Symphony of Prayer

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”   Matthew 18:19-20

When I read this Scripture, I always envision a group of people joining together in prayer. For example, in our church, we often surround a person who has requested prayer and physically reach out and touch them while praying for them.   At other times, we hold hands and pray.  Of course, we can agree in prayer over the phone or even through emails.  Yet, I tend to think of Christians praying together in one place.

Tonight I was introduced to another way of thinking about this verse.   In his book Secrets of a Prayer Warrior,  Derek Prince offers a picture of Christians harmonizing in prayers, much as a symphony harmonizes.  Prince calls this harmonizing “the prayer symphony” and uses it to build a foundation for effective prayer.

According to Prince, the word translated as ‘agree’ comes the Greek word sumphoneo, or symphony.  He also states that ‘gathered together’ literally means ‘have been led together.’  As Christians, we are led by the Holy Spirit.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14) Therefore, Prince writes, this verse is telling us “that any time two or three have been led together by the Holy Spirit into a meeting place, which is the name of Jesus, then they can count on His presence.  Additionally, if these ones shall symphonize–come together in perfect harmony–concerning anything that they shall ask, then it will be done for them.”

If we think of agreeing and coming together as being led by the Holy Spirit to pray in harmony , we can come together in the spirit of prayer wherever we are and pray as we are all lead by the same Holy Spirit.  Prince likens Christians being led in prayer by the Holy Spirit as a conductor leading an orchestra of musicians through a musical score.  The conductor is the Holy Spirit, the musicians are the Christians being brought together, and the score is the Word of God.  As the read the score, His will is revealed to us so that we know how He would have us pray.

Prince continues, “With these components in place, the Holy Spirit lifts the baton of His authority and unites the playing of many different instruments.”  He then encourages each of us to consider prayer as “taking your place in the orchestra and playing your instrument.  You are not confined to one instrument, of course, although you probably have an affinity for a particular one.  These instruments are praise, thanksgiving, worship, petition, intercession, supplication, command, commitment, dedication, persistence, blessing, and cursing.”

I am excited to continue to read this book and discover more about prayer and the secrets of becoming a true prayer warrior.  As I come to the Lord in prayer, I will be encouraged to think of millions of Christians around the world joining in the Symphony of Prayer and playing their particular instruments as we agree together according to His Word.

Thwarting Plans

In my devotions currently I am reading through the Psalms.  This morning I came across Psalm 33:10 – 11, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the people.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. ”  I’ve read these verses before, many times, and they encourage me that God’s plans will come to fruition.  Yet today they struck me in a new way.

Christians often exhort one another to pray that God’s purposes will be fulfilled in our nation and in the lives of our family and friends.  And we should.  Our nation needs to turn our collective hearts back to serving God–the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Christians across our nation pray that our leaders will seek God’s guidance in decision-making, that our nation will repent of its sins, and that we will acknowledge our dependence on God.

Yet, Psalm 33:10 encourages us to do more.  It tells us that God will thwart the plans of those who oppose Him.  It says to me that I should pray deliberately for the plans of those who do not honor the Lord to fail.  I should pray not only for Congress to pass laws that are in keeping with God’s commands, but I should actively pray for the failure of bills that don’t agree with God’s word.  I should pray for our President to make decisions that honor God and to be dissuaded from decisions that do not honor God.

On the one hand, this differentiation might seem like mere semantics.  However, as I see it, praying for the failure of those whose who purposes are not in line with God’s will puts me on the offensive.  Many Christians in America are very passive concerning the government.  We pray as Christ taught us through the Lord’s prayer, “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done,   on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Matthew 6: 9, 10)  We feel that we have done our part by praying for God’s will to be done, and we sit  back and watch our nation move further and further from God.

The time has come for Christians to actively pray against the forces that are driving our nation from God.  We need to pray for God’s will to be done and we must pray for the plans of those whose purposes are not godly to be thwarted.   Our God is strong and mighty; He is fully capable of ‘foiling the plans of the nations’ and causing His plans and purposes to be achieved, if we ask Him.

I encourage you today to go on the offensive.  Begin to pray for God’s will to be done and for God to thwart the plans of those who oppose Him.  If Christians across this nation do so, I believe American can still be a nation under God.

Praying for Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse died earlier today, most likely of a drug overdose.  Although I was not an fan of Amy’s music and did not approve of her lifestyle, I was sadden by the news of her passing.  Only 27 years old, Amy should have had most of her life ahead of her.

The first time I remember hearing of Amy was in the fall of 2007 when an Internet news service ran of photo of a fornlorn Amy after her husband arrest.  I don’t typically read gossip about entertainers; however, I was drawn to Amy’s photo.  It was not her trademark beehive hairdo, her outlandish makeup, or the tattoos that covered her body that attracted my attention.  Rather , it was the desperate look in her eyes.  She reminded me of a lost child in need of help.  As I read the accompanying article, I learned that Amy was a talented but troubled young woman addicted to alcohol and drugs. 

I felt led to pray for Amy that day and occassionally since.  My prayers were that Amy would find her way to God.  Only God could provide the love and peace that Amy sought.  Alcohol and drugs could neither solve Amy’s problems nor allow her to hide from them.  In the end, it appears that they killed her.

Unfortunately, I have no reason to believe that Amy sought a relationship with God.  And now it is too late for her.  However, for anyone reading this, it is not too late.  God loves you and He sent his son Jesus to die for your sins.  Making Jesus your Lord and Savior is the only way to achieve true peace and happiness.  God wants to give you the wonderful life He planned for you. Won’t you let him?  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

A Prayer for the Twenty-first Century Proverbs 31 Woman

Heavenly Father, I thank you for preserving me as a virtuous woman for my husband.  I ask that your hand would be with me today, helping me to live virtuously and honorably before you.  I thank you for the trust and respect my husband has in me.  May I honor and bless him through my words and actions each day.

As I go through my day, help me to do good to my husband.  Bring to my mind each day ways to lighten his load and make our home a true haven of rest for him.   Help me to remember the small “touches” that let him feel cherished and appreciated.

Please be with me as I work to make my home more comfortable.   Give me creative and economical ideas and help me to incorporate these ideas into my home.  Help me to stretch our financial resources to meet the needs of my family; let me not bring stress to my family by living beyond our means.

I ask for guidance as I plan meals and shop for food for my family.  Let me make meals that are nutritious, economical, and delicious.  Help me to view cooking as a creative challenge and a way to show love to my family, and not as one of many mundane chores.  This also applies to laundry, dishes, and house cleaning—let me view them not as labor, but as labors of love.

Father, help me to rise early and spend some time with you and my husband before we start our busy days.  Please help me to rest well each night and get up feeling refreshed so that I can be a pleasant companion in the morning.  It is important for my husband and I to share some time and eat breakfast together before we leave the refuge of our home for our work places.

As I work, inside or outside of my home, help me to work enthusiastically and energetically.  My family and my boss deserve my best each day.  Help me to make wise decisions that will benefit my employer at work and my family at home.

I know, Father, that I need to take care of myself each day—making time for daily devotions, exercise, and a little pampering—so that I may be strengthened and renewed to care for my family.  Help me to make these activities priorities and to incorporate them into my daily schedule.

Help me, Lord, to be aware of the needs of each member of my family and to work to meet those needs—whether it is a need of new clothing, help with school work, individual attention from Mom, or discipline and instruction.

Help me to use my time wisely each day, while still allowing time for fun.  Help me to limit time spent in activities that are not productive or that bring no real pleasure, such as watching television shows I’m not really interested in or playing computer games.   Help me to redeem this time to talk, read, or play games with my family. 

Father, your Word tells us that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but good deeds done in your name will last through eternity.  Let me be particularly in tune to your voice encouraging me to write a letter, make a phone call, or say a kind word.  Help me to be generous to the poor and needy, to those who are lonely and need a friend, to a stranger who needs a smile and a kind word, and to friends who need encouragement. 

May I look to you each day, Lord, for wisdom to guide me through the day, and for the strength to be the woman you want me to be, so that my husband and children will feel loved and blessed.  Thank you, Father.

Praying God’s Word For My Family

When I was a young wife and mother, an older woman in my church shared that she prayed God’s Word over her family regularly. Soon God began opening my eyes to scriptures I should pray over my family.  I routinely did that for years, but lately I have gotten out of the habit.  God brought this to mind this morning as I read one of those prayers during my devotions.

In writing to the Colossians, Paul tells them that he prays for them continually, asking God to fill them with knowledge and wisdom so that they can live a life that honors God and bears much fruit (Col. 1: 9- 12).  I prayed Paul’s words daily for my husband during a period of great stress at work.  Over time I personalized it, asking God to let Steve be a light in his workplace and to give him wisdom to find solutions to the problems he was asked to solve. I believe that God does want us to be successful at work and that He is pleased when we ask Him to help in that regard. 

When my sons went off to college, I asked God to give them knowledge to do well in the classroom and wisdom to not get caught up in the many temptations of college campus life.  And when my sons married, I shared the prayer with their wives.  I hope their wives pray this prayer over my sons and my sons pray it for their wives, also. 

I’m recommitting myself to praying this prayer for my family and even myself.  I want to have God’s presence with me throughout my day.  You might consider asking a loved one to pray a personalized version of this prayer over you each morning? Wouldn’t it be uplifting to leave your home each day knowing that someone was asking God to be with you each moment, filling you with His wisdom and helping you to live a life that pleases Him?

  A Prayer for My Husband—Colossians 1: 9 – 12

 Dear Heavenly Father—

I pray for my husband today.

I ask that you would fill him with the knowledge of your will and that you would give him spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I ask this so that he might live a life worthy of you, Lord, and that he might please you in every way.

 I pray that he would bear fruit in every good work, that he would grow in the knowledge of you, that he would be strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so that he might have great endurance and patience,

And that he would joyfully give thanks to you, Father.

Amen