Tag Archives: prayer

Monica’s Prayers

Monica's-PrayersEach believer in Christ is called to do great and mighty things for God. To say, “I am just a small and insignificant person” shows lack of faith and insults God to think He cannot work through you.

The name of “Monica” is remembered for the lasting influence she had upon her son, Augustine. A Christian woman of the 4th century, she was called by God to pray him into the Kingdom. It doesn’t sound like much of a calling—to pray for a single person—but Monica did not waver in her commitment because she knew God had placed this upon her.

Augustine was not a promising prospect. Highly intelligent, he was also lazy, a lover of pleasure and sensuality. Monica tried to teach him to pray, but he twisted her intentions by praying, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet!” He took a lover and had a son out of wedlock, and he did many other things that broke Monica’s heart, but she never stopped praying for her son with many tears.

One day, as Augustine tells it himself, he heard a childlike voice say to him, “Take up and read.” He saw this as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw. When he opened the Bible, he found himself in the Book of Romans, and his eyes fell upon these words:

“…not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision of the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:13-14).

These short words struck him as a summary of his own life and a call to commit his life to Jesus Christ. It came as a word from the Holy Spirit. From this moment on, Augustine became a new man in Christ.

In coming days, Augustine became one of the most prolific and influential Christian thinkers and writers of all time, influencing Protestants and Catholics alike. Martin Luther and John Calvin were strongly indebted to him. His influence helped to end slavery in Europe. He helped to lay early Christian foundations for later scientific learning and research.

Augustine gave credit for his transformation to the faithful prayers of his mother, Monica, who never gave up on him even in his darkest days. In the end, Monica’s prayers not only influenced her son’s life but also generations of believers and of human society around the world.

Monica’s story and that of her son, Augustine, teach all of us the power of our influence, and how it may even change generations not yet born. God is glorified when we put ourselves into His hands. God told Jeremiah, “Call unto me, and I will answer and do great and mighty things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). God’s invitation to Jeremiah is also His invitation to us.

In dark days like our own, God especially loves to work His greatest works, through people willing for Him to use them.

All major revivals and awakenings begin in dark days when nameless people, known only to God, cry out to Him. The most influential people in the world are those not paralyzed by the times but energized by them because they anticipate His victory and their part in helping to make it happen.

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Weighty Prayers

True-PrayerWe must all learn to pray more “weighty” prayers.

The great 19th century preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, once said, “True prayer is measured [by God] by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.”

How do we pray more “weighty” prayers? In humility. In faith. In accordance with God’s will. Focused upon others. In boldness. In the name of Jesus.

This is a critical time for your “weighty” prayers on behalf of India Gospel Outreach.

Over the years, our praying friends have opened many new doors of ministry in many new places. We are grateful to each of you who have been a part of this critical prayer support. So also are the countless men, women and children who have been blessed through your faithful and “weighty” prayers.

Again, this is another opportunity for you to help enlarge the influence of the gospel in India, especially through this ministry and to potentially change the eternal destinies of millions.

In addition to the daily prayer requests that follow, I request that you pray daily this month for a very special need:

In the past year, enemies of the gospel were elected to the highest offices of Indian government during the most recent national election. Their stated aim is to make India a nation for Hindus only. Since that election, persecution of Christians has increased in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.

They are even attempting to bribe Christians to become Hindus. In Uttar Pradesh, they planned a mass conversion of 4,000 Christian families to Hinduism for Christmas Day. Praise God, through the prayers of many of you, so much infighting and confusion took place among the leadership, the event never took place!

But they have not given up, and neither must we. We must continue to pray “weighty” prayers until all things are subjected to Him.

Therefore, I would greatly appreciate your daily prayers for the Christians in Uttar Pradesh where much persecution is taking place. With more than 210 million people in this large state with 1,325 people/square mile, 742 urban centers, 307,452 villages, there are only about 200,000 Christians, many of them only nominal believers.

IGO has sent a number of trained church planters to this state and is planning strategic things in this large state, so influential for the rest of India. Please pray daily that God will raise up and prosper these schools to train many evangelists who will plant churches in every zip code and reach every ethnic group in Uttar Pradesh with the Good News.

Pray for a mighty awakening to the gospel, not only in Uttar Pradesh but throughout India. Pray that God will give IGO many opportunities and resources to take the Good News to many new places.

Thank you for your bold, faithful—and essential—“weighty” prayers.

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Appointed Leaders

Jan-2015Brutal, tyrannical, extravagant, persecutor, murderer, cruel, opportunistic.

These are just a few of the words that describe the Roman emperor, Nero. Roman historian, Suetonius, said that Nero “showed neither discrimination nor moderation in putting to death whomsoever he pleased.” He killed his own mother and other relatives, and kicked his pregnant lover to death.

Still, Paul urges Timothy to offer “entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings…on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

The Bible was written by people who lived in times when the government was not friendly to the people of God. Yet Jesus says to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

Paul had a clear sense of God’s sovereignty over both church and state. He did not regard God as part of one realm and human institutions as part of another. All rulers, he said, are in power because God ordained them.

In spite of the horrible tyranny of Roman emperors (Nero put Paul and many other Christians to death), the general peace made it possible for the gospel to spread rapidly through the Empire. The very regime so fiercely devoted to emperor worship became the catalyst for the proclamation of the gospel. A wicked government may have twisted aims, but God uses its dysfunctional rulers to accomplish His higher purposes.

Why does God appoint rulers like Nero, Herod, Pontius Pilate and Hitler to serve as rulers? We cannot know the full mind of God on these matters, but we can say this:

  • God has the long term in mind; though the short term looks bad to us, it always serves His larger purpose and works for ultimate good.
  • God’s ultimate aim is to complete the Great Commission and glorify Himself.
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God uses rulers to discipline His people and bring them out of complacency and ingratitude to depend upon Him.
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God demonstrates through wicked rulers that He is not limited by human wickedness in accomplishing His greater good.
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Bad rulers have a way of deepening our faith in God so that we call upon Him to work in marvelous ways.
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Bad rulers move us to pray better prayers, develop more godly voting standards, and seek more godly ways of persuasion and action to influence political leaders.

Whenever we fail to pray for our leaders, regardless of their political persuasion, we sin against God. Evangelist Billy Graham has met privately with all kinds of political leaders. He says, “We sometimes forget that some of the loneliest people in the world are those who are constantly in the public eye. They have spiritual needs just like everyone else. I have found many world leaders who sense that our problems today are so complex as to defy [human] solution. They know that the only answer is to be found in God.”

We often forget that the halls of government are also mission fields for the gospel. In India, we have had many opportunities to befriend numerous political leaders—not all of them Christian—who regularly come asking prayer for help with the deep burdens they carry.

Both church and state are God’s avenues to do His will. Let our prayers for our leaders come out of the abundance of our certainty in God and our own daily dialogue with Him so that we might prepare the way for completion of the Great Commission.

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