Kenyan Ministry Growth Pains

kenyaministryteam-2015-webresFrom my first visit I became burdened for the elderly, retired pastors. I’ll never forget the retired pastor who came up to me, NOT to ask me for money, but to ask me to remember him, for as with nearly all retired pastors, they have no money.

Well, we plan to engage them, the retired pastors, to marshal other elderly individuals in their towns and villages.

I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night and recorded some thoughts that have been reverberating in my heart for awhile. Let me share my late night writing with you below:

My Kenyan Burden

God is opening doors in Kenya where we are rebuilding the foundations of prayer in men and women EVERYWHERE we go. We are now working to disciple retired pastors who in turn will marshal the elderly into prayer cells:

  • It is interesting that the dictionary defines “marshal” as, “to gather or organize people or things, especially in order to achieve a particular aim

And what is that aim? To rebuild the foundations of prayer in the ones who, with their life experiences, SHOULD BE our prayer warriors, the elderly.

This next paragraph is so far out of my comfort zone that I am struggling to write it, but I am, because I really believe the Lord laid this on my heart.

We would be honored if some of you would commit to supporting Kenya monthly. If you do, we’d like to do the following:

  1. Send you a personally signed copy of Mark’s novel, “The Pray-ers”
  2. Keep you actively involved in Kenya by introducing to you, every month, to individual team members that live and serve there
  3. If 100 people gave $25.00 per month we could
    1. Raise one of our part-time staff to a full-time position.
    2. We could schedule 3 – 4 visits per year; and
    3. Our “Retired Pastors” ministry could reach into all 47 counties in Kenya.

The burden of my heart is big, for them in Kenya, and has been since my very first trip. After my last trip I returned home and told Naida, “I could return as a full time missionary, if God called me to do so.” The spiritual need is so great. Doctrines of demons runs rampant.

Nearly every-time I speak, and especially the last two visits pastors would stand up and say, in front of their congregations, “We have got to rethink the way we pray,” or “I have been convicted about the way I have been praying.” And then the words of Bishop Zachariah still ring in my ears, ‘Oh Bro. Mark, I am so ashamed of the way we order God around.’

If you believe the Lord is leading you, please join us in our ministry.

You can donate here

Blessings,

Mark S Mirza
www.MarkMirza.com

Mark@CTMPrayer.org

Praying about Needs, Protection and Worry

WP_20160903_09_16_34_ProI 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.

Worry, You Don’t Gotta

Blessings my friends,

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker, Common Thread Ministries
www.CTMPrayer.org
www.ThePray-ers.com
Mark@CTMPrayer.org

Praying About An Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter Model

Ark Encounter Model

As The Ark Encounter gets ready to open in a few days, I want to share with you how I have been praying. No! I have NOT been praying about the weather. I should have, it’s supposed to rain. But then I thought, “Hey, rain on the  day of the ribbon cutting of The Ark Encounter is absolutely appropriate!”

But I want to share with you how I have, for the last few weeks, been praying. I have been reminded of the explorers of old and their reasons for wanting to find the Ark. Many of them, the Christians, wanted to find the Ark for much the same reason Ken Ham and company has built this Ark, namely, to bring the truth of the Word of God to the world. Well, on July 5th, in a very real sense, these men and women explorer’s prayers have been answered, THE ARK HAS BEEN FOUND!!! Here has been my prayer:

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth. Lord, let Your Name be so real, so majestic, so excellent in men and women’s lives, as You rehear and then answer the prayers of these men and women explorers from the past. Cause men and women and boys and girls from all over the earth to experience You in a personal way, accepting Your Son, our Ark, and enter into eternal salvation in You as they visit The Ark Encounter.

Now I want to be real careful here to not set a dogmatic doctrine on a theme that ArkEncounterOpeningmany will say, “Mark, you’re just crazy!” I want to be clear, this kind of praying is a VERY, VERY SMALL percentage of my praying. Let me illustrate how small. My prayer partners and I have a friend who has been in heaven for a number of years, none of us met Bill personally. Our first face to face meeting with him will be in heaven, but I can also tell you that, probably once a month or more, we remember to ask the Lord, “To rehear Bill’s prayers afresh for his family, and for his friends and for his pastor.” And that’s it!

Let me say this a bit differently, in a month or two of praying, praying by men who are on the phone together for many hours per month and then in their own prayers for many more hours in the same month, the ONLY length of time this prayer gets, is maybe, 10 seconds, maybe. So it is a VERY small amount of our praying.

Forgive me for the previous two paragraphs warnings and pleadings, but I want to be careful that we DO NOT let this become a new “Fad” in your praying. God is interested in YOUR effectual and fervent prayers! That’s what He wants to hear.

But you might ask, “Why Mark do you even pray this way at all?”

ArkEncounterTimeSquare

Ark Encounter Advertising on Times Square

Great question. You might want to say that in Revelation 5:8, the prayers of the saints are stored up for God to rehear. I personally wouldn’t push the verse that far because there is too much that isn’t said in the verse, about prayer.

You might also look at an argument that departed saints are in heaven praying, as Revelation 6:9-10 implies. Again, I think that it is pushing the envelope of prayers and where they originated, which is in heaven and not on earth (remembering that this post is because of my reference above of explorer’s prayers). Also, Revelation 6:9-10 is focusing on the pray-ers said in heaven by martyred saints. And the subject of their prayers were very specific, vengeance. So please, do not take the focus off of what God would have us do, namely, here on earth, pray.

There is however, one reason that I would ask the Lord to rehear the prayers of the previous Ark explorers as I did above, and there isn’t single verse in Scripture that associates this reason with prayer. Time. The reason is time, TIME! God is outside of time! I don’t really know what that means, but it is a bit comforting to me to think, that maybe, just maybe, God can rehear afresh, the prayers from the past. Call me crazy if you want, it’s okay. But if  you do not call me crazy, then please, pray with me:

Oh Lord, our Lord, rehear the prayers of those Christian explorers who so wanted men and women and boys and girls to find Your Son thru the finding of the Ark. For truly, THE ARK HAS BEEN FOUND!!! It might be in Kentucky and not in the mountains of Ararat, but Lord, our Lord use it to bring the saving knowledge of Your Son to men and women.

To visit the ark and get the details on tickets click here.

 

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
C: 404-606-2322

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

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

Praying For The Elections

MenPraying-1

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
Mark@CTMPrayer.org
www.CTMPrayer.org

Common Thread Ministries

God “Can” Do It?

KneeMailAndPMASign

 

Think about the way you pray. Especially the times when there is a legitimate concern and you are pleading with God and pleading with God. Don’t those prayers goes something like this? “Lord I know that You can do this.” Or, “Father I Trust You that You can handle this for me.”

Now I speak to this subject ALL of the time, and for those of you that have heard me before, you know that I use Mark 11:24 when I discuss this subject, namely, using the word “can” when you pray. Mark 11:24 says, “When you pray, pray believing that you have already received it.” Now compare that to you saying, “Lord I know that You can do this.”

Do you hear the subtle difference?

Try to look honestly at your “I know You can” prayers. My experience is that when I hear people praying that way I get the sense that they are doubting while they pray. The problem with doubting while you pray, of course, is James 1:6-7 which says “When you pray do not doubt, and if you do doubt you ought not to expect to receive ANYTHING from the Lord.”

Now here’s the other problem that I have with the “Lord I know You can” prayers, and that is 1 John 5:14 and 15, which talks about the confidence that we are to have, when we are praying. The confidence is to be there, because we know that we’re praying God’s will. In fact I think this passage is also saying the same thing as Mark 11:24, if you know that you’re praying God’s will, then pray that you have already received your request.

I started this off by talking about “pleading” with God, and that “pleading” causing us to pray “I know You can” prayers. Let me be careful to speak and it not be out of the other side of my mouth, when I say, do not confuse pleading with fervency. God gives some people the opportunity to be fervent about a particular subject while others are not. I think God hears fervent prayers differently than he does other prayers (James 5:16). So again, the point is not about your fervency, the point of this post is about your pleading and using the word “can” when you address God.

So what causes us to use the word “can” when we pray? I believe one simple word sheds light on this issue…faith.

I know that you have faith that God “can” do something, I hear the way you pray. And what I hear is not your lack of faith that God can do what you ask, but your lack of faith that God WILL do what you ask.

That’s the problem isn’t it?

And it is rooted in faith. Let me demonstrate why I believe this is accurate.

You have a daughter or a granddaughter that is born and you start praying for her salvation. You are very comfortable praying that God is already in the process (Mark 11:24) of working out the details for her to become saved, after all, He has said that He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), and he has also said that when you delight yourself in Him He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). So praying that God is ALREADY in the process (Mark 11:24) of saving your cute little innocent daughter or granddaughter is pretty easy to do, and you KNOW that it’s God’s will (1 John 5:14-15), so you also do not have to doubt her future salvation (James 1:6-7) right?

But now you start praying for your 35 year old hellion son and your prayers are very different, aren’t they? Now think about this, what is the only difference? The person is different, but the verses from above haven’t changed, have they? What is the only thing that is different? The only difference is, I believe, your faith, because of what you are seeing. Now remember what faith is, Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” or, in other words, if you have to see it happening before you believe it, it’s not faith!

Let’s back up for a moment. Why can you pray with the confidence that you do for your daughter or granddaughter? There’s only one reason, and that is the truths that you know are in scripture. One of the truths is Psalm 37:4, where we are told that “when you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.” There are also passages in both the New Testament and the Old Testament that say that God is not willing that any should perish (one is 2 Peter 3:9).

So if the verses are the same for your daughter and for your son, what’s the difference? The difference is you, and your lack of faith because what you are clearly seeing.

Let me reiterate something so that you have a clear balance on this important foundation of prayer. Our faith is not in what God can do, because of who He is. Our faith is in what God will do, because of who He is.

We pray about what God can do, because it’s what we want, instead of searching His Word to find what He will do because of who He is.

I’ll never forget arguing with a college student on this one Sunday morning. He kept telling me that you, “Cannot know God’s will.” And I only had one response for him. It’s the same one that I will give you now. If I cannot know God’s will, then the Holy Spirit clearly made a mistake every time He talks about us praying God’s will.

You see I think we get so wrapped up in praying what we want, that we do not take the time to open our Bible and wrestle with God in prayer until we get a peace about what He wants.

A few caveats need to be expressed here:

  1. I am NOT saying do not “plead” with God.
  2. I am NOT saying God will give me the selfish desires of my heart.
  3. I AM saying He will show you His will, BUT it may simply be your next step.
  4. I guess I’m saying one more thing too. Let me say this gently to you, be embarrassed the next time you use the word “can” when you pray.

Love you guys, and I’ll talk to you next week.

 

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
www.CTMPrayer.org
@CTMPrayer

Common Thread Ministries

Praising God Amidst Brokenness

IMG_2188

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?

  1. 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!
  2. 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
Mark@CTMPrayer.org
@CTMPrayer

Common Thread Ministries