Monday, August 29, 2011

Personal Requirements of Prayer

Prayer is a very powerful force when done the right way. Benny Beckum is one of my favorite preacher/evangelists. He goes all over the country preaching about prayer. If you have never heard him, he will reveal things that will totally change your prayer life. If you're in the Greenville area, he'll be holding a Prayer Conference at Tabernacle Baptist Church October 3 - October 6. You do NOT want to miss it! I haven't heard the other speakers for that conference, but if you get a chance to hear Brother Beckum, you will be blessed.

Studying prayer, however, will also reveal things. The Bible tells us to study the Word. And in studying about prayer, there are personal requirements we need to be aware of.

Purity of heart
Praying in Christ's name
Praying According to God's will

Purity of heart is important for prayer and it is a must. Psalm 66: 18, 19 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD WILL NOT HEAR ME; But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer." If we have unconfessed sins in our lives, God will not hear our prayers. If we are to be good prayer warriors, we must ask God's forgiveness of our own sins and remove those things that will hinder our prayers being heard. He is faithful and just to forgive us those sins. And when He does, He will hear our prayers.

We must believe when we pray. Many times I have prayed and my faith was lacking. I wonder how many prayers have not been answered the way I hoped because of my lack of faith. Matthew 21:22 "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive."

We must pray in Christ's name. How many prayers have gone unanswered because we do not pray in His name. We know who we're praying to. Christ knows who we're praying to. But He still expects us to call on HIM. For one thing, we show other believers that we are His child too. And for another thing, non believers will know who we are praying to. For all they know, we're praying to Budah. And if we're not praying in Christ's name, we might as well be praying to Budah. But when we pray in Christ's name, we open opportunity for God to be glorified. John 14:13, "And whatsoever ye shall ask IN MY NAME, that will I do, that the FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON."

We also need to ask according to His will. This is a difficult one for me because I want things done my way. That's my flesh. If it's done my way, then I feel that I'm in control. But the truth is, God is in control of all things, and whatever His will is for my life, it will be far better for me in the long run. If we're just spouting off all the things we want and desire, or praying for healing, or whatever burden we might have, never asking Him according to His will, we might as well just stop praying all together. I John 5:14 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US:"

These are important keys to prayer, that we often forget. They help unlock the doors of Heaven so that God will hear us when we pray.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Parts of Prayer

Prayer Request: I have a heavy heart for a friend who just lost her husband to cancer. They were only married a year and so young. Such a heartbreak for the wife, but I know that God will see her through this. I have been amazed how they both handled the last several months with such faith and trust in God. Please remember Bridget in your prayers over these next few days and months to come.
I am enjoying this little study on prayer. We all know there are different parts of speech in the English language. But there are parts of prayer too!

Who doesn't like adoration? I love to be told by my husband and my family how much they love me and how much I mean to them. Our Heavenly Father is the same way. He loves it when we adore Him in worship and in prayer.
Daniel 4:34, 35 "And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
First of all, Nebuchadnezzar was very proud of himself for what he had done in Babylon according to " might..." and for " majesty." But when he stopped looking at himself and looked to Heaven toward God, he said his understanding returned to him and he began to proclaim adoration to God. There is nothing WE do in our lives that deserves adoration. Everything we do, everything we accomplish, is because God allowed it. He deserves our praise and honor.
After we give him praise and honor, we need to confess our sins. There is nothing more precious to me than when my children confess their faults to me with a humble spirit. It's the same with the Lord. When we humble ourselves, remove the pride, and confess our sins and faults to our Heavenly Father, He is faithful to forgive us. I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." There is NOTHING we can do that He will not forgive. We just need to confess it to Him.
The next part is supplication. That's one of those words you hear off and on throughout Christianity and you never really know the meaning of it. Supplication is a humble prayer, entreaty, or petition. I Timothy 2:1-3, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. It is very difficult to pray for those in leadership, isn't it? Sometimes I want God to just remove them from office, never to be seen or heard from again. That's human nature, I suppose. But you know, they really do need our humble prayers. It is our civic responsibility to be involved, but it is our Spiritual responsibility to pray with a humble heart. We also need to pray for those in other areas of authority in our lives. Our boss men/women, our Pastors, husbands, parents, teachers...whoever God places in authority over us, they need our prayers. All we have to do is call their names.
Intercession. This is the part I think we do the most. There are so many people in need of prayer. James 5:14, 15, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." We were in some revival meetings last week and twice, there were people at that church that requested being anointed with oil and prayed for. When our prayer life is right with God, we can pray for those in need, and trust that He will do according to His will.
And last, but certainly not least, Thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." God wants a thankful heart when we pray. Even when things aren't going the way we've hoped or the way we've planned, we should be thankful that God knows what is best for us and that He has it all under control. There's a song that the trio I sing in is learning and one of the lines of that song says, My wants and God's desires don't always agree. But I lean on His will, for He always knows what's best for me. I've learned that lesson the hard way. There is no prayer that goes unanswered. He either says yes, no, or stand still until he tells us one way or the other. I've learned to be thankful for him answering prayers the way I wanted Him to and thankful for Him answering prayers the way I didn't want Him to. And I've even learned to be thankful for the times when He wants me to stand still. Which for me, seems to always be the hardest to do. But His answers are always good. And His answers are always right.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"B's" Photo Shoot

I had a photo shoot with "B" last week. It was a lot of fun and I especially enjoyed this shoot because she is a special little girl. She is the daughter of a high school friend, who is no longer from these parts. She was staying with her grandparents for the week and on a whim we scheduled the shoot. She was teething and wasn't feeling up to a photo shoot, but she was so good!!!! She is an absolutely precious little girl.
"B" was a surprise to her mommy and daddy after fourteen years since the birth of their oldest son. So needless to say, she is very much loved and doted on. Which after being around her, for even a moment, you know why. She's just plain sweet!
Below are my favorite five pics....

I look at your cute little nose
and how
you wiggle your toes

I love how you smile at me
cute as a button, don't you agree?

I look at the
darling clothes you wear

and the tiny little bow in your

And you just seem to say to me,
"I'm just as cute
as I can be!"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kinds of Prayer

It seems there are so many people standing in the need of prayer this week. Last night our Associate Pastor preached from Acts 12. Something he pointed out was the meaning of Rhoda's name, which is Rose. Several thoughts came to mind when he told us that. One thought, was that we pray to the Rose of Sharon. Another thought is that our prayers are as a sweet smelling savor to the Lord.
I started thinking about prayer and the importance of it. Too often we say we'll pray about something and then life gets in the way and we forget or we just don't take the time to pray as we should. Or maybe we have thing in our lives that stand in the way of our prayers being heard.
There are many stipulations to prayer. And as I went over them I thought it would make a good Bible study, which would also make a good blog series.
Prayer is a request to God. There are four types of prayer I can think of:
1. Secret prayer
2. Family prayer
3. Group prayer
4. Public prayer
There is the secret prayer mentioned in Matthew 6:6 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." When I was little I thought this meant we actually had to get in the closet. Since I was little and afraid of the dark, I didn't do much secret praying. But the truth of the matter is, we just need a quiet place. A place with no distraction. A place where we are totally alone, just us and God.
I thought it was interesting that in the verse above, it does not say "...and thy Father which 'heareth' in secret..." but rather "...and our Father which 'seeth' in secret..." God not only hears us in our secret place, but He is right there with us. Listening and watching His children as they lay their burdens and petitions at His feet. Isn't that a sweet image of the Father? That He takes time, not only to listen to us, but to visit with us too.
Family prayer is important also. Acts 10:2-30 tells the story of Cornelius. Verse 2 says that he was "A devout man, and one that feared God with ALL HIS HOUSE, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." In this story, it is obvious that his whole family loved and served God. I would imagine they were much in prayer about matters. And after several days of praying, the Lord heard and answered. I know that for our own family, we need more family time together in prayer. Sadly, I am sure there are many Christian families that don't have the family prayer time they need together. And maybe we would see the Lord answer more prayers for us if we would take the time and pray together as a family unit.
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." I love that verse. As a family unit or as fellow believers draw together in prayer, it is a sweet thing to know that Christ is right there in the middle of it all. That every word spoken is heard clearly and that He is working on each little detail of each prayer.
And last, but not least, is the public prayer. Matthew 6:5 says, "But when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward." I'm sure we have all been somewhere at sometime or another and heard flowery prayers. Praying with adoration and thanking God for His goodness, is not flowery. But when we stand there reaching for big words, and praying for things that will impress those we are praying in front of, God is not impressed. Whether we pray in our closet or pray in public, God desires to hear the things on our hearts. Ironically, our prayers reveal to Him exactly what is in our hearts.
I wonder.... do my prayers stink? Or are they a sweet smelling savor to Him?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Revivals and Shoots

We've spent the first two days of this week going to revival at Bright Light Baptist, with Pastor Wayne Reese. Pastor Goodman has been preaching the services and they've been really good. Of course we were at our home church last night. Brother Johnny did a fantastic job tonight on prayer from Acts chapter 12. Alters were full. There is truly power in prayer.

Tomorrow I get to have a photo shoot with a seven month old. I am so excited about this shoot. I'll explain why when I have some pictures to post. I can't wait to see her and hold her and love on her. It's gonna be so much fun.

Tomorrow night I'll be going to revival services at Bright Light again. Lord willing, that is. And then Friday our youth choir will be singing there. If you're in the area, come out and hear our Pastor and our youth choir. It'll be a blessing, I'm sure.

Right now, I'm going to get my gear ready for tomorrow's shoot and then hit the sack. I'm a sleepy head tonight! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Family Reunion

We had a family reunion back in July. July 4th, actually. It was so much fun. I had seen my cousins for the first time in over thirty years back at Thanksgiving and had the privilege of seeing them again at the reunion. They are so much fun and I love them very much. There was a lot of silliness going on with these glasses. I'm pretty sure there were at least fifteen of us that took pictures with them on. lol This is my cousin Gary and my little cousin.

Bruce enjoyed playing Corn Hole and Horseshoes.

My cousin Steve.

The reunion was at my uncle's house. His land is surrounded by gorgeous mountains. It was lovely.

My mom and her siblings. It was so good seeing my Aunts and Uncle. And boy did they ever cook up some food!! There was so much food, it was like Maw Maw was alive again. They all learned to cook just like her!

It was wonderful being with the family for the day and I hope we get to see them again soon. There were about thirty of us there. I love them all and pray for them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Comment Season Is Now Open

Now that summer is pretty well over and things are settling down around here, I've enabled comments and hope to hear from you soon.
There has been so much that I haven't gotten to blog about!! I admit I've missed it. I hope I can get back into the swing of things.
We took our youth group to a camp ground the first few days of last week and had our own camp meeting with them. Spencer preached the first day, and Pastor preached the second. The services were sweet and we had a great time. The more Spencer preaches, the more he sounds like his dad. It's just amazing. What a blessing it was to hear him!

We spent one day at Dollywood. Bruce and I were playing it safe until after we ate supper at Aunt Granny's. Then we went straight to the Thunderhead roller coaster. What was I thinking? Never eat a meal and then board a roller coaster. That is so not a good idea!!

We had two families join our church today. That was a blessing. I'm looking forward to getting to know one family better and just slap happy that the other family has come back home. We've been seeing a lot of that this year and it's been good to see those familiar faces we've missed seeing, come walking through the doors. Welcome home S&U!! :)

Today would have been my dad's 66th birthday. To be honest, I've tried not to think about the dates in this month. Just taking each day as it came, never noticing the calendar. So when Mrs. Janet stood next to me in the choir and said, "Ain't today your daddy's birthday?" It dawned on me that, yes, it is. And of course a few tears snuck out. My heart breaks, but it also rejoices in the fact that daddy is celebrating more today than he ever had to celebrate here.

We had two wonderful services today. In between those services I ended up going shopping with Harrison. Somewhere between last Sunday and this Sunday he grew out of this dress pants. The boy has gone up three pant sizes this summer. It's crazy! Just one of those things, huh?

I can't stop yawning so I guess I'll turn in for the day. I hope each of you had a wonderful day with the Lord!!