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Praying for Revival: A 30-Day Devotional

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Day 1

Saturday, August 20, 2016
“Clean Hands, Pure Heart”

The theme for our upcoming Revival (I used a big “r” because I am praying for and am confident that this will be a God moment for our church and community) will be “Clean Hands, Pure Heart.” This theme was selected after much prayer and consideration. It is my desire that through this Revival each one of us would come to a place in our faith walk where we could say our hands are clean and heart is pure from the things of this world. Now certainly we know that this is only possible when we are covered by the blood of Jesus. Without the covering of His atoning sacrifice we are not now nor will we ever be clean and pure. To begin this devotion series we will start with the passage of scripture that shows us the need to be made clean again.

The earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
For he has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.

Psalm 24:1-4 (focal passages verses 3-4)

Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can stand in the presence of a holy God. Each of us in our own way deals with sin in our life. Sometimes that sin is in our actions and sometimes it is in thought. We often even deal with the sin of omission. As we begin to pray for our upcoming Revival, use your prayer time today to ask God to help you see the sin in your own life and to remove it so your hands might be clean once again.

 

Day 2

Sunday, August 21, 2016
Prayer

One of the key components of Revival is prayer. In order for us to be revived in our spirit and soul, in order for us to be revived with a fresh sense of who God is, and to be revived in our faith walk we must turn to God in prayer. Through those prayers there are many things we may and do ask for. But it is important to understand that Revival starts with prayer. Even by the fact that you are working through this devotion is testimony for your desire for revival.

“All the true revivals have been born in prayer. When God’s people become so concerned about the state of religion that they lie on their faces day and night in earnest supplication, the blessing will be sure to fall.” –E. M. Bounds

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.
Acts 1:14

After Jesus had ascended into heaven, the apostles remained in Jerusalem until the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. They did this at the instruction of Jesus, and while they waited for the Holy Spirit to come, they were continually devoted to prayer. In your prayer time today, ask God to give you a heart to continue in prayer over the next 30 days for the coming work of the Holy Spirit in our church and community in revival.

 

Day 3

Monday, August 22, 2016
Focus and Attention

Often times our faith walk mimics our life. What I mean is if we tend to be focused and have good habits in life, we do also in our faith walk. But if we tend to be less attentive to the everyday activities of life and easily distracted, we may have a similar attitude towards our faith walk. Anything we want to improve, work on, or see grow to maturity in our lives needs the proper amount of attention. This holds true whether it is work, a hobby, relationships, or our spiritual growth. Those things that are neglected tend to be quickly forgotten. In regards to our faith walk and spiritual growth, if it is neglected we tend to forget about it until the next crisis comes along and we come running back to God. Thankfully He is always there to receive us, but wouldn’t it be better if we never left Him in the first place? Wouldn’t it be better if we were able to maintain a proper focus and attention on the things of the Lord?

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:14-16

Paul was writing to encourage Timothy in his growth and ministry as a pastor. However this applies to each of us as believers. We need to make sure that we do not neglect the gift within us…our faith. And we need to take pains to nurture that faith and to see it grow richly in the grace of God. Today in your prayer time…pray that God would help you to pay attention to your faith and life as you go throughout your day. At the same time ask Him to open doors for you to tell others about Him and our upcoming Revival.

 

Day 4

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Humility

“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way!” That’s a line from an old song by Mac Davis titled “Hard to Be Humble.” Now I don’t think that anyone of us thinks we are perfect in every way. But I do think sometimes we struggle with humbling ourselves before the Lord. The idea of being humble before God means that we realize that as good as we may be and as well as our life may be going, we are nothing without Him. Your giftedness is not because you have honed your craft, your athletic ability is not because you practice hard, and your intelligence is not because you have good study habits. These things most often come more naturally to those who are gifted in these areas. Each of us is successful in particular areas because of God’s grace.

When we think we have what we do, and have accomplished what we have, because of who we are, we are less likely to acknowledge our need for God and His work in our lives.

And (when) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

The first step in experiencing personal revival is humility. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord. To be humble or to live with humility means that we live and act in a way that demonstrates that we do not think we are better than others and more importantly better than God. Most of us would not say that we feel or think we are better than God, but many of our lifestyles and actions say differently. If we truly are to be humble before the Lord, we need to acknowledge who He is, what He has done for us, and the price He paid for our sins. In your prayer time today, ask God to help you to have an attitude of humility toward Him and toward others you have the chance to engage. May this be the beginning of spiritual renewal and reawakening in your life.

 

Day 5

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Seek His Face

Anything worth having and obtaining is worth pursuing with zeal. For most of us we see this in our careers as we work to be successful in our chosen field. We will work hard at our craft trying to reach the next rung of the corporate ladder or whatever ladder we happen to be climbing. If we are students, we apply ourselves to our studies to reach that goal of graduation, accomplishment or recognition. If we are athletes we apply this ideal to our sport, practicing and honing our craft until it’s “game day” and we are prepared for what lies ahead. Why then do we not always apply as much zeal and enthusiasm to our Christian life as we seek to become more mature believers in Jesus? If we are willing and wanting to experience revival in our lives and this church, we must be willing to seek the face of God!

And (when) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Another step in experiencing personal revival is seeking the face of God. How exactly do we do that? We do that through earnest prayer and desire. I believe there is a difference between prayer and earnest prayer. An earnest prayer has a sincere element to it. We seek the face of God in earnest prayer, asking Him to hear us and to heal us…returning us to that place in our spiritual walk where we first became a believer. Do you remember the freshness of your faith? Do you remember the peace and grace that overwhelmed your life? If we will humble ourselves and earnestly seek Him in prayer I believe we can experience that once again. In your prayer time today, ask God earnestly to return you to the freshness of your faith…to renew in you that which you held dear when you were first saved.

 

Day 6

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Repentance

To repent simply means to turn from our sin and go in the other direction. In 2 Chronicles it is written as “turn from their wicked ways.” Sometimes we get so entrenched in our sin that we no longer see it as sin OR see it as an affront to God. When that happens we become desensitized to the sin in our life. In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus tells us that the young man returned to his father and turned away from the wayward way he had been living when he “came to his senses.” In repenting of our sin there is this real sense that we have acknowledged the sin in our life and are making a conscientious decision to turn away from it and head in the other direction. That is the true essence of repentance…acknowledging and turning away. Sometimes, for various reasons, we don’t want to acknowledge sin in our lives. But for true repentance to take place we must first acknowledge that which is an offense to God.

And (when) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Another step in personal revival is the turning away from our sin. This is actually a twofold process as we must first acknowledge the sin in our life and then turn from it. Because we are so adept at hiding our sin from the watching world, we often struggle in acknowledging it before God. We need to remember that nothing…and I mean nothing…stays hidden from Him. In your prayer time today, acknowledge that which you wish to remain hidden…the sin in your life that you struggle with or don’t want to deal with. Then ask God to show you how He can work in your life to give you the grace to overcome it. Repent and turn away from the sin in your life.

 

Day 7

Friday, August 26, 2016
Having a Heart for the Lost

Sometimes in our faith walk we become so consumed about our desires, wants, needs and the such that we actually forget that we have a responsibility for the “lost” souls of our families and communities. Oh, I don’t think we completely forget that there are those that who do not know Jesus as their Savior. In fact I think we fully realize that there are many in our workplaces, communities, and even families who have no relationship with Jesus and if they were to die tonight they would be eternally separated from a loving Father in heaven. But what I think we sometimes forget is that this church is not about our wants and desires, it is about coming here in order to be strengthened and discipled that we might go out and make disciples. We have a clear command from Jesus to go and make disciples.

What’s the missing link then?  If we know there are those who are lost and we know we have been commanded to go and make disciples, why are we not doing that? Why are we not inviting people to church, telling them about the saving grace found through faith in Jesus, and why are we not being the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world? I believe we have lost “our heart for the lost.” Remember when you were first saved and you told everyone about your faith? But now many Christians hardly talk about it. After so many rejections, or opposition to the things of God from others we are more and more shy about talking about it. We need to regain the desire and the heart for those who don’t know Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

God’s heart for the lost, those whose relationship with Him is broken by sin, was and is so strong that He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him would have eternal life. God has a heart for the lost. In fact His desire for the lost to be reconciled to Him is so great He not only sent His Son into this world, he offered Him up as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. Through faith in Jesus our sin debt is satisfied and our relationship with God is restored. We need to have the same heart for the lost that God does. In your prayer time today, ask God to break your heart for what breaks His. Namely, ask God to give you a heart for the lost in your life and those you will come in contact with. Ask Him to open doors to conversations and to give you words to speak when needed. May we all be broken over those who do not know Jesus.

 

Day 8

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Love God

There came a time pretty quickly in the ministry of Jesus where the religious leaders of the day really began to fear Him. They feared what He was teaching and what His teachings were doing to the “religion and laws” they had created. They had taken what was meant for good and turned it into something burdensome. One day when they were trying to trick Jesus into teaching or saying something they would be able to use against Him, they asked Him which of the commandments was the greatest. By this time there were many commandments that had been created and they knew this might be a stumbling block to Jesus. But Jesus answered them very simply:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus knew then that the most important thing is to love God with all of our being. There is nothing else greater than knowing and loving God. Sometimes we allow life to get in the way of our relationship with God. I pray that we never allow life to get in the way of our love for God. Scripture tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. God’s love for you covered all of your sins in the blood of Jesus. Let us love God in like manner…with all that we are. In your prayer time today, ask God to help your love of Him grow more deeply day by day.

 

Day 9

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Love Others

Yesterday we looked at what Jesus had to say about which of the commandments of the law was the greatest. There was a second part to that commandment that we didn’t look at. In verses 39-40 of Matthew 22, Jesus tells us that not only is there a second commandment that is just as important as the first, He tells us the whole Law and Prophets depend on it. In other words the fulfillment of the Old Testament depends upon these two commands. More than these two commands the fulfillment of the scriptures depends on one word…ONE word…LOVE! Love God and love others!

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus says that the greatest thing is love. Paul echoes this later in scripture when he speaks about love in 1 Corinthians 13, commonly known as the love chapter. At the end of that chapter though Paul says now these three remain: faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love. Now if Jesus says that the greatest commandment in the Law is to love God and love others and then Paul reiterates for us later on in scripture that love is the greatest, shouldn’t we be serious about the way we love others? It is easy to love God; He loves us back. But it can be a challenge sometimes to love those around us, especially if that includes people we may not like. Our love of others should build within us a desire for them to know and to love Jesus like we do! In your prayer time today, ask God to give you a love for others that comes from Him and a desire that comes from that love to see all come to know Jesus.

 

Day 10

Monday, August 29, 2016
Love the Church

Often times we want to complain about things that don’t go our way in life. From health issues to job issues to relationship issues, life certainly has its ups and downs. One of the dangers we run into is treating the church like every other aspect of our life. When that happens, we may begin to complain about things in the church without even realizing we are doing so. Worse yet, we may begin to complain about things of the church to the unchurched. The world does a good enough job of beating up on God’s church that we as believers should not contribute to that effort. What we should really do is ask God to give us a deep and abiding love for His church. We should ask God to give us grace towards His church and towards its members more and more each day.

No one has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.
Ephesians 5:29-30

Christ’s love for the church was and is evident. He loved the church so much that He was willing to sacrifice for it. Sometimes we make church about us, and when we do, we forget that church is all about Jesus. We come to worship, to be discipled and to serve. Being a church member isn’t about what’s in it for us, but rather about what’s in us for God. In your prayer time today, ask God to reignite and to revive within you a deep love for His church. We are created to be in fellowship with God and other believers and a lot of that takes place in His church.

 

Day 11

Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Have No Fear

Fear is a powerful thing! Recently I read that the term “fear not,” or something similar to it, was used in the Bible hundreds of times. One article actually said it was used 365 times, one for each day of the year. As I looked at the resources I have I did not find it mentioned that many times, but I did find that it is mentioned hundreds of times. Fear is a terrible thing and in some cases it can be paralyzing. I know people who are fearful of riding elevators, speaking in public, heights, traffic (driving) and many other things. Some of these people have learned to work past their fears and some of them have not. Fear in church can also be paralyzing…we are sometimes fearful of change, of the future, or of new members, and many of us are fearful of sharing our faith.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

 As Joshua was about to lead the people into the Promised Land, the Lord spoke very clearly to him the above words; words of hope, promise and protection. There have been a couple of times when God has spoken those words into my own life. Asking me, encouraging me and even instructing me to trust in Him and to know that He is with me always. God wants us to step out of our comfort zone to serve Him. He wants us to be His hands and feet to the world around us. God wants us to tell people about the life-saving blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins. And yet many of us will go through life and never share our faith with one person. We might invite someone to church, we might give them a book to read about faith, and we might even tell them we will pray with them or for them. But many will never share their faith in a way that will lead someone to Christ.

In your prayer time today, ask God to give you the courage to share your faith with someone who does not know Jesus. Ask Him to open doors for that conversation, to prepare you for that conversation and to give you the words to speak in that conversation. And may that conversation bring glory to Him. Do not fear!

 

Day 12

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Be Anxious for Nothing

Fear and anxiousness are similar and yet different. Fear is what we experience when we are faced with danger or what we perceive to be a dangerous situation. (By the way, sharing your faith is generally not dangerous in our context). Anxiety is what we feel from the anticipation of something we may be fearful to do. So we experience fear when we are in a dangerous situation and we are anxious when we worry about a dangerous situation that we may not have faced or may never face. Sometimes we allow our anxiety to overcome our ability to act and put ourselves in a situation to serve God because we are fearful of what may happen. We need to learn to take our fears before God that we might be anxious for nothing.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Paul’s instruction to the church at Philippi is still a valid instruction and encouragement to us today. When we come before God in prayer and pour out our hearts to Him about the things we are anxious about, He is gracious to give us peace more often than not. There is a pattern we need to follow in doing this, however. We are to pray to God with thanksgiving! How many of us continue to be thankful in our prayers? When we go to God by supplication (with humility and reverence) with thanksgiving we will more often than not find peace to replace our anxiety. Our heavenly Father is a good, good Father and His desire for us is good. Once we realize that and come to know and understand that, it takes the anxiety out of living to serve Him.

In your prayer time today, ask God to give you a peace about the things you are anxious over. Also ask Him to give you a peace about how you can serve in His church. We are called to love Him, to worship Him and to serve Him. Do not let your anxiety keep you from serving and worshipping God fully.

 

Day 13

Thursday, September 1, 2016
A Camel and an Eye of a Needle

What is it in your life that you see as an impossibility? What is it in your spiritual life that you see as impossible? What is it in the life of this church that you see as impossible? I could go on and on with this line of questioning and if I did I would more than likely come across something in your life that you look upon as impossible. Sometimes the thought of something being impossible is valid and other times it is an exaggerated thought. There are many things we would like to see happen and yet don’t for any number of reasons. Sometimes what we see as the answer or solution to a situation is not what God sees as the answer or solution. Sometimes we simply do not want to do what is necessary to see “the impossible” take place. And quite honestly sometimes “the impossible” won’t happen in our lifetime.

So how do we deal with the impossible? We need to remember that God’s ways are not our ways and sometimes He does the impossible without us seeing it. We need to have faith that with God, all things are possible. And we need to remember to trust Him, for He knows best.

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”  Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10:25-27

This exchange happened following the interaction between Jesus and the rich young ruler. The problem was not that he was rich; the problem was that he valued his possessions more than his relationship with God. The key to the story is this…what we see as impossible, God does not! God can do and accomplish anything of His choosing. What is the impossible thing in your life? What is the impossible thing in your relationships? What do you see as the impossible thing in this church?

In your prayer time today, ask God to work in your impossible area. Also ask God to work in the “impossible” areas of this community, opening a door for the Gospel. As you do so, remember that God does not work as we work and does not see our solution as His solution, so ask God to work and allow you to see what that working looks like.

 

Day 14

Friday, September 2, 2016
Thy Will Be Done

Most of want what we want and for the most part we know what that is. So we work and strive and persevere to achieve…that which we want. Sometimes we want stuff, or money, or achievements in the work place. Sometimes we want specific relationships, or to do specific things. Usually we don’t want anyone else telling us what we want, we already know! And so we work hard to achieve that and hope that it aligns in some way with God desires of us. Wait…are we even considering what God wants of us and for us? Sometimes I wonder! I wonder if we really are pursuing the things of God more and more or if we are pursuing the things we want more and more. Now we are doubly blessed if those two happen to align, but how do we know?

We ask God to show us His will for our lives. We pray and seek His face asking Him to show us how He can use us for His glory! His glory…not ours! His will, not mine!

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10

Scripture teaches us how to pray. Part of that prayer is asking, pleading with God that His will be done. We know the prayer, we say the prayer and I believe we gloss over the prayer without serious consideration to what we are praying. Our Father who art in Heaven…thy will be done! That’s powerful stuff when it is prayed in earnest and with sincerity. In your prayer time today, ask God to have His way with you and this church. But be prepared…when we are sincere in praying such powerful words I believe God will answer. So let it be the prayer of your heart that God’s will would be done in your life and in the life of this church and community. And let that will be done NOW, oh Lord!

 

Day 15

Saturday, September 3, 2016
Thy Kingdom Come

Is there any question or doubt in anyone’s mind that we live in a world gone mad? Seriously all you have to do is turn on your computer or the television, look at your Facebook or Twitter feed, or read a newspaper. Once you do that you will see that the world has gone slightly off its rocker! Seriously…crime is rampant, people are doing whatever they think is right and for the most part the world has lost its moral compass. We no longer have a clear sense of right and wrong, we no longer worship the one true God, we no longer publicly acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

What have we come to and what is the solution? I can’t honestly answer the first part of that question other than to say we are definitely reaping what has been sown. But as to the second part of that question…I know the answer. We need more Jesus in the world. More exactly, we need the Kingdom of God to come and to come quickly! Yesterday we prayed that God’s will would be done, today we are praying that His kingdom would come.

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10

Again, Jesus taught us this model prayer for a reason…He wants us to pray it. We need to not only ask God that His will would be done in our lives; we need to ask Him that His kingdom would come and come quickly. The only thing that will ultimately return earth to her former glory is the Kingdom of God. Today in your prayer time, pray the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6. Pray it earnestly and reverently and ask God to bring His kingdom soon!

 

Day 16

Sunday, September 4, 2016
Walk by Faith

As I have gotten older my eyesight has gotten worse. I now find I dislike driving at night more than I used to and I particularly dislike driving at night in the rain. I can see fine with my glasses, that’s not the issue, the issue is that the combination of rain and darkness does something to my psyche so (some of you will be glad to know) I feel like I have to concentrate harder which can be tiring. How can we get somewhere we want to go without seeing our way? For those who struggle with vision issues, the idea of walking by faith and not by sight is much more of a reality. But for most of us we like to see where we are going. We trust our eyes and our mind to show us the way. But our faith asks us not to believe in what we can see but to believe in what God shows us. Sometimes we can see that and sometimes we cannot, but we walk by faith because we believe in the one true God and in His son Jesus.

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—  for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8

Walk by faith…trust in what you cannot see but you know to be true. We trust in the one true God and know Him to be true and seek to serve Him by faith, knowing that what He wants us to do will be done for His glory. We do so not always knowing the results or what it may look like on the other side of the journey, only that the journey is pleasing to God. In your prayer time today, ask God to give you a peace about your life and the direction He would have you go moving forward. Also ask Him to lead this church and help us to follow Him in faith…trusting Him for the journey and the results!

 

Day 17

Monday, September 5, 2016
The Prayer of Jabez

For the last few months many of you have been praying the prayer of Jabez for our church and for your life. In praying this prayer we have been modeling the prayer of Jabez found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10—a  prayer that tells us that Jabez was more honorable than his siblings and he prayed asking God to bless him and enlarge his borders. We have been asking the same thing…we have been praying that God would bless this church and that He would enlarge our area of influence for and with the Gospel. I believe we will see that happen as we continue to pray earnestly for that.

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!”  And God granted him what he requested.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Oh, that God would hear the cries of our hearts and use this church to win this community to Christ!! In your prayer time today, use the prayer of Jabez as your model. Ask God to bless this church, to have His hand upon us as we seek to serve Him in this church and in this community. Also ask God to enlarge the borders of this church…that we might win souls with the Gospel and that His word might go forth beyond these walls into this community. Let us each one pray that God would hear our prayers and grant our request.

 

Day 18

Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Be the Clay

If you have any creative ability (I generally do not) you know what it is like to make something or to create something that is unique and wonderful. It gives us great joy and pleasure to see something being molded and made into that which we desire it to be. This is the same with people too. Not that we “mold people” into what we want them to be, rather God molds us into what He wants us to be. Yet this only happens when we are in tune with Him and His desires for our life. When I was a young Christian, there was still a lot of the world in me. But as I grew, I began to remove some of the world from my life and what I found remained was more and more what God wants me to be.

I get this image in my mind sometimes of my life being like a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel and God is the one doing the shaping. And with the pressure of the tool in His hand He shaves off some of the world. Each time He presses in on me I lose more of the world and what remains is more of Him. The more this happens, the more I want to be clay in His hands allowing Him to mold me and make me. But every now and then I jump off the potter’s wheel and take things in to my own hands. I want to remain in His hands and in Him and allow Him to continue to mold me day by day. Maybe you feel the same way.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

What great imagery that is! That God has each one of us in His hands molding us, shaping us, and working us into what He wants us to be! It is such a great place to be, knowing that God is working in your life like that! In your prayer time today, ask God to make you and mold you into what He wants. Ask God to shave off the rough edges, to remove more of the world each day so that day by day we are more like His Son and when He is finished with us, we will be as He desires.

 

Day 19

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Be Willing

Let me start out today with a simple question for you. What are you willing to do for God? Is there a line in the sand that you won’t cross, so to speak? Is there a limit to what you are willing to do? I don’t think that many of us would be willing to admit what we might do for God and yet many of our lives show we have limits. I don’t think we consciously say “I will do this” or “I won’t do that.” But what I do believe what happens is we hesitate to serve God in particular ways. When we do that we usually wrap it in “church speak.” We will say things like “I am not gifted in that way” or “I am more a behind-the-scenes person.” We try to rationalize our unwillingness so that we feel better about it. I believe that God wants to stretch you. I believe He wants to put all of us in situations to serve Him that stretch our faith and our dependence on Him. That is how He grows us spiritually and that is how He gets the work of the church done, by using His people.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah 6:8

The prophet Isaiah, after having a vision, was willing to go for the Lord. May that be the prayer of our hearts as well, that we would be willing to say “Here I am, Lord, send me.” In your prayer time today, ask God to make you willing to be used by him for His glory. Let it be your prayer (and mine) that we would say “Here I am, Lord, send me,” and that God would hear our prayer, answer our prayer and send us out to wherever He needs. And let us pray that our willingness would be as close by or as far away as He desires.

 

Day 20

Thursday, September 8, 2016
Slaying Giants

Sometimes in our personal lives, in our faith, and yes, even in our church, we perceive things to be too big to overcome. Maybe it’s the addiction we can’t shake or maybe it’s the struggle we have with putting away our past and moving into the future. No matter what that giant thing in your life is that holds you back, God cares. He wants you to be able to trust in Him fully and to allow Him to rid you of that thing. No matter what that thing is, if it’s coming between you and God it needs to be gone. No matter what that thing is, if it it’s keeping you from loving and serving Him it needs to be gone. God is in the business of slaying giants! Actually He can “slay” anything no matter how big or how small. It seems like we give Him more glory when it is something larger though.

Remember the story of David and Goliath. Everyone was afraid of the giant and with good cause. He was fierce and killed everyone he faced. Sometimes the “giants” in our life seem the same. We feel like whatever that giant thing is, there is no way we can ultimately face it. But listen to how David drew the courage to face his giant.

“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
1 Samuel 17:37

David had seen God work in his life countless times and he knew that God would continue to protect him. He had faith in God based on what he had seen God do. So he took his sling and five smooth stones and faced the giant in battle. He knew before he entered that battle that God had already won it. He was not afraid by the size of Goliath for he knew how big his God is.

What giant are you facing in life right now? What giant to you see this church facing? Trust in God and know that He will fight your battles for you and will guide the aim of your stones. And when your victory is sure, give Him the glory He deserves. In your prayer time today, ask God to give you the courage to face your giants. Also ask Him to give this church the courage to step out in faith and to take aim at the world for His namesake…whatever that may look like.

 

Day 21

Friday, September 9, 2016
What’s Your Boast?

I have found in life that just about everyone I meet is proud of someone or something in their life. They will talk to you about their children, their jobs, their hobbies and so on. Sometimes the boasting can even become so far-fetched that they are the only one who will believe it (but I digress). So let me ask you this…what’s your boast? In what thing are you willing to boast to others about? Is it your success at work? Do you boast about your family? Do you boast about your hobbies? Do you boast about your God? See how I slid that in there? J But for all of us who like to boast, most of us don’t boast about the work of the Lord in our life outside our Christian circles.

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.…
Jeremiah 9:23-24

In what things do you now want to boast? Do you still want to be boastful of all that you have and have accomplished? Or…would you rather boast in the Lord? Think about how great God has been in your life, think about how far you have come as a believer and think about the enormity of the sins you have been forgiven. Aren’t these things more worthy of your boasts than the things of this world? In your prayer time today, ask God to help you boast in Him. Ask Him to help you boast of Him in this community and in your workplace. May our boasting in the Lord and His work bring glory to His name and help reach the lost for His namesake.

 

Day 22

Saturday, September 10, 2016
…and YOU Shall Be My Witnesses

In just over a week our revival services will begin. Hopefully as you have been going through this devotional you have begun to feel God working in you. No matter how close to God you are currently or how far apart the expanse may seem, we all can grow closer to God. Never forget that. As we get closer to the Revival we will be praying about some specific needs and some specific areas. Today people from our church will be out canvassing neighborhoods, handing out information about the upcoming Revival and our church. Scripture tells us we are to be witnesses for the Lord. That starts in our own homes and communities.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

We are instructed to be witnesses for God but not in our own power…hallelujah!! We witness in the power of the Holy Spirit. So when we go out today and witness and hand out fliers, we don’t have to worry about having words to speak or being fearful of what might happen. We serve a mighty God who goes before us. Let us serve Him with gladness in our hearts and represent Him well. And let us leave the results to Him. We are not responsible for results, we are responsible to serve Him faithfully. In your prayer time today ask God to be with those who are out canvassing the community. Ask Him to go before us and to give people a receptive heart. And if there is opportunity to share the Gospel, let’s ask God to give us words speak and fertile hearts to speak too!

 

Day 23

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Pray for Back Creek (Your Community)

Since our church is located in the Back Creek area of Roanoke, this is where we have the highest potential for impact and ministry. We want to be praying for this community, for your community, for our community and for the people who live around us. We each one are witnesses for God where we find ourselves planted. If you are a member or attendee of this church, you are a witness for God here. We want to be praying that God will give us a chance to witness to this community. The events we do here are nice, the services we hold are worshipful, and the appearance of the church and grounds are appealing to the neighborhood. But none of these things will win people to faith in Jesus. They may help but the only thing that will win souls is sharing the Gospel.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

As you go about your daily life you should be looking for ways to share the Gospel with others. Some of those ways will be obvious and others not so much. But what I have found is when I am aware of people around me and looking for ways to engage them and share my faith, I find those ways. Likewise, when I am centered on myself and my problems I am less likely to see the opportunities around me. God desires that each one of us would love Him, grow in Him and serve Him. One the most important ways we can serve Him is by sharing our faith. One of the best places for you to share your faith is in this community…Back Creek. In your prayer time today, ask God to give you opportunities to share your faith. Maybe those opportunities will come in the form of inviting someone to our Revival, maybe they will come in the chance to pray for someone or maybe they will come in the form being able to share your faith.


Day 24

Monday, September 12, 2016
Pray for Our Church

There are plenty of scriptures that tell us we are created to be in community with one another. In the world we live in today, we need the community, love and support of Christian brothers and sisters. We find that love and support in the community of our church family. Not only are we a community of believers, we are a family of brothers and sisters in Christ who are brought together and united by our like faith in Jesus as our Savior. On some things we may disagree, but on that point there has to be agreement. Within our church is much diversity. That diversity includes gender, age, race, economic status and even the way we process things. But we are still the body of Christ.

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:17

Paul instructs that whatever we do, we should do it in the name of Jesus. As a church, that is one of the most important things we can remember. No matter what we seek to undertake, we need to do so in the name of Jesus. As the Revival approaches we need to be in prayer for our church. I would ask you to pray for our members, for our leaders, and for the spirit of the church as we open the doors and invite the community to join us in seeking revival. More importantly I would ask you to pray that God would hear our prayers and rain down the Holy Spirit upon us in the weeks that lie ahead. The time for our physical Revival to take place is nearly upon us; the time for our spiritual Revival is now.

 

Day 25

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Pray for our Speakers

I take very seriously the responsibility I have to determine who is able to come into our church and to speak to us. I feel like God has placed me here to help guard your hearts and minds. That being said, the men who will be bringing our messages over the course of our Revival are all men I know. These are men I trust. These are men I love. Their love of God is evident to me. Their passion to see the Gospel go forth is clear and their ability to communicate God’s Word is amazing. I believe that God has led me to these men for such a time as this. We will hear from three different men who are different ages and have different backgrounds but are all Godly men.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
Romans 10:14

What a powerful passage of scripture! In order for people to believe, they must hear the Gospel and for that to happen there must be someone willing to preach. I am thankful that the men who will come to our church next week to share God’s Word take seriously the call on their lives to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In your prayer time today, please pray for these men. Ask God to give them a clear word to bring to us and to do that with vigor, conviction, clarity and hope. I would even ask you to go so far as to pray for them by name…Darryl, Job and Jonge. May the words of their mouths bring forth the Gospel message in a way that pierces our lives and convicts of us sin…drawing us to repentance and restoration to our heavenly Father.


Day 26

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Pray for the Word to Go Forth

Sometimes it amazes me how accurate and true the Word of the Lord is. We read in the Bible about the struggles people had thousands of years ago and still see those same struggles today. We read scriptures that tell us about the way things will happen and we see those things coming true. We read scriptures about the way people behave and we still see that behavior today. God’s Holy revelation to us, the Bible, is His love story to us. It is a story about a people who have gone astray and God’s pursuit of them to return. We know that the way people return to the Lord is by hearing the Gospel and repenting. Scripture tells us that the word of the Lord is good for teaching, reproof, correction and training for righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). It not only corrects, it convicts of sin and draws people back to God.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Image a Word so strong and soul-searching that it pierces man to the heart and judges him as no other word can. We should not be surprised at the power of words…especially the Word of God. We have all experienced that gut-wrenching feeling when someone says something to us that cuts to the quick. We all know what it feels like to hear words that tear us down and beat us up. But the Word of the Lord is different. It is not intended to beat us up or tear us down; it is intended to draw us to God. It is intended to show us the error of our ways and bring us back into a right relationship with God. In your prayer time today, ask God to use the power of His Holy Spirit to send forth the Word during our Revival in a way that cuts to the quick of our hearts and convicts us of sin in our lives. And when I say “us” I mean all that will hear Him next week during our Revival.

 

Day 27

Thursday, September 15, 2016
The Prodigal Returns

There are so many stories in the Bible that stick out in my mind that it’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. Often times my favorite Bible story will depend on the things I am going through in life at that time. The one story I think of more than any other is the story of the prodigal son. What a fantastic story of rebellion, stubbornness, humility, love, grace, and forgiveness. I don’t know what that sounds like to you, but to me that is the Gospel story in a nutshell. There is one particular part of this story that always sticks out in my mind…well, two actually. I love the way the father receives the son when he returns home from his waywardness. But even more than that, I love what scripture tells us about the son when he decides to return home to his father and ask for forgiveness. Take a moment and read the story of the prodigal son in your Bible, found in Luke 15:11-32.

But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!   I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”
Luke 15:17-19

This is an incredible story and one that more likely than not resonates with all of us in some way. You may see yourself as the prodigal son or you could see yourself as the son who remained and did what was asked of him. Either way it’s not much of a stretch to see ourselves in this story. The part that always stands out in my mind is when the son is in the other land so low he has taken a job feeding pigs. He even says at one point he wishes he had what the pigs had to eat. But then something happened to him: “he came to his senses.” Wow! He came to his senses about what he was doing, who he was, and more importantly who his father was. He felt remorse and made a decision that he was going home to ask forgiveness. That is the ultimate conversion of our hearts…when we feel remorse over our sin and ask forgiveness. When we return to our Father and seek His forgiveness for the sins we have committed. In your prayer time today, pray for the “prodigal sons” (or daughters) who may be here at the Revival. Also pray for those “prodigals” you might invite to the Revival. Pray that the Word of God would pierce their hearts and they would come to their senses!

 

Day 28

Friday, September 16, 2016
Trusting the Results to God

Our Revival will start in two days. Over the course of the last many months we have done many things to prepare for this event. We have spent time in prayer in small groups during our Cottage Prayer Meetings. We have also been out inviting people and promoting the event through various ways. And if you have worked through all or part of this devotion, you have been praying for what will happen next week. Sometimes it is easy for me to look for results to gauge the success of an event of this nature. My humanness wants to look at the numbers. I will want to see how many people show up and how many people make decisions…either for salvation or recommitment. I am being honest here and that is my human side. My prayer for myself and for all of us is that we will trust that who the Lord desires to be here is here. And in that we trust Him for the results.

“‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Paul recognized that he did not need nor was he entitled to the glory for the work of the Lord. We do not cause anyone to be saved, nor can we save anyone! Yes, God works in us and through us to bring people to Him, but He is the only one who can save. So I will try not to worry about the results next week. I will only trust that God is working. And if in that working He brings some to salvation during our Revival…to Him be the glory. But if we are found faithful in planting seeds next week or spreading some water…to God be the glory as well. The results are up to Him, to be faithful in the work is up to us. We have been faithful in the work or preparing ourselves, our church and our community.  We will trust Him for the results.

In your prayer time today, ask God to give us the humility we need to trust Him with the results. Ask Him to work, to touch lives this week with His loving Word and ask Him to help us to continue to be faithful. But again, most importantly at this stage ask Him to help each of us to trust Him for what will happen, myself included.

 

Day 29

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Straight, Smooth Roads

The day before! By the time we get to this point I am confident that my excitement will be palpable and Sandy will be praying that I calm down! As we prepare on this final day before the Revival, there are many many things we can be in prayer about. You may want to look back through this devotion and pick out one or two that stand out in your mind and pray for those things again. You may want to pray for things we haven’t considered here such as the weather and people’s schedules. All of those will be good things to pray for. In fact if you spend any time today in prayer for our Revival, praise be to God! I would like to encourage you to pray about those who will be traveling to our services over the next few days. Most will come from around our area, but others will have further distances to cover. God has been at work in our church for some time now. He has been preparing our hearts and minds, along with the hearts and minds of this community for these coming days. Let us join together in prayer that all would arrive here safely and return home likewise.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust, acknowledgement, and straight paths. These verses are not really talking about traveling mercies, and yet they are. When we trust in the Lord with all of our being and acknowledge Him, He will indeed make our paths straight. We have trusted Him for this coming week, and we have acknowledged that He is the one who will bring convicting words to people—broken hearts–through our speakers and salvation to all who call on His name. In your prayer time today, ask God to prepare the way for those who will be coming to our Revival over the next few days. Ask Him to get them here and to allow His word to do its intended work.

 

Day 30

Sunday, September 18, 2016
“Clean Hands, Pure Heart”

Here we are, back where it all began! We have circled around to where we first began this devotional on purpose. Over the past thirty days we have been praying for our upcoming Revival at Haran Baptist Church. And it is now here! We have been praying for ourselves, each other, and this community. I want to end where we began with Psalm 24. I want us to remember why we are doing this and what it was like when we started praying for this Revival. Many of us have been praying daily for the last thirty days…others have been praying for months, and still others for years. In this space today I am simply going to copy our first devotion. Let us end where we began.

 _____________________________

“The theme for our upcoming Revival (I used a big “r” because I am praying for and am confident that this will be a God moment for our church and community) will be “Clean Hands, Pure Heart.” This theme was selected after much prayer and consideration. It is my desire that through this Revival each one of us would come to a place in our faith walk where we could say our hands are clean and heart is pure from the things of this world. Now certainly we know that this is only possible when we are covered by the blood of Jesus. Without the covering of His atoning sacrifice we are not now nor will we ever be clean and pure. To begin this devotion series we will start with the passage of scripture that shows us the need to be made clean again.

The earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
For he has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.

Psalm 24:1-4 (focal passages verses 3-4)

“Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can stand in the presence of a holy God. Each of us in our own way deals with sin in our life. Sometimes that sin is in our actions and sometimes it is in thought. We often even deal with the sin of omission. As we begin to pray for our upcoming Revival, use your prayer time today to ask God to help you see the sin in your own life and to remove it so your hands might be clean once again.”

To God Be the Glory

 

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