Daily Devotion: SPOKEN WORD

John 11:43 NIV
“When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection reflects the power of Jesus’ spoken Word. He already knew in His heart the miracle that was about to take place, but His words spoke the miracle into existence.

While prayer is our declaration of our dependence on God, our spoken words can be the manifestation of what’s happening in our hearts. There is power in our spoken words – whether they are used to build up or tear down. It is so important to keep our hearts filled with the truth from God’s Word so that our words will produce good fruit.

As you seek God in prayer ask Him for the words and discernment that may help someone today. Pray that your words would be encouraging, edifying and aligned with the truth of God’s word. Building others up around us with our words allows us to be God’s instrument –a vessel for His good work.

As God continues to fill us through this season of prayer and fasting, He wants to take what is now in our hearts and share it with others.  How can you use the power of your spoken words to speak God’s truth in the lives of others?

 

Source: awake21.org

Daily Devotion: ALIGNMENT WITH HEAVEN

Matthew 6:10 KJV
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

We have all heard the phrase, “just like heaven on earth.” When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, in Matthew 6:9-13, He provided some insight into what “heaven on earth” might look like. In reality, heaven is a place where God’s will reigns supreme. If we want to have a taste of heaven on earth, then our prayer should be like Jesus’: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” The purest motivation for our prayers is that God will be glorified and that His will would reign supreme in our lives, just like it does in heaven.

On a more personal level, we can pray that His will be unhindered in our own lives. Rather than imposing His will upon us, God gives us the choice to surrender to it with trust and gladness. As we yield to the Lordship of Christ over every area of our lives, we come into agreement with Him. We experience alignment with heaven and position ourselves to taste a little bit of heaven here on earth. His will then becomes what we desire and the thing we most seek after. We enter into the incredible adventure of participating in God’s plan to move His kingdom forward on the earth. This is where we find the most fulfilling and joyous life, but it all starts with one, personal “yes, Lord” on our part.

What does God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” look like in your life?  Do the desires of your heart line up with the will of God? As we seek God together, let’s pray as Jesus taught us, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”

 

Source: awake21.org

Daily Devotion: CULTIVATING SPIRITUAL HUNGER

Mark 1:12-13
“Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.”

Even Jesus disconnected from the world to fast and pray. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke speak of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. They also describe other times Jesus pulled away from the demands of the crowds, His ministry and even His closest friends to pray.

There are times that we, too, need to pull away from the things of the world and focus on God. “The things of the world” can certainly include more than just food. In fact, in our world, it is more likely to be television, movies, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and internet that keep us “tuned in” to the world. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they are avenues for a mental and spiritual “crowd” to gather around us and drown out the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus. Giving up physical nourishment is the first step in engaging that process. If you think about it, though, we nourish our souls as well as our bodies. We do so through reading, talking, socializing, playing and leisure. When we fill our souls up with all those things, we don’t feel a hunger for God.

During this time of fasting, we are sure to feel physical hunger, but let’s be intentional about cultivating spiritual hunger as well. Let’s draw away from the crowds, and lay aside for a season the activities we use to nourish our souls. Instead let’s allow ourselves to enter a state of spiritual hunger – a hunger for righteousness. Jesus said that being spiritually hungry is a blessed state, because we can be sure of being filled with food that truly satisfies our deepest needs. (Matthew 5:6)

During this time, you will find that being still before the Lord will set you in a place of increased strength, peace and hunger for God.  Are you disconnected from the things that nourish your body and soul?  What do you need to deny yourself so that this can be a powerful time in your life?

 

Source: awake21.org

Daily Devotion: PRAYING BOLDLY

I Kings 18:36 KJV 
“And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant…”

The sacrifice referenced above was a declaration that Elijah was a servant of the Most High God. Elijah belonged to God, and he represented God to the people. However, Elijah’s boldness was not a result of who he was; it was the result of knowing God!.

As children of God under the new covenant of Jesus, we don’t have to be timid or fearful when coming to God in prayer. We can approach God boldly. The Amplified Bible puts it like this:

“Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].” Hebrews 4:16 AMP

It’s hard to imagine taking a fearless, confident, bold attitude when coming before God in prayer. Yet this is exactly what we are admonished to do! God has already settled the issue of our access to Him, but we can be assured, our access is not because of our own righteousness. It’s because of what Jesus did on the cross. We can come to the throne in such outrageous boldness because Jesus was outrageously righteous! When we pray, we come to God in the authority of Jesus’ name, and we can be confident that we will find grace, mercy and perfectly-timed help.

Do you approach God with timidity of confidence? Seek God boldly today knowing you are fully forgiven and Jesus has made you righteous. When you approach God in prayer, seek a fresh revelation of who He is in your life.

 

Source: awake21.org

Daily Devotion: PRAYER AND THE PROCESS

I Kings 18:43b-44 NLT 
“…Seven times Elijah told him to go out and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, “Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!”

“How do I know God is going to say yes to my prayers?” This is a common question many people have as they seek to have a confident prayer life. However it’s important to recognize that prayer is not just about the answer, but it’s also about glorifying God in the process of waiting for the answer. It is our responsibility to check our motives and believe God hears us; it is through the process of prayer that God prepares us for the answer He brings.

We see an example of the process of prayer in the story of Elijah in I Kings 18. Elijah climbed to the top of the mountain to pray for rain to come. As he waited for the rain, he continued to pray, believing God would answer. When he finally saw a small cloud, he told Ahab to “get ready” because the rain was coming. Elijah knew what to pray for, and God heard him the first time he prayed, but there was preparation that needed to take place in order to receive the answer to his prayer.

It is no mistake that God waited until Elijah had prayed seven times before He answered. In the Bible, seven is the number of completion. In this account, seven represents the completion of God’s process in that time of prayer. God does not want merely to answer our prayers; He wants to spend time with us to prepare us for the answer that will come. Many times we want to skip over the process involved in engaging God in prayer as we wait for our answer. But it is this very process that works maturity in us and prepares us for the answers our prayers bring. (James 1:4)

What prayers in your life are still awaiting an answer? Throughout the remainder of the fast, thank God for His process at work in your life and trust Him.

 

Source: awake21.org

Daily Devotion: UNWAVERING IN FAITH

James 1:6 KJV 
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering….”

What do you expect when you pray? When we pray with earnest expectation, we are exercising our faith. The earnest prayer of righteous people produces powerful results, and the most earnest prayers come from us recognizing our need for God.

There can be a natural tendency to shrink back when praying for the seemingly impossible, but we must remember that nothing is impossible with God. If we know the promises that God has given us, and understand His character and the principles by which He works, we can pray with confidence and trust Him for the answer. What has caused you to waiver in your expectation with God? James reminds us that faith and wavering are actually contradictory – he says “nothing wavering”. Know that God never wavers in His love for you. You can trust Him completely.

What are you trusting God for in this season?  How can you line up your expectations with the Word of God when you pray? Find promises in His Word that answer your need and write them down today.

 

Source: awake21.org

Photo Journal: Community Prayer Walk 1/17/10

Two things came up during this week’s special Community Prayer Walk:

  1. Jesus reigns over this city!
  2. As even Peter’s shadow may have healed people (Acts 5:12-16), may our passing leave a deposit of the Holy Spirit that touches people even well after we are gone.

The next one will be on Sunday, January 24th at 4:30 PM, and we will be meeting at our usual meet spot near the entrance to Island Park.