Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Anguishing in Prayer" by Daniel Henderson

"Anguishing in Prayer"

Recently, I had the joy of preaching a message from Daniel 9:1-19, where we find a powerful, passionate prayer offered by Daniel on behalf of the people of Israel. The 70 years of captivity were about to end and the Jews would have the opportunity to return to Jerusalem. Daniel worshiped, confessed the sins of his people, and anguished over their spiritual condition. He was more concerned with what would happen in their hearts than he was about the superficial issues of simply changing locations with their newfound freedom to return home.

Clearly, Daniel’s prayer is a model for all of us. It is an example of the great need for spiritual anguish in our prayers. As we look around our nation, and particularly at the spiritual condition of the body of Christ, there is much to be grateful for – but there is also much that should stir a sense of spiritual anguish, marked by fervent confession, pleas for God’s mercy, and longings for a restoration of His power and presence.

The Secrets of a Heart of Anguishing Prayer

Let us look briefly at this prayer of anguish and then allow our own hearts to sense the need for a similar pursuit in our prayers.

1. Anguishing prayer is birthed from the truth of God’s word

We find that his reading of God’s word ignited Daniel’s prayer. Daniel 9:2-3 tells us that he had been reading the prophet Jeremiah (probably the portions we identify as Jeremiah 25:11-12 & 29:10). As a result, he was aware that the 70 years was almost over. His response was, “I set my face toward the Lord God…”

Even into his 80’s at this time, Daniel’s reading and deep understanding of God’s word led to deep and passionate prayer. In fact, further study reveals that much of his prayer comes right out of the Scriptures. There are allusions to Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Exodus, Psalms and, of course, Jeremiah. Throughout the prayer, Daniel referenced God’s “commandments” (verse 4), His “commandments and ordinances” (verse 5), the “prophets” (verse 6), God’s “teachings” (verse 10), God’s “Law” (verse 11), the “Law of Moses” (verses 11, 13), and God’s “truth” (verse 13).

John Piper tells how George Mueller said that for years he tried to pray without starting in the Bible in the morning. Inevitably, his mind wandered. Then he started with the Bible, and turned the Book into prayer as he read, and for 40 years he was able to stay focused and powerful in prayer. Piper then notes, “I have seen that those whose prayers are most saturated with Scripture are generally most fervent and most effective in prayer. And where the mind isn't brimming with the Bible, the heart is not generally brimming with prayer.“

2. Anguishing prayer is concerned with the honor of God’s name

Daniel’s petition is God-centered. At least 19 times, he makes reference to God, while man is referenced approximately 11 times (mostly in the context of confession of sin). In his prayer, Daniel speaks of God as the “great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy…“(9:4). He tells of how God’s mighty hand exhibited His great name (9:15). In verses 17-19 Daniel prays, “…for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine…the city which is called by Your name…because of Your great mercies…for Your own sake, my God…for Your city and Your people are called by Your name." Notice the God-oriented nature of the prayer – and Daniel’s passion for the glory of God’s name. It was this desire that led to deep confession (vv. 4-15) and a prayer of great faith (16-19).

Too many times our anguish is simply over our own inconveniences and trials. Thankfully, the Lord hears and cares. However, our ultimate concern should be that of Daniel’s. The fame and honor of God’s name is the deepest desire of a true Christ-follower.

3. Anguishing prayer is sustained by a longing for God’s presence

I love Daniel’s resolve in the phrase, “…then I set my face toward the Lord God…“(v. 3). As the English Standard Version says, “…seeking Him in prayer.” This was a face-to-face pursuit, where Daniel resolves with sackcloth, ashes, and fasting to pursue the ultimate reality of a revival of God’s presence among His people. That is why he prayed, “For the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate” (v. 17). In verse 20, he noted that his prayer was ultimately “for the holy mountain of my God.” This is a key to real anguish. It is not satisfied with superficial progress of the religious program but desires nothing less than a full manifestation of God’s presence.

In Exodus 33:15-18 Moses exemplifies this same passion. Even though God’s angel was going to lead them into the Promised Land, God said His intimate presence would not go with them. Moses resolved, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth." Then he cried out, "Please, show me Your glory."

This is the same vision for our lives that Paul articulated when he wrote, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Real anguish is dissatisfied with anything less.

4. Anguishing prayer is answered in accordance with God’s plan

Daniel 9:20-23 tells us of God’s answer to Daniel’s prayer of anguish. The angel Gabriel was sent speedily from God’s presence to give Daniel “skill to understand” God’s plan (v.22) and to assure Daniel that he was loved by God (v. 23). What ensues is the revelation of the “70 weeks” that would take place in the future as God restored Israel through the coming of the Messiah. Ultimately, we must also know that His Spirit will minister to us out of our anguish to teach us that His plan and timing are always best and to assure us of His never-failing love.

Will We Anguish?

It is strange how we can have a passion for our nation in other categories, but often fail to agonize over the spiritual condition of our land. We get excited about national sports, national news, national politics, and the national economy. Yet our great need is a sense of anguish over our spiritual condition as a nation. The greatest need in our nation is not better sports leagues, more political ideas, or even economic recovery. The great need is spiritual revival. So, how are we really anguishing about this?

I will never forget when this sense of anguish became so strong on my own heart that I felt compelled to leave the security of the pastorate in a very large local church and become a missionary by faith for the sake of spiritual renewal in our nation. The elders at Grace Church graciously said, “You could stay here and our church could grow to 10,000 or more – or, you can go and ignite renewal in 10,000 pastors and congregations. Which would have greater impact?” Their support reflected a God-given sense of God’s anguish over our nation. This anguish is something we all must feel at some level. Then we must act by praying, serving, going, and giving.

Recently, I had the privilege of leading a prayer time at the national headquarters for Life Action Ministries in Buchannan, Michigan. During one of our prayer sessions, we watched a video by David Wilkerson. (As a side note, you can view it for yourself at http://tiny.cc/zIm1L. I would URGE you to watch it and share it with others.) Read an excerpt from that video, and let it touch your heart:

“Whatever happened to anguish in the house of God? Whatever happened to anguish in the ministry? It’s a word you don’t hear in this pampered age. Anguish means, ‘extreme pain and distress – the emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute, deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you.’ Anguish – the sorrow and agony of God’s heart. We’ve held on to our religious rhetoric and our revival talk. But we’ve become so passive. All true passion is birthed out of anguish. All true passion for Christ comes out of a baptism of anguish. You search the Scripture and you find that when God determined to recover a ruined situation, He would share His own anguish for what God saw happening to His people. He would find a praying man and he would take that man and literally baptize him in anguish.”

Praying for Anguishing Prayer

Even though I am now giving my life for the cause of spiritual awakening, I feel a longing for an increasing anguish over this calling and the spiritual needs of the American church. My prayer is that you will share God’s heart at a deeper level for this same reality.

Let us pray for an anguish that is birthed from the truth of God’s word, concerned with the honor of God’s name, sustained by longing for God’s presence, and answered in accordance with God’s plan. This is God’s invitation to live lives that really matter.

Copyright © 2009 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prayer Points for the City

Please pray each day for one of the prayer points:

Prayer Points
1. Pray that the Holy Sprit will identify the key issues for prayer for your city.

2. Pray for a corporate unity throughout the city. That churches will come together in unity and offer prayer for your city.

3. Pray that the eyes of the spiritual leaders of the state would be enlightened to understand the corporate destiny of your city.

4. Pray that more Houses of Prayer would be established that would trumpet the sound from Heaven that will plunder the camps of the enemy in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.

5. Pray that the Hannahs, Esthers, Joshuas, Davids, Deborahs, Jaels and Baraks of your city would arise

6. Pray that new strategies of victory would be released for your city.

7. Pray your Church will have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Lord is saying in this hour and that we will grow in the knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:17-19).

8. Pray for discernment in your Church so that you will be able to understand the signs of the times (Matthew 16:3).

9. Pray for unity in the Church Body of your city (Psalm 133:1, John 17:21).

10. Pray for believers in your city to operate with boldness (1st John 4:17, Ephesians 6:19).

11. Pray for believers in your city to be passionate instead of passive (Rev. 3:14-22).

12. Pray that the Word of God may run swiftly throughout your city (Psalm 147:15).

13. Pray that the Church of your city will not war in the flesh but instead by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:3).

14. Pray that the Church in your city will see a release of the miraculous, that they may know the Lord has power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6, John 17:23).

15. Pray that the Church of your city would be zealous instead of apathetic (Numbers 25:11-13; Titus 2:14).

16. Pray that the Church of your city will fully preach the gospel in word and deed (Romans 15:18).

17. Pray that the plans of the enemy in your city will be exposed (Ephesians 5:11-13; 2nd Kings 6:12; Luke 12:3).

18. Pray that the Lord will be exalted and His glory will be revealed throughout the Church of your city, and that all things that exalt themselves above His name will be brought down (2 Corinthians 10:5).

19. Pray that the Church of your city will not have just have a form of godliness denying the power but rather they will walk in power in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen. (2 Timothy 3:5).

20. Pray that His Kingdom will come in your city.

21. Pray that JUSTICE will come forth in your city.

22. Pray that the Healing of the Lord would be poured out over your city, bringing a healing of relationships.

23. Pray that the eyes of any hate groups and religious cults members would be opened to the lies within them and that the Holy Spirit would convict them and granted a Spirit of Repentance.

24. Pray that the spirit of greed and mammon would be broken off of your city

25. Pray that the true revival would take place in the hearts of citizens of your city and that it would be reflected in the churches and that a revival that will change the core of your city will spring up

26. Pray that the pockets of revival would converge to form the banner of the Lord over your city

27. Pray that true worship would break through into the Heavenlies to release the Glory of the Lord over your City.

28. Pray that the prophetic redemptive gift of your city would come to its fullness.

29. Pray that the spirit of poverty will be broken over your city and that mindsets be changed to embrace a new and greater quality. Pray that the spirit of
mistrust be broken over believers in your city and release an increase of faith and trust resulting in a growing confidence in who God is (the Great I AM!).

30. Pray that the spirit of infirmity that has had full reign to kill, rob and destroy, be broken over your city releasing an anointing of healing that will manifest itself in signs, wonders and miracles. Pray for the grace of repentance to rest upon the believers and that healing might come to your land (II Chron. 7:14)

31. Pray that the spirit of religion be destroyed over your city releasing a willingness to embrace His will and ways paving the way for His Body to mature to the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13) and to do greater works than He (John 14:12).

32. Pray that as the prayer networks enlarges, the level of unity will increase connecting the dots (leadership, intercessors and marketplace people).

33. Pray that the cry for justice reach the throne of heaven and that Gods people be found faithful in shouting Restore! (Isa. 42:22)

34. Pray that the Church will embrace the Lords discipline to prepare her for the new wine.

35. Pray for wisdom and understanding.

36. Pray for specific strategies in helping believers in your city to fulfill destiny and that you would have understanding of the times and seasons that you might know what to do. Pray for the return of sons & daughters.

37. Pray that church would realize the urgency of the hour and the opportunity that is available this hour. Pray that faith would rise in your midst to lay hold of that for which you have been apprehended (Phil. 3:12)!

38. Pray for the poverty mindset to be broken off of the people and for a shift to prosperity for Kingdom extension to take place.

39. Pray for open doors for the Gospel and for churches to be formed in your city.

40. Pray for those who are godless and corrupt in the city government to be replaced.

41. Pray for a shift from being a "taking/receiving" city to a "giving/blessing" city.

42. Pray for the art community (music, writing, art, etc.) to shift from glorifying Satan's kingdom to glorifying God's kingdom. 43. Pray for the total destruction of witchcraft and all forms of occult religion.

44. Pray for prayer coordinators in every Christian church in your city to arise.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kneeling Christian

In Kneeling Christian, a mighty prayer warrior once said, “Do you realize that there is nothing the devil dreads so much as prayer? His great concern is to keep us from praying. He loves to see us ‘up to our eyes’ in work—provided we do not pray. He does not fear if we are eager Bible students—provided we are little in prayer. Someone has wisely said, ‘Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.’”

What we need most in our world is not more money, more education, or more ideas, books, or strategies. We need hands lifted up in prayer. “We can accomplish far more by our prayers than by our work,” says the Kneeling Christian. “Prayer… can do anything God can do! When we pray, God works.”

I hope and pray that God will be able to work powerfully to build His kingdom through your prayers

About the Author

Dr. ALvin VanderGriend is currently the Prayer Evangelism Associate for Harvest Prayer Ministries. He has authored several books on prayer, including Love to Pray!, and co-authored The Praying Church Sourcebook. He is the co-founder of the Denominational Prayer Leaders Network and serves on America's National Prayer Committee.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Date

In order to accomadate those that want to participate, the Prayer Walk date is moved to October 03, 2009. Keeping watching for more updates.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rock, Skate, Roll, Bounce! Lets Pray!

Some would say what does the title of a hip hop song have to do with my staying on course in my walk with Christ?
Psalm 112:7
He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
An interesting thing happened to me today. I had a certain store I needed to get to and I go there almost every two weeks. Today I decided to go there from a different direction which was fine until I took a wrong turn. From that point on I kept going in circles trying to get to my destination. I even hit a couple of road blocks where traffic was backed up in every direction. I never made it to my final destination; instead I went home a little frustrated and tired.
Our walk with Christ is very similar. We start out on course and along the way life gets in the way and distracts us from the course in which we started. Chuck Swindle gave a wonderful analogy of our walk with Christ: it’s like riding on the back of a bike with Christ. We’ll start out on a smooth ride and then hit bumps and rocks along the way; we’ll even ride down into the deep valleys and come back up again. Then the path will smooth out and we’ll roll and or skate along until the next bump. By then we are out of sorts and flustered wondering what to do next. Rock, Skate, Roll, Bounce.
In the next two weeks as you prepare for the prayer walk, you will run into spiritual warfare and everyday life will attempt to distract you from the course. If God has purposed in your heart to pray, stay on course! There may be work issues, family problems, finances whatever the case may be. God will be glorified in the prayer walk and that is the last thing that the enemy wants. Life will come at us hard as we prepare to worship, pray and intercede for our city. In Ephesians 6, Paul reminds us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and to put on the whole amour of God. He also says, Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
How do we do this, with life coming at us from all directions? We keep our mind focused on Christ by praising Him, prayer and in the reading of His word. Isaiah 26:3 says, You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. When warfare hits or when life issues distract us, we have to recognize it for what it is and stay on course. We have to roll with it by trusting that God is in control, and bounce back by continuing to rely on Him. Roll bounce.
When we keep our focus on Christ, we find that can we move in perfect harmony with Him, even when the road gets bumpy.
Saints, I encourage you to remain steadfast! Keep on course. Fast and pray, pray and fast. God will be glorified in your faithfulness. Roll bounce.

1 Corinthians 15:57-58
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Ephesians 6:10-19
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Friday, July 31, 2009

E. M. Bounds on Prayer

We can do nothing without prayer. All things can be done by importunate prayer. It surmounts or removes all obstacles, overcomes every resisting force and gains its ends in the face of invincible hindrances.

Faith, and hope, and patience and all the strong, beautiful, vital forces of piety are withered and dead in a prayerless life. The life of the individual believer, his personal salvation, and personal Christian graces have their being, bloom, and fruitage in prayer.

God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them.

Prayer is of transcendent importance. Prayer is the mightiest agent to advance God's work. Praying hearts and hands only can do God's work. Prayer succeeds when all else fails.

The goal of prayer is the ear of God, a goal that can only be reached by patient and continued and continuous waiting upon Him, pouring out our heart to Him and permitting Him to speak to us. Only by so doing can we expect to know Him, and as we come to know Him better we shall spend more time in His presence and find that presence a constant and ever-increasing delight.

It is only when the whole heart is gripped with the passion of prayer that the life-giving fire descends, for none but the earnest man gets access to the ear of God.

Come pray with us!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why Prayer Walk

If we take a closer look at our city, Sacramento is facing a serious economic crisis. The unemployment rate is at an all time high, double digits in fact. A year ago the unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent. State workers have been forced into a third furlough day. Homes are still being foreclosed daily. Some are forced to short sale their homes. In addition to this with the state budget crisis, there is a huge impact on our businesses and local economy which impacts each of us personally. Due to the recent budget agreement, the city is being forced to cut public transportation, shut down parks, pools and our education system is facing huge cuts as well. With the third furlough addition, it translates into a 14 percent pay cut for state workers. According to the Sacramento Bee, this will cost the region $500 million to $600 million over the next 12 months. State workers make up almost 10 percent of the regions work force.

Recently I felt led to read and meditate on 2 Chronicles 20. Although I’ve read the story many times before, I could not help but reflect on the dilemma Judah faced with the news of imminent attack from several armies. How vulnerable they must have felt. While Sacramento may not be facing attack from armies of men, our city is facing a similar warfare in the form of an economic downfall. The aftermath of an economic crisis can be just as devastating to a city and its people as being in a war or battle. People are left disheartened, bruised and without hope. I can’t think of a more opportune time to come together as a city to pray corporately for our city.

When Jehoshaphat first heard the news of the battle, he was afraid but he did not panic. He sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast though out all of Judah. Fasting is a powerful tool which can result in a spiritual atomic bomb that pulls down strongholds and releases the power of God into your life and the life’s of others. No wonder Jehoshaphat used fasting as a line of defense. His first line of defense was in seeking the Lord.

It is in seeking the Lord’s face by coming together as a city to pray for our city, that we can bring about change into the lives of others. Due to our economic status an already hurting people are hurting even more and are unsure about their futures. Prayer can change that by bringing about restoration and hope. Like with Judah the battle clearly belongs to the Lord, but through our worship and prayers we can bring about change. It does not start and stop with the prayer walk, but with a life style of praying and always praying we can do wonders for our city, through Christ. Come pray with us!

2 Chronicles 20:5-9Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? 7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8 And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save. 10 And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— 11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

Thursday, July 23, 2009

City Gates

It's been a long haul preparing for this prayer walk. At one point we thought it would not be possible to get it done. There were many obstacles to overcome. Thats how it is in our walk with God. We go through so many rockly paths and deep valleys that the task we are trying complete seems endless and impossible. The one thing I kept hearing was, Why would we not pray? God say's to pray without ceasing so why would we not pray? People are hurting, why would we not pray? People need hope, why would we not pray? Our city needs hope, why would we not pray?

That was the drving force to keep us going. That small sweet voice saying over and over again, why would we not pray?

There is nothing sweeter than the voices of Gods people crying out to Him.

Oh God, my prayer is that you would call your people to you! That we would come with humble hearts seeking your face, oh God. Enable us, empower us to come before you and ask for forgiveness, that You oh God may heal our land.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

City Gates

The vision was birthed during a prayer leadership meeting. Why not Prayer Walk? What would be our objective? Why not pray for the city? There is so much going on. People are losing their homes and jobs. Marriages and families are falling apart. People are hurting. People are anxious.

2 Chronicles 7:14

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Oh that man would pray! How great and awesome is the voice of one calling out to God in complete surrender. This is our vision, this is our hope.

Please join us on a 'journey' as we prepare to Prayer Walk for the city of Sacrament.