Praying For The Elections


Yesterday on FB I had the opportunity to express my views on how and why I believe we should pray for the elections. Those of you who have heard me speak on this subject know that my ideas are not necessarily what we want to hear. Of course I do not share this to make you angry, I’m just sharing what I believe the Lord is laying on my heart.

So here it is in a nutshell; If you want to pray Biblically for the elections, then ask for forgiveness, and mercy.

I believe that we, the Christians in the USA are being judged by God…NOT the unsaved. Us, HIS CHURCH, we are the ones being judged. Peter made it clear when he said that Judgment Begins in the Church House (1 Peter 4:17)…And I would add, not the White House. Further, if Romans 13:1-2 are true, then the ones in authority are there because GOD Has Put Them THERE, not because somehow “His will was thwarted!”

I think that God is longing for us, His people, to INDIVIDUALLY seek Him for complete forgiveness, but NOT ONLY forgiveness, we need to also forsake (or turn from) our sins! We have spent too long asking for forgiveness, but not forsaking our sins. It will only be then, that I will be able to call upon Him to be merciful to us as a nation. I do not believe that I can ask ANYTHING for my nation, while there is sin in my life, personally.

I was in Kenya recently and was asked about some of the BIG sins that we are “accepting” in the church. I responded with, “Scripture is clear what it says about all sins. Our problem in the USA is that we do not forsake the “little” sins IN OUR LIVES. And because we are not faithful (we don’t care) about the “little” sins, we are not faithfully forsaking the “bigger” sins.

I personally do not think that God is interested in “blessing” the land where I walk, and live, until I seek Him for forgiveness, forsaking sin in my life, personally.

What I’ve stated above, is, I believe, the real meaning of 2 Chronicles 7:14. We quote that verse as if IT IS the prayer, but that verse is simply God telling us what to do, BEFORE He’ll listen to us. In verse 15 He says, “NOW I will listen to your prayers!” And while we’re at it, let’s look at verse 13, where God says, basically, “IF, (meaning WHEN) I BRING natural disasters, IF, (meaning WHEN) I BRING the things that impact your income, IF, (meaning WHEN) I BRING illnesses…” God is the One sovereignly orchestrating events! So while I may or may not agree with what is done in our congressional halls, my Saviour is bringing and allowing these things, because He wants MY ATTENTION. And I believe the reason He wants my attention, is because He wants me focused on cleaning up MY LIFE. And right now, He wants me to repent!

Finally, why does He want repentance FIRST, before we pray for His mercy? Because sin has an impact on our prayer life. Your sin, and my sin separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2). When sin is in my life, my prayers will not penetrate the clouds above me (Lamentations 3:44). If there is anything between my spouse and me, my prayers will not be heard (1 Peter 3:7). Unfortunately I could go on and on about sin having an impact on our prayer life. Remember that John was concerned enough about sin to give the Christians 1 John 1:9.

Do you want to pray Biblically for the elections? Then ask for forgiveness, and mercy.


Mark S Mirza

Common Thread Ministries

How to Use The Armor of God



This week a friend of mine and I were talking about the Armor of God and his view was pretty typical of what I hear in churches. While I don’t “take exception” to the view I believe that the use of the Armor is much more effective when we change our understanding of what it is, and how, I believe, Paul expected it to be understood. Namely, I DO NOT believe that the Armor is something that we “do.” I believe that the Armor is what we have in Christ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life. I cannot claim originality on that statement, as a variation of it comes from

Here’s the way most people describe the first three pieces of the Armor:

The Belt of Truth has to do with acknowledging that the Bible is true. Let me make this real clear, okay, I ABSOLUTLEY believe that this is true, that the Bible is completely true, I just disagree that this is Paul’s meaning here.
The Breastplate of Righteousness is our call to be righteous. Again, I completely agree with this statement on its own, I just do not believe that this is what Paul meant.
Our Feet are Fitted with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace is our injunction to go out and share the gospel. Again, I fully believe that. But in the context of this piece of the Armor, I don’t think that Paul is saying this.

So you get the point. Again, I don’t want to be disagreeable, I just want to share with you another way of viewing, and to me, a more effective way of using the Armor.

One point of clarification (perhaps disagreement) that I need to make, has to do with the order of the Armor. I hear teachers explaining the Armor by beginning with the helmet and working their way down to the shoes, “Because it is an easy way to remember it.” But when we do that we take it out of the order that, I believe, is Holy Spirit inspired, and will directly affect its usefulness for you.

So with all of that being said, this morning, as I was in the Word, I recognized a battle in my heart and mind beginning, and it had to do with purity of mind, purity of thoughts. What I will do below is first, give you what I believe each piece of the armor is, for us as Christians, and then my prayer this morning, putting on the Armor.

But let me be clear, restating this point again. I do not believe that the armor is “something that we do” as each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life, which means that this (these facets, this Armor) is “what I have in Christ.” In fact, this keeps in sync with the book of Ephesians where the first half of Ephesians is what we already have in Christ, and the second half of Ephesians is how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. The Armor is broken down the same way. The first three pieces are what we already have in Christ and the second three are how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. Another time we can look at the verbs, but do note, that the verb describing the first three pieces of the armor is “having” meaning this is something that you ALREADY have. So when Paul was saying “Put on the Armor” he was NOT SAYING put on something that you do not have on. Again, this discussion is for another time as it is outside the scope of this post.

I want to give you short, to the point statement for each of the pieces of the armor. And then afterward I will give you my entire prayer as I put on the Armor, and in the process, dealt with the attack of satan (not capitalized by personal preference).

Belt of Truth
“You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
“You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done.”
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
“You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.”
Shield of Faith
“You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart.”
Helmet of Salvation
“You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad.”
Sword of the Spirit
“You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in.”


And here is the full text of my prayer this morning (including my journaling tags) as I put on each piece of the Armor:

7/1/2014, in prayer, As I submit myself to You (James 4:7) Lord, what the Armor represents to me is my confidence in You, as I specifically deal with purity of my mind today.

Belt of Truth
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust, and not me.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done. What Your Son did 2000 years ago.”
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.
“And Ohhh Lord, I have received such great peace from You just now. I trust You for the grace today Lord, to make sure that when I do not have peace, I realize that it is because I have strayed from focusing on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Oh Lord, thank You, that even now, You have given me that peace as You always do.
Shield of Faith
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart. I trust You to do something different with my brain, by having those distractions of the evil one, by Your Shield, and in faith, be my motivation for returning to You in prayer. I also trust that I will never know all of the fiery darts that came my way, because You stopped them.
Helmet of Salvation
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad. Oh I praise You Lord for this peace and confidence, and excitement for this day. Praise You Lord!”
Sword of the Spirit
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in. Paul calls them the Words of Christ (Romans 10:17). Lord because they are Your words I have been able to trust in them. It is Your words that I’ve been able to have confidence in. It is Your words, your Nuggets, that have guided me in this time of prayer. Thank you for the Sword of the Spirit, Your words Lord.

By the way my friend, satan fled around the end of my prayer regarding the shoes of peace, but I recognize, only for a more opportune time (Luke 4:13) which is why I need to be vigilant, knowing that the roaring lion is just waiting to eat me alive (1 Peter 5:8). I wrote the part of this paragraph that precedes this sentence in the middle of my praying on the armor. Now that I’m done, I can report that the evil one returned a few times, but in each case, he fled again each time I submitted to God. And I submitted to God by taking those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), and by not giving them a place (Ephesians 4:27). One could also say, that my mind became renewed (Romans 12:2), from where satan wanted it to go, as I focused on the things of the Spirit, rather than the flesh (Romans 8:6). And what was, and is the result…Peace baby, peace!

And according to Romans 8:6, and the whole record of Scripture, that is EXACTLY as it should be. Focusing on the things of the Spirit, rather than the difficulties that the world the flesh and the devil throw my way give me life and PEACE, praise the Lord! And how is all of it “activated?” By my deeds? No! By faith (1 John 5:4). By faith in what I ALREADY have in Christ.

I hope this has been helpful to you. I do apologize for its length though.

Mark S Mirza

Common Thread Ministries

Church Survival

Psalm 85:6 is often quoted about revival, with the result being a rejoicing people…but another application is for a church’s survival, to which I would say, requires revival.

Michael Guido has written about this, in fact, it is in his Treasury of Illustrations that I first saw this article, this “seed” of his. Lately my messages are all about calling the church to holiness. His article tells us, more eloquently than I can, WHY we need holiness. The church’s survival, requires revival.

Please read his “eSeed” it is very short.

Mark S Mirza


With A Loved One Passing Away

A friend of mine asked for prayer as she brought her mom home from the hospital and has hospice helping her. The following from scripture was, I believe, helpful:

Beginning with Romans 15:13, the verse says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I lift up Erma and her family to You, Lord I bring them before Your throne, with boldness, as You tell us to in Hebrews 4:16, but Lord, when we come with boldness, we come, not with arrogance or anger but with humility and confidence that You hear our prayer, for we are praying Your will, and Lord, we KNOW that 1 John 5:14-15 tells us that when we pray Your will, You hear us and You answer our prayer. We know this Lord because Your word says so, and we know it Lord because You are sovereign over ALL (Psalm 103:19). And so Father, I pray for Erma’s family, Lord that those who know you as their personal Savior, would be filled with all joy and peace, because they are believers, and we know Lord that they will overflow with hope, and that this overflow of hope will come because of the power of the Holy Spirit, not because they are stronger than anyone else, but simply because Your word promises this. And then Lord, we do not want this ONLY for those that are saved, we pray for those that may not be saved, in her family, that they will ALL see Your power, giving the family joy and peace, and thru this difficult time Lord, that they would come to know You, and experience that same joy and peace. And finally Lord, we are confident that Your word is true, that as one crosses into that next life, that we are promised from Luke 16, Your angels do not merely escort us to heaven but in fact carry us to heaven. Oh Lord, that we would no longer be scared to death of death, but that we would look forward to that time to come, forever with You. We remember that it is okay to weep and mourn, after all Your Son did, in John 11, just a couple of verses before He was going to raise Lazarus, He still wept! So give Erma’s family both the freedom to weep and the hope that comes from You and You alone.

Praying Before the Service

Even though the “tag” for this is Praying While Your Pastor is Preaching this short blog is a variation of that discipline.

Last week I was at a prayer meeting with a group of pastors, one of them shared with the others that “…every increase that we have, tithing, missions giving, salvation, new members, baptisms (and by the way I get to baptize 3 this Sunday), but everything we are doing has increased the Sunday we started praying BEFORE the service.” He went on, “I have a group that get together here at 9:00 and we pray in the sanctuary from 9:00 until 9:30 when the service begins.” What a wonderful testimony that was.

However I can help you, please call on me.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

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How would we pray this back to God?

As I pray these verses I am always struck by two things, 1st, the acts prompted by our faith, and not our flesh, and 2nd, that everything we do is to be to glorify God. Perhaps you would pray these verses like so:

Lord, I desire to be worthy of Your calling, and I know Lord that this will only come by Your power, fulfilling every good purpose of mine and every act prompted by my faith and not my flesh. So Lord, please, Please, ANY acts of mine that are NOT prompted by my faith, please do not allow them to move forward. And when they do not move forward, please Lord, cause me to look back and see where my flesh is in control because Lord, ultimately, I desire for You to be glorified, not me. Thank You Lord for being in complete control as Psalm 103:19 tells us, which allows me to trust that by Your power ONLY and being submitted to you, those acts prompted by my faith will proceed and will bring You glory. Thank You Lord!

Hebrews 4:13-16

13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

How would we pray this back to God?

Yesterday Dr. Stanley spoke on these verses. At the end of his message he challenged us, “Reading these verses [back to God] will transform your prayer life because, of all that you are acknowledging before Him…”

Lord, in the spirit that  Dr. Stanley challenged us yesterday, we come to You through these verses. Lord, we acknowledge that You know ALL ABOUT our needs, that EVERYTHING is laid bare before Your eyes. We acknowledge that Your Son is our High Priest, seated at Your right hand and ever living to make intercession for us. We know Lord that the ONLY way in which we can approach You is through Him. We acknowledge Lord that without the shedding of blood, of His blood, that we as sinful man CANNOT approach Your Holiness. We know that Your Son sympathizes with us, thank You for that Lord! He knew sorrow, rejection, pain, loneliness, and most of all, the weight of the guilt of my sin Lord. Thank You that He understands us. And Lord, because of all of these things that we acknowledge, we recognize that Your desire is that we TURN TO YOU, not try to live life on our own. We recognize Lord that Your word is telling us that when we come to the throne in prayer, we are told we are to come boldly (not arrogantly), but with great confidence. Confident that you will meet our needs with mercy and grace, because You promise it. Praise You Lord!

Colossians 1:9-14

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How would we pray this back to God?

This morning I was up early praying for a friend of mine.  I said, and wrote, “Lord, I lift up Richard to You. Father, I pray that he would gain great understanding and knowledge about You this year, knowledge and understanding that equate to obedience in his life. As Your word further allows me to Lord, I pray this for Richard so that he would walk worthy of You, be fully pleasing to You and bearing fruit, eternal fruit, in every good work, including growing in the knowledge of You. Lord, strengthen him with all power, according to Your glorious might Lord, giving him all endurance and patience. And Father, I pray that he will give thanks to You, who has enabled him to share in the saints inheritance, living in the light, here on Terra Firma. Lord, You rescued Richard from the domain of darkness and You transferred him, and me, into the Kingdom of Your Son, giving us eternal life and hope, by the redemption we have, the forgiveness of our sins which is through Christ.”