Monday, November 28, 2011

Spiritual Benefits of Prayer

What if there was something you could do to resist temptation, be healed, forgiven and revived, and receive protection? Pastor Ben at Faith Alive in Jos, Nigeria reminds us that there is something we can do on a daily basis—pray. Below, he tells us about this month’s spiritual theme, Prayer that Availeth Much, based on James 5:13-18.

This month our heavenly Father decided to teach us about prayer in a way to boost our prayer life and to make us more effective in the ministry. He did the same to the apostles when they came asking him.

The subject of prayer was so vital that the early apostles made a special demand from the Master to teach them how to pray. Do we still have such request today? It is amazing today to hear this request void of spiritual ingredients but purely made up of physical benefits. No wonder we are losing the battle against the foes.

• Prayer was the only spiritual exercise that we were told to do continually (1 Thes. 5:17). This means prayer is the air (oxygen) we breathe for spiritual existence, suggesting that once we stop praying, we are dead spiritually, as no man exists without oxygen. So, what God thought and is still teaching us this month is that to survive in our spiritual journey, we must learn to breath prayer in and out. The breath in of prayer is to receive from God in prayer while the breath out is to reach out to God, people and our environment in prayer. When I breath out in prayer, I reach out to you thousands of miles away.

• Prayer is the only weapon against temptations. When Peter failed to watch in prayer, he became prey and was so messed up by the enemy that he denied his Mater three times. Jesus said, “Pray and watch that you do not fall into temptations.”

• Prayer heals. James says that anyone sick should send for the church elders to pray for him/her that the prayer in faith will heal him/her.

• Prayer brings about forgiveness of sins. James says if he sinned, his sin shall be forgiven.

• Prayer removes troubles. James says anyone troubled should pray. But today when we are troubled, we become depressed instead of lifting our hand and voice up to God in prayer.

• Prayer gives spiritual authority. James says Elijah prayed and there was no rain for three and half years; he prayed again and there was rain.

• Prayer brings revival. Peter prayed and Tabitha (Dorcas) came back to life; Jesus prayed and Lazarus came out of the grave.

• Prayer sets free. Peter was released from prison because the church prayed for him (Acts 12). Paul and Silas were released because they prayed.

• Prayer brings protections. Daniel was protected from the paw of lions as a result of his prayer.

• Prayer brings favors. Queen Esther received favor of her husband the king as a result of prayer.

• Prayer brings deliverance. Prophet Jonah prayed in the belly of the fish and was vomited out by the fish.

• Prayer removes fears and gives boldness. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane and received boldness and courage to face the cross (the cup)

• Prayer opens doors for revelation and understanding. Daniel entreated God in prayer and received the revelations and understanding about things to come.

The list is inexhaustible. So let’s equate prayer to our breathing rate because PRAYER IS THE SOLUTION; PRAYER IS THE ANSWER. DO ALL IN PRAYER.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Gifts with Meaning

Not sure what to get Aunt Edith, cousin Zach or baby McKenzie for Christmas this year? Consider global gifts--colorful baby rattles, intricate wood carvings, beautiful beaded jewelry, batik tablecloths or artsy quilt wall hangings from Nigeria. These are all new items that I brought back from my latest African trip.

The best news is that all profits directly benefit patients at the Faith Alive clinic in Jos, Nigeria. Plan to do your Christmas shopping on the following dates at these venues:

Friday and Saturday, November 25 & 26, Northern Colorado Writers Studio Holiday Mart(in Fort Collins, Colorado near Horsetooth and College, right next to Chico's) from 9am - 3 pm.

Sunday, November 17 and December 4 from 9 am - noon at First Presbyterian Church's Gifts for a Cause sale (531 S. College Avenue in Fort Collins, Colorado).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nigeria 2012 Anyone?

While some of you might say that it's too early to think about Christmas, I'm already planning something for next summer--a trip to serve the children associated with Faith Alive.

Do you want to join me? Don't say yes unless you want to rock your world! About ten people have already expressed a serious interest, five of whom came to an informational meeting at my house last Friday. Let me know if you want a detailed visitor packet that includes costs and dates. Due to security concerns, I'm not listing details on the blog.

Please prayerfully consider this invitation and let me know if you're even vaguely interested in this or a future trip to Faith Alive.

(Photo of my husband with some Nigerian children.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spiritual Theme: Moving the Hand of God Through Praise

Once upon a time, there lived a king who faced a frightening battle. He turned to God, saying, “…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

God responded through one of the king’s servants, saying, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

Now the King and his people had a choice. Would they succumb to their fears and complain, or would they trust God and offer Him praises? They chose the latter, singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever,” as they advanced into battle the next day and won.

We, too, have a choice when confronted with obstacles. Will we succumb to our fears and complain, or trust God and offer Him praises?

Pastor Ben at Faith Alive says, “Any time we praise God in our pain and fear, we make God bigger than our problems. This makes God to be seen in the circumstance and that gives Him honor. God is moved into action in return. But when we give in to fears and complain, we make God smaller and Satan takes the honor.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather honor God. Thanks, Pastor Ben, for reminding us (through Faith Alive's Spiritual Theme) to turn our problems into praises and showing that our response makes a difference.

(Bible references and quotes from 2 Chronicles 20)