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Posts Tagged ‘1 Thessalonians 5:17’

Unceasing Prayer

February 24th, 2014

“We have not stopped praying for you.” Colossians 1:9 NIV.

Prayer commits enduring seeds of amazing possibilities into the eternal purposes of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “unceasing prayer.”

There are many things you can do for others – acts of kindness, encouragement, words of counsel, practical assistance – but there is nothing more helpful or effective than praying for another person. You are only able to help another person within the limits of your awareness and understanding, limited resource, or in observable needs. But what of needs unseen or unsaid?

There are times when you want to help a person, and would help if you only knew how. In such times, I suggest you pray for them. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us . . the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will . . The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV/ James 5:16 NLT. Prayer is a way that you can touch another’s life beyond your normal reach.  When you pray, you invite God to do what you cannot.

Ambiguous prayers are not likely to have powerful results. The Apostle Paul was faithful and direct in his prayers because he knew the value of others’ prayers for him, “As you help us by your prayers . . many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:11 NIV. See also Romans 12:11-12 NIV. Paul was steadfast in praying because he knew what his prayers could accomplish, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom . .” Colossians 1:9 NIV.

Notice that Paul was, “asking God,” not demanding of God. Prayer is not pressuring God; nor is it a passive assumption of what will be will be. Prayer is the sincere expression of your heart’s desire for God’s best for another, realizing that you may not always know the best that God has for them,  but He does. Notice also that Paul did, “not stop praying.” There are crisis occasions necessitating prayer, but more generally, there is need for continuing prayer.

Prayer commits enduring seeds of amazing possibilities into the eternal purposes of God. John had a vision of the Throne of God where those worshipping, “. . held gold bowls filled with incense – the prayers of God’s people . . and the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended before God from the angel’s hands.” See Revelation 5:7-8 NLT/8:3-4 NKJV. Prayers remain ever upon the heart of God. The impact of prayer is not always visible or immediate. Prayers do not expire by clock or calendar; they are eternal! “Pray without ceasing . . this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV.

When you do not know how to pray for someone, pray as Paul did for those he loved. Prayer touches God’s heart and changes others for the better when prayer asks God for, “knowledge of His will, wisdom, and understanding, a life pleasing to God, fruitfulness and growth in good works, patiently enduring with God’s strength, and a joyful, thankful life in God.” Read Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. See also Philippians 1:9-11 NIV/2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you will value the promise and practice of prayer.

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The Privilege of Prayer

September 16th, 2013

“Say to this mountain, be removed . . and not doubt in your heart!” Mark 11:23

The power of faith is the essential partner to the privilege of prayer.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the privilege of prayer.”

Ever wondered why something that costs you nothing, takes as little or as much time as you choose, and can be done anytime or anywhere, but still finds few people who regularly take advantage of its opportunity and possibilities? I have wondered. Why do we all pray much less than we could and should? For amazing things to happen, all God requires is that you pray and believe. Prayer is a high and holy privilege.

I wonder about the apparent indifference and frequent neglect of prayer. Do we think we can handle life by ourselves? Are we not convinced that praying makes any difference? Do we save prayer and faith for only those really bad things, really big things? Your answer to those questions may expose the problem. Imagine having a trusted friend who wants and waits to talk with you whenever you need, yet you rarely approach them when you really need help. Sadly, many do that to God.

A lot of excuses are made for not praying – busyness or not knowing how or what to say. But are those reasons or excuses? A person makes time for what they think important or beneficial. Conversing with others never seems to be a problem, and prayer in its simplest form is honestly conversing with God, then listening for His impressions within your heart.

I think the real issue may simply be a failure to trust that God hears, that God cares, and that God will act on your behalf. Prayer is normal and natural to the way that God created you; you have the need for companionship and communication with your Creator, your Father. The Bible’s wise counsel is simple enough, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT.

Prayer is the means God gives you to personally experience His nearness, to communicate your love, thankfulness, desires, needs, or questions, and to see His caring and faithfulness in your life and situations. Jesus assumes you would appreciate the powerful, practical privilege of prayer. God’s expectation is forthright, “Pray without ceasing . . men should always pray, and not give up [doing so].” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV/Luke 18:1 NIV.

The power of faith is the essential partner to the privilege of prayer. The Bible inseparably connects those. “Assuredly, whoever says to this mountain, be removed . . and does not doubt in his heart! . . when you pray, believe. .” See Mark 11:22-24 NKJV. “He who comes to God must believe . . He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.” See Hebrews 11:1/6 NKJV. Believe in Who God is – powerful, faithful, wise, caring, and compassionate.

Practice prayer to know God’s heart and trust His will and wisdom for you, not just believing that God will give you whatever you wan whenever you want it. Is that really how you expect prayer and faith to work? I think faith is the very practical sense of trusting that God will give you what He knows is best for you and serves His purpose in yours and others’ lives. Read 1 John 5:14-15 NIV.

My prayer for you today is to seek every occasion to draw closer to God in prayer.

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Mixture

July 29th, 2011

“He will sit as a refiner . . of silver.” Malachi 3:3 NIV

“Purity only increases value and worth; impurity devalues one’s soul.”

My thoughts today are about “mixture.”

Probably none of us are as pure and pristine as we wish we were, until and unless we allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse and purify our hearts. Paul wrote about the “old man” with deceitful desires, and the “new man” created in true righteousness. Ephesians 4:22-32 NIV. Though it causes you concern, you are a mixture and within that mixture are impurities. Things you’ve said or done may have occasionally been less than edifying to others. In the privacy of your thoughts you might hold opinions and attitudes you would not likely want everyone to know. Those are impurities that God is working to remove, refining your life. When indulged, impurities depreciate who you are and diminish what you become. The things of lesser quality allowed in your life displace the right things of greater quality that God intends for your life. What you allow controls you; what you change frees you.

Paul described that dilemma of mixture this way, “No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway . . it seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong . . what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:18-25 NLT.

That’s the only place you will find the right answers for your life, whatever the question about going forward – “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord!” Chapter 7 accurately diagnoses the problem, but must be accompanied by chapter 8, which assures your successful deliverance. Exactly because Jesus is Lord, He does not merely have the answer; thank God, man’s Savior is the Answer! See John 14:6-7 NIV.

Can you change? Not by yourself. “Change usually comes when it hurts so much that you have to change, when you learn so much that you want to change, and when you receive so much that you welcome change.” (Author unknown). Those phrases describe three elements for motivating change: pain and suffering that will not allow you to remain as you were, truth that brings understanding of change, and mercy and grace that empowers change. See 1 John 3:1-3 NIV.

Change does not just happen; real and lasting change results from the patient intervention of God in your life. The Bible says, “God will be like a refiner’s fire . . He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver . . then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3 NIV. Refining precious metal is a process that requires skill and patience, but also heat. Heat is indispensable to the refining process. As heat increases, any incompatible mixture separates so impurities are identified and removed. Integrity replaces mixture; purity displaces impurity.

Purity only increases value and worth; impurity devalues one’s soul. That is true in so many ways and areas of one’s life. “Avoid every kind of evil. May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 NIV. Blameless; that’s 100% pure! Read Psalm 51:7/10 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you will be pure of heart and single-hearted for God.

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Thanksgiving As Benediction

November 26th, 2009

A Blessed Thanks Giving Day!

May this day be graced with His pronounced blessing and favor upon your heart and home. Thank you for your daily fellowship in God’s Word, allowing me to share something of the practicality and wonders of His truth as that has shaped my life. The privilege is mine that you would give audience to my thoughts and comments, and generously share them with others. I was just told that EveryDay Life in Bulgaria as translated by my friends, Lusi and Svetlana Arsov, has been requested by almost 900 individuals in the last 6 months since being made available by Friends Church in Sofia. I rejoice wherever and by whomever His Word is published and received into hungry hearts.

Thankfully, Allen Randolph

“God saw all that He had made and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31 NIV

Life is best when you look past things distressing to all that is blessing.”

My thoughts today are about “thanksgiving as benediction.”

When you hear the word, “benediction,” do you think of that as the closing prayer or final word of dismissal? Actually, benediction just means “a good word or saying,” which usually comes at the conclusion of some event or activity of success. It feels good when you can look at what you have done or made, and say confidently without undue boasting, “I am proud of that.” You feel satisfied with your effort, and pleased with the result.

God gave His superlative benediction in the Garden of Eden when He surveyed all that His hands had made, “and it was very good.” That’s what God felt when He created the world and all that is in it, and finished with His masterpiece, Adam and Eve. God pronounced confidently, without fear of contradiction, “It is very good.”

Jesus gave the ultimate benediction at Calvary as He hung upon a cross to die for yours and my sin as He cried to the Father, “It is finished.” The single Greek word that phrase is translated from was really a benediction . . “that is my best effort and finest result.” When you were created by the hand of God, and again when you were redeemed through faith in Christ, Heaven heard the Eternal Creator say again, and just as true as at Creation, “It is very good.”

Think about it! God looks at you and speaks a wondrous benediction of grace, “very good!” It is never your right to disagree with God, to contradict for whatever reason what He chooses to prophesy over you in grace and love. “Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.” Ephesians 1:4 NLT. Will you give a benediction about your life, what you have done with your time, talents, gifts and opportunities, and how you have lived it?

On this Thanksgiving Day, look past whatever struggles and challenges of the moment and see the full brilliance of His grace, and the abounding nature of His love, and the generous supply of His daily provision and give thanks.  You will find you have more for which to be thankful than things about which to complain or regret. Life is best when you look past things distressing to all that is blessing. The sincere giving of thanks – God is very good” – is your fitting response of benediction for God’s goodness to you. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV.

My prayer today for you is: may your life be a resounding amen to what God has spoken.

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