Posts tagged Fireseekers
Why We Fast

Dr. Carl Lundquist, former president of Bethel College, found a certain habit very helpful. "Instead of taking an hour for lunch," he said, "I use the time to go to a prayer room, usually the Flame Room in nearby Bethel Theological Seminary. There I spend my lunch break in fellowship with God and in prayer. And I have learned a very personal dimension to what Jesus declared, "'I have had meat to eat ye know not of.'"

Jesus implied we would fast to enjoy His presence when He said that His disciples did not need to fast when He was with them. "But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast" (Mark 2:20).

Christ made fasting a time for celebration and communion.  Mark Nysewander in The Fasting Key states, "The newest and greatest purpose for fasting in the kingdom of God is for communion with your absent bridegroom, the exalted Christ."

Jesus used the term "bridegroom" again when he referred to His return at the end of the church age in Matthew 25. Until then, we fast whatever keeps us from His presence. In the last few days you've emailed the kinds of fasts Jesus has given some of you for this 40-day corporate fast. Besides meals, you've mentioned an hour of sleep, caffeine, Facebook, TV. Our fasting says to our absent Bridegroom, "I am turning away from whatever You ask, to say, 'This much, O God, I want you.'"

Tricia thought she knew the type of fasting she would do but Sunday morning as she was worshiping with praise music, she felt a nudge from the Lord. He seemed to be saying, "One more thing, Tricia. The next 40 days give up that whipped cream on top of your coffee. Let me be the whipped cream that tops the start of your day!" She said that those who know her well, know that coffee with whipped cream is an every morning regimen. She added, "I am loving the fact that for the next 40 days, the Lord has told me he will be the topping that starts my day! I am, of course, doing other fasting too!"

Thank You, Jesus, You know exactly what to ask of us to help us enjoy You more.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8).

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The President Who Called for Prayer

When Pastor Jeff Kirby went to speak in Chile, his translator invited him to go to the weekly prayer meeting at the palace of the president of Chile. While there, he heard a behind-the-scenes story of the miners who were trapped in the mine in 2010.

After a rockfall trapped 33 men nearly half a mile underground, the president authorized that prayer be made daily in his residence until the miners were released. After about 30 days, the searchers were ready to call it off thinking the miners were probably no longer alive. But in one of the prayer meetings, someone felt inspired to say that the miners were still alive and the drilling should continue. About 66 days into the search the drill bit broke through and they were found. It took about 30 more days to get them out.

While the prayers were going on in the president's private chapel, what they did not know was that a spiritual revival was going on below. One of the miners was a part-time pastor and praying with the men. Some were getting saved. Their only source of water was contaminated water. They prayed over it and no one got sick. When they were pulled out each one was praising God.

If only we could see what is happening when we pray, we would not be discouraged by delay. Often God is working behind the scenes, doing more than we would anticipate.

I love the way The Message renders Colossians 2:15: Jesus "stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets." This is why Satan tries so hard to get us to quit praying. He knows He is absolutely powerless against our persistent prayers. He understands the power they have more than we do.

So when Satan whispers, "Your prayers are worthless," know that his greatest fear is that you will recognize he is lying.


Jesus, I'm trusting that You are answering my prayer even though I do not see results.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matt. 7:7, 8). "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence" (Heb. 4:16).
 

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One Man's Burden is Changing a Nation

Pastor Nakov in Macedonia attended a conference in 2013 in Turkey. His heart ached when he saw many mosques in contrast with early Christian ruins. He wondered "Why is Islam flourishing?" and "What happened to the gospel witness?"

He returned home and during the night he sensed the Holy Spirit's presence. The Spirit asked him piercing questions that showed him he was not praying much, nor was his church. He was ashamed and convicted. He saw that the Imams were rising to pray earlier that he was.

He wept as he saw just how much they were playing church, and he asked God to change him.

The next Sunday he issued a call to prayer. They started with just one or two, then six. Finally about half the church responded. They were praying corporately and God was responding. Then pastors began praying together.

Now they are seeing answers as they pray not only for their own church but also for their nation to be in unity with others in the Balkans. Last year the Serbian president publicly asked for forgiveness for Serbia's past violence and bloodshed. Bulgarian officials have asked for forgiveness from its citizens of Turkish nationality who were expelled from their homes decades earlier.

"All of Europe needs to come before God and repent for the preaching of a cheap gospel that does not change lives; it is no gospel," said Pastor Nakov. "We in the Church must repent, ask forgiveness, and experience reconciliation. We now want only God's presence and His power to flow in us and through us."*

One pastor who asked God to change his own prayer life and who called his church to corporate prayer is changing his nation! God works when one leader obeys!  God is still looking for just one person who will take the lead.

Dear Jesus, please allow leaders to see their potential influence to turn our nation back to You.

"Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city" (Jer. 5:1).

* Adapted from the July-August 2014 First Friday Prayer Letter

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Hearing the Call to Prayer

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, has a demanding schedule, full of writing projects and speaking engagements. She also takes care of her husband of 47 years, Danny Lotz, who has been ill for quite some time.

She recently wrote, "While at home caring for my husband, I have had time to be quiet and listen more to the whispers of the Spirit. He has revealed things to me in the stillness that I'm not sure I would have heard in my former busyness. One of the things He has impressed on me is that we are living at the end of human history as we know it."

Just recently, God asked Anne to call His people in our nation to prayer. Joel wrote, "Blow the trumpet...sound the alarm...for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand--Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God..." (2:1, 13).

In obedience, she is blowing the trumpet...sounding the alarm...issuing a national prayer initiative entitled 7 7 7:  An Urgent Call to Prayer. 

Today is the first day of this call. On the 7th day, July 7, we are to pray and fast for 7 hours (of our choosing).

In Anne's message to a large crowd in the Capitol on the National Day of Prayer, she warned of God's soon-coming judgment on our nation. Alarms are going off, but are we hearing them? God is trying to wake us up before it's too late. We must put aside perfunctory prayers, mechanical prayers, prayers where we just check it off. "It's not just words. It's a cry."

She declared, "Judgment is coming. God's patience is running out. And that's a word from the Lord."

Perhaps you or even your small group could watch her 29-minute message given to a large crowd in the nation's capitol on the 2014 National Day of Prayer. You will find it at  http://www.god.tv/national-day-of-prayer/video/national-day-of-prayer/anne-graham-lotz

Dear Jesus, we ask  for the spirit of heart-felt repentance that will allow You to forgive our sins and to fulfill Your promise to heal our land.

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What Brought Revival to My Family

I heard a story about my Grandmother Wehrman that occurred many years ago. My cousin, Lydia Knipmeyer, told in her final testimony in church how she had been converted as a young girl.

One night about 2 o'clock in the morning, my grandmother walked the six miles from our farm to Lydia's parents' farm in the cold Missouri winter and announced, "I have come to pray for Lydia to be saved." Lydia's father, my grandmother's brother, awakened the entire household, and they all gathered around Lydia and prayed.

Lydia did not get saved that night, but the next day, she went to the hayloft where she intended to pray quietly so no one would hear her. She became so earnest that her intentions were forgotten and she prayed so loudly everyone heard her. She left the loft that day knowing her sins were forgiven.

Grandmother's nighttime visit seemed to have brought a spirit of revival. After that more of my cousins came to the Lord. One of those was August Luelf who is also now in heaven, but was loved and known by thousands as "the stuttering preacher." Another was Wesley Duewel. His books on prayer have been printed in 57 languages and have sold over two million copies.

The secret of that revival was not simply Grandmother's nighttime visit. It was those prayers she had prayed in secret. She had interceded in private until the Spirit so burdened her heart that she could not bear to think of Lydia's being lost.

Dear Jesus, help me to pray until my concern for the lost is so deep I am willing to be radically obedient to Your Spirit.

"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:6).

 

 

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