Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How To Pray For God's Power And Plan In Challenging Times

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God's Hand And Plan

In the history of the early church, we see tremendous growth (Acts 2-3) followed immediately by persecution (Acts 4) as Jewish leaders attempted to snuff out this small group of Jesus freaks. In Acts 4:24-31, we see the leaders of the church in Jerusalem gather to pray for God's help in the face of adversity:
When they heard this, they all raised their voices to God and said, “Master, You are the One who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and everything in them. You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David Your servant: 
Why did the Gentiles rage
and the peoples plot futile things?
The kings of the earth took their stand
and the rulers assembled together
against the Lord and against His Messiah. 
“For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. (Acts 4:24-31, HCSB).
In this prayer, we see five ways in which the early church leaders prayed for God's help in the face of challenging times.

5 Ways To Pray In Challenging Situations
  1. Start with a spirit of adoration. The early church opened their prayer with acknowledging that God was their Master. He is the One who made the entire universe. He is all-powerful and Almighty God.
  2. Remind God of His work in the past. These early church leaders then reminded God of His recent work and will concerning all that Jesus had to endure. This was understandably still fresh on their hearts and minds.
  3. Pray specifically about your current circumstances. Next, they prayed for the situation they found themselves - "consider their threats."
  4. Pray for boldness on our part as God's servants. After they asked God to consider the threats being made against them, they then asked the Father to give them boldness as they proclaimed the gospel message. They didn't want to live in fear of these threats.
  5. Pray for God's miracle-working power. Finally, they asked God to work miracles in a difficult situation. They looked to Him and His power. They were completely reliant on the supernatural power of the Lord.
Our God Answers Prayer!

Praise the Lord. We serve a God who answers prayer! Of course, we don't always receive the answer we desire, but God is always faithful to His promises and His hand will always accomplish His plan.

After His disciples prayed in Acts 4, God did grant them boldness. He filled them with the power of the Holy Spirit and they went out boldly proclaiming the gospel. God gave them exactly what they needed to accomplish His plan.

What challenges are you facing today in your life? How's your prayer life? Are you leaning on the power of God to accomplish His plan, or are you relying on your own strength and maybe even your own plans?

Follow these 5 steps as you pray through difficult circumstances and see God's strength revealed as He accomplishes His plan in and through your life.

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