Jesus uttered today’s Weekend Wisdom to his disciples after they could not heal the demon possessed boy – talk about poor customer service! Then the father escalated the situation up to the man he knew could cast out the demon harming his son.
After casting out the demon, Jesus told His disciples in private why they could not cast out the demon.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Jesus Christ Matthew 17:20 New International Version (NIV)
So what mountains in your life have you not been able to move?
In the book Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, author Mark Batterson reminds us to speak to the mountain about our God. (Day 14)
After all, it took only one little stone from David’s slingshot to take out the “mountain” Goliath who used fear to keep the Israelites shaking in their boots. David had faith in his God and told Goliath
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45 (NIV)
Imagine the mountains you will move after developing faith the size of a mustard seed.
Here is my prayer, the prayer of a history lover, based on the verse selected for this National Day of Prayer.
Dear Holy, Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father,
I thank you for being Holy, Gracious and Loving.
Forgive We the People for not being filled with the knowledge of Your glory, particularly as it relates to the history of our country. Forgive us for forgetting our history and Your involvement in our country’s founding.
May We the People not just see and know your glory in the present and the future but let us develop an interest in history so We the People will spend time researching and understanding the knowledge of Your glory the founder fathers possessed.
May We the People visit the past to learn what the founding fathers knew about You. They wove the knowledge of your glorious presence through out our founding documents and in events and speeches (including sermons) that happened in the decades leading up to our independence.
May We the People in times of national crisis cling to your words in the Bible and to the Constitution as Your glory is woven through out both. The health and safety of We the People of the United States does not mean our constitutional rights get thrown overboard.
So most Holy, Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father, protect us from the evil one who is using politics, religion, and this virus, (among other things), to pit We the People against one another in an effort to prevent us from enjoying Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
For it is Your name and reputation at stake – not that of us mere mortals.
In Your son Jesus’ Holy and Precious name I do pray.
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Thank you God for nourishing the earth with raintoday.
Today, Ohio starts it’s journey back to economic prosperity. It will be a slow process but we will get our economy soaring to new heights. We have to, work is all there is to do in Ohio as a lot of summer activities are already cancelled.
So I figured this is a very good time for another read through of Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge. Forty days of setting a foundation of prayer around Ohio’s new beginning.
If your state is either still in quarantine or just starting to get back to business as usual, I challenge you to get a copy and circle your state in prayer.
You do not have to start today but can start on any date that makes sense. If your state opens on May 15, then start on that date.
I have a regular spiral bound notebook as my journal for the next 40 days. Ohio got circled in blue pen this morning, but I have my watercolor pens ready to use in drawing daily circles around Ohio. It will be fun to see what this page looks like in 40 days.
Now while I am challenging you to pray for your state the next 40 days, God may overrule me and want you to pray for another area of your life, such as work, family, or friends.
Listen to God.
Circle in prayer what He tells you to circle.
In the introduction to Draw the Circle, Batterson writes:
If you press into God’s presence like never before, you will experience God like never before.
Mark Batterson Draw the Circle The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
Considering the shape of Ohio and this country, we need to press into God’s presence more than ever. We the people have eliminated God from our lives and are fearing:
the terrors of the night
the arrow that flies in the day
the disease that stalks in darkness
the disaster that strikes at midday
Psalm 91 tells us not to fear these things. However not only are we fearing those things, we are listening and putting our trust in man, in our government, and believing every word they say as gospel truth.
Give your terrors, your fears, your state, our country, or some other area of your life over to God the next 40 days and see what God will do. Maybe He will do something big or maybe something small or maybe He will do nothing at all – until the 55th day.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
After the 40 days is over hopefully you’ve established a regular prayer routine. And hopefully Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 finds your state or another area of your life more prosperous, but if not, don’t despair as God answers prayers in His time not ours.
Just keep drawing the circle.
Stay humble. Stay patient. Stay focused.
Mark Batterson Draw the Circle, The 40 Day Prayer Challenge pg 20
I grew up in a Christian house and went to church with numerous relatives because I am related to 5 founding members.
John 3:16 was drilled into my head from a very, very young age.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
And so was prayer.
When I Learned What Prayer Could Do
I did not understand what prayer could do until I was six years old. My parents woke me up early, early one morning (about 2 a.m.) and told me my paternal grandmother had a stroke and they were going to the hospital. My maternal grandfather was sleeping downstairs if my sister and I needed anything. They asked me to pray for grandma.
God, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die. God please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die.
Me, when I was 6
I prayed that prayer over and over and over again until God sent the sandman to put me to sleep. The next morning I raced down the stairs and was informed that grandma had not died but she had a long recovery ahead.
Wow! God answered my prayer! The simple prayer of an innocent six-year-old.
That is when I realized what prayer could do.
However, once I moved away from home, I got lazy. Lazy about going to church and lazy in my prayer life.
Oh, I would occasionally say prayers throughout my life, but it was after Joe’s passing that my prayer life and relationship with God got stronger. It did not get stronger all at once but slowly over the years while dealing with grief, unemployment, and building a new life.
Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Psalm 27: 7-8
Prayer is not for God. Prayer is for you. It is your way to communicate with our heavenly Father, to develop and cement a relationship with Him. He wants to talk with every one of us.
If you are grieving try the second part of Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 New Living Testament (NLT)
For example:Lord you say weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Would you please let that morning arrive soon? Preferably tomorrow morning? In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.
That’s it. Just a simple little prayer. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.
Just remember God will answer that prayer – in His time, not yours. I know it is tough to wait for His time but His time will arrive.
So for the next 40+ days, including Sundays, pray about one thing in your life or a loved one’s life. Write it down on a piece of notebook paper or in a journal, draw a circle around it and pray about it daily.
Not sure yet what thing or area in my life I will be drawing a circle around in my notebook. I do know it will either be this blog or my job that will be the recipient of intense pray this Lent.
Pray as if God was your best friend because He is. He will never get tired of hearing your prayer request.
I encourage you to join me in making prayer an area of intense focus this Lenten season to jump start living a joyful life.
Resources:Draw The Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson – The perfect prayer guide for Lent or any 40 day period. Inspiring stories about answers to prayer. Also includes scripture and prayer prompts for your journey.
I am praying through this challenge right now and it is inspiring me to pray as if I were 6 years old again. It was at that age I learned the power of prayer.
It Was A Dark And Stormy Night
Actually, I do not know if it was dark and stormy out the night Mom and Dad woke me. All I know is that it was dark in my bedroom. They were headed to the hospital as Grandma Q. was very sick and I needed to pray for her. I prayed the following prayer will a whole lot of intensity:
“God, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die. God, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die.”
I prayed that prayer over and over and over and over and over again until I finally fell back asleep. It was prayed with the intensity, sincerity and boldness of a 6 year old who loved her grandma and did not want to lose her.
God answered my prayer that night as Grandma did not move to heaven for about another 20 years.
Changes So Far
This challenge is rekindling the intensity I had when I prayed that prayer. It is also teaching me to claim and circle the promises in the Bible.
Joshua 1:3 is the verse I have claimed and circled in regards to being able to keep my house.
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
Since God gave the Israelites everywhere they set their foot, surely He will help me keep everywhere I’ve set my foot in this house and backyard over the years. Yes, I know He will only do so, if it is His will.
Take Up, Don’t Give Up
So purchase a copy of Mark Batterson’s book and see how God will work in your life during lent. Taking up this challenge is better than giving something up for lent.