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Response When We Don't Know the Outcome

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After Esther and God’s people fasted and prayed for three days they experienced a degree of deliverance when Haman was removed, but the decree that Haman had convinced the king to implement could not be rescinded. Though Haman had been brought down, the people of God still did not know if in the end they would truly be delivered from the hands of the wicked.

Esther did not stop interceding even after victory over Haman. Though her enemy had been brought down, she went again before the king even though she could lose her life by going to him when he had not called her. She fell at his feet and implored him with tears to counter the evil of Haman and the scheme he had devised against the Jews. 

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Faith by Hearing: Answered Prayer Series

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"If you believe in prayer at all, expect God to hear you. If you do not expect, you will not have. God will not hear you unless you believe He will hear you; but if you believe He will, He will be as good as your faith." - Charles Spurgeon

At times it can be difficult, not to believe that God hears our prayers, but that He always answers them. I love this quote from Spurgeon because it reminds us that the shortcoming does not lie on God’s shoulders, but ours. Whatever we fail to see in our lives, is a result of our own lack of faith, not a lack of His faithfulness. 

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Men and Women of Faith: David (Paul) Yonggi Cho

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"Prayer creates a personal change in your life. Nothing you can do will benefit you more than prayer." David Yonggi Cho
David (Paul) Yonggi Cho is the senior pastor of the world's largest church in Seoul, South Korea. He was born in 1936 and raised as a Buddhist. His early life was a struggle. First, he lived through the Japanese invasion of Korea and then the Korean War. He grew up with a tremendous ambition of becoming famous and successful after his poverty-stricken childhood. At the age of nineteen, he was holding down several jobs and was struggling just to exist. One afternoon he started vomiting blood and was then diagnosed as having incurable tuberculosis and was told that his life expectancy was a maximum of four months.

He went home and cried out to his god Buddha for healing. When this didn't take place, he denounced his Buddhist faith. He then cried out to the unknown God. Cho recounts what happened next in his book The Fourth Dimension:

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STANDING IN THE GAP

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When Robert Hunt landed at Cape Henry on April 26, 1607, he planted a wooden cross and said, “The Gospel will go forth from these shores, not only to this land but to all the nations of the earth.” In 1620, William Bradford and the signers of the Mayflower Compact declared they came to this land “[f]or the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian religion.” The signers of our Declaration of Independence relied on “Protection of Divine Providence,” and today our Pledge of Allegiance acknowledges we are “one nation under God.” We are a nation with a gospel purpose.

Are the declarations made at Cape Henry or on the Mayflower relevant today? How might those commitments made four hundred years ago reveal our identity and destiny? If we accept the significance of these historical declarations, how should we pray for America?

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Tarry Not, O God: Prayers of Note Series

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Is your heart heavy today? Do the trials of this life and the state of our country weigh heavily
upon you? If so, I would invite you to read this prayer by Charles Spurgeon and pray it with me
today.

Oh, for a mighty cry! A prevailing cry! A heaven-shaking cry! A cry that would make the gates of
heaven open! A cry that God’s arm could not resist! A cry of saints knit together in love and
filled with holy passion! May theirs be the great plea of the atoning sacrifice, making this the
burden of their cry, “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years…in wrath remember
mercy.” Hab. 3:2 Let God but throw the stone into the stagnant pool of His church, and I can see
the waves of revival going out all around the world. God’s kingdom will spread, and days of
refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord. Let us now say in His sight that

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A March for Prayer: Answered Prayer Series

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Usually when it’s time for an Answered Prayers edition, I turn to a book, and copy an excerpt from it, with a prayer answered by a miracle. But it would be remiss of us not to mention the incredible answer to our prayers that happened less than a week ago.

If you receive our newsletter, you might have seen that Franklin Graham organized a prayer march in Washington D.C. last Saturday. If you didn’t attend or catch it on the news, you might not know that an estimated 55,000 people attended! 55,000 thousands Americans traveled from all over the country, some as far away as Florida, just to pray for our country in unison.

If that isn’t an answer to the prevailing prayer that we all have been striving in, I don’t know what is!

Men and women knelt on the grass in the middle of our Nation’s capitol and lifted their voices for our country. Hymns were sung, hands were raised, and tears were shed.

Our Vice President and the Second Lady also attended and prayed with those so many thousands of Americans gathered in one accord.

The march was designed with seven destinations. Each group stopping at each one to pray together and then moving on at their own pace to the next. Those stops included the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol.

I hope you are encouraged by this testimony and take heart today to continue in the work you have been diligent in laboring in.

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Persistent Prayer

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We must continue in persistent even repetitive prayer as Jesus instructed us to do. Over the years, we have prayed for many things, and God has answered so many of our prayers. God has truly done so much through our prayers!

But of course, there are still things we pray for that have not yet been answered. 

While He was on earth, Jesus shared with us a parable that was meant to encourage us to persist in prayer, even when we don’t see the answer to prayer right away.

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” ~Luke 18:1-8 

Jesus didn’t always explain the parables, but here He makes it very clear as to what He is meaning. He says in the first verse that the purpose of this parable is that we ought to pray and not lose heart. 

This story is a motivation that we must continue to ask God in prayer until we see it fulfilled! Jesus is not saying here that you can annoy God into action, but rather that if you can annoy an unjust judge enough to act how much easier will a just and merciful God act accordingly. 

Some Christians have the false idea that we pray once and put that prayer in a little box and put the box on the shelf so to speak. In other words, we can put that one prayer away and God, who knows all things, will remember we prayed it eliminating the need to pray again. However, here in Luke Jesus is telling us that no, we must persist!

Persistent even repetitive prayer (praying the same thing over and over again) is not wrong; it is what God wants from us!

E.M. Bounds wrote, “We are to press the matter, not with vain repetitions [as the Pharisees], but with urgent repetitions. We repeat, not to count the times, but to gain the prayer. We cannot quit praying because heart and soul are in it. Christ puts importunity as a distinguishing characteristic of true praying. We must not only pray, but we must pray with great urgency, with intentness AND WITH repetition. We must not only pray, but we must pray again and again.”

Now the obvious question is: Why? Why does God require that sometimes we must be persistent? Why don’t answers come right away?

Perhaps because by praying persistently proves to Him and ourselves how serious we are about how much we want what we are praying for. Actions speak louder than words. Praying fervently, again and again, is more than just words — it’s a combination of words and action. 

Another reason God may want us to pray persistently is that it changes us as we seek Him. Persistent prayer takes us into His presence allowing us to come to know Him more. Persistent prayer causes us to focus as we turn to Him. Persistent prayer takes our mind off the cares of this world and onto His abilities and His power. 

Regardless of the reason, we are to persist in prayer!

Even as we pray day after day, month after month, year after year, let us not give up! Continue to intercede until we see the fulfillment of what we are seeking.
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Must I Go, and Empty Handed: Songs of Revival

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"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:
the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4

This hymn was penned not long after the Second Great Awakening by Charles Carroll Luther. He was a journalist and lay evangelist before being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1886. Though not a prolific composer, he authored this hymn in 1877 when he heard Reverend A.G. Upham relate the story of a young man who was about to die. This young man had been a Christian for only one month. Though thankful to the Lord for granting him salvation during his final hour, he was nevertheless grieved that he had no opportunity to serve the Lord nor to share Him with others. He explained, “I am not afraid to die; Jesus saves me now. But must I go empty-handed?” Upon hearing this account, Luther wrote this hymn. Charles Luther then handed his lyrics to George C. Stebbins who did a beautiful job conveying the heart’s cry of this lovely hymn into music.

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George Muller: Men and Women of Faith Series

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As I was thinking about who to study this week, I remembered George Muller, and I couldn’t believe that a man of such faith and prayer hadn’t been featured here yet. Sometimes, I think there are the “spiritual giants” that are spoken of so often we overlook the magnitude of their testimony because we are so accustomed to their stories. So today I would invite you to revisit the life of George Muller with fresh eyes and be convicted and encouraged by his life. 

George was born in Germany in 1805. He had a difficult childhood and resorted to stealing from friends and family at the young age of ten. Eventually, he was arrested and spent time paying his debt to society in jail. A friend he met at the University of Halle was the first person to show him what true Christianity is and later led him to the Lord. While finishing his college education George dreamed of one day becoming a missionary.

Shockingly, when he approached the missions board about going to preach wherever God might send him and living there by faith, they refused to continue supporting him if he did not go where they wanted to send him. He instead took a job at a small parish with only eighteen members. It was there he met Mary, a girl that would become his wife in three short months. 

Mary and George were inspired by her brother’s decision to sell all of his belongings and live with the firm belief that God would provide whatever he needed. The Mullers spent much of their early life growing the church, supporting missionaries, and evangelizing locally. 

Around 1835, George’s heart was burdened for the orphans that abounded in nineteenth-century England. Most orphanages charged a fee to care for children, leaving poor children little other option than to live on the streets and steal. He began to pray for funds to start an orphanage designed to train children in a trade. Then,
 
Miraculously, without sending any word out that he needed help, funds began to arrive!

Most of you know the story from here; he did receive the funds to start an orphanage and kept it running for over two decades. The orphanage itself cared for orphans for one hundred fifty years, long after Muller had passed. 

What set George apart from many, was his strong faith that God not only hears but also answers our prayers. He refused to ask for funds to support the orphanage, choosing rather to spend hours every day praying and rest believing that God would come through. He always did. 

Some of George’s most profound words give us but an inkling of the man of faith that he was:

“I had a secret satisfaction in the greatness of the difficulties which were in the way. So far from being cast down on account of them, they delighted my soul."

“It is not enough for the believer to begin to pray, nor to pray correctly; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray. We must patiently, believingly continue in prayer until we obtain an answer. Further, we have not only to continue in prayer until the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing."

"Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.”

There are many more wise words from this man of faith. May we be encouraged to take up the mantle of prevailing prayer with renewed fervor this week!


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The 1857 Revival

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1857 found America in a tumultuous time. Civil War was brewing, the economy was unstable,
and morality seemed hardly to be found. But God used a man who was willing to give up his
lunch hour to prayer, to draw His people close to Him before one of the worst wars in our
country’s history.

Jeremiah Lanphier was just an ordinary man. He worked as a clothing wholesaler in New York
City. He was so concerned with the souls of those around him, that he spent his evenings
handing out tracts. Eventually, Jeremiah accepted a job at a Dutch Reformed Church visiting
members, witnessing, and holding Bible studies. This job proved to be demanding work with
little visible reward and Jeremiah found himself physically and spiritually exhausted when his
days would end. Because of this, he began to pray at noon for one hour. He found this
reinvigorated him and gave him strength to continue his work as the scripture says,

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Be Strong and Take Courage

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Joab, the commander of the army of Israel under King David, in the midst of a battle against the Syrians and Ammonites, saw that the battle line was against them both before and behind. In this dire circumstance, he declared to his army, “Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” (1 Chronicles 19:13)

Though their enemies were in the front of them and behind them, Joab knew that if they would just take courage and be strong, God would give them the victory, and God did! 

Each one of us, as soldiers in the army of God, are in a battle against the spiritual powers of darkness.
 
Amid the battle against the spiritual powers of darkness, when the prophet Jeremiah saw the wicked prospering, he poured out his complaint before the Lord, and the Lord's answer was, “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5) The Lord was telling Jeremiah that much more was yet to come! If he was struggling then in the current situation, how would he endure what was still to come?!

In the heat of the battle with the enemy prospering on every side, it is easy to lose heart and be tempted to retreat. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” 

We are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might as we spend time with Him. As we spend time in God’s presence, we receive an impartation of divine inner strength. With that divine inner strength, we will not lose heart or fall back in the heat of the battle. With that divine inner strength, our eyes will not be on the circumstances but rather fixed on the Lord. With that inner divine strength, we will stand courageous and strong in the heat of the battle.

Years ago from the pulpits of America the importance of spending time daily, morning and evening, seeking the Lord was frequently preached. The importance of intimacy with Christ was preached, yet as the busyness of life crept in that message fell by the wayside. 

The powers of darkness know that if God's people spend time daily seeking the presence of God they will be strong and courageous in the battle and he will be defeated. It is vital that we spend time daily seeking God's presence! 

We do not know what tomorrow holds for our nation, for us, or for the church of Jesus Christ; but we know Who holds the nation and the church! We are told to be  courageous  andstrongas we faithfully fight in the war between light and darkness, and God will surely prevail! 

Though the battle is intense and it is raging  our strength is in God, andour victory is sure

Spend time daily in prayer and receive the divine inner strength for the battle.Be strong and take courage for the sake of our nation and the church of Jesus Christ!
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Yours and Elijah's: Answered Prayers Series

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Prayers are never left unanswered; there is always a response: Yes, No, or Wait. The Word says that to God “a thousand years is as a day,” so maybe His “wait” seems long especially when our timelines feel so very different. Even though your prayer may already be answered, maybe today it does not feel like it has been. Elijah is here to encourage us. As the Bible says, He was a man of “like passions” as we are, in other words, he was merely a man with the same downfalls and struggles and passions that are found in our souls. These encouraging words can be found in James 5, where it speaks of Elijah’s experience in prayers answered, the types of prayers he prayed, and also instruction on how to reach for the level of prayer he attained.  

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 

First, James instructs us to confess our offenses to one another, clear the air of sins, forgive one another, THEN pray for each other! By looking at verse 16, we can see that if we are seeking healing for ourselves the key is to confess your wrongdoings to those to whom you have done wrong and to PRAY for THEM, not ourselves. We find this also in Job 42:10, where it states, “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” If we are seeking healing for ourselves and our nation, we ought to consider praying for our brothers and sisters in other nations that are suffering horrendously compared to our current cushy situation.  

This verse also states that the effective prayer of the righteous is fervent. We are to look in the mirror and examine our hearts. Are we found righteous in God’s sight? Are we covered in the blood? Are we pursuing purity and right-mindedness while meditating on His laws? If not, we can attain righteousness by asking the Lord to purify us, search our hearts, and transform our minds by the Holy Spirit. The next key is found in the word “fervent.” The effective prayer of the righteous man is fervent. This prayer is not stated as “eloquent” or “perfect” but rather “fervent.” Here is the definition of fervent: 
fer·vent 
adjective 
1: very hot: GLOWING
2: exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling: ZEALOUS

I ask myself, “Are my prayers passionate? Are they full of intensity? Can I describe my prayer life as utterly zealous?” We can only answer these personally, but if we find our prayers don’t carry these marks, we always can come to Christ asking humbly that He would cause our prayers to be fervent so that our prayers may be answered as Elijah’s were.  

As I mentioned before, Elijah was a man just like we are, yet when he prayed earnestly even the rains from the heavens would either stop or flow! I pray for us here at America Pray Now as well as all Christians everywhere that we would somehow press on to attain those effectual, fervent prayers. 

May we start on that path pursuing righteousness, confessing wrongdoings, praying earnestly for one another, and asking that the Holy Spirit would help us pray in utter fervency for the sake of lost souls, our country, His kingdom, and His name!
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A Prayer for Unity- Prayers of Note

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Dwight Eisenhower became president during a very difficult time for the United States. We were recovering from one of the worst wars this world has ever seen; division, anger, and resentment were at the forefront of our nation’s mind. Much like today, there was little unity among the people and all too often it was fear rather than God’s word that was the leading factor in people’s actions.

At his inauguration, President Eisenhower recognized that he was simply a tool in God’s plan for his country. He understood the necessity of prayer and God’s guidance as he led America forward from this difficult time. He prayed this prayer:

Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment, my future associates in the executive branch of the government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng and their fellow citizens everywhere.
 
Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong and allow all our works and actions to be governed thereby and by the laws of this land.
 
Especially we pray that our concern will be for all the people, regardless of station, race, or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concept of our Constitution, hold to differing political beliefs, so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and for Thy glory. Amen.

May this prayer of unity as well as this former president’s desire to bring glory to God as He guides us forward be the attitude of our hearts today. 


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Men and Women of Faith: Mary Ball Washington

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“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 

The same can be said for our person of interest today, the mother of our first president, George Washington. 

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True Humility and Repentance

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 Since we met last, our nation has gone from having the strongest economy in her history to having an unemployment rate that is the highest since the Great Depression. We have states still in lockdown, which many people believe is for political reasons. 

There are business owners who are now crushed, scared, and depressed having lost everything that they spent their lives building. According to a recent article on CBN News, a trauma doctor in California said, “We’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.” That is a staggering number. For the first time in US history, many churches have been told they cannot meet. Also, for the first time, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ rights. There is widespread unrest, looting, riots, and destruction in cities across the nation. These places that have been burned and destroyed, for the most part, will never come back.

 America is in distress! 

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The Spirit of Prayer: Answered Prayer Series

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Today’s answered prayer series comes from the late Ravi Zacharias’s book “The Logic of God.” While it isn’t a story of a specifically answered prayer, Ravi does address questions that many of us struggle with when we feel like our prayers are not being answered.

“I marvel at the impact of praying with a hurting person. I have prayed many times with someone who has claimed to be a skeptic and is living in a manner that supports that claim, only to finish my prayer and open my eyes to see tears in his eyes. Although prayer remains a mystery to all of us but especially to one who lives apart from God, I have observed again and again that even the hardened heart retains a longing for the possibility of communicating with God.

It is not my intention to deny the great disappointments of unanswered prayer, but let us look at what God intends prayer to be. The most definitive passage is what is often called the Lord’s Prayer, or, as some scholars like to call it, the Disciples’ Prayer. The highly significant first words carry the weight of all of prayer: ‘Our Father who art in heaven.’ ‘Our Father’ we recognize, at least implicitly, two truths: the nearness of God as heavenly Father, and the sovereignty of God as the One who controls everything. As soon as you cry out in prayer, “Heavenly Father” you are recognizing His presence in your life.

After the Lord’s Prayer and as His conclusion to it, Jesus told us that God would give the Holy Spirit, His indwelling presence, to those who ask for it (Luke 11:13). It is not spoken in the form of a question — it ends with an exclamation point! God will give the gift of the indwelling presence of the holy God to any who ask for it —this is an absolute certainty! You can count on it!

Sadly, we hear so little of this today. We have turned prayer into a means to our ends and seldom wait on God’s response long enough to think about what He wants for us in that very moment. By refusing the evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to one particular gift, we have robbed people of the Holy Presence that prompts us in prayer, prays for us when we don’t have the words to pray for ourselves, and comforts us in our times of need.

The paramount need today is the indwelling presence of God. In this incredible twist, the indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit, makes God both the Enabler of our prayers and the Provider of answers to those prayers. More than anything else, this is what prayer is about.”

Sources:
Zacharias, Ravi. “The Logic of God.” Ravi Zacharias 2019

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Men and Women of Faith: Corrie Ten Boom

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"The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something, and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power. Nothing is too small for His love."
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Today we look at the example set by one of history’s most remarkable women, Corrie Ten Boom. Living through one of the darkest periods of history, Corrie was an undeniable force of prayer during World War II. Raised in a Christian home, and brought up with a deep love for God’s chosen people, Corrie and her family converted their house to be an “underground stop” for Jews seeking to flee Nazi persecution.

For almost an entire year the Ten Boom family had as many as 10 people at a time hidden in their small home. Corrie built a “hiding place” in her own room that six to seven people could be concealed in at a time. She hid extra ration cards to feed them and a radio to learn more about what was happening around them; both illegal. She worked tirelessly to find new Dutch families to house the refugees. Throughout that year, Corrie and her family hid and saved an estimated 800 Jews.

Ultimately the Ten Boom family was betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo. Out of the ten of them, only six would live to see the end of the war. During the arrest and search of the house, four refugees and two Dutch underground workers hid successfully behind the false wall. They escaped two days later, and four of them would survive the war.

There are many stories to tell of how prayer saved Corrie, including how she was miraculously skipped over while smuggling a New Testament through a prison camp, despite the person in front of her being searched twice, or how she was accidentally released from prison a week before all the women in her age group were gassed to death. They are too long for us to include today, bur if you’re interested in learning more about her story please consider her book, The Hiding Place.

It’s needless to say, that a person could only go through the horrors she experienced and come out with the forgiveness she extended, by enduring with prayer. I will leave you with a few words from her on the subject.

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”

“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”

“We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.”


Sources:
https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Corrie_ten_Boom

https://www.tenboom.org/about-the-ten-booms/

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Faith Claims the Victory: Answered Prayer Series

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“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place the Most High, who is my refuge.” Psalm 91:7-9

These days, more than just about any, Christians find themselves thankful for the hope we have in Christ, redemption, and eternal life. Unlike others, we have hope and a purpose, and because of that our hearts are full of thanksgiving during times of continued uncertainty.

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FIRST OF ALL

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Here, in the second chapter of First Timothy, the Apostle Paul is instructing Timothy and the body of Christ on practical matters. 

The apostle begins with the phrase “first of all.” In other words, he is saying, “Let me begin with…” or, “First, let me emphasize…” This is the only time the phrase “first of all” appears in the Bible. Paul uses this phrase to make us recognize the importance of what he is about to say. 

 He then continues by saying that, “supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men.” I would like to emphasize, first of all, that the prayer life of the believer should always include prayer for others, for all people. We are not to just pray for some people, not just the people you like or the people you feel especially need God’s help. Paul says all men. He then proceeded to explain why we are to pray for all men. As he shares in verses 4-5, Jesus Christ would have all men be saved. He died for all! To put it plainly,

 

Pray for all because He died for all. 

Jesus became the mediator for all the world! While it is true that not all accept Him, not all choose His sacrifice, not all make Him their Lord and Master; we still must pray for all because He died for all. 

In this portion of Scripture, the Apostle Paul calls to our attention a specific group of people we are to focus our prayers on. This group affects our lives whether we know them personally or not. In verse two, Paul says specifically, “For kings, and for all that are in authority.” What would the world look like if we, first of all, were to pray for all men, especially for those in authority? What would the world look like if the body of Christ truly interceded day after day for our leaders? 

It is easy for us to pray for someone who fights for righteousness and biblical values in our laws. But it is just as important for us to pray for those leaders void of God who have no knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ. These leaders do not have the Holy Spirit guiding them. 

The Bible says in Romans 13:1 that all authority has been given by God. Whoever is currently in authority may not always be the perfect will of the Lord as was the case with King Saul. God wanted to lead Israel, but they wanted a king; so He gave them Saul. He allowed them to have the leader they wanted. And yet ultimately God is the one giving the power. Therefore,

 

We are to pray for ALL in authority even for those with whom we don’t always agree.

At the time of Paul’s writing, who were the kings that were in power? The leader of Rome was the infamous Nero who was one of the most brutal dictators in not only Rome’s history but also world history. He was responsible for the death of countless Christians. We can only imagine how difficult it was for the early church to pray for such a person. As the Christians in the early church were walking the streets of Rome, they could hear the clash of gladiators battling in the arena or the roar of lions waiting to eat their fellow church members. They could see the sight of believers being burned as torches lighting the city in brutal death. In Israel, there were also leaders like Pilot and Herod. There have always been and will always be evil people who opposed the gospel. But Paul clearly says to pray for even those who do these abominable things. He was asking the early church to do an incredibly radical thing. 

As a matter of fact, the Roman historian Josephus wrote that a war was started between Jews and Romans over this issue. The Romans wanted the Jews to pray for their leaders, and they refused. Blood was spilled over this issue. Paul is saying here in First Timothy that we as Christians should pray for our leaders no matter what their beliefs or opinions are. And the early church did pray. One of the bishops of the church in Smyrna Polycarp who was one of John’s disciples who himself died in the coliseum said, “Pray for all the saints; pray, too, for all kings and powers and rulers, and for your persecutors, and those that hate you, and for your cruel enemies.” He was echoing the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies, pray for them who despitefully use you.” 

We in America don’t face anything even close to what the early church faced. But Paul faithfully reminds the church of that era as well as the church today that we are to pray for those in authority regardless of their views, their opinions, or their political parties. 

In addition to telling the early church who to pray for (all men, kings, and those in authority), Paul also does not neglect to share the why. He gives two reasons for why we should pray for all these men. 

First, he says in verse two, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” How can this be true?! The early church was suffering so greatly, and many were being killed at the hands of Nero. What does Paul mean by talking about a peaceful and quiet life? The early church certainly did not experience tranquility at all. He is saying that this is the goal for us as Christians. Our desire is to be at peace and live quiet, godly lives.

 

We are to pray and pray and pray until we see this type of change even if it is not in our lifetimes.

We do not always see revival right away, but it comes through much prayer. Similarly, we will not see peace and quiet lives immediately, but it will eventually come through prayer. 

The second reason Paul gives as to why we should pray for our leaders is that they may “come to the knowledge of the truth,” that they may recognize that Christ is a mediator between God and man, that they may recognize that the man Jesus Christ took the penalty of sin and paid for it on our behalf. Paul could say this better than anyone else. He had previously been a man with authority coming against the body of Christ. He was once Saul of Tarsus void of truth who persecuted the church, but he was then radically transformed by the truth. 

Paul is definitely not the only one to have experienced this radical change. Nebuchadnezzar was worse than any leader we could ever imagine, yet through the power of God, he humbled himself and found God. Cyrus the Great was another pagan King whose heart was yielded to the Spirit of God and brought peace and restoration to God’s people. 

What would happen to the world if men and women of authority all over the world would turn to Christ through the prayers of the saints?! What would happen if, first of all, we interceded for our Governors, for President Trump, for our delegates, and for state senators as we never have before? If we were to do this faithfully, the changes we would see would be great indeed! There would be a change that would transform the whole world.

Today, in these tempestuous times, I implore you that we would, first of all, pray for our leaders. Let us in the body of Christ stand in the gap for kings and all that govern over us.

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Amazing Grace: Songs of Revival

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We are all very familiar with the song Amazing Grace. Even those who don’t profess to be Christians will stop to listen if the song is being sung, and almost everyone knows the words to the iconic first verse. But fewer know the bloody but beautiful story behind the hymn or the role it played in the Second Great Awakening.

This song was written by John Newton in 1772. Newton spent a short time in England’s Royal Navy, but left disgraced and directly entered the world of slave trading. Caught up in the money it provided, he transported people from their homeland to England. However, one travel found his ship in the midst of a terrible storm where he realized that it would only be by the grace of God that he would survive. It was then he answered the call of the Holy Spirit on his life, and gave himself to Christ. While he did not immediately quit the slave trade, a few years later found him rejecting that life style and pursuing the ministry. He later published a tract, Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade, which did much to open the eyes of the public to the horrors of slavery. Newton’s life and story were also fundamental in William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery in England.

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