Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent;
that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.
Giving Ourselves ...to an Enhanced Discipline
BOTH AS A SPIRITUAL EXERCISE, and because they work toward the release of Kingdom Principles in us, we will give ourselves this month to the beginning of the disciplines that worked in Paul.
PRINCIPLE ONE: Maintaining a thankful heart, especially for people with whom we have to do.
DAY 1—Let us first repair the altar of thanksgiving in our lives.
Lev 22:29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.
II Chron 29:31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings.
FATHER, it is as though the altar of thanksgiving in my life has been broken down. Today I will repair it with a willing and free heart. There has been resentment in me. There has been a lack of gratitude in me. I have murmured and complained about the people around me. I renounce this attitude of heart, even now. I am ready to begin thanking You for each one. I name them.
When we become thankful, it becomes evident to all around that a change has come in us
DAY 2—The fires on the altars of our hearts will burn more brightly when we offer thanksgiving.
Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Heb 13:15 By Him (that is, by Jesus Christ) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.
· LORD, it is difficult for me to offer thanksgiving for some people. They’ve brought pain into my life. They’ve made my life bitter. Yet I know You love each one of them. They are dear to You. So I repent for my attitude. Please set me free to feel Your love toward them, and to thank You for them, even for what they have done. Help us both be free so You can be praised.
Forgiving people sets us in order for living in Christ’s Kingdom—Mt 6:7-15
DAY 3—It is a good thing to maintain a heart of thankfulness.
Ps 92:1,2,4 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy Name, O Most High: to show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night . . . For Thou, LORD, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.
· LORD, You are showing me these people in the light of Your love for them. I have stumbled over them and complained about them, but now I am thanking You for them. Through Your work I am free. Now I can begin showing them Your love and Your faithfulness. Oh, continue Your work in me—and love them through me!
When we thank God in all things, those around us begin to see His light—Ezk 36:23; Mt 5:16; II Cor 4:6
DAY 4—When we are thankful for everything, we include all the people around us.
I Thes 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Phil 1:3,4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.
I Thes 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers…
· DEAR FATHER, here are these people about whom I complained. Now I thank You for them. I once felt no love for them and found it best to leave them alone. Now something in me wants to bring them before Your Throne. I hold them before You. Let Your grace and peace become known in them.
Our testimony becomes sure when we give it with a thankful heart—I Pet 3:15; Col 4:6; II Tim 2:24,25
DAY 5—We are learning to maintain a heart of thankfulness for persons, recognizing that they are precious to the Lord.
Eph 1:15,16 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers…
II Thes 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
· FATHER, I know these people are precious to You. I have not always treated them with love and kindness. I have not brought them before Your Throne with deep concern for their welfare. But that is no more. I hold them now before You and thank You for them. Please bring forth in them a response to Your grace. Let them begin to see Your love in me for them so we can fellowship together.
Where once was darkness and discord, sweet fellowship can come—l John 1:3-7
PRINCIPLE TWO: Praying always.
DAY 6—Personal weakness need not hinder us in praying; the Lord will help us pray.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
· FATHER, I have no weakness like my weakness in praying. If there are things buried in me that hinder my communion with You, please search them out. Send Your spirit into the deep parts of me to rid me of them. I want my inner parts healed so I can pray always.
The searching work of the Lord only prepares us for His loving kindness—Ps 17:1-8
DAY 7—Most of us learn slowly to pray always, but the determination for it begins in our heart.
Ps 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His Temple.
Ps 27:8 When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
· LORD, Your call to me and the desire of my heart are that I should live in unbroken communion with You. But things rise up against this. My mind is cluttered with things to do. My emotions run rampant. My will is weak. My conscience bothers me. Please search out these things in me and bring a discipline upon my soul.
Our Heavenly Father holds great pity toward us in our weak ability to know Him—Ps 103:1-14
DAY 8—Sometimes oppression and fear will crowd in to praying always.
Deut 26:7 And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression.
Ps 50:15 And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.
· LORD, I have renounced the oppression and worry that ruled my spirit. They robbed me of my communion with You. Now, I repent of my fear of man. I turn my trust toward You. Take over this part in me that worries about what people will do and say. Since I know what it means to worry without ceasing, I ask You to sanctify this part in me so I can begin to pray without ceasing.
Compassion from the Lord and life released out of His Resurrection will work together in us—Il Cor 4:6-12
DAY 9—One difficult encounter with a person can push us into a kind of praying that will change us.
Gen 32:24-26 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day. And when He saw that He prevailed not against Him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. And He said, Let Me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.
· O GOD, outside of You, there is no help for the situation in which I find myself I cannot let You go. Please draw me into Your bosom and let me feel Your love for me. Open my eyes to behold Your strength and Your mercy. Let Your strength overrule me. Let me see Your strength and Your mercy rule over my oppressors.
Our reconciliation, both with God and man, can be complete because of the Lord Jesus—Col 1:20-22
DAY 10—Sometimes the conditions around us provoke us to pray without ceasing.
Lam 2:19 Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward Him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.
Jer 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
· FATHER, heal my blindness so I can see those around me who are in trouble. Move me with compassion for them and let me know their hearts. Teach me to pray for them with deep feeling from my heart. As I pray, show me my responsibility toward them.
Consider Ezekiel’s prophetic vision regarding those who made supplication and those who held no concern about the sin in Jerusalem—Ezk 9:1-11
DAY 11—Urgency in others may call us to a time of praying without ceasing till they are free.
Ac 12:5, 7 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
· DEAR LORD, increase my sensitivity toward others who suffer. Enlarge my heart to feel their pains and to bear them before Your Throne. Some of them are so oppressed they can’t pray for themselves. As You lay them on my heart, give me the grace to love them and to pray for them until their deliverance is sure.
We can expect miracles when we pray urgently for others in their needs—Ac 12:1-7
DAY 12—Some have come to a time in life when they can give themselves to much praying.
I Tim 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications (deésis) and prayers night and day. Lk 2:37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the Temple, but served God with fastings and prayers (deésis) night and day.
· DEAR LORD, a time has come in my life when I can give myself to supplications and prayers. The trouble is I am so undisciplined that I allow many hours to go by without praying, when I could be praying. I need Your mercy in this. I need the help of Your Spirit. Please enlarge my heart to embrace this precious ministry.
Even in our physical limitations we can have great boldness before the Lord in prayer—Lk 18:1-8
DAY 13—Those upon whom the call of God has come to minister must learn to make prayer their most important work.
I Thes 3:8-10 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praving (déomai) exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
· FATHER, I feel I have nothing of value to place before Your people—unless You give it to me for them. So, I wait in Your presence. I lay my own soul bare before You. Like a servant looking to his master, I look to You, and I look to You, and I look to You. Please give me food for these people. They are dear to You, and to me.
The man going to his friend at midnight is an illustration of the kind of praying a minister does—Lk 11:9-12
DAY 14—As we mature in God’s grace, our supplication tends toward His greater purpose.
Isa 62:6,7 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence. And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Mt 6:9,10 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father Which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
· FATHER, draw me on to become an intercessor in the earth for Your eternal purposes. Teach me my place in the heavens that I might walk as a priest in Your Kingdom on earth. Show me the importance of those who make supplication in Your Kingdom.
As intercessors, we help bring forth and establish those appointed to reign with Christ—Eph 1:15-23
PRINCIPLE THREE: Making earnest supplication. This principle cannot be separated from the previous one, for the earnest supplications of our hearts will tend toward praying always.
DAY 15—The kind of praying that produces a miracle is the praying that must have an answer, and that will not cease till it comes.
Mt 15:22,23a And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. ... 25 Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.
· DEAR LORD, forgive me for turning away so quickly from praying to sink in despair. Teach me that answers sometimes do not come quickly. Teach me to pray through, both in my own great needs, and when I’m praying for others. Work in me a persistent grace.
We find Him as our strength and our shield—Ps 28:1-9
PASSAGES MAKING USE of deésis (de-AYE-sis) and deómai—those rare, beautiful and sensitive words for prevailing prayer— have much to give us to lead us into earnest supplication. They speak of the kind of praying that must have an answer. Intercessors learn to pray like this, till the answer comes. All the Scripture we quote from here on contains one or the other of these words.
DAY 16—Out of this kind of praying, impossible conditions are overcome.
Lk 1:11-13 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer (deésis) is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
· DEAR LORD, our wombs are barren. Impossibility has ruled us. We have seen no hope at all for ourselves or for these we hold before You. But this does not discourage us in our supplication. We come before You and wait before You because we must have an answer. We must see the release of Your grace upon us.
God found a woman who would pray to bring a man upon the scene to fulfill His Own great purpose—l Sam 1:9-18
DAY 17—The Church was born out of the kind of praying that would not cease till the answer came.
Ac 1:13,14 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication (deésis), with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren...
· FATHER, we’re too ready to cease praying. Too easily we have turned away, content with too little. Work in us the grace of supplication that will not cease till the answer comes. And, LORD, work the same grace in these I hold before You. Teach them to pray till they see the answers of Your Kingdom released in their lives.
The Church continued with this same attitude of supplication in the face of opposition—Ac 4:23-31
DAY 18—The commission of the Lord Jesus was that ministries should be born out of this kind of praying.
Mt 9:37, 38 Then saith He unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray (from déomai) ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.
· LORD, our supplication before You that laborers be cast into the harvest has been weak. Change us. Lay hold on us and deliver us from our complacency. Bring us to the place where we must see—and will see—the release of the ministries necessary for this hour.
Out of movements of God’s Spirit, ministries come forth that bring change in the land—Ac 13:1-3
DAY 19—Sometimes earnest supplication is necessary for the deliverance of those undergoing severe trials.
II Cor 1:9-11a But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us; ye also helping together by prayer (deésis) for us...
· FATHER, here are these I know in ministry who face trouble. Deliver me from a heart that is insensitive to what they are facing. Teach me to do battle with them in prayer and supplication. Give me understanding as to my part with them in ministry. I name them before You.
The armor we take is necessary equipment for the warfare of this kind of praying—Eph 6:13-18
DAY 20—There is nothing that can disturb the peace of our hearts when it is settled with us that we can pray matters through.
Phil 4:6,7 Be careful for nothing ("Don’t be disturbed about anything"); but in every thing by prayer and supplication (deésis) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
· DEAR LORD, teach me to pray through in this trial that is upon me. And, give me a compassionate heart toward my friends in their trials. Teach me to pray through for them as well as for myself—without any judgment or criticism of them for their little faith.
Paul’s admonition to a young preacher was that he guide people into supplications (deésis), prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks—l Tim 2:1-4
DAY 21—As the time of the end comes on, we are called to develop in prevailing prayer.
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Lk 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray (déomai) always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
· FATHER, please keep us alert as to the urgency of the hour in which we live. Teach us how to watch and pray. Cause Your Spirit to move in us with prophetic praying so we will not be caught sleeping spiritually. Oh, bring upon me—and us—the Spirit of Supplications.
Strong praying from righteous people releases the energy of Christ’s Kingdom in our midst—Jas 5:13-18
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