Friday, October 10, 2014

Arise, Moms

Arise, cry out in the night,
    at the beginning of the night watches!
Pour out your heart like water
    before the presence of the Lord!
Lift your hands to him
    for the lives of your children,
who faint for hunger
    at the head of every street.
Lamentations 2:19 ESV

As you read this verse, praying moms, realize that this is an action verse. Check out the verbs: arise, cry, pour, and lift.  Such verbs require deliberate action, intense action, and releasing action to the Lord. These words tell us to give intense, deliberate, meaningful pleading with the Lord for our children's very lives.

But, at the same time, these words recognize the Lord's sovereignty over all. Because of that, we can release our children in His care with confidence.

Know this, praying moms—the time you sacrifice in prayer for your children before the unseen Throne is not in vain.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6 (ESV)

Sit down and read out loud to yourself the whole of Psalm 18. Then, praise your living Lord, the God of your salvation—the God of your children's salvation!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Order Results in Rest

Praying moms, when we choose to pray with another mom in conversational, one accord prayer, we are choosing to agree in prayer in a manner that allows the Holy Spirit to center and order our hearts together with His. This makes for prevailing, passionate prayer!

I learned the method of one accord prayer—praying conversationally together subject by subject in an orderly manner—through my participation in Moms in Prayer International (formerly Moms In Touch International). One Accord Praying is the how-to order of prayer given to the ministry of Moms in Prayer by God to call His daughters to praying scripturally and specifically through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Make no mistake—one accord prayer is prayer led by the Holy Spirit. Misunderstanding this leads to missed opportunities for the Holy Spirit to bring powerful fervency to prayer.

So much of Scripture speaks to the fact that our God is a God of order. Creation alone articulates that clear and loud. Without order, the giant star, Canis Majoris, would have wiped out a good portion of the Universe already.

Just look at the instructions given to Moses to complete the tabernacle according to the pattern, (the order) that God had given to him. Not only that. Moses was to order the tribes of Israel as they traveled and as they camped.

When David attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, disaster happened. Why? David said this, "…the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.” (1 Chronicles 15:13 NKJ)

Paul writes, "…because God is the author of order, not confusion." (1 Corinthians 14:33a VOICE)

Definitely, God's own Word informs us He is a God of order.

In his book, "Spiritual Leadership," J. Oswald Sanders writes that a "lack of method and failure to organize have spelled doom for many promising ministries." He continues, "God is methodic and orderly. And God requires of his managers and stewards that "all things be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV) "Our duty is to reflect the orderliness of God in all we do for Him."

By following the Four Steps of Prayer using One AccordPraying, Moms in Prayer members are being led by the Holy Spirit. There is nothing wrong with praying differently. But for Moms in Prayer, this is the "order" given to the ministry by the Lord for His particular mission and His way to accomplish it. God did that, not Fern Nichols, the ministry's founder. She was and is just His instrument. In reality, this is no different than what God did when He gave Moses the pattern for the tabernacle. So, for Moms in Prayer, to do any other "order" is to depart from the leading of the Holy Spirit as God would not contradict Himself.

And, as Moses learned, to do what God had given to him to do meant that he would experience God's presence and rest. For after the tabernacle was built according to God's order and Moses was given his new orders, God assured him—

My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Exodus 33:14 (NKJ)

So, praying moms, order is not only a good thing, it is a Holy Spirit thing!

And when we follow God's order, we are on the path that gives us not only His Presence but rest.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Prayer Warriors

Do you remember singing, or even still sing the song, "I'm in the Lord's Army"?

When you sang, "I'm in the Lord's Army," did the words ring applicable to you?

According to definition, an army is a fighting force. And, like Ron Hutchcraft wrote, "If you know Christ, you are in His army."

In fact, John makes a point of this in Revelation 17:14, where he writes the angel's words, "These [God's enemies] will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” If you are His, you are one of those with Him.

The word Jesus used in the Book of Revelation often translated overcome is the Greek word nikaƍ, which means to conquer… to conquer. There is something required of anyone who desires to conquer. Conquerors fight! Conquering only happens as a result of war, of battle.

An Open Doors International worker said, “…the battle is real but also…victory only belongs to those who participate. So often I hear Christians say ‘we are more than conquerors!’ You can only say that if you are part of the battle.”

And the truth is, we either conquer or we are conquered, we either pursue or are being pursued. That is the kind of enemy we have. That is the kind of enemy our children have!

Tony Evans wrote, "Doing battle with Satan requires more than a dose of will power. All warfare requires weaponry. Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weaponry."

That is what David knew. When David faced an enemy, it wasn't through his own weapons he expected victory. It wasn't with the stones and the sling he expected to beat Goliath. It was with the name of the Lord of hosts.  Jim Cymbala wrote, "That was David’s whole posture, his instinct, and especially his approach to warfare. It doesn’t matter what the Philistine armies have. If we call out to God, He will give us the victory."

Lisa and John Bevere in their book, "Girls with Swords," wrote—"I believe God has awakened His daughters to be more than soldiers. He is calling us to be warriors."

Praying moms, being intercessors, we are, as Os Hillman wrote, "the front-line warriors raised up to do battle for the saints." That is because "intercessory prayer is the secret weapon of Spirit-led activity."

Intercessors are the victorious warriors in the work of the Kingdom, which is the spreading of the Gospel—God's good news of salvation—to all people. You are the offensive army on the battlefield over the "land" of the next generation. You participate action by action, pushing back the enemy until triumph occurs. That's who you and I are!

We need to wake up and switch into war mode. As Christ's own, the purity and fire of His love should motivate us to action. This is love-motivated warfare.

Linda Mealiff, the Moms in Prayer Kansas State Coordinator, wrote, "How do you want to be remembered by your children? … for being kind or loving, supportive, involved, accessible, fun or wise. I aspire to be all those things, but I’ve come to believe that THE most loving thing I can do for my children and grandchildren is to pray for them. I want to be known as a praying mom. I’m not talking about “God bless Jimmy” prayers. I’m talking about intense intercession for salvation and godly character and specific areas of weakness that Satan is attacking. I’m talking about getting into “war mode,” which even the sweetest mama is capable of when her child is being threatened or assaulted."

This is love-motivated warfare AND peace-motivated warfare. Paul said in Romans 16:20 that it is the God of peace who will crush Satan under our feet. Peace will only come through conquering evil. So, as warriors of the Kingdom we need to stay ready! We've been called to join our Lord in the battle of intercession with authority, His authority. We must follow Him into the fight! We must follow His example and speak "It is written" over our enemy on behalf of our children.

I think of Joshua standing overlooking Jericho. Moses was gone. Perhaps he was thinking of all that had gone before. And now…  But when Joshua looked up, he saw the Commander of the Army of the Lord with His sword drawn.

Listen to Deuteronomy 20:1-4, Moses' words to Joshua and the Israelites.

When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you,
to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

Sing it, prayer warrior—"I'm in the Lord's Army…"

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 in 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 in 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.