Five Marks of Effective Prayer

H.B. Charles: And a leper came to Jesus, imploring him, and kneeling to him said, “If you will, you can make me clean.”– Mark 1:40 The last passage of chapter 1 (verses 40-45), records the miracle of Jesus cleansing a leper. It is also recorded in Matthew 8:1-4 and Luke 5:12-15. Leprosy was the most dreaded disease in the Bible. The term “leprosy” was used to describe anything from a skin rash to Hansen’s Disease (the modern name for leprosy). Luke 5:12 says this man who came to Jesus was “full of leprosy.” This was no skin rash. It was full-blown leprosy in its advanced stages. In his desperation, he came to Jesus for help. And Jesus made him clean (Mark 1:41-42). This story is about the miracle-working and divine authority of Jesus. This leper is only a trophy of amazing grace. The priority of this passage it what it teaches us about Jesus. But there is a lesson about

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How to Pray in the Holy Spirit

Jason Meyer: I spent five years immersing myself in the sermons of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It was truly a transformative season in my life. What was the biggest takeaway? The answer may surprise you. He taught me how to pray. Those who really knew Lloyd-Jones will not find that answer surprising at all. His wife once said, “No one will ever understand my husband until they realize that he is first of all a man of prayer and then an evangelist” (Bethan Lloyd-Jones). In particular, Lloyd-Jones, as a man of prayer, taught me how to pray in the Holy Spirit. My hunger for learning how to pray in the Spirit came from a perplexing problem. I read Ephesians 6:18, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” This text really bothered me because I could parse the words and diagram the grammar, but I had this nagging sense that I was not experiencing the reality of it. Lloyd-Jones

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The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down

Al Mohler: This article is an excerpt from my new book, The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution. We long for revolution. Something within us cries out that the world is horribly broken and must be fixed. For centuries, the word revolution was scarcely heard, buried under ages of oppression. The word itself was feared and speaking it was treason. And then, revolutions seemed to appear almost everywhere. Some historians have gone so far as to identify our modern epoch as “The Age of Revolution.” Is it? Perhaps it is more accurate to refer to our times as “The Age of Failed Revolution.” Looking across the landscape it becomes clear that very few revolutions produce what they promise. Arguably, most revolutions lead to a worse set of conditions than they replaced. And yet, we still yearn for radical change, for things to be made right. We rightly long to see righteousness and truth and

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Having Jesus As Our Greatest Treasure – A Prayer

. Scotty Smith: Philippians 3:7 – I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. Lord Jesus, as I meditate on the Apostle Paul’s words, I smell the aroma of a free man, a joyful man, and a grace-man–a man I want to become more like. Things he once treasured became Paul’s “garbage.” Old stuff that used to consume him, no longer even amused him. Enjoying an intimate and robust relationship with you mean more to Paul that any other competing currency and treasure. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with

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The Key to Spiritual Breakthrough

Jon Bloom: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because we do not ask God for them? Jesus also says we do not have because we ask with such little faith (Matthew 17:19–20). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because our expectation is so small that prayer will result in anything? Jesus also says we do not have, because we do not ask long enough (Luke 11:5–13). All over the Bible we see, not in great detail but in sufficient detail, that we are involved in a great cosmic battle and that the prayers of the saints are crucial to the advancement of the kingdom of God (see Daniel 10:12–14 and Ephesians 6:18). We don’t need to know how it all works; we just need to know it

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10 Things You Should Know About the Necessity of Prayer

Sam Storms: There is a reason why I speak of the “necessity” of prayer and not simply ten things to know about prayer. I want us to consider the necessity of prayer in terms of what we stand to lose if we don’t pray. Sadly, prayer for many who profess faith in Christ has become a meaningless ritual. They have lost sight of the fact that God suspends great and glorious blessings on our asking for them. So let’s take a look at ten reasons why prayer is necessary. Or perhaps we could say, let’s consider what we otherwise stand to lose if we choose not to pray. (1) We must pray because otherwise God will not be glorified. Here is how Jesus put it: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Answered prayer isn’t the only way in which God may be glorified, but it

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What Does it Mean to Pray in the Name of Jesus?

Sam Storms: Can we really believe the words of Jesus in John 14:14 when he declares: “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it”? Twice in vv. 13-14 Jesus says you must pray “in my name”. What does that mean? Is Jesus telling us that all we have to do is attach the words, “In Christ’s name” at the end of each prayer and we will be guaranteed a positive answer? If that were the case, the words “in Christ’s name” or “in the name of Jesus” would function much like a magical incantation, no different from what a magician would do when he says “Abracadabra” or what the owner of a magic lamp would do to evoke the presence of a genie who would then grant him three wishes. It’s important to note that one need not even repeat the words “in Christ’s name” to pray “in Christ’s name.” The perfect inflection of the word

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How to pray for God’s favour

Denny Burk: This morning, I’ve been pondering and praying the words of Moses in Exodus 33:13: “If I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight.” –Exodus 33:13 Notice three crucial things about this prayer, each of which illuminate how we ought to pray as well. 1. The Basis: Even though the sentence begins with “If I have found favor,” God’s favor toward Moses is not in question. We know that because God has already told Moses that his favor rests on him (v. 12), and God will tell him again “you have found favor in my sight” (v. 17). God’s gracious disposition toward Moses is not in question, and so the basis for Moses’ request is God’s free grace. 2. The Request: Moses asks to know God’s “ways.” God’s “ways” refer to God’s behavior and manner of conduct. It is God’s behavior

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The Lord’s Prayer Advert Has Been Banned For Being Offensive – Which It Is

Andrew Wilson: There’s been a kerfuffle in the UK over this cinema advert, in which the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by various different people across the nation, being banned in cinemas. It was due to go out before the new Star Wars movie, but it has been pulled because it could offend or upset people of other faiths or none:   Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Not Allah’s, or anyone else’s: yours. There is only one who is holy, and he is our heavenly Father. May your name be recognised as great by all the nations, including those (like ours) who dismiss, blaspheme, patronise or ignore it. May your kingdom come. One day, all the kingdoms of the earth will become the kingdom of God and his Messiah. In the meantime, as we wait for you to gather up all your enemies and turn them into your footstool, we cry to you: let your reign be shown

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4 Ways to Pray

  Tim Challies: I’m sure you are familiar with the powerful words of Philippians 4:6-7: “[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In his book Mindscape, Timothy Witmer explains that there are 4 ways in which these words call us to pray. Pray specifically. Paul uses different words for “prayer” in verse 6. The first is a general word for prayer, but the second word, “supplication,” refers to an urgent specific plea. This is reinforced when he adds, “let your requests be made known to God.” I’ve heard some folks say that when they pray they don’t ask for anything for themselves. This might sound very selfless and holy, but it is wrong! The prayer Jesus taught his own disciples includes specific personal requests. It begins with praise to our Father in heaven and ends with his kingdom and power and glory; but in the

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A Prayer on Behalf of Iraqi Christians

  By Garrett Kell: The past few days have been a living hell for Christians in Iraq. Stories of ISIS systematically killing our brothers and sisters along with other minority groups are heart-wrenching. Nightmarish tales of soldiers raping mothers, hanging fathers, taking the heads of decapitated children and posting them on poles emerge regularly. What can we do? We can pray. We must pray. Hebrews 13:3 says “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”   Father, We do not know how to pray for our brothers and sister, but You promise to help us in our weakness, so we come in faith knowing Your Spirit will guide our prayers (Romans 8:26). Help them to believe that while they are cursed by men, that they are indeed blessed for their sufferings (Matthew 5:10-12). Help them to believe that when they suffer on earth, that the

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An Ephesians Kind Of Prayer

By Kevin DeYoung: O Lord, who has given to you that you should repay him? Surely we have given you nothing and yet you lavish your riches upon us. Who are we that you should have set your affections upon us? How infinite your tenderness toward us. How astounding your glory that you should have chosen us before the ages began. How amazing your grace in forgiveness and redemption. All that we have and all that we are and all that we will be are bound up in your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray, therefore, in the name of Jesus that you would make us strong in our inner being. Through your Spirit give us power that is not our own. With Christ in our hearts, make us steadfast that we may not give up in the face of suffering, or give in to cultural pressures, or give ourselves over to the lusts of the flesh. We earnestly plead that

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10 Things to Pray for Your Wife

As my lovely wife celebrates a special birthday, the best gift I can give her is outlined here by Jonathan Parnell: Our hunger for God will not be confined to our closets. As we know him and delight in all that he is for us in Jesus, our joy in him reaches beyond personal experience on a quest to be reproduced in others. One of the simplest ways we realize this is by taking serious how we pray — by wanting and asking for others the same things we want and ask for ourselves. It is a beautiful thing — a miracle — when we become as invested in the sanctification of others as we are in our own. And, of course, the best place to start is with our spouses. So men, here are ten things to want from God (and ask from him) for your wife: God, be her God — her all-satisfying treasure and all. Make her jealous for

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9 Ways to Pray for Churches and Pastors

From the 9Marks 2013 report: 1. Expositional Preaching: pray that more pastors will commit to preaching the whole counsel of God, making the point of the passage the point of their sermons. 2. Biblical Theology: pray that more pastors will preach about the big God from the big Story of the Bible, protecting the church from false teaching. 3. The Gospel: pray that pastors will faithfully proclaim the gospel every chance they have. Pray their churches will ask for nothing more than the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. 4. Conversion: pray that more churches would grasp the doctrine of conversion rightly, and shape their practices to promote born-again believers, not nominal believers. 5. Evangelism: pray that churches will be bold and faithful in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. 6. Church Membership: pray that churches will take the biblical call to church membership seriously, and encourage the whole body of Christ toward holiness and active participation. 7. Church Discipline: pray that churches will grow in purity

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Let’s Pray for Revival

The Gospel Coalition Council members Kevin DeYoung, Bryan Chapell, and Richard Phillips recently sat down to tackle this knotty topic. “In a true revival, you’re not adding human manipulative techniques to a biblical ministry,” Phillips explains. Rather, you’re “doing biblical ministry, fortified by prayer, and the Holy Spirit is giving you a great harvest.” Moreover, Chapell points out, “True revival is often very disruptive to the traditional church.” As a result, many churches “want revival until it comes.” On the other hand, DeYoung adds, some don’t desire to see revival unless it occurs in their church. To be sure, the history of revivalism is shot through with examples of well-meaning people seeking to engineer what only God can do. As Lloyd-Jones warned: “Pray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it; it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make

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Why doesn’t God always heal the sick?

Sam Storms: God loved the Apostle Paul. Yet God sovereignly orchestrated Paul’s painful thorn in the flesh and then declined to remove it, notwithstanding Paul’s passionate prayer that he be healed (2 Cor. 12:8-9). We are not apostles. Yet, God loves us as his children no less than he loved Paul. We don’t know the nature of Paul’s thorn, but each of us has undoubtedly suffered in a similar way, and some considerably worse. We, like Paul, have prayed incessantly to be healed. Or perhaps knowing of a loved one’s “thorn,” we have prayed for him or her. And again, as with Paul, God declined to remove it. Why? It’s hard to imagine a more difficult, confusing, and controversial topic than why God chooses not to heal in response to the intercessory pleas of his people. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I think I’ve got a few. 1. FAITH Occasionally healing does not occur because of

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What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?

Justin Childers: Did you know that the Bible never commands us to say, “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers? So, why do we do it? Well, because Jesus commanded and encouraged us to pray in His name (John 14:13-14). But, He wasn’t commanding us to say, “in Jesus’ name.” He was commanding us to pray in His name. So, what does that mean?  Well, it means a whole lot more than simply saying 3 words at the end of our prayers. It is an attitude and recognition.  Here is my attempt to get at what it means: Praying in Jesus’ name means recognizing that it is only through Jesus that we can ask anything of God. We must come to the Father acknowledging that, without the atonement of Jesus, He would not even hear us. Praying in Jesus’ name means praying for what will bring Him most glory. “In Jesus’ name” is another way to say, “for

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Amen, and Amen!

Kevin DeYoung: What we mean when we say amen: The word amen is not Christianese for “prayer over.” It means something much more beautiful and significant. I had a friend in college who thought because of our freedom in Christ we shouldn’t say “amen” to conclude our prayers.  So he started ending his prayers with “groovy” (you would have thought I was in college in the 1970s). He thought it was pretty cool, a little bit of needed rebellion against tired old Christian cliches. But amen is not the same as groovy.  Amen means “let it be, “so be it,” “verily,” “truly.”  When you finish your prayer with “Amen” you are saying, “Yes Lord, let it be so. According to your will, may it be.” It’s a final note of confirmation at the end of our prayers. More than that, the Heidelberg Catechism reminds us that “amen” is also an expression of confidence. “Amen” means “This is sure to be!” It reminds

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When God puts himself “under the power of his people”

Sam Storms: Jonathan Edwards saw a direct cause and effect relationship between the faithful and fervent prayers of God’s people and the authenticity of heaven-sent revival. “When God has something very great to accomplish for his church, ’tis his will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of his people; as is manifest byEzek. 36:37, ‘I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them’; . . . And ’tis revealed that when God is about to accomplish great things for his church, he will begin by remarkably pouring out ‘the spirit of grace and supplication,’ Zech. 12:10” (Some Thoughts, 516). Again, “When God is about to bestow some great blessing on his church, it is often his manner, in the first place, so to order things in his providence as to shew [sic] his church their great need of it, and to bring ’em into distress for want of it, and

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5 lessons that Jacob’s wrestling teaches us about prayer

J.D. Greear: Genesis 32 contains the fascinating story of Jacob wrestling all night with God. The whole wrestling match comes about in the midst of Jacob praying, and his physical struggle teaches us 5 lessons about prayer. 1. The blessings of God are released into our lives through prayer. Before Jacob was even born God had prophesied that the blessing would be his and not his brother’s (Gen 25:23). But it was not until Jacob took it in a prayer-wrestling match with God that it really became his. He laid hold of the promise of God through a night of prayer. The Bible is a book full of promises—3,000 of them! And while many of them apply to specific and unique situations, Paul calls all the promises of God “Yes” in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20).  So in a Christ-centered way, every one of them is Yes for me and for you. So do not simply read through your Bible. Pray through it! The Bible is our primary prayer book,

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