us. Jesus has overcome the world though. Our God shall make it all joy to us whom “believe on the name of the Son of God.”



The Lord’s Prayer

Today’s Passage: John 17
 
Today’s Devotional Thought From Pastor Tim:
 
This chapter shows us how God designed for His children to live and thrive in a fallen world. The Son of God prayed and He prayed very specifically in order to bring the power of heaven into this earth. This should encourage us to know that the Lord put this same power in our hands as His ambassadors to this world.
 
As I was talking to Deana last night about yet another mass murder, I thought about the lack of prayer in today’s society. When we look at these heinous crimes in our society, it’s easy to see a common thread that ties them together. Some people say that that thing is guns, some blame vast government conspiracies, some blame certain ideologies but it is clear to us who are Christians that the interconnecting thread is the sin. Which can only be the interconnecting thread if there is someone in charge of all evil and we know who that is in the form of Satan.
 
It just makes sense to us who are Christians. We can clearly see that nothing else can explain how so many spectrums and beliefs can all seek to steal, kill, and destroy in the same manner.

Jesus began John 17 by praying very precisely for his disciples. He prays for their safety as they are going into a world that hates them. This tells us that we should pray for each other. Walking in a world that hates you is not a popular topic in today’s churches. We would rather be relevant and be inviting. Make no mistake, if we truly present the gospel to a dying world we will be hated.  So pray for each other, pray for your church leaders, pray for your family, pray for your friends.

We next see Jesus pray for the salvation of others through the words of his disciples. The great commission teaches us that disciples are to make other disciples or that Christians are to make other Christians. Salvation is what our country needs more than anything else. 

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



Prayer Works

Today’s Passage: Mark 9:14-29
 
Today’s Devotional Thought From Pastor Crenshaw:
 
How can a conversation, seasoned with grace, make a huge difference? Your pray life is more powerful than we could even imagine! We do not have the ability to make a mountain turn into a pebble, but God does. He asks us to speak to Him for every situation, every problem, every fear, and every good moment. He can change and make the hardest task become easier through your prayer. 
 
Please take a moment to read Mark 9:14-29. If you have already read it, take another moment to stop and read over. After reading, sit quietly and ask God to reveal to you His truth. 
 
The disciples of Christ were arguing with the scribes on a huge and extraordinary situation. A man’s son was possessed by a demon and he brought his son to the disciples hoping they could cast it out. The disciples says they could not cast the demon out! They had a huge argument on why they could not perform this task.
 
Jesus’ response is a little aggravating because he knew these disciples should have been able to do such a thing. Jesus said, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me” ( Mark 9:19). The people brought the boy to Jesus and the demon made the boy foam at the mouth and rolled about on the floor!
 
Jesus then said to the man if he were able to believe in me then He could cast the demon out of his son. The man yelled “I believe; help my unbelief.” He cast out the demon and the boy was able to recover and move forward.
 
Jesus then looked to His disciples who could not do this and said you could not cast this out because “this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” See prayer can make the hardest task become the simplest. Would you take everything to God in prayer?


A Favorite Passage

Today’s Passage: Psalm 34
 
Today’s Devotional Thought From Pastor Craig:
 
If you are like me, there are certain passages of Scripture that hold a special place in your heart. They might have carried you through a certain period of life or through a certain circumstance. For me, one of those passages is Psalm 34.
 

I surrendered my life to the ministry of preaching when I was 16 years old. Though I had been in church my whole life, been around the Christian and church scene the entire time, and was sure of the calling, I was naive in my preparation towards it and did not know what would come immediately following the answer to the call.

I surrendered on a Sunday night and the first of the week was one of the worst weeks of my life. It was filled with fear, terrible spiritual thoughts, and pure anxiety that I attribute to the work of the Prince of this world. 

I didn’t know how to handle the situation so I went and sat down with our church’s college pastor, Chad Graves. I sat in his office and he turned to Psalm 34 and gave me reassurance and a strategy to press forward. 

The psalmist wrote, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (verse 17). There are so many good verses in this psalm but this one sticks out. It lays out clearly that a prayer from God’s people will be answered by the LORD.

When is the last time you gave it all to God? How often do we allow God to be our refuge and strength? We may be encouraged today, through the word of God, that God hears the prayers of those who humbly come before Him. He follows verse 17 by saying, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (verse 18)