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.