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The Power of Agreement

The Power of Agreement

The power of agreement is one of the most powerful weapons the church has, yet perhaps one of the least used. Many churches have a weekly prayer meeting only to come together in “one place” with each person getting in his own corner having personal prayer time. Sister Susie is praying for her children, Brother John is praying for China, Pastor Jones is praying for the city, and little Bobby is praying for his puppy that ran away. Important as each of these prayers may be, they can be covered in their personal prayer time at home.  The Bible says, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20).

How can we agree if we are praying for different things? Why not maximize the power of agreement? We get the “one place” right, but often we miss it on the “one accord” part.

One: 1. being a single unit or thing; 2. being one in particular
Accord: 1. to bring into agreement  Webster’s dictionary

“One accord” (being single in agreement) praying led the church into the Book of Acts—into the supernatural. It led the UPCI there too. In one of our annual 30 Days of Prayer, many miracles were reported to the World Network of Prayer from churches who participated.

In Australia, three teenage girls got together during their lunch hour at the Catholic school they attended to pray and read the book of Acts.  Friends began to ask questions, so they were invited to join them.  They read about God pouring out His Spirit on all flesh and began to pray. As they prayed eight girls who had joined them that day started weeping and were filled with the Holy Ghost.

In Mt. Airy, NC:  a visitor with cancer came forward for prayer. Her legs were bandaged because of burns received from radiation treatments. As she was being prayed for, she felt a warmth flow through her body. She stopped and said, “I don’t have anymore pain!”  She went home and removed the bandages from her legs and found the burns were gone.  Friday she was scheduled for her next radiation treatment. She asked the doctor to run tests before giving her the treatment. He did…. and found that God had completely healed her of the stomach cancer!

In Tulsa, Oklahoma:  A lady who has was badly injured in a car wreck a few months prior was miraculously healed! She had problems walking from the injury and was on a cane. Doctors were talking about braces for her legs. She was singing in the Choir and God touched her! She shouted and ran around the building without any problem!

In Bridgeton, Missouri: A lady diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease was completely healed.  On the last day of the 30 Days of Prayer, she had a doctor’s appointment.  The doctor looked puzzled and ran tests.  Eventually he came back and told the lady that he couldn’t explain it but she did not have Parkinson’s disease.  He also stated that it wasn’t a misdiagnosis because they had multiple test results that confirmed she did have the disease.  She no longer has to take medicine and has been given a clean bill of health.

Is it s coincidence that all of these miracles took place during focused corporate prayer? I do not think so. When our prayers are united our power is multiplied exponentially. When we go from one to two praying we do not double our prayer power, we multiply it times ten—one can put a thousand to flight, two can put 10,000 to flight.  Imagine what happens when the entire church is united in focused prayer. Have no doubt, no matter the church size, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Lisa Marshall

Strategic Prayer Coordinator

 

 

The Power of Agreement 2018-02-03T21:08:30+00:00

A Four-Word Tragedy

A Four-Word Tragedy

(The following is an excerpt from the book Therefore, I Train by Colleen Clabaugh)

 “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14 NLT)

            I have often heard the phrase, “children are the church of tomorrow.” I whole-heartedly agree. One day they will be leading, pastoring churches, running ministries, taking the gospel to foreign nations as missionaries, leading worship, and all the things that our adults are doing now. However, the statement in itself is incomplete. Yes, they are the “church of tomorrow” and worth investing our children’s and youth ministries into. Yet, they are also the “church of today.” They can lead. They can sing. They can participate. They can pray. They have needs. They have desires. They have souls. Not tomorrow. Today.

One night during our weekly kids prayer ministry meeting I asked the kids what they wanted to do with their lives. The answers to the question ranged from the typical doctor, fireman, and policeman, to worship leader, teacher, and missionary. You could see excitement on the faces of each of them as they shared their dreams. Some acted out their future roles while others talked about what they would be doing and how. No one was sad. No one was crying. Yet, I found myself with feelings of angst and remorse inside as the four words which prefaced each answer echoed in my head – “When I grow up…”

How sad those things that make our young people so happy are things that they feel they can never attain until they are grown. It is true that a ten-year-old cannot be a police officer and a seven-year-old cannot extinguish apartment fires. But what about those who wish to sing worship songs or be a missionary? Johnny may not be able to travel to China to share the gospel in an underground church but can’t he reach his neighbor or go on a local missions trip? Sally may not be able to run an entire adult choir but she can sing a worship song in Sunday school, Children’s Church, kids prayer ministry, or for a nursing home meeting.

The tragedy I’ve seen over and over is the numerous youth who have had desires to do something for God yet never reach adulthood serving Christ when they can do it. They keep saying “one day” and “when I grow up” and then find themselves backslidden away from God, giving the world their best instead.

Years ago, I was in charge of the youth ministry at the church I attended. The youth met on Friday nights and did the usual bible study and fellowship time as most others did. Meetings went well, youth and youth workers attended, yet something was missing. There was that same feeling of angst and remorse as youth members strived to find purpose with their life. We did the typical dream sheet questionnaires and talked about leadership, yet none of them were leaders. The youth staff ran the services, ran our events, sang the songs, preached the sermons, and led the ministries. The youth were just our audience.

It was during that time that I began to watch our young people and the children of our church. I became students of them – known as “reverse mentoring.” I listened, with the intent to learn about them and find out who they were. It was more than a paper questionnaire; it was real life teaching in progress only I was the one being taught. I found out what interested the kids. I learned what they wanted to do with their life and what ministries they wanted to be involved in. I learned what interests they had and I listened to their struggles. Then I turned their interests into involvement in ministries that paralleled the spiritual dreams of their life. The youth began running the youth service. They sang the songs, led the testimonies, preached the sermons, and led prayer and the altar ministry. It revolutionized their thinking to know what someone trusted them enough to let them try. It empowered them to action.

Did they mess up? Sure. Did they preach too long? Yes. Did they sing off key? Absolutely. Did they get stuck in knowing what to pray? Yes, a few times. Still, we trusted them. When they messed up, we taught them how to do better. When they preached too long we gave them a watch and someone to signal them to ‘wrap it up.’ When they sang off-key… well, we praised the Lord anyhow!  The point is, we gave took them by the hand, led them, and then set them free to try it on their own.

I encourage you to look for ways you can actively mentor kids and youth in ministry and prayer now. Don’t wait for them to grow up. Teach them, train them, let them lead, then guide them in how to do it better. As I always say, “It’s better to train a child than to fix an adult.”

Colleen Clabaugh
Kids & Youth Prayer Coordinator

A Four-Word Tragedy 2018-02-03T13:34:23+00:00

It’s Me Again, Lord

It’s Me Again, Lord

Sometimes I feel guilty when my prayers focus on me.  With all the problems in the world, all the sicknesses that are affecting my friends and family, all the hatred and wickedness that seems to constantly trump the good, and all the preaching I hear about kingdom praying and praying for others, I tend to make sure my prayers say very little about me…or if they do mention me, it’s in a soft apologetic voice. Surely it is OK to pray for me at least once in a while…isn’t it?

Obviously I have to pray for me when I repent. That is all about me, and that prayer is expected. Surrendering my heart and life and tongue to Him is also all about me, if I want to be filled with His Spirit. Committing my life to Him through holy living, dedication, and complete obedience must come from me because no one can pray that for me.

But what about the other me prayers that I sometimes feel compelled to pray? I need healing, so I ask for it according to His Word. However, others are worse off than me, so I should pray for them instead of me, right? My bank account could use some divine intervention, but hey, I’ve got a job and a bank account that at least is in the black, so who am I to ask for more? A vacation would be nice, but how can I ask for that when others would just like to have a job instead of the forced “vacation” they live every day?

I’m not talking about focusing on myself to the abandonment of praying for others. I’m not talking about selfish prayers that can’t see beyond me. I am, however, talking about prayers that take me into His presence for my sake, for my enrichment, for my spiritual and physical needs. Is this wrong? Of course not! God wants us to come to Him because it shows our need of Him, our dependence on Him, and our appreciation of His abilities to answer our me prayers.

I looked for examples of me prayers and found several in the Book of Psalms…most of which were prayed by David, a man after God’s own heart. We know the big prayer of Psalm 51 where David repented, and it’s a prayer each of us have prayed more than once. (I imagine David prayed it more than once.) David’s first recorded prayer was when he asked God if he should go fight the Philistines (I Samuel 23). My me prayer: God, should I buy this dress, go on this trip, take this route home? Excellent me prayers!

In Psalm 3 David cried out to God about the enemies—including his own son Absalom—who were surrounding him and ruining his life. My me prayer: God, they don’t understand me! They’re out to get me, saying lies about me, ruining my life. What am I supposed to do? A necessary me prayer that ends with recognition that God sees and knows all, and has everything under control. All I need to do is trust Him.

Psalm 31 reveals one of David’s me prayers: my trust, my troubles, my times. He names his troubles, but ends by declaring his trust in God. My me prayer: God, everything is falling apart. I don’t know what to do, who to trust, or where to turn. And yet, here I am coming to You because You are my shelter, my rock, my salvation, the One in whom I trust.

Me prayers are as necessary as prayers for others. I must keep myself in communion and right standing with Him, and to do that means I must pray me prayers. I must get me out in the open. I must get me taken care of. I must make sure I am where I need to be with Him. Then, like Job in Job 42:10, the Lord will turn my captivity/problems/questions when I pray for my friends, because it’s not always all about me. Just sometimes…and that’s OK.

Joni Owens
Kids Prayer Volunteer

 

It’s Me Again, Lord 2018-02-03T13:30:53+00:00

Daily Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Frustrating


Daily Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Frustrating

We asked people in various places what their biggest struggles were with prayer. Many said simply… time. It can be difficult to find time to pray when they’re overwhelmed by an already full schedule. Some said praying spontaneously so they don’t get caught up in a boring routine. Others said developing their individual prayer style. And others said being effective in prayer.

What’s the answer to these dilemmas?

It’s actually relatively simple – pray every day, all throughout the day, and about everything.

“Really!” you say, with utter frustration. “I don’t have time to pray. Now you are telling me not only to pray, but pray all through my day, about everything? How is that an answer?”

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a good solution. But before you tell me you don’t have time or God isn’t interested in the small details of your life, let me point out a couple of things. Consistency matters. Praying a small amount daily is better for growth than several long prayer meetings a month. A few minutes a day can make a huge difference. Small conversations with God turn into deep ones. Consistent actions develop habits that turn into lifestyles. And praying throughout your day includes God in more of your life, making Him first rather than a fall-back option.

Prayer is not about everything being “super spiritual.” Nor is it about how many dedicated minutes you are praying. Prayer is about how much you are including God in your everyday life and partnering with Him to fulfill His plan through you. God is interested in all parts of your life, even the mundane and ordinary. The more you talk to God about all things, the more He becomes involved. He will not force Himself into your situations. However if you will invite Him – even if it’s just a few minutes here and there throughout your day – you will see Him more involved and He will show you things that will simply amaze you.

The rewards:

  1. Your prayer life improves because your relationship with God deepens.
  2. You stay motivated because prayer flows more easily.
  3. Those short, daily prayer times move you closer to your longer prayer time goal. Muscle memory takes over and prayer time becomes a natural part of your life.
  4. Prayer becomes a priority rather than something you try to fit in.
  5. You pray more effectively because You start feeling what’s on His heart.
  6. You pray more intuitively and responsively rather than consciously, becoming more Spirit-led.
  7. Your personal prayer style develops without you conforming to a specific routine.
  8. You enjoy your time with God and look forward to it rather than worry about fulfilling an obligation.
  9. Prayer is not an obligation at all, it becomes an amazing journey with your glorious God.
  10. You encourage others to develop their prayer life because you see the amazing results in your own.

Remember, prayer is not a strict regimen of rules we have to follow. It’s relationship. And all relationships take consistent time to develop, trust, and sharing. Make it your goal this year to not worry about the minutes you pray each day. Simply include God throughout your day or as often as you can, and include Him in everything. In the end, you’ll have a praying life you enjoy instead of praying moments you struggle to make it through.

Colleen Clabaugh
WNOP

Daily Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Frustrating 2018-01-14T15:24:43+00:00