5 ways to increase your prayer life

Have you ever been at a loss for words when in a prayer group or ministry time and felt intimidated by those around you, especially the way they prayed and spoke over someone?    My idea was, they prayed everything and so well and so eloquently, I possibly could not add to it.  So therefore, I would not pray.

The Bible says some of the  Apostles were unlearned men.  But, they were with Jesus and spent time with him and learned to speak like Jesus.

Acts 4:13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

Imagine speaking like Jesus!  Do you think this is available for us today?  I do.

5 ways to increase prayer life

So how did I learn to pray and not feel ashamed about saying what was on my heart?

Here are five steps that I learned along the way that can be of some benefit to you.

a)  I listened to the way others prayed. I paid attention to their prayers and the words they used.  I was especially impressed with how they were able to incorporate scripture when praying over someone.

b) Learn to hear the voice of God.  There are many wonderful books on how to hear the voice of God.  Just to mention a few authors:  Shawn Bolz, Mark Virkler. Don´t just read the books, apply the principles taught in them.  When you do, you will be pleasantly surprised.

c) Spend time in prayer and meditation of the word.  God invented meditation, and it is something we are to do. It is simply repeating the scripture over and over.  Writing down the verse will help you memorize it, and chew on each word.

d) Journal.  Where would I be without my journal, I write everything down.  In my prayer times, I express my gratitude, my love, my frustrations and prayer request.  While journaling, don´t forget to listen and write down what you hear God saying back to you.  Develop two-way communication.  It is available to you and within reach.

e) Practice, step out in faith. There comes a time where you have to take the plunge and step out in faith.  You will be surprised as you yield to the Holy Spirit, He will guide and lead you.  Don´t worry if you make a few mistakes, we all have to start somewhere.  The idea is to get going, and before you know it, your will have a flavored prayer life.

Start praying those awesome prayers inside of you.  As you do, the receiver is blessed, and so are you.

What other ways have you learned about developing a prayer life?  I would love to hear about in the comments.

 

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The finger of God

When was the last time you read the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20? Have you ever read what came before Moses received the laws of God?

Exodus 19 describes something out of a movie;  loud trumpet sounds, thunder, lightning and thick clouds around Mount Sinai.

Finger of God

Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, and the entire mountain quaked. I am thinking only the mountain quaked as the Bible says. Did the land quake too?

Then as the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.   Could this be in an audible voice?  Did everyone hear God´s voice, or just Moses?

Imagine witnessing these events of thunder, smoke, trumpet sounds, and earthquakes. The Bible does not mention if this lasted minutes or hours, nevertheless, it must have been something to behold. When we read this, there is no room for doubt it was the finger of God that wrote the Ten Commandments. Who could deny it?

The entire populations witnessed this, and as Moses climbed the mountain, after some time, the people below began making an idol out of gold.

It seems they forgot the display of power rendered by God.

I have been practicing gratitude in my journal writing. While we may not have the thunder, smoke and trumpet sound today, writing out what I am thankful for does something inside of me.

It reminds me of everything  God has accomplished in my life.  I am reminded how He has answered my prayers, protected me, and shows up at the last minute.  I know it´s God when at the eleventh hour, a financial need is met.

He does not answer by way of a long and loud trumpet sound, but I see it in the simple things. There is no smoke around the mountain where I live, but His protection is with me.

Gratitude keeps me aligned with God, tuned it, and so very thankful.

For some reason, saying why I am thankful to God makes me feel safe and loved by him.

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12 deadly D´s sent from the evil one

Do you ever find yourself in a blah mood at times?  I know I have, and it would take a while for me to get out of it.  Then I came across what is known as the deadly D´s.   These subtle attacks are ways in which the enemy distracts us.   Perhaps you have heard of some, maybe not.

There is a warning to heed:  If we believe or fall for any of these, it will cause us to waver in our authority in Christ and get us off track.

I have a confession to make.  I fell prey to many of these symptoms until I began to identify them and only then I was able to put a stop to it.

Below are a few of the deadly D´s you may have heard about already.

Deadly D´s

Distraction
Divides your attention and prevents concentration.  You begin to look at what others have, instead of what the Lord has placed inside you, you lose your focus.  When you are distracted, it causes an interruption. You are pulled in different directions.

Solution- purpose in your heart to focus, and have a heart of gratitude towards the Lord.

Discord
Lack of harmony, disagreement, strife, fighting with family, friends, co-workers and even your pastor and church leaders.

Solution- Choose not to participate.

Discouragement
We become discouraged when we focus on what is not happening. It will cause us to be ungrateful and hopeless.  It will keep us in misunderstanding and we lose communication.  We do not come to the unity of the faith, and it keeps us divided.

Solution- Give thanks for what you do have.

Division
The enemy does not like it when the body of Christ comes into agreement.  Where two or three are gathered together in His name, Jesus is there in the midst of it all.

Solution- Just think what will happen when believers come together to pray and do warfare, we win the battle!

Despair
Despair causes one to lose hope and give up and may lead to depression. Our God-given call can take a detour. Don´t fall for the enemy’s scheme to place upon you unrealistic expectations and disappointments.  It is vital to ask for vision during prayer, to be encouraged and continue in your calling.   Vision is a powerful tool.  Ask for it, and see what God will do for you.

Solution- call on friends and those you trust to pray for you and ask for a clear direction while in prayer.

Demoralized
This destroys the persons’ morale, throws you into confusion and deprives you of your courage. When this happens, you stop everything, there is no purpose.

Solution-Lift your eyes to the Lord, ask for a clear and fresh perspective.

Doubt
You hesitate to believe and are uncertain.  You doubt God has called you and has placed unique gifting’s inside of you.  You can begin to question God´s ability to answer prayer in your life.

Solution- hand over your doubt to Jesus, and ask Him to replace it with faith.

Disappointment
Disappointments come from unmet expectations. These could be expectations of what we believe God should do for us or expectations we have of our spouse, church, children, Christian leaders or even of ourselves.

Hebrews 12:15 warns, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Solution – For that reason, we should immediately forgive, release and apply the grace of God to our lives.

Disbelief
The inability to believe or accept something as true, also doubt.  We doubt what God has placed in us, or even in others and lose out on the blessing.

Solution-place your trust and confidence in the Lord, and not in man.

Deception
Deception is very easy to fall into.  It is an act of making someone believe something that is not true.  This could be about yourself, your calling and integrity of God.  Deception is misleading.

Solution- go to others that you trust and ask for prayer, be honest and vulnerable!

Discontentment
Here is where we stop seeing the positive in our lives and become negative. You have a lack of satisfaction with your accomplishments, status and even the spiritual gifts placed inside of you.  Everything around you is in darkness.

Solution-choose to be content with what you have.

Disillusionment
When we become disillusioned, we may want to drop out of a marriage or a ministry or a commitment the Lord has called us into.  We can become cynical and lose sight of the vision, which is exactly what the enemy wants us to do.  We can´t give him the satisfaction of seeing his wishes fulfilled in our lives.

Solution-perhaps you need a break or some time out, that is perfectly fine.  I need to do this from time to time.  When I do have a chance to get away, I come to the Lord in prayer and ask him to hit the refresh button!

All of these deadly “D´s” keep us under a spell to self-destruct, to thwart God´s plan and purpose for our lives.  Don´t give him the pleasure of winning, instead, take control and continue steadfast in your calling.

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What Satan is not and who Jesus is

Like it or not as believers, we are in a spiritual war.  We really can´t escape it. Once we accepted Christ into our hearts we changed kingdoms.  We converted from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

Many believers believe the lie that satan cannot touch them once they have accepted Jesus. This is simply not true.  While we do have the victory, satan still fights.  He does not respect his defeat on the cross, and tries everything he can to hinder and oppose us.

1 Peter 5:8-9  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Satan still seeks us.  He is on the hunt, on the prowl and never gives up.

But we have some good news.

While satan does have some power, he is not all powerful like  King Jesus.  Here is a list of what satan is NOT.

    • Satan is not omniscient (knowledgeable of all things).  He has tremendous knowledge, but he does not know everything like God does.
    • Satan cannot read our mind.
    • Satan is strong only to those over whom he is master.  His power is limited by the power of God  (see Job 1:10-12)
    • Satan is not omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time).  He is in only one place at one time.
    • Satan is not omnipotent (all powerful).  The power of God within us is more powerful than the power of Satan.

 

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

When people say that satan is after them they are referring to demons and not Lucifer himself.  Satan has a great host of demon spirits that he dispatches throughout the earth to do his will and accomplish his purposes.   Fact:  there are more angels than demons.  Angels outnumber demons 3 to 1. I think that is great news!

Let´s see what Jesus did for us.

He died on the cross so that we may have  eternal life and live a life of abundance

Jesus overcame the enemy. We too can overcome satan’s host. He has given us the authority to do so  Luke 9:1

Jesus intercedes for us as we are engaged in spiritual warfare. This means He is talking to the Father on our behalf as we battle:  Romans 8:34

Here are some of Jesus´ titles:

  • He is the Captain of the Lord’s Host
  • Deliverer
  • Faithful and True
  • Head over all things
  • Messiah
  • Savior of the World

If you are feeling defeated in battle, remind yourself of these truths. I have had to do this and call on others for prayer when weary. Being in the battle can be tiring, but once we praise God for what he has done for us, the battle becomes easier.

Remember, we are on the winning side!

 

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What is the Gift of Discernment of Spirits?

As a young child, we lived with certain “activity” in the home which I deemed normal.  I knew nothing else, and felt what I experienced was part of life. When I accepted the Lord, I learned what we were going through was actual demonic activity.

Because I had experienced this side of the spiritual world, I knew it was real.

Discernment of Spirits

When I accepted the Lord, the gift of discernment of spirits was automatically given to me.  I am sure I had it before, as I was able to sense my surroundings. There were times where  I could see, feel and smell the demonic.

What is the gift of discernment of spirits, exactly?

This gift allows the Christian to know for sure whether a given behavior originates from a divine, human or satanic source.

In other words, whatever is going on, you can tell what type of spirit is behind it.

As with all spiritual gifts, it is wise to grow and develop them.  Here I list a few helpful tips to grow in the gift of discerning of spirits. This can also apply to other gifts of the spirit.

  • Read you Bible and become knowledgeable in the word.  Satan would love to plant doubt and confusion, much like what he did with Eve in the garden when he said:   “Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
  • Confirm what you are sensing with others around you.  It´s o.k. to make a mistake. Recognizing these mistakes will only cause you to grow, and the Lord allows them to shape and mold you.
  • Make sure you don´t judge, calling it discernment.  Learn to listen, and don´t fall into judgment.
  • Have your heart right before the Lord. Our filter is our heart, so a heart of purity is needed with any spiritual gift.
  • Operate your gift in love.  Some people with this gift can operate in coldness and be very firm.  Remember, we do not fight against flesh and blood, so please operate in love at all times.
  • True discernment is based on love, false discernment is based fear and not trusting.

Here is a Biblical example of the gift of discerning of spirits in operation.

Act 16:16-18  Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”  And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

What this girl was saying was true, but the Apostle sensed the spirit behind what she was proclaiming was not of God.  Of course, he was right.

Grow your gift

If you have this gift or any other spiritual gift, water it and have it grow.   How?   Ask God to increase your gift.  Look for opportunities to use them.  Look for others with this gift and learn from them.  Join a prayer/intercessor group.

This gift is very important, it is part of God´s gift to us to protect us from error, of which I am very thankful for.

 

 

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Are you giving out of your abundance?

When you think of giving, do you think of money?  This is usually the case for most people, but do you know you can give something far more valuable than money?

In the 9th chapter in book of Acts, Ananias was called by God to go see Saul of Tarsus.  Saul of Tarsus would persecute the Christians, and his reputation went before him. Ananias did not want to pay him a visit, but the Lord assured him he (Saul)  was a chosen vessel of God, to bear His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

Ananias obeyed, and in doing so, he prayed for Saul. What happened next was awesome.  Saul, who was blinded on the road to Damascus, regained his sight, arose and was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Ananias did not offer food, clothing or housing.  He did not offer Saul money. Instead, he prayed for him, and Saul received healing.

I have come across many a Ananias in my life.  These were people that encouraged me, prayed for me, provided words of wisdom, and correction among many other things.   Because I have been received so much from others, I look for opportunities where I can give back.

I do not know how much of a relationship Ananias had with Saul throughout the years, but one thing is sure. Ananias was instrumental and a key part in Saul´s life, who later became the Apostle Paul.

What would have happened if Ananias did not obey God?

So I ask myself, how have I been an Ananias to others that cross my path?  Do I  meet their needs, do I pray for them, invite them to a cup of coffee or lunch?  Do I offer counseling, advice, encouragement or correction?

What would our lives be like if we choose not to offer of our abundance?   I think it would be a lonely life.   We all have something of value to offer; good conversation, guidance, prayer, support, and correction when needed.

Where would I be today had it not been for the many Ananias that have crossed my path?

I do know this.   All we have is from God, and He loves it when we give it away.  When we give, God loves to give back more.

Are you giving out of your abundance?  If not try it, it will bring joy and fulfillment to your life.

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How to overcome sin

When you sin, what do you think and feel?  Do you feel guilt, shame, remorse? Do you receive thoughts such as God does not love me and He is mad?

Many people,  myself included would suffer guilt for sinning. I  would feel God would be mad or angry, and would not approach Him out of guilt.

The truth is we can’t win God´s love. He already loves us with an everlasting love. Neither can we earn salvation, it is a gift from God freely given to us. Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us to God,  for us to have direct access to the Father. We are born in sin and remain sinners.

There is good news.  Christ blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness, and he makes us whole. When God sees us, He does not see our sin, he sees how His Son´s blood covers us and makes us clean.

This does not go without saying we should confess our sin.  Try not to focus on your sin and dwell on it, but do ask for forgiveness.  If we continue to focus where we failed,  we are not looking to Jesus who has the power to give us to overcome the sin.

How do we overcome our sin?

Focus on Jesus, his death, and sacrifice for us. Give thanks. In doing so, we are no longer focusing on ourselves, but looking towards Jesus.  Receive His forgiveness, and it is important to forgive yourself.

You could go deeper and ask the Lord the root cause if it is a continual sin, and receive healing in that particular area.

The goal is to be changed from glory to glory and to be honest with yourself.  In doing so, your service to the Kingdom of God will be enhanced, and your life fulfilled.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

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