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The purpose of this devotional will be to motivate you to return to prayer and challenge you to pray boldly and consistently for 30 days. As you embark on this journey to reignite your prayer life, we pray that God would open your heart so that prayer becomes an essential part of your life. We truly believe that in one month of reading, your life and the lives of those you love will be changed.
A Word From Pastor Butler
Thank you for joining us on this 30 day prayer challenge. So many people struggle with knowing the will of God. The constant battle of deciding what to do or where to go always comes back to hearing from God. In many ways we are called to have the thoughts of God as we live our lives. Having the thoughts of God happens in our lives as we spend time in his Word and praying. You will find a link to a 30 day prayer challenge on YouVersion here on our blog. By signing up here, you will have an opportunity to receive emails and daily updates that will be located on his blog as well as videos from time to time encouraging you through this. Again thank you so much for participating with us in this 30 day prayer challenge as we look forward to 2016 and all that God has in store for CrossPointe Church.
Closing thoughtS - prayer study
Day 24 - Prayer Study
"Whatever broken conditions you are facing today - in your marriage, your home, your family, through a child that's wandered away, or the collapse of a career? How many times through our pain do we discover our purpose? How many times through our pain do we discover power? It is so often pain that drives us to dependence upon God."
It is not always a weakness to allow someone else to be strong for you. Praying in adversity takes the same devotion, hopefulness, and diligence as praying triumph. Sometimes we fail to see that God really is interested in our lives. Sometimes we fail to connect with the simple truth that God desires to give us the desires of our hearts. Sometimes we fail to see that the desires we have in our heart, were given by God in the first place. We especially see this in moments when we don't feel so certain about life.
I can remember a time in my life when things were extremely unclear. I had not served in a church for nearly a year, our third child had been born to us a few months earlier, I was working at a promotional company in outside sales making just enough money to keep us above the poverty line, Debbie and I were passing each other like ships in the night, and I felt like I was caught between sunset and sunrise in just about every area of my life. One day while driving home from a difficult day, I can remember yelling out "God what do you want from me?" That question was from the heart of a broken man who know he had failed in many ways, but still believed that God had a plan for his life. I wept bitterly as I drove home rolling through all of the different failures that I knew were hanging around to punish me. When I got home, I talked with Debbie about it. As she sat for a moment, she looked up at me and said "We need to pray." And in that moment, I was reminded of my purpose: I was made to be in an ongoing conversation with someone I love and who loves me - also, I caught a glimpse of why God created Eve.
God meets us at any point in our lives when we call upon Him. It isn't as if God has nothing to do and is simply waiting with bated breath for our call - He's God and has plenty of things to keep up with. It doesn't mean that God would feel better if we just spoke with Him - He's God and doesn't lack any sense of fullness. It isn't as if God is uncertain of our needs - He's God and knows all things in all things. It is simply that God loves us and enjoys us. In our prayer time we are reminded of this love and what it means to commune with the living God. We live, move, and have our being in God. When we come to that place in our prayer time, a whole new world will begin to be unveiled to us.
God bless you, Go in Peace.
Day 19 - Prayer Study
"The prayer life of the believer is about adjusting our will to the will of God. It's been said that prayer is not changing God's mind but finding God's mind. So in seeking God and His will, we discover how to live. The way to learn what God wants with our lives is to pray. We can pray with confidence and certainty in the will of God."
Letting God decide how the day will end is not always an easy task. In prayer, we invite God to to speak to us from His throne while we kneel at his feet. Often, this is difficult because if He is to sit on HIs throne and answer, then we must be willing to climb down from it. We don't realize how often we try to take the seat of God from Him. Our lack of patience can be a very real indication as to whether or not we really see God as an authority in our lives or not. Anxiety or fear are arrows pointing to our having taking over the throne. Waiting on God may mean that we don't buy that car just yet, date that person, or change our jobs. Waiting on God typically means that we are being called to trust God's decision and rest in it.
As the reading from today stated, "...prayer is not changing God's mind but finding God's mind." Sometimes our prayers are not answered the way we want them to because it's not what He wants. He sees the landscape of the world we live in much better than we do and as such, His answers are more than just - they are correct. Granted that may be two pictures of the same side of the coin, but they mean so much more to us than we see at first glance. God answers in the manner He does because He is just. He sees all things objectively without compromise and can determine which way is just compared to something that might be less than just or right. God will answer our prayers in light of his character, not our request. That is sometimes difficult to see. However, God also answers prayer in light of what is best for us. As He examines the landscape of our existence, it is clear that He answers those prayers in ways that will one day be of the best benefit to us - which should lead us to a more balanced, hopeful heart. As we pray, God is calling us to see the world as He sees it.
We have been asking the members of CrossPointe to be in prayer for our annual budget vote coming up in December. We believe that God has wonderful things in store for us and that we continue to do great work based on the generosity of our members (and even some of our non-members). For our staff, we are constantly asking "What is God doing among us?" I'd like to encourage you to take a few moments over the next couple of days and just share with me what you sense God has been doing in 2015 here at CrossPointe. That may be found in a Pointe Group you are participating in. (Sunday School, Mid-Week, Home Group, or Action Group). You may see it in the worship services or one of our various ministries. I am looking forward to what you see God doing among us here at CrossPointe.
God bless you, Go in Peace.
Day 15 - Prayer study
"Praying believers change the destinies of men and women and even the histories of nations. I firmly believe that when we get to heaven, we'll see countless rewards given to people who never preached from a platform, who were never identified as great leaders, but who prayed faithfully, without fail."
Matthew 11:9-10, NIV 2011 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
Sometimes the most difficult prayer is the one that is consistent. To pray when we sense that God is listening and answers quickly is among the easiest ways to pray. It's when the answer doesn't come near as fast, maybe not even at all that praying is the most difficult. I am reminded of a man of God known as George Mueller (click link to learn more). George believed that God had called him to tend to orphans and followed that leading into England where as a pastor, he led the charge to provide a home for thousands of orphans. The catch - he wasn't financially funded. He had no promise of support or continued opportunity to keep it going. Each day, Mueller prayed for his supplies for the orphanage (bread, clothing, money, etc.) and each of the needed items arrived just in time - sometimes just as time was expiring. His commitment to prayer was a benchmark for anyone who truly wants to know what it means to serve God, even when it looks bleak. You serve through prayer. This ongoing conversation with someone you love is not easy, but no marriage ever is. That's right, I have equated our relationship with God as that of a marriage. God loves us, treats us graciously, longs after us, and seeks to have us honor him the same way. We achieve this in at least two ways (and many more): 1. Service to others in His name, 2. Prayer. Each of these activities bring God honor and glory. It's a tough practice at times because life doesn't always go as we'd please.
Sometimes we pray and the answers just don't come. We try to placate our minds by claiming, "God is just saying no", but that still doesn't release us from the difficulty of prayer even when it doesn't come together. Again I point toward Mueller. Many people know of Mueller's great commitment in prayer for the orphans and the continued work of the orphanage. They know of his steadfast heart in prayer for each of the children and all that God had possibly for them. However, many people don't realize that Mueller prayed for 5 people nearly his entire adult life. Close friends of his that he wished would come to know Christ as Savior. In his lifetime, he saw 3 of them come to Christ and after he died the remaining 2 came to see Christ as Lord. He prayed for 52 years for all of these men to see Christ as He was.
Everyday people pray for spouses who just don't see Jesus as He is: Keep praying.
Everyday parents pray for children who have wandered away: Keep praying.
Everyday siblings pray for one another that they would know God in ways they never have: Keep praying.
Everyday someone is praying for you - I believe if we were honest we'd ask them to keep praying.
God bless you
Go in Peace.
Day 9 - Prayer Study
Day 8 - Prayer Challenge
Sometimes we suffer from not seeing the" forest for the trees". Often we trudge along from day to day just hoping to get through unscathed. We get caught up in the details of deal that we are working or overwhelmed in a search for a job. There are times when we cannot survey the landscape because we just are set to put one foot in front of the other. However, this is not how God sees our lives. Since He stands outside of time, He is not limited to the immediate events. He has the ability to see the panorama of our life. Since He stands above it all, His perspective is always better than ours.
Over the summer, a few brothers of mine and I went to Colorado to hike a couple of what are known as "Fourteeners"- mountain peaks which reach above 14000 feet. To ascend the mountainside is both an exhilarating and terrifying experience. In the early stages, the trek is not so difficult. The land is somewhat level, rocks are minimal, and the trail fairly obvious. However, the higher you ascend the more difficult it becomes even to the point of being almost insurmountable. In these moments, you must keep your perspective so that you can complete the task. However, if all you are focused on is the next step in front of you then it is likely you'll have no real motivation to finish. Perhaps pride pushes you. Maybe its a fear of failure. It could be the thinness of the air. It could be a number of things; however, I have found that the greatest motivation I have comes from those who have reached the summit and are descending as I ascend. They have been there. They have seen the end result. They know what is waiting for me if I can just keep pressing forward.
The same is true with God, He is where we long to go. He knows the view and what it brings to the heart. He knows what the reward is for the sacrifice. He's there. However, the greater beauty is that He is with us as we make the trek as well. He is with us as we traverse the rocks of life and the hazards that come with us. He watches and waits for us to ask Him about the road before us. Seeking him for wisdom, insight, and encouragement. To press us forward as we walk along. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that God is both willing and able to grant us wisdom if we would only ask. Today take a few moments to ask the honest questions:
"God where are you on this journey?"
"Father, would you please guide my steps and thoughts today?"
"LORD I trust you with my life, but at times I am weak. Increase my faith."
Today let him guide you as you get His perspective through prayer.
Go in Peace.
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