When was the last time you got alone with God and just praised Him? I mean, really praise Him, not thank Him or question Him or ask Him for anything. A couple of days ago I did that. I have been getting up early in the morning to pray and read my Bible. This is a discipline I am trying to establish in my life. I don’t do it every morning, but the majority of mornings I have been doing this.
I have been reading in the book of Revelation the last couple of weeks. I am going very slow, through my NIV Study Bible. I read the Scripture and then the notes. Then I reflect on what I read, not more than one chapter at a time. As I was reading in Chapter 4 I came across a portion that described how God was being praised and worshiped in heaven.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” When I read that, I stopped and read it again. Then I read it out loud several times. Then I closed my eyes and repeated this about ten times directly to God. Each time I said it, it felt more meaningful and powerful. I was not just chanting something mindlessly, I was praising the Almighty. I pictured myself at His feet worshiping Him.
After I had prayed that to God I did the same with another portion of Scripture, verse 11 – “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have there being.” I prayed that to God, slowly and forcefully.
Try that sometime. Get alone in a quiet place and read that Scripture or another Scripture over and over out loud to God. Pray the Scripture to Him. The more you say it and pray it to God, the more meaning comes from the Scripture. This is an example of building intimacy with God.
True intimacy with God has to come from our personal efforts to get closer to Him and get to know Him better. It is great to go to church and listen to great messages, sing great songs and read Scripture together. It is also great to get together with other Christians and study the Bible or talk about the message you heard or pray together. Getting out and putting into practice what you are hearing and learning also builds intimacy with God. But if you never get alone with Him and pour out your heart to Him and share every part of yourself with Him your intimacy is limited. It only remains on the surface and doesn’t get real.
Personal worship is an important part of your growing relationship with Jesus Christ. If it has been a while since you did that now is a great time to start. Don’t allow your life to be so busy that you neglect the most important relationship you will ever have. Don’t face the day without plugging into the most amazing and powerful source we have. Start right now!
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
When was the last time you said that to someone? Every day we come into contact with people and they may share something that is happening in their lives. When people trust you enough to share something personal, do you say you will pray for them or do you pray for them right then? Both are good, but taking the time to pray with them in the moment can be very powerful and life giving to that person.
I believe that Christ followers should be life givers. We are carrying on the ministry that Jesus started so long ago. Jesus loved to minister to people in a close personal way. He got his hands dirty and talked to people that were considered unclean. In our tidy, neat, safe lives do we take chances to minister up close with people that are considered unclean, uneducated, undesirable? Do we even take the time for the clean, educated desirable people?
Jesus talked so often of caring for and loving your neighbor. One of the most powerful ways to love your neighbor is to pray for them. Not only in private, but with them in person. Some people may not be ready to do that, and that is ok for now. However, God wants you to grow in your love for Him and other people. He wants us to be able to pray for people and extend care to people for Him.
This week I had a chance to pray with 6 people in person and 2 on the phone. Whenever I meet with someone, I try to end our time together by praying for them. I ask them if it would be ok if I prayed for them. I have only been turned down two times. You might say, Chad, your a pastor, so you are paid to pray with people. I might get more opportunities, but every Christian is called to be a minister. Every day God brings people across your path that need prayer. You might not be able to pray out loud with them at work, but you can pray silently. You can walk through your workplace and pray for your co-workers and boss. You can pray while you drop your children off at school. You can pray for your neighbors on your drive home from work.
When people come to church hurting and broken, they need prayer. The people that make up the church should be praying through out the week for the people that God is bringing to church. I believe when you pray for others, you take the focus off of yourself and it helps you have the right perspective on the church and the work of the church.
This Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. there will be a time of prayer in our prayer room here at NewPointe. Every Sunday morning people are praying for the morning service and inviting God to come and do a work in the people. Every Monday morning our staff gathers and prays together. Our prayer team prays for every request that comes in during the week. Prayer is a very powerful way to influence the world around us. It also is a great way to stay intimate with God and grow in our relationship with Him.
My challenge to everyone that reads this Blog is to pray for someone you come into contact with this week. Try to pray for someone every day, either in person, on the phone or just silently. Start your day by asking God to bring the people across your path that need prayer and then pray for them. Even if you don’t know how to pray for them, lift them up and ask God to minister to whatever they need. Step out of your comfort zone and take a risk.
Can I Pray for You?
This morning a group of people met at NewPointe Community Church to pray. We do this once per month on the third Saturday of the month. We gather at the church at 7:00 am and spend one hour praying together. We usually open our time by listening to some worship songs and praising God. We spend the rest of the hour praying for ourselves, our families, our church, our communities, our nation and the world.
Sometimes we will walk through the building and pray in each area of the building. We pray for the volunteers, the staff and leaders, our children and students, and the new people God is drawing to the church.
We pray for some of the church goals like 300 small group leaders, 2 Satellite Churches, 1,500 volunteers, 1,000 people participating in Financial Peace University or Crown Financial small groups and 300 prayer warriors.
Each month God has been bringing new people to this prayer time. As more people know about it I am sure it will grow. When people get together to pray, God shows up and does amazing things. As our church grows, prayer becomes more and more important. We want to make sure that everything we do glorifies God and helps people take their next step with Jesus Christ.
The Prayer Ministry at NewPointe is growing and God is bringing more and more people that have a passion for prayer. God is building his team of Prayer Warriors at NewPointe. Our prayer ministry is made up of several teams. We have people that meet with the speaker every Sunday morning to pray with him. We have a team that is in the prayer room and in the auditorium to pray with people that have prayer needs and to pray for each service. We have a team of people that pray for all the prayer requests that come in on Sunday and throughout the week. We have a group that meets every Monday morning at 6:00 am to pray. We have people that meet once per month on Saturday morning to pray. We have all of our small groups praying together when they meet. Some small groups are praying for their local schools and communities and some are doing prayer walks. Our staff meets together every Monday morning at 8:30 am and breaks into groups and prays together.
All this prayer is making a difference! God calls us to be persistent in our prayers and not give up. Jesus spent a large amount of his time in prayer. That is good enough for me. Join me in praying for changed lives in your communities. Prayer really does matter!
I met with a couple that will be giving leadership to our prayer ministry at NewPointe. They have a real passion for prayer and for the church to become a church of prayer. Prayer is powerful and prayer is a special privilege we have as Christ followers. As we talked about how we can start to raise awareness of prayer, I had to think about my own prayer life.
I asked myself how are you doing in your time of talking with God. I have to admit, I am not where I want to be. Often times when I find myself in a dry spell spiritually it is because my prayer time has dwindled.
When I am spending time with God and really connecting with Him, I find that I am more energized, attentive and patient. I am more likely to pray throughout the day whenever I am facing a challenge or decision. I am more aware of the people around me and my compassion level is much higher.
When I have not been spending enough time with God, I tend to get grumpy, impatient, distracted and tired. I tend to want to be alone and do my own thing. I will often miss opportunities to minister to the people around me. I will even hurt those closest to me by saying or doing something unkind.
So how is your prayer life? Do you need to reconnect with God today? I encourage you to spend an extended time alone just talking with God. Praise Him for who He is, thank Him for what He has done and is going to do in your life, confess your sins (all of them) and pray for the people in your life and anyone that He brings to your mind.