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Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Lord's Prayer - A prayer for revival

seekyefirst.jpgDear Friends and Prayers:

After my update in late January about praying for revelation for the lost, some friends began to comment about prayer for revival in general. One brother commented that praying for revival was not all that important rather that we should just pray the Lord's prayer as He taught us.

The fact of the matter is that the Lord's prayer is probably the most complete prayer there is for revival. Jesus didn't teach us to pray that way for nothing! The first phrase, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..." establishes both position and posture. It declares who He is, who we are, and our privileged and joyful duty to proclaim His name as holy, His stature as our Lord and Savior.

Then this amazing prayer gets right down to business in this all-encompassing petition, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." It seems to me that everything that follows exemplifies the fruit of His Kingdom on earth, among a myriad of other unnamed benefits. Along with prayers for healing, personal needs, protection and salvation of loved ones, and peace in our world, nothing would be left out in His prayer.

crosuses.jpgWhen we pray for healing for someone, aren't we really praying that God's kingdom will come into this person's body and manifest wholeness? When we pray for peace, aren't we really praying that the fear of the Lord would open people's eyes to see how sinful and just plain stupid physical war actually is?

Almost anything we could pray for specifically would be one of the fruits of God's kingdom being manifested on earth. And that sure sounds like revival to us!

When we pray for revival in our day, it means we are praying to see things in the here and now that were commonplace in the time of Jesus and the book of Acts. And so like in those times, we pray to see individual lives, whole families and communities coming to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer. We are, in essence, praying the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples.LordsPrayer.jpg

One thing that has always struck me about the Lord's prayer is this. Immediately before Jesus teaches it to the disciples, He says in Matthew 6:7, "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words." In spite of such a clear warning, as a child I learned to rattle it off by rote without paying attention to the content or even having a clue to what it really meant. And I'm quite sure I am not alone in this.

So when we do pray, let's remember that prayer is not performing something, it is talking with God. And so we should talk to Him the same way we were taught to love Him, " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."

Let's pray the Lord's Prayer for Revival for this needy world we live in!

Dick & Gladys


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Signs of spring and the Storehouses of Heaven...

shadesofspring2015.jpgDear Praying Friends and Saints:

While in other parts of the world many of our friends and family are struggling with huge amounts of snow and bitter cold weather, spring seems to be just around the corner for us here. Temperatures are starting to get a bit milder and the trees and shrubs are getting redder by shadesofspring4-2015.jpgthe day with swelling buds.

Our daffodils are well up now and showing a telltale tinge of yellow through their green covers. Some are already open in a few places around here, and the tulips are even venturing out to see if winter here is really gone.

shadesofspring2-2015.jpgIt just might be, but it's hard to know for sure. Time will tell, as they say. We could still have a frosty cold snap, and perhaps even a little snow, but things are certainly moving in the right direction. The harshness of winter inevitably has to give way to springtime and summer, and we rejoice in its approach.

In a similar way, our lives have their seasons too. Perhaps the turnover is not as fast-paced, but they are evident. I've just finished the story of Joseph in Genesis. It tells us how he had a very hard "winter" indeed. He spent  more than 10 years in Potiphar's prison in Egypt, through no fault of his own.

But the hardship of his long "winter" lead to an amazing springtime and then an incredibly bountiful growing season and harvest. The fruit of his costly investment was life for his long-lost family for generations to come. Although he was the next to last born of his brothers, he was the one through whom God rescued the rest of his family.

As wonderful a story this is of how God positioned Joseph to save his family from starvation, it was just a shadow compared with what was to come. In the harshest of all possible "winters", Jesus passed through a time of separation from God and death itself, paying the price for redemption and induction into God's own eternal family. First for the Jews, and then the gentiles, He threw open the doors of salvation for all who would simply believe.

shadesofspring3-2015.jpgNot unlike Joseph with his own family, we ourselves are late comers to the family of God. At a certain season in our own lives, we were brought to a point like Peter when he said in Luke 6:68-29, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And we received the wonderful welcoming embrace of our heavenly Father, at home for good within the household of God.

And now the most amazing part of His grace in our lives is this. Far more valuable than Joseph's stores of physical bread, we have been entrusted with the incredible privilege of extending God's invitation for eternal provision to a hungry and dying world.

Now we are the ones with access to the storehouses of heaven. God has now given to us the words of eternal life - His words to share with those around us and beyond. We know that our own time on earth is measured, but that is supposed to be just the beginning for everyone. That's why Jesus came.

So as we watch the earth around us move into springtime, such a beautiful representation of hope growing everywhere around us, let's also be reminded by this superb exhortation in 1 Peter  3:15. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."

May the Lord help each one of us find opportunities to share with others about life forever in Jesus,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Seeking and finding - so that others be found also!

findingpasture.jpgDear Praying Friends:

On my way home from the monthly prayer day at Ffald-y-Brenin last week, I was watching these sheep as the sun began to melt the snow off this hilltop. There was an accompanying feeling of peaceful joy as these simple creatures just got on with the business of life. They patiently move from clump to clump of freshly exposed grass, chewing and chewing. They don't always have such pleasant conditions, but their goal remains the same - to find food.

In the middle of our own business of life, it is all too easy to get distracted by the busyness of life and leave the central point to one side - being with Jesus. He is the source of everything we need. In John 6:35, Jesus says "...I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." All we have to do is remember to seek Him first.

Speaking of seeking, recently we have learned of more groups of people that are praying for revival in many parts of Wales, and that is always great news to hear. And there are surely many more groups than we are aware of as well.


And just two weeks ago I had a call from someone who had just moved into the area last fall and was looking to connect with other believers for fellowship and prayer, and we knew right where to direct them.

Considering this growing number of people seeking God in prayer, both in groups and individually, I was reminded of these marvelous promises in Jeremiah 29:11-13.  The Lord says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

And as we seek the Lord and find Him, the Bread of Life, there is more that happens than our own nourishment. Our prayers become empowered by His guidance and grace, and things change, both within us and around us.

His invitation is not only to us, but to the hungry world around us. His "...thoughts of peace...and a future and a hope..." are supremely inclusive. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, "Come to me, ALL who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And in 2 Peter 3:9 it clearly says, snowdrops-feb15.jpg

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that ALL should come to repentance."

As so as we persist in prayer for revival and prayer for the lost and heavy laden of this busy and oftentimes difficult life, we know that our seeking will be rewarded. It will not always be easy going. There will be challenges to overcome. But we know Where our strength come from. And we know Whose words and promises are true, and far outlast this transitory world and our brief passage through it. So as we center our prayers around His desires, and stay well nourished by heavenly bread, we will see good fruit in due time.

May the Lord encourage you with His grace and presence,

Dick & Gladys


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