Friday, December 22 2023
Good Morning Listening, Birthing Pray-ers! Be still and know. Listen, receive and birth God's will in prayer. Keep persevering at fulfilling your call to pray and as one of our key players in God's Good News Delivery Co. God is hearing and responding as He reveals what to pray and brings to life our prayers. Pretty cool, huh?
I often, like today, think I know where God is wanting to lead me for these blogs which are my journal notes from my quiet time each day. And as usual, God has revealed something slightly different as I listen, receive, process with Him and release His Word, will and plans in prayer. I don't know if I can emphasize enough the importance of the role of prayer warrior for our Good News Delivery Co and for God's Kingdom to come and will to be done in, through and around us. Keep persevering in prayer and know that you are a very valued and critical part of our Body and mission! Thank You!
SO let's start with Our Daily Bread (ODB) devo today reminding us of the nearness of God. He is very close and speaking to us all the time. Are we listening? Processing? Releasing? Look at their questions as they remind us of His peace He brings as we still ourselves, listen, understand and pray His peace and presence over ourselves and circumstances. Yesterday Mike reminded us of how we can know God's peace amidst the chaos and know He is with us, near and working all things together. Prepare your hearts to receive His wisdom, peace beyond understanding, and marching orders for the day. Turn off the noise by choosing hope, faith, joy and peace and then release His peace in prayer.
The Upper Room (UR) reminds us to pray without ceasing and to persevere in faith, praying, and following God to His best. We can learn perseverance, how to pray and how to become more like Jesus by practicing, just as we are, and working on growing into the fullness of these gifts. As I think about words to work on for next year, perseverance, prayer warrior, faithful servant are just a few God has brought to mind as ones that some of you (and maybe I) need to work on as we seek to Become More in '24. What's God saying to you? What may He be calling you to release in prayer today? What are you going to do about that?
Before engaging with these devos and God, start with praying through this daily devo/blog from Harvest Prayer about prayer. God has some great plans for you including powerful and productive times as you still yourself, listen, receive and persevere in prayer. St. Matts needs you and God has created you for such a time as this! I end with re-using yesterday's Harvest prayer blog as it informs and releases God's plans for us as we move forward into His plans and future for us. We can never pray enough!
One final note: Yesterday morning when I awoke, I was troubled about the future of our church and where workers would come from and with whom God wants us to connect and disciple. God stilled my spirit with this thought and then reminded me of it during my quiet time yesterday. He said, "I am giving you some workers that are recipients of bread. They want to serve and help. I am preparing and sending them. They have some purposes to discover and gifts to share. So I prayed into that. Last night I learned that two of these ladies that have been joining us in worship responded to Sarah's request for bread ministry help. PTL! Right? He reveals, hears and releases His will as we still ourselves, listen and release His will in prayer! He is at work through you and us! Keep at it harvest workers! Fruit is budding and growing! We have much to celebrate!
May you have a joy and peace filled day as you live, love, pray and serve like Jesus! Rejoice! God has chosen you, is preparing you and is working through you and your prayers! Thank Him! Rejoice!
Harvest Prayer Blog 12-18-23:
December 18 - Praying the Heart of God
“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19, NKJV).
Know God’s heart.
Pray God’s heart into the creation.
Creation is waiting for that reality to be so—for the people of the Spirit to retake the rightful oversight of the creation under God the True Spirit. This is the paradigm for prayer ministry—to know the will from the clear teaching of the Bible and by the experience of the Spirit, and then to pray it into existence.
Praying Christians have known about this principle all their days of prayer. A burden to pray enters their heart. They know the person, and they are given some sense of how they are to pray. Then they pray until the intercession is accomplished.
Today ask God for Him “to initiate” in your praying. When you find yourself thinking of someone and offering a prayer, take this as God at work, reshaping your inner prayer life.
Father, I ask you to reshape my prayer life! Initiate my prayers by placing people and situations upon my heart that You desire me to bring before You. Help me to listen with my spirit as Your Holy Spirit leads me to intercede until Your purposes are accomplished.
--Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka.
For more than thirty years, Lourdes, a voice teacher in Manila, had taught students face to face. When she was asked to conduct classes online, she was anxious. “I’m not good with computers,” she recounted. “My laptop is old, and I’m not familiar with video conferencing platforms.”
While it may seem a small thing to some, it was a real stressor for her. “I live alone, so there is no one to help,” she said. “I’m concerned that my students will quit, and I need the income.”
Before each class, Lourdes would pray for her laptop to work properly. “Philippians 4:5–6 was the wallpaper on my screen,” she said. “How I clung to those words.”
Paul exhorts us to not be anxious about anything, because “the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5). God’s promise of His presence is ours to hold on to. As we rest in His nearness and commit everything to Him in prayer—both big and small—His peace guards our “hearts and . . . minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7).
“God led me to websites about fixing computer glitches,” Lourdes said. “He also gave me patient students who understood my technological limitations.” God’s presence, help, and peace are ours to enjoy as we seek to follow Him all the days of our life. We can say with confidence: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (v. 4).
By Karen Huang
How can knowing that God is near change your reaction of worry to one of peace? What specific requests can you present to Him?
Dear God, thank You for being near me. Because of Your loving presence, help, and peace, I don’t have to be anxious.
Centuries before Paul penned the letter to the anxious believers in Jesus at Philippi (see Philippians 4:6-7), God inspired Asaph to write about the blessedness of His nearness (see Psalm 73:23-28). The psalmist’s faith had been challenged by what he’d witnessed around him (vv. 2-14). Those who were far from God—“the wicked” (v. 3)—were doing well for themselves. The writer’s perspective changed, however, when he “entered the sanctuary of God” (v. 17). Then he acknowledged, “You hold me by my right hand. . . . Whom have I in heaven but you?” (vv. 23, 25). He concludes by saying: “But as for me, the nearness of God is good for me” (v. 28 NASB). When we’re anxious by what’s going on around us, we can be encouraged by His nearness. Paul assures us that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
UR: Learning to Whistle
Pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)
I remember the struggle I endured learning to whistle. I spent days upon days trying with no success. But I was determined to succeed. I did not ask for help; I just blew and blew until it happened. It felt great to be able to whistle, and I practiced and practiced after I got the hang of it. It was a glorious time.
What I learned was perseverance — a spiritual directive found throughout scripture. God instructed Israel to continue trusting and believing. The New Testament writers encouraged believers to keep believing and living the word they had heard because Christ was going to return.
Being willing to persevere changed me from a kid who wanted to whistle to a kid who could not wait to hear what new sound my mouth and lungs could create. Additionally, perseverance for me became not just striving to know God’s word but allowing the word to change me into something better. (See Jas. 1:22.)
I keep wondering what new song I might hear from God’s Spirit if I continue to persevere in faithfully following Christ.
Dear God, help us to persevere in seeking and knowing the gifts of your grace. Thank you for Christ and those who demonstrate their faith by their perseverance. Amen.
Harvest prayer blog 12-17-23...Our Mission being released in prayer! Keep praying this to life! Thanks!
December 17 - Free Gift (Third Sunday of Advent)
Before you begin, meditate on this thought: God has chosen to work through me.
Father how I thank You that because I have put my faith and trust in Christ, He has made me a new creation! The old has gone--the new has come! This great redemptive work is from You Father, through Christ, for me! My relationship with You has been made right and because of His finished work on the cross You do not hold my sin against me! Hallelujah! Praise Your holy name! (Pause and be thankful that Christ Jesus has saved you from your sin.)
Now Father I ask that You help me to understand what it means that because I am in Christ the message of reconciliation is lived out and proclaimed, through me! May I be found worthy of the name “Ambassador of Christ” and faithfully implore others to be reconciled to You.
The free gift of salvation through Jesus that alone can make us to be the “righteousness of God” is good news that most around me need desperately to hear. I ask that You capture my heart again I pray, with the joy of this great salvation in You and open my lips that I might praise You and proclaim with great joy, the gospel message. You are the God of all hope and I ask that I would overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit and continually be prepared to give the reason for the hope that I have in You.
This day I ask You Wonderful Counselor, that You open my heart and mind and give me ears to hear what You would say to me, what You would speak through me. Make me increasingly sensitive to Your voice and gentle promptings, and give me a willing, submissive spirit that I might obey.
Mighty God, may Your power be evident through the way I live and conduct my life, that I would truly live and move and have my very being in You alone.
Everlasting Father may Your fatherly embrace and great love be expressed through my life. In my conversations and interactions with the world around me, be glorified I pray. May Jesus be seen through me in such loving ways that many are drawn to Him.
Prince of Peace in the midst of this chaotic fearful world, may the peace of Christ be spread through my life. Increase my trust and hope in You that I in turn might minister to those around me who are as sheep without a shepherd.
Give me Your heart. Your eyes. Your ears, O Lord. That in all things I might respond as Jesus would, and be a worthy ambassador of the gospel. In the name of Jesus, Emmanuel, I pray. Amen.
(2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Psalm 51:12,15; Romans 15:13; 1 Peter 3:15; Acts 17:28; Matthew 5:16)
--This Advent prayer was written by Tiece L. King, the author of Pray the Word.