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Must I Go, and Empty Handed: Songs of Revival

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"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:
the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4

This hymn was penned not long after the Second Great Awakening by Charles Carroll Luther. He was a journalist and lay evangelist before being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1886. Though not a prolific composer, he authored this hymn in 1877 when he heard Reverend A.G. Upham relate the story of a young man who was about to die. This young man had been a Christian for only one month. Though thankful to the Lord for granting him salvation during his final hour, he was nevertheless grieved that he had no opportunity to serve the Lord nor to share Him with others. He explained, “I am not afraid to die; Jesus saves me now. But must I go empty-handed?” Upon hearing this account, Luther wrote this hymn. Charles Luther then handed his lyrics to George C. Stebbins who did a beautiful job conveying the heart’s cry of this lovely hymn into music.

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George Muller: Men and Women of Faith Series

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As I was thinking about who to study this week, I remembered George Muller, and I couldn’t believe that a man of such faith and prayer hadn’t been featured here yet. Sometimes, I think there are the “spiritual giants” that are spoken of so often we overlook the magnitude of their testimony because we are so accustomed to their stories. So today I would invite you to revisit the life of George Muller with fresh eyes and be convicted and encouraged by his life. 

George was born in Germany in 1805. He had a difficult childhood and resorted to stealing from friends and family at the young age of ten. Eventually, he was arrested and spent time paying his debt to society in jail. A friend he met at the University of Halle was the first person to show him what true Christianity is and later led him to the Lord. While finishing his college education George dreamed of one day becoming a missionary.

Shockingly, when he approached the missions board about going to preach wherever God might send him and living there by faith, they refused to continue supporting him if he did not go where they wanted to send him. He instead took a job at a small parish with only eighteen members. It was there he met Mary, a girl that would become his wife in three short months. 

Mary and George were inspired by her brother’s decision to sell all of his belongings and live with the firm belief that God would provide whatever he needed. The Mullers spent much of their early life growing the church, supporting missionaries, and evangelizing locally. 

Around 1835, George’s heart was burdened for the orphans that abounded in nineteenth-century England. Most orphanages charged a fee to care for children, leaving poor children little other option than to live on the streets and steal. He began to pray for funds to start an orphanage designed to train children in a trade. Then,
 
Miraculously, without sending any word out that he needed help, funds began to arrive!

Most of you know the story from here; he did receive the funds to start an orphanage and kept it running for over two decades. The orphanage itself cared for orphans for one hundred fifty years, long after Muller had passed. 

What set George apart from many, was his strong faith that God not only hears but also answers our prayers. He refused to ask for funds to support the orphanage, choosing rather to spend hours every day praying and rest believing that God would come through. He always did. 

Some of George’s most profound words give us but an inkling of the man of faith that he was:

“I had a secret satisfaction in the greatness of the difficulties which were in the way. So far from being cast down on account of them, they delighted my soul."

“It is not enough for the believer to begin to pray, nor to pray correctly; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray. We must patiently, believingly continue in prayer until we obtain an answer. Further, we have not only to continue in prayer until the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing."

"Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.”

There are many more wise words from this man of faith. May we be encouraged to take up the mantle of prevailing prayer with renewed fervor this week!


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Be Strong and Take Courage

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Joab, the commander of the army of Israel under King David, in the midst of a battle against the Syrians and Ammonites, saw that the battle line was against them both before and behind. In this dire circumstance, he declared to his army, “Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” (1 Chronicles 19:13)

Though their enemies were in the front of them and behind them, Joab knew that if they would just take courage and be strong, God would give them the victory, and God did! 

Each one of us, as soldiers in the army of God, are in a battle against the spiritual powers of darkness.
 
Amid the battle against the spiritual powers of darkness, when the prophet Jeremiah saw the wicked prospering, he poured out his complaint before the Lord, and the Lord's answer was, “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5) The Lord was telling Jeremiah that much more was yet to come! If he was struggling then in the current situation, how would he endure what was still to come?!

In the heat of the battle with the enemy prospering on every side, it is easy to lose heart and be tempted to retreat. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” 

We are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might as we spend time with Him. As we spend time in God’s presence, we receive an impartation of divine inner strength. With that divine inner strength, we will not lose heart or fall back in the heat of the battle. With that divine inner strength, our eyes will not be on the circumstances but rather fixed on the Lord. With that inner divine strength, we will stand courageous and strong in the heat of the battle.

Years ago from the pulpits of America the importance of spending time daily, morning and evening, seeking the Lord was frequently preached. The importance of intimacy with Christ was preached, yet as the busyness of life crept in that message fell by the wayside. 

The powers of darkness know that if God's people spend time daily seeking the presence of God they will be strong and courageous in the battle and he will be defeated. It is vital that we spend time daily seeking God's presence! 

We do not know what tomorrow holds for our nation, for us, or for the church of Jesus Christ; but we know Who holds the nation and the church! We are told to be  courageous  andstrongas we faithfully fight in the war between light and darkness, and God will surely prevail! 

Though the battle is intense and it is raging  our strength is in God, andour victory is sure

Spend time daily in prayer and receive the divine inner strength for the battle.Be strong and take courage for the sake of our nation and the church of Jesus Christ!
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Yours and Elijah's: Answered Prayers Series

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Prayers are never left unanswered; there is always a response: Yes, No, or Wait. The Word says that to God “a thousand years is as a day,” so maybe His “wait” seems long especially when our timelines feel so very different. Even though your prayer may already be answered, maybe today it does not feel like it has been. Elijah is here to encourage us. As the Bible says, He was a man of “like passions” as we are, in other words, he was merely a man with the same downfalls and struggles and passions that are found in our souls. These encouraging words can be found in James 5, where it speaks of Elijah’s experience in prayers answered, the types of prayers he prayed, and also instruction on how to reach for the level of prayer he attained.  

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 

First, James instructs us to confess our offenses to one another, clear the air of sins, forgive one another, THEN pray for each other! By looking at verse 16, we can see that if we are seeking healing for ourselves the key is to confess your wrongdoings to those to whom you have done wrong and to PRAY for THEM, not ourselves. We find this also in Job 42:10, where it states, “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” If we are seeking healing for ourselves and our nation, we ought to consider praying for our brothers and sisters in other nations that are suffering horrendously compared to our current cushy situation.  

This verse also states that the effective prayer of the righteous is fervent. We are to look in the mirror and examine our hearts. Are we found righteous in God’s sight? Are we covered in the blood? Are we pursuing purity and right-mindedness while meditating on His laws? If not, we can attain righteousness by asking the Lord to purify us, search our hearts, and transform our minds by the Holy Spirit. The next key is found in the word “fervent.” The effective prayer of the righteous man is fervent. This prayer is not stated as “eloquent” or “perfect” but rather “fervent.” Here is the definition of fervent: 
fer·vent 
adjective 
1: very hot: GLOWING
2: exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling: ZEALOUS

I ask myself, “Are my prayers passionate? Are they full of intensity? Can I describe my prayer life as utterly zealous?” We can only answer these personally, but if we find our prayers don’t carry these marks, we always can come to Christ asking humbly that He would cause our prayers to be fervent so that our prayers may be answered as Elijah’s were.  

As I mentioned before, Elijah was a man just like we are, yet when he prayed earnestly even the rains from the heavens would either stop or flow! I pray for us here at America Pray Now as well as all Christians everywhere that we would somehow press on to attain those effectual, fervent prayers. 

May we start on that path pursuing righteousness, confessing wrongdoings, praying earnestly for one another, and asking that the Holy Spirit would help us pray in utter fervency for the sake of lost souls, our country, His kingdom, and His name!
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A Prayer for Unity- Prayers of Note

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Dwight Eisenhower became president during a very difficult time for the United States. We were recovering from one of the worst wars this world has ever seen; division, anger, and resentment were at the forefront of our nation’s mind. Much like today, there was little unity among the people and all too often it was fear rather than God’s word that was the leading factor in people’s actions.

At his inauguration, President Eisenhower recognized that he was simply a tool in God’s plan for his country. He understood the necessity of prayer and God’s guidance as he led America forward from this difficult time. He prayed this prayer:

Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment, my future associates in the executive branch of the government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng and their fellow citizens everywhere.
 
Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong and allow all our works and actions to be governed thereby and by the laws of this land.
 
Especially we pray that our concern will be for all the people, regardless of station, race, or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concept of our Constitution, hold to differing political beliefs, so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and for Thy glory. Amen.

May this prayer of unity as well as this former president’s desire to bring glory to God as He guides us forward be the attitude of our hearts today. 


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Men and Women of Faith: Mary Ball Washington

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“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 

The same can be said for our person of interest today, the mother of our first president, George Washington. 

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True Humility and Repentance

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 Since we met last, our nation has gone from having the strongest economy in her history to having an unemployment rate that is the highest since the Great Depression. We have states still in lockdown, which many people believe is for political reasons. 

There are business owners who are now crushed, scared, and depressed having lost everything that they spent their lives building. According to a recent article on CBN News, a trauma doctor in California said, “We’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.” That is a staggering number. For the first time in US history, many churches have been told they cannot meet. Also, for the first time, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ rights. There is widespread unrest, looting, riots, and destruction in cities across the nation. These places that have been burned and destroyed, for the most part, will never come back.

 America is in distress! 

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The Spirit of Prayer: Answered Prayer Series

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Today’s answered prayer series comes from the late Ravi Zacharias’s book “The Logic of God.” While it isn’t a story of a specifically answered prayer, Ravi does address questions that many of us struggle with when we feel like our prayers are not being answered.

“I marvel at the impact of praying with a hurting person. I have prayed many times with someone who has claimed to be a skeptic and is living in a manner that supports that claim, only to finish my prayer and open my eyes to see tears in his eyes. Although prayer remains a mystery to all of us but especially to one who lives apart from God, I have observed again and again that even the hardened heart retains a longing for the possibility of communicating with God.

It is not my intention to deny the great disappointments of unanswered prayer, but let us look at what God intends prayer to be. The most definitive passage is what is often called the Lord’s Prayer, or, as some scholars like to call it, the Disciples’ Prayer. The highly significant first words carry the weight of all of prayer: ‘Our Father who art in heaven.’ ‘Our Father’ we recognize, at least implicitly, two truths: the nearness of God as heavenly Father, and the sovereignty of God as the One who controls everything. As soon as you cry out in prayer, “Heavenly Father” you are recognizing His presence in your life.

After the Lord’s Prayer and as His conclusion to it, Jesus told us that God would give the Holy Spirit, His indwelling presence, to those who ask for it (Luke 11:13). It is not spoken in the form of a question — it ends with an exclamation point! God will give the gift of the indwelling presence of the holy God to any who ask for it —this is an absolute certainty! You can count on it!

Sadly, we hear so little of this today. We have turned prayer into a means to our ends and seldom wait on God’s response long enough to think about what He wants for us in that very moment. By refusing the evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to one particular gift, we have robbed people of the Holy Presence that prompts us in prayer, prays for us when we don’t have the words to pray for ourselves, and comforts us in our times of need.

The paramount need today is the indwelling presence of God. In this incredible twist, the indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit, makes God both the Enabler of our prayers and the Provider of answers to those prayers. More than anything else, this is what prayer is about.”

Sources:
Zacharias, Ravi. “The Logic of God.” Ravi Zacharias 2019

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Men and Women of Faith: Corrie Ten Boom

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"The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something, and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power. Nothing is too small for His love."
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Today we look at the example set by one of history’s most remarkable women, Corrie Ten Boom. Living through one of the darkest periods of history, Corrie was an undeniable force of prayer during World War II. Raised in a Christian home, and brought up with a deep love for God’s chosen people, Corrie and her family converted their house to be an “underground stop” for Jews seeking to flee Nazi persecution.

For almost an entire year the Ten Boom family had as many as 10 people at a time hidden in their small home. Corrie built a “hiding place” in her own room that six to seven people could be concealed in at a time. She hid extra ration cards to feed them and a radio to learn more about what was happening around them; both illegal. She worked tirelessly to find new Dutch families to house the refugees. Throughout that year, Corrie and her family hid and saved an estimated 800 Jews.

Ultimately the Ten Boom family was betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo. Out of the ten of them, only six would live to see the end of the war. During the arrest and search of the house, four refugees and two Dutch underground workers hid successfully behind the false wall. They escaped two days later, and four of them would survive the war.

There are many stories to tell of how prayer saved Corrie, including how she was miraculously skipped over while smuggling a New Testament through a prison camp, despite the person in front of her being searched twice, or how she was accidentally released from prison a week before all the women in her age group were gassed to death. They are too long for us to include today, bur if you’re interested in learning more about her story please consider her book, The Hiding Place.

It’s needless to say, that a person could only go through the horrors she experienced and come out with the forgiveness she extended, by enduring with prayer. I will leave you with a few words from her on the subject.

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”

“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”

“We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.”


Sources:
https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Corrie_ten_Boom

https://www.tenboom.org/about-the-ten-booms/

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FIRST OF ALL

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Here, in the second chapter of First Timothy, the Apostle Paul is instructing Timothy and the body of Christ on practical matters. 

The apostle begins with the phrase “first of all.” In other words, he is saying, “Let me begin with…” or, “First, let me emphasize…” This is the only time the phrase “first of all” appears in the Bible. Paul uses this phrase to make us recognize the importance of what he is about to say. 

 He then continues by saying that, “supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men.” I would like to emphasize, first of all, that the prayer life of the believer should always include prayer for others, for all people. We are not to just pray for some people, not just the people you like or the people you feel especially need God’s help. Paul says all men. He then proceeded to explain why we are to pray for all men. As he shares in verses 4-5, Jesus Christ would have all men be saved. He died for all! To put it plainly,

 

Pray for all because He died for all. 

Jesus became the mediator for all the world! While it is true that not all accept Him, not all choose His sacrifice, not all make Him their Lord and Master; we still must pray for all because He died for all. 

In this portion of Scripture, the Apostle Paul calls to our attention a specific group of people we are to focus our prayers on. This group affects our lives whether we know them personally or not. In verse two, Paul says specifically, “For kings, and for all that are in authority.” What would the world look like if we, first of all, were to pray for all men, especially for those in authority? What would the world look like if the body of Christ truly interceded day after day for our leaders? 

It is easy for us to pray for someone who fights for righteousness and biblical values in our laws. But it is just as important for us to pray for those leaders void of God who have no knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ. These leaders do not have the Holy Spirit guiding them. 

The Bible says in Romans 13:1 that all authority has been given by God. Whoever is currently in authority may not always be the perfect will of the Lord as was the case with King Saul. God wanted to lead Israel, but they wanted a king; so He gave them Saul. He allowed them to have the leader they wanted. And yet ultimately God is the one giving the power. Therefore,

 

We are to pray for ALL in authority even for those with whom we don’t always agree.

At the time of Paul’s writing, who were the kings that were in power? The leader of Rome was the infamous Nero who was one of the most brutal dictators in not only Rome’s history but also world history. He was responsible for the death of countless Christians. We can only imagine how difficult it was for the early church to pray for such a person. As the Christians in the early church were walking the streets of Rome, they could hear the clash of gladiators battling in the arena or the roar of lions waiting to eat their fellow church members. They could see the sight of believers being burned as torches lighting the city in brutal death. In Israel, there were also leaders like Pilot and Herod. There have always been and will always be evil people who opposed the gospel. But Paul clearly says to pray for even those who do these abominable things. He was asking the early church to do an incredibly radical thing. 

As a matter of fact, the Roman historian Josephus wrote that a war was started between Jews and Romans over this issue. The Romans wanted the Jews to pray for their leaders, and they refused. Blood was spilled over this issue. Paul is saying here in First Timothy that we as Christians should pray for our leaders no matter what their beliefs or opinions are. And the early church did pray. One of the bishops of the church in Smyrna Polycarp who was one of John’s disciples who himself died in the coliseum said, “Pray for all the saints; pray, too, for all kings and powers and rulers, and for your persecutors, and those that hate you, and for your cruel enemies.” He was echoing the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies, pray for them who despitefully use you.” 

We in America don’t face anything even close to what the early church faced. But Paul faithfully reminds the church of that era as well as the church today that we are to pray for those in authority regardless of their views, their opinions, or their political parties. 

In addition to telling the early church who to pray for (all men, kings, and those in authority), Paul also does not neglect to share the why. He gives two reasons for why we should pray for all these men. 

First, he says in verse two, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” How can this be true?! The early church was suffering so greatly, and many were being killed at the hands of Nero. What does Paul mean by talking about a peaceful and quiet life? The early church certainly did not experience tranquility at all. He is saying that this is the goal for us as Christians. Our desire is to be at peace and live quiet, godly lives.

 

We are to pray and pray and pray until we see this type of change even if it is not in our lifetimes.

We do not always see revival right away, but it comes through much prayer. Similarly, we will not see peace and quiet lives immediately, but it will eventually come through prayer. 

The second reason Paul gives as to why we should pray for our leaders is that they may “come to the knowledge of the truth,” that they may recognize that Christ is a mediator between God and man, that they may recognize that the man Jesus Christ took the penalty of sin and paid for it on our behalf. Paul could say this better than anyone else. He had previously been a man with authority coming against the body of Christ. He was once Saul of Tarsus void of truth who persecuted the church, but he was then radically transformed by the truth. 

Paul is definitely not the only one to have experienced this radical change. Nebuchadnezzar was worse than any leader we could ever imagine, yet through the power of God, he humbled himself and found God. Cyrus the Great was another pagan King whose heart was yielded to the Spirit of God and brought peace and restoration to God’s people. 

What would happen to the world if men and women of authority all over the world would turn to Christ through the prayers of the saints?! What would happen if, first of all, we interceded for our Governors, for President Trump, for our delegates, and for state senators as we never have before? If we were to do this faithfully, the changes we would see would be great indeed! There would be a change that would transform the whole world.

Today, in these tempestuous times, I implore you that we would, first of all, pray for our leaders. Let us in the body of Christ stand in the gap for kings and all that govern over us.

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Faith Claims the Victory: Answered Prayer Series

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“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place the Most High, who is my refuge.” Psalm 91:7-9

These days, more than just about any, Christians find themselves thankful for the hope we have in Christ, redemption, and eternal life. Unlike others, we have hope and a purpose, and because of that our hearts are full of thanksgiving during times of continued uncertainty.

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Amazing Grace: Songs of Revival

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We are all very familiar with the song Amazing Grace. Even those who don’t profess to be Christians will stop to listen if the song is being sung, and almost everyone knows the words to the iconic first verse. But fewer know the bloody but beautiful story behind the hymn or the role it played in the Second Great Awakening.

This song was written by John Newton in 1772. Newton spent a short time in England’s Royal Navy, but left disgraced and directly entered the world of slave trading. Caught up in the money it provided, he transported people from their homeland to England. However, one travel found his ship in the midst of a terrible storm where he realized that it would only be by the grace of God that he would survive. It was then he answered the call of the Holy Spirit on his life, and gave himself to Christ. While he did not immediately quit the slave trade, a few years later found him rejecting that life style and pursuing the ministry. He later published a tract, Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade, which did much to open the eyes of the public to the horrors of slavery. Newton’s life and story were also fundamental in William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery in England.

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Men and Women of Faith: Thomas Jefferson

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Our own native Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, was a Founding Father of the United States and was the primary draftsman of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the nation's first secretary of state and the second vice president. As the third president of the United States, Jefferson stabilized the U.S. economy and defeated pirates from North Africa during the Barbary War. He was responsible for doubling the size of the United States by successfully brokering the Louisiana Purchase. He also founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at the Shadwell plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jefferson was born into one of the most prominent families of Virginia's planter elite. His mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, was a member of the proud Randolph clan, a family claiming descent from English and Scottish royalty.

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REFLECTION FOR NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

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 2 Chr. 7:14, “ If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their 
land.”
 
If you go back to the Scripture records, you will find that the men who lived nearest to God, and had most power with Him, were those who confessed their sins and failures. Daniel, confessed his sins and those of his people. Yet there is nothing recorded against Daniel. He was one of the best men then on the face of the earth, yet was his confession of sin one of the deepest and most humble on record. 
In his words you find seven circumstances that Daniel uses in the confessing of his and the people’s sins; and all to heighten and aggravate them. First, ‘We have sinned;’ secondly, ‘We have committed iniquity;’ thirdly, ‘We have done wickedly;’ fourthly, ‘We have rebelled against You;’ fifthly, ‘We have departed from Your precepts;’ sixthly, ‘We have not hearkened unto Your servants;’ seventhly, ‘Nor our princes, nor all the people of the land.’ These seven aggravations which Daniel reckons up in his confession are worthy our most serious consideration. 
Job was no doubt a holy man, a mighty prince, yet he had to fall in the dust and confess his sins. So you will find it all through the Scriptures. When Isaiah saw the purity and holiness of God, he beheld himself in his true light, and he exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips!” 
I firmly believe that the Church of God will have to confess her own sins, before there can be any great work among God’s believing people.
I sometimes think it is about time to give up preaching to the ungodly, and preach to those who profess to be Christians. If we had a higher standard of life in the Church of God, there would be thousands more flocking into the Kingdom. So it was in the past; when God’s believing children turned away from their sins and their idols, the fear of God fell upon the people round about. Take up the history of Israel, and you will find that when they put away their strange gods, God visited the nation, and there came a mighty work of grace. 
-Prevailing Prayer
D.L. Moody 
 
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Ravi Zacharias Excerpt- Answered Prayer Series

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Our book excerpt today is not in the usual “Answered Prayers” format. But this lesson taken
from Ravi Zacharias’s book, The Logic of God, teaches us about the correlation between
obedience, faith and prayer. We know that Daniel was a man of great prayer, and as you will see,
his life is a testimony of what prayer can accomplish.

“Think of the prophet Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego facing King
Nebuchadnezzar’s very real threat to toss them into a fiery furnace if they did not bend to his
authority. He was not a charitable man, but they refused to disavow their commitment to God,
boldly declaring: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver
us from it…But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve
your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” God honored their faith and, in His
mercy, delivered them even after they were thrown into the fire. They, in turn, experienced the
triumph of faith when they stood their ground.

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I Will Not Let You Go — Prayers of Note

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“Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, ‘Let me go, for the day breaks.’ But he said, ‘I will not let You go unless you bless me!’” Genesis 32:25-26

 A couple things stand out here. First, the angel is wrestling with Jacob. When we wrestle with God, it is usually during a time of trials. Jacob had just come from fleeing Laban and was under the threat of his brother’s retaliation the next day. It was not an easy time for him. Just as now, under quarantine and in the midst of a global pandemic, we are not living through an easy time.

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Breaches

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A God-fearing Armenian Christian was sending some merchandise to a distant city. There were no railroads in that part of the country, and as it was a valuable lot of goods, the merchant himself accompanied the caravan. 

Such caravans usually camp at night, and this is an opportune time for the highwaymen, who make their living by attacking caravans, to steal unnoticed by the campers. At the chosen time, under cover of the night, the Kurds drew near. All was strangely silent. There seemed to be no guards. But as they pressed closer, imagine their astonishment to find high walls where walls had never stood before. The next night they found the same impassable walls. On the third night they found the same walls, but there were breaches in them through which the robbers entered. 

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Songs of Revival: Shut in with God

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As we meditate on Passover, Good Friday, and Easter this week, much more comes to mind than previous years. This will be the first Easter celebrated out of church in the recorded history of the United States. As the Israelites were during the Passover, so are we, shut in with God. 

For most of us, before the coronavirus epidemic our time with the Lord was very limited, but for many of us now we have more time. 

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Men and Women of Faith: Spurgeon’s Response to Tragedy

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“For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.” Psalm 91:5-8

As we delve into the mighty words of Spurgeon, on the happenings of the great Cholera outbreak of 1854 in London, we are happily reminded of our many blessings. Compared to the tragedies that have struck mankind, with our current ‘crises’ we have scarcely known the heartbreak that most humanity has known.
May we take to heart, bravely, as David, Joshua, and Caleb did. When the naysayers shouted the negativity, the impossibility, the doom, the giants; the great men of faith shouted only His miracles, His greatness, His provision, His care for His children. There are 365 proclamations of “fear not” in the bible, one for each day of the year, plenty to supply. May we shine as we are called to in these times, with bravery and kindness and do not as the Israelites and give into fear, mumbling, and complaining. Let’s look at the attitude of one of the great men of faith, in a time deadlier than our own:

“In the year 1854, when I had scarcely been in London twelve months, the neighborhood in which I labored was visited by Asiatic cholera, and my congregation suffered from its inroads. Family after family summoned me to the bedside of the smitten, and almost every day I was called to visit the grave.
All day, and sometimes all night long, I went about from house to house, and saw men and women dying, and, oh, how glad they were to see my face! When many were afraid to enter their houses lest they should catch the deadly disease, we who had no fear about such things found ourselves most gladly listened to when we spoke of Christ and of things divine.
At first, I gave myself up with youthful ardor to the visitation of the sick, and was sent for from all corners of the district by persons of all ranks and religions; but, soon, I became weary in body, and sick at heart. My friends seemed falling one by one, and I felt or fancied that I was sickening like those around me. A little more work and weeping would have laid me low among the rest; I felt that my burden was heavier than I could bear, and I was ready to sink under it.
I was returning mournfully home from a funeral, when, as God would have it, my curiosity led me to read a paper which was wafered up in a shoemaker’s window in the Great Dover Road. It did not look like a trade announcement, nor was it, for it bore, in a good bold handwriting, these words: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”
The effect upon my heart was immediate. Faith appropriated the passage as her own. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on with my visitation of the dying, in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm. The Providence which moved the tradesman to place those verses in his window, I gratefully acknowledge; and in the remembrance of its marvelous power, I adore the Lord my God. “Rather, the Christian “need not dread sickness, for he has nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by death.””

Spurgeon source:https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/spurgeon-ministry-cholera-outbreak/

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Prevailing in Prayer

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Luke 18:1, “Men ought to always pray, and not to faint.”

 To always pray means to pray continually — no matter the circumstances, no matter the delay, no matter how big the mountain or how deep the valley. We are not to faint or fail with Christ’s command!  We are to prevail in prayer! 

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