Where is your mind fixed?

Where is your mind fixed?

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

With so many details to keep up with, with so much to think through, how can we possibly fix our eyes—our mind—on Jesus?

Perhaps the better question is, Is our mind fixed—or is it often fluid, scattered, unfocused, distracted, drifting? So full we can’t concentrate? Overloaded with things to do? Too many details to remember? Plans to make? Worries? Anxious thoughts?

How do you set your thoughts on Jesus in the midst of so much pressure and responsibility? Begin your days with worship. Even a brief prayer, early in the day, that worships Christ specifically by His names and attributes will help set your mind toward Him. Then, as you move through your day, when you find yourself thinking of all that you have to do and the consequences of not getting it done, fix your minds on Jesus.

Focus on Jesus as your Shepherd who promises you will not want. Remind yourself that He will give you rest, renewal, protection. (Psalm 23). He promises to lead you, so talk to Him about your schedule, ask Him what to do next. Ask Him to anoint your conversations and give you wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24). Acknowledge that He is your Wonderful Counselor and your Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Thank Him for His faithfulness (1 Corinthians 1:9).

We can’t hold two thoughts at once. Isn’t it better to focus on Jesus during those times when our minds have a tendency to drift—and worry?

Father, help those who read this prayer keep their eyes on Jesus. May they put Him before them, and think about Him instead of their problems. Lead them to bring their worries and concerns to You. Help them to realize how much You care for them and what they are going through. We pray they will not grow weary or lose heart. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Why pray the Scriptures for one other?

Praying that our faith will grow more and more, and the love that we have for each other will increase (2 Thessalonians 1:3) doesn’t sound like spiritual warfare prayer, does it?

But any Scripture can be a warfare prayer. In Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul says we are in a battle against the powers of darkness. Our assignment is to stand our ground and pray. We’re to put on the full armor of God and wield our weapon—the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Not the whole Bible as one weapon, but the Bible as an arsenal of weapons, every verse a different sword!

As we pray God’s Word for each other, our prayers are defeat Satan. It’s not the prayers, but the promises behind them. God has promised that we’ll have what we ask, when we pray according to His will. His Word is His will. He has also promised that His Word will accomplish its purpose (Isaiah 55:11), that it is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and sharper than a double-edged sword. A simple prayer such as “help our faith to grow more and more, and our love for each other to increase” becomes a powerful weapon against Satan because of God’s promises. Such a prayer will defeat evil spirits seeking to discourage our faith or disrupt our relationships and give us victory.

As you read His Word, write down scriptures that you want to pray. As you do, you will be creating your own arsenal of weapons to pray over yourself, your family and friends. Scripture prayer guides are also an excellent tool because they contain targeted short prayers from God’s Word. Try Make My Family Strong or Standing My Ground from PrayerPower Ministries.

Prayer for today:
Jesus, we exalt You as the living Word of God. Thank You that the written Word never returns empty but always accomplishes Your purpose. May we take time to read Your Word for it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Your Word is truth; teach us how to pray it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Why does praying together add power to our prayers?

Why does praying together add power to our prayers?

There is power in unity! When soldiers march across a foot bridge, they break cadence because the force generated by their unified marching can bring down a bridge. Apply that same idea to the spiritual world, and you can see why there is power in united prayer—just as physical force is exerted when soldiers march in step, spiritual power is released when God’s people come with one heart and purpose, praying in cadence.

Joining together for unified prayer—
Such power in unity is strongest when God’s people (couples, families, small groups, churches) pray the same scriptures, for the same needs. Such praying can rest on two significant promises:

1)…so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish My purpose…. (Isaiah 55:11a)

2) Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. (1 John 5:14-15)

The most certain way to pray God’s will is to pray His Word, and it will accomplish His purpose. When we pray scripture in unity, our prayers exert a strong spiritual force that is magnified as we continue. So let’s pray God’s Word in unity!

Jesus, we exalt You as the living Word of God. Thank You that the written Word never returns empty but always accomplishes Your purpose. Show us who You want us to pray with and teach us how to pray scripture together.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Do we share Paul’s passion to know Christ?

“I want to know Christ….” (Philippians 3:10a)

Do we share Paul’s passion? Should we?

The Apostle Paul’s passion to know God, to live in a close, personal relationship with God, was the driving force of his life and service.  The full meaning of the word “know” in the Greek helps us better understand the kind of relationship with the Lord that is essential for us…

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]…. (Philippians 3:10a, AMP, italics added)….

Jesus uses the same Greek word, ginosko, in describing how He knows us and we’re to know Him—in describing how we must know Him:

“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me….” (John 10:14, italics added)

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22-23, italics added)

How do we develop such a relationship?

Through spending daily time alone with God in prayer (Matthew 6:6, 9-13). As we spend time alone with God in prayer, He welcomes us into a personal relationship of growing spiritual intimacy, one in which we not only sense His presence and speak to Him as we move through our days, but also learn to hear His voice:

…the sheep follow [the shepherd], for they know his voice. (John 10:4-5, italics added)

Daily consistency is the important thing. Our prayer time does not have to be for a long period of time, but spending some time with God every day  is not an option if we want to know God in a personal way. God will honor even a few minutes a day if we devote them to Him, reading His Word and praying as Jesus taught.

Father, May the people who read this prayer come to know You better a love You more every day of their lives. Help them to spend time alone with You every day, in prayer and in the Word, so they can enjoy a close, personal relationship with You. In Jesus’ name

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Why does Matthew 6:33 make such a powerful prayer?

“May we seek Your kingdom and righteousness first in our lives.” (Matthew 6:33)

Why, with so many practical, material needs always present in our lives, would we suggest we pray this verse for each other, about seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness rather than His provision?

What makes this one simple verse a powerful and effective prayer?

Apart from the fact that this is the way we should all be living, the last half of this verse is a wonderful promise. It says when we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first in our lives “all these things will be given” to us as well.

What things? In the context of this passage, in Matthew 6:25-32 Jesus is saying we should not worry about the basic necessities of life—what we’ll eat, what we’ll wear. Instead, we should seek God’s kingdom and righteousness before everything else, and what we need to meet our needs will be given to us.

If you want to strengthen this brief prayer even more, add “May we seek You and Your kingdom and righteousness first in our lives,” because those who seek the LORD lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10, italics added).

Finally, there is another great promise for those who seek God with their whole heart.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

God isn’t hiding! We will find Him! If we seek . . .

Father, Help the ones who read this prayer to seek You and Your kingdom and righteousness as their priority every day, to make pleasing You the most important thing in their lives. Thank You for Your promise that when this is how we live, You will take care of our daily needs. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Three Key Prayers, Part 3

Over the last three weeks we’ve studied areas of prayer–so that we might pray more effectively for ourselves and for others.

Today we finish that series with a final look at prayer through the lens of sacrifice.

The Prayer of Sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2)

Here is the way to know, and to do, the will of God. Paul understood it, and he presents it as a plea to every follower of Christ: “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Isn’t this the deepest desire in the heart of every child of God? To know and do His will, through the transformation of our minds by the power of His Spirit? To lay our very lives on His altar and become acceptable to Him?

It is not only possible; it is essential, and it comes as we daily pray that prayer of sacrifice:

“Lord, accept the offering of my body as a living sacrifice; it is my spiritual act of worship. Transform me, by the renewing of my mind, so that I may know and do your will. Through the sacrifice of Your Son I come, and in His name I pray. Amen.”

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Three Key Prayers, Part 2

Today we kick off a three-part series on three separate areas of prayer. When we understand these three essential areas of prayer–we will pray more effectively for ourselves and others.

From both the example and the teaching of Jesus, we know that the Christian life does not consist of doing things–not working at Christian tasks–but of a relationship with Himself. This relationship is build through prayer.

The Bible gives many examples of how prayer is involved in this personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

The Prayer of Surrender (Acts 9:6)
On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus–chief persecutor of the Christians–was gloriously converted and became Paul, the anointed Apostle to the Gentiles. When he heard the voice of his Lord, and recognized Who had spoken to him, he had only one possible response–as we do:

“Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6 NKJV)

When Saul became Paul, he yielded his life completely to the will and work of Jesus Christ. He surrendered, and never again would be disobedient to his Master. That was the work of God’s transforming grace in the life of one man–and an example of the transformation that God seeks in the life of everyone He saves.

Ask it for yourself right now: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

Be sure to check back next week for Part 3 of this series.

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Three Key Prayers, Part 1

Today we kick off a three-part series on three separate areas of prayer.  When we understand these three essential areas of prayer–we will pray more effectively for ourselves and others.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1) The evidence of the Gospel accounts would suggest that they were not only asking for a method; they might well have been saying: “Lord, show us why prayer is essential for our lives, as it seems to be for Yours.”

From both the example and the teaching of Jesus, we know that the Christian life does not consist of doing things–not working at Christian tasks–but of a relationship with Himself. This relationship is build through prayer.

The Bible gives many examples of how prayer is involved in this personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

The Prayer of Salvation (Matt. 14:30)

In Matthew 14:22-31, Peter had asked to be empowered to walk on the water, and had heard the Master say “Come.” But Peter was suddenly gripped with fear, as he saw how precarious his position seemed. And he began to sink. It was then that Peter cried out the prayer we all must utter, “Lord, save me!” It was a prayer of helplessness, a recognition that he was sinking and had no power to save himself.

Two truths emerge from this incident:
•Jesus is the One Who calms fears
•When we ask for help, Jesus is the One Who says, “Come…” And He responds then when we cry out to be saved.

Be sure to check back next week for Part 2 of this series.

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Strong Faith

As we pray through the Twenty-Third Psalm, early on we must make a declaration of our faith, as David did. In the opening verse of his psalm, David declared, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” [Psalm 23:1]

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that though we may pray this psalm every day as a personal prayer, there will be times when it seems that we are in want.

David had those days. Yet his psalm is an affirmation of his faith, his trust in the Lord, no matter what.

It can be such an affirmation for us as well, as we begin to know and love the Lord as David did. He was a man after God’s own heart–not a perfect man, but one who loved God. His beautiful psalm is a declaration of that love. David knew God in a personal way as his shepherd, and out of that experience of knowing God, he learned to trust Him. Over time, throughout his life, David’s faith was built through His experience with the living Lord, as ours will be.

Our prayer expresses that heart desire–“Lord, help me to know You, that I may have faith to believe that no matter what the circumstances, I can trust You. Help me to live with the certainty that I know I shall not be in want of what You know
that I need.”

Pray with us — Lord, may our love and faith and trust in You grow daily, for we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Lord–Our Shepherd

When we pray through the Twenty-Third Psalm, one of the reasons why it makes such a powerful and appropriate prayer is that is isn’t an easy prayer to pray.

David begins, “The Lord is my shepherd.” David understood what it meant to be a shepherd, how thorough, how complete, how total the care of the sheep had to be, for they were helpless without the shepherd. He knew how totally dependent the sheep were on the shepherd–for everything.

If we are to pray this psalm as a prayer, we must pray from David’s perspective– one of absolute dependence. Is that how we come to our Lord in prayer? Are we willing to set aside our natural independence to come as helpless and dependent as sheep?

David also knew how well a shepherd had to know each individual sheep–how else could he tell when one wandered away? He knew the commitment, the devotion that is required, the constant watch care and provision. He knew the heart of a shepherd.

What does that say about his relationship with the Lord, that he could equate Jehovah with his shepherd? What level of tenderness does that reveal in their relationship? What did David have to give up about himself to know Jehovah in that way?

What do we have to give up to be able to honestly pray, “Lord, You are my shepherd…?”

Pray with us — Lord, help us to come as sheep to our loving and faithful shepherd, totally dependent and filled with trust. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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