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May I make a very bold statement?

You cannot be a Christian and not pray. It simply defies logic. To be Christ-like is following and adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  One thing was very clear about Jesus…He prayed!

He prayed at the beginning of his ministry on earth. Jesus prayed and the heaven was opened up and the Spirit descended on him like a dove.  (Luke 3:21-22)

Jesus withdrew for a time of prayer. He often went on the mountainside to pray.  He prayed late at night. (Matthew 14;23), He got up early to pray (Mark 1:35), He prayed in the wilderness alone (Luke 5:16).

Jesus prayed with others. Luke 9:28, he took Peter, James, and John and prayed.

Jesus spent time in prayer before making major choices. Before choosing the disciples, he spent the entire night praying. (Luke 6:12-13) I wonder how much better our lives would be if we spent all night praying before we made major choices?

Jesus prayed for others. “Simon, satan hath desired to have you, but I prayed for you that your faith fail not.” Jesus prayed for the disciples. (Luke 22:32)

Jesus prayer times were often teaching experiences. After a time of prayer with the disciples, Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” (Luke 18-20)  And revelation came. Thou are the Christ.

Jesus prayed during his greatest time of need. (On the cross)

Jesus taught persistence in prayer. He told the disciples that men ought always to pray and not give up. Luke 18:1 (Can’t imagine he would tell them to do something he wasn’t doing himself.)

Jesus prayed before meals. When He fed the five thousand with the boy’s lunch of bread and fish (Mark 6:41), when He fed the four thousand (Mark 8:6), when He shared a meal with His disciples in the upper room the night before His crucifixion (Mark 14:22), and, following His resurrection, when He shared a meal with Cleopas and his wife in Emmaus (Luke 24:30).

If we are CHRIST-LIKE, then WE MUST be people of prayer.

 

by Lisa Marshall
Reposted from Ladies Prayer International e-Newsletter

There comes a point in the season, I promise, where suddenly you know. You know. It’s time. And you may still not see what’s happening, but you know that it is.

I realize I’m being extremely vague here, so let me back it up a little.

There was this girl named Rhoda, and she was a servant of Mary, mother of John (Acts 12). Peter was set free from prison miraculously and all of these disciples were gathered in Mary’s house, praying. In the middle of the night, Peter came knocking at the gate, and Rhoda, being the servant, came to the door. Recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overcome with emotion that she left him there and went in to tell everyone he was at the gate. But no one believed her! Yet she refused to believe it wasn’t him, and when they came out and saw him, they were astonished as they opened the gate.

And my prayer is that…I will believe just as she did. No matter what it seems like. No matter what other people may believe. I know what I saw.

I don’t know what was going on in her mind at that moment, but it was clear that she was sure of what she knew to be true. She insisted on it. She wouldn’t let it go. And I think maybe part of it was that Peter’s life depended on it. She knew what she saw, and she couldn’t just let him stand out there when there may be prison guards and officials looking for him out in the night. She couldn’t let him stay out there. His life may have depended on her determination.

Something happens in the season when you realize that someone’s life, or many lives, are dependent on your determination. If it was just about you, it would be easier to give up, but there’s something, deep down, that just can’t let go because if you go, so does everyone else you’re tied to.

I’ve always been incredibly independent, so it’s a struggle for me to allow others in, to allow myself to grow. The truth is, we’re all connected, whether we want to believe it or not. And you can’t give up, don’t give up! There are people who need you.

I wonder how Peter felt standing out there. If he was frustrated or amused or cautious. Why was he standing there waiting when someone already knew he was there?

Sometimes we can’t see what’s going on beyond the closed gate, but there’s a transaction going on in the spiritual realm. We may not be able to see it, we may be wondering why nothing has happened when we know that we’ve been heard and seen. There’s a conversation and a struggle going on that we can’t even see. But I promise you, if you stay, and you don’t give up and leave, the door will be opened.

There’s something that happens in the supernatural when it’s been resolved. When the war is over. When it’s time to stop fighting and enter the new season. I think sometimes the war is over and we’re still struggling on the battleground, unwilling to make peace with it. Sometimes the reason we’re still facing the same problems is because we never excepted that God conquered them already.

We don’t need to be fighting a war that is already won.

The transition can be hard, and a little shaky. But it’s time. It’s time to let go of the old season and step into the new. It might feel a little gray for a while, like you’re a blend of old and new, trying to let go and trying to move forward. But I promise, it will be okay. You will get through it. If you only you just keep moving forward.

Victorious. It is a word that we mutter under our breath as we face every sort of adversity and trial that comes our way. I will be victorious. It is almost as if we try to convince ourselves that we will overcome … that our children will serve the Lord … that our prodigal children will return home. Victorious.

The very definition of victorious causes us to pause:

  • having achieved a victory; conquering; triumphant:
  • having defeated an adversary:
  • of, relating to, indicative of, or characterized by victory:

Victory. In order for me to be victorious, there must be a victory. So let’s break it down. Victory is:

  • a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.
  • an engagement ending in such triumph:
  • the ultimate and decisive superiority in any battle or contest:
  • a success or superior position achieved against any opponent, opposition, difficulty, etc.

Friends, whether we believe it or not, we are at war. In order to be victorious, we must engage in that war for the lives of our children. We must hold on to the promises of God.

“Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine” (I Chronicles 29:11).

Sometimes we don’t understand why we face different circumstances in our lives. With our natural eye, there is no explanation.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57)

Two weeks ago one of my older saints came up to me weeping. She said, “Pastora, I’ve been evicted from my home. I don’t know where I will lay my head tonight.” This lady is a worshiper. She is faithful in everything. My heart broke as I saw her weep. I told her, “Don’t worry. You can come and stay with me until God provides.” She called me later that night to tell me her son had opened his home for her to live there – the same son she had been asking prayer for at every service for four years.

As I walked into service this past Sunday, the same sister came running up to me with a megawatt grin. This time she said, “Pastora, now that I live with my son, I have had the opportunity to share with my daughter-in-law the plan of salvation. She has asked to be baptized in the name of Jesus!

Evicted. Desperate. Heartbroken. Homeless. These are not words that are synonymous with victory. Oh, but when we have faith, it gives us victory over every situation.

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (I John 5:4)

Note: This article originally appeared in the Ladies Prayer International e-newsletter. To subscribe, visit ladiesministries.com. Jessica M. Marquez is a Teacher and Speaker. She pastors, alongside her husband, Nueva Vida Miami, in Miami, Florida. She also served, alongside her husband, as a missionary of the UPCI, for 14 years, to the countries of Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic, serving the women in each of these countries.