- Praying about Needs, Protection and Worry September 4, 2016
I worked a book festival yesterday, came home exhausted, ate, not so well, and awoke at midnight with heart burn. So I stayed up for a bit wanting to enjoy some time in Psalm 119. The first verse I read was verse 65.
Psalm 119:65 (NIV 1988) says, “Do good to your servant according to your word, O LORD.”
As I meditated on the verse I realized the following:
Ask someone to pray Psalm 119:65 to the Lord and you might hear this, “Oh Lord I need You to do good for me in this area of my life and in that area of my life . . . “
But I am convinced that this kind of praying is not what God expects from us.
In fact, I think this kind of praying tells a lot more about ourselves than we realize.
-Hasn’t God already said that He will take care of all of our needs when we but seek Him? (Matthew 6:33)
-Hasn’t God already said that He is our protector? (Psalm 34:7)
-Hasn’t God already said that we do not have to worry? (Matthew 6:34)
Now let’s go back and look at the verse we started with.
Psalm 119:65 says, “Do good to your servant according to your word, O LORD.”
I believe that the way we should pray about needs, protection and worry, using Psalm 119:65, is as follows:
-Father I know Your word and I know You. I thank You for my current financial situation, though I may not know how things will be taken care of, I trust You to take care of my needs, as Your word says.”
-Lord, thank You for reassuring me that I do not need to plead for Your protection. Your throne is above the heavens and You are sovereign over all (Psalm 103:19). Your Angel already encamps around me and delivers me according to Your word, according to Your sovereign plan for my life.
-Forgive me Lord for so many times when I worry. I know You and I know Your word and Your word tells me that the same God who adds all these things that I need (Matthew 6:33), will take care of tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).
Now be careful when you think like this and plan to pray like this. This is NOT positive confession. This is simply trusting the God of the word, because they are His words to you and me.
&n case you want to invest the time, here is a 3 minute video of me speaking on worry.
Blessings my friends,
Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker, Common Thread Ministries
- Politics and Serving July 23, 2016
Psalm 119:91e, “. . . all things serve You.”
What an incredible statement, ALL things serve Him, ALL!
The NASB and the HCSB, both say, “. . . all things are Your servants.”
Now the context is the physical creation, but the application is EVERYTHING!.
Remember Romans 8:28, it says there that He uses ALL THINGS for the better, ALL THINGS! Amazing.
So if God says that “all things serve” Him, what does “all things” include? How about sickness? How about bad financial issues? I wonder if “all things” includes . . . Wait, all things means just that doesn’t it? All means all!
Now please note, does the Romans 8:28 say that all things GET BETTER? No, it says that all things “work out for the better.”
But let’s not get off topic, “all things serve” God.
The day I write this is in the middle of two “Great political parties’ conventions.” Literally, one has just ended and the other will begin. Whichever party you prefer, please remember what the Word says, by application, These “important” men and women serve Him, whether they realize it or not.
God is the one who is served by all things (Psalm 119:91). He is the One who is sovereign (Psalm 103:19). He reigns (Psalm 9:7). He is where we put our trust (Jeremiah 17:7), praise the Lord.
What is His will for the November elections? I don’t know, but I’m excited to see what He has up His sleeve! (cf Romans 13:1-2)
Mark S Mirza
Ministry: Common Thread Ministries
Book: The Pray-ers
- Politics, Motives and Prayers July 22, 2016
During a weekly conference call where we pray for a particular Washington D.C. legislator, my prayer partner and I prayed about the Republican Convention and the November elections. While he prayed 1 Timothy 2:2 it occurred to me that the verse’s reference to “tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity” is expected of Christians, REGARDLESS of who is in office.
While I would like my country’s leaders to create circumstances where life is convenient for me as a Christian, I have to be honest about my motivation for praying for these leaders. And when I check my motivation for praying I find myself having to say, “Yes, my motivation is selfish (cf James 4:3)! I don’t want to face the turmoil that 1 Peter 4:12 implies, namely that I should expect fiery ordeals.” And then I am reminded where Jesus, in Matthew 10:16ff says, basically, “They persecuted me. They WILL persecute you.”
So how do I make sense of these realities and then let them impact my prayers so that my prayers are true to God’s Word?
- I submit myself to the Lord, dying to my desires, daily (Luke 9:23). This means that I am willing to wake up every morning and sign a document that says, “God’s Will For My Life” BEFORE its details of the day are filled in.
- I thank the Lord, for every circumstance, difficulty, etc. We know that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful IN everything but do we own the reality that we are to thankful FOR everything? (See Ephesians 5:20). You may think that there is NOTHING you can give thanks for, relative to certain issues, but test the Lord. Let Him lay on your heart what you can give thanks for. It will completely change your perspective of your difficulty.
- Finally, pray God’s Word, “Lord, You have ALREADY given me everything I need to live a life of godliness, (1 Peter 1:3) regardless of who is in official leadership roles. When they threaten my peace, I simply ask You to consider their threats and give me the opportunity to be bold for You (Acts 4:29).
- The Gospel of Self July 8, 2016
Why is combating the “gospel of self” so important?
Because focusing on our will, instead of God’s will, causes us to compromise Scripture, meaning we look at it for what we WANT it to say, not letting it speak for itself.
So how do we fall into this deception? What does “compromising Scripture” look like? I suggest that it is as simple as us “bending” Scripture to meet our preconceived notions of what it SHOULD say.
And then when someone disagrees with us we say, “Oh that’s just your interpretation.” But, these ARE NOT interpretation issues! These are context issues. HUGE difference!
I like what the AiG founder, Ken Ham says when he is talking about evolutionists and creationists looking at the same evidence but coming up with completely different conclusions. The difference, he says is, “Where we start impacts where we end-up.”
Let me draw what that looks like:
Proper Context ++ Passage’s Interpretation == Peace
IM-Proper Context ++ Passage’s Interpretation == NO-Peace
Here’s the sobering part of why we end up with NO-Peace:
Romans 8:6, For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
- Here’s the context of Romans 8:6: The Holy Spirit makes a difference in our life.
- The interpretation is above.
- So, when I do NOT have peace, it is for one reason, because I am NOT focusing on the things of the Spirit.
Now let me challenge your prayer life, and I will use just one example:
We all know 1 Thessalonians 5:18, that we are to give thanks “IN” everything, but do we realize that we are to give thanks “FOR” everything (Ephesians 5:20)?
- Example of when my checking account is low. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You that You have another opportunity to strengthen my faith muscle, and I get to watch You do it!”
- Example of protection when I drive, or, traveling mercies. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You that your angel is alongside me, guarding me along the way so that I arrive at the place that you have prepared for me (Exodus 23:20), WHEREVER that is.”
- Example of a child in the military. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You that I can trust You with my child to do WHATEVER You want in his life, because You are sovereign and You know what is best (Psalm 103:19).”
- Example of poor personal health. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You Lord that You have promised to comfort me IN this affliction, so that I can comfort others in the self-same way (2 Corinthians 1:4).”
We need to rethink the way we pray. And hear me, I’m not saying this is the ONLY way to pray about these issues. I’m merely showing how “giving thanks” can be done IN everything and FOR everything, just as Scripture says.
Mark S Mirza
PS: Giving Thanks (for everything) often leads to worry. Here is a 3 minute video I did on worry last year.
- 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.
- The Breadth of God’s Love October 10, 2015
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?
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.
BEFORE YOU CLOSE THIS POST. TAKE A LOOK BELOW AT MY LATEST BOOK:
It 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.
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- 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 Elections October 24, 2014
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
- Problem Throwing August 26, 2014
SUBTITLE: When Life Throws You Problems
Imagine that you’re 30,000 feet up in the air…in turbulence.
I just read a post from a friend of mine that said, in part, “sometimes life throws you problems…” and I think we need to look, “gently critically” at this for a moment.
God is sovereign (Psalm 103:19) and so NOTHING in your life happens outside of His providence. Remember Job? When you read the first two chapters of that book, you see that God actually prompts satan (not capitalized on purpose) to do what he does to Job. And remember 2 Chronicles 7:14? Well there’s a verse before it. In verse 13 God is speaking, He says, basically, “When I bring natural disasters, and when I bring those things that impact your finances, and when I bring illnesses…”
These passages, and a lot more, cause me to look at problems that are “thrown” my way, a bit differently than just, “life throwing you problems.”
You see, the one and only constant that I know is God. I trust Him. I know that He is sovereign. I know that His Son came that I might live life abundantly. I know that He has a plan for my life. I know that ANYTHING that happens in my life has gone thru His hands BEFORE it came to me.
So, far from saying, as my friend did, later in her post, “just hang on…” Far from that, I am saying, because God is sovereign, “Thank You Lord, for this challenge. Thank You Lord for another opportunity for You to strengthen my faith muscle, and I get to watch You do it!”
Now let me talk about my friend for a moment. I know her very well, and I KNOW that her idea was, AND IS, to be an encourager…BUT, even my “gifted encourager” friend can find herself focusing on the wrong point, namely, “that life has thrown you a problem.”
No! The right perspective is, God is sovereign! He is doing something, “for the better” (Romans 8:28) in my life, THAT’S the right perspective…No offense to my friend, I hope.
Mark S Mirza