Monday, September 29, 2014

With Versus Beside

One early church concept that our individualistic culture has difficulty grasping is one accord praying.

One accord praying is defined as conversational, agreement prayer. One accord prayer is praying "with" someone as opposed to "beside." The word "with" reveals a particular relation to while the word "beside" means near but not connected with. So praying "with" means you speak as one, agreeing in conversation, one subject at a time.

For an illustration of with and beside, imagine 4 moms, each with a cell phone. Two of these moms are "with" one another. The other two are "beside" each other.

From the two that are "with," there is a constant chiming sound almost drowning out the sound of the keys. But from the two that are "beside," there is only the sound of the keys.

The two that are "with" are having a conversation. It goes something like this:

Susan: Ann, will you pray for my son with me?
Ann: Yes
Susan: Dear Father, I ask that David will live a life worthy of the Lord and please You in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of the Lord.
Ann: Yes, Father, I ask that David will conduct himself the way a Christian should, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
Susan: Lord, I agree, that David will not live one way at home and church, and another way at school. I ask that his Christian walk would be a part of every aspect of his life.
Ann: And Father, that you will open his eyes to what really pleases You, that he will know that obedience brings blessings.

That is one accord, conversational, agreement prayer. They are in "particular relation to."

The two that are "beside," however, have texts that read like this:

Mary: Dear Father, please help my daughter, Julie, to live a life worthy of the Lord and please You in every way, bearing fruit I every good work, growing in the knowledge of the Lord."

Kellie: Dear Father, please help my daughter, Kim, to live a life worthy of the Lord and please You in every way, bearing fruit I every good work, growing in the knowledge of the Lord."

No chiming sounds between them to say, "I hear you. I agree with you."

These two moms are "near but not connected." That is not an illustration of wrong prayer. But it is not an illustration of focused, one accord prayer, "agreeing together as directed and energized by the Holy Spirit." [Moms in Prayer International Booklet]

Did you notice that the moms who prayed "with" prayed differently? David's mom, Susan, prayed a scripture verse, Colossians 1:10 (NASB), for her child. Ann, then, agreed with Susan. However, Ann put the verse in her own words. She spoke from her own "box."

This is something we all do. We all pray from our own "box." Yet, the Holy Spirit is able to speak out loud in prayer to open up our "boxed" thinking through another mom's voice. If you think about it, this is similar to the way the four Gospels were written. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John told the same story, inspired by the Holy Spirit, yet from their own "box."

Now, praying moms, which would you prefer?

With or beside?

As for me, praying with other moms for my children and for their children is much, much preferable.

Back in the city, they went to the room where they were staying—a second-floor room. This whole group devoted themselves to constant prayer with one accord: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), Judas (son of James), a number of women including Mary (Jesus’ mother), and some of Jesus’ brothers.
Acts 1:13-14 (VOICE)


Monday, September 22, 2014

Who is Like You, Lord?

Years ago, in my energetic days as a VBS Director, one of the songs the children sang was a praise song inspired by Moses' words in Exodus 15.

Who is Like You, Lord?

I have read the words, I have heard the stories,
How You rescued baby Moses, how You set Your people free.
I have read the words, I have heard the stories,
How You led them through the desert,
Howe You rolled back the Red Sea.

Who is like You, Lord? Who is pure and holy?
Who is awesome in power? Who can do the things that You do?

I have read the words, I have heard the stories,
How you healed the lame and blind,
How You quieted the sea.
I have read the words, I have heard the stories,
How You died and rose again,
How You saved my life for me.

No one's like You, Lord! No one's so pure and holy!
No one is awesome in power!
No one does the things that you do!

[Words & music by Judy & Marc Roth]

These are verses of praise to our Lord. Praise is a vital part of speaking with God. It isn't so much that praise feeds God's ego—that's not true. It's because praise feeds our spirits.

When we concentrate in prayer on praise, we begin to soak in who God is. Praise helps us turn our focus onto God and off ourselves. Praise displaces fear, anxiety, and worry with trust as we realize there is no one comparable to our God. Praise changes our perspective, which changes our attitude and our actions. That means we can act out our faith in any situation.

I challenge you, praying mom, to take time to hear from your God through His Word as to who He is. Then, lean back into praise. Allow God's everlasting arms to envelope your heart and mind. His faithfulness will then surround you and lift you up!

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
Deuteronomy 33:26-27 (NKJV)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Prayer—a Labor that Works

Last winter, my husband and I had dinner with the oldest son of my college roommate. I hadn't seen him since he was a child. My roommate passed away in 2004 after many years of battling a brain tumor. As her son updated us about his life and family, I learned that his wife was a teacher at a school on the other side of Washington State. I, of course, was interested to find out if there was a Moms in Prayer group for this school. When I got home, I checked.

Moms in Prayer International

The answer was no. In fact, there wasn't a Moms in Prayer group for any of the schools of this particular school district.

So, both of the Moms in Prayer groups that I was a part of at the time prayed that God would work and move moms to start a group.

This summer, I was so excited to share with my groups' members that there had been an inquiry from a mom about the very school we prayed for. AND then just as the new school year was in its first days, a mom registered as a group leader for another school in this school district.

Praying moms, all we did was pray. We didn't "do" any other thing. We just labored in prayer.

We weren't able to drive across the state, visit local churches, put up flyers, pass out prayer cards, etc. So, we labored in prayer.

As James wrote, we followers of Jesus are no different than Elijah. Our patient prayerful perseverance is a labor that brings to earth the tremendous working power of God. (James 5:16b-18 AMP)

Make no mistake. Prayer is a labor that works because it is God Who does the work.

Are you not seeing answers to your prayers? Don't give up. Keep waiting on the Lord. He will work.