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Category Archives: Prayer

Prayers for the sick

PrayerSickCopyright by Bob Rogers.

Perhaps more than any other kind of prayer, people pray for the sick. Yet many are at a loss as to what to say in their prayers.

Honest, simple prayers are best. The Bible teaches us to be honest and straightforward with God in our prayers. King Hezekiah just reminded God of his service to the Lord, and wept. God heard his prayer and his tears and answered his prayer. (2 Kings 20). Mary and Martha prayed a simple prayer to Jesus when their brother Lazarus was sick. They just presented him to the Lord, saying, “Lord, the one You love is sick.” (John 11:3) Lazarus died, and they may have felt their prayer was not heard. Yet a few days later, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead! Let that be a reminder to us that what matters in our prayer for the sick is the One to whom we pray, not the words that we say.

Pray in faith. It is also important to remember that when we pray, we must pray in faith, believing God really has power to do amazing things in answer to our prayer. James 5:15 says, “The prayer of faith will save the sick person.”  If we only think prayer is positive thinking to make us feel good, we might as well just dispense with the pretense that we are talking to Almighty God, and say, “Hey, cheer up! Think good thoughts!” Most of us know that such pop psychology as a denial of reality. We know there truly is a Person greater than us, a Supreme Creator, who revealed His love to us in the Person of Jesus Christ.

With that said, people still struggle with how to put their heart-felt faith into words. So with the above in mind, here are some prayers that I have prayed for the sick, or have heard others pray. May they be an encouragement to others to pray in faith to the Great Physician.

 

General prayers

“Heavenly Father, we thank You for the medicine and knowledge used by the doctors and nurses, but we realize that these are gifts from You, for You are our Great Physician and Healer. Please give wisdom to the doctors as they seek the best treatment, give compassion to the nurses as they care for their patients, give stamina to the family who are caring for their loved ones, and give to the patient Your peace that passes all understanding, that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

“Heavenly Father, we lift the name of this patient before Your throne of grace, and we thank You that it is a throne because you are King of kings, and it is a throne of grace because you are a God of grace and mercy. We ask that you would work in such a wonderful way, that Your Name would be glorified, our faith would be edified, and the old devil would be horrified. As our prayers go up, may your blessings come down.”

“Father, we thank You for Your power to heal, for You created our bodies. We thank You for Your presence in our time of sickness, to bring us strength and encouragement. We thank You for the prayers of our family and friends, who lift up this one who is sick to Your throne of grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.” – Nathan Barber (adapted)

“God, my loved one is ill. I ask for your healing power to come upon them. You give us life and you have the power to renew life. I believe in your power to heal. Open my loved one to whatever for your healing power takes. And help me remember that, no matter what happens, you are the same yesterday, today and forever. You are always with us. Amen.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“Jesus, when You walked this earth, you often touched the sick and healed their bodies. We also know that you did more than heal bodies—you brought healing to the spirit and soul, forgiveness to sinners, and reconciliation to enemies. Today we ask that you heal this one who is sick in any and every way that he needs—touch his body, soul and spirit with your healing power. And we will give You the glory for all that you will do. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.”

“O thou who hearest prayer, we pray thee to be very kind and merciful to thy child, whose body suffers in pain and weakness. Grant unto him patience and tranquility of mind; peace, purity, and courage of soul; the strong will to live; and a heart ready to trust thee waking or sleeping. Bless all the means used for his recovery, and all who minister to him in his suffering. Restore him speedily to health, if it please thee, and above all things grant him that which thou knowest to be best for him, and keep him thine for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.” – Henry Van Dyke

“I pray, God, that You will refuse Satan’s requests when he accuses people (as with Job), I ask You, God, to let nothing hinder Your good plans in their lives, and that You use their situation for Your glory, to bring them and those around them closer to You, and that You heal them if that be what’s best for them.” – Emily Jordan Leggett

“Lord, we ask for Your will to be done in every situation, for wisdom for doctors, strength for families and the one who is sick. We ask for healing, for guidance in every situation, for peace and comfort, for Your Spirit to fill each and every person involved, that Your wrap Your arms around them, that they will know without a doubt that You’re with them. We thank You, Lord, for being our provider, our comforter, our strong tower, our peace, our refuge and our strength in time of need. And we thank You, Lord, for being all of everything for the ones who need healing. We ask for Your army of angels to protect them and may Your will be done. In Jesus name.” – Crystal Hallauer Basdeo (adapted)

 

Prayers for the caregivers

“Thank you, God, for my doctor and nurses. Thank you for their skills and training. Thank you for their patience with me when I am irritable because I don’t feel well. Give them the insight they need to diagnose my illness and determine the right treatment. Steady their hands and give them the power to heal in your name. Amen.” – Norman Vincent Peale (adapted)

“Heavenly Father, we thank You for the knowledge You have given to the doctors, the compassion of the nurses, and the faithful love of this patient’s family. We realize they are able to do what they do because You have given them the ability. We ask that you bless each caregiver, so they can be a blessing to this one who is sick.”

 

Before surgery

“Heavenly Father, we know that you are a good Father, who provides for us, guides us, and leads us in the right way. As the Great Physician, would you guide the attending physicians. As the Prince of Peace, would you give your assurance and peace. As the Good Shepherd, would you guide every decision that is made. We pray this in the mighty Name of our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.”

“Heavenly Father, this Your servant is preparing for surgery. She’s nervous about it, Father. Would you calm her spirit with your peace that passes all understanding? We thank You for the skill and knowledge of the surgeon, and we ask You to guide the surgeon’s hands to complete a successful surgery. We ask that you give this servant of Yours a full recovery, and the patience that she will need during the time of recovery. Please use that time to draw her closer to You, as she must depend on You more than ever before. We thank you for her family who are here by her side. She is so blessed to have so many people caring for her right now. We thank you for how you work all things together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

 

“Our Father, as we face this new experience we come to You for peace and strength. We have confidence in Your healing power and in the doctor. You gave the very life which we have, and since we belong to You, we have trust and faith. We thank You for the understanding that we are constantly surrounded by Your loving, healing care. May Your power be felt through invisible forces. May this operation be successful that this Your child may return to health and useful living; for the sake of Christ and in His Spirit. Amen.” – Edmond Holt Babbitt (adapted)

For someone in pain 

“Jesus, you said, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that are burdened and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ You said, ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ We ask that You would lift this heavy burden of pain with your lightness and brightness. We pray this in the Name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.”

 

For someone not expected to recover

 

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

“Oh, Lord, Your Word says in the Shepherd’s Psalm that You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. Lord, in the midst of this enemy of sickness, would you prepare a table of peace, comfort, grace and mercy? We ask that you will pour out your blessings, and we will let You define the blessing.”

 

“Dear Lord, we do not understand the reason for suffering. We wish we knew the answer to the question, ‘Why?’ But even though we do not have the answer to the question, ‘Why?’, we will not let go of Your hand, for we know that You hold the answer. We will trust You now in the dark, because we know that the Lord is our light and our salvation. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, who shed His precious blood on the cross to forgive us, and rose from the dead to give us eternal life. Amen.”

 

“Heavenly Father, our hearts are broken over the sickness of the one we love. We know that You love him even more than we do. We know that even at this late hour, you are fully able to heal him. But we also know that for every follower of Jesus, there is a spiritual healing that is greater than any physical healing. We know that you have created a place where there is no more suffering, crying or pain. So we ask for peace to accept whatever healing You choose to give him. If You choose to heal him physically now, we will rejoice and glorify You. If You choose to heal him spiritually now, we will rejoice and glorify You, because of our firm hope in the resurrection, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

 

“Our Father, you have given our loved one to us, and You love her even as we do. In confidence and trust we give her back to You. We know that she is Yours. As we climb the steep ascent of faith, please speak peace to our hearts. Take from us all bitterness and mistrust. Although we do not know the answer to many of life’s questions, we do know that we may live in Your love. As we yield ourselves to You, we are confident that You will give Yourself to us; through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Amen.” – Edmond Holt Babbitt (adapted)

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Poem: “Pinned and Wriggling”

Copyright 2014 by Bob Rogers

“I am pinned and wriggling on the wall.” – T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

PrayJAlfredPrufrock

Oh! Beastly burdened groan

Piercing pain in my side

Blood dribbling from my mouth.

 

I shot the arrow and missed the mark

Boomerang cutting back at me

I am pinned and wriggling on the wall.

 

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

 

The incomprehensible creature comes

To pull our arrows out

But what will it be like?

I have grown accustomed to chopped flesh

No! I will keep my arrow

How else can I keep close contact with the wall?

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Book review: “Lord, Show Me Your Glory”

HerrBookI was attending a writer’s conference, and a publisher who was speaking to us said that books often sell well because of marketing and famous authors, not because of the quality of the books. Someone asked the publisher to name a book that did not sell well but was such a quality book that he was glad it was published. The publisher said, “Yes, the book is Lord, Show Me Your Glory by Ethel Herr.”
The book was out of print, so I ordered it from amazon.com. I’m glad that I did.
I spent the year of 2008 going through this devotional. A wonderful journey it was. The book is divided into 52 chapters to be used as 52 weeks of devotions. But each “Week” actually has two or three qualities of God to study, so it really amounts to about two or three devotionals for each week. For example, Week Four is a devotional on God is Carpenter, Potter, and a Working God, Week Twelve is on God as Living Bread and Manna, and Week Twenty is on Discipliner, Teacher/Master and Rabbi. You get the idea.
Herr has a very descriptive writing style. For example, in Week Eleven she describes God’s omniscience by saying, “grace without God’s omniscience would be as elusive as a hollow wind whistling through the broken window panes of an empty church” (p. 72). She also has keen insights into the character of God. In Week Eighteen, she says this about God’s as Resurrection and the Life: “So, when He chooses to let our dreams die so He can give us a resurrection rather than a healing, we sometimes feel abandoned” (p. 114). Each section lists scripture readings for further meditation on that particular quality of God. I found that looking up those scriptures was almost as enriching as the text of her book.
The experience of going through this book will help you understand the character of God in a powerful way. If you are looking for a practical devotional that is all about you and how you live your Christian life, this is not it. But if you are looking for a devotional that will make you forget yourself and will leave you in awe of our wondrous God, bowing before Him in worship, then find a used copy of this rare gem of a book online and order it.

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The Closet of Mirrors

Mirrors

Copyright 2014 by Bob Rogers

I was comfortable in a dark closet

Thinking dark thoughts

Doing dark deeds.

Then a brilliant burst of light revealed

That I’m in a closet of mirrors

I see my ugly, naked body everywhere

I cannot escape in any direction

Every wall is a mirror.

Outsiders can see me through the mirror

But I cannot see them

I wonder what they think and what they see

But I can only see me—

The one person I do not want to see.

I want to cover myself

But I have nothing.

I want to drive a nail through the mirror

But I have nothing.

I fall to my knees, curl into a tiny ball

Wailing, whining, whimpering.

Oh, God, kill me! I have nothing! I need you!

Ting…ping…ping…ting…

Softly a nail falls by my side, skipping on the glass

Then two…three…ten…fifty…a hundred…

Nails crash down, crack open

Cutting me — and covering me.

But now I have something

I have a covering—a covering of rusty nails.

And the mirror is broken at last.

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Guest blog: GBC president Hattaway calls Georgia Baptists to pray for revival

(Below is a guest blog post from Dr. Don Hattaway, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cartersville, and president of the Georgia Baptist Convention.)

DonHattawayRevive 2014: A Call to Prayer

A message from Dr. Don Hattaway, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention

The Georgia Baptist Convention has been greatly blessed by God. We have some of the most dedicated pastors and leaders in the history of our convention, excellent educational opportunities and resources, and the technological ability to deliver our message to the masses. In addition, we live in a state with over 7 million lost people desperately in need of the Gospel. Considering these factors, you would think we would be making great strides in reaching our state for Christ. Sadly, the opposite is true. Baptisms are down. Giving is down. Church attendance is down. Despite all of our efforts, we continue to lose ground in the battle for the souls of men, women, boys and girls across our state. If this downward trend is to be reversed, the problem causing it must first be determined.

I have come to believe that the greatest problem facing our convention is of a spiritual nature. We are in desperate need of revival. As the president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, my vision is to see spiritual renewal experienced in the churches throughout our state. This can only happen when we humble ourselves and seek the face of God. The time has come for all Georgia Baptists to cry out to the Father in confession and repentance of sins. When we are right with God and each other, God will be able to use us to impact our state with the Gospel.

If revival is going to be experienced throughout Georgia, prayer is where it will begin. Since there is no such thing as a prayerless revival, I want to call upon all Georgia Baptist pastors and leaders to begin to pray fervently for revival in our state.

Throughout this year, I will travel across Georgia encouraging the formation of prayer groups that will regularly meet to seek God’s face for spiritual renewal. I hope to see the momentum of prayer and spiritual expectancy build throughout the year leading up to our annual convention at Ingleside Baptist in Macon, Georgia. Our theme will be “Revive Us Again!” The Scriptural basis for this focus is Psalm 85:6, “Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?”  This emphasis is so important I have chosen to refer to this year’s convention as “Revive 2014.”

When messengers leave “Revive 2014” in November, I want them to be able to say they have experienced God’s power and presence in their lives.  My ultimate desire is for Georgia Baptists to come away with a renewed cleansing from God, a unified fellowship among God’s people and a restored passion to worship God and reach our state with the Gospel message. 

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit descended to empower the Church. After ministering alongside Jesus for three years, the disciples were not ready to do ministry because they lacked the power of the Holy Spirit. Once the Holy Spirit descended on the Church at Pentecost, Peter preached the Gospel and 3,000 souls were saved.  The Church, ministering in the power of God, turned the world upside-down for Christ. We, as believers, have the Holy Spirit living within us. However, sin grieves the Holy Spirit and limits His power in our lives. God wants to demonstrate His power in and through us.  For this to happen, we must humble ourselves and pray for a fresh encounter with God.  Only then will we be able to minister in the power of God and impact our state for Christ.

Will you join me in consistently praying for a spiritual renewal throughout Georgia in 2014?  We must not delay.  God wants to do a new work in us and in our convention.  Let us join Him in His work.

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(If you see a video ad below this post, please understand that I have no control over these ads, and that I do not necessarily endorse the product. If you see an inappropriate ad, feel free to contact me, Bob Rogers, at brogers@fbcrincon.com.)

Blessing the food; ways to say “grace” before meals

BOU202915Copyright by Bob Rogers

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
Jesus also blessed the food and gave thanks for it when He fed the 5,000, and when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Thus Christians all over the world make it their regular practice to pray a prayer of blessing and thanks before their meals. But scripture does not record the words Jesus prayed, which is probably a good thing, as it has allowed Christians to develop many different prayers. Here is a collection of prayers I have found from various sources. Of course, it is best to pray from the heart, and avoid getting in a rut. But perhaps by sharing these prayers, it will prompt you to pray some fresh thoughts as you thank God for His blessings each time you eat. Here are the prayers. Where I know the source, I list it in parentheses:

GENERIC PRAYERS

“Thank you, Lord, for the food we are about to receive, and for the nourishment to our bodies. For Christ’s sake, Amen.”

“Humble our hearts, Oh Lord, and make us thankful for these and all our blessings. In Christ name Amen.” (Shared by Brenda Holloway and Darren Thomas)

“Lord, bless this food to our nourishment, and us to Your service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (Traditional prayer I heard in my family.)

“Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive, through Thy bounty through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.” (Traditional Roman Catholic prayer.)

“Christ God, bless the food and drink of Thy servants, for Thou art holy, always, now and ever, and to the ages. Amen.” (Traditional Eastern Orthodox prayer.)

CHILDREN’S PRAYERS

“God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are fed. Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.” (Traditional children’s rhyme.)

“ABCDEFG Thank you, God, for feeding me.”

To the tune of Superman Theme: “Thank you God for giving us food. Thank you God for giving us food. [Both hands pointed up.] For daily bread, that we are fed. [One hand moves to the hip on ‘daily bread’ and then alternate with other hand on ‘we are fed.’] Thank you God [hands up], for giving us food” [hands move to the hips and voice deepens.](Shared by Joseph & Beth Copeck)

“Thank You for the food we eat, yum yum! Thank You for the friends we meet, ho ho! Thank You for the birds that sing, a-ling a-ling! Thank You, Lord, for everything, Amen!” (Robin Anker Peterson of Perth, Scotland, sang this happily to his young children.)

To the tune of Frere Jacques (“Brother John”): “God our Father, God our Father, We thank you, We thank you, For our many blessings, For our many blessings, A-men, A-men.”

HUMOROUS PRAYERS

“Good food, good meat, good Lord, let’s eat. Amen.”

“Lord, bless this bunch as they munch their lunch.”

“Grace in the kitchen, Grace in the hall, please O God, don’t let them get it all.” (Shared by Buddy Wasson)

“Lazarus rose, Moses led, Noah built, Jesus fed. Amen.” (Debbie T. Alsup)

PRAYERS MENTIONING FAMILY AND FRIENDS

“Heavenly Father, bless this food, and bless our friends and family who’ve come to dine with us today. Amen.”

“God, we give you thanks for the delicious food on our table, for the loved ones gathered around, and for you, who make it all possible. We are humbly grateful. Amen.” (Norman Vincent Peale, A Prayer for Every Need)

“Dear Lord, we’ve gathered to share good times, good conversation, good friends, and good food, which we thank you for all. Amen.”

“Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us.” (Shared by Lynda Easterling Stinson)

PRAYERS REMEMBERING THOSE IN NEED

“Give us grateful hearts, O Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (1928 Book of Common Prayer)

“For food in a world where many are in hunger; For faith in a world where many walk in fear; For friends in a world where many walk alone; We give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.” (Huron Hunger Fund, Anglican Church of Canada)

“Oh Lord, make us grateful for this food that we are about to receive, as we remember those who do not have enough to eat. Amen.”

PRAYERS MENTIONING THOSE WHO PREPARED THE FOOD

“Thank you, Lord for this food, and bless the hands that prepared it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” (Traditional prayer I heard in my family.)

“God, many hands made this meal possible. Farmers grew it. Truckers drove it. Grocers sold it. We prepared it. Bless all those hands, and help us always remember our dependence on you. Amen.” (Norman Vincent Peale, A Prayer for Every Need)

“You are mighty Lord, and all providing. We thank you for this food we have been given for nourishment and delight. We ask a special blessing to those who prepared this meal with love and care tonight. Amen.”

PRAYERS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

An old Scottish blessing: Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit. Translated: Some have meat and cannot eat. Some no meat but want it. We have meat and we can eat and [so the Lord be thanked].
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/2002/07/Bless-This-Food.aspx#MqG6G842Slf51mw8.99
Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit. Translated: Some have meat and cannot eat. Some no meat but want it. We have meat and we can eat and [so the Lord be thanked].
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/2002/07/Bless-This-Food.aspx#MqG6G842Slf51mw8.99

Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit.” (Some have meat and cannot eat. Some no meat but want it. We have meat and we can eat and so the Lord be thanked.) (Scottish blessing.)

Alles das wir haben (All that we have), Alles ist gegaben (All of it is a gift), Es kommt, O Gott, von dir (It comes, O God, from you), Wir danken dir dafuer. (We thank you for it.)” (German blessing.)

Cristo, pan de vida (Christ, bread of life) Ven y bendice esta comida. Amen. (Come and bless this food.)” (Spanish blessing.)

My mom tells the story that when I was a little boy, a family member asked me to say the prayer at a large family gathering. I gave thanks for everything on the table and everything else in sight, and as my prayer went on and on, my mom tried to bring me to an end by interrupting with an “Amen.” I looked up and said, “But I’m not finished praying yet.” I suppose there are two lessons in that story. On the one hand, we need to keep our public prayers short and sweet. But on the other hand, we should never be finished praying from the heart. As scripture says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV).

CLICK BELOW TO READ SOME OF MY OTHER BLOG POSTS ON PRAYER:

In this weird political year, be a patriotic prayer warrior

Prayers for the sick

ABC’s of praying for missionaries

The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 1: Times and Places He Prayed

The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 2: Words that He Prayed

The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 3: Lessons Learned

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How do you pray when you are desperate for help?

BlindManHealed

Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers

How do you pray when you are desperate for help?
Matthew 9:27 says, “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, shouting, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
Notice three things about their prayer:
1) They refused to give up. They followed Him, shouting! Luke 18:1 reminds us to always pray and not give up.
2) They made a simple plea. They just said, “Have mercy on us.” Your prayer does not have to be complex or eloquent.
3) They recognized Jesus’ authority to heal. By calling Him “Son of David,” they were confessing that He was the Messiah, who was to be a descendant of David. In verse 28, when Jesus asked them if they believed He could heal them, they said, “Yes, Lord.” The miracle of healing the blind never happened in the Old Testament, but Isaiah 35:5 prophesied the blind would be healed by the Messiah. In our times of desperate need, do we believe Jesus has the ability to do in our lives what nobody ever did before?

ABC’s of Praying for Missionaries

missions
When you ask missionaries what they need from us, more than anything else, they say, “Prayer.” So how can we pray for them? Here are seven scriptural prayers, arranged alphabetically:

Accepted by the believers
“Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that the gift I am bringing to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,” Romans 15:31 (HCSB)

Language study can be difficult, but it’s vital to be accepted among the believers, and fit in. If the missionary isn’t accepted by the believers, he won’t be able to reach the unbelievers.
Unfortunately, believers aren’t perfect, and can have conflict in churches on the mission field, just as churches here can have conflict. So pray for unity between the missionaries and the local believers.

Bold in sharing the gospel
“Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20 (HCSB)

Dr. Cal Guy was a missions professor who was asked to preach a revival. Members were concerned about one man, “Fine Old Mr. Crenshaw,” who was known to be a fine man, but saw no need for Christ. The pastor took Dr. Guy to meet him, and said, “Mr. Crenshaw, I’ve been telling Dr. Guy what a fine man you are.” Dr. Guy retorted, “I don’t believe it. If you’re a man as I’m a man, then you’re a rotten sinner, headed to hell.” After a long pause, Mr. Crenshaw smiled and said, “You’re right. Let’s talk.” And he accepted Christ.
Missionaries cannot be timid about sharing their faith. They need wisdom about when to be bold.

Clear in sharing the gospel
“…that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” Col 4:4 (ESV)

The gospel can often be misunderstood. Hindus want to add Jesus to their other gods, and need to hear that Jesus is the only way. Muslims often think that when we say Jesus is the “Son” of God, that we are talking about a literal, crude sexual relationship between God the Father and Mary. So pray that missionaries will make the message clear in the culture where they serve.

Delivered from unbelievers
“Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that the gift I am bringing to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,” Romans 15:31 (HCSB)

Persecution is very real in many places around the world. Missionaries have been expelled from countries on trumped-up charges. Pray for them to be rescued.

Enter open doors
“At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison,” Colossians 4:3 (HCSB)
“After they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported everything God had done with them and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27 (HCSB)

Steven Gillum, IMB missionary in Curitiba, Brazil, prayed and prayed to discover an area of his city without a church, and then it was shown to him.
Missionaries are always looking for unreached areas. Pray those doors will open for them to go in.

Fruitful
“Now I want you to know, brothers, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now ) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as among the rest of the Gentiles.” Romans 1:13 (HCSB)
“You have already heard about this hope in the message of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world,” Colossians 1:5-6 (HCSB)

William Carey labored in India for seven years without a single convert. One North American missionary befriended 60 families among an unreached people group, but has not yet seen one of them convert to faith. The work can be hard. Pray that they will be fruitful, as Carey was, when eventually God sent a revival. Today there are over a million Baptists in India who consider William Carey their spiritual forefather.

Good Health
“Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.” 3 John 2 (HCSB)

Anytime you go to a different country, you may be exposed to different diseases. When I went on a short-term mission trip to Villa Berthet, Argentina, I noticed trees painted white halfway up, and certain markings on houses. When I asked what it meant, they said that it meant the “chagas” disease from an insect had infected those trees and houses.
In Africa and Asia, missionaries often have to confront malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, typhoid fever, cholera, and hepatitis A, among other diseases. Pray for their health.

Missionaries serve in many different circumstances and different places around the world. Carlton Walker is a missionary reaching out to some of the 24 million senior adults in Japan. A retired man, Mr. S, takes Carlton around and introduces him to people, and he boldly shares his faith when people who have been Buddhist all of their lives. Pray for missionaries like Carlton Walker and others in the United States and around the world.

Why I am praying for President Obama

Picture 513
Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers
Thursday, May 2, is the National Day of Prayer, a day when Christians gather to pray for the president and all of our nation’s leaders. However, many Christians express more anger than prayer for President Obama. The same was true when President Bush was in office. Just as much vitriol was poured out against him from the left as is now being poured out against President Obama from the right. Yet it is my duty to pray for my president daily.
This fuzzy photo is a picture of President George W. Bush. On August 21, 2006, I led a public prayer for President George W. Bush at a campaign rally. After the president spoke, he went through the crowd shaking hands, and I grabbed my camera and took this picture in such a hurry that it came out so fuzzy.
As Mr. Bush greeted the crowd and shook my hand, I said, “I pray for you every day.” He looked me in the eye, and exclaimed, “Thanks, it’s working!” A priest who disliked President Bush’s policies later told me, “It must not be working.” Because he disagreed with the politician, he dismissed the prayer. How short-sighted! Scripture commands us to pray for our leaders. The apostle Paul said, “I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and for all those who are in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, HCSB).
The Old Testament prophets modeled this kind of praying for us. Isaiah said that the Lord “wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isaiah 49:16), Jeremiah wept over the nation, and Ezekiel called for someone to “stand in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30) on behalf of the nation.
So I must pray for President Obama, just as I prayed for President Bush.
After all, if first century Christians could pray for a Roman emperor who threw them to the lions, cannot we pray for an elected president with whom we may disagree? Notice that when Paul urged us to pray for political leaders, he also gave us a reason: “… so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2b). African-American pastor Tony Evans points out, “What many conservative Christians fail to realize … is that when our first black president, Barack Obama, is dishonored through caricatures, name-calling, or disrespectful talk by white Americans, it merely creates a greater chasm between the races.” (Tony Evans, Oneness Embraced, p. 52). Evans illustrates what the apostle Paul was talking about– angry words instead of words of prayer for President Obama create chaotic lives, not tranquil lives. One preacher pointed that that if we would pray for the president instead of complain about the president, maybe he would do better.
So I am praying for President Obama. Will you join me this Thursday and every day?

Recommended reading on The Lord’s Prayer

There are many wonderful books that have been written on the Lord’s Prayer, but there are two in particular that I have found inspiring.
LordsPrayerLucado
Max Lucado’s book, The Great House of God: A Home for Your Heart, uses the creative analogy of a big mansion to compare to the Lord’s Prayer. He takes each part of the prayer and compares it to part of the great house. For example, the study is where we learn “thy will be done,” and the kitchen is where we pray “give us this day our daily bread.” Lucado draws a visual image of the prayer that helps the reader see it in fresh ways.

 

 

 
LordsPrayerHaase
Albert Haase’s book, Living the Lord’s Prayer: The Way of the Disciple, is my favorite book on the Lord’s Prayer. He challenges the reader to live the prayer, not just say the prayer. He takes each part of the prayer and challenges us to put the principles into practice. He uses personal and deeply moving illustrations that encourages the reader to be different because of this prayer.

The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 3

PrayerSunriseMount
Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers
This is the third and final post in my series on the prayer life of Jesus. In the past two days we have taken a survey of the times and places Jesus prayed, and the actual words recorded in His prayers. Based on that, here are four lessons I have learned from Jesus’ prayer life:

1. The priority of prayer. He made prayer a high priority. Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 6:12-13; 11:1. If prayer was so important for Jesus, how much more necessary is it for us?

2. The privacy of prayer. He constantly prayed in private. Matthew 14:22-23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 9:18. Oh, how we need to get alone with God like Jesus did.

3. The pinnacle prayer principle. He loved to pray on mountains: Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12; 9:28. However, the fact that He often withdrew to “deserted places” (Luke 5:16) shows that the important thing was to be alone in God’s creation. Your place in nature may be a lake, a small garden, or front porch, or backyard swing. Even if you live in a crowded city, you can find a balcony or quiet room to focus your thoughts on God. The point is that Jesus knew that He had to be in a place where His total attention was upon the Father.

4. The people prayer principle. The more people, the shorter the prayer, the fewer people, the longer the prayer. His public prayers were short. Luke 10:21; John 11:41-42; Matthew 27:46. He condemned long prayers for show in Mark 12:40. His longest recorded prayer, John 17, was with a small group, while His longest prayer of all was totally alone (Luke 6:12). Too often we reverse this and pray too long in public and don’t pray enough in private.

What lessons have you learned from Jesus’ prayers?

The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 2

PrayingJesusCopyright 2013 by Bob Rogers
Yesterday I began this study of Jesus’ prayer life. We looked at the times and places that He prayed, and today we will look at the actual words He prayed. After the previous study revealed how pervasive prayer was during His earthly life, it is striking to notice that there are relatively few prayers of Jesus for which we have the words recorded. In fact, I have only noticed ten. Of those ten, the first two are actually model prayers that He gave for us to pray, and most of the others are extremely short. The great exception is His “high priestly prayer” in John 17, which should indicate to us how important it is to study that prayer in particular.
Here is a list of the recorded prayers of Jesus:

The Words that He prayed:

1. The Model Prayer (usually called “The Lord’s Prayer”). Matthew 6:4-13; Luke 11:2-4.
2. The Model Confession. Jesus tells a parable and says the prayer of the tax collector is a worthy example of confession. Luke 18:13.
3. Praising God for His revelation. Matthew 11:25-26; Luke 10:21.
4. Thanking God in advance for answering prayer. John 11:41-42.
5. For God to glorify His name. John 12:27-28.
6. His High Priestly Prayer. John 17:1-26. Here Jesus prayed for Himself to be glorified (v. 1-5), for His disciples to be sanctified (v. 6-19), and for all believers to be unified (v. 20-26).
7. For God’s will. Matthew 26:36-44; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:40-46.
8. On the cross: forgiveness. Luke 23:34
9. On the cross: forsakenness. Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34.
10. On the cross: finality. Luke 23:46.

(To Be Continued Tomorrow)

The Prayer Life of Jesus Christ, Part 1

Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers
PrayingJesusAlone
The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1). The record of His prayers in the four Gospels teaches us many valuable lessons. We can learn from the times and places that He prayed, and from the words that He prayed. We can also see several patterns in His prayers and draw conclusions from them. Over the next few days, I will share several prayer lessons from Jesus’ prayer life.
First, notice the times and places that He prayed:

1. Early in the morning. Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42
2. At the end of a long day. Mark 6:30-31, 45-56; Mathew 14:22-23
3. All night before a major decision. Luke 6:12-13
4. Before meals (Feeding 5,000 and 4,000; Last Supper). Matthew 14:19; 15:36; 26:26-27; Mark 6:41; 8:6; 14:22-23; Luke 9:16, 22:17; John 6:11
5. In private. Matthew 14:23; Luke 5:15-16; 9:18. (See Matthew 6:6)
6. With a small group of disciples. John 18:1-2.
7. Often in deserted places. Luke 5:16
8. On a mountain. Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12: 9:28
9. For a disciple to be strengthened. Luke 22:31-32
10. At His baptism. Luke 3:21-22
11. At His transfiguration. Luke 9:29
12. On the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32; Luke 22:39-40. John 18:1-2 says He went there often with His disciples.

(To Be Continued Tomorrow)

The Old Testament prayer of Jesus

PrayingJesusAlone

Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers

“Then the Angel of the LORD responded, ‘How long, LORD of Hosts, will You withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that You have been angry with these 70 years?’ The LORD replied with kind and comforting words to the angel who was speaking with me.” – Zechariah 1:12-13, HCSB

I believe that the person called the Angel of the LORD in this passage is the pre-incarnate Son of God, and that this is a unique example of a prayer of Jesus in the Old Testament.
Notice that He is called “the LORD” in Zechariah 3:2, even though He is called the Angel of the LORD in verse 1 and 4 of that same chapter.
We also see that the Angel of the LORD appears to Abraham in Genesis 22:11-12 yet speaks as God, and appears to Jacob in Genesis 31:11 and wrestles with Jacob in Genesis 32:24-30. In the last passage, Jacob says He saw God face to face. In Daniel 3:24-25, a fourth person appeared in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews, and one is described as looking “like a son of the gods.” All of this leads many Bible commentators to wonder if these are appearances of Jesus, the Son of God, in the Old Testament.
Another reason why I take Zechariah 1:12 as a prayer of Jesus is the unique wording of the prayer. While we read of angels praising God in Ezekiel 3:12, Luke 2:14, Revelation 15:3-4; 16:5-6, it is unusual for an angel to pray like this, making intercession. However, this prayer fits the prayer and personality of Jesus. Hebrews 7:25 says that Christ always lives to intercede for us, and Matthew 23:37 says that Jesus wept over Jerusalem. In this passage, the Angel of the LORD prays for God to show mercy and forgiveness to the exiles of Jerusalem after 70 years in Babylon.
Notice also how the LORD replies to the prayer of the Angel in Zechariah 1:13: “with kind and comforting words.”
Oh, that Christ might intercede for us, who are His followers, and He does! Oh, what joy to know that the Son prays for mercy for us and the Father replies to that prayer with comforting words!

How to pray in times of distress

PrayerHandCopyright 2012 by Bob Rogers

Psalm 102 teaches us how to pray when we are in distress.

It was written by someone who suffered through the exile in Babylon, but it applies to anybody in suffering. Like the changing weather, this psalm expresses the psalmist’s changing mood. Open your Bible to the psalm and follow this prayer outline:

1) Clouds gather (v. 1-2). He first cries out to God. “Lord, hear my prayer…Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble…”

2) Gloom and darkness (v. 3-11). Next, he describes his suffering: heartache (v. 4), he can’t eat (v. 4), he loses weight (v. 5), he is lonely (v. 6). he can’t sleep (v. 7), he suffers abuse (v. 8), he weeps (v. 9), and he suffers because of his sin (v. 10). Thus he says, “My days are like a lengthening shadow.” (v. 11). But the clouds part and the sun shines in.

3) Sunshine (v. 12-22). A ray of future hope from the Lord shines in his heart, and he sees that he will see the ruins of Zion and rebuild Jerusalem, or at least the future generations will see it.

4) Clouds return (v. 23-24). But as he waits for the fulfillment of his future hope, the clouds of doubt return briefly. Can’t we all relate to that?

5) Eternal light (v. 25-28). Finally the psalm ends with a statement of faith in the eternal light of God, for even when the earth wears out like clothing, “You are the same, and Your years will never end.” (v. 27). This part of the psalm is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 as a prophecy of Jesus Christ. This reminds us that our ultimate light and hope for our distress comes when we trust in Jesus.