Are There Limits on Intercessions and Prayers?

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America’s greatest prayer outpouring began on September 23, 1857, in the Old Dutch North Church in New York City. A former businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, was hired by the church to visit neighborhood homes. His outreach was not that successful, but a new idea dawned on him while he made his rounds.

Lanphier felt businessmen might like to get away once a week for a short period of prayer. Most businesses closed down from 12 Noon to 1 p.m. So, he came up with the noontime prayer meetings and handed out pamphlets entitled, “How Often Shall I Pray?”

Six businessmen eventually arrived at the first prayer meeting. The following week, twenty men showed up. The numbers increased each week until October 14, 1857, when one hundred showed up, but on that particular day, something else happened: a financial panic hit America. Banks closed. Railroads went bankrupt. Thousands of New Yorkers lost their jobs. Businessmen rushed to the meetings.

The prayer meetings were soon held on a daily basis and other places opened their doors for noontime prayer meetings.

Within six months, ten thousand businessmen attended over one hundred and fifty different prayer meetings in New York City on a daily basis. And across the nation, the Spirit of Prayer started meetings for businessmen in Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Louisville, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and countless other cities.

This prayer outpouring is known as the Businessman’s Prayer Revival or the Layman’s Prayer Revival. The revival continued full strength for over a year and even continued in the Confederate Army’s camps during the Civil War. It is estimated that as many as six percent of Americans were converted during this revival.

Okay, consider this: this great prayer revival did not stop the Civil War from happening nor did it blunt the extreme judgment meted out on the Southern states. Why not?

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,”says the Lord,“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Our prayers and intercessions have one limiting factor: the Lord Jesus Christ. We begin with His name on our lips and end with His revelation in our hearts. We will never go past the limits He sets for us in our prayers and intercessions. Never!

So, when zealous believers say that we can pray all of America’s problems away, I clench my teeth and bite my tongue, hoping they are correct and knowing they are not.

You see, often the Lord wants us to build roads with our prayers for us to travel on during bad times rather than bridges to bypass them.

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (7/22/2014)

Dolly who

 

The first time I heard the term “religious nut” was in the 1950′s when my mom spit those words out of her mouth.

It happened when we shopped at Meiners’ Grocery Store in Forreston, Illinois. Mom picked a few items off the shelves and carried them up to the checkout. Lillian Meiners, the cashier, attempted to talk about the Lord to Mom while totaling the purchases on the cash register. It was a one-sided conversation with Mom saying nothing.

“She’s a religious nut!” Mom proclaimed as we walked to our 1955 Pontiac, parked outside the door.

From that day forward, Lillian Meiners personified a religious nut to me. I would often see her and when I did, Mom’s words popped into my mind. Lillian never knew my true feelings about her. It was one of those inner character assassinations I never spoke aloud to anyone.

Lillian’s name was filed on a forgotten corner shelf of my mind until late 1985. It would still be there covered with layers of dust and cobwebs except for the question I asked the Lord one morning during prayer.

“Jesus, why did you save me?”

A clear voice whispered to my heart.

“Because of Lillian Meiners’ prayers for you.”

His words shocked me, but a few years later, I talked with her pastor, Rev. Orin Graff. He told me Lillian was a diligent prayer warrior for kids who attended the local Bible Camp, which I did for five years.

(Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, Amazon eBook, Copyright © 2014 by Larry Nevenhoven)

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that You raise up an army of religious nuts that no longer utter decent, delicate prayers, but rather pray till hell feels its ponderous strokes, till the iron gates of difficulty are opened, till the mountains of obstacles are removed, till the mists are exhaled and the clouds are lifted, and the sunshine of a cloudless day brightens America once again. (Based on a quote by E. M. Bounds)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 30 Seconds or Less (Part 7)

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Cars filled the parking lot for the Tuesday night prayer meeting. Vehicles crammed the streets as people jumped out of cars and sprinted inside the church. People ran on sidewalks and across lawns, heading toward the church. It was total chaos when I approached the site.

I stopped a couple that just walked out of the church.

“What’s happening in there?”

“God is answering every prayer without delay,” the husband said. “All you have to do is ask. We just received enough cash to buy a new car, a new house, and take a vacation. God is so good.”

How many times has a scene like this played out at a church prayer meeting? Never. So relax.

But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8:25)

Generally, we pray our prayers in faith and then we have to persevere (or patiently endure) until our prayers are answered. Yes, there will be a few instant exceptions along the way and praise God, that’s wonderful. Yet, we must understand that instant prayer answers are the exceptions rather than the norm.

Why?

Every step of our Christian journey, including prayer, is designed by God to conform us into the image of Christ and perseverance is a part of the transformation process.

so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7)

Answered prayer is one of the proofs of our faith.

Okay, here is what I do.

As soon as I pray for something, I make a note of it. Then, starting the following day, I put the Lord in remembrance by thanking Him for the prayer answer. I might say something like, “Thank You Lord for my healing” or “Thank You Lord for the finances” or whatever I prayed for.

How long will I continue to persevere and thank God for the answer? I have been thanking the Lord for a few prayers for almost twenty-nine years now. I still believe and refuse to give up on them.

So, don’t let a lack of perseverance be a hindrance to praying effectively.

What are other hindrances?

(Continued in Part 8)

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Part of my regular reading this morning was in 1st Corinthians.  I was struck afresh by the wonderful greeting; so full of blessing and prayer and wanted to greet YOU that way:

 “to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace − what GIFTS He has made available to us so freely.  May you and I experience them today.

Oh was I ever blessed today in the midst of my life.  Perhaps you remember Eliyahu the plumber whom I shared my testimony when we moved into our apartment and how grieved I was at it was been received by him.  I am so thankful that today was different.

“Yoooo Hoooo, friend, come to the window.  Haaalllooo. Are you home?”

There was someone calling MY name outside from the street?  I was cleaning the bathroom and dropped everything and ran to the merapeset (balcony).  There on the street below was Rakel looking up and calling to ME of all people.

“Wow.  Rakel, come on up, I’m just one flight up.”

Rakel came huffing and puffing up the stairs, smiling her contagious smile and gave me a big hug.  “Found you,” she said.  “I knew you would be the window with the beautiful flowers hanging out.”

I smiled as my dog jumped around her legs and my bird began to sing.

I met Rakel at work, and over the years I have been able to share with her a bit how I believe, and she accepted that, so I wasn’t concerned that my Bible lay open on the chair as I showed her in.  Rakel struggles with weight and depression.  She came to Israel when she was about 9 years old from, I think, Auschwitz.  Her war experience as a child and a subsequent failed marriage scarred her terribly. She has been searching for answers to relieve her pain for the nearly 17 years that I have known her.  Because her food addictions seem tied to the pain, she actually joined AA and has lived by the 12 step program.

When she saw me be able to finally loose the 41 kilos (about 90 pounds), and then keep it off (it has been nearly 9 years now), it opened a door for me to share with her about The Lord. But at work my sharing is limited and we always said, “We should meet for coffee someday and talk.”

Here she was at my door.

Right away she began talking about her weight again.  Even though I struggled about my own weight issues with The Lord for many years, and I don’t know WHY He gave the victory at this point in my life, it was still HIM Who did it. So the conversation soon turned to Him, His ways, and how I believe.

Rakel is religious, but is always searching for God.  “I just read a scripture in Malachi about telling man how to live,” she began.

“Oh, funny, I just read this in Micah,” I said, grabbing my Bible.  I turned to Micah 6:8 and read:

He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?

            “That’s it!’ she exclaimed.

“Your Bible has Hebrew too.  Can I see it?” she said taking my Bible and reading it in Hebrew, nodding her head.  “Wow!  You really read your Bible a lot don’t you?” She leafed through it.

“Yes.  I love The Bible.  It is the Truth that sets us free. My Bible also has the brit h’desha (New Testament) in it.”

I showed her.

“Let me see it. And that is in Hebrew too.”

We talked a bit more and then she left for an appointment.

She is very open, but she is also open to anything spiritual, including kabala (Jewish mystical occult) and new age things.  I plan to get her a full Bible in Hebrew.  Perhaps you will pray with me for her, and also for my testimony to be received.  May His Word produce fruit in this hungry seeking lady.

Today has been Day 9 of Operation Protective Edge.

Tensions are running high as crazy information floods the airwaves and internet. The world grows darker and deeper into deception at a rate possibly unprecedented.  Surely it is compounded by the abundance of available information (truth or lies…seems to make no difference).  People read or hear something, form an opinion and then act on that opinion. It is almost as if the world has plunged headlong into one of those weird fantasy movies.

Here in Jerusalem it is, I think, the 3rd day since we have had an air raid, but non the less there is much tension and expectation of one occurring at any time.  The rest of the country has had an onslaught of more then 1,200 rockets. Our first death from a missile occurred yesterday when a 37 year old volunteer, the father of 3, was bringing food and water to troops waiting on the border.  Meanwhile, more then 200 have been killed in Gaza thus far.

It seems self-evident for us in Jerusalem, but since the rest of the world does not understand, I will share a bit of what seems so obvious:

When Israel painfully evacuated our own people from Gaza (Gush Katif) in August 2,005, all of the rich and productive greenhouses, the fertile land and most public buildings were turned over to the Palestinian government with the sincere hope that they would build a thriving economy and build their country and government.  It was an opportunity of huge value for them at great hurt and cost to us.  They burned most of the greenhouses and buildings and voted the hamas terror organization in to govern them.

The billions and billions of dollars donated to the area by the world went almost entirely into weapons development, which we are seeing now.  Instead of farming or manufacturing of durable goods for their people, they dug expensive, sophisticated tunnels, built weapons manufacturing workshops and starved their people, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The people are filled with fear, anger, hatred and propaganda.  It deeply grieves the hearts of nearly every Israeli and totally puzzles us (me included) how on earth this isn’t apparent to the entire world.  Why is the world yelling that Israelis are using disproportionate force because our people are instructed to protect themselves in bomb shelters and follow clearly given procedures and air raid sirens and the people of Gaza are told to stand on the roofs? Their children play in the streets. Even as a believer I find this frustrating to tears.

I simply want to be sure that YOU, as believers who care and desire to know and to agree with what The Lord says, understand.  I have had a number of emails from people saying that they are thankful to hear from me what is happening because their local media is so biased or shares so little, but I ENCOURAGE you to put ynet and Times of Israel   on your bookmarks menu. Check them because things are moving and changing so rapidly and the lies are mutating just as quickly.

And yet we all know that all of the truth about what is going on will avail NOTHING without The Holy Spirit directing our prayers.  My dear mentor whom I dare have called friend used to say that we can beat the air with many poetically and spiritually worded prayers but they avail NOTHING if not filled with the Life of The HOLY Spirit.  One Word anointed by Him does the job that hours of words cannot.  I call it “silver bullet praying,” the arrow that hits the mark.

A news report came in today that you will likely not hear elsewhere:

It is only a few weeks ago that 3 of our teens were kidnapped and murdered by Arabs.  The killers have not been found as yet, but sadly, 3 young Israeli boys kidnapped and horribly murdered an Arab boy.  These 3 were tracked down and are awaiting trial, but meanwhile the homes of these Jewish boys who killed the Arab boy are being destroyed JUST AS ISRAEL DOES TO THE HOMES OF ARAB TERRORISTS.  The law is equal.

The events of these days are trying and I am likely too emotional to write about them.  I would rather turn my eyes and, “Look away unto Yeshua.”

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”

Thank you for your prayers for Israel, for us, for the plans and purposes of God to be fulfilled and to bring glory to His great Name.  Thank you for your prayers for Rakel.  May there be fruit for His kingdom, and MAY WE BRING GLORY TO HIS NAME.  May you be encouraged, and kept in His straight and narrow path.

Lovingly,

your somewhat tired sis J

 

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Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (7/18/2014)

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I was raised in a farming community in rural Northern Illinois where farmers helped their neighbors. If a farmer became ill, his neighbors helped take care of his livestock, planted or harvested his crops, fixed equipment, or whatever had to be done until the farmer was back on his feet again.

If the husband died, the neighbors helped the widow transition through her grief to her new life. Whatever needed to be done, the farmers helped her out. All of this was a part of being a good neighbor.

This has been a part of my cultural mindset since my childhood.

Let’s look at India:

For over 40 million widows in India, life is a desperate struggle for survival. They’re blamed for their husbands’ deaths, they’re forsaken by their families, shunned by their friends, and despised by their communities.

  • One in four homes in India is home to a widow.
  • 92 percent of India’s women age 70 and older are widows.
  • Street begging or prostitution often becomes a way of life.
  • Many are left caring for their children with little help from relatives.

In order to provide for themselves and their children, many resort to gathering food from the trash. Some gain income only from selling their bodies on the streets. For those who cannot bear the shame, suicide is their only escape. (Gospel For Asia)

The cultural mindset of India is so unlike mine, but do the differences allow me to ignore them?

Today I prayed:

Lord, help us American believers return to a pure and genuine religion in Your sight that cares and helps orphans and widows in India and other nations in the 10/40 Window. (Based on James 1:27)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

(If you are interested in helping the widows in Asia, check out Gospel For Asia.

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (7/15/2014)

Dolly who

 

King Saul had reigned over Israel for two years. Then, his son, Jonathan, defeated the Philistines at Geba, causing the Philistines to muster a large army of thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops to face Israel at Michmash.

The men of Israel looked at the strength of the Philistines. Many turned and ran away in fear, hiding in caves and fleeing across the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

The prophet Samuel had told King Saul to wait seven days and not do anything until the prophet arrived in the camp of Israel to offer sacrifices to the Lord.

The waiting on God and watching his army dwindle day by day finally overwhelmed King Saul. He decided to take the matter into his own hands.  “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings,” said Saul.

As soon as the sacrifices were offered, Samuel showed up. “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

King Saul offered his list of excuses to the prophet, but failed to mention one important point:

“You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you…” (1 Samuel 13:13 NLT)

His failure to obey God caused King Saul’s royal lineage to be aborted forever. Thus, God raised up David, who was a man “after God’s own heart.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray that You raise up leaders in America who are willing to do all of Your will for their generations and who will overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonies, not loving their lives even when faced with death. (Based on Acts 13:36 and Revelation 12:11)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

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Learning How to Pray Effectively in 30 Seconds or Less (Part 6)

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Marty at Walking in Faith wrote about a bumper sticker she saw on a car, which stated: “Nothing Fails Like Prayer.”

My initial knee jerk reaction to the bumper sticker was negative, as in “that sad person hasn’t got a clue about prayer,” but then, I thought more about it. And now, I pretty much agree with the bumper sticker’s logic although I would change it a little bit so it reads: “Nothing Fails Like Prayers By Christians.”

Let’s be honest, okay?

How many of us have prayed healing prayers for people? I have and many were not healed.

How many of us have prayed for people’s finances? I have and some have gone bankrupt.

How many of us have prayed for marriages? I have and a few have suffered divorces.

What’s the problem?

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7)

There are hindrances to praying effectively.

Wolfgang Simpson wrote about a group of Christians praying for a city in a foreign country. The city was filled with wickedness and darkness. They fasted and prayed for years, but nothing ever changed. The group finally decided to fast and pray to discover how to pray for the city.

After a period of time, the Holy Spirit spoke to them: “Pray that My divine plans and redemptive purposes are fulfilled in this city.”

The group began praying the way the Holy Spirit showed them.

Soon, the city’s economy and social structure collapsed. Everything was a mess, but out of the shambles a group of believers arose that brought godliness into the city.

The number one hindrance to our praying effectively is that we pray according to how we see with our eyes and know with our minds rather than according to the Spirit.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all… (John 6:63)

What are some other hindrances?

(Continued in Part 7)

P.S. If you are interested, K. P. Yohannan has a great book on prayer that is free today. Check it out here.

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