Pray Desperate Prayers

1 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

Herod laid violent hands on some of the Christians, including John’s brother James, whom he killed with the sword, as well as Peter, whom he imprisoned, guarded by four squads of soldiers. He planned to kill Peter after the Passover, just like he had killed James, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Herod’s plan was to kill Peter because he saw that killing James pleased the Jews, but earnest prayer was made for him. Desperate intercession went up to God for Peter. Herod and the Jews had one plan, but the Church had a different plan, a plan that involved Jesus.

“Free Peter. Save Peter’s life, O’ LORD our God,” they desperately pleaded in earnest prayer.

This word earnest is the Greek word ektenōs. It means:

  • Eager, Continuous prayer

In other words, they were desperate.

I’m not talking a little five-minute, “If it is Your will, dear LORD…” type of prayer. This was an all-night, all-day crying out to God for His mercy on Peter type prayer.

The Christians praying for Peter was desperate for a move of God. They had just made the mistake of not praying for James in desperation and James had paid the ultimate price. He was executed by Herod. Peter fared much better. Why? Because of the prayer of desperation.

If you want God to move, then you need to pray desperate prayers. You need to be on your hands and knees seeking God. You need to reach that place where you’re willing to wrestle all night until you get your answer. You have to be willing to knock all night til the door is opened to you. You have to be willing to become desperate if you want to see God move miraculously in your life.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Pray Desperate Prayers.

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Turn the World Upside Down

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ~ Acts 2:1-4KJV

When the day of Pentecost had fully come. Please understand that the Jews were celebrating the Feast of Pentecost for centuries. This was not their first rodeo, as they say. That’s why Dr. Luke tells us when it had fully come. In other words, the fulfillment of the feast had finally come. God had given His Holy Spirit to His beloved Church. Now, the 120 believers gathered in the Upper Room were filled with the Holy Spirit, with power, with boldness, with confidence, with love. And they began to preach the message of the Good News. Souls were saved, lives were changed, and bodies were healed.

But the believers came together in one accord and waited upon Jesus as He had instructed them before His ascension. Great signs and wonders and miracles were wrought forth by the hands of the Apostles and the early believers.

Somehow, we, nowadays believers, have lost the power to perform signs, wonders, miracles, and great acts of healing. Maybe we need to get back to waiting upon the LORD, and to prayer, and to the study of God’s word.

So, this Pentecost Sunday, let us make a determination to wait, worship, and dedicate ourselves to prayer. Let us seek the LORD our God and turn the world upside down for Jesus once again.

Heavenly Father, please fill us with the promise of Your Holy Spirit, and with power and with love. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

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Prepare To Do It Alone

28 Jehu eliminated Baal worship from Israel, 29 but he did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit — worshiping the gold calves that were in Bethel and Dan. 30 Nevertheless, the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my sight and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in my heart, four generations of your sons will sit on the throne of Israel.” 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to follow the instruction of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins that Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. 32 In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael defeated the Israelites throughout their territory 33 from the Jordan eastward: the whole land of Gilead — the Gadites, the Reubenites, and the Manassites — from Aroer which is by the Arnon Valley through Gilead to Bashan. ~ 2 Kings 10:28-33CSB

Jehu was told to remove the house of Ahab from Israel because of their wickedness, which he successfully did, and he was expected to follow the instructions of God with all his heart, but he failed to do so. Because of Jehu’s obedience, four generations of his sons would be on the throne, but because of his lack of dedication to the LORD, Israel began to decrease in number. Jehu, when directly told exactly what to do, followed instruction, but when it came to him seeking and trying to follow God for himself, he fell short.

God isn’t always going to hold your hand and tell you exactly what to do. He’s going to show you the first few times and then He expects you to be paying attention, learning, and preparing to do it on your own through Him. Here’s what I mean. God expects us to be able to listen to the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit after He has led us into green pastures and showed us righteousness. God expects us to grow, not continue as a small baby. God wants us to mature in Him so that we might have discernment, wisdom, and understanding so that one day, we might be able to lead others to Him the way someone led us to Him.

Where Jehu dropped the ball and led the people of Israel astray and decreased their numbers, we are to hold on tightly to the ball (the Word of God) and spread the Gospel, tear down strongholds, grow in the Spirit, and harvest many souls for the Kingdom of God. When we drop the ball in this area, our physical lives may not be harmed in any way. Jehu’s descended were kings, but his people decreased in number. Our physical lives may not be harmed, but our spiritual lives and those around us begin to decrease when we refuse to learn right from wrong and fail test after test. When we refuse to remove the strongholds in our lives and our family’s lives.

We’re in a spiritual war and if we’re not careful, we’ll fall asleep without even realizing it because we have no spiritual discernment. Our physical lives are going good, we’re prospering, our children are prospering, so we think God is with us, when actuality we turned away from God long ago and didn’t even know His Holy Spirit left us.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Prepare To Do It Alone.

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Remind God of His Promises

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ ” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.

11 But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people. ~ Exodus 32:7-14

When God saw that His own people had corrupted themselves with the golden calf Aaron, the high priest, had made for them, He distanced Himself from them. He said, “Moses, these are your people, so you go down to them, for it did not take long for them to return to worshiping idols and false gods.” Then He gives Moses a proposal that he couldn’t refuse. He told him that He would make him, Moses, into a great nation, and he would be the father of a great and mighty nation. But Moses was an intercessor. Instead of accepting the good opportunity, he interceded for the people of Israel. He gently reminded God that Israel was His people, and it was Him who had brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand. Now, please understand, God does not need us to remind Him so that He can remember, but rather, we remind Him to show that we know His promise, that we believe His promise, and lastly, so that we may verbalize what we want.

I read a blog that a well-intentioned lady wrote, discouraging her readers from reminding God of His promises. She claimed that the passages of Scripture that are expressly reminding God of His promises really aren’t. They may sound like it, but it really is God who is doing the reminding? Although it is the person who is talking or praying. Now, this sounds good and pious, but as the old saying goes, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck,” end of story. Why do we try to be so religious? The Scriptures plainly teach that we are to make known what we desire in prayer; how can we do that if we are afraid to remind God of His promises to us? It is called prayer.

If when Jesus was on earth people had to verbalize what they wanted, when it was obvious. Jesus called the blind man in (Luke 18:40-43), and when he came, Jesus asked, what do you want me to do for you? His reply wasn’t, “Isn’t it obvious, Jesus.” No, he said, “I want to see.” We must let our request be made known to our God (Philippians 4:6). Psalm 119:49 says, “Remember Your word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope.” “Remember Your word…” Is not plain enough?

What about Elijah in 1 Kings 18:41-45? God had promised to send rain on the land because there was no rain for three and a half years. Yet Elijah prayed seven times after receiving the promise before the rain came. What is the conclusion then? Well, maybe we don’t receive our promises because we are under the false impression that we are not to remind God of His promises; therefore, we don’t pray about our promises, so God figures we are not interested since we never mention them, nor talk about them.

Listen, we have great and mighty promises from our good, good Father, and He wants us to come to Him, seek His face, and call upon His great name. I suggest we do as God said in Isaiah 43:26a, “Put Me in remembrance…” So, go ahead and remind God of His great and wonderful promises; He wants you to.

Heavenly Father, I remind you right now that You have promised me _____________. I know you have not forgotten, but I come in humbleness and in reverence to ask You to remember Your great promise to me and my family, and when You remember, please fulfill Your promise to me; in Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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Fight Like Rizpah

The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the Lord, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest. ~ 2 Samuel 21:7-9

Rizpah’s two sons were put to death in the first days of the barley harvest. The barley harvest was in the spring. The time of the celebration of Passover. So, in one of the most joyous times of the year, Rizpah is handed down a heavy burden, one that no mother should bear and, even worse, bear alone. So, while everyone else is preparing for harvest – a time of festivities, preparing for Passover, preparing to celebrate, Rizpah is preparing for mourning.

The Gibeonites hanged the seven of them on the mountain before the LORD, and the seven died there. Understand that my burden is not your burden. My joy is not your joy. And so, it was with Rizpah; she only had two sons, while Merab had five sons hanged. But it was Rizpah alone who got sackcloth and spread it for herself on a stone on the mountainside.

So, Rizpah spreads sackcloth on a rock for herself, indicating that she is there for the long haul, she is absolute in her conviction, she is solid as the rock she sits on, and she stays there on that mountain side from the beginning of the barley harvest until the rains fell on her.

The Barley harvest, as I said, is in the spring, they were to bring the tithe of the harvest the first day of the week after Passover. So, Rizpah stays from the middle of April all the through until the rains came in September or October. Some five or six months.

Day and night she is there. She wakes up in the middle of the night and rolls out of bed pleading for her children. She calls them by name before the throne of God.

LORD, save my child. LORD, bring my daughter home. My son is experimenting; save him, LORD. My child is strung out on drugs, my son is on meth, and my daughter is strung out on crack. LORD, please have mercy on my child.

  • Night and day, Rizpah is on the Rock, on her knees
  • Night and day, Rizpah is worshipping and seeking God on behalf of her children
  • Night and day for 5 or 6 months
  • No time is too long for Rizpah
  • Rizpah is a mother with a burden

Who would have that kind of tenacity? Only the burden of a mother would cause someone to sit on a sackcloth spread out on a rock for five or six months, fighting off wild beasts, fighting off the birds of the air.

Rizpah didn’t see her two sons have a proper burial for months, but because of her dedication, refusing to allow her sons’ bodies to be defiled in death, King David heard of her tenacity and had compassion on her. He had all the men’s bodies who were hanged to have a proper burial because of Rizpah. No, it didn’t happen overnight. It took day after day. Night after night. Week after week. month after month. Until she saw her prayers answered. So, be encouraged. Don’t give up hope. Fight for your children. Plead with God day after day, night after night, until you see that breakthrough. Tear down spiritual strongholds and fight off spiritual attacks from the enemy through prayer, worship, and fasting. Don’t give up until you see your prayers answered.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Fight Like Rizpah.

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Listen And Obey

30 As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. 32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. ~ Ezekiel 33:30-32

Imagine this: suppose this ‘son of man’ is the Church, and ‘your people’ are its members, ‘the walls’ are the church buildings, and ‘the doors’ are communication devices, such as cellphones, computers, and social media. Then, this would be a direct rebuke to a lukewarm church, such as we have today. The brethren invite each other to church on Sundays, saying, “Come to church this Sunday; Pastor is starting a really interesting sermon series. Come on out and listen; it’ll be fun.” Or, “We have a visiting evangelist who is just on fire. Come on out and hear his message; it’ll blow you away.”

But God says, “They come. They sit. They even take part in the praise and worship. They even chip in when the offering plate is passed around. They amen the good points and even jump to their feet and clap their hands enthusiastically in response to the exciting points the fiery preacher makes. They hear the preacher say that they must make a change in their lives. That they must seek holiness and pursue righteousness, but they will not do it.” They believe that part was for their neighbor. They needed to hear that, but not them. They, themselves, are doing good, real good. No change is needed here.

God says that the reason there is no change is that they are full of lustful thoughts that are expressed in lustful talk because, after all, ‘God wants me happy.’ He is ever interested in my happiness. He loves me too much to correct me. I can love whomever I want to love. I can be with whomever I wish to be with because God is for me. He came that I might have happiness and happiness more abundantly.

The pastor says, “Love the LORD your God, with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” But they hear lustful songs with beautiful voices and well-playing instruments singing, “Do what thou wilt, there are no consequences. Do what thou wilt, with all of your strength, for I AM for you.” And they heap upon themselves all sorts of perverseness and all sorts of debauchery and say to themselves, “God loves me too much for anything bad to happen to me. Because a good and loving God will never send anyone to a fiery eternity in a lake of fire.”

But verse 33 says, “When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” When what comes? Sudden destruction. Sudden judgment. An eternity in the Lake of Fire. When these things come, and come they will, then they will know. The problem, however, is when it does come, it will be too late, way too late. God said today is the day of repentance; tomorrow is promised to no man.

Dear friends, there are consequences for your actions, and the consequences will come. Make no mistake: the warning has been sounded; you need to listen and obey the voice of your God and seek His holiness.

Heavenly Father, please help me to hear and recognize Your voice, and to seek Your face, and to call upon Your name, that in the great and dreadful day of the LORD, You will find me doing what is pleasing to You, in Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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Put It Into Practice

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9

Look at Paul’s instructions to the Philippians. He said, What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things. There are four sources.

  1. What you have learned
  2. What you have received
  3. What you have heard
  4. And lastly, what you have seen in me

Far too often Christians will sit through a good sermon where God is speaking directly to them, and they will turn to their neighbor and say, “This one’s for you.” No it’s not, that one was for you. Or they will participate in a really good conference with all kinds of tips and helps and are energized at the conference but as soon as they leave, two days later, they’ve forgotten everything that they were so excited about. What we, as Christians, need to do, is to put into practice what we’ve learned, and what we’ve received, and what we’ve heard and what we’ve seen. Now, I’m not saying that we ought to blindly do all of those things, we must first match all of that up with Scripture.

Because Paul doesn’t leave it to our own interpretation, he says, if it is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, having any excellence, and is praise worthy, think about these things, or in other words, put these things into practice. He gives us a guide to follow so that we will not be easily led astray with useless things. We must make a conscious effort to find these things, or notice these things and then put them into practice.

What I am saying is we need to put more of what we have learned, received, heard, and seen in Godly Saints, pastors, and teachers into practice. It is no use having all of the best tools but never using them, or only using them for a very short period of time and then go back to the old way. So, let us determine to put what we’ve learned, received, heard, and seen into practice if it lines up with Scripture.

Heavenly Father, help us to put into practice all that we’ve been taught, read in Scripture, and seen in other saints of God. Help us not to become stagnant, but moving forward in growth and maturity in the things of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Show Yourself Approved

15 Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15CSB

When I was younger, a movie entitled “Think Like A Man” came out. The plot, from what I remember, was a group of women who bought a book by Steve Harvey explaining the way a man thinks and how to get the most out of a relationship with a man. There were about maybe five different men with different personalities and faults, but the book explained how to deal with and get the most out of the relationship with each one. This group of women was so desperate that they bought the book, read it every night, highlighted it, and put it into practice daily with faith and hope of results. And you know what happened? They saw results. This is how the Church should be.

Today, the Church barely knows what’s in the Bible, let alone lives it. If you go online, the majority of people hate the Church. They hate any form of Christianity. We’re seen as lowlives, scum, cheats, the worst of the worst. When someone questions our faith, the majority of us can’t defend why we believe what we believe. The majority of us have never read the Bible all the way through before. The majority of us don’t have any kind of prayer life. The Church has a bad reputation in the world, so what are we going to do about it? How can we fix it?

We take a page from that group of women who wanted to see a change and we start with ourselves. We study the Scriptures daily to show ourselves approved. We spend time in prayer and worship putting our flesh into submission. We put into action what Jesus commanded and we start living for Christ instead of for ourselves.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Show Yourself Approved.

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Seek The Anointing

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.  14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him, 15 so Saul’s servants said to him, “You see that an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command your servants here in your presence to look for someone who knows how to play the lyre. Whenever the evil spirit from God comes on you, that person can play the lyre, and you will feel better.” 17 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Find me someone who plays well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is also a valiant man, a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him.” 19 Then Saul dispatched messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would pick up his lyre and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. ~ 1 Samuel 16:13-19, 23CSB

David was a good musician, but it wasn’t his skill that helped Saul; it was his anointing. See, oftentimes, we think that our skills and talents are what will let us touch lives, but that isn’t true. God doesn’t just use us because we’re talented or skilled. Look at Moses. He uses us because He anoints us for different things.

Look at Peter’s Pentecost message; it’s not deep. It’s nothing special. He just repeats the series of events as they happened, and three thousand souls were saved and joined the Church (Acts 2). My Dad always talks about an old-school preacher who preached a simple message of repentance, yet those in the audience gripped their chairs with all their might because they were afraid they fall out of their chairs and straight into Hell. Hundreds were saved.

God isn’t limited by your skill or talent but by the willingness of your heart. The Spirit of the LORD will move with the anointing of the LORD. It’s not based on anything physical like your talent or skill. It’s based on the spiritual; it’s based on your willingness to follow God regardless of what may or may not happen.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Seek The Anointing.

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Persistent Prayer

1 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 told this parable in order to teach them the importance of persistent prayer. In the parable, the judge was not interested in giving the widow justice against her adversary. Every day she came with the same complaint: “Give me justice against my adversary.” And every day, it was the same thing: “You have no case.”

She came the very next day saying, “Give me justice,” and again, it was the same answer, “There is nothing here.” But the woman did not give up; she kept coming day after day after day. Soon, all the members of the court, even those who just came to watch the court proceeding, recognized her and knew her name. I can imagine people gathering early in the morning before court even started to place their bet. “I have ten dollars here that say Ms. Rosie ain’t coming today.” And others would jump on that, “I have twenty that say she will.” And sure enough, Ms. Rosie would show up to court to the amusement of those who bet on her. “Give me justice,” she would call out to the unjust judge.

The judge was getting weary with her coming and said to himself, “I better give her justice, or she will wear me out with her coming.” And he did give her justice.

Jesus said that if that unjust judge who neither feared God nor had respect for man would do what is right, how much more would our Heavenly Father do right by us?

It is our Father’s good will that we enjoy peace, joy, and justice. It is our Father’s good pleasure to give us good things, but we must stay persistent in prayer. We can’t come one day and not the next. We must bombard heaven with our coming. Give Him who promised no rest until we receive what we ask for. Believe me, God wants to give us good things.

What if Daniel had given up after two weeks? I suppose we would not have Daniel chapter ten to be encouraged with.

Next time a problem bombards you, you bombard heaven, and God will see that you get justice.

Heavenly Father, I ask You to help me not to give up so easily but to be persistent in my prayers. Hear me when I call on Your great Name. Thank You that You not only hear us but that You answer us as well. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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