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Praying Through Your Emotions

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Praying Through Your Emotions

Life brings experiences to us that can make us feel out of control and cause us to act irrational. Our thoughts can become overwhelmed making these situations seem hopeless.  The enemy uses our  emotional responses to drag us further into despair by attacking our faith, making us feel like failures, and convincing us that God has rejected us. Though we cannot control life in a way that keeps us from encountering trouble, we do have the ability to choose our responses. Keep the following guide handy to help you during your times of emotional struggles. Put these scriptures to memory, and pray them until you have taken control of your emotions.

  1. When you feel scared, choose to believe He’s in control.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

  1. When you feel weary, choose to believe He’s good.

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)

  1. When you feel alone, choose to believe He’ll never leave you.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

  1. When you feel unseen, choose to believe He knows your needs.

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” (Genesis 16:13, NLT)

  1. When you feel unheard, choose to believe that He’s listening.

Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! (Psalm 116:2, NLT)

  1. When you feel hopeless, choose to be confident in God’s ability to win the day.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:3)

  1. When you feel depressed, look for ways God loves you. Remember that each day brings a new display of His mercies.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

  1. When you feel worthless, choose to believe you are of great worth to God.

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… (Psalm 17:8)

  1. When you feel unloved, choose to believe that God’s love for you never goes away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

10. When you feel misunderstood, choose to believe that Jesus understands exactly what you’re going through.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

11. When you feel abused, choose to believe God is on your side.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (Exodus 14:14)

12. When you feel brokenhearted, choose to believe God has the power and desire to heal.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

13. When you feel desperate, choose to remember where your strength comes from.

God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:19)

14. When you feel like nothing will ever change, choose to remember all the things God has done for you in the past, and believe He will do them again.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13, NKJV)

15. When you feel lost, choose to turn your eyes back to Jesus and His Word.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:6)

16. When you feel crushed in spirit, choose to believe God is close by.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

17. When you feel overwhelmed, choose to spend time in the presence of God, remembering all He has promised you.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

18. When you feel like you’re losing your mind, choose to call out to the Lord for help.

But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! (Psalm 22:19)

19. When you feel hurt, choose to believe the Lord is there to help and shield you.

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:20-22)

20. When you feel like giving up, remind yourself of how to take one more step.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)

21. When you feel confused, choose to believe God has a plan.

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (I Corinthians 14:33)

22. When you feel lost, remember that Jesus left everything to come find you.

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? (Matthew 18:12)

23. When you feel attacked, choose to believe God is all you need, His approval your only goal.

I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. (Psalm 142:5)

24. When you feel nothing, choose to praise anyway, believing that your emotions will follow.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

25. When you feel angry, choose to remember where your hope comes from.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called–his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. (Ephesians 1:18, NLT)

 

Praying Through Your Emotions 2018-10-12T18:53:42+00:00

A Passion To Pray

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A Passion To Pray

In the opinion of many, of the many spiritual disciplines, nothing is more important than prayer.  Nothing will quite impacts our spiritual development like a well-developed prayer life. However, prayer has sadly become one of the most neglected of disciplines in our hurried lives.  If you hunger for a closer walk with God, the following six points will help you to develop your prayer life in a more meaningful way.

The importance of prayer.  With God, everything revolves around relationship. God desires you to know Him, to love Him, and to make Him the number one priority of your life.  While He desires our service, it falls a distant second to relationship.

In Luke 10:38 we read of Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha. Martha was focused on service, taking care of her guests.  In contrast, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and drank in the words that Jesus spoke. Martha complained that Mary was not helping.  Jesus told her that Mary “hath chosen that good part” and that Martha should not be so “careful and troubled about many things.”

If you at too busy to pray, you are simply too busy.  Jesus is not impressed with our college degrees, how many books we have written or what positions we hold in the church – not if they come at the expense of our prayer time and relationship with Him.  He wants to talk to us in that still small voice and hear us express our problems and needs.  He desires our worship and devotion.  He wants our heart above all else (Ps. 27:4; 1 Cor. 13:3).

The more you pray, the more you want to pray.  Developing a prayer life begins with understanding the absolute necessity of prayer (James 4:17).  It begins in the mind with knowledge and understanding and then moves into the heart. What begin as a purpose soon turns into a passion.

Great prayer warriors often talk of their prayer journey.  Over time God leads them to that place of deep communion and devotion, a journeys that takes time and persistence.

Few have heard of Igal or Nahbi.  But we have all heard of Joshua and Caleb.  All were spies, but only two returned with a vision for victory (Num. 13).  But Joshua’s faith began long before the river crossing. In Exodus 33:11 we read, “but Joshua, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.”

Make a commitment to daily prayer.  Force the flesh daily to obey what you know is right in the Spirit.  Then observe how your flesh will soon submitto God and your passion to pray will grow.

God is more Interested in consistency than quantity or quality.  We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. He will tell you that if you are not praying an hour a day, you are wasting your time. So you start with an hour or more. You struggle.  It’s challenging to pray an hour! So you become discouraged and finally quit; that’s what the devil intended.

You must learn to walk before you run.  An athlete does not start by pressing 300 pounds.  He starts with 75 pounds and builds from there.  Satan will press you to do more than you are able, knowing you will soon quit.  Therefore understand this:  God is more interested in your daily prayer being consistent than He is in the quantity or quality of your prayer.  Focus on praying five minutes a day, but do it seven days a week at a set time and place (Ps. 55:17).  It will soon grow to ten minutes, then twenty.  Before you know it, the time flies past and you are praying an hour or more and the quality of your prayer time will grow as well.  Focus on consistency.  Pray every day.  God rewards faithfulness.  The quantity and quality will soon come.

Be a believer and not a beggar.  We need a proper mental image of God.  He is a good God.  He wants to answer your prayer.  He enjoys doing good things for His children (Matt. 7:11).  We do not have to beg God for answers.  We should simply tell God our needs and then thank Him for the answer.  As long as you are not asking amiss, i.e. contrary to the will of God (James 4:3), you can be assured that God hears your need and will do what is best – which is also why we must always pray for God’s will, not our own, to be done (Matt. 6:10; Lk. 22:42).

Too many see the parable of the woman before the unjust judge (Luke 18) as an example of the need to beg God.  The first verse provides the meaning of this parable: “men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”  This parable is not about begging, but persistence.  I will never stop asking God to bring my family to salvation.  To this end, I thank God every day for directing their path toward truth.

Do not try to fight in the flesh what should be fought in the Spirit.  The Apostle Paul said, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1).  The word “patience” here means steadily, faithfully.  Satan knows that if he can stop you from praying, he will soon defeat you.  So Satan quickly points out our faults and tells us we are wasting our time praying because we have sin in our lives.

This lie of the devil is most insidious.  Having faults are reasons all the more to pray.  The devil says you must first overcome your sin before you can rightly pray.  But the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). The key to overcoming sin is praying daily for God’s strength to conquer them.  We are fighting a Spiritual battle.  Trying to overcome with the flesh what can only be conquered by the Spirit is folly (Eph. 6:12).  Start praying, keep praying, and God will show you how to vanquish every fault by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Finally, have a specific time to pray, a specific place to pray, and maintain a good prayer list.  David said, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice (Ps. 55:17).  Throughout the scriptures are repeated references to a specific time and place of prayer (Ps. 5:3; 88:13; Acts 3:1; 10:3, etc.). I am saved today because of a praying mother.  I remember coming home many times from school and finding my mother on her knees, Bible open, photos spread out, and prayer list stained with tears.  She also kept her “honey box.”  This tin box was stuffed with notes of God’s answers to prayer. In times of discouragement, she would go to her honey box and thank God for His many miracles, renewing her faith that God was still a prayer answering God.

To this end, consider keeping a prayer journal.  Add to it regularly requests, answers, scriptures to inspire, and inspirational notes of encouragement.  As prayers are answered, note the date and circumstances.  Prayer must never become routine or mundane.  It is as real and alive as our God.  It is the time in which we meet with a personal God and fight supernatural battles.  Start and end each day with prayer.  It is the key that unlocks the depths spiritual understanding and the door that opens your heart to unspeakable joy.

Tim Massengale
Indianapolis, Indiana

A Passion To Pray 2018-10-12T18:34:48+00:00

Overcoming Strongholds of the Mind

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Overcoming Strongholds of the Mind

The following are notes from a prayer lesson I taught in my church on praying through the strongholds of your mind. The sections in blue are the points that can be prayed about and/or need addressed for each stronghold that you are dealing with. You will have greater success in this process if you allow yourself time to go slowly through each section, allowing time for reflection and listening as God speaks to you. The process of overcoming your strongholds may take time, as thought patterns need to be reshaped and the automatic responses we often give need to be replaced. Allow yourself this time of healing, and don’t get discouraged. After time, you’ll start noticing a change, as long as you are consistently applying these principles. You may also use some of these scriptures and principles as you pray for others who are battling strongholds. Here is a list of some common strongholds that people deal with. – Colleen Clabaugh (WNOP)

When we let our minds dwell on and accept negative words or thoughts, we partner with the enemy, giving him authority and access to our life. As this happens, strongholds begin to develop, taking control of our thoughts and ultimately our actions. We find ourselves struggling to live the victorious and abundant life that God has for us. But God has given us a way to overcome these strongholds. We don’t have to be bound or controlled by our emotions or thoughts. We were promised in John 8:36,  “He whom the Son has set free, is free indeed.” 

A stronghold of the mind is a lie that gets established (as a lifestyle/pattern) in our thinking and actions.

There are three sources that affect strongholds in our lives:

  • Ourselves: Proverbs 23:7 says, “for as he thinks in his heart so is he.” In other words, whatever we personally believe about ourselves, we become. Thoughts become actions.
  • Others: Life events and environments can greatly affect what we believe about ourselves.
  • Satan/evil forces: The enemy will use our life experiences and relationships against us and speak lies into our mind.

How can we pray and overcome these strongholds?

  1. Understand God’s love, and who you are in Him. Because God is our loving Father and we are His children, He will bring us to a place of dealing with our strongholds. He wants us to have abundant life. None of us are perfect. Whatever He does, He does in love.
    • Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
    • Hebrews 12:6-7, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.”
    • I John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”
    • Acknowledge the love that God has for you as His child, even in times of correction.
  2. Identifying the stronghold, accept responsibility, and repent of it. The first step in any recovery is acknowledgment of the problem, and a desire to truly change it. We have to get beyond shame and step into restoration. We choose our own actions – we cannot blame someone else for our actions/responses.
    • Ask God to remove all spiritual blindness, deafness, and hardness of your heart.
    • Ask the God to show you strongholds that exist in your life. Wait for Him to answer.
      • Psalm 69:5, “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.”
      • Psalm 19:12, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”
    • When God reveals or confirms it, don’t shift the blame to others.
    • Ask God to forgive you for believing the lies that have created your stronghold and for reacting in ungodly ways to negative experiences that have happened to you.
  3. Forgive and accept forgiveness. As we accept forgiveness, God gives us grace to forgive others who may have contributed to our stronghold/hurts.
    • Unforgiveness and an attitude of victimization will keep you from overcoming your stronghold.
    • Matthew 6:14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
    • Forgive anyone who has wronged or wounded you. This is a choice, not a feeling.
    • Forgive yourself. Condemnation and shame are not of God; these are tools of the enemy.
    • If you have anger toward God, release it and commit yourself to trusting Him.
  4. Depend on God’s Spirit. We cannot defeat the enemy with our own will power. The enemy will keep coming back to try to reestablish strongholds again. God has given you authority over the enemy.
    • Luke 10:19, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.”
    • John 17:15, “I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one.”
    • Psalm 9:9, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”
    • Ask God to help you to recognize and break the thought patterns that created the stronghold.
    • Take authority over the wrong thought patterns and the evil spirits that are influencing them.
  5. Use God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12-13 states that the Word of God has power. It goes to the innermost secrets and motives of our hearts. It can change our thinking and transform our lives. It is our weapon.
    • Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
    • John 8:32 says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
    • Replace Satan’s lies with God’s truth. Find scriptures that are the opposite of the lies you’ve been believing. Make a list and keep it handy.
    • Ask God to show you what He says about you in His Word.
    • Ask God to show you in His Word what to do, and what to pray.
    • Pray the scriptures God shows you until it changes your thought pattern.
  6. Replace your thoughts. Negative thoughts cannot create positive actions. Truth dispels lies. Light dispels darkness. Make an action plan, in advance, of how to respond.
    • Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
    • Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight.”
    • Romans 12:1, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
    • Ask God to cleanse your active thoughts as well as your subconscious mind.
    • Ask God to heal your soul from past wounds and lies that have affected you.
    • Ask God to renew your mind with His thoughts and His words.
    • Bind yourself to good actions and thoughts. Loose yourself from wrong actions and thoughts. 
  7. Don’t entertain the lies. When the enemy attempts to invade our thoughts and speaks his lies, we must choose not to listen and entertain them.
    • Ephesians 4:27, “Neither give place to the devil.”
    • James 4: 7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
    • Ask God to make you aware when you are thinking or reacting in ways that reinforce the stronghold.
    • Ask God for His strength to resist the enemy when he comes.
  8. Fill your mind with worship, praise, and holy things. When the enemy has been removed from your mind, it must be filled with the power and presence of God. The enemy has no power where the Spirit of the Lord resides.
    • II Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
    • Spend time worshiping God for His love, power, and deliverance in your life.
    • Remove ungodly influences from your life and home. These affect us even when we don’t realize it.
Overcoming Strongholds of the Mind 2018-10-12T18:56:33+00:00

How to Pray for Pastors

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How to Pray for Pastors

Prayer should be natural, like talking to a good friend. God knows everything, so you can talk to Him about everything and anything as you develop your personal relationship. You can’t go to God in prayer only when there’s an emergency. The communication path needs to be established before that.

Five guidelines that will help you have the right attitude as you pray are:  1.  Be Spontaneous   2.  Be Specific 3.  Ask the right way.   4. Pray with all your heart.  5.  Pray continually – quit talking to yourself throughout the day and begin talking to God.

How to Pray For Your Pastor
We can break down the prayer needs of a pastor or Christian leader into four areas. Each day as you pray, select an area to focus on. You don’t need to cover all of the topics in all of the areas every day. If you are not aware of a special need, then work your way through the list from top to bottom, then start over again.

Personal Needs

  • Humility: Ask God to give your pastor true humility, which includes having a servant’s heart, being teachable, admitting wrongdoing, being willing to receive positive criticism, and reliance on God.
  • Wisdom to know God’s agenda: Effective leaders function according to God’s agenda, not their own. Pray that your pastor remains sensitive to God’s leading and that he will live and work according to God’s priorities.
  • Positive relationships: Ask God to help your pastor be patient with himself and others, to interact positively with difficult people in the congregation, and to treat everyone with love and respect.
  • The Fruit of the Spirit: Every Christian should seek to live a Spirit-filled life. Pray that your pastor would develop love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
  • Health: Ask God to give your pastor good health and safety when he  travels.

Family Needs

  • The priority of family: The demands of ministry can damage a Christian leader’s family life. Pray that your pastor would make family his top priority, second only to his relationship with God. Pray that he would spend enough time with them, and minister to their needs first. If your pastor has children, pray that they would love God with all their hearts.
  • Provision for the family: Ask God to meet the needs of your pastor and to show the lay leadership in the church how they can better provide for them.

Spiritual Needs

  • Time alone with God: Ask God to make prayer, Scripture reading, and worship daily priorities in your leader’s life.
  • Anointing: Without the power of the Holy Spirit, a leader can do nothing of value.
  • Integrity: Your leader struggles with temptation just like any other person. In fact, the enemy will try to tempt her more than others. Satan knows that when he hurts the leader, the followers suffer.
  • Protection From Spiritual Warfare: Pray that your leader would put on the full armor of God, as outlined in Ephesians 6:10-18, and that he/she will be given protection from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
  • Accountability: Ask God to bring into your leader’s life other Christian leaders who can keep him/her accountable.

Congregational Needs

  • Evangelism: Pray that your pastor will have a heart for the lost and he will make evangelism a priority.
  • Personal growth: A pastor who continues to grow in his spiritual life and his ability to lead is being equipped to help people grow and develop.
  • Mobilization of the laity: Ask God to make your pastor an effective motivator and equipper of the people to do the work of the ministry.
  • Intercession: Pray that your pastor would make intercession for the people a daily priority.

If you begin praying for your pastor today, there’s no telling what may happen in your church tomorrow.

How to Pray for Pastors 2018-09-29T20:52:23+00:00