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I recognize that my prayer life is not what I would like it to be. This is something that God is working on me right now. I want to continue to grow in my prayer life.

I know that God answers prayer and I know that prayer really works but what makes up an effective prayer?

4 qualities of effective prayer

1. Effective prayers are humble prayers.

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble … Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will life you up.” James 4:6b, 10

We are given a promise in this verse.

Our God, who is the Creator, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords … He is the One that will lift us up.

But what we have to understand is that humbling and humility precedes the miraculous in our lives.

You want to get God’s attention? You want Him to move? You want Him to listen to the prayer that you’re bringing to Him?

Humble yourself. Humble yourself before Him.

This means recognizing who God is (what He is alone is capable of) and who we are (what we are not capable of).

2. Effective prayers are specific prayers.

“… You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2b

How simplistic is that? And yet we drive right past that verse, don’t we?

I’ve got to be honest with you.  So many times in my life, I have been a wishy-washy pray-er, a non-specific praying kind of guy.

I need to be reminded of this verse often: You do not have because you do not ask God.

We need to be bringing our specific requests to God.

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A Prayer While Living In This Crazy World

“O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

The Collect, Sixth Sunday after Trinity, The Book of Common Prayer

Revival is always the action of God. It is not man. It is God pouring out His Spirit.

~Dr M. Lloyd-Jones 

How to Understand Our Current Crisis

Author: Bill Elliff Date: Aug. 13, 2012

In Nazi Germany there was a train carrying Jews to concentration camps that went right past a church. The cries of the prisoners disturbed the church’s worship services as they passed along the tracks each Sunday. Their remedy to this dreadful problem? The pastor instructed them to “sing louder.”

We are in a massive crisis spiritually, morally, culturally, financially, politically—you name it, we’re in trouble. As followers of the King of kings, and particularly as leaders, how do we understand this and speak to our current crisis? How do we interpret what is happening in ways that will heal our land?

Our Inevitable Strife

God speaks through His word to every single issue of life. The political and moral movements of nations can be clearly understood if we will listen carefully to the God who made us.

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all things (Proverbs 28:4-5).

As believers in the one true Ruler, we must listen to what He says and interpret all of life in light of His truth. But He also reminds us that there will always be a natural strife between those who forsake God’s truth and those who follow His Word.

Those who have chosen to ignore what God says do not really understand justice. They will piously proclaim that what they are doing is just, but it is exactly the opposite.

For instance, God says we should not destroy lives. Yet many of our leaders fight for the right to kill unborn babies as if it were the most humane step.

God says that sodomy is an abomination. It destroys life and is one of the lowest levels of descending degradation in a society, and a sign of God’s deep judgment. Yet in our “enlightened” nation, even our highest elected leaders fight to honor this practice.

These are just two of the most obvious illustrations of contorted justice.

Our Clear Responsibility

It is right to “strive” against these things. In Scripture, prophets stood boldly to give God’s evaluation of such practices and call people to repentance. This was not because they hated people—precisely the opposite. It was because the people were doing that which would destroy their lives and the lives of succeeding generations.

The gospel begins with God’s glory, showing how far short we have fallen. It then points to the Savior who can restore us. Proclaiming the full gospel is the greatest and most merciful task anyone can do.

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Joel Hunter is the pastor of Northland Church in Florida. He is also a spiritual advisor to President Obama. In the July/August 2012 issue of Relevant magazine, he was asked what is the best way to pray for our president. His answer…

Three ways. First, pray for his family and the country. The president cares more about them than he cares about his own life.

Second, pray for his relationship with God. He is a human being who needs God’s love and guidance in his life like we all do.

And third, pray for wisdom. The decisions he faces every day are overwhelming; he is well aware of his need for God’s wisdom (p. 24). 

“Seven days without prayer makes one weak.”

~Allen Vartlett


“Prayer can never be in excess.”

~C. H. Spurgeon

The act of praying  is the very, highest energy of which the human mind is capable; praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties. The great mass of worldly men are absolutely incapable of prayer.

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge


God Doesn’t Need Our Prayers But He Uses Them Mightily


Photo by Pete Hunt

Can we believe that God ever really modifies His action in response to the suggestions of men? For infinite wisdom does not need telling what is best, and infinite goodness needs no urging to do it. But neither does God need any of those things that are done by finite agents, whether living or inanimate.

He could, if He chose, repair our bodies miraculously without food; or give us food without the aid of farmers, bakers, and butchers, or knowledge without the aid of learned men; or convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead, He allows soils and weather and animals and the muscles, minds, and wills of men to cooperate in the execution of His will.

It is not really stranger, nor less strange, that my prayers should affect the course of events than that my other actions should do so. They have not advised or changed God’s mind — that is, His overall purpose. But that purpose will be realized in different ways according to the actions, including the prayers, of His creatures.  – C. S. Lewis, on The Efficacy of Prayer.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  James 5:16

If you are born again, God has declared you righteous in Christ. Therefore when you pray, God hears and acts.

Sometimes he doesn’t answer right away, or exactly the way we’d like, but he answers.

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Wednesday August 8, 2012

erwin-lutzer.jpegOne of the great privileges of the Christian life is to learn from those who served Christ longer and have experienced more of His mission. The essays in the Mission of God Study Bible that make up the Letters to the Church are from some of our “older leaders” in the faith.

Today’s essay is from Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church, in Chicago, Illinois.

We are honored that he would contribute an original essay to this study Bible and are thrilled to share it with you.

by Erwin Lutzer

“Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God” (Rv 3:2). In these words from the lips of Jesus, we have the marching orders for the church of the 21st century; here we have commands addressed to us in our culture and in the midst of our successes and failures. Tragedy awaits us if we don’t listen to what Jesus has to say.

Jesus begins this letter to this first century congregation in Sardis with this diagnosis, “you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead” (3:1). Here was a church that was thought highly of in the community, but when Jesus applies His stethoscope to the congregation He cannot discover a heartbeat. The good works of the church members were like grave clothes that masked the marks of death. They had form without power, a reputation without life.

For the rest of the article…

August 2012