Category Archives: prayer

Predestination and prayer

Those of us who are saved were chosen for salvation before the world was even created.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  (Ephesians 1:3-6)

Since God has already decided who will be saved and who won’t there is no point in praying for the salvation of another person.  If he has been predestined for salvation he will be saved; if he hasn’t been predestined he won’t be.  Our prayers will have no effect.  This seems like an unanswerable argument against praying that someone be saved.  But Paul, the author of the above quote, wasn’t persuaded by it.  He prayed for the salvation of his fellow Israelites. Read the rest of this entry

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Praying for prisoners

Christians are commanded to promote the welfare of everyone, including those who are in prison.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.  (Hebrews 13:3)

Some think this command merely says we are to be concerned about prisoners in general and need to pray for them and enable them to hear the gospel.  There are many Christian organizations dedicated to reaching prisoners with the gospel.  Perhaps the best known of these is  Prison Fellowship.  This is certainly a legitimate application of this verse, but I don’t think it is what the author of Hebrews had in mind.  When the New Testament was being written Christians often faced severe persecution and many were in prison because of their faith.  This statement is a reminder not to forget them. Read the rest of this entry

Christians and government

Christians disagree about how involved we should be in government.  Some believe we should not be involved at all and not even vote in elections.  Others think we should use the government as a way to promote Christianity.  Most Christians adopt a position somewhere between these two extremes.  We need to look at what the Bible says about this subject.

We are commanded to pray for our government leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

The command is found in the Old Testament as well as the New.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  (Jeremiah 29:7)

This was what Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon to do.  Since Christians are citizens of Heaven we are in the same position as those exiles; we are exiled from our native land and living in a foreign country.  This is true even if we are living in the country in which we were born. Read the rest of this entry

The naked man

Shortly before his arrest Jesus spent time by himself in prayer.

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”  (Mark 14:32-42)

This incident was also recorded by Matthew and Luke. Read the rest of this entry

Praying for prisoners

King Herod began to persecute the church.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.  (Acts 12:1-5)

The church prayed for Peter and their prayers were answered.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.  (Acts 12:6,7)

When a believer is imprisoned because of his faith we should pray for him.  The church prayed for Peter and he was freed in response to their prayers.  But should we just pray that the imprisoned believer be released?  Paul might have held a different opinion. Read the rest of this entry

Finding time to pray

Paul had a very busy schedule, going from town to town preaching the gospel and establishing new churches.  Yet he always took the time to pray for his converts and the churches he helped to establish.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  (Ephesians 1:15-21)

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Ending abortion

One of the first commands God gave to Noah after he left the ark was one prohibiting murder.

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
Genesis 9:5-6

In 1973, in the case of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that in the United States one class of humans, unborn children, was not entitled to protection by the laws prohibiting murder.  Since that time 59,000,000 children have been murdered without their killers suffering any punishment.  This failure to uphold God’s law places our country in danger of divine intervention.

You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
Numbers 35:33

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Our debt to Caesar

Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  He was responding to a question about the legality of paying taxes to Caesar and his answer shows that we must pay our taxes.  Some people protest government activities that they consider evil or immoral by withholding the percentage of taxes that goes to support such actions.  Jesus’ statement does not give Christians the option of doing this.  We must pay all the taxes imposed on us; if Caesar misuses the tax money we provide in ways that are contrary to God’s will, he will answer to God for his actions.

Our obligation to Caesar goes beyond just paying taxes. Read the rest of this entry

Pray for the Ark Encounter

The organization Answers in Genesis is building a full sized replica of Noah’s ark.  It is almost complete and is scheduled to be open to the public on July 7.   You can learn more about it here:  arkencounter.com.  Christians need to pray that it will accomplish its objective of proving that the world wide flood described in the Bible actually took place.  Here are some specific requests posted on the Answers in Genesis site. Read the rest of this entry

Sleeping or praying?

Before his arrest Jesus spent time praying.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Luke 22:39-46

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Prayer and incense

One item of furniture in the tabernacle was an altar which was used only for burning incense.

And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the LORD throughout your generations.
Exodus 30:7-8

Incense was to be burned twice a day every day.  In the book of Revelation we learn the meaning of incense.

The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 5:8

Incense is a symbol of prayer.  The fact that incense was burned everyday shows that prayer should be part of our everyday routine, not just something we do in emergencies and when we have a special need.  There might be times when we need to spend more time praying than we normally do, but we should never let a day go by without spending some time in prayer. Read the rest of this entry

Pray for the Supreme Court

There is a vacancy on the US Supreme Court.  The fact that abortion and same sex marriage are now legal in the United States is the result of decisions by this court, so naturally anyone who has strong views on these subjects is concerned about who will be chosen to fill the vacancy.

Christians should do what we can to make sure the next member of the Supreme Court holds views on these and other issues that are compatible with what the Bible teaches but we have another tool for influencing the court that others do not.  We can and should pray that God will move the court to make the right decisions in the cases that come before it.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
Proverbs 21:1

If God can control the hearts of kings he can certainly control the hearts of Supreme Court justices. Read the rest of this entry

Pray for the Rohingya

Anyone who follows the news is aware of the persecution Christians suffer at the hands of Muslims.  Few people are aware of the fact that a Muslim people known as the Rohingya, who live in Myanmar, face persecution by the Buddhist population of that country.

The Rohingya are often said to be the worlds most persecuted minority. They are an ethnic Muslim group in the majority Buddhist country and make up around one million of the total 50 million population.

They hail from the countrys northwest and speak a Bengali dialect. Almost all live in Rakhine, one of the poorest states, with a population of three million.

About 140,000 Rohingya in the Rakhine state live in ghetto-like camps that they cant leave without government permission.

aljazeera.com/rohingya

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The worst rulers

Israel had some very good kings, such as David, Hezekiah, and Josiah.  She also had some very bad kings.  The worst was Manasseh, whose story is found in 2 Chronicles 33.  He was the son of Hezekiah, who had destroyed the false gods the people worshiped and restored the worship of the true God.

Manasseh began his reign by attempting to undo the good his father had accomplished.

And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.”

And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
2 Chronicles 33:2-6

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