- Results of Praying Without Ceasing July 1, 2016
After returning a rental car today I took a back road walking home and went on to our local bike trail.
While there a very nice young woman asked me for 30 seconds of my time to talk to me about a subject that I knew I would strongly disagree with her. I won’t share with you any of the details of the subject because I don’t want it to cloud the focus of this post, namely, The Results of Praying Without Ceasing.
After I dropped off the car and started walking, my mind was bombarded with thoughts taht took me in directions I know my brain should not go. I found myself constantly and, praise the Lord, consistently, taking those thoughts captive, which, above all things meant submitting myself to the Lord in every area of my thought life.
Here’s the point to this short post. Because I was prayed up. Because I was constantly in prayer. Because I was submitted to the Lord, by the Holy Spirit I had the words to say in that hour (Matthew 10:19). And instead of strong antagonism and deep resentment being the result of our discussion, we parted company in a friendly manner. I walked away reflecting that she not only knew clearly why I believe what I believe. But she heard from a Christian, a love for her that she didn’t expect when I begin by saying, “I’ll give you 30 seconds, but I’m one of these wacko Christians.”
A little further down the trail I was able to pray for her. And because our conversation went the way it did, from beginning to end, I was able to pray, with confidence that she would be moved by something that the Holy Spirit may have spoken to her heart.
My words were just my words. They weren’t said to convict or to change her mind. My role was to speak the truth in love (1 Peter 3:15) and let the Holy Spirit touch her and speak to her heart (Matthew 10:20).
What might I have said had I not been completely prayed up? What attitude might I have given off had I not been constantly in prayer before her introducing herself to me?
Do you notice a difference in yourself when you are not prayed up? Do you treat people differently than would like to when you have not been taking your thoughts captive?
Be constant in prayer. Try it you’ll like the results.
Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
- How A Passage Becomes A Prayer April 12, 2016
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.
- Prayer Shaming December 8, 2015
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.
- A Short Video on WORRY April 13, 2015
If you are on FB, click on this 3 minute video where I speak on WORRY.
I think it will be helpful:
- Praying for the Persecuted August 19, 2014
My post today, really isn’t my post at all. In fact, it is a post by someone that I do not know. His name is Chris Poblete and he works for Blue Letter Bible.
While I do not vouch for his beliefs (simply because I do not know him) I can tell you that he has BRILLIANTLY and with as much simplicity as possible, shown us how scripture tells us to pray for the persecuted.
If you know me, you know that I am all about praying Scripture Back to God, and Chris does an excellent job with this, which is why I have every confidence sending you to his post. (Click Here)
Points 1 thru 6 are taken from the kinds of passages that are CLEARLY God’s will and allow you to pray that God is “already in the process of accomplishing” (Mark 11:24) your prayer, because it is His will (1 John 5:14-15) The only thing I would caution you on, is point 7. When you have heard me speak, you have heard me say that if you are not sure what God’s will is, wrestle with Him until He makes plain His will. He will do this thru Scripture and giving you peace, etc.
I don’t want to focus any more on point 7, because I am NOT saying, “Don’t pray for their protection.” I am merely saying pray what God moves you to pray for, on their behalf…Which is, I believe, what Chris is implying when he says, “according to His good and perfect will.”
Again, this is a brilliant article and I do NOT want my comments on point 7 to be your focus. Make your focus praying according to Scripture, for these Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as Chris so brilliantly instructs.
Chris, well done!
(NOTE: Photo at top is distorted by design)
- Praising God Amidst Brokenness July 15, 2014
This post is taken from
a prayer of Paul’s that we often miss.
The HCSB entitles this section of the chapter
A HYMN OF PRAISE
Romans 11:33-36 (NASB)
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Paul has just spent the previous 86 verses discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to the Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.
APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…whether it be for your loved ones, or for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin that you have let get out of hand? Maybe it is something that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about? Believe me, praising God is so much bigger than we realize. It has a place in every one of these situations.
By looking at Paul’s prayer can you tell where Paul received his comfort from? After 86 verses of lamenting, I think Paul puts down his pen and opens his heart to receiving comfort from God. And how does he receive it, this comfort? I believe that it is in Paul knowing the wisdom and knowledge of who God is, which Paul gained from spending time in His Word (remember verses like 2 Timothy 4:13). I believe that this allows Paul to see the depth of God’s riches. In recognizing afresh, all of this about God, Paul realizes that he doesn’t need to have all the answers, because God’s judgments (or decisions) are unfathomable to our finite brains. He acknowledged that no one can know the mind of God, and certainly, no one can “counsel” God or give Him advice. Verse 35 uses a phrase that in English comes out a bit awkward, Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? I think a better way to say this is, “Do you think you can give God something He would then be beholden to you over?” Paul finishes with basically saying, “Look, this is all about God!”
So, recognizing that due to circumstances, any circumstances, you are broken. I want you to pray Paul’s prayer with me, using your own words where appropriate, and applying it to your brokenness. These verses (Romans 11:33-36), prayed, might sound something like this:
Father, the wisdom and knowledge gained from Your Word confirms for me the depth of Your riches, and Lord, they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. So often I want to know and figure out Your mind, but thank You that not only can I not know Your mind, but no one can give You counsel. You know my situation Father, so much better than I do, there is nothing I can offer You that would cause You to owe me anything, and Lord, I do NOT want that responsibility. You are sovereign overall and Your throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19). I praise You that Your sovereignty means that all things, all circumstances, including this difficult one in my life, are not a surprise to You, it was seen by You first and authorized in Your personal plans for my life. And so without any hesitation, and with perfect trust I can say that this difficulty is from You, through You and unto Your Glory, forever and ever. Father, I do not understand my plight, but I thank You that You are in control. It is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, even in the midst of my difficulty, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need to give You “advice” about my situation for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to even think that You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You work all things out for the better (Romans 8:28), Amen and Amen.
May I end with a couple of reminders?
- I’m not saying, “Don’t ask God to take away your difficulties.” It is natural to do that, and even Paul did…three times! I’m not saying that there is ANYTHING special about asking three times. Paul could have asked only one time, or ten times, or more. My point is this, at SOME TIME he stopped asking!
- Also, Philippians 4:6-7 gives us a “formula” if you will, to receive peace. It says, you come to the Lord with what? It says, “with prayer , petitions and thanksgivings…” The next time you are anxious about ANYTHING, would you seriously consider carrying a piece of paper with you, and start writing the things down that you can give thanks for, on behalf of your difficulty? You will be surprised the things the Lord lays on your heart.
When I was in Kenya a couple of months ago a new friend of mine, stood up on the last day I was in her village. She said, “Last night, I was lying in bed, my leg was hurting and I started talking to God, ‘I said Lord, I don’t like what that Muzungu said, but I know it is in Your Word, so will You show me what I can give thanks for?'” She smiled and then her eyes teared up, and she said, “There were a thousand things I could give thanks for.”
My friend, praise Him! Praise God that you can give thanks and praises for difficulties in your life. And friend, thank the Lord that I didn’t lecture on what the Bible says about the “benefits” that come from difficulties in our life. That is a whole other post!
Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
- Pray Care Share Invite April 28, 2014
Dear Friend and follower of Common Thread Ministries,
I don’t do a lot of “referring” folks but I have been experimenting with a friend’s site for a number of weeks now, and want to encourage you to try it out.
This web site was put together by Phil Miglioratti who organizes Pray!Network and is very involved in all aspects of prayer.
The site is simply a “Reminder” email to you. It is simple and unobtrusive.
I am inviting you into a small test project:
- www.PrayCareShare.com has been established as a resource that reminds those who register to pray for, show care to, and share the good news of Jesus with the persons they identify on the site all information is private (it has truly been established to serve a single purpose; no ads) participants simply type in the names of persons they are praying for and how frequently they want to be reminded
- The purpose of this test is to introduce you to this resource (of course, hoping you’ll inform others)…but also to invite your feedback after you have used it for a month or so, hoping to improve, what we pray will become, a resource for thousands in the Body of Christ.
Please take 30 seconds to check it out, and trust me, that’s ALL you need, 30 seconds.
I’d like you to email me and let me know if you plan to use it but that is not essential. After 30 days or so, I will email you with a simple feedback form to ask:
- Was the site easy to use?
- Did the email reminders increase your praying?
- Did the email reminders help you prayer deeper into the need of the person or expand the scope of your prayers?
- Did the frequency of being reminded cause you to be more proactive caring?
- And any other comments
Whatever you decide to do, thank you for praying that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
C: (404) 606-2322
- Praying In 2014 December 30, 2013
I have this painting on my wall in my office. The painting is called “The Presence” and it was painted by Captain A. E. Borthwick in 1910. To be honest with you, I’m usually a bit squeamish about images of our Lord, BUT, this one is an exception. Look at the painting closely. Jesus is DIRECTING the man how to pray. Look at Christ’s left hand, I get the sense that the person praying back there is seeking God, and God is directing him.
Here’s my point…How does God want you to pray in 2014? For whom, does He want you to pray? And then, what is your’s and my, responsibility in praying?
Do you remember when Samuel was “dismissed” as the leader of the Israelites? He instituted Saul and then said something very interesting, he said, “Let me not sin by ceasing to pray for you.” I know you won’t be perfect, but make the commitment to pray for someone/s this next year…AND THEN STAY WITH IT!
Look forward to monthly posts in 2014.
Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
- Conference Call Praying Update March 20, 2013
A few comments from the MWF Conference Call Praying Group. Try joining us. We are on at 7:00 am (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and are completed by about 7:30 am.
Click here for our FB Group Page.
And click here for our Web Page.
From CH in Georgia, Feb. 1:
Thank you brother. I enjoyed the time. I will be on regularly
From RG in Indiana, Feb. 1:
Thank you Mark for leading this sweet half-hour time of prayer over the phone! I appreciate hearing the hearts of those who join us as they pray and praise God. Just added some new. Continue seeking His face. We’re never disappointed when we do so!
From BE in N Carolina Feb. 13:
I love you , Mark. It’s blessing me being a part of this prayer group.God bless you…
From CD in Georgia, Feb. 14:
I’ve missed the calls. I’m hanging in there!! Hope y’all are doing great!
Back and Forth Conversation between me and JT in Alabama on Mar. 1:
Heard from a friend today, who said that these conference call prayers are teaching him to pray more personally, instead of, “Lord, we…” he is now praying more, “Lord, I…”
This is the kind if stuff that thrills my heart!
Didn’t really think about it until I read this post, but I have found myself speaking in the “I” rather than the “we” lately too. What a blessing.
Back and Forth Conversation between me and BE in N Carolina and JT in Alabama on Mar. 6:
I love the fact that while 5 people did most of the praying, we had 7 people on the phone. I love that people can get on the phone, and just listen in. Sometimes technology is good!
I’m thankful too. I love being on the phone praying with you guys.
There are times when silent prayer is golden. A couple of times last week my cell connection was terrible. Too avoid losing a connection while praying I decided to just listen and what a blessing to hold on to each word as The Lord hovered over these men of God. Thank You Lord for this CTMPrayer group.
Back and Forth Conversation between BE in N Carolina and JT in Alabama on
I’m so blessed to be a part of this ministry and praying with these men. Never met them, but feel connected to them. As my former pastor would say “Its a God thing”.
I agree with you. I so look forward to the three days we join in praising our Lord. How Great He is. When I have to miss a day I have an empty space in my heart and I pray like crazy will driving to fill the void . God bless you brother. Looking forward to Monday. Oh yea:) God bless all those in our group and an extra blessing on Mark, who listened when God spoke for him to gather us.
Back and Forth Conversation between BE in N. Carolina, JT in Alabama and LT in Maryland on Mar. 18:
Those times of silence were reverential and a form of listening prayer in the presence of Jesus.
Amen! I find it hard for me to be silent when praying, yet I know it pleases the Lord to sit in silence before Him.I think of the times I set on the floor near my earthly father, sometimes talking and sometime just enjoying being near him. Sometimes we talked, sometimes I just listened and sometimes we just sat together. It was always good to be near him. Same with my heavenly Father. Always love being in His presence.
How great, through the urgency to pray to our Father, to just be still and feel His presence and speaking to all of us, even though we are separated by many miles, never met except through our prayer group, yet one with Christ, praise God!!!!
Amen brother. Praise God.
From LT in Maryland, Mar. 20:
All I can say is that Songs that we sing in worship are food–food of the Capstone Jesus! That was quite a discovery for me when I did this study on the word ‘SONG’. May others be encouraged.
Here is a link to his word study.
We would love to have you join us. The first time you get on, if you just want to listen, that is quite okay! Remember, we start at 7:00 am Eastern Time, and are on for about 1/2 hour. to call in you will dial (605) 562-3000 and then you will need access code 347361. If you are somewhere that is noisy you can mute your end by hitting “*6″ and then to un-mute hit “*6″ again.
Join us soon!
- Conference Call Praying Every… February 6, 2013
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
You might be asking, “What in the Wide, Wide, World of Sports are you talking about?”
This is an opportunity for you to begin your day in corporate prayer.
Feel free to just get on and listen. You don’t have to participate until you’re ready. You’ll be blessed just listening to others pray.
We look forward to you joining us.