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Pray For, Not About

One of the greatest challenges is to pray for those we aren’t fond of and for our enemies.

If a friend requests prayer, we can seemingly bring down heaven with our words. We may even find it easier to pray for ourselves and even strangers. But when it comes to certain people? We tend to pray about them.

These “special” people may be enemies, but they can also include those who grate our spirits like fingernails on a chalkboard. Their very presence may cause us to roll our eyes and groan. Or worse still—they purposefully annoy us and attack our souls. They threaten our Christianity by provoking us to unChristlike behavior.

And yet we must pray for them?

Praying for someone is different than praying about them. When we pray about people, we tend to ask God for some superficial things with veiled kindness. We may ask God to let them be absent from our presence that day. We may ask God to stop them from annoying us or to curb their irritating behaviors. We may even pray for them to be transferred — preferably to a different continent — where they may find a new group of people who might appreciate them more.

The motive behind these prayers tends to be more selfish. In essence, we’re asking that they stop bugging us!

One way to revolutionize our prayer lives is to adjust our mindset about people. Rather than seeing them as a pestilence to us, we need to ask God to help us see them as His dearly beloved children.

Yes, God loves everyone, whether or not we love them. We can ask God to love them through us.

This does not mean that we’ll automatically start loving from the depths of our hearts. We will not become BFFs miraculously overnight or at any future time. But our prayers for them will have a fresh motivation and intention.

When we pray for people as God’s children, we will ask God to save them. We’ll ask God to flood them with His Holy Spirit so that they will experience that deep-rooted joy that comes only from God. We’ll ask God to bless their lives. We’ll ask God that they would accept His forgiveness and live with confident assurance as His forgiven children. We’ll ask that God would transform their passions into something beautiful that will attract others to Christ.

As a result of praying differently, we will see a different response to our prayers. Not only is God working in them, but He’s also working in us. We’ll become more tolerant towards others. We’ll develop a new depth of patience for certain traits. We’ll stop seeing people as an irritation and start seeing them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our family.

Have you stopped praying for someone and starting praying for them? How has your prayer life changed? We’d love to hear your experience.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

What Happens When We Pray

Elijah’s day was one for the history books. God had shown up and shown out yet again. Elijah’s day began with an impromptu appointment with King Ahab, followed by the showdown on Mount Carmel. As an exclamation point to end the day, God sent rain after years of drought. Many prayers were answered that day.

Upon his return to Jezreel, Elijah received a death threat.  Queen Jezebel promised to kill him within the next 24 hours. Scared for his life, Elijah fled. Sitting all alone in the wilderness, Elijah begged God to end his life. He felt that all was lost and nothing was worth living for. His desperation did not go unnoticed as God led him to Mount Sinai for a special meeting.

Elijah poured his heart out before God, sharing his feelings with honesty. He had worked so hard but was all alone and the pressure was unbearable. At that moment, God had an intimate chat with Elijah. He was there, listening to Elijah and giving him directions for what to do next. God also reassured Elijah that he was not alone. In addition to God’s presence, God had thousands of other faithful believers in Israel.

Elijah’s story highlights some key points about prayer.

Praying people have both great and crummy days.

Elijah went from a spiritual high to crisis mode in the same day. However, he never stopped talking to God. Prayer is not reserved for hard times only. When things are going well, we’re tempted to ease back or lessen the intensity of our prayers. We may even start to think that we’ve figured out the complex equation where our prayers and our faith will result in guaranteed answers. But prayer isn’t a problem waiting to be solved. Prayer is how we talk with God, how we connect with God.

We can be honest with God in prayer.

Elijah didn’t sugarcoat his prayers. He didn’t flatter God first before creatively saying that he felt deserted and in trouble. Instead, Elijah just poured out his heart with all its raw emotions before God. God was not insulted. He didn’t chastise Elijah for his honesty. God was able to talk with Elijah in a unique way because he had bared his heart before God and chose to seek Him out during troublesome times.

God is with us.

When Elijah prayed, God heard his cries and called Elijah to a special appointment with Him. God literally showed up when Elijah cried out. Elijah knew with certainty that was in God’s presence and covered his face to protect himself from the full glory of God. In turn, God himself spoke with Elijah and reassured him.

God loves us so much that He has made Himself easily accessible, through the gift of prayer. We don’t have to take a number or wait in line. We aren’t limited to only a few moments of His time after a meticulous screening process. We don’t need a microphone or platform for our prayers to be heard. Prayer can be done at any moment, in any location, at all times of the day.

We’re heading into the final week of “Kneeling With the Savior”, 21 days of prayer and fasting. The changes have been challenging as they refine us, molding us to become more like God. It’s been encouraging to see the praise reports as people celebrate answered prayers.

It’s not too late to join the video calls at 6 a.m. each day. Our prayer lives will grow as we invite God to be the priority in our lives. 

Join the Zoom video calls (6 am CST).
Access the devotional plan.
For more on fasting, here are some practical pointers for prayer and fasting.

 

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Through Prayer

Negativity and hatred have seemingly become the new normal. People who express hate openly and proudly are often exalted. They are promoted to high positions, with large platforms to spew their vitriol from. They are publicly celebrated, given a wide audience access to their opinions.

Christians are called to a contrasting message, one that is unconventional in 2018. Our message is one of love. Not the kind of love that is temporal and conditional, depending on how we feel at any given moment. We have access to the perfect love of God and that is what we are to share.

God’s love is thorough and fulfilling. It’s a love that is deep-rooted, unshakeable and unstoppable. The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from His love, His feelings towards us never waver. His love gives us security and confidence because we are valuable to Him. This love is powerful enough to transform our hearts.

Imagine if this message of love was the new normal? Not belittling others or seeing some of God’s children as sub-human. But to use this love to uplift each other and to encourage ourselves to a higher standard, to God’s standard.

This seems almost impossible. And it is if we’ve resigned ourselves that a change of this magnitude could never happen.

This is why we need prayer. We need to connect with God. As we get to know Him more, through talking with Him and spending time in His presence, we’ll be driven to learn as much as we can about Him. We’ll eagerly spend time in His Word, the Bible. This is where the shift happens.

Through prayer, God reminds us that nothing is impossible for Him. He will empower us to make necessary changes in our lives and to follow through in obedience.

Through prayer, we get closer to God. Through prayer, we see jaw-dropping changes happen.

Through prayer.

Kneeling With the Saviour, 21 days of prayer and fasting, are well underway. We kicked off bright and early at 6 am Sunday, May 27 with an online video call. We meet daily, via Zoom and Facebook, for a devotional time followed by prayer. All viewers are welcome to share their prayer requests at any time and we include those in our prayer time. The attendance has been increasing steadily. Even if you haven’t signed up, you’re welcome to join the prayer calls every morning.

Join the Zoom video calls (6 am CST).
Access the devotional plan.
For more on fasting, here are some practical pointers for prayer and fasting.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Why Fast

Kneeling With the Savior, 21 days of prayer and fasting, began Sunday, May 27. Prayer, talking with God, is a familiar concept for most. Not only can we pour out our hearts fully to Him, but He also uses our prayer time to speak with us. There are many types of prayer and various formats in which we can pray. Prayer is not so we can receive answers to a grandiose wish list of personal wants. Prayer is how we connect with our Heavenly Father as we strengthen our relationship, and learn about His will for us.

What may be unfamiliar or uncommon for us is the concept of fasting. This is one of the elements we’re encouraged to engage in during the 21 days. Fasting is rapidly gaining popularity in the health and fitness world. Intermittent fasting and other variations is a method people use to control their weight and their digestive processes. Fasting, from a spiritual perspective, serves a different purpose.

The Bible highly recommends that we fast. Matthew 6:16 begins with these words: “And when you fast…” It’s not if you fast, but when. This implies that at some point in our prayer lives, we will attempt fasting. There are a number of experiences in the Bible when people fasted in addition to their prayers. God answered prayer. But when fasting was added to the equation, God moved in a jaw-dropping and undeniable way in response to those prayers.

Fasting is a private and personal decision. Even though we’re choosing to sacrifice a pleasure for a specific period of time, the Bible is clear that we’re not to draw any attention to ourselves. We’re not fasting to impress anyone or for personal admiration from our peers. Fasting puts us in a more vulnerable position where we can be more receptive to what God has to say. To go without something essential means that we’re trusting God to be our strength and hold us up.

Food is the most common pleasure that people choose to fast from. Some use the guidelines of Daniel for their fast and consume natural foods that are unprocessed and unsweetened. Others choose to fast from their guilty pleasures for a period of time. Fasting can also include abstaining from our favorite entertainment sources, pass times and more.

What happens when you get an urge to eat or to do what you might usually do? Pray. This is a great time to seek God and remember that He will sustain us. Don’t focus on how we’re struggling or suffering by going without. Instead, ask God to speak through our struggle. Ask Him to reveal things in our character that need to be changed. The biggest change in fasting is the transformation that will happen in our hearts as a result of trusting God more.

For more on fasting, here are some practical pointers for prayer and fasting.

SIGN UP HERE for the 21 days of prayer and fasting.

 

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Pastoral Visitation

Our Pastors would like to visit with you. Please use the contact form to arrange for your visit. You’re welcome to include prayer requests or anything else that you would like to share with the Pastors.

Your information will remain confidential.

21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

We’re praying and fasting together for 21 days. Our theme for this event is “Kneeling With the Savior”. We invite you to pray with us. Tune in every morning at 6 am for a live conference session online.

We encourage you to go a step further in your experience by fasting. You may fast once during the event; once a week during the event; or more often if you’re able.

The event happens May 27 through June 16.

Daily devotional booklet

Please submit your information below:

Connect with us through the zoom app every morning at 6:00. Meeting ID# is 257-301-965

Confident Persistence

Every time we read a Bible story, there is something new that can impact us. Luke 7:36-50, a story about a dinner party, is no exception.

One of the characters in this passage is an unnamed woman, who was popularly unpopular. Well-known for all the wrong reasons, the court of public opinion didn’t have much to say in kindness to this woman. Regardless, she found herself at a Pharisee’s dinner party one evening, after hearing that Jesus was to be a guest.

She didn’t go for the meal or looking to cause a stir. She had one intention that evening.

To thank Jesus, personally.

As Jesus was eating and mingling with the other guests, she knelt behind him, at his feet. Though tears pour out through her eyes, the emotion came from deep within her soul. She didn’t just sprinkle Jesus’ feet; they were wet enough to require wiping.

Continuing her personal act of gratitude, the woman used her hair to wipe his feet. Then she poured expensive perfume all over them.

The snickering and whispering may have started when she was noticed, but Jesus spoke up. Though addressing Simon’s thoughts, Jesus used this moment to affirm this woman. He reassured her that her act of love and gratitude had not gone unnoticed by Him.

She was able to persist in what she was doing because she was forgiven by Jesus.

There is a confidence that we can have when we accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers and believe that our slates are wiped clean. The forgiveness that Christ offers is thorough. He forgives and promptly erases it from our record.

The forgiveness that Christ offers us in 2018 is just as thorough as it was for that woman. When we ask for forgiveness, He forgives and promptly erases it from our record.

Sadly, the people around us don’t choose to forget as easily as Christ does. There are also consequences that will be unavoidable at times. We may continue to hear snickering and whispering anytime we enter a room. These realities are temptations from the enemy to stop us from believing God’s truth about us.

This is another great reason why we need to give prayer and the study of God’s Word priority in our lives. We need His truth to become well-rooted in our hearts and minds. God will help us to discern His loving voice through the distractive cacophony and cling to His truth.

The Bells and Pomegranates

“So when all these things being to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” Luke 21:28, NLT

As we conclude our series on the High Priest’s garment, there is one aspect left. The fringe.

Yes, God’s attention to detail also includes the edges of clothing. He is that comprehensive and thorough in all that He does.

The fringe is a combination of tiny bells and pomegranates. Though it sounds like ear-pleasing décor, even this detail serves a purpose.

The Most Holy Place was to be accessed only one day each year. The High Priest was the only one permitted to enter this room. Because of the solemnity of this space, the High Priest required special preparations, including being cleared from sin before meeting with God.

The bells on the fringe of the garment would tinkle lightly as the High Priest moved about doing his duties. Attentive listeners stood outside, making sure that they kept hearing these bells. The tinkling meant that the High Priest was still alive while in the glory of God. His personal sinful condition and the sins he carried on behalf of the people did not overtake him while in God’s presence.

The bells on the garment of the High Priest gave the people an audible sign that he was alive and interceding for them in the Most Holy Place. As Christ intercedes for us in the Most Holy Place, even though we cannot hear the bells on His garment, we should pay attention to signs that He is about to finish His work as High Priest and come back as a Judge and King.

As we’ve studied the High Priest’s garment, we’ve been reminded that God has a plan.

We are not alive without an intended purpose from our Creator. There is significantly more to life than we see each day. Jesus is coming back to take us to our home in Heaven.

Because of sin, God sent Jesus, our High Priest, to earth to die in our place. Jesus was that unblemished and innocent young lamb that was sacrificed to atone for our sins. When Jesus died, the veil tore in the curtain, from top to bottom, allowing the Most Holy Place to be accessible to everyone at any time.

We are able to pray–talk to God–directly. We can be direct in seeking His forgiveness. We can be direct in bringing our needs to Him. Likewise, God can be direct with us as tells us His plans for our lives.

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16, NLT

 

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This article is part of the Ten Days of Prayer 2018 series. Visit that page to find all the other articles in this series.

An Unlikely Source of Hope

The worst day of my life was the best day of my life.

It was the day I learned that hope can come from the most unlikely source.

It was a travel day. Though notorious for its hazards, I’d always been fine when traveling on this path. Until this particular day.

One moment I was walking upright. The next, I was face-planted into the ground, choking on dust. I was viciously beaten and kicked. My clothes were stripped off and everything I had with me was stolen.

I don’t know how long I lay there, floating in and out of consciousness. I discovered that one could shiver underneath the blazing sun rays.

At some point, I heard footsteps. I cracked an eye open to see a minister’s robes. Finally, my help had come!

Except he did nothing.

He didn’t even check to see if I was breathing. In my haze, I was confused. Why would the minister not help me? He’s not blind; he can see that I’m unable to help myself. It sounded like he actually ran away from me. He did not represent the same God that He taught about in church.

Later, I heard more footsteps. I caught a glimpse of a church worker’s clothing. Surely he came to help me.

But instead, he did not a thing. This must be the new standard in churches. Do nothing when people are in need.

Well, I give up! I’m about to die under this hot sun. If was a lost cause with my own church people then I must not be worth saving. No one wants me.

God, if You’re still there, please take me now, I pleaded.

After some time, I heard sounds. Great! I’m about to be trampled to death by a wild animal. Wait—there’s also a man. A third person has come to look at me before turning away.

This man is hovering, rather than leaving.  I don’t recognize his clothes. His scent is distinct though.

Uh oh! It’s a Samaritan. This is the worst day ever!He probably came to finish me off. What a humiliating way to die. I have no energy to resist even him.

Another set of smells. It’s—owwwwww!!!! I winced. Is this what death feels like? Hang on a minute–this Samaritan guy is cleaning me up. He is actually helping me. Doesn’t he know that our people don’t ever mix?

He’s mumbling something. If my head didn’t hurt so badly, I’d think he was praying for me.

Wherever I am, it’s much cooler now. It’s dark and I’m in a bed. I laid eyes on my rescuer.

It IS a Samaritan. Oh boy! What are people going to think when they hear just who helped me.

How can I twist this story? I can’t exactly lie about the minister or the church official. But could I lose my job, my friends, because this other guy helped me out?

He did help me out, didn’t he? No one else stopped, but this man. He didn’t even torture me first. Instead, he tended to my wounds and brought me to safety.

He saved my life. Wow! I didn’t know that these people were the compassionate type. Those are not the stories I grew up hearing about Samaritans.

I wouldn’t have learned the truth had I not been lying on that roadside.

When I was flat on my back feeling completely hopeless, the hope of rescue came in an unexpected manner.

Wow, God! I guess You really are there. Thank You for sending help. You care about all kinds of people, even Samaritans. I learned something new about You, God.

Turns out that this was the best day of my life.

(adapted from Luke 10:30-37)

The Censer

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. Hebrews 7:25, NLT

There is great pomp and circumstance when it comes to meeting royalty and high-ranking dignitaries. They don’t just meet all people when requested. We can’t easily call them or send a text message hoping to arrange a tea date for any random afternoon.

If we’re to cross paths, it’s because we were invited. Not even a personalized invite, mind you because these people have no clue who most of us are. Perhaps we’re associated with an organization or cause of interest, so a meeting with us would benefit their cause. Usually, it’s nothing personal.

Included with these invitations are a detailed list of rules and guidelines for the upcoming meeting. As an added bonus, for their safety, they may conduct a background check. They will investigate us months in advance, in some cases, to ensure that we are not a threat or that there is nothing risky about having us in their presence.

With all of this, I’ve never heard anyone decline these prestigious invitations. We’d willingly go through hoops and red tape for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To see someone from afar, not even to sit and chat. The guest of honor may leave there without even learning our names from our lips.

As a complete opposite, there is God. He is the highest-ranking Being that exists. If there’s anyone who deserves and has earned the right all kinds of prestige at approaching Him, it’s the Almighty God.

The censer and the incense are a symbol of Christ’s intercession for us.

Though our sin has caused a vast chasm between us and Him, God has gone through hoops and blood-red tape to bridge the gap.

Through prayer, God is always approachable. We can chat with Him while sitting, standing, walking, dozing off, and much more. He knows us all by name. God desires an intimate relationship with each of us because He loves us intensely. He has given us a personal invitation to come to Him that has no expiry date.

God requires no background checks first before we pray. Our prayers will not get stuck in a holding queue, to see if we’re deemed worthy of His ever-attentive ear. God knows all about our pasts. In fact, He freely offers to forgive us if we simply ask. Once God forgives, the offense is gone, stricken from the record.

With God’s excellent character coupled with the fact that He loves us, why do we hesitate to come to Him?

We don’t have to worry about impressing God. We’re able to talk to God through Jesus, our intercessor. Jesus has covered us with His righteousness when He died on our behalf.

The enemy uses falsehoods and phony feelings to make us believe otherwise. There is power in knowing God’s truth. We can get better acquainted by spending time with God through daily prayer and reading His Word.

God enjoys us and being with us. May we also be excited to be with Him.

 

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This article is part of the Ten Days of Prayer 2018 series. Visit that page to find all the other articles in this series.