Praying in Jesus’ Name

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Many use this verse as a way to convince God that He must answer their prayers since they are praying in Jesus’ Name but Scripture is very clear that, if we pray according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

God is not obligated to answer every selfish prayer we pray but, as we draw closer to Him, our desire to please Him grows, and that is when our prayers our answered because they are finally in line with His will.

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There are some things that we can pray without wondering if it’s His will. For instance, God’s Word says that He is not willing that any should perish but instead desires that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, we can, in faith, pray for the salvation of our loved ones.

There are times when I feel like it is God’s will to heal a friend or family member. I will then pray wholeheartedly for their healing. Sometimes, even if I’m not sure what God is doing in a person’s life, I will pray for their healing, trusting God to have mercy and hear my plea but knowing that, if He chooses not to answer in the way I desire, He has a greater plan. Faith goes beyond believing my prayer will be answered; it is knowing that God knows what is best and trusting that He is still at work even when I don’t understand.

I have seen God’s hand at work so many times so I suppose it is pretty easy for me to trust the Lord. In spite of what some believe, God still saves, He still heals, He still cares. I don’t know about tomorrow but I know who holds my hand.

How To Show Someone You Care

Most people who know me now don’t realize that, by nature, I am pretty insecure. I’ve never been “popular,” so I still have times of wondering if anyone loves me and why. Since coming to know the Lord, I fight to not let that rise to the surface. Instead, when the battle of the mind begins, I pray and ask God to help me to show His love to others. The Bible says that “a man that has friends must show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24) and, although I don’t claim to do this perfectly, God has blessed me with wonderful friends who really do seem to care and whom I am pretty sure really pray for me.

I think sometimes people care more than one might realize so I wanted to give some tips that, at least for me, helps to show me that my friends are not just putting up with me but that they do indeed care.

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1) Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes I think people don’t want to pry into a person’s life because they don’t want to appear nosy, or maybe they think it’s none of their business. The fact is, many times a hurting person really wants someone to talk to but they don’t want to burden others. Lines such as, “I’m having a really rough day today” or “Please pray for me today” are often doorways for you to stop what you are doing and ask if they would like to talk about it. If your response is merely, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll be praying for you,” that will be taken as you don’t want to hear about it or don’t really care. I am not discrediting prayer at all and, if you really don’t want to hear about it or don’t have time to do so, then that at least is a sympathetic response but, if this is a person you really care about, take time to ask them what’s going on. If they don’t want to say, they will tell you but at least they know you are available.

2) Listen. Sometimes when I’m going through a difficult time, I want advice but many times I just need to talk. Don’t feel like you need to have “answers.” Obviously, if God brings something to your mind which will help the person, share that but do it with a posture of humility, realizing that it is the person’s choice whether they take your advice or not. Mostly let them talk it out, pray with them, ask God to give you a burden for this person. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives that we don’t really invest in the lives of others but, if God has put a person into your life, it’s for a reason. Make sure you are being the friend they need.

3) Pray. It’s one thing to say “I’ll pray for you” and another thing to actually do so. If you commit to pray for a person, write it down, put it on your calendar, do whatever you need to do to remember to pray for this person. Then take the time periodically to let the person know you are praying. This will encourage them immensely. I have over 1,000 Facebook friends and I see many prayer requests every day. Because of this, I have learned not to promise every person that I will pray but, if it is an urgent need, I will pray right away and sometimes post a comment stating that. I also have friends who text or email me requests. These I take more seriously and ask for God’s help to remember them. I have had people that I don’t know real well message me because they know I pray. I don’t know how they know that but I consider it quite a compliment and, again, if they have taken the time to ask me personally, I want to take it seriously.

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4) Initiate interaction. If God brings someone to your mind, take time to call, text, or email that person. Many times, that is what it’s taken for me to realize a person really loves and cares for me. If I am always the one who initiates interaction, I begin to wonder, but getting a message out of the blue that says someone was thinking of me, praying for me, etc. makes my day. It lets me know I really am loved and that even God loves me enough to lay me on someone’s heart periodically. You don’t know what kind of day that person may be having, and it could be your simple act of loving kindness that lifts their spirits and brings a smile to their face. That is not a small thing.

5) Be thankful. I think this is usually the most neglected of all. Not that we aren’t thankful for our friends but I think we don’t often let them know. Take time periodically to do just that. Thank them for their love and their friendship. If someone gives you a gift, don’t just thank them at the moment (that’s common courtesy and is expected); go above and beyond the call of duty and also thank them a month, a year, five years down the road … especially if it’s something you still use. Several years ago, a friend came to visit and, as a “hostess gift,” she gave me a couple CDs. (This was a special blessing, as it showed how well she knows me.) I’ve not done it for a while but, periodically, when I would listen to the CDs, I would write to her to let her know I was listening to them and thinking of her. I just wanted to make sure she knew that she did not waste her money on those. They are still used and appreciated.

I’m sure this is far from being an exhaustive list but hopefully it will help you in reaching out to those special people in your life and making them feel truly loved. If there are other things that you have found to be meaningful in showing love to others, feel free to post it in the comments. If you are one who feels like no one really cares about you, I assure you that is probably not the case. We live in a hectic, fast-paced society. Many are struggling just to keep up and they don’t have time to think beyond their own day-to-day trials. Then there are others who just don’t know how to show that they care. It doesn’t mean they don’t. Purpose to be a friend, to show God’s love, and to think of others instead of yourself. Even if it doesn’t come back to you from people, you will receive your reward in Heaven, and I believe you will feel God even nearer while on earth, which is really the most important One to be close to anyway.

How Badly Do We Want Revival?

“Lord, send a revival, and let it begin with me.” As a child, I liked this song. It had a catchy tune, and of course we should want revival and why shouldn’t it begin with me? At the time, what I understood this to mean was that I needed to be a good girl and then maybe others would follow suit. Oh, the innocence of childhood.

As I was praying for revival the other day, I paused, as I wonder if I am really ready for it. I have heard that the Church in China is praying for persecution in our country so that we will experience revival. As much as I don’t like to think about it, even personal revival often follows severe testing. It doesn’t have to but too many times, we don’t recognize our sincere need for God until we are so far down we can’t help but look up.

James 1:2-4 says, “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

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Humanly, the last thing I want is to go through a trial, yet James tells us that it is those very trials which helps to mold us into the sons and daughters that our Father wishes us to be. As He increases, we decrease. That is when we begin to spread His light so that others can see the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. that only Christ can give.

Many Christians are content with the fact that they are saved, but they lose focus of the world around them that is going to Hell. I believe the world is often turned off by Christians, as opposed to seeing something that they desire to have. Brothers and Sisters, this ought not be. We must be willing to ask God to truly search our hearts and try us and see if there be any wicked way in us so that we can be brought to repentance. As we allow Him to change us, others will notice, and we will be better able to give an answer for the Hope that lies within us. When this happens, I believe we will begin to see revival. It may only be on a small scale but any time people are turning to God and growing in their walk with Him, God is being glorified and lives are being changed. That, my friend, is revival.

Sony Elise

The Ultimate Act of Submission

Submission is a common theme in the Bible. At times it is interpreted improperly, causing a reaction of repulsion in many. Does the title of this article make your stomach turn a little? This is a theme we must explore.

Is submission only about wives submitting to husbands as Paul commands in Chapter 5 of his letter to the Ephesians? Do you immediately see that domineering husband pounding his fist on the table calling his wife to submit? I hope you’ll readily agree that there is so much more to submission than just wives submitting to husbands, but often this is the only picture non-Christians have of Biblical submission. I want to propose to you that there is a form of submission – the ultimate act of submission – that makes Christians unique in the world.

Even the words “submit” and “submission” have such a negative connotation in the world today. They carry a negative connotation because the concept (or misconception) stomps on our self-centered independent spirit. We don’t WANT to submit, because we are self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-righteous, self-centered, selfish…it is all about us – me, myself, and I. We reject the idea of submitting to another, even if we don’t admit it, the reaction is tucked deep into our hearts.  How can I submit to another when my focus is locked like a tractor beam on ME!?! I don’t have to submit to anyone else, some might say. I am free and independent.

Are we free and independent? Or are we to submit to something greater? So, what is the ULTIMATE act of submission for all of mankind?

We know we are to submit to the Government and authorities that God has put over us (1 Pet 2:13-17, Rom 13:1-7). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Children are to submit to their parents (Eph 6:1-3). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Slaves are to submit to masters…or more realistic today, employees are to submit to employers (Eph 6:5-8). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Wives are to submit to their own husbands (Eph 5:22-23). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

As believers, we are all to submit to each other (Eph 5:20-21). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Husbands are to submit to Christ (Eph 5:23-33). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

We must do all these. Its not negotiable. But there is still something greater. If all these Biblical commands are not the ULTIMATE act of submission, what is?

Prayer.

Man giving into dependency on his creator is the ULTIMATE act of submission. Simply praying.

Prayer is the ultimate act of submission for mankind because it forces us to look away from self and look to another in dependency. We must set our self-sufficiency and self-reliance down in the hallway before entering the prayer room to face our maker and find sufficiency in HIM and reliance on Him and dependence on HIM.

Jesus tells us: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 ESV)

You get no fame when praying in secret. You get no accolades from those who hear when praying in public like the Pharisees. It can’t be an act. I’m not talking about public prayer, which is often a time when we show off and pray so men can hear us. I’m talking about the secret really prayer. It must be true submission to our God. We find yourself face-to-face with God in the Throne Room of Heaven and faced with the decision to submit to Him or to treat Him as our cosmic vending machine. Do we face Him and pray for what we want and then expect God provide because He is submissive to US? Or do we fall on our face in desperate reliance on the one who holds the stars in the sky (Heb 1:1-3)?

What does it look like for you? Is prayer for you just a chore or a laundry list of wants delivered as fast as possible? Or is prayer a time when you fall on your Abba, Father in complete reliance, dependency, worship, joy, and conversation. Is prayer cold and distant? Brief and lacking passion? Or are your regularly moved to tears and daily plead with God for His mercy and grace? What does it look like for you?

Paul and the other writers of the New Testament bring prayer to the forefront often with the following commands:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people… (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV)

Rom 12:12 – be in constant prayer
1 Cor 7:5 – devote yourself to prayer
2 Cor 1:11 – help us by prayer
Eph 6:18 – praying at all times in the spirit
Phil 4:6 – don’t be anxious…but in everything by prayer
Col 4:2 – continue steadfastly in prayer
1 Thes 5:17 – pray without ceasing
2 Thes 3:1 – pray for us
Heb 13:18 – pray for us
Jam 5:13 – if anyone is suffering…let them pray
Jude 1:20 – building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit
Rev 5:8 and 8:3 – we see the prayers of the saints in heaven

And from the Gospels:

Mat 6:5 – and when you pray you must not be like the hypocrites
Mat 6:9 – Pray like this…our Father
Mat 21:22 – and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive
Luke 6:28 – pray for those that abuse you
Luke 10:2 – therefore pray earnestly to the lord of the harvest to send out laborers
Luke 22:40 – pray that you will not enter into temptation

Obviously Jesus, who was obedient and submissive to the Father, prayed in secret as our example. Jesus made prayer a priority:

Mathew 14:23 – And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
Mark 1:35 – And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Mark 6:45-46 – Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
Mark 14:32 – And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
Luke 6:12 – In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Prayer is the air that the Christian must breath. If we come with a laundry list of wants and desires and not with a heart of true and complete submission, are we even praying at all? If we come self-reliant and self-sufficient, have we really come at all? I doubt it. How can we enter the Throne Room of Heaven with anything less than hearts on fire?

If we were faced with what Isaiah saw in his vision of the Lord on the throne in Isaiah 6, would we pray the same way we pray every day? Or would we respond as Isaiah did, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips!”  We need to get on our knees and prostrate in full submission and hear from our LORD.

Prayer is the ultimate act of submission for mankind, and I say mankind because there was another form of submission that has already been fulfilled. It is the true one and only holy and righteous act of submission that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the cross. God himself, in the form of man, equal to God but stripped of his majesty and glory was submissive to the Father to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2:5-8) having been made to be the sins of the elect adopted children of God (2 Cor 5:21). The Son of God submitted to the full punishment and death for all the sins of his adopted siblings. This can never be duplicated and will never be repeated because it is finished. Finished in Christ, who submitted for us once and for all.

Are we able to submit to our God in the truest sense? To submit to Him through prayer? Or will we hold onto our self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-centered disbelief?

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 20 (Conclusion)

We are pleased to continue the Saturday Sermon Series again. This is the final (part 20) in a series of twenty messages from John 17. It was sovereignly delivered by Akash Sant Singh, who is one of the elders at Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. May it bring conviction to each of us as we realize our deep lack of prayer, which should be elemental to our Christian faith. Sadly, our prayer lives tend to reveal more about our self-sufficiency than of our utter dependency on the Saviour of our souls.

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 20

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 19

We are pleased to continue the Saturday Sermon Series again. This is the nineteenth in a series of twenty messages from John 17. It was sovereignly delivered by Akash Sant Singh, who is one of the elders at Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. May it bring conviction to each of us as we realize our deep lack of prayer, which should be elemental to our Christian faith. Sadly, our prayer lives tend to reveal more about our self-sufficiency than of our utter dependency on the Saviour of our souls.

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 19

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 18

We are pleased to continue the Saturday Sermon Series again. This is the eighteenth in a series of twenty messages from John 17. It was sovereignly delivered by Akash Sant Singh, who is one of the elders at Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. May it bring conviction to each of us as we realize our deep lack of prayer, which should be elemental to our Christian faith. Sadly, our prayer lives tend to reveal more about our self-sufficiency than of our utter dependency on the Saviour of our souls.

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 18