Unity Amid Diversity

Just a short quick post on Unity within the church.

If you are reading my posts you are seeing this theme. I was thrilled to see this article in the Christian Index. I hope you will read it.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

3 Churches worshiping together“It was humbling to me,” Collins said, “to know that we can meet under one roof in a world that seems so disunified right now. We came together as one people and worshiped Jesus Christ. . .”

The different-yet-same theme was probably best exemplified during worship. Zion Baptist worship leader Wayne Rickard led familiar songs such as “Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart” and “Amazing Grace.” Everyone sang in his or her own language.

“I saw one person crying, saying she’d never experienced anything like this. Others told me the same thing. They thanked us for loving them, making them feel welcome, and helping them worship in their native language. When one pastor spoke, the other groups could see the translation on the screen behind him so we could all hear the message.”

CLICK HERE for the full article.

 

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Unity In The Church

Subtitles:

  • #ChurchUnity

  • Unity Because We Need It

  • Unity Because We Don’t GOT it

I am spending a lot of time in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah lately. While it was specifically written to the Israelites, I believe that it gives us some interesting “jumping-off” points that we can apply to our lives.

Please hear me when I say that I’m not being critical toward either political party or various theologies, even though I have strong beliefs myself. I am being critical towards us, in the church, us that are saved, that are NOT IN UNITY with one another simply because we think differently than others.

Look, they may baptize, or pray, or vote, or look different from us, so instead of getting off our soapbox for a few minutes, we choose #DISUNITY.

Remember, we are the problem, when it comes to lack of unity, not the world! The world is acting like the world. The problem is us, the saved, the church. We are acting like the world. And that has got to change! Let me confess to you, I’m talking about me as well as you. When I use the word “you,” I’m using it in the Southern sense “y’all,” which includes me.

We have prayed 2 Chronicles 7:14 for years that God would fix Washington DC, or Nairobi, or Mexico City, or Tegucigalpa, depending upon where you live. But we have completely ignored the first clause in that verse, which is humbling ourselves before God. We can point out the ills in everybody else’s life but we refuse to talk to God about the sin in our life.

To my shame, I know that I sure do. And I don’t think I’m that much different than many of you.

Here is an article that I read today and it prompted this post. What caught my heart was the end of the post and the reference to Christians:
https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA18G17&f=WU18G07

Christians’ Future

The article above made me think about what the future portends for Christians. And I believe that WHATEVER is in our future will directly tie to the issue of unity, and specifically, the current disunity that we have in The Body.

Friends, WE HAVE the opportunity, the GREAT opportunity, and, I believe, responsibility, to demonstrate UNITY IN THE MIDST OF DISAGREEMENT, which the world does not have the ability to do, or to flesh-out.

In the article above, Dianne Feinstein (now considered too conservative for the democrats to support) is quoted as believing that Christians are “unfit for public office.”

But she isn’t the only one who thinks Christians are ineligible for public office. I remember some 10 or 12 years ago listening to Neal Boortz on the radio when he said, “If you believe the earth is only 6,000 years old you should not be allowed to vote.” I remember this clearly because I immediately called the radio station, was put on hold for 45 minutes, and when Mr. Boortz came on the line he said, “I don’t care if you ever listen to me again and hung up on me.”

By the way, I have reached out to Neal Boortz and will put his response below, if he responds.

(Insert Neal Boortz’ response, 500 words max)

But are these two folks the only two who think this way?

Again remember, the purpose of this post is to advocate #ChurchUnity within the body. I am NOT WRITING THIS so that you can focus on how you’d “change other people’s minds.” This is NOT about winning an argument, this is about unity within the Body of Christ that we are SOOOOO LACKING today.

Look at the radicalization of attitudes in our world, such that, we see people in Great Britain tearing down bus advertisements (https://www.facebook.com/FranklinGraham/posts/2013195845403253) because they don’t want others to hear Rev. Franklin Graham talk about hope.

Again, this is the world, and we expect that from the world!

Obstinate Church

I’m concerned that in the Church we are just as obstinate.

If you know the Mission Statement for Common Thread Ministries, “Rebuilding the Foundations of Prayer” from Psalm 11:3, you may know that the reason this is our Mission Statement is because I believe that things are going to get much worse before Christ returns. You may have even heard me say that “if your prayer-life is not solid, when things get worse, you will cave.”

I told you that I have been spending a lot of time in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, and again, while this was written to the Israelites of old, I fear there are solid applications for us today.

God, speaking to Jeremiah says:

“. . . They will cry out to me, but I will not hear them.”
Jeremiah 11:11b (HCSB)

And then three verses later we read that God tells Jeremiah:

“As for you, do not pray for these people. . .”
Jeremiah 11:14a (HCSB)

Remember, that God is talking about His chosen people in the two passages above. Nevertheless, While I DO NOT THINK that God has said this to us yet, is He getting ready to?

Have we SOOOO DROPPED THE BALL that we have been asked to carry, that what portends us is, and should be, scary?

Remember, my SOLE-REASON (you may want to say “soul-reason” and I’d agree), for writing this is to point us to unity in the Body of Christ!

What Are You Thinking

So, here is my question to you, as you have read what is above, what has been going thru your head? My experience tells me there are two responses that the majority of us have had.

1. Oh, those stupid people, why can’t they. . . Or,
2. Lord, my heart hurts for the church.

Are you getting “ramped-up” to convince everyone else you are right and they are wrong? Or is this “ramping-up” merely reinforcing that you do NOT want to engage with others?

Are you wanting to prostrate yourself before the Lord and ask Him for endurance and encouragement, for a spirit of unity, as you follow His Son (Romans 15:5)?

There is an entire message here, on Romans 15:5-6, but I will refrain from it.

Make The Main-Thing The Main-Thing

Beginning with those in The Church that disagree with you.

And what is the main-thing?

Jesus made it clear, and it HAS TO BEGIN with us. In John 17:21 (His high-priestly prayer) He said, “The way they will know that I came from the Father, has NOTHING to do with your ability to parse doctrine. The way they will know that I came from the Father, has NOTHING to do with love (which He brings up 2 verses later). The way they will know that I came from the Father, has NOTHING to do with your politics! The way they will know that I came from the Father, is if you have unity.”

And Baby We Do Not!

I could be way wrong on this, but here is my bottom line. Expect God to say to us what He did to Jeremiah, if we continue this constant salvo of pointing our fingers at others, including, and especially, fellow Christians.

We have no more for time for petty differences! There’s a reason people do not want our Jesus and it is because that know us! They see our lack of unity!

And if our lack of unity is a sin, then we have so many sins that we can’t see over them (Psalm 40:12).

Let me briefly say something that may sound to you like I am speaking out of the other side of my mouth. If you are in politics, remember that you are to work as unto the Lord, and not unto man. And whatever you do, do it with excellence because it is the Lord you are serving (Colossians 3:23-24).

Because of our arrogant choice to NOT BE IN UNITY, if He hasn’t already, I fear that God is getting ready to tell us what he told Isaiah, “I will not listen to you anymore. I don’t care, even when you raise your hands towards me or how often you pray” (Isaiah 1:15). Or maybe God is getting ready to say to us, when we pray, like He said to Moses, “Stop talking to me about this subject!” (Deuteronomy 3:26b).

What subject you ask? ANYTHING! If we refuse to be united with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I don’t think God is interested in listening to ANYTHING we have to say!

What Church Unity Looks Like

Church unity is best understood by looking at a foundational point of the Christian’s existence here on Terra Firma, namely, that this is not our home! Just look at Hebrews 13:14 and 1 Peter 2:11.

The truth of these two verses, and their impact on #ChurchUnity came home to me recently when I thought through Colossians 1:5 where we are told our “hope is in Heaven.” 

When our hope is NOT IN HEAVEN. Where is it?

That’s Right: When our hope is not in heaven, our hope is on things here, on earth. How foolish and how selfish we are!

I believe that when our focus is on the things of the earth, our selfishness does not allow us to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).

Does this short discussion of #ChurchUnity remind you of the passage that says, “deny yourself?” (Matthew 16:24) Well it should.

Unity In The Body

This is what the Lord requires of us.

Turn Him down to your peril, and to OUR peril, as a Body.

 

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Billy Graham and Messy Prayer

Post cover page regarding a messy prayer with Billy Graham

I haven’t laughed like this in a while

I can’t speak for the author’s religious experience, but I love his ability to tell a story. And since it centers around prayer and Billy Graham, believe me, this, “Prayer In The News” article is worth the read.  

 Sometimes Prayer is Messy

Messy Prayer with Billy GrahamMessy prayer with the great Billy Graham?
No Way!
I mean seriously, Billy Graham?
Well, yes, as this article makes clear. . .
Sometimes prayer turns MESSY,
Even with the great ones.
So what’s the take away?
Simple, expect your prayers to get messy, sometimes.

 A Prayer With Billy Graham Turns Out To Be A Bit Messy

FEB 3, 2018
This article was found online at: http://wvxu.org/post/prayer-billy-graham-turns-out-be-bit-messy#stream/0
And the author can be found on Twitter @howardwilkinson

So read his article, AND BE WARNED:

 

One of the most memorable interviews I’ve done in my career was with a man who was not a politician, but was a spiritual adviser to many occupants of the White House over the years.

 

Billy Graham, the world’s most famous TV evangelist, who has spread his Gospel message to billions on television and in person all over the world since starting his ministry by pitching tents in a Los Angeles parking lot in 1949, is now 99 years old and living in retirement in his mountaintop home near Asheville, North Carolina.

 

In Cincinnati, most people remember the four sweltering hot nights in June 2002, when the then-83-year-old Graham, in a city where racial divisions were running high, preached a message of reconciliation to 201,600 people who crowded into Paul Brown Stadium over the four nights.

 

Not as many, probably, remember Graham’s previous crusade in Cincinnati – in October 1977, where he packed Riverfront Stadium for four nights.

President Reagan
presents Billy Graham with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1983
CREDIT WHITE HOUSE/REAGAN
PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY

 

 

I’ll never forget it. It was when I managed to get a one-on-one interview with the man himself. An improbable feat for a 24-year-old rookie reporter.

 

About two months earlier, I had been hired by the Troy Daily News in Miami County, which, at the time, had a circulation of about 11,000 daily and maybe 17,000 or so on their brand-new Sunday edition.

 

I spent five years at the Troy Daily News, even though I was making dirt wages most of the time. I didn’t care. I had fun. I loved the people there; still stay in touch with many of them.

 

And the Troy Daily News was a little newspaper that didn’t seem to know it was little.

 

They would let me cover just about anything – the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1980, Pope John Paul II’s first visit to America in October 1979, and the Carter-Reagan debate in Cleveland, which I wrote about in this space last week.

 

We had run some stories from our wire service, UPI, about the upcoming Graham crusade in Cincinnati; and we were getting regular press releases from the Graham organization.

 

One of releases mentioned the possibility of interviews with Billy Graham himself.

 

I was intrigued.

 

I told my editors I was going to contact the ministry and try to set something up with Graham in Cincinnati, which was about a 75 mile drive down Interstate 75 from Troy.

 

Yeah, go ahead. Good luck. That was the response I got.

 

As big as the Troy Daily News acted sometimes, they realized they were small potatoes compared to the big city newspapers and the network TV affiliates.

 

My chances, I think, were rated slim to none; and slim had left town.

 

I called a number at the Graham Ministries headquarters in Charlotte and spoke to a very friendly woman in the press office. I explained what I would like to do and that I knew there were many people in our circulation area who planned to come to Cincinnati for the Billy Graham Crusade or would like to.

 

Yes, I think we can arrange that, she said.

 

I was dumbfounded. I had fully expected to be politely blown off.

 

Excuse, me, I’m sorry, I said, but did you just say you could arrange that?

 

She said, yes, and suggested a time – the morning of Graham’s first night at Riverfront Stadium – in his hotel suite in downtown Cincinnati.

 

Yes, we’ll put it on the schedule, she said. I’m sure Rev. Graham will be pleased to meet you!

 

I went back into the newsroom and told the editors. There was some elation on their part, some atta boys, and everybody went back to work.

 

Of course, I had to tell my parents – good church-going United Methodists that they were. My mother, in particular, was delighted – she enjoyed watching the ordained Southern Baptist minister’s crusades on television and loved the booming singing voice of George Beverly Shea, who sang gospel songs at Graham Crusades for many decades.

 

I think, in her eyes, I had finally made something of myself – Her little boy was going to interview Billy Graham!

 

The night before, I got in the rusted-out 1969 Olds 88 I was driving at the time and drove down to Sharonville, where I got a cheap motel room so I could get up early and be at Graham’s downtown hotel early in the morning – the Westin on Fountain Square, as I recall.

 

I got my wake-up call in the motel; showered; dressed in a suit jacket and tie (not my standard work attire, then or now); and started down I-75 to downtown.

 

I arrived at the hotel ahead of time; killed some time drinking coffee in the lobby and reading the Enquirer.

 

Then, it was time to go to the suite.

 

I knocked on the door; and was greeted by a young man who worked for the Crusade.

 

Come in and have a seat, he said, Rev. Graham will be with you in just a moment.

 

I sunk down into a comfy arm chair; there was an identical one sitting a few feet away. In between was a stand with a silver tray, loaded with various kinds of Danish, croissants, and fancy scoops of butter on little doily-covered plates.

 

I was asked if I would like something to drink. Coffee? Tea? Orange Juice? Water?

 

I choose black coffee; and it appeared almost instantly.

 

So, too, did Billy Graham.

 

He came striding out of the main bedroom, with a welcoming smile and outstretched hands.

 

Welcome, my friend! Welcome! Your name is Howard, yes? Good to meet you!

 

And grabbing my right hand with both of his, he gave me what I can only describe as an extremely hearty handshake.

 

He sat in the chair next to me, asked for some juice and rubbed his hands together.

 

So, what would you like to talk about, my friend?

 

I started rattling off questions. I wanted to know his thoughts on the role of religious faith in hard economic times such as the nation was facing then. I wanted to know his views on civil rights as a minister born in 1918 in the segregated South.

 

I wanted to know about his reputation as “the minister to presidents,” having had a personal relationship with American presidents since Eisenhower. And I was particularly interested in his relationship with the then-current president, Jimmy Carter, who was, like him, raised a Southern Baptist.

 

Graham was not only pleasant, but I had the sense that he was listening to what I had to say and had respect for me, even though I was a very young and relatively inexperienced journalist.

 

After about 40 minutes, an aide came out and said we would have to wrap up because Rev. Graham had other interviews lined up.

 

Graham asked me if I had a church background; I told him, yes, I had been raised in the United Methodist Church, but admitted that I was not as active in it as I had been in the past.

 

Someday, my friend, you will feel the need to go back to your church roots, he said.

 

Then, he asked me something I did not expect.

 

Would you mind if we ended our talk with a prayer?

 

That was a first in my young journalism career – an interview subject asking me to pray with him.

 

Somewhat flustered, I said, yes, of course.

 

He reached across the table with the sweet rolls and butter, laid both of his hands on mine and began to pray.

 

What he didn’t realize was that he had jammed my right hand into the tray, pressing it down into an apple Danish and squashing a medallion of butter.

 

As he prayed, I could feel the fruit and the butter oozing between my fingers.

 

After a few minutes, he said amen and let me raise my hands. He immediately saw the mess all over my right hand.

 

Oh, my! Did I do that? I am so very sorry.

 

I told him it was no problem.

 

He summoned his aide. Take Howard to the bathroom where he can clean off his hands. It seems I made mess praying.

 

I went; washing and drying my hands.

 

When I came back, he was still apologizing as I got my coat and headed toward the door.

 

That was so clumsy of me. I’m really very sorry.

 

Reverend Graham, don’t think anything of it. Praying with you was worth getting my hands a little messy.

 

And, believe me, I meant it.

Blessings,
Mark S Mirza Signature

 

Prayer In The News, Prayer Box In Front of Church

Prayer Box in Front of a Church in Rincon GA

A couple of years ago I was speaking in Rincon GA and saw the “Prayer Box” that you see above. It’s a great idea!

I love how a number of churches have these, of various shapes and sizes, in their church entry, and of course their church prayer rooms.

Below is an article about a Catholic Mission in Branford FL doing the same thing.

Now before my fellow Baptist pastors begin to hyperventilate, remember, there will be a few people in heaven that pray differently than you do, there will be some folks there who vote differently than you do, and, God forbid, there will be some folks in heaven that baptize differently than you do.

Just enjoy the “Prayer in the News” article:

Prayer Box in Front of a Church in Branford FLBRANFORD — The Angels of Mercy of San Juan Catholic Mission has recently announced a new initiative in its service to the community — a Prayer Box to help in serving the spiritual needs of the community.

The Prayer Box, located in front of the church at 304 Plant Avenue SE, will receive short notes of the spiritual needs of those who wish to have the church parishioners pray, whether for themselves or for family members or friends who are seeking intercessory prayer for their needs.

To take part, one simply drives by the clearly marked box and drops in a note of the prayer need. The prayers are distributed to a group of people who pray for persons in need — sickness, other need or for the deceased. The prayers are also presented in a group on Sunday Mass for prayer by the entire congregation.

The initiative compliments and rounds out the outreach the church provides for the community. The Angels of Mercy of the Catholic Church has provided free clothing on the third Friday of each month (3-6 p.m.), without charge, identification or any limitation. A person or family can come and take as much clothing as they need. In recent months the Angels have also distributed a small bag of food for those needing a few meals.

Most recently, San Juan Catholic Mission has joined with the local Ministerial Association —Branford Area Inter Church Ministries to provide it with a table in conjunction with the monthly clothes give-away in order to provide a brown bag lunch to those that wish to have it.

The President of the Branford Area Inter Church Ministries (BAICM) is Pastor Bruce Arnold of Beachville Advent Christian Church.

http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com/news/san-juan-mission-adds-prayer-box-initiative/article_126a677c-cbe0-11e7-8e63-f3bbf631edc5.html

 

Blessings my friends,

Mark S Mirza Signature

 

 

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Prayer Shaming After Las Vegas Massacre

Prayer Shaming Texts from Zack Ford @ZackFord

Prayer Shaming

Being in a prayer ministry I have some very, very strong opinions when I read people sarcastically tell us, “There’s been a whole lot of prayer in this country, but I haven’t seen it make a lick of difference.”

The above is from #ZackFord @ZackFord, the LGBT Editor of  “Think Progress.”

In fact, I can tell you that it angers me!

In fact, it does more than angers me, it makes me clench my fist, hold my breath, stand up, and say, I AGREE WITH YOU #ZackFord @ZackFord.

Mark Agrees

Did I say that out loud? Folks he’s right.

His view is accurate.

Now I believe his view is accurate by accident. He’s got all the wrong issues on focus.

I’m looking for what can we learn from this issue. And these issues are NOT going away! I believe that this “Prayer Shaming” issue, in particular, will be with us until the Lord returns.

I found a great article that broaches the subject well and balanced. I don’t agree with everything in it, but I want to make the issue their broader point, so I will highlight a few of their comments and give you the link to read it fully for yourself.

First of all, we all know that the Apostle Paul told us to not expect those who are not following Christ to understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). So don’t be concerned about those who write the things written in the photo above. If you are trying to please man, YOUR focus is wrong.

Quoting Christianity Today

Here are some quotes from the article below that I believe that we, the church, Christ’s bride, can learn a lesson or two from (emphasis and italics by me):

A prayer penned on social media for the sake of likes, retweets and admiration is one upon which God seemingly does not look kindly. Like the ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ meme, there may be a risk of believing that a prayer is only meaningful if it is seen and amen’d by other Twitter users.

For the Christian, the distinction between prayer and action is a false dichotomy. The Bible teaches that prayer can help bring about God’s will.

We are commanded to pray for our enemies. . . Praying for those responsible for terrorism as well as those harmed by it is a reminder of the astounding, undeserved nature of grace and that God longs for the redemption of all people,

But when it comes to praying via social media, perhaps we need to be more cautious, ensuring that we are seeking to be heard by our Father in heaven, rather than our followers.

This article also had a fascinating link that shows details of “terrorist attacks listening them all by date” stating that there were “1,018 in this year alone.”

Let me make this clear, I am NOT JUDGING ANYONE who puts a prayer or note of one in their social media, I AM SAYING, check your motivation. That’s all.

Here is the article above that I have quoted from:

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/after.the.las.vegas.shootings.what.is.the.point.of.prayer/115180.htm

And here is my archived post: “Prayer Shaming” from December 2015:

Archived Prayer Shaming Post

 

Blessings,

Mark S Mirza Signature

Archived Prayer Shaming Post

Archived Posts

Back in December 2015 I wrote a post that took the idea of prayer shaming in a way that seemed to go against the grain of some Christians. I want you to review that post in light of what I am writing today, on the same subject, prayer-shaming.

Here is the original link: http://www.ctmprayer.org/prayer-shaming/

And here is the post as originally written:

     My conservative friends won’t like this but I completely agree with my Liberal friends when they argue “Prayer Shaming.” I think they’re right … not for the same reasons of course, but I think they’re right. We should be ashamed of our prayers.

     Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal Op Ed this weekend entitled “The First Amendment Needs Your Prayers” was an interesting read. But what caught my eye was the phrase “Prayer Shaming.”

     Since I’m careful not to write about political issues, not because I don’t have strong political beliefs, I do, but because I believe that most Christians take politics in the wrong direction. So if you don’t mind, let me take from this political article the phrase, “Prayer Shaming” and apply it to Christians’ prayer lives. Forgive me, but in a “backdoor” sense I may actually MAKE the point for those that denigrate praying.

     Let me first state why I want to stay away from the politics of this article. None of the Christians I know would say that, “Their Salvation is in politics, but,” I would add, “Many of them certainly act like it!” Now don’t get me wrong I believe that every Christian, as good stewards, should vote and should vote their conscience. And I think that ALL of them should be allowed to vote, including “young earthers” like me, regardless of what Neil Boortz says.

     But here is the “Prayer Shaming” issue from my perspective. In the church we SHOULD BE ASHAMED of our prayers. And here is why, “Our focus on praying is, on WHAT WE WANT, me, me and I, I.” And I’m sorry but I do not see that in scripture. What I see in scripture Henry Blackaby wrote so well of when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Find out where God is moving, what He is doing, and get on His side.”

     Our unbiblical praying is constantly focused on giving God advice. I’d rather you just get down on your knees to pray and close your mouth to let Him talk to you. I love Leonard Ravenhill’s famous quote, “Some of the best times I have in prayer is when I say absolutely nothing!” Remember, God doesn’t need your advice. He is the One who spoke the words and the worlds leapt into existence.

     One of the talk show hosts has coined the phrase, “Shut up and sing” referring to these great musicians who spend too much of their time talking about politics. I completely agree with her but I would also include us Christians into the mix and I would say “Shut up and listen” when it comes to our praying. We might find, much to our disappointment, that God is more interested in you thanking Him for, and really loving somebody that you vigorously disagree with (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

     Now don’t be grumpy at me I didn’t write those verses.

     Maybe if you listened to God instead of working yourself up into a frenzy because of what you see going on in our world, which I agree has numerous problems, but maybe if we listened to God more we would find that He wants us to engage those we disagree with, not for the purpose of changing their mind, but developing a relationship with them and eventually introducing them to Christ if they don’t know Him.

     Here’s the bottom line that I see in the churches I speak in:

     WE’RE FIGHTING THE WRONG BATTLE! And because of that fact alone we should be ashamed of ourselves.

     The battle we waste our time fighting is the battle of trying to get what WE WANT! We are too busy giving God advice, telling Him how He should run the cosmos. We need to spend more time with our lips zipped shut listening to God, He doesn’t need our advice! What He wants are men and women and boys and girls who follow His Son … and I would add, following Him down a path we cannot go without listening clearly to Him.

     My first novel called The Pray-ers (www.ThePray-ers.com) addresses the issue of “Troubles” in our lives through the prayer lives of three prayer heroes. They are from three continents and from three historic eras. In the book we find Thales, the nephew of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12) and Alexander Rich, the childhood friend of D. L. Moody and Dr. Dale Riley the current era pray-er hero handling problems the way scripture directs. In the book you will see them praying about troubles by listening to God and the scriptures.

     But you don’t need my book to learn how to pray, just zip up your lips and listen to what God is saying to you.

Blessings my friends,

Mark S Mirza Signature

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Cause Us To Pray

Masthead for Sept 12 Prayer In The News Hurricane Prayer

The Pray-ers E-Letter Announcement

A Departure for Prayer In The News

Usually I take a secular news article that mentions prayer and then give you a view of that article from the grid of Scripture. Today I am doing something different. I am taking a news event and telling you how it is affecting my prayers.

I am being a little more transparent than I’m comfortable with, but it is necessary to be a helpful teacher of prayer.

God’s Discipline

  • These hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc. have challenged me to ask myself, have I had a proper perspective of prayer in general and of sin in particular, in my life, and in the church.
    • 1 Peter 4:17 says, it is time for judgment to begin in the church house.
    • Leonard Ravenhill would say,
      • “The world doesn’t need Jesus, the church needs Jesus.”
      • “If we had revival we couldn’t sustain it,” because we’re too busy with OTHER things.
    • Paul says, I am the chief of sinners. . . well he was not, I am
      • And I am convinced that until we can say this, like Paul, about ourselves, our prayers will be weak and amount to nothing.

As I sought the Lord today, for some reason, I recorded my prayer. I have taken some personal things out, but have left you with the meat of it.

I trust that it will challenge you.

Most of My Prayer from this Morning

  • Father, thank You for the reminder of my lack of importunity.
    • I have asked You to teach me to weep when I pray, and I trust that this is a part of that teaching, but beyond that, lead me, guide me, teach me to pray Lord.
  • Lord, I pray a lot, but do I really bang on the doors of Heaven?
  • When was the last time I prayed “Lord hear my prayer, Let My Cry for Help come before You. Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me, answer me quickly when I call.” Psalm 102:1-2.
    • Father, when was the last time I came to You just begging You to Hear My Cry before I even shared my concern. Oh Lord, I am begging You, Hear My Cry this day.
    • When was the last time I came to You with tears over this subject or any subject. Oh Lord, my Lord, forgive me, the idea of praying with importunity (or “being annoyingly persistent”) is so outside of what I have practiced. Forgive Me Lord.
  • God Hear My Cry pay attention to my prayer. I call to You from the ends of the Earth, my heart is without strength, lead me to a rock that is high above me, for You have been a refuge for me, a strong tower. . . I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings Psalm 61:1-4.
  • Be gracious to me God, be gracious to me for I take refuge in You. I will seek refuge in The Shadow of Your Wings until danger passes. I called to You God most high, to God who fulfills His purpose in and for me. You reached down from heaven and saved me, challenging the one who tramples me, even if the one trampling is me, to myself. God send Your faithful love and Your truth, for I am surrounded Psalm 57:1-4.
  • God listen to my prayer and do not ignore my plea for help. Pay attention to me and answer me. I am restless and in turmoil with all of my troubles Psalm 55:1-2
  • Hear my prayer Lord and listen to My Cry for Help. Do not to be silent at my tears for I am a foreigner residing with You, a temporary resident like all my fathers. Turn Your angry gaze from me so that I may be cheered up. . . Psalm 39:12-13
  • I called to the Lord in my distress and I cried to my God for help from his Temple. He heard my voice and my cry to Him reached His ears Psalm 18:6
  • Lord do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your Wrath for Your arrows have sunk into me. And Your hand has pressed down on me. There is no Health in my body because of Your indignation. There is no strength in my bones because of my sin, for my sins have flooded over my head, they are a burden too heavy for me to bear. My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness, Lord, I am bent over and brought low all day long. I go around in mourning, I am filled with burning pain and there is no Health in my body. I am faint and severely crushed. I groan because of the anguish of my heart Psalm 38:1-8
    • And Father I ask for forgiveness because I have not let sin in my life impact me like this. I have not been sorrowful over sin in my past like I am today. And Lord I acknowledge that it is all out of my own foolishness. There is no one else that I can blame for my sin. I am asking You for Mercy Lord.
  • The passage goes on beginning in verse nine: Lord my every desire is known to You. My sin is not hidden from You. My heart races, my strength leaves me and even the light of my eyes has faded. My loved ones and Friends stand back from my Affliction and my relatives stand at a distance. Those who seek my life set traps and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me. They plot treachery all day long. I am like a deaf person I do not hear. I am like a speechless person who does not open his mouth. I am like a man who does not hear and has no arguments in his mouth. I put my hope in You Lord and I trust You to answer, Lord my God. For I said, “don’t let them Rejoice over me those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble for I am about to fall and my pain is constantly with me.” So I confess my guilt I am anxious because of my sin but my enemies are vigorous and Powerful. Many hate me for no reason. Those who repay me evil for good attacked me for pursuing good, Lord do not abandon me my God do not be far from me hurry to help me Lord my Savior Psalm 38:9-22.
    • Oh Lord, my Lord, I need You to be magnificent in my life. Father forgive me for waiting until sin has overtaken me to pray with this kind of emphasis. Forgive me for being in the prayer business and not regularly practicing this kind of Prayer. Forgive me for teaching this kind of prayer and not putting into constant practice.
  • God listen to my prayer and do not ignore my plea for help. Pay attention to me and answer me, I am restless and I am in turmoil with my troubles and with the turmoil in our land Psalm 55:1-2.
  • God Hear My Cry, pay attention to my prayer. I call to You from the ends of the Earth, for my heart is without strength… Psalm 61:1-2a.
  • Lord hear my prayer. Let My Cry for Help come before You. Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me, answer me quickly when I call Psalm 102:1-2
  • For the Lord will not reject us forever. Even if and when You cause suffering Father, You will show compassion according to Your abundant faithful love. You do not enjoy bringing Affliction or bringing suffering on to mankind Lamentations 3:31-33.
  • Let us search out and examine our ways Father. I have done that, I have searched and examined my ways and now I’m turning back to You. I lift up my heart and my hands to You Father cause me to lift them up to You, even as I am now laying on my belly. I acknowledge that I have sinned and rebelled. If You have not, please forgive me now. For You have gone so far as to cover Yourself in anger and pursue me, You have covered Yourself with a cloud so that none of my prayers passed through to You. Lord I feel like You have made me as disgusting filth among the people. Lamentations 3:40-45.
  • Lord, I call upon Your name, Your name Yahweh, from the depths of the pit where I am. I know that You hear my plea. Please do not ignore my cry for relief. I know that You come near when I call and when You do that You tell me to not be afraid. Oh Lord, my Lord, show me Your Majesty. Hear My Cry, hear it now. Lamentations 3:55-57.
  • Lord do not rebuke me in Your anger. Do not discipline me in Your Wrath. Oh Father, be gracious to me. I am weak, I am stupid, and I am dumb. Heal Me Lord for my bones shake. Lord rescue me, save me because of Your faithful love, for there is no remembrance of You when I am in Sheol, when I am dead. I can’t thank You when I’m in the grave. Father, I am weary from my groaning. Lord, I acknowledge that with my tears I do not dampen my pillow. Oh that I would drench my bed in my mourning and groaning. My eyes are swollen from grief, they grow old because of all my enemies and Father I am my worst enemy when I sin. Depart from me all evildoers and I know that includes me and my sin. Lord, You have heard the sound of my weeping. Oh Lord You have heard my plea for help. Father, I have trusted You to accept my prayer. Lord, let the enemies of my heart be ashamed and shake with Terror, let them turn back and suddenly be disgraced. Father, I no longer want to sin anymore. Psalm 6.
  • Now that I have prayed Lord, I simply close with, Praise be to You, the God of Heaven, the One who hears my prayers. Lord, I’m reminded of Jeremiah 1:12b, I pray to You, the One who hastens His word to perform it, who hustles to do that which is His word.
    • And though I do not deserve any Mercy from You . I plead for it this day though, and I trust You for mercy, to honor Your name And that is my expectation today Father.
    • I have come to You in the morning I’ve laid these requests before You and now I wait in expectation Psalm 5:3

 

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Blessings,

Mark S Mirza Signature

Honored to Help President Trump

Presidential Call to Prayer regarding Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey Proclaimed Day of Prayer

Today is a National Day of Prayer as a response to Hurricane Harvey.

Below are the points our president and his team would like us to pray:

Basically, “pray for the Victims of Hurricane Harvey and for our National Response and Recovery Efforts.”

Specifically:
1. We give thanks for the generosity and goodness of all those who have responded to the needs of their fellow Americans.
2. I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey.
3. Pray also for people who have lost family members or been injured, as well as those who have lost homes or other property.
4. And pray for our first responders, law enforcement officers, military personnel, and medical professionals leading the response and recovery efforts.
5. Finally, each of us, in our own way, may call upon our God for strength and comfort during this difficult time.
6. I call on all Americans and houses of worship throughout the Nation to join in one voice of prayer, as we seek to uplift one another and assist those suffering from the consequences of this terrible storm.

Aiding Our Presidential Call To Prayer

Personally I am thrilled to death that the President has called upon the nation to pray. This is an action that I hope becomes a habit for I believe that if it becomes a habit, led by our president, it may become a character trait of our nation.

So let me aid President Trump as I have considered for the last few days how and what we should pray. Let me simply say that from his perspective, as the President of ALL of the USA, his prayer proclamation is excellent.

I simply want to add that there are greater issues that The Church must pick up, that The Church must take responsibility for, hence the following.Let us pray Ephesians 5:20, John 17:21, and 2 Chronicles 7:13 THRU 15.

giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20, HCSB)

May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. (John 17:21, HCSB)

If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. My eyes will now be open and My ears attentive to prayer from this place. (2 Chronicles 7:13-15 HCSB)

Here’s how I would pray for our nation in addition to what our president has asked us to do.

Father, You have told us to thank You for everything, which often times can become a challenge, especially when what we are thanking You for, we do not like. So I thank You for Hurricane Harvey and the results that are coming as we watch them play out.
In particular Lord, I am reminded of all of the “color-blind” helping and supporting of one another. Lord as Your church acts in colorblindness I trust You to honor Your Word that men and women would see unity and recognize it as another proof that You sent Your Son to us 2000 years ago.
And then Father, I would ask You to show us that out of Your love, You periodically “take-us-behind-the-woodshed” to give us some Fatherly discipline. I admit that I have NO IDEA if You have brought Hurricane Harvey for that purpose, but Lord, it makes sense to me that we deserve it. And so Father, as I pray for The Church, I would ask You that we would understand OUR NEED to humble OURSELVES, deal with sin in OUR life, giving You the opportunity to heal the rocky road MY sins cause between me and You, AND THEN You will hear our prayers.

Just a thought, but this is how I would pray, in addition to what our president has asked us to pray.
Blessings,

 

 

Mark S Mirza Signature

Praying for Houston Flood Victims

Hurricane Harvey Storm Picture

Like many people I was up this morning watching the devastation occurring in Houston but I was interested not only in what has already occurred but the reality of so much more water coming down over the next few days.

The challenge in this kind of a situation for me is how do I pray for them. What does the Lord want me to pray on behalf of these people?

As I searched the scriptures I believe the Lord laid on my heart Psalm 123. And here is how I found myself praying for these folks today.

Father, I pray for those men and women and boys and girls that are going through this natural disaster in Houston, and the reality that it is far from over. Father as I think of them and I look at these versus, my prayer is that they would lift their eyes to You because You are the One who is enthroned in the heavens above this flood and storm system.

Lord, I pray that they would lift their eyes to You and as the end of verse two says, “until You show them favor.” And yet Lord, I know that there will be many who will find all kinds of other things to focus on and think about and worry about rather than lifting their eyes to You. Many folks will have the opportunity to spend time with You and yet will choose not to.

Father I thank You for this opportunity that so many of them have to follow You, to lift their eyes to You and I pray that they will do that during this natural disaster.

Amen, God of Comfort,

Mark S Mirza Signature

Stand Up In Belligerence Or Humility

Prayer in the news masthead for August 25 - Regarding Coaches Praying Privilege Revoked

Stand Up

I hear people all over Christendom saying, “Stand-up for your Christian rights!”

I’m not too sure what they mean by that, but I am sure about my next question, “Where do we read that in Scripture?”

This article and video from Fox is just another step down a long road that I believe we are well into, namely, the marginalizing of Christians and our beliefs accompanied by limiting our actions that we feel God wants us to do.

Threatened

When I’m in a church I talk about the Deacons standing behind their pastor if they are ever threatened with not teaching certain Scriptural doctrines, with the result being they would face losing one’s favorable tax status.

But this story brings the issue to each of us. Here’s the issue; What will you do when faced with, “pray publicly and go to jail.” Or, “don’t pray and stay out of jail.”

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Let’s look at just a few passages in the famous Bible passage in Daniel 6.

King Darius’ law was so strong, called the “law of the Medes and Persians,” that it could not be changed (Daniel 6:15b).

You know the story,

  • Daniel is thrown into the lions den
  • Darius feels so bad for Daniel that he fasts all night
  • He gets up early and finds that Daniel’s God has saved him.

And Then The Problem

This is the part of the story that many of us remember:

The king then gave the command, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions’ den — they, their children, and their wives. They had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Daniel 6:24

And I suggest that we need to change our focus because too many of us think that this is where the story ends.

The Rest Of The Story

My friends, we are so wrapped up in making sure that those opposing us “get-their-due” that we forget the most important part of this story, and that is what King Darius realizes of Daniel’s God.

I issue a decree that in all my royal dominion, people must tremble in fear before the God of Daniel:
For He is the living God,
and He endures forever;
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and His dominion has no end.
He rescues and delivers;
He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:26-27

Now here’s my question, did King Darius notice this because Daniel was belligerently standing up for his rights? I don’t think so.

To see the Fox article and video CLICK HERE or go here:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5551053570001/?#sp=show-clips