Tag Archives: prayer

Reformation Day: A Day to Celebrate!

A Holy-Day to Celebrate

You probably know that today is Halloween. But did you realize that it is also Reformation Day?

reformation day

And did you know that Reformation Day is a fantastic thing to celebrate?

Reformation Day
from the movie “Luther”

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the wooden door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany. This was the spark which fueled the Protestant Reformation and some remarkable changes for the world.

Posthumous Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustine Monk
Posthumous Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustine Monk

God used Martin Luther in a dramatic way to restore freedom and truth to His people. Luther had some significant flaws in both his doctrine and character. However, God gifted Luther with many profound spiritual insights, as well as the courage and conviction to defend those Biblical truths.

As he studied the Scriptures, Luther re-discovered this glorious truth:

We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift. It cannot be earned, bought, or sold.

This wonderful news, like a precious jewel, had been buried under thick layers of distortion and corruption within the Church. Luther retrieved this valuable gem, dusted off the deception, and held it up so that others could experience its beauty again.

Luther also re-discovered the key doctrines of the priesthood of all believers and the authority of the Scriptures. He taught that Church leadership was not infallible. For his refusal to recant some of his convictions, Luther suffered excommunication from the Church and threats to his life.

Luther Before the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner (1843–1915)
Luther Before the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner (1843–1915)

Reformation Day reminds us to thank God for the free gift of salvation, for the Scriptures that we hold in our hands, and for the direct access that we have into the Presence of God Almighty.

Ways to Celebrate

Here are several ways you may want to celebrate Reformation Day at your house:

  1. Watch the movie Luther. (The entire movie, in two parts, is posted on youtube. The movie is rated PG-13 and is not appropriate for children. )
  2.  If you have young children, they will enjoy coloring pictures of Luther’s shield and learning about its interesting symbols. You can find fun activities for children at these sites:
    *http://www.blessedbeyondadoubt.com/reformation-day-activities/
    *http://theroadto31.com/2013/10/celebrating-reformation-day-like-christian.html
    *http://www.sojournkids.com/blog/2010/10/reformation-day-party-plan
  3. Sing or read the lyrics to A Mighty Fortress is Our God, written by Luther in 1529.
  4. Prepare a German supper. (I think German-chocolate cake qualifies, don’t you?)
  5. You can read more about Luther through many resources, but this website is unique in giving an easy-to-understand translation of the Ninety-Five Theses: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/the-reformation/the-95-theses-a-modern-translation/
  6. Enjoy some great Luther quotes (below).

Quotes by Luther

Prayer

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

Pray, and let God worry.

Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness.

All teachers of Scripture conclude that the essence of prayer is simply the lifting up of the heart to God. But if this is so, it follows that everything else that doesn’t lift up the heart to God is not prayer. Therefore, singing, talking, and whistling without this lifting up of your heart to God are as much like prayer as scarecrows in the garden are like people.

I have often learned much more in one prayer than I have been able to glean from much reading and reflection.

Scripture

The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.

Faith

This is true faith, a living confidence in the goodness of God.

The heart overflows with gladness, and leaps and dances for the joy it has found in God. In this experience the Holy Spirit is active, and has taught us in the flash of a moment the deep secret of joy. You will have as much joy and laughter in life as you have faith in God.

Faith is the “yes” of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.

We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.

Therefore, when some say good works are forbidden when we preach faith alone, it is as if I said to a sick man: “If you had health, you would have the use of your limbs; but without health the works of your limbs are nothing” and he wanted to infer that I had forbidden the works of all his limbs.

The two chief things are faith and love. Faith receives the good; love gives the good. Faith offers us God as our own; love gives us to our neighbor as his own.

Marriage

Katharina von Bora, Luther's wife, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526
Katharina von Bora, Luther’s wife, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.

One learns more of Christ in being married and rearing children than in several lifetimes spent in study in a monastery.

Other

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.

Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.

Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.

Happy Reformation Day!

Turn Your “Hit-or-Miss” Prayers into Targeted Prayer Strategies

What are your prayer strategies? Could you use some?

prayer strategies

We understand that we are in a spiritual battle. We “wrestle not with flesh and blood,” but against spiritual forces. We wage this battle through prayer, fighting on our knees.

But do we understand the need for clear battle strategies? Do we fling our prayers out in a hit-or-miss fashion, or do we have a defined plan and target?

We need focused prayer strategies which will effectively devastate the works of our spiritual enemy. But what are these strategies? And how do we get them?

To develop a successful strategy, we must
1) evaluate the methods of the enemy,
and then
2) devise a plan to counter those schemes.
The strategy is both offensive and defensive.

3 Steps to a Powerful Strategy

The enemy’s primary strategy is to deceive.  Here, then,  is how you can develop the prayer strategies that you need to be victorious:

1. What lies does the enemy tempt you to believe? What lies does he tempt your spouse or family member to believe? Identify those specific lies. Those are the specific weapons that you must oppose through prayer.

2. What truth defeats those lies? Stockpile Scriptures which specifically express the truth which will demolish the deception that the enemy is using.

3. Pray those Scriptures, and believe that truth. As you do that, you are using a definite prayer strategy to gain spiritual victory. You are fighting effectively, with precision and with power.

prayer strategies

An Example

For example, if I am struggling with discouragement, I can develop a targeted prayer strategy by using those three steps:

  1. What lie am I believing? Perhaps God’s Spirit shows me that I am believing this lie: “my success comes from visible accomplishments.”
  2. What truth defeats that lie? The Scripture says that my success lies in my obedience to Christ. My goal is to please Christ—not impress others or myself.
  3. My prayer strategy is to pray these Scriptures:

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8, NLT)

“Walk in obedience” to the LORD, “so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you do.” (1 Kings 2:3, NIV and NLT)

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

A Helpful Resource

prayer strategies

I recently read Priscilla Shirer’s new book Fervent, which is a resource designed to accompany the movie War Room. The book’s subtitle is A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. (These strategies form a powerful battle plan for men, too!)

Priscilla does a fantastic job of examining nine definite prayer strategies, each discussed in a separate chapter. I like the way she begins each chapter with a short analysis of the enemy perspective. It is very helpful for us to grasp that! It is precisely what C.S. Lewis creatively expressed in his Screwtape Letters. When we understand the enemy’s viewpoint and objectives, we can develop powerful counter-strategies.

Next week, I will share a couple of the prayer strategies from Fervent.

A Giveaway for YouImage courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thanks to B&H Publishing, I have a copy of Fervent to give away. Simply leave a comment on this post if you would like to be entered into the drawing for a chance to win a copy of Fervent. This book will encourage and strengthen your prayer life.

 

The ABC’s of Praise

the ABC's of praise

On the Thursday prayer call recently, we “entered His courts” by thinking through the letters of the alphabet in order to list praiseworthy things about God. I like to use this simple method because it quickly brings to mind many words that I can use to express my gratitude and adoration. You might like to try this, too!

the ABC's of praise

ABC's of praise

1590NQYUV2XEYI

1590I1K2XTNX69

15904F5RZXHCKF

Join us!

prayerYou are invited to join us as we “fight on our knees” every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern time).  Join us either by phone or online as we pray for marriages and families. The call lasts only 15 minutes.

To join us by phone, simply  call 1-323-920-0091. When prompted, enter the access code 022 5211.

(Callers are in “listen-only” mode, so you need not worry about being put “on the air” or about having background noise around you.)

 To join us online as we pray, click HERE.

I look forward to praying with you on Thursday!

 

Something New Today …

I am trying something new today.

I would like to share with you a presentation called “Battle Strategies in Prayer: How to Fight on Your Knees.” In this slide-show, I discuss  several aspects of effective prayer. These are spiritual principles that we can learn from Old Testament battle accounts.

May God bless you as you join Him in fighting for your marriages and families.

 

“Her” Prayer

Last week, I shared with you a husband’s prayer. Today I want to share with you a wife’s prayer, based on Scripture. May God honor your prayers as you honor Him.Differently His and Hers

I thank You, LORD, for my husband and for Your awesome design in creating him; thank You for shaping him for greatness, for strength, and for success. Thank You for using my husband to bless me, and thank You for giving me the privilege of serving You by serving him. Help me to serve him well.

By Your Spirit, I submit today to my husband’s needs. Give me insight into those needs; give me the desire and the ability to minister well to those needs. Help me to bring him good, not harm, every day of my life. I pray that he would be able to have full confidence in me and that he would lack nothing that I could provide for him.

Help me to respect my husband today in ways that are meaningful to him; show me how to encourage him, affirm him, and add strength to him. Help me to supply to him what he cannot supply to himself. Keep me in awe of who You made him to be.

Help me to support him in the responsibility that You have given him to be the “head” woman-praying-840879-min this marriage. I recognize that he has an accountability before You that I do not have. Help me to respect and appreciate the weight that You have placed on his shoulders; help me to cooperate with him in Your plan.

Help me to be a wise woman who builds her house of marriage; please don’t let me tear it down with my own foolish hands. Show me how to use the “tool” of relationship skills that You have given me to create, not to destroy. Give me the wisdom to know how to build my husband up; give me the understanding I need to establish a strong friendship with him. Give me knowledge of my husband and of Your ways so that the “rooms” of our marriage will be filled with the “rare and beautiful treasures” of laughter, kindness, acceptance, and forgiveness.

Help me to keep a quiet spirit before my husband–a calm, peaceful spirit that trusts You. Keep me from controlling or manipulating,  condemning or rejecting. Help me to specialize in reverence and purity. Make me beautiful by making me holy, no longer belonging to myself but delighting in belonging to You. Give me the wisdom and the strength to do what is right. Help me not to be afraid but to trust You.

Help me to keep a continual “welcome!” in my spirit, accepting my husband graciously for who he is. Help me to keep choosing to like him and to keep determining to enjoy him. Allow me to see through his eyes so that we will experience the oneness that You have given us; knit us together as You desire.

Thank You, LORD.

(Genesis 2:18; Proverbs 14:1; 24:3-4; 31:11-12; Ephesians 5:22-23; Philippians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Titus 2:4)

Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 3)

How are you praying for your marriage? Here is a prayer, based on Scripture, that will enable you to fight for your marriage using “the sword of the Spirit”:

LORD, I lift this marriage to You. In the spiritual realm, I want to surround this marriage with prayer and praise, just as the Israelites surrounded Jericho. “Marching” around this marriage, I honor Your Name as holy. I acknowledge You as Sovereign Lord, and I declare that this marriage belongs to You and that I belong to You.

Lord, fight for us! By Your own right arm, intervene. Tear down every satanic stronghold in our spirits.¹ Bring it down to the dust—shattered, never to rise again.Tear down every stronghold built upon rebellion against You and built upon the lies of lust, greed, and pride.

In the Name of Jesus, I ask that  “the strong man,” the enemy of this marriage, be bound.² Bind up his lies; bind up his accusations and condemnations. In the Name of Jesus, I pray that the captives be set free.

I ask that every wicked scheme of the evil one be thwarted. I ask You to throw the forces of darkness into disarray; rout the enemy through division and confusion so that the enemy is utterly defeated. I pray that no weapon forged against us will prevail.³

Expose what the enemy is causing to fester in the dark, and reveal Yourself as the Healer and the Victor.  Make us aware of enemy tactics, and reveal to us the lies that we are believing.  By Your Spirit, flood our spirits with powerful truth, overwhelming and displacing every deception. Scatter the darkness with a mighty unleashing of liberating and healing Light.

Keep us from thinking that we are each other’s enemies; cause us to know that Satan is the enemy. Deliver us from the decaying disease of  self-centeredness, and free us to feast on Your glory. Deliver us from thinking that this covenant of marriage demands too much and takes too much from us; free us to know that giving to one another is what heals and enriches us. Break the chains that tell us we must protect ourselves and provide for ourselves; free us to know that You “withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11, NLT). Set us free as we believe that You are trustworthy, that You are the unfailing Need-meeter, that You redeem our pain with glory, and that all our joy is found in You.

O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done and will do marvelous things, things planned long ago. I trust in You, and You save us. (adapted from Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

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¹ Specifically name any strongholds that God has revealed to you, such as anger, an addiction, a critical spirit, bitterness, or fear.
² Matthew 12:29
³ Isaiah 54:17
• Other Scriptures used are Isaiah 59:16, Isaiah 25:12, 1 John 2:16, Isaiah 61:1, Isaiah 54:17, 2 Corinthians 2:11, and Ephesians 6:12.

See also:
Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 2)

Shared with Woman to Woman Ministries

Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 1)

“LORD, I lift this marriage to You. I ask You to put Your hedge of protection around this marriage and to thwart every enemy scheme against it.

‘Catch for us the little foxes’ that would eat away at this relationship–the little foxes of busyness and the little foxes of unresolved hurt feelings (Song of Songs 2:15). Help us to see beyond the surface issues of the physical realm; help us to see the deeper realities of the spiritual realm all around us.

Please give us new insight into one another; give us new understanding of one another’s needs and struggles. Help us to have hearts that always move toward one another and that are always for one another. Give us the strength to do that even when our feelings are pushing us to turn away from one another or to turn against one another.”

Over the next few weeks, I would like to share with you a series of prayers for marriages. You may want to use these prayers for your own marriage, or you may want to use them as you pray for others.

I invite you, too, to share some of the ways in which you are praying for marriages.

May God bless you as you fight on your knees!

See also:
Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 2)

Encouraging Your Husband Spiritually

How can you encourage spiritual growth in your husband?

You could try leaving ID-10081339tracts on your husband’s pillow, reading Scripture loudly when he walks by, or keeping yourself busy by attending lots of church functions. You could, … but please don’t! It won’t work, and both of you will be miserable! Fortunately, God has given some trustworthy directives that won’t backfire. We can use the acronym RAPID to list several ways in which you can bless your husband, whether he is a believer or not.

Respect your husband. You may not respect everything that he does, but you can always respect the man God created him to be because he is an immortal spirit made in the image of God Almighty. Be continually aware that your husband is created for greatness and honor. He is designed for strength and success. Stay in awe of that.

Maintain a “zero-tolerance policy” against critical or demeaning thoughts of your husband in your own mind and spirit. Rehearse to yourself the truth of his great value. See his failings as brokenness and spiritual captivity, not as personal attacks that threaten your spiritual well-being.

Accept him. Accept him for who he is at his core.  Keep a warm “welcome” in your spirit to your man. When you communicate to him, “I accept you, and I desire you,” then your holiness becomes beautiful to him and can attract him to God.

Pray. Pray for yourself, and pray for your husband. Pray for insight into your husband’s needs and for wisdom on how best to minister to those needs. Pray for God to show you how to respect your husband in ways that are meaningful to him. Pray for God’s work in your husband’s heart–not that your life will be more pleasant, but that his life will be more blessed.

Invite your husband. God has designed wives to be like fragrance, inviting their husbands into holiness. We are called by God to be magnets that draw our husbands to God; we are not called to be whips that drive our husbands to God.

Your faith will be inviting to your husband when it makes you inviting–that is, joyful, pleasant, and cooperative. A woman who is critical and unhappy does not make her God appealing.

ID-10034285Determine to enjoy him. Make it a matter of your will, not your feelings. Insist upon enjoying him. “Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day …” (Eccl. 9:9, MSG). Focus on strengthening your friendship with him.

Become a 1 Peter 3 woman. God will give you a resting, calm spirit as you trust Him. Draw your strength and encouragement from Scripture, from prayer, and from godly girlfriends who will encourage your marriage commitment.

Be assured that God wants you right where you are to serve Him in a very powerful and significant way. God will be faithful to meet your needs so that you are then able to minister to your husband.

May God bless you in special ways as you serve Him in your marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Want a Husband who Leads?

Women, do you ever wish that your husband were more of a leader in your marriage … or more involved with the family? If so, you are not alone. Women often say that they long for their husbands to become stronger leaders; some wives even say that they feel desperate for their husbands to show greater leadership in their homes. If you would like to encourage the leader in your husband, here are several things that you can do:

1. Recognize that you probably have relational abilities that your husband does not have in the same way that you do. That’s okay; he has abilities that you don’t have. Look for the unique strengths that he does have. Appreciate the ways in which he contributes to the family according to God’s design for him. His gifts are different from yours, but that it is good because that means that your family is doubly blessed!

2. Continue to graciously invite your husband to be involved with the family, but refuse to be resentful if he declines. Look for ways of connecting that work well for your husband, and gently build on those. Let go of the ways that aren’t comfortable for him right now.

3. One of the greatest blessings you can give your children is to teach them to honor their father. You can do this both by instruction and by modeling.  “Translate” your husband’s hard work (and other commendable things) as active love to them. Help them to see and to appreciate his ways of showing love. It is possible for children to be more harmed by mothers who model dishonor than by fathers who work long hours.

4. Often, when women say they want their husbands to be leaders, they mean that they want their husbands to do certain “spiritual” things. But wives should feel free to let go of their expectations and their sense of need in this area. When God says that the husband is “the head” in a marriage, this means that the husband is responsible to God for the well-being of his wife. This is an accountability issue between the man and God; it is not, as women often think, a particular list of chores for the man, such as leading family devotions or praying each night with his wife. Those are great things, of course; but that is not the core issue of headship.

5. A woman strengthens her husband’s leadership by following him. She doesn’t make him a leader by leading him. As wives, our assignment is to cooperate with our husbands more than to correct them.

scaffolding6. A woman is most powerful in advancing God’s work in her husband when she prays for her husband and serves him according to his needs. As wives, we build a platform when we trust and obey God; upon that platform, God then builds marriages and men.

7. We were designed to invite our husbands, using the fragrance of “purity and reverence,” into a deeper relationship with God; we were not created to push them into it. The goal of a godly wife is not to change her husband; it is to make God attractive to him. She does this by letting the Spirit shape her into a woman who is peaceful, honoring, welcoming, and supportive. It is often a woman’s warm acceptance of her husband and her unconditional respect for him that most compellingly draws him to her God.

God has encouragement for you! He wants you to trust Him, to be content with His timing and His plan, and to be satisfied with His goodness and faithfulness to you. Your quiet, steady trust in God and your respectful building-up of your husband will create a platform upon which your husband can grow. When we take our shaping hands off our husbands and instead put uplifting hands and prayers under them, then God is able to be the Shaper. He will shape our spirits, our marriages, and our joy.

1195576_giving_hands

 

 

 

 

Head Signs

Old Testament Nazarites, such as Samson, wore long hair as a symbol of consecration to God. In the New Testament, married women wore long hair as a symbol of marital consecration. The Scriptures say that this sign of submission is important “because of the angels” (1 Corinthians 11:10, NIV). Could it be that godly submission to a husband provides a wife with a spiritual covering which is recognized by angels?

The writer of Hebrews tells us that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:4). Do angels see a spiritual mark, as it were, on godly wives, indicating that these are the ones whom the angels are to serve?

A man who is not considerate and honoring toward his wife loses spiritual strength; his prayers become impotent. (See 1 Peter 3:7.) Perhaps in the same way, a woman who is not submitted in spirit to the needs and glories of her husband loses the personal ministering of angels to herself.

Although the sign on the head need not be literal, the spiritual principle is firmly established: the way we obey God in our marriages has profound implications for our spiritual status—and, therefore, our entire being.