In the School of Prayer Day 31 – Pray Without Ceasing

imageBe joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Th 5:16–18)

And with this, our schooling is over. The Teacher has led us from infancy to adulthood in our practice of prayer and now sends us, diploma in heart, out into the world to minister in His name. We recognize that prayer is more than just petitioning for our needs and wants, it is our connection to the source of life that guides our move each day. Our communion with our Lord directs our prayer (and therefore our life) into alignment with His will. We the saints submit our plans to His.

Prayer for us is more than a quickly mumbled thanks at supper time nor is it a minute or two on Sunday morning. It is practiced with every breath. We train ourselves to be in constant communion, knowing His immediate presence and being in conversation with that presence from moment to moment as we make our way through the day. We are His servants and rely upon His guidance to interact with those who surround us. We seek the way, convey personal needs, and intercede. We pray without ceasing.

Grace and peace to you.

image noemajiriod

In the School of Prayer Day 30 – The Priesthood


As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(1 Pe 2:4–5)

As our training at the foot of the Master comes near to its conclusion, the time comes to assume the mantle of priesthood that is to be the burden of all of His believers. The ministry of intercession takes on a new importance and requires a more mature reverence than we possessed prior to our tutelage. It is our highest privilege and the clearest sign of our nearness and likeness to Him.

The priesthood makes nonnegotiable demands. You no longer live for yourself; you live for God and with Him. Your walk is in holiness and purity, not the worldliness of our previous life. You have been separated by the grace of your Father, called aside to serve Him and His people. We don’t view this burden as impossible to bear, it is a light yoke upon our shoulders and a pleasure to carry.

Consider carefully whether or not you are willing to offer yourself for this work. The surrender that it demands is nothing less than the complete giving-up modeled by Jesus. It is for those that view their salvation as more than fire insurance. It is a calling to God’s side to campaign with Him. What a privilege.

Grace and peace to you.

image Nick K

Day 29 in the School of Prayer : What You Will

image I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:13-15)

But, you say, how can we know the will of God?

It is at this juncture that many who take to their knees find themselves at a loss. They desire to ask of the Father but are disheartened because they cannot find within themselves to say that they know the will of God. This confusion derives from the difference between the hidden and revealed will of God. Yes, the Father has a plan and outcomes that are hidden to us but prayer is not driven by this. God does not play guess a number games with His beloved.

If you know the revealed will of God as it is unfolded in the Scriptures, you know the parameters of prayer. He has revealed what is good and has expressed His will that we stay within the good. This revelation however is not apprehended simply by turning the pages of the Bible. In order to understand the full expression of good, the path of revelation must be lighted by the Holy Spirit. Words on a page become embedded truth under His guidance.

We are commanded to pray and to petition within His will. Unanswered prayer should not sway us from our task, it should drive us back to revelation to gain a firmer grasp on the purposes of God. Return to your knees with greater vigor and a deeper devotion and know that an answer will come.

Grace and peace to you.

image by Dia

Day 28 in the School of Prayer : I Want but I Will


“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:36

As in any course of study, the lessons come to finer and more distinct points as the class turns to its final days. The Lord has taught the discipline of prayer to us in this fashion, starting with a very broad brush but now switching to a fine point tool dipped in blood red to emphasize the finest points of petition. In this Gethsemane moment, the (we) disciples are schooled through an especially intimate communication between Son and Father as Jesus implores ‘ not my will but yours!’

Our initial prayer will always be self-serving. We know little of God’s will as beginning pray-ers and the scope of our world is limited to our own selfish wants. As our prayer bond grows through maturity and diligent practice, the Lord leads us to understand that all ultimately leads to His will. Our prayers are still honest expressions of our desire but we learn to fashion them in the context of the Father’s will. We say, Lord please for this or that but follow with, if it is your will. We find our place.

Grace and peace to you.

image Daniel Y. Go

Day 27 in the School of Prayer : Circles



“Father, I want those you have give me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” John 17:24

The structure of the Lord’s high priestly prayer is familiar to most who have encountered it in the fourth Gospel. In chapter 17, Jesus prays first for Himself, then His disciples, and finally for the church at large that will follow in the ages. His glorification is for the glory of the Father, he prays that the work of the disciples in the years that follow will be for the glory of God, and, in the outermost circle, Jesus prays that the Church of His gathered believers will be a monument to the greatest glory of the Father.

The concentric circles all come to meet on the same objective. Our lesson today is to also not become scattered. The glory of the Father is the ultimate objective of all of our intercession. As He has taught us to pray without ceasing, Jesus gives us a target. We are tempted to be broad and all inclusive in our petitions, trying to cover the entire spectrum of human need. The Lord teaches us instead to call down the blessings of heaven upon each of the circles of our lives. Trust in this blessing to address these needs. Focus on the glory of God.

Day 26 in the School of Prayer : I Have Prayed for You

imageTherefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

You want to express your love and devotion to your beloved. You want to look into her eyes and let her know how you feel about and toward her, your longing to spend all of your days with her. Your heart pounds just thinking about this encounter.

So you bring a friend along and say “My love, Friend here has something to say to you on my behalf.”

Christ in us completely alters the nature of our petitions. As He inhabits us the Spirit helps to form and deliver our earth-bound prayer. It is He who now prays, bringing strength and just the right words to our halting, immature attempts to convey our love and worship of the Father.

The intercession of Jesus goes far beyond the pleading on our behalf as it is so often portrayed. It is not simply, ‘Father, this is my friend…’ It is the your heart beating with the heart of the Lord, your words in tune with His. We are His body, our prayer is His prayer.

Grace and peace to you.

image auntie k

Day 25 in the School of Prayer : Mature


In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 
     “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (Jn 16:23–27)

In the Christian life, spiritual growth proceeds in stages. We begin as infants overjoyed with our salvation and new birth and proceed into an adolescent, young adult stage that can last for some time as we assimilate what it means to live as new creations in the world. We learn, we test, we fail, and we rise again the challenge. The final stage is a maturity in which our fellowship with Jesus, the Spirit, and the Father are settled and our knowledge and wisdom can benefit the younger folks who are transitioning through their own stages.

Our life of prayer has similar stages. In our initial immaturity we learn to know the Father with our hesitant and largely self-focused petitions. Our growth phase is the period in which we learn to trust the Spirit to guide our prayer and our ability to intercede on behalf of others. The trust we gain is rooted in our understanding of the Kingdom in which we dwell and our role within it, allowing us to look away from ourselves and toward others. Finally, in our maturity our center is found in the will of God and the goals of the Kingdom. We trust our place in it, we understand the Kingdom to some extent, and we no longer need to worry about our daily needs.

As Murray says, “what our prayer avails, depends upon what we are and what our life is. It is living in the Name of Christ that is the secret of praying in the Name of Christ; living in the Spirit that fits for praying in the Spirit. It is abiding in Christ that give the right and power to ask what we will : the extent of the abiding is the exact measure of the power in prayer.”

Turning Away from the Discipline of Fasting

image“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen, fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.” Andrew Murray

Fasting is without a doubt the least popular of the spiritual disciplines. We may gloss over the depth of our prayer or study life but we will rarely flat-out turn away from these disciplines. Not so for fasting; we will not even pretend to fast. Much of this avoidance comes from the misinterpretation of the discipline as an ascetic practice that was often overdone in eras past. Being people of grace, we say, we do not need to continue punishing our bodies to gain forgiveness.

Aside from this general argument, modern Christians who are considering adding fasting to their regular disciplines are confronted with three major enemies: Inconvenience, Comfort, and Unwillingness.


Fasting requires planning and commitment and it will often interfere with other aspects of our lives. People around us will expect us to join social or business engagements that are challenged by our fast. Since our commitment to fast is to be kept between ourselves and God, we are forced to make excuses. When fasting interferes too much with our schedule, the easy way out is to not practice the discipline.

Unlike prayer which can be practiced in a private hour, fasting by necessity crosses our schedule into both public and private time. Fasting demands commitment and discipline because it is a public activity that is kept largely secret. When we have to make decisions in the midst of a fast, we are confronted with the reality of our value system. Does God get a second order commitment behind our career? Remember that the discipline of fasting will reveal our true priorities.


The modern Christian avoids discomfort at all costs. If the sanctuary is too cold, the chairs or pews too hard, or the odor of the shelter too strong, chances are that this is the first thing the pastor will hear about on Sunday morning. Fasting is uncomfortable and doesn’t fit in with the modern interpretation of Christian life. After all, God wants only good things for us, right?

If our greatest excuse for not fasting is that we don’t want to feel hungry, we are not practicing the discipline correctly. As beginners to fasting, we are overwhelmed by the hunger pangs because this is often the only times in our lives when we have been deprived of food. It’s all we can think about. As we progress in the practice of fasting, these thoughts should move to an ability to focus on God and our communion with Him. The pangs subside and are replaced with a strengthening bond of spirituality. Food becomes less important as we grow in the ability to not be slaves to it.


Are you truly unwilling to engage in a spiritual practice that will draw you closer to your Father? Most Christians would answer no and then revert to one of the previous excuses. We dislike both discomfort and inconvenience both personally and culturally. It’s easy to be a committed Christian on Sunday morning in the midst of a worshipping community, less so at noon on Wednesday when everyone is calling for you to join them at lunch. Saying no brings attention to yourself; it makes your faith public. This is the dividing line.

Falling prey to this simple disobedience is the Enemy’s greatest joy. If we are willing to make excuses for not fasting, he can began to tear at the fabric of our other spiritual practices as well. Why not sleep in a few more minutes instead of getting up to read the Bible? Decide right now that unwillingness is not going to be your first excuse.

image timOve

Day 20 in the School of Prayer : Glorify!



And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. John 14:13

Self-centered as we are wont to be, we often envision the chief aim of prayer as having something to do with us and our satisfaction. The communion with our Father that is engenders is often viewed peripherally. We pray most often to seek answers from God and these answers feed the ego that we try to suppress with little success.

Jesus turns our thinking around with this brief statement found in the Upper Room discourse, his last moments with His disciples before heading to the cross. Prayer and its answers, He says, are not intended to show the recipient/participant as favored (though we certainly are). The chief aim of prayer to bring glory to God. Unlike the powerless Baal who ignored the pleas and histrionic contortions of his followers (since he didn’t exist in the first place), our Father and Lord does respond to our prayers. In this display of power He is glorified, unlike the false gods who constantly attempt to replace him in our hearts.

Confess. Be forgiven. Glorify through obedience.

Ask. Receive. Proclaim.

Day 19 in the School of Prayer – Work!


I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. (John 14:12-13)

As the Lord prepared His disciples for His departure from this plane, He left them with a new tier of prayer to attain to. At first, Jesus taught the disciples to pray for themselves and their role in the Kingdom. Their prayers were childlike, simply learning to trust in God as their Father but now the time had come from a new maturity. As the Lord would leave He would expect the disciples to take His place and continue His ministry. For this, they would need to learn that prayer would be their source of direction and power in ministry. With enough faith and a deep relationship with Christ, the disciples would do even greater ministry than He.

Work in the name of the Lord must be accompanied accomplished by prayer. There’s no way around it. Without the guidance, power, and shield that comes of a deep relationship with Jesus, our work is in vain, or worse, it is self-centered and humanist. We must be consumed with prayer and power that emanates from that conduit. The promise that whatever Kingdom objective we raise will be granted energizes our work. The ministry of Jesus is now expanded by billions as each new disciple takes this message to heart. Pray. Ask. Work.