Praying…even when we don’t see results

by Phil Voisin

Today, we are seven days into our church wide 21 days of prayer and fasting. Has God answered the prayers you have been focusing on? For most of us the answer to this is No. But is that the truth?
 
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
 
Prayers are much like seeds. You plant them and for a long time, it seems as if nothing is happening. But is that the truth? We do not see what is happening and therefore think nothing is happening. In fact, a lot is happening. The seed is preparing for its journey above ground, but first it must dig down and grow. Grow strong enough to survive above ground. We don’t see that though. For seeds, it is easy, because we know that eventually, if properly cared for, the seed will grow. The plant will spring forth from the dirt and produce life.
 
Let’s look at another example … the expansion of the Germantown Campus. At first things were exciting! Dirt was moved. Big trucks came rolling in. Cement was poured. And then nothing… it seemed as though nothing really happened for a long time. I mean the workers showed up every day, but what were they doing? Nothing really looked any different. This went on for weeks. Then one day a big red crane shows up. I’m going to let this video explain what happened next. Enjoy:
 

 
God hears your prayers. Don’t give up because you feel like nothing is happening. Press on. Your Prayers are powerful and effective!

Do Your Prayers Matter?

By Cassie Voisin

I was raised Catholic. Well, sort of. We never went to church on a regular basis, but sometimes we made it there on Easter or Christmas. The only time I talked to God was when I recited my memorized prayer before bed. It came as a shock when I started coming to Life Church and I heard about the power of prayer, about how I should talk to God and how He would want to hear from me. I remember thinking, God knows all and controls all, so who am I to talk to Him about things? 

I would hear prayer warriors pray and think, I don’t know how to pray like that. I felt like I should wait to pray until I was stronger in my faith and could be a prayer warrior. If my prayer was going to be said poorly, why pray?

I was blessed to have some amazing women in the church who invested in me when I first received Jesus. They would tell me how prayer is just a conversation. That it didn’t matter how I brought my concerns to God, He just wanted to hear from me. God isn’t moved by how proper our prayer is, but by how sincere our heart is while coming to Him. 

In the beginning my prayers were a bit awkward, but I still wanted to try. God still heard me even in my state of awkwardness. He just loved that His child was coming to him with an open heart and bringing things to Him instead of carrying the load all by herself. I would often take things on myself instead of asking for God’s help. While praying I began to learn that He is there for us, and no prayer is too little or too big for Him.  What a relief!

I began to pray every day. Praises, needs, everything. I would even pray for other people. If you get one thing out of this blog, understand that Prayer is so POWERFUL and that we make a DIFFERENCE. You may not understand prayer, and that’s ok… but your prayers move God to change the world! 

God listens to the child praying for a homerun in a little league game. He listens to an alcoholic’s plea for mercy. He listens to the woman painfully seeking God who was just diagnosed with an incurable disease. He listens even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses Him. Not only will God listen, He will help. Know that He does not always answer our prayers in the ways that we expect, but He always answers and in His timing. 

God’s desire is for you to spend time with Him, in His presence. Make time to have an honest conversation with God, He is waiting for you. 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened

Matthew 7:7-8


What Do Circles Have to Do with Prayer?

By Randall Cartwright

I recently read Mark Batterson's book, The Circle Maker. I am not a very consistent reader, but this book about prayer grabbed my attention and inspired me to pray harder, pray longer, and most of all, pray more boldly. 

Batterson claims that our prayers have the power to change everything, but most of us give up way too easily. The idea of prayer circles are simply a way to encourage us to keep asking until God delivers. “Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us,” he says.

In the book, Batterson relates the story of Honi, a Jewish hero famous for praying for rain. During a drought, Honi the Circle Maker drew a circle in the sand and refused to budge from inside it until God answered his prayer for rain. It was a bold, seemingly impossible request, one that drew criticism from others. But God honored Honi’s faith by finally sending the rain they desperately needed.

Instead of praying bold prayers like Honi, I often find myself just praying what Mark Batterson calls “911 prayers.” I’ll pray “emergency prayers” or prayers that request something I need right away. But Batterson says, “We shouldn’t seek answers as much as we seek God. If you seek answers you won’t find them, but if you seek God, the answers will find you.” 

I don’t know about you, but I want to be more like Honi. I want to pray boldly. To pray with more focus and with more faith. Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for your life? What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around?

Why Your “Drops” of Prayer are Still Powerful

By Noel Miller

I recently read a quote from Mother Teresa that put a lot of perspective on a situation that I am currently walking through with an unsaved love one. “We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”

I had found myself a little discouraged in constantly showing love and grace to this friend, and had to keep reminding myself that she is on a journey. Then I stumbled upon the quote from Mother Teresa and it reminded me of
Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We must remember to press on in prayer, trusting the Creator of the universe that while the “drop” of prayer may seem small to us, one day we will see a harvest. We will see the love ones that we are so desperately praying for come to faith in God. We may not see it now, but an ocean is forming. Keep the faith because the harvest is coming!

 
Do You Really Need to Smooth Talk God?

By Kevin Ganiere

Have you ever worked the system for your own benefit? Maybe you tried to smooth talk a cop to get out of a ticket, like I did. That didn’t work out too well.

As a newly licensed driver in the state of Wisconsin, I was pulled over for going a little too fast. It started when I inadvertently honked my horn at an unmarked squad car while sitting at a stoplight.

The light turned and the car didn’t move, so I gave the driver a little encouragement. Then I passed him when we turned and looked back in the mirror to see that he was riding my tail! Still not knowing it was a squad, I went a little faster and boom… there were the lights. Nervous as all get out, I tried my best to explain, offering the  “I’m a brand new driver and I didn’t know” sob story. Unfortunately he didn’t buy my story, and I was served my first ticket. 

Working the system reminds me of how some people treat prayer. Some people think there are lots of ways to get what you want from God. They believe that “If I make this deal, or promise that, surely God will listen!” 

But in Matthew 6:7-13 (The Message), the Bible tells us we don’t have to smooth talk God:

"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: 

   Our Father in heaven, 
   Reveal who you are. 
   Set the world right; 
   Do what’s best— as above, so below. 
   Keep us alive with three square meals. 
   Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. 
   Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. 
   You’re in charge! 
   You can do anything you want! 
   You’re ablaze in beauty! 
      Yes. Yes. Yes.”


Don’t try to work the system with God, pray His way, it works!

Are Your Prayers Weak?

By Ryan Coggins

 

Do you really believe your prayers make a difference? 

I think a lot of us wonder why we need to pray, if God has everything under control. We question our significance. Do we really believe our prayers can stop major catastrophes from happening? That we can affect our world? That we, or other people, can be healed? 
 
A lot of times we add the line, “If it’s your will, Lord,” at the end of a prayer. Do we really need to say that?  We need to pray with confidence, expecting that God hears and will answer our prayers according to His timing and His perfect will. 

If our prayers didn’t affect the master plan of God, why would He tell us pray? In a way, God is testing our faith. When Jesus healed people in the Bible, they were always healed because of their faith, not because of the words they prayed. God wants to know that we really believe that when we pray, things happen.
 
“But didn’t Jesus tell us to pray, ‘…your kingdom come, your will be done…’ in the Lord’s Prayer?”  Absolutely, but I’m not sure Jesus was telling us to pray, “Lord, if it’s your will, please heal so-and-so of cancer.” I think He’s telling us to turn over our will to Him. To abandon our own will and desires in exchange for God’s will and desires. 

Saying, “Let your will be done,” is like saying, “I turn this over to You.” It’s not saying, “I realize that so-and-so will be healed if You want them to and that they won’t be healed if You don’t want them to.” That’s a pretty weak prayer.
 
Prayer is not just a ritual. It’s not something to mark off your “to do” list. It’s not a waste of time. Prayer is you communicating with the same God who created the world, parted the Red Sea, made the lame walk, cast out demons, and rose from the dead. Prayer is believing that the impossible is made possible because God is all-powerful.



Old School Church Songs

By Kevin Ganiere

Lately I have been singing (and annoying my wife with) some old school church songs that I remember from way back. One of the “oldies but goodies" was titled "Jesus on the Mainline". It’s a catchy little tune that said "Jesus on the mainline, tell him what you want…"  I don’t know why I was randomly singing that song but it made me think about the simplicity of prayer.

Prayer is powerful! Prayer changes things. 1 John 5:14 says,” This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

Wow. Think about that for a minute. I don’t know where you are today or what you have been praying for, but let me encourage you to keep praying! Be confident that the God we pray to is ALIVE AND WELL and hears us! Don’t stop now. Don’t give up! Keep praying!

Jesus on the mainline tell him what you want, Jesus on the mainline now…

"…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective," (James 5:14).

When God answers prayer, how do you respond?