May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prayer and Missions

Some Spiritual Gifts
Last summer I was called to intercessory prayer. This was done through a “spiritual gifts” assessment, which I’ve been taking every couple/three years for the past decade. It’s been constant what my gifts were until then. To those that don’t know of these, the Books of Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians talk about them. From Romans: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form on body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

This past summer, intercessory prayer came out the highest. I thought, now what? I really don’t know so much about it. I was in an extraordinary small group study, the subject being spiritual gifts, and intercessory prayer was explained and defined. Still, I just prayed pretty much, I guess, like anyone else. Through God’s intercession and guidence; a few months later the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, CA, led by Jack Hayford, presented a conference, “Penetrating the Darkness, The Power of Praise-Filled Prayer”. It was there I learned how to pray. An amazing thing; I returned to church about 14 years ago, and really had no idea how to pray.  Mostly our prayers are self centered, asking for relief for so many things that cause us pain, with maybe some thought thrown in for some others, almost as an afterthought.

Basic Elements of Prayer
One of the speakers was Dick Eastman, the International President of Every Home for Christ. He presented a structure for prayer. This takes discipline, time and effort; it’s not easy.

He broke down prayer into twelve elements: Praise, Waiting (be silent to be aware of God’s presence), Confession, Scripture (make a reference), Watching (be alert to God’s intervention and guidance), Intercession (prayer for others), Petition (personal needs), Thanksgiving, Singing, Meditation, Listening (receive His instruction) and Praise again. I’m not so much into the singing as part of my prayers, and the suggestion of an hour a day is tough. I can do 15-20 min a day; that’s better than the 5-6 min I started with. I tried to pray on my knees. Very tough to do. Peter, Paul and the rest spent hours on their knees. It’s really painful.

He taught us to have a daily focus: Monday on the Arts and Entertainment, and especially Christians that they may touch others in their field (so few Christians there). Tuesday on Business, Wednesday on Education (I especially focus on teachers), Family, especially that they stay together, Government, not just ours but of every country, Media (that they contribute to bringing us back to Christian values) and Sunday, Religion, that the Holy Spirit moves through every church, and It opens non-Christians to the truth of His Word. He passed out a ‘world prayer map’ so countries are scheduled for prayer, that none are overlooked.

I’ve created a prayer list that I pull up on my computer when I get home. It grows nearly daily. An element I've added is prayer for people that need to hear of Jesus, and I have a link just a little ways down on the right side of this blog. People now know that I’ll pray for them, that I have a list, and come up to me (at work no less!) and ask for prayer. Some question or deny that prayer works. I think since there are so many asking for, and doing the praying, there's no question. It does. 

Something else I’ve done because of this is become a regular contributor to Every Home for Christ. These people go into dangerous areas, work with local Christians, and get the Word out, bringing people to Christ. I've never been called to be a missionary, but I can certainly support those that are. That there are people that testify in Arab/Muslim countries just stuns me. People in those countries kill Christians just because they can. Exceptional vid here about how Christianity is the most persecuted religion on earth. Jesus warned us it would be so. 

I've posted several times about Christian persecution, and we must always always always keep those suffering that most fervently in our prayers.

Romans: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.”  

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