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Posts Tagged ‘James 5:16’

The Practice of Prayer

December 1st, 2016

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT.

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

Prayer is asking God for only what is His will to provide.

Friendships do not grow without some sincere measure of communication. Why would that be any different between you and God? In the exchange of thought and heart you know God and become known by Him. Think about this: if God does not speak to you any more than you speak with Him, will you ever know Him as well as you could? And if that be true of you, for all intents and purposes you will be living your life without Heaven’s help. That seems to me a needless risk and a frightening possibility.

Prayer is neither mystery nor magic, though it is sometimes treated as both. The Bible clearly teaches the importance of prayer and assures the power of prayer, yet prayer seems not to be the most consistent practice for many. Some are content to keep prayer as a practice to be used only in case of an emergency. If you neglect the practice of prayer at regular times I am not sure how confident or convincingly you will pray in an emergency.

Prayer is a divine conversation, the most important conversation of your day, the communication of your own heart to God and the corresponding knowledge of God’s heart to you. Prayer involves making time for both speaking and listening. And listening may be the more useful and beneficent part of true prayer. When I was a young boy, my father suggested that I consider the fact that God may have given me one mouth but two ears so that I would listen twice as much as I speak, and learn much more in the process. I think that is good advice in life, and especially in the matter of prayer.

Let’s be practical about this incomparable spiritual discipline. Prayer is not primarily for getting your needs met; prayer is not an occasional list of things you need from God. Prayer is about your needs, but that is not its first or more important value. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV. Prayer is your opportunity for personal discourse with your Heavenly Father that enhances your communication and relationship with Him.

Prayer is asking God for only what is His will to provide. “This is the confidence that we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. Effective prayer is neither mystery nor magic. Your prayers are answered when you pray as Jesus taught us to pray, “Not my will but Yours be done.” Such prayer discovers and releases God’s will. The single thing that makes your prayer most effective is your asking God in alignment with His will.

You can know what the will of God is in any situation. But how? On your own, you cannot fully comprehend the scope and magnitude of God’s will, but you can develop a better understanding of His will by a growing knowledge of God’s Word, the regular exercise of knowing God’s heart through prayer, and by inviting the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer. “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” See Romans 8:26-28 NLT.

A confident relationship clarifies your requests and emboldens your assurance. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT. Intimidated by the requirement of righteousness? Only Jesus can deem you righteous. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 NKJV. What a wondrous God we serve.

Today, I pray for you to make prayer your joyful practice in all things large or small.

Christian Communications 2016

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About God and Governments

July 1st, 2016

Above pride of nation, be a servant and soldier of the Lord Jesus.

“Are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations?“ 2 Chronicles 20:6 NAS.

My thoughts and comments today are “about God and governments.”

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday and heritage, it seems an appropriate time to consider present world realities. You cannot listen to the news even a little without wondering and worrying about the things happening around the globe.

And what is happening? Global politics, accusations and threats from world leaders, heads of governments strutting across the world stage with boast and bravado, bitter political and religious differences, growing terrorism and brutal violence, ideological alliances and fearful attempts to balance military powers, international rivalries and jealousies, lust for power with the threat of nuclear and biological weapons, apparent impotence of most treaties, truces, and international sanctions, as well as angry, military hostilities in too many diverse locations – all combine to create concern for today and uncertainty for the days ahead. Can governments provide the remedy?

Conflicting voices and partisan opinions tell you the solution to all of this is your vote for their candidate or political party, each one promising you greater security and prosperity for yourself and family. Isn’t that what every citizen wants, whatever their nationality, language, religion, economy, or governmental system? But has that ever worked yet?

Where is God in all of this? Here’s what the Bible says. “He made from one man every nation . . having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” Acts 17:26. Ultimately political summits do not shape the geography of countries. Nor do political leaders alone determine the future of nations. God does. Your informed vote in the political process is important; your faith in God and fervent prayer is yet more consequential and powerful – more far reaching to influence the fate of nations. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV. See 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV.

God caused Israel’s oppressors to fund their exodus from captivity with Moses. Exodus 3:21. Generations later, God opened the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, to return Israel’s captives to Jerusalem. Ezra 1:1.  In more recent history, was it the world’s nations that carved out territory and national boundaries for Israel in 1948, again returning the Jewish people to their homeland? Or was that the hand of God, and His promise to Israel from centuries before? Job confidently declared, “God makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations, and disperses them.” Job 12:23-25 NIV.

Here is the sum of this matter of security and prosperity in this day and world. “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8. God promised every generation, “For unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder . . of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end . . the passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!” Isaiah 9:6-7. Is it God, or governments? I will go with God. See Philippians 3:20.

My prayer for you today is that above pride of nation, be loyal as a servant and soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christian Communications 2016

Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Today’s comments were originally written in 2009. As I considered this upcoming weekend for our nation’s celebration of Independence, the words remain a relevant reminder today for freedom loving people in every nation. God’s Truth is timeless and applies broadly. Blessings to all of our EDL readers across more than 120 nations.

The Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC

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God and Governments

July 4th, 2013

My devotional thoughts today are a reprise from the archives of EDL first shared in July 2009, yet remains relevant on this anniversary of our nation’s founding. There is so much upheaval – religious, financial, social, and political – in our world today that it seems advisable to consider anew this matter of “God and Governments.” Peace must begin in the human heart before it will ever lastingly be experienced in our national lives. Blessings!

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“Are You not ruler over all . . the nations? 2 Chronicles 20:6 NAS

Above pride of nation, be loyal as a servant and soldier of the Lord Jesus.

My thoughts and comments today are about “God and governments.”

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday and heritage, it seems an appropriate time to consider present world realities. You cannot listen to the news even a little without wondering and worrying about the things happening around the globe.

And what is happening? Global politics, accusations and threats from world leaders, heads of governments strutting across the world stage with boast and bravado, bitter political and religious differences, growing terrorism and brutal violence, ideological alliances and fearful attempts to balance military powers, international rivalries and jealousies, lust for power with the threat of nuclear and biological weapons, impotence of most treaties, truces, and international sanctions, as well as angry, military hostilities in too many diverse locations all combine to create concern for today and uncertainty for the days ahead. Can governments provide the remedy?

Conflicting voices and partisan opinions tell you the solution to all of this is your vote for their candidate or political party, promising you greater security and prosperity for yourself and family. Isn’t that what every citizen wants, whatever their nationality, language, religion, economy, or governmental system? But has that ever worked yet?

Where is God in all of this? Here’s what the Bible says. “He made from one man every nation . . having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” Acts 17:26. Ultimately political summits do not shape the geography or history of nations. Nor do political leaders alone determine the future of nations. God does! Your informed vote in the political process is important; your faith in God and fervent prayer are yet more consequential and powerful, and more far reaching to influence the fate of nations. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV. See 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV.

God caused Israel’s oppressors to fund their exodus from captivity when Moses led them out of Egypt. Exodus 3:21. Generations later, God opened the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, to return Israel’s captives to Jerusalem. Ezra 1:1. In more recent history, was it the world’s nations that carved out territory and national boundaries in 1948, again returning the Jewish people to their homeland? Or was that the hand of God, and His promise from centuries before?Job confidently declared, “God makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations, and disperses them.” Job 12:23-25 NIV.

Here is the sum of this matter of security and prosperity in this day and world. “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”Psalm 4:8. God’s promise is to every generation is, “For unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder . . of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end . . the passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!” Isaiah 9: 6-7. Is it God, or governments? I will go with God! See Philippians 3:20.

My prayer for you is: above pride of nation, be loyal as a servant and soldier of the Lord.

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Prayers God Hears

December 28th, 2012

 When listening to a person’s words, be sure to hear their heart.

“God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Psalm 66:19 NIV.

Have you ever been listening to someone, then realized you had not heard very much of what they were saying? I think everyone has on some occasion, either as a speaker or listener. When listening to a person’s words, be sure to hear their heart. Hearing is more than just a physical capability; it can and should be a practical means for an emotional connection. Disinterest, or some measure of distraction, can lessen a person’s ability to truly hear what another is saying.  Hearing someone – really hearing with your heart – requires interest, attentiveness, and identification with what concerns them. Listening attentively and hearing compassionately build meaningful, caring relationships.

Let’s apply those thoughts to the practice of prayer. Ever wondered why you sometimes may not be as motivated to pray consistently or confidently? I think prayer can become inconsistent if you are unsure God will be listening. And it logically follows that any lack of assurance of His attentiveness to your needs reveals uncertainty about His personal care for you. Those doubts inhibit prayer. Peter encourages, “Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV. Listening and hearing reflect genuine caring. Be sure of this; on God’s part, genuine caring is never in question.

Joyfully, the Psalmist wrote, “God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer nor withheld His love from me.” Psalm 66:19-20 NIV. You are more eager to pray and more confident when you do so when you are persuaded that God loves you, and listens to your voice and hears your heart.

Additionally, the Bible is clear that the will of God must be uppermost when you pray. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV. I suggest the description, “righteous man,“ implies a person desiring the will of God in their life above all. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. Effective, fervent prayer begins with a lifestyle of submission, submitting every plan and desire to God’s sovereign will.

Ask boldly, but trust His wisdom completely – “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Read Romans 12:1-2 NIV. That should be how you would always describe God’s will for your life as, “good, pleasing and perfect.” Trust God to answer sincere prayer, always at the time and in the way consistent with His will and wisdom for your life.

There are times you will carry a burden requiring prayer, but may be unsure of God’s will in a matter about which you pray. God’s Word has an answer for such times. “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.” Romans 8:26 NLT. Could that describe you or your situation presently? Here’s the answer: “But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” Read Romans 8:26-30 NLT. Read that thoughtfully, then consider it joyfully, “the Spirit pleads for us . . in harmony with God’s own will.” That is prayer to which God listens and hears – and answers!

My prayer for you today is that you know God cares and hears when you pray.

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Handle with Prayer

September 26th, 2012

“Jesus . . spent the night praying.” Luke 6:12 NIV.

Every care and consideration about your life should be handled with prayer.

My thoughts and comments today are, “handle with prayer.”

For all that you do know there is so much that none of us can know completely. For all your capabilities, there is so much of life’s responsibilities and possibilities that you will not successfully handle without help. Everyone likes to think they can handle whatever comes their way; and that seems to work until there is a crisis that requires more than your personal resources or abilities. That seems to be when people are eager to pray for God’s help and willing to accept the prayers anyone is willing to offer on their behalf. So many situations need to be handled with care; every care and consideration about your life should be “handled with prayer.” “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests . .  and always keep on praying . .” See Ephesians 6:18 NIV.

Why should prayer be reserved only as a religious emergency exit from problems or as an emotional relief valve for occasional pressures? Prayer can and should be a suitable and valuable lifestyle. Jesus prayed frequently, often withdrawing from the crowds and relentless needs to simply talk with His Father. “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12 NIV. For Jesus, time with His Father was typical, not an exception. For Him, prayer was neither occasional, casual, nor brief. Jesus modeled the Bible’s expectation, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV.

There was something so appealing and desirable about His praying that the disciples requested of Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray!” See Luke 11:1 NKJV. The model that Jesus gave His disciples is as powerful and practical now as then. Read Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV. Recognize your relationship; reverence God at all times; acknowledge His sovereignty; pledge yourself to His will; receive daily needs gratefully; live in forgiveness; give forgiveness freely; avoid temptation; declare His “Kingdom and power and glory forever.”

I propose you consider this: if Jesus needed frequent times of prayer, why wouldn’t you and I require regular times of communion and communication with God even more? Prayer is not reserved for only the Biblically sophisticated or just those few who have the time or temperament; prayer is an essential lifestyle for all who recognize their need of spiritual resources beyond what they naturally possess. That description should encompass all who value their faith and prize their personal relationship with the Father and Savior.

Prayer should be sincere, serious, and specific. See James 5:16 NLT. Prayer deepens and sustains your growing relationship with God. Prayer focuses your heart and mind on what is eternal rather than momentarily pressing. See Philippians 4:6-8 NIV. Prayer aligns your spirit with God’s heart and will. See Romans 8:26-28 NLT. Prayer connects you with God’s purpose. See 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. The practice of prayer is simple enough for the youngest child to do. Listen to a child’s prayer. No wonder Jesus spoke of people who “receive the Kingdom of God as a little child.” See Luke 18:16-17 NKJV. Children pray with such innocence and faith, unspoiled by the complexities of doubt and circumstance. There is much to be learned from their example.

My prayer for you today is for you to enjoy rich fellowship with God in your daily practice of prayer.

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