Excellence . . . 12/29/12
Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth - Isaiah 12:5 NASB.
I am blessed to live on a large country lot, surrounded by meadows and wooded land. Looking across my back yard in late December, the nearby trees and distant woods present a diversity of wintry shapes and subtle colors—each one uniquely beautiful, and all standing in grand artistic harmony. The trees are amazing in their form and depths of splendor, always reminding me of their Creator. This work of His hands clearly defines the word, "excellence." In fact, the Lord is excellent in all that He is and does.
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! - Psalm 8:9.
Because God embodies excellence, then so must we. A Christian life cannot be lazy or haphazard. The presence of Excellence abiding within us will not allow it.
Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations - Isaiah 60:15.
Excellence has been on my mind lately. The Spirit has been speaking to me about excellence in the important matters of life, and especially in prayer. It's fair to say that if we want an excellent response from God, then we need to make an excellent plea. This will only happen when our prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Fancy words are not what God is waiting to hear. Neither is He impressed by the length of our prayer. What is dear to the Lord is that His will is done on Earth. Scripture reveals His general desire, but when the Word is brought to life and specifically applied by the Holy Spirit, it becomes a sharp sword to cut the enemy's throat.
Becoming excellent in prayer requires time spent in the Word and in the presence of God, listening for His voice and aligning with His heart. Today is a perfect day to begin. Just imagine: Through the Spirit's daily inspiration, the will of God that's revealed to us will appeal to the will of God in the Father's heart. Only good can follow.
Dear Holy Spirit, please remind us often that excellence, in any realm, will only come by hearing and submitting to You. We ask for a special anointing of discernment, enlightenment and revelation. Please cleanse and renew our minds, then let us be channels of triumphant prayer.
Stewards of Grace . . . 12/15/12
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain - Galatians 2:21.
The longer I live, the more I see the tremendous value of grace. When I first understood the meaning of grace, I quickly claimed this gift for myself. Then, as I matured, God opened my eyes to see the need in others for grace instead of the law. Judgement is cold and harsh, while grace is bright, warm and full of life. Grace is the unmerited favor of God that shines a light and "makes a way" for all who turn to Him in their weakness. Grace fills us with dynamic hope and inspires us to look for the glory of God right here on earth.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly - Psalm 84:11.
As human need increases in this world, the value of grace increases more. Today we are faced with abuse of governmental power, failing economy, moral decay, and widespread destruction. But grace is fully prepared to conquer these evil strongholds. Grace is always ready when believers stand in the gap and call it forth.
Christians are compelled by the Spirit to pray for others. We are called to be stewards of God's grace. To do this effectively, we must begin with humble hearts that are impassioned by His presence. We need to experience and wholly accept the grace of the Lord before we are able to give it to others. Our prayer for those in need must spring from this proper alignment with God. Whether praying for the lost or for other Christians, if we ask for help and mercy instead of seeking judgement, we are successfully sending God's grace into the world.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need - Hebrews 4:16.
Grace lives and abounds in the heart of the Lord. Closely related to mercy and love, grace could be God's middle name. He always wants to give, to heal, and to restore. Therefore, God is blessed when we pray.
Grace always calls the sinner to God's higher way. It paves a way for repentance. When the Holy Spirit leads us to intercede and call for saving grace, it is for those who will respond one day and step to the high ground of righteousness.
Grace is longsuffering. A sinner's need for grace can last a lifetime, right up to the hour of their departure. But when this grace is prescribed by God, it certainly will not fail. Intercessors must be willing to travel a long and rocky road.
Grace opens doors that have been locked. Our prayer for grace releases God's power at the scene of human struggle. Not only do doors swing open, but waters part, and mountains begin to crumble.
Grace clears the way for purpose and glory. Residing in the holy breath of God (in His Word), grace can blow away the ugly debris of deception and entrapment. It will clear a path for greatness.
Oh, how I love this amazing grace! First it brings us to the loving arms of God (Ephesians 2:8), then every day thereafter it surrounds us with His favor as a shield (Psalm 5:12). On top of that, the grace of God offers significant destiny to all who will respond (2 Timothy 1:9). Grace is big, fat, wide and strong, reaching throughout eternity (Psalm 103:17). Such a gift is meant to be held in highest esteem. It should be carefully guarded but never hidden away. This life-changing treasure is meant to be freely shared.
Dear Lord, we thank You for Your ever-present gift of grace. Please let its beauty continue to unfold before our eyes as we intercede for Your church. Let us see its glorious effect on the ones still lost—the ones we fervently pray for. Let the whole world behold Your grace as it dances into dark places, lifting high the lamp of Your truth and singing of Your love.
Pray For Grace . . . 11/23/12
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler… He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…Psalm 91:3,4.
It happens to all of us. We get blind-sided by words or actions that push our emotional buttons. Before we know it, we have reacted in the flesh. (The enemy sets a trap, and we step squarely into it.) No matter what type of sin, most of us know right away when we've "messed up" because the Spirit within us is grieved. We quickly confess our sin, we're forgiven by God, and we make amends as He leads.
However, the enemy doesn't want to let us off the hook. Those trouble-making demons try to make us squirm and fret and feel ashamed. They want our misdemeanors to be front-page news. God merely wants us to repent, but the demonic realm tries to "make us pay."
Too many times I've fallen for this demand of the enemy to feel like a failure and worry about the fallout of my error. But the day came when my level of wisdom was sufficient to break the cycle. Time spent in the presence of God made me bold enough to think that He would "cover for me." It seemed that if Jesus' blood paid for my sin, then I could expect His grace to lift me above any condemnation.
With the next dilemma, I began to test my theory by asking the Lord to "Please cover for me. Please take up the slack of my weakness and my failure to pass Your test. Please help me to grow in this area. Please cleanse me of this sin." And each time, so far, this request has worked! The sticky situations simply dissolve and disappear. (Of course, this prayer must come from a repentant heart. It can't be used as a quick-fix formula.)
God knows ahead of time when we're going to fail a test, but He puts us through the paces anyway. He wants us to know where we are weak, so we will pray for His strength. And, as I have learned, He wants us to also pray for His abundant, amazing grace. In loving response, He will "cover us" with His feathers and give us refuge under His mighty wings.
Dear Lord, we thank You for Your grace from the bottom of our hearts. We would be "up a creek" with out it. It is good that we know our need for grace, so we'll see the same need in others. Please teach us to properly dispense Your grace to the world around us, just as we have received it from You. Don't let us cheapen Your grace with compromise or counteract it with legalism. Please keep us on Your pathway of love.
by Susan Rose
Great Expectations . . . 11/4/12
Circumstances can be daunting. In the hand of God, they're fuel for His refining fire. But while the Lord is fine-tuning us, the enemy concurrently tries to crush the life out of us with the very same conditions. The Spirit may be telling us to "Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!" (Isaiah 60:1 AMP), but the demonic realm is hell bent on convincing us that our hope is in vain and all is lost.
The enemy loves to hit us hard (maybe causing an unsaved family member to wound us with cruel words), then quickly hit us a second time (a miserable illness will do), then hit us again (unexpected bills are never welcome) and again (the "difficult person" in our life decides to kick it up a notch). Combined attacks have an exponential effect. In our weakened state, frightening, tormenting thoughts will assail our minds. "God knows how ineffective you are, and He's very disappointed. You might as well give up on getting that help He has promised because you simply don't deserve it. God has told you for years that things will change, but nothing is any different, and you have yourself to blame for that. The truth is, things will get much worse. You just wait and see."
Then the Spirit of God will whisper, "All is well. Your circumstances are not as bad as they seem, and they can't hurt you because I Am in control." And we are thinking, "But God, these things do hurt, and I'm getting very tired. I'm not sure I can take this much longer." With exceeding grace, the Spirit reminds us of relevant portions of His word, according to our need:
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord - Psalm 27:13,14 AMP.
What would have become of me had I not believed... This clearly reveals the importance of faith.
I never cease to be amazed at the power of God's word. It gives us practical instruction while assuring us deep within that the assignment is achievable. On top of that, the word imparts a strong responsibility to accept and obey its message of hope.
The concluding lines of Psalm 27, above, are especially enlightening in the Amplified Bible. This version adds the word "expect" to present a full, rich meaning. God is telling us to actively anticipate His answers to our prayers (the ones that align with His will) and to "watch our mailbox" for the delivery of every promise He has whispered in our ears. No matter what our circumstances imply, we're told to have great expectations of the Lord.
Thank You, God, for the power of Your word and the guidance of Your Spirit. We are weak and easily intimidated, but Your living word imparts strength and hope to make us "brave and of good courage." By Your indwelling Spirit, our hearts become "stout and enduring." We praise You, Lord, for Your refining fire and Your commitment to transforming us. Help us to never faint in the midst of trials, but to always anticipate Your goodness. Help us to always believe.
Revelation . . . 10/28/12
Therefore I…do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him… - Ephesians 1:15-17.
Revelation from God comes to us in many forms: We are presented with vivid dreams and detailed visions. Words and ideas are spoken to us by the Spirit within. As we read the Bible, the Lord will sometimes quicken His Word so it speaks to us on a personal level.
We're given revelation for a number of reasons. It may come as a warning, or as edification, insight and encouragement. It goes without saying that when God speaks, we should listen carefully and respond properly. Anything less is arrogant and reckless.
In whatever form the revelations come and for whatever purpose they are sent, it's critical that we incorporate them in our prayer. Any impending danger disclosed by God should obviously be prayed against. Everything else is a reflection of His heart and mind—an unveiling of His will. Whenever we know God's will, we should pray confidently in agreement.
The Lord loves to tell us what we need to know.
During a recent one-week vacation, I saw seven rainbows. I thought this was unusual, and I felt that my seeing them was significant. Using an online concordance, I searched for scripture about rainbows. I expected to find the familiar verses about God's covenant with man. I was surprised by a wonderful verse that is new to me:
Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD - Ezekiel 1:28.
Through seven rainbows and a corresponding scripture, God revealed His glory to me. He showed me that I am covered and surrounded by it. Because of this new insight, I now pray for God's glory to enter situations or certain areas or even a person's heart.
On this same week of vacation, I met a Christian couple on the beach. We talked for awhile and ended up praying together. During our prayer, God gave the woman a vision about someone I love. She shared it with me, and now I use this new revelation in my prayers of intercession. This divine appointment supplied me with a sharp new weapon.
If you're not getting as much revelation from the Lord as you want, then please start praying that you will. Claiming the words of Ephesians 1:15-21 for yourself is an excellent place to begin. When your spiritual discernment starts to increase, be sure to follow through with obedience, praise and prayer.
Thank You, Lord, for Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Personal communication with You is powerful, and it's indispensable for victory in Your kingdom. Please pour Your grace upon us without measure so that we will always respond in action and in prayer according to Your will.
Hope in God . . . 9/20/12
Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance, and my God – Psalm 43:5 AMP.
These words reflect the encouraging heart of the Lord. They are a call to "hang in there" and don't give up because help is on the way. We're told to wait expectantly for Him because He is the answer. His love, His grace, His mercy, His power—all of these saving attributes are part of who He is.
By the pen of a psalmist, the Spirit urges us repeatedly to put our hope in God. Psalm 43:5 is what I call a "triplet verse." Within the space of two Psalms, the same statement is repeated three times. You will find the same message, almost word for word, in Psalm 42:5 and 42:11. Because God states His message three times, I know He means business. A triple dose of hope and power can be received if we will hear and believe.
In a couple areas that I pray for, the Lord has brought me to a place of desperation. But this is good desperation—the kind that is totally dependent on Him. Throughout the day, I find myself quoting the scripture above, saying, “My hope is in God.” Sometimes my voice has a pleading tone—My hope is in You, Lord. Please help. Other times I announce my Hope in God with confidence and joy, knowing that He has inspired me to proclaim His powerful Word.
Yes! Put your hope in the Lord, and wait on Him! He is the One who will not disappoint. Now, if Psalm 43:5 doesn't speak to you like it did to me, here are more words from the Lord that inspire us to hope in Him:
The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed - Romans 10:11 AMP.
Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me - Isaiah 49:22,23.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit - Jeremiah 17:7,8.
Thank You, Lord, for Your precious gift of hope. I can't imagine life without hope in You. This hope gives birth to courage and joy because YOU are the answer to our need. Thank You for all the promises we look forward to. Thank You for being faithful to Your Word.
Don't Lose Heart . . . 9/9/12
Demons hate the glory of God. When they see it approaching in answer to prayer, then "all hell breaks loose" to stop it. If your prayer has become powerful and effective, then don't be surprised when spiritual turmoil erupts. And don't take it personally when you become the target of spiritual rage.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places - Ephesians 6:12.
The unsaved loved ones we pray for can be strongly influenced and sometimes possessed by demons (Ephesians 2:2). Even our presence in the room may be offensive to the spiritual forces manipulating them. A strong Christian presence can actually torment demons. One person I pray for has informed me in a matter-of-fact tone that she feels "icky" when I'm around. Another time this person exploded in rage, telling me that I'm "disgusting" (among other words that I cannot repeat). No matter how genuine the emotions appear, God has shown me that these are the words of a demon, coming from the vicious heart of a demon. (The woman thinks the negative thoughts, feelings and words are her own.) The demon wants me to be so angered and upset that I will stop praying for the woman's salvation.
Personal attack is common when Christians begin to seriously pray for the lost. It is critical, however, that we don't stop interceding when assaults come our way. Yes, we may be hurting, but we can't step onto a battlefield and think the enemy will not take cruel aim at us. And if we're wounded, we can't bitterly crawl away and leave a captive in enemy hands. If the needful person is in our domain, then we must fight for them, however much we hurt, and for however long it takes.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart - Galatians 6:9.
It's true! Prayer will reap great rewards if we don't lose heart and faint. Because the enemy's artillery is simply smoke and mirrors, it can only harm us if we believe it is real. Keeping our eye on the Lord and His word is our secure course of action. God's personal words regarding those we pray for are spiritual nuclear weapons. These insightful directives come in the form of dreams, visions, rhema words, and prophetic words. They can be launched with guaranteed results.
Thank You, Lord, for Your mighty weapons of truth. Please help us to fight courageously, having our hearts always united with Yours. When we stumble, help us to quickly arise and rejoin the battle. When we are wounded, please send us Your healing balm. Thank You for the honor of fighting for those You love.
Ask . . . 8/9/12
A common admonition coming from modern-day pharisees is to "Seek God's face and not His hand." I have to say, these words infuriate me. They are a gross distortion of God's will. The first time I heard the phrase, my spirit responded with an emphatic "No! That is not true!" Jesus tells us to "ask, and you shall receive" (Luke 11:9,10). Why would God spend years tearing down our strongholds of pride and self-sufficiency if He doesn't want us turning to Him for support?
Asking the Lord for help is the essence of prayer. The answers we receive come directly from His hands.
Christians must beware of isolating a scripture from the rest of the Bible and thereby distorting the meaning. The following verse has often been set apart and used as doctrine:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you - Matthew 6:33.
By itself, Matthew 6:33 is mistakenly used to support the premise of only seeking God's presence and never what is in His hands. But taken in context (verses 31-34), we find that Jesus is simply telling us not to worry. He says that if our priorities are right, then our needs will be met. It's important to note that Jesus isn't telling us not to ask for anything.
Here is a verse that presents a different but very compatible view of God's intentions:
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened - Luke 11:9,10.
Here is another:
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” - Matthew 21:21,22.
We can easily seek God's face (His presence) and what is in His hands at the same time. The two actions do not conflict as long as seeking God Himself is the highest priority.
Try to imagine an Earthly father telling His children the following: "Please come and sit in my lap. I want to hug and kiss you, and I want your hugs and kisses in return. Just don't ever ask me for money or food or clothing. If you cut your finger, don't ask me to fix your "boo boo." If a neighborhood bully is hurting you, don't look to me for protection." We would recoil from this cold hypocrisy.
The hands of our Heavenly Father not only offer provision; they also heal and protect. Because His heart overflows with love for us, His hands are always extended to meet our needs.
Thank You, Lord, for Your loving and generous heart that beats with us in mind. Please reveal Your truth to any who don't feel free to seek what is in Your hands. Purify our motives so that we do not ask amiss. And as we reach for the gifts in Your hands, please let us look at your beautiful face. Let us be transformed by what we see in Your eyes. Let us hear Your voice, bask in Your warmth and breathe in Your holy scent. Let us worship You today and forever.
Sacrifices of Righteousness . . . 7/15/12
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord - Psalm 4:5.
What will you give up to allow more time for pursuing the presence of God? What activity is stealing away the hours you should spend in the Word and in prayer? What rebellious self-indulgence has grown into unconfessed sin—now a wall of shame that keeps you distant from the Lord? Whether it's a passionate hobby or a sin, whatever keeps your pursuit of God from being the highest priority in your life should be dealt with immediately. It must be offered to Him as a "sacrifice of righteousness."
Only the righteous can offer sacrifices of righteousness. A Christian's righteous standing comes from the presence of Jesus within. He inspires and enables us to sacrifice the things we value too highly. Our Lord will always fill the void with more of Himself.
Let me offer an example of this from my personal experience: God has given me artistic talent, and with the advent of digital cameras, I found an outlet for much of my creative energy. This began with a legitimate need to illustrate my inspirational articles. It then expanded to a second web site—a photo blog that would be a portfolio to showcase my work. I have thoroughly enjoyed this quest for photographic beauty. I've enjoyed the hunt, the capture and the presentation. But when one day I prayed about this, the Lord cautioned me about letting photography become an idol in my life. I should not invest large amounts of time in it. He explained that my artistic talent is a gift that holds some purpose, but it is not a major calling. For a period of about six months, I stopped adding to my photo blog, but then I began again, attempting to be conservative.
Years have passed, and I recently discovered that my current photo blog host is no longer providing technical support or making any upgrades. I decided to make a move. I found another host and began the time-consuming process of transferring all my photos and their accompanying text. However, I soon felt a distinct lack of peace. I became increasingly dissatisfied with the new site. The layout conflicted with the clear purpose and purity of my previous site. And...maintaining it required a lot more time.
Once again, with a sincere heart, I asked the Lord what to do. Should I stop using the new web host? Should I give up photo-blogging altogether? I sensed that He was not pleased and wanted me to make an adjustment. A short time later I was given a dream that offered clear direction. I was told to completely dismantle the new photo blog because of demonic activity within the organization. (That explains my lack of peace!) I can keep my original photo blog and look for another more suitable host, but once again, I must beware of spending too much time with this. I quickly obeyed, offering this "sacrifice of righteousness" to the Lord. Now I have much more time for the One I love.
Because it's very important, let me ask you once again: What will you give up to allow more time for pursuing the presence of God? What activity is stealing away the hours you should spend in the Word and in prayer?
Dear Lord, please reveal to us the idols that are infiltrating our lives. Shine your light into every corner of our hearts to identify what is keeping us from knowing You in the ways You want to be known. Help us to turn our backs on all that is "stubble and hay."
Until the Day Dawns . . . 6/25/12
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts . . . 2 Peter 1:19.
If you're walking with the Lord, then chances are He's taking you through some dark valleys and narrow passages, all for the purpose of strengthening your faith and conforming you to His image. This certainly has been true in my life. And during these times, if I hold tightly to God, I am uplifted by His voice. A few days ago, the Spirit spoke to me regarding the years ahead. He said, "Don't worry about the future. Jesus has already gone ahead and set it aright for you." This means that my future is good, and it's full of God's purpose for me! Answered prayer awaits me there! These words were a loving encouragement from the Lord.
Webster's Dictionary defines prophecy as "a declaration of something to come," so when God speaks to me about my future, I consider His words to be prophecy. Whether it's personal prophecy or a major prophecy from the Bible, we are told to heed the prophetic word as "a light that shines in a dark place..." The words in 2 Peter 1:19 are dear to us because the promises of God are what steer us safely through the darkest stormy nights. When all seems lost, these words from Him are a sure and steady guide, leading us always to the dawn.
With every dawn comes light, warmth and vision. But one aspect of dawn that is often overlooked is the "morning star." This star in the western sky is actually the planet, Venus. It's positioned perfectly to reflect the sun just before it rises in the east. The morning star of the Bible is a reference to Jesus. For people of faith, His presence during the night is assurance of good things to come—still unseen but certainly on the way, each blessing scheduled to appear at a predetermined dawn. Our Lord has been to the future and has already "set things aright" for each of us, according to our needs and our calling. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:6). Just as He has ordered the sun to rise for us each day, He has set into motion the answers to our prayers (John 4:13,14).
If we take heed to God's word in the dark of night, then the Morning Star will arise in our hearts. The embers of struggling faith will be stirred into a powerful, blazing fire. Revived and fully awake, we will work and pray and bring God's Kingdom from Heaven to Earth.
Thank You, Lord, for going ahead of us to fill our future with purpose. Thank You for paving our roads with goodness and mercy. Help us to heed Your word at all times, but especially in difficult times. Keep our eyes always fixed on You, the bright Morning Star, as You remind us of the glorious dawn that lies ahead. Let our prayers reflect this heightened expectation.
To Judge or Intercede? . . . 6/10/12
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing – John 6:63.
Many of us think we’re using discernment when we’re actually judging. A person who is consistently judgmental is most likely being influenced by a “critical spirit” and a “spirit of pride.”
It's important to understand that true Christian discernment comes from the heart and mind of Christ, not from the heart and mind of our flesh (John 6:63). True discernment is a revelation of what God thinks and how He feels. Please ask Him for enlightenment regarding where you stand in this issue, and don’t be surprised if you're told that your attitude falls short. Being judgmental is a common problem among Christians.
I think it is wise to pray each day for the heart and mind of the Lord to override our personal thoughts and feelings. Any time we find ourselves in a “critical mode,” we should stop and ask the Lord to give us His insight and understanding about the matter at hand. We may have to wait a while for our own emotions to simmer down before we can be receptive. But however long it takes, we must set aside any rights to retain our own opinion and act upon it. Yes, our judgment may be “right,” but it may not be “relevant” to the situation.
The Book of Job offers good examples of speaking "right things" at the wrong time: Job's friends spoke a certain amount of truth to him during his terrible time of loss and pain, but their words were only a source of added torment. These friends were unable to offer appropriate help because they didn’t have a clue about the purpose of Job's trial. They had not heard from God, so their judgemental words completely missed the mark.
Contrary to popular belief, God does not tell us we shouldn't judge. Instead, He tells us we must first get the beam out of our own eye. If we succeed in doing that and also receive clear direction from the Lord to speak to a person about their behavior, then we must obey. (See Luke 6:42.)
Only God knows all the facts, and only He is qualified to assess, correct and direct. He won't work through us until we seek His heart in a matter and defer to His plan of action. If we choose to pray for a person instead of being judgmental, then the Lord will surely reveal to us what we need to know for continued, effective intercession.
Lord, please help us to mine the depths of who You are so we can properly represent You. Fill us with Your love and Your thoughts throughout each day. Let Your Spirit sound a loud alarm when our flesh attempts to intrude and before our tongues begin to wag. Please break our habit of judging others, and teach us to pray instead.
Creative Prayer . . . 5/19/12
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made - John 1:1-3.
Because Christians have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and Christ created all things, then our thoughts should abound with inherent creative power.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men - John 1:4.
Abiding in Christ and being filled with His Spirit should result in a consistant flow of life through us to those in our domain. How this plays out in individual Christian lives is always unique. Jesus created "good works" for each of us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10), and He gave us personalities, talents and spiritual gifts that align with these acts of destiny. Whether we're artists or accountants, the creative mind of the Lord should be influencing our work, our play, and everything in between.
One sphere of Christian life where creativity can bloom is in our hopes, dreams and desires. We spend countless hours thinking of end results we hope for. These personal objectives have specific, vivid details. With the passing of time, as we're further conformed to the image of Christ, our desires are also transformed to be nearly the same as His. At this point, our faith can lay claim to the most persistent hopes and dreams because they agree with the heart of God. Always allowing for His perfect timing and "higher ways," we can confidently present our list of desires to the Lord.
Time with God in prayer should be marked by freedom of expression. We can make our requests known to Him with no fear of rejection (Philippians 4:6). We should never be timid, supposing that our ideas are too big or too grand to be accepted. Humility has its place, but discussing major change with the Most High God is not against the rules.
Reminding the Lord of a vision He gave me last year, adding a decree of related rhema words, painting all this with a heavy coat of discerning agreement, then adding a final spritz of praise is what I call "creative prayer."
Cooks use tested recipes to create palate-pleasing meals, and builders use blueprints to ensure strong, safe construction. Christians, when praying, should always partake of Jesus' creative mind. The results will be bring joy to both Heaven and Earth.
Thank You, Lord, for filling our heads with Your amazing, creative mind. Please teach us to recognize Your thoughts whenever You present them. Help us to perceive all of Your communication to us, whether it be internal or external. We are honored to be chosen and used in Your eternal plans that start right here on Earth.
The Final Score . . . 5/1/12
The Christian life is often compared to football. Our opponent may knock us down repeatedly, but we must get up and continue playing if we want to win. No matter what happens during the game, we know it's the final score that matters.
On the playing field of Kingdom living, the pain and hardship we endure is trivial in light of the outcome we pray for. The difficulties we face should always be viewed as trials of our faith that keep up close to God and His Word. These trials are opportunities for growth. When times are tough, it's helpful to keep our eyes on the visible glory that certainly lies ahead—on the winning of each dear soul we pray for, the successful completion of every assignment, our increasing nearness and conformity to God, and the pleasure that all of this brings to Him.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. - Hebrews 12:1,2 NLT.
Jesus is our example. As He approached the time of His crucifiction, and while He was on the cross, His heart was fixed on the prize He would win—the securing of our salvation. Likewise, as we await the perfect timing of God's answer to our prayers, we must resist discouragement. Giving up is not an option. Rejection must be accepted with humility and grace. Every obstacle on our course is merely a "giant" that Jesus' blood has already conquered.
When David hid in mountain caves from the hostility of King Saul, he encouraged himself by thinking of past experiences with the Lord. He surely remembered the day when one small stone, turned loose by faith and guided by grace, sunk into Goliath's skull. He remembered the One who upheld him that day. David touched the heart of God in many ways, and we can do the same:
We can encourage ourselves by thinking of all that God has done for us in the past.
We can stir up our faith by abiding in the Word and in His Presence.
We can loose God's power by praising Him in the midst of every trial.
Through prayer, we can bring God's will to Earth, one precious piece at a time.
We can choose to look ahead to the joy and glory that will soon be upon us.
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” - Matthew 19:26.
Oh, yes! That's what I'm counting on!
Lord, we're so glad that You're the Coach, the Referee and the Scorekeeper. You have the last word, both in Heaven and on Earth, and what You say is always good. We're thankful to be on Your winning team. Please keep our focus on the goals You set before us. We place our faith in You, the One for whom nothing is impossible.
Prophetic Prayer . . . 4/15/12
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen - Ephesians 3:20,21.
Many of us get caught up in the words "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think"—and for good cause. In light of our needy condition, God's power and grace are exciting to think about. But with our focus squarely on God's greatness, we might not absorb the next string of words. Our Lord works "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in us..."
Did you catch that? According to the power that works in us! These words align perfectly with another well-known verse:
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory - Colossians 1:27.
The message of God's mighty power flowing through weak human vessels has always been close to my heart. I've not been allowed to forget this good news. The Lord reminds me of it quite often because it's essential to victorious Christian living and to His purpose for my life. His most recent reminder was just a few days ago when I first awoke in the morning. The Holy Spirit spoke clearly into my mind, but instead of distinct words, He gave me a distinct thought. (Sometimes, when God doesn't want to be limited by the English language, He just makes me "know" things.) Here is my paraphrase of the message:
Living within you is the Most High God, the Creator of all that exists. You are friends, united in purpose. He wants to proclaim (prophesy) His will through your prayer so it will come to pass.
Though this message sounds rather general, the Spirit gave me understanding that I should apply this prophetic type of prayer to my two most pressing needs. (I should proclaim every relevant scripture and every personal word from God that comes to mind pertaining to these matters.) Wow! What a way to start my day. Two locked doors will soon swing open! God has given me the key.
Prophetic prayer may not be the key for bringing God's will to every circumstance, all the time, but according to Him, it will loose His power for two of my current needs. I love that the Lord is extremely practical! If another kind of prayer would be more fitting, I'm sure He would have directed me toward that. He doesn't want life in His kingdom to be a guessing game.
Praying prophetically does require a healthy level of faith in who God is and what is in His heart. Our faith unleashes the truth and power within His words. But don't let being a "babe in Christ" keep you from trying. One of the best ways to build up faith is watching God respond to prayer.
Thank You, Lord, for including us in Your wonderful work. Don't let us ever forget "the power that works in us," that brings You glory, through all generations. Thank You for building our faith so we can effectively use the sword of prophetic prayer.
Choosing Life for Others . . . 4/7/12
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live . . . - Deuteronomy 30:19.
Choosing life for ourselves includes choosing life for others. The living Christ in us must be shared by our witness and invoked through our prayer. If we're too lazy or selfish to do so, then we're actually choosing a portion of death by refusing to participate in God's plan.
The Lord has effective ways of teaching and preparing His people to meet the demands of His call on each life. In my case, He has repeatedly put me in positions that I would not have chosen on my own. I've often been surrounded by people who annoy the daylights out of me with their inconsiderate and sinful behavior. Over and over again, I have encountered those who would eventually hurt me in some small way. For the longest time, I viewed these people as pawns of the enemy. Sometimes I more generously thought of them as "Heavenly sandpaper" that God was using to teach me spiritual warfare. My prayer regarding these offenders was focused on protection and relief for myself. I wanted their conduct exposed so they would be forced to mend their ways. I dutifully prayed for their salvation, but I really wanted a reprieve from dealing with them.
As time went by, the Lord expanded my heart. He showed me that every person who gets on my nerves, tests my patience or hurts me in any way is sent by Him to be prayed for. No matter how difficult, I must always choose life for these people by rising above my own emotions to pray on their behalf. To minister life, my prayer should never be indignant or prideful. Instead I must pray sincerely for God's merciful help concerning each one. He made it clear to me that this kind of prayer would please Him.
Negative emotions are a normal response to being hurt by someone or being exposed to their sin. But the Christian life is one of continually stepping higher. We're asked by God to start looking past our feelings and meet the need of the other person. If we listen, the Spirit will give us clues regarding the root of their behavior so we can pray specifically and effectively.
Our faith and resolve will surely be tested if we move to this new level. And of course there will be a learning curve. But the truth is, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We can fulfill the desire of God. Through prayer, we can choose life for those who are lost, wounded and dying.
Lord Jesus, You died so that we may have life. For that, we will never cease to praise You! Please help us to follow Your example. Help us die to our own self-interest so that others may also receive your life. Awaken us from the lethargy induced by our selfish personal agendas. Open our eyes to recognize poor behavior in others as a desperate need for prayer. Please keep us focused on ministering life to those You send our way.
A Christlike Response . . . 3/25/12
When men revile us [wound us with an accursed sting], we bless them. When we are persecuted, we take it patiently and endure it. When we are slandered and defamed, we [try to] answer softly and bring comfort - 1 Corinthians 4:12-13 AMP.
Many of us have been falsely programmed to expect fair treatment from others. Even if our Christian growth has undone that expectation, we may still believe that people should treat us well if we present all the facts—if we reason with them in a skillful manner about the issue at hand. But the truth is, if we belong to God, He is teaching us to be humble, submitting to Him in all things. (Our submission is ultimately to the Lord, not to man.) Most importantly, He's teaching us to love. We're being reprogrammed for effectiveness in His kingdom, and this process requires that we suffer.
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake - Philippians 1:29.
Jesus wasn't treated fairly, but He responded to hatred by giving His life. His pure and holy love is our example. It doesn't come naturally, and it certainly doesn't happen over night. Our conformation to the image of Christ happens gradually as we're given "opportunities" to love the ones who mistreat us. These opportunities aren't pleasant, but they're valuable. If we submit to the hand of God, we'll learn much about ourselves and even more about Him:
Spiritual maturity doesn't make us immune to emotional pain. Instead, it requires that we respond properly in the midst of our pain.
We can't love the sinful people around us, but "Christ in us" can love them. Unfairness or unkindness forces us to face this fact and draw upon God to succeed in loving others.
We can't "win" when the Lord is teaching us to be humble. We must simply submit to Him, trusting that His purpose is met by our gentle response.
God's purpose doesn't always align with our desire.
We can learn from our failures. Don't let the enemy tell you otherwise.
Faith in God's word and the touch of His love will heal our wounds.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven . . . - Matthew 5:44-45.
The act of prayer is an unseen expression of love. This can be our immediate, loving response to being mistreated—one that releases the power of God. We can pray for someone even before our anger and pain subside. (Prayer helps to put our focus on God's purpose. It will curtail our misery and get us on track emotionally.) But we must pray unselfishly, laying aside our own desire to be held in high esteem. The familiar phrase, "Hurting people hurt people," is something to keep in mind as we intercede for those who are unkind.
Thank You, Lord, for conforming us to Your image—no matter how painful it is. Please make us aware of the honor that comes with each opportunity to be humble and to love. Help us to pray purely and effectively. We want to please You, Lord, with our responses.
Jesus Lives for You and Me . . . 3/12/12
Through a series of revelations, the Lord has increased my desire to pray. I've started interceding for unsaved friends and family members with heightened expectation. I'm using Biblical principles and accompanying scripture* that I've been familiar with but until recently have not employed as serious weapons of assault.
The Lord has encouraged me to continue along this path of prayer by showing me glimpses of success. I've been assured that He's doing much more behind the scenes that I'm not seeing. But prayer is spiritual warfare, and the enemy does fight back. I've experienced an onslaught of discouragement that is intended to stop my prayer. Even my dreams have been invaded—quite often composed of negative interaction with people I love and pray for. Night after night I've been assailed by episodes that contain a grain of truth and a ton of distortion. Then anxiety greets me when I awake.
I asked the Lord why He's allowed the enemy to enter my dreams, especially after I've prayed for protection from this. The answer I got was simple: I am testing your faith, and I'm causing you to grow in the knowledge of spiritual warfare. I am strengthening your resolve to fight. The Lord went on to explain that He's able to do this with me because of the Word I've stored in my mind. When a battle heats up, the Spirit can remind me of scripture that I know. And from a special file He pulls up memories of relevant dreams and visions that He's given me in the past. Pertinent rhema Words are also displayed like banners over my battlefield. Because of God'sLiving Word to me, I am victorious!
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you - John 15:7.
One recent morning, I awoke from another bad dream. I decided to use truth about God as a weapon to counteract the way I felt. The dream was an assault against me as a person, so I made a cup of tea and declared out loud: "Jesus died for ME!" As I was saying this, more words came forth in my spirit, so I declared them too: "Jesus rose (from death) for ME! Jesus lives for ME!"
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death - Revelation 1:18.
Jesus died for me! These words of truth spoken as praise to God caused His Spirit to give me more: Jesus rose for me! Jesus lives for me!
I especially love the words, "Jesus lives for me." Coming directly from the Holy Spirit, they comfort me greatly and give me courage. Since Jesus lives for me, attacks of negativity cannot prevail. Jesus lives to fulfill every promise He's spoken to me regarding myself and others—and there have been many.
If you are born again, then Jesus lives for you too! There is no reason to back away from hope or faith or prayer. The One Who conquered sin and death is on your side.
Thank You, Lord, for Your promises and for the gifts of faith and prayer to bring them forth. Thank You for testing our faith and helping us grow as we wait each day upon You.
*I highly recommend "Intercessory Prayer" and/or "How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones" by Dutch Sheets. "The Three Battlegrounds" by Francis Frangipane is also very good.
Reciprocal Love . . . 2/20/12
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation. - Psalm 91:14-16.
This is my assignment for the rest of my life and throughout eternity—to set my love upon the Lord and to know His name. What I receive in return, right here on Earth, is amazing. Grace incarnate greets me every day. God values our love for Him so highly that He reciprocates as no human being can:
God delivers us and sets us on high.
He answers when we call.
He is with us in trouble.
He delivers us and honors us.
He satisfies us with long life.
He shows us His continuous salvation.
All of this is ours, just for loving the Lord!
How we respond to God's wondrous love is important, especially since our old way of doing things has passed away and "all things are new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). In God's kingdom, we are loved so that we may love others. We're blessed so that we may bless others. With God's love and blessing comes the responsibility to "pass it on."
When we are delivered and set on high, the Spirit bids us to pull others up to our place of safety. Because God answers when we call, the Spirit leads us to pray persistently for others. Any time God honors us, we can testify of how His abiding presence enables us to be honorable. When we're given long life, it's always accompanied by an endless supply of salvation to deliver us from the evil that waits at every turn—certainly something to shout about!
Dear Lord, we know that our love for You only exists because You loved us first. But You still respond so graciously when we reflect this love back to You. Your love sets a holy standard for us to embody as we interact with the world. You never stop transforming our hearts to beat in alignment with Yours. Our response to Your goodness toward us must always be love and prayer for those who are needy and lost—for those who don't yet know Your name. We do this gladly.
He Did Not Spare . . . 2/18/12
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? - Romans 8:32.
The Lord reminded me of this verse early one morning while I was still in bed. I had been going through a time of doubt, so His encouragement was more than welcome. The Amplified Bible makes this scripture even clearer: He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?
To my heart, the Father said, "Susan, I sent My Son to die for your sins. Also through Him, I will care for all that you hold dear. I take great pleasure in meeting every one of your needs."
God is the one who loves us through thick and thin—forever. But the enemy wants us to think we're alone and unloved. Unmarried people are especially vulnerable to this type of attack. But God is our Father, our Husband and our Friend. None of us need to fear abandonment or rejection. Even if we're treated poorly by some who should be loving us, we can count on God and His word. He promises that "all things work together for our good" (Romans 8:28). He wants us to know that "all things are made new" (Revelation 21:5). He assures us that He will "restore the years the locust has eaten" (Joel 2:25). These victories are ours to claim!
Instead of being depressed and filled with self pity regarding our less-than-perfect circumstances, we should be declaring and enforcing the Word of God for every need in our domain. We must also resist comforting ourselves with anything other than God and His Word. Too much food or television used as a way of escape is just what Satan prescribes. But if we receive God's truth and release its power by faith—during prayer and throughout the day—the enemy will retreat.
Most of us know some scripture pertaining to the areas of our need. We know God's will about these matters! And with this knowledge comes responsibility to pray that His will comes to pass. In Jesus' model prayer, He tells us to pray for the Father's will to be done "on Earth as it is in Heaven."
What has the Lord confirmed that He wants done in your life? What should be accomplished through your prayer? What scripture has He given you to support this goal? Recording this in a journal (to be used as a reminder) will help to keep you on track with your assignment.
Lord, we thank You for your loving care. Even during our trials, we thank You for the lessons you impart. Thank You for whispering Your Word so we may be strengthened and encouraged. We prevail in prayer entirely because of You—because of Your Son. We love You very much!
Who Do We Trust? . . . 2/5/12
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead - 2 Corinthians 1:9.
Are you "at the end of your rope"? Are you "caught between a rock and a hard place"? These phrases describe in modern terms what the apostle Paul refers to as "the sentence of death in ourselves." No matter what we call it, being at the complete mercy of God can be an uncomfortable place.
We may think our faith is strong. But when we're put in a place where God is our only hope, we learn that our faith is met by various forms of fear. We might find ourselves caught up in worry. Have I heard the Lord correctly? Has He changed His mind? Did I mess things up because of what I did last week? Why is this happening to me? Anxiety may rise each morning along with the sun, forcing us to engage in spiritual battle before we're out of bed.
If fear pushes us closer to the Lord, then we must thank Him for every frightful thought. Additionally, the presence of anxiety can expose our sin of independence from God so we can repent. Yes, it's true that fear comes most often from Satan, but God allows it and uses it to reveal our desperate need for Him. (I'm sure God enjoys manipulating Satan's fear campaign to use it for our good.)
In His mercy, God doesn't give us a "sentence of death in ourselves" very often. And when He does, He's waiting to "raise us from the dead" so He will be glorified within us and revealed to all who watch.
God is always with us. If we have trouble seeing Him, our prayer will turn on the lights and increase our vision. This personal interaction with the Lord anoints us with stronger faith and even gives us joy. Voicing our thanks and praise to God will unleash His power and purpose. Offering praise in the midst of testing may be difficult, but we can do it. Just remember the examples set by Joseph, David and Job. These men were victorious because of their attitude toward God. These men trusted Him.
We should expect to be tested by the Lord today because He never changes. If we put our trust in Him, we'll receive His help, and then, like other saints before us, our lives will bless the world. But most importantly, we'll bless the heart of God.
Father, please teach us to trust You. We understand that You often put us "out on a limb" without a contingency plan so we can learn to trust completely in You. In spite of our fears, we ask that You increase our faith by whatever means You choose.
The Sword of the Spirit . . . 1/8/12
. . . be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might . . . And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God - Ephesians 6:10,17.
Make no mistake. Prayer is warfare. When Christians step onto this battlefield, we must be heavily armed. The sword of the Spirit—the Word of God—is our awesome, overpowering, indestructible weapon. It cannot be defeated.
For years, I prayed without much power. I would ask God to "please save Mary Anne" or to "please make Julia stop acting like she does." My prayers were heard and appreciated, but they lacked the mighty breath of God that is found in scripture. Demons were probably mocking my words and laughing at me. But now I use God's Word when I pray. At first, I stirred up a hornet's nest of rebuttal, backlash, and rebellious noncompliance from Satan's camp. Demons were hoping for me to shut up and go away. However, the enemy has to obey God's Word if I insist. And I do insist. I know the Word, and I believe it. I proclaim it boldly in prayer. I continue wielding the sword of the Spirit and enforcing the will of God. Changes are taking place.
It's the will of God that no one should perish. When praying for friends and family I declare for each that "You shall live and not die (Psalm 18:17)." I assert that "No weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:17)" Because the Spirit has shown me a glimpse of His destiny for my granddaughter, I proclaim that she will "walk in the good works the Lord has prepared for her (Ephesians 2:10)."
With God's Word, we can break Satan's hold on those we love. Like waves upon a shore, Christians can assault the powers of darkness with relentless light and truth that sends them running. Our sword from the Most High God has preeminent power, so we must use it every day, at every opportunity. This takes commitment and effort, but excellent results are guaranteed.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it - Isaiah 55:10,11.
Dear Holy Spirit, we thank You for giving us Your mighty sword. Please keep us always ready to use it.
Choose to Pray . . . 1/1/12
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live - Deuteronomy 30:19.
Every day, Christians are faced with a critical choice: Do we accept the presence of sin around us, or do we fight in prayer against it? Almost every hour has moments of decision. If we choose to pray, then we are choosing life—for ourselves and others.
We're all aware of our responsibility to pray for "big things" like our government and our country. But even more important is the task of praying for issues closer to home. When every Christian home and workplace is sanctified by prayer, then the government will soon fall into place.
Because the enemy knows and fears the power of prayer, we'll be hit with discouragement designed to prevent us from voicing our intercession, our thanks and our praise to God. If we really get serious about prayer, then we'll become a target. Demons will want to stop us before we stop them. If we push forward, then the enemy will push back. Things will get tense because demons don't "play nice." They're full of venomous hatred, and they are skilled at what they do.
Now here's the good news: Faith in God and His Word trumps any card the powers of darkness may hold. Knowing the Word, believing it and proclaiming it is like holding a gun to the enemy's head—then pulling the trigger.
Some of the best opportunities for prayer lie within our thoughts. So often, we believe that our sad or fearful thoughts about a situation are based on reality. We will then assess the situation according to those thoughts or feelings. But, we may actually be falling for an enemy lie and supporting it with our response. (Our thoughts and emotions don't always originate from us or from God.) To prevent being manipulated by satanic forces, we should discipline ourselves to pray about every negative thought and feeling that comes our way.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ - 2 Corinthians 10:4,5.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can assess what is around us and all that is within us according to the Word. By neglecting to do this, we might passively accept and sanction evil. If sadness, fear or anger flares up, we can stop to consider what God says about the situation. We can ask Him for discernment and revelation. Then, using God's perspective and the correlating scripture, we can exercise "prophetic prayer" by proclaiming truth. We can trust God to oversee His truth and bring it to pass. We can thank Him for His action, then go on with our day, filled with His hope and peace.
Father, we thank You for teaching us how to pray. Thank You for this honor and privilege that is bestowed upon everyone in Your kingdom. Help us to always see opportunities for victorious prayer instead of insurmountable problems. We ask for revelation and strategy for every battle. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making this possible by Your blood.