How A Passage Becomes A Prayer

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If you’ve heard me preach you now that I like to encourage prayer, from passages in the Word. But the practical question is, “How do you do that?” And the simple question has a simple answer, “meditate on it!”

Let me give you an example. The example is from a Daily Devotional I recently read. The author is F. Hammarsten. In this day’s Devo he gives his meditations upon a famous “prayer passage,” namely 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22. I will quote it in the KJV because of Hammarsten’s wording of his meditation on the passage further down the post.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (KJV)

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

The exciting part of the devotional occurs below where Hammarsten merely meditates on these passages. What I have done is simply lifted his words and placed them here. Again, these are NOT my words. I wish they were. They are his. All I did, was add a word here and a word there, to make his “meditations” into a very practical prayer. I think I changed all of ten (10) words:

Dear Lord, give me grace to listen when Thou speakest.
Rejoice evermore. Lord, at once I begin to enumerate my reasons for not rejoicing, and I find that weeping would become me better than rejoicing. I feel like the child, when in sorrow or grief, thinks it strange that his mother tells him to be glad. But the mother knows better than the child whether he should weep or rejoice. It is Thy will O God, that I should rejoice. Thou permittest me, nay, Thou bidst me to rejoice. I thank Thee, Lord, for this gracious privilege.
Pray without ceasing. Accordingly, dear Father, Thou permittest me always to be in close communion with Thee. Thou are ever ready to hear my faintest prayer when I am all undone. Continually and without ceasing I may approach the throne of grace; and this means that I may ever there abide, always sending up my prayer to Thee. This I will never forget; help me to remember it, O God.
In everything give thanks. In every thing? This means that the bitter cup which Thou sendest me to drink has been prepared for me as a blessing. It means that all the power of the enemies is in Thy hand and that their attacks upon me shall come to naught. It means that even my own transgressions — if I confess them before Thee and truly repent — will be included in those things which, according to Thy Word, work together for good to them that love Thee (Romans 8:28). Thou art with me in trouble, Thou art present even in the clouds of darkness, and I will use my best endeavor to learn the difficult lesson of giving thanks the Thee for every thing.
– Quench not the Spirit. I realize the need of this warning Lord. At times Your Spirit is about to be quenched by reason of treasonable influences which find lodgment in my heart. The frosts of worldliness, the sultriness of worldly anxieties, and the poisonous winds of error, unbelief, and temptation have often threatened to quench the Spirit. I have, furthermore, forgotten to feed the sacred flame with the oil of God’s Word, and through failure to make a bold confession of my faith before men I have hindered the fire of the Spirit from burning brightly. I fear lest I may quench the Spirit. Thou knowest it, O Lord; help me in accordance with Thy promise.
– Despise not prophesyings. I understand so imperfectly the word of prophesy. It was designed to be my guide. Teach me, Lord,  to understand it aright.
– Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. This means that I should examine all things in the light of Thy Word. Many things have I accepted without thus proving them; often I have cast aside the good and held fast to the evil. But Thou, O Lord, art my lamp; Thou wilt illumine my understanding.
– Abstain from all appearance of evil. Father, I want to abstain from the evil which appears innocent as well as from the evil which is manifest. Lord, I want to abstain from the evil within myself, the evil in others, all evil. I do not want to temporize with it, but rather, flee from it. Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust. I have said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond Thee (Psalm 16:1, 2 R.V.). Amen

He brilliantly shows us how to pray Scripture Back to God.

Mark S Mirza
Author: The Pray-ers
Founder: Common Thread Ministries

Common Thread Ministries

Mark Quoted Jan 11-2016

AwakenAtlanta

In the Christian Index, writer Dr. Gerald Harris wrote:

AWAKEN ATLANTA, AWAKEN GEORGIA TO THE NEED FOR PRAYER

After giving many of the speakers’ comments Gerald quoted Mark Mirza:

Georgia Baptist Mark Mirza, who is the president of Common Thread Ministries, commented, “Preeminent in all of the speaker’s messages was the concept of relationship – relationship with God, with fellow believers in one’s local church and fellowship with believers in other denominations. It was encouraging and hopeful watching everybody put aside their doctrinal differences and worship together as well as pray together.”

Please go to the article to see some great photos and the rest of the quotes.

Blessings,

Mark S Mirza
C: 404-606-2322
W: www.ThePray-ers.com
W: www.CTMPrayer.org

Common Thread Ministries

Do You Use Kindle?

Book 1 of The Pray-ers, now on Kindle

Book 1 of The Pray-ers, now on Kindle

So? Do you read Kindle books?

I am very excited to offer my new novel there. I don’t know the ins and outs to Kindle yet, but my understanding is that you can use this on OTHER devices, not just Kindle.

Click HERE to download the book ($4.99).

Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza
C: 404-606-2322
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
W: www.CTMPrayer.org
W: www.ThePray-ers.com

Prayer Shaming

Nairoi Background

My conservative friends won’t like this but I completely agree with my Liberal friends when they argue “Prayer Shaming.” I think they’re right … not for the same reasons of course, but I think they’re right. We should be ashamed of our prayers.

Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal Op Ed this weekend entitled “The First Amendment Needs Your Prayers” was an interesting read. But what caught my eye was the phrase “Prayer Shaming.”

Since I’m careful not to write about political issues, not because I don’t have strong political beliefs, I do, but because I believe that most Christians take politics in the wrong direction. So if you don’t mind, let me take from this political article the phrase, “Prayer Shaming” and apply it to Christians’ prayer lives. Forgive me, but in a “backdoor” sense I may actually MAKE the point for those that denigrate praying.

Let me first state why I want to stay away from the politics of this article. None of the Christians I know would say that, “Their Salvation is in politics, but,” I would add, “Many of them certainly act like it!” Now don’t get me wrong I believe that every Christian, as good stewards, should vote and should vote their conscience. And I think that ALL of them should be allowed to vote, including “young earthers” like me, regardless of what Neil Boortz says.

But here is the “Prayer Shaming” issue from my perspective. In the church we SHOULD BE ASHAMED of our prayers. And here is why, “Our focus on praying is, on WHAT WE WANT, me, me and I, I.” And I’m sorry but I do not see that in scripture. What I see in scripture Henry Blackaby wrote so well of when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Find out where God is moving, what He is doing, and get on His side.”

Our unbiblical praying is constantly focused on giving God advice. I’d rather you just get down on your knees to pray and close your mouth to let Him talk to you. I love Leonard Ravenhill’s famous quote, “Some of the best times I have in prayer is when I say absolutely nothing!” Remember, God doesn’t need your advice. He is the One who spoke the words and the worlds leapt into existence.

One of the talk show hosts has coined the phrase, “Shut up and sing” referring to these great musicians who spend too much of their time talking about politics. I completely agree with her but I would also include us Christians into the mix and I would say “Shut up and listen” when it comes to our praying. We might find, much to our disappointment, that God is more interested in you thanking Him for, and really loving somebody that you vigorously disagree with (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Now don’t be grumpy at me I didn’t write those verses.

Maybe if you listened to God instead of working yourself up into a frenzy because of what you see going on in our world, which I agree has numerous problems, but maybe if we listened to God more we would find that He wants us to engage those we disagree with, not for the purpose of changing their mind, but developing a relationship with them and eventually introducing them to Christ if they don’t know Him.

Here’s the bottom line that I see in the churches I speak in:

WE’RE FIGHTING THE WRONG BATTLE! And because of that fact alone we should be ashamed of ourselves.

The battle we waste our time fighting is the battle of trying to get what WE WANT! We are too busy giving God advice, telling Him how He should run the cosmos. We need to spend more time with our lips zipped shut listening to God, He doesn’t need our advice! What He wants are men and women and boys and girls who follow His Son … and I would add, following Him down a path we cannot go without listening clearly to Him.

My first novel called The Pray-ers (www.ThePray-ers.com) addresses the issue of “Troubles” in our lives through the prayer lives of three prayer heroes. They are from three continents and from three historic eras. In the book we find Thales, the nephew of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12) and Alexander Rich, the childhood friend of D. L. Moody and Dr. Dale Riley the current era pray-er hero handling problems the way scripture directs. In the book you will see them praying about troubles by listening to God and the scriptures.

But you don’t need my book to learn how to pray, just zip up your lips and listen to what God is saying to you.

 

Mark S Mirza
Founder, Common Thread Ministries
Author of “The Pray-ers”
www.CTMPrayer.org
www.ThePray-ers.com

Team Kenya

TeamKenya

WRITING FROM THE NAIROBI KENYA AIRPORT:

My hope was to come home and say, “We now have a Common Thread Ministries team in Kenya.”

Not only do we now have a team there, but their first speaking engagement is in January!

And please pray for them as they are, forgive the pun, surrounded by a jungle of unorthodox praying. The exciting part is that while they realize this fact, they are looking forward to teaching the truth and the source of all truth, peace and biblical prosperity. They will be doing in Kenya what God allows me to do here in the USA, namely, teaching others about prayer so as to rebuild the foundations of their prayer life (our mission statement, from Psalm 11:3) while leaving in our wake men and women committed to prayer so that they are watchful and thankful in their praying (our vision statement, from Colossians 4:2).

This morning, my last day, I was awakened in the middle of the night reflecting on these last few days. Let me share with you part of my prayer this morning. Oh Father, why are you blessing me like this? I do not deserve it. You are answering the prayer of my heart that I pray so often, namely, “Father, use me.”

We have a team of three men that live in different regions of Kenya. For their first speaking engagement Eric R. will take a matatu bus from Nairobi to Nakuru. And Lawrence O. will take a matatu bus from Kisumu to Nakuru where they will meet up with the third member of the team, David K.

Our longtime friend Zachariah Shahazi has already agreed to allow these men to use his church in January. Our three man team will teach from my first book, Prayer Made Alive, or, as the Swahili translation is named, Maombi Kufanywa Hai.

Let me quote David, who in our last prayer time together started praying the mission and vision of Common Thread Ministries to the Lord. He prayed “That this new team would be used by the Lord to rebuild the foundations of the prayer lives of men and women in the churches they speak in.” He also prayed, “That they would leave in their wake men and women committed to prayer who would be watchful and thankful as they pray.” 

And then later in the day Lawrence acknowledged his deeper understanding of prayer, “taking his prayer life to the next level” with a relationship that allows him to trust God with difficult issues. He is thanking the Lord for the difficulties and is looking forward to letting these times when God comforts him, “to give him the wisdom and insight to comfort others in the selfsame way.”

Our resident tech geek, Eric mentioned more than once how blessed he was to hear the truth of prayer and have his false understandings corrected in love. It was obvious to all of us that Eric’s prayer life was changing, giving him a peace that completely transcended his understanding.

Clark, from my Tuesday morning Bible study came with me. He has a unique mix of maturity that allowed him to be an indispensable support giving timely spiritual insight and having super techno knowledge for the tablets we took to Team Kenya. Truly we could not have accomplished what we did in the 72 hours we had, without Clark. I told him I did not want to put pressure on him, but he just became a permanent part of Team Kenya.

Thank you for your interest in Common Thread Ministries and consider following our numerous FB pages.

Also, check out our latest resource. Mark’s novel, “The Pray-ers” Book 1 is at the printers. You can still buy it for an $8.00 savings until it is available to ship, which will be in a couple of weeks. See “The Pray-ers” website at www.ThePray-ers.com for information.

Again, thank you for your prayers. We really covet them.

 

Mark S Mirza
Founder, Common Thread Ministries
Author, The Pray-ers
C: 404-606-2322
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
W: www.CTMPrayer.org
W: www.ThePray-ers.com

The Breadth of God’s Love

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This last Thursday I gave the closing prayer at the Stand and Pray Georgia event at the State Capitol (www.standandpraygeorgia.com). There I reiterated what I believe that God has been saying to me since 2008, that revival will NOT occur in our land, UNTIL it occurs in Christian’s hearts, and that it isn’t occurring in our land, tells us that IT ISN’T occurring in our hearts.

So let me ask a question: Does God love us enough to, metaphorically, “take us out to the woodshed?” Before you say yes, consider what I saw this morning…

This morning’s passage reminded me of the events of the last few days. No one doubts that God loves us right? But here’s the question, how much does He love us? In fact, how far is He willing to go to show us Godly Fatherly love? I was reminded of this while reading Joel 2:13. It was the last phrase of the verse that caught my eye afresh, “He relents from sending calamity.” (NIV)

Here’s the context of the verse in the New American Standard:

Return with All Your Heart
12“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. 14Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?

From <http://biblehub.com/joel/2-13.htm>

The end of verse 13 means that, “He relents from sending calamity.” (NIV) So, if He relents at sending calamity, or “relents from sending disaster.” (HCSB), then what does that tell you of His relationship to disaster? As hard as this may be to hear, it tells us that 2 Chronicles 7:13 is TRUE! That God sends natural disasters, things that badly impact our finances and pestilences upon our body.

Now, this article isn’t long enough to discuss two questions that come up, 1) God sending things versus God allowing things in our lives; and 2) that verse 14 of Second Chronicles 7 ISN’T a prayer! 2 Chronicles 7:14 is what we are TO DO, BEFORE God will listen to us. Just look at verse 15 where He says, “NOW I will listen to what you have to say.” Here is the point of these two questions that I can’t get into, the authority of the Word. The Word HAS to be taken into account. Words have meaning, and so we cannot deny the clear wording of scripture, when we don’t like what they say.

Moving on, I believe that the same Old Testament passages above, are told in Romans 1, where God says that because people choose to worship something other than Him (Romans 1:23,25) He turned them over to their lusts (Romans 1:24). But their guilt was not restricted to sexual disobedience. Look at verses 29-31:

They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. (Romans 1:29-31)

In the last half of Romans 1 God is against, SOMEBODY. So, who, or whom is He against? The answer is that God is “against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people” (Romans 1:18m). The rest of the verse then says what godlessness and unrighteousness in people causes. Namely, they suppress the truth (Romans 1:18e). I would say it this way, “the outcome of their godlessness and unrighteousness is that ‘by their unrighteousness [they] suppress the truth.'” Romans 1:18

Stick with me now as I make this jump…

Isn’t THIS the reason we need revival? We need revival IN OUR CHURCHES because the people OUTSIDE of the church that know us, our kin, coworkers, neighbors, etc. They know us, and our unrighteousness in front of them suppresses the truth of God!

Let me say it this way, do those who are our kin, coworkers, neighbors, etc. who know us, who really know us, do they want our Jesus? By and large, NO! That is why we need revival, to revive US, you and I, in the church!

And that is why God loves us enough to metaphorically, “take us out to the woodshed” to get our attention, so that WE WILL CHANGE.

Friends, our problems ARE NOT out yonder, they are right here, in your heart and mine.

 

Mark S Mirza
Founder/Speaker Common Thread Ministries
Common Thread Logo

 

 

BEFORE YOU CLOSE THIS POST. TAKE A LOOK BELOW AT MY LATEST BOOK:

ThePrayersBook1BusCardsIt is a book that I wrote to teach prayer, but in the format of a “fun-read.” I hope that you’ll take the time to consider learning from Thales, the nephew of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12), Alexander Rich, an itinerant preacher and friend of D. L. Moody, and Dr. Dale Riley, a modern day coach and leader of his church’s men’s prayer ministry.

I have “leaked” information from the book here in this SWAY that I have done for this book. Click here. I promise to add more “leaks.”

To pre-purchase at significant savings, click here.

FIRST Novel

BOOK COVER - FRONT-DRAFT

I am so excited to share with you that this book is going to be released before Christmas. It is, of course, a book that will teach prayer, through the lives of these “unlikely” prayer heroes. They are dealing with problems that you and I can relate to, BUT, unlike most of us, they deal with their “Troubles” through prayer, teaching us prayer principles.

Over the next few weeks I will release portions of the book. I am already completed with most of the outline of “Book 2 – Spiritual Warfare” which I cannot wait to get started writing.

If you are wondering if the story-line is interesting, let me quote a friend of mine, “Mark, do Alexander Rich and Gretchen get together?” I just smiled at him.

Enter into the story
of 3 prayer heroes
from 3 historic prayer eras
on 2 continents
with 1 nine foot tall Angel
and a handful of demons

Please allow me to keep you posted of the book’s release below:

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Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza

Common Thread Ministries