God’s servants must come into his presence fully persuaded that he will answer. It is a good thing to bring the promises of God into prayer with you — to stand on as you remind him of them. Certainly, he does not have a loss of memory, but the Lord loves for us to bring his promises before him.
Peter was given a vision and he wondered what it could mean. As he pondered it, God told him, “Three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them” (Acts 10:19). This passage of Scripture tells us that when God declares something to be true, we are to believe and stand on it, without consulting our flesh. We simply cannot measure the reliability of God’s Word by examining our situation or our own worthiness. If we do, we will end up only seeing that we are unworthy. Then we may end up talking ourselves out of claiming his Word and appropriating it.
The Bible says we are petitioners at God’s throne and Christ is there as our intercessor or advocate. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). “He always lives to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25). “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
By the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, the door to the Father’s throne is open for us and we have access to personally bring our requests to God. We also have the Holy Spirit, who is our “paraclete,” one who stands as our advisor, advocate, comforter, mediator and intercessor. He reminds us of the eternal decrees and divine constitution that make up God’s Word — so we have these incredible promises.
It is reassuring to know that God is truly pleased when you approach his throne with boldness, binding him to his own Word. And he will make sure you know that he is pleased with you.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).
Many of us have moved a number of times throughout our lifetime but once we get to heaven, we will never have to move again. Jesus tells us that he has gone to prepare a place for us and it is a permanent home. A Christian woman asked, “If there will be innumerable multitudes in heaven, how could God possibly make a habitation for everybody? How could there be room enough for so many places?”
Let us consider Jesus’ words on the subject: “I go to prepare a place for you.” These words ought to mean something to us. Some Bible scholars interpret Jesus’ meaning here as “many dwellings.” That may or may not be accurate, but I do know this for certain: If Jesus is building it, we can be sure it is something glorious!
As you envision the place our Lord is preparing for you, do not picture brick buildings or anything like that. Rather, his habitations are of another realm altogether. As limited humans, we cannot conceive of a realm in which the body passes through all material substances unhindered. (Jesus did this after his resurrection, and he says that in heaven our glorified bodies will be like his.) This is a realm no scientist has discovered, one vastly different from anything we can comprehend.
The most important point Jesus makes about heaven is, “This is home! You are going to live eternally where I live.” “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (14:3). Simply put, there is a home in eternity for each of us. Jesus said, in essence, “When that day comes — when you are here with me — I will personally show you what I have built for you.” Truly, that will be glorious!
How can we be a picture of Jesus to people who are hungry and thirsty? I believe one key way is by having a spirit of generosity, a spirit of giving all that we can to those in need.
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2). Paul said, “I want you to know about this grace of God.” Paul is speaking to his church about generosity, a grace to give to others, during a time of severe testing. He started off by saying that the Macedonian churches were suffering but they were able to rise up and meet the needs of people even in their crisis situations because of God’s grace.
This seems to be a contradiction. In a time of great trial — in this case it was a famine — the people were able to have great joy in their hearts. And they also exhibited great generosity during their extreme poverty. They did not wait until they were walking in plenty before they started giving. No, they gave out of their need and had an “abundance of joy” in doing so.
Verse 3 says, “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord.” These people did not give out of a sense of duty or obligation. They did it because it was in their heart to do so.
When the Spirit of God gets hold of your heart, you are able to see the needs of others. He opens your eyes to the reality that you do not have to worry or stress over your own finances and can, in fact, share with others during your time of lack. In other words, you can exercise the grace of generosity by his power working in you.
May the Holy Spirit sensitize us to the needs of others regardless of our own situation, whether positive or negative.
Whenever God is about to do something profound, His people will inevitably face opposition. The apostle Peter said it this way: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Peter was saying to the people of that time, “Do not think it is strange when we have to fight opposition as we purpose to reclaim godliness in our nation.” In the same way, if you and I are praying for an awakening in our cities and in our country, we must be prepared for the fact that darkness simply will not retreat without a fight.
The Book of Exodus tells us of the time when the Israelites were close to being delivered from the hand of the Egyptians. A new king who did not know Joseph came into power and became very oppressive. He told the people, “We will tell you what you can build, and you must build it according to our specifications. You can go to your house of worship, but you must worship our way. You will bend your knee to our will, and if you refuse, it is going to cost you!” (See Exodus 1:8-11)
This is very similar to the opposition that you and I currently face and will see in greater measure in the coming days. The freedoms we have known are now in jeopardy; laws are soon going to change for the worse. The threats have the potential to prevent the Church of Jesus Christ from realizing the power that she actually has.
Let us believe God to fill us afresh with His Holy Spirit so that we will not bow to any threats of evil. As the Lord enables us to stand and speak His Word with boldness, we will find that our testimony will not be of ourselves but of God and His mighty power within us!
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.
“The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit has come to lead us into a life of prayer.
We can get so confused about prayer, making it seem so complicated. There are multitudes of theories that bring confusion and raise all kinds of questions: “When does prayer become intercession? Is intercession measured by fervency, or loudness, or the amount of time spent on my knees? How will I know I am praying in God’s will? Do mental prayers count? What, exactly, do I pray for?”
Such confusion can be overwhelming and might actually keep people from praying. Yet there has never been a time when the prayers of God’s people were more needed. Even in his ancient time, Paul said of the earth, “The whole creation groans” (Romans 8:22). Reports of devastation and impending doom come at us from all sides and such reports are overwhelming people worldwide. Christians are not exempt from the stress of what is happening in our world.
As global events worsen, conspiring to rob people of peace, societies everywhere are looking for a source of comfort. But they are not finding it in psychotherapy, in dead religion, in causes, even in charity. Our only resource for such a time is the prayer of faith.
Here are just a few powerful ways the Holy Spirit plays a role in our prayers:
Pray this prayer: “Holy Spirit, keep me in close communion with Jesus. Do not let me neglect my time alone with the One my soul loves. Keep me on my knees, then I will know your comfort.”