prayer

The ABC's of Prayer Time

So it’s that time of night again, where I’m tucking my kids into bed and it’s time to pray.  As I prayed with them I began to hear a pattern of “rehearsed” prayer that I could hear was not really about communion with God, but was more about making mom happy.  

Their prayer started with the same words, and now was being said in a fast & lifeless way, “God, thank you for this day, please help me….”

The verse from Matthew 15:8 (NIV) jumped in my mind that says, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.“   Where were their hearts?  Hmmm…then I had to ask myself, "Where is my heart when I’m praying?”  (Don’t you love how kids do that?… make you examine yourself also!)   

So much of their prayer time (and sometimes my own!) is on what they want God to DO for them… the “making their requests known to God!”  'God help me with this’; ‘God make me better at that’; 'God please give me (fill in the blank)’. 

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 As a mom I knew that while it is good and right to make our requests made known to God, I also know it is a detriment if we miss out on all the other aspects of prayer time with God.  If my children only talk to God to “get stuff,” they will be missing the greatest blessing of prayer–  spending time with God and truly knowing Him!  Plus, it begs the question, “How will they feel when God doesn’t answer their prayers the way they prayed for Him to?”   If the purpose of their prayer is to get stuff, then what will keep them coming back to God if He in His infinite wisdom determines to not answer their prayer the way they asked?  

It is my desire that my children fall deeply in love with God and that they learn to “pray without ceasing”. I want them to communicate with Him regularly and to focus on HIM…not just on what they want from Him.  How could I help them with this?

Well, Julie Van Gorp (my ministry partner) shared with me something she’d heard and applied in prayer to keep the focus on God. It’s called, ’ The ABC’s of Prayer.’

So here’s what I asked them to do:   When you begin your prayer I want you to focus on WHO God IS and go through the ABC’s in your mind and come up with a character trait of God for each letter of the alphabet.  For example:

A- God is All powerful/Almighty

B- God is beautiful

C- Creator of all things

D- Deliverer

E- Everlasting 

F- Father

G- Good Shepherd

H- Holy…..etc…

It wasn’t long before my children and I began to spend far more time focusing on WHO God is and praising Him for His Character and Nature than on our requests.  Then, when they were making their requests they had already been reminded of WHO He is, which makes WHAT He decides to DO with our request all the more acceptable and filtered through His loving, perfect nature.

I want them to love God for WHO He is and not just for WHAT He can do for them.  His character never changes; however you never know what he’s going to DO next!

Focus on the ABC’s the next time you pray and let us know how it helps you to focus on God!  

Written by: Jamie Shaver

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The Only Answer to Our Nation’s Woes

This Tuesday is a major day in our nation’s history because it’s an election day, and an election day that is especially significant because the balance of power is on the line for the United States Senate and House of Representatives.  I encourage everyone to exercise the privilege and responsibility they have to vote as citizens of a nation whose founding fathers sacrificed their reputations, their possessions, and even their lives so that we could enjoy the freedoms guaranteed under our constitution, that are now under fire. There are major differences in the belief systems of the candidates who are running for office, and those beliefs include issues that are important to God as revealed in His Word, such as the sanctity of life; the definition of marriage; the role of the family; individual responsibility; religious freedom; and freedom of speech, among others.

However, in many ways it doesn’t matter which political party has the majority after Tuesday’s election, because the answer to our nation’s woes is not to be found in either– or any– political party. Our nation’s rapid and escalating decline is due to our rebellion against a Holy God Who is the One who determines whether nations will experience His curses or His blessings, based upon their obedience to His commands. The only answer for our nation is our acknowledgement that we have sinned against God and to repent— to turn back to Him and away from our sin.  We are under judgment because we have turned away from following God’s commands, and we have demonstrated our unbelief in His Word not only by our gross immorality, but also by assuming that we can sin against Him and not suffer the consequences of our sin.  Do not be deceived: unless we repent as a nation, we will reap what we have sown. (Galatians 6: 7-8) We are a nation that is beginning to ‘reap what we have sown’ and yet many are confounded and wonder why things are in such an upheaval and rapidly spiraling downward.

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Many within our nation are calling those who are standing up for that which God has called good—like the creation of male and female, and marriage being between a man and a woman –‘evil’; and calling ‘good’ that which God calls ‘evil’—like homosexuality and abortion.

Woe to those who call evil good

and good evil, who put darkness for light

and light for darkness who put bitter for sweet

and sweet for bitter!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,

and shrewd in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21

The Lord over and over again warned the Israelites to carefully obey all of His commands, which He had given to them because He loved them and knew what was best for them.  He promised blessings to them if they chose to obey Him, and curses if they rebelled against His commands.  The principle is the same for every nation, in particular for the United States, since like Israel we too are a nation that made a covenant with God. 

But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. Exodus 23:22

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. Deuteronomy 28:1

God also promised the Israelites that if they turned away from their sin that He would be merciful and forgive them; He longs to show mercy to the United States as well, if only we would repent.

…Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. Ezekiel 14:6

Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:7

God will judge the nations, and He also will judge each person according to their deeds.  So even if we live in a nation that is rebelling against God, we are to remain steadfast and keep our eyes upon the Lord, obeying Him and His Word rather than man. (See also Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12)

…I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Ezekiel 18:30

God is merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy.  Yet, He will not put up with sin forever.  Just like in the days of the Israelites, He will bring judgment upon the nation that continually rebels against His commands so that the people will cry out to Him, turn to Him, and recognize the error of their ways.

And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul,then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Deuteronomy 30:1-3

So what can each of us do?

1) Examine your own heart and ask God to convict you of your sin (for example: pride; selfishness; prayerlessness; fear of man; idolatry); confess it as sin, and ask God to empower you to turn to Him and away from your sin. Repentance is the key to the heart of God!

2) Pray: for Church leaders to be consumed with the ‘fear of the Lord’ (reverence for His Holy Character) and to preach the uncompromising truth of God’s word, regardless of the cost. 

3) Pray for all of our elected and appointed leaders, and pray fervently for the election of godly leaders who will seek to know and do God’s will; pray for God to lift the veil from those who have been blinded by their sin so that they might turn to God and away from the sin that is bringing judgment upon our land.

4) Vote for those people whose viewpoints most closely align with the Word of God.

5) Speak the truth in love and warn people to turn from their sins and turn to God while there is yet time!

 Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Got Life? Get Praying!

Recently I visited my octogenarian parents and we discussed the fact that my Dad, who turns 90 this year, had just celebrated 25 years of retirement. I asked him if he’d ever been bored during the last quarter of century, and he replied, ‘Not until very recently’, which was due to his relinquishment of a number of responsibilities and activities that had occupied much of his time in the past. As I considered my parents’ stage in life, it occurred to me that they could continue to have a huge impact on the lives of others. In fact, I believe the greatest work of their entire lives could easily lie ahead for them. And the greatest work of your life and mine is the same as theirs: and it’s something that we are able to do at all times, regardless of our age, gender, ethnicity, location, or physical limitations.  

Man-praying-with-Bible-via-Shutterstock
Man-praying-with-Bible-via-Shutterstock

The most important thing we can do to affect change in our own lives and in the lives of others is to PRAY. Prayer, or communing with God, is not only a privilege that God has given to us, but also a command. (Luke 18:1; Philippians 4:6; 1st Thessalonians 5:17; 1st Timothy 2:1) However, many people wonder how or what they should pray. First, like any loving parent, God longs for us as His children to come to Him and unburden our hearts without pretense. He longs for us to ‘pour out our hearts like water’ to Him (Lamentations 2:19), for He desires ‘truth in the innermost parts” (Psalm 51:6).

Secondly, and importantly, we can know that we are praying in accordance with God’s will when we pray His Word. Below are a few ideas for prayers based upon the Bible that I often use to pray for myself, as well as for others, and they can be used if you are praying alone or corporately. They are appropriate to pray for your loved ones and neighbors; for church, business, community, and political leaders; and even for ‘your enemies’, as we have also been commanded to pray for them as well.

Pray that ‘the fear of the Lord’—a reverent awe for Who He is, the Almighty, One and Only True God— would consume you and others. (Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 111:10) Pray that God would create in you and in them a clean, pure heart, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within you and them. (Psalm 51:10) Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict you and them of sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment (John 16:8-10), so that you/they would their fix their eyes and thoughts upon Jesus and eternity (2nd Corinthians 4:18; Colossians 3:1-4; Hebrews 12:2), and live for the purpose you/they were created—the pleasure and glory of God! (Isaiah 43:7) Pray that the Lord would break your and their hearts over the things that break His heart; that you would be unified with God and have His mind, His heart, and live in the power of His Spirit. (John 17:21-23; Philippians 2:1-11) Pray that you and they would be rooted and grounded in God’s love and have the faith to comprehend its height, depth, width, length, and breadth, so that you and they will know His unfailing love that surpasses all human understanding, and be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19; Romans 8:37-39;) Pray that the Lord would grant you wisdom, discernment, understanding and divine revelation, as He did for King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. (1st Kings 3:9; Ephesians 1:15-21). Pray that you and they would be found faithful to carefully obey all of God’s commands, which pleases Him (Deuteronomy 12:28); is the way to demonstrate love for Him (John 14:15); and puts His children in the position where He may bless them. (Deuteronomy 28; Psalm 1:1-2; Luke 11:28; Romans 2:6-8) Pray that the Lord would give you and them a humble, contrite, teachable spirit and the knowledge that you/they can do nothing apart from Him, but are able to do all things through Him and His strength. (Isaiah 66:2; Luke 14:11; John 15:5; Philippians 4:13) Pray that you and they would have an insatiable desire to read the Bible, which is inspired by God and is necessary for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, so that you and they will be thoroughly equipped to do the work God has called and created you to do. (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) Pray that you and they will hide His Word in your heart so that you and they might not sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11) The more you are in His Word and draw closer to Him, the more the Lord will reveal to you His desires and lead you to pray many other prayers. As you faithfully pray in accordance with His Word and will, be prepared for the Lord to do in your own life and in the lives of others what only He can do—-bring life-transforming revival!

Written by Julie

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Christmas Prayer

Thanks to all of you who have followed us on our True View website and watched our shows, read our blogs, and supported our ministry with your finances and prayers. You are a blessing in our lives!  It is our hope that this Christmas prayer will be a blessing to you and that the Lord will fulfill this prayer in your life in the New Year. Committed to Jesus, Who is the Way, Truth and Life!

Jamie and Julie

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nativity-scene1

 Lord, as I reflect upon the nativity scene and Your birth, I pray that You will be born anew in my life today.  Please enable me by the power of the Holy Spirit to have the receptivity of Mary that says, “be it unto me as your handmaiden”. Like Mary, may I be willing to respond to the call to carry You with me wherever I go into a world sorely needing Your love, regardless of the personal cost to me.

May I be like Joseph, willing—despite criticism, mocking and humiliation, disbelief and unbelief— to go wherever you say whenever you say.  May I act immediately upon the visions You give me, regardless of my own plans and desires.  May I be like both Mary and Joseph, willing to leave the comforts of the familiar to go into the realm of the alien and defiled, trusting that You who called me will protect and guide me.

Lord, please give me the persevering faith of the kings who were willing to travel great distances and experience discomfort to seek You until arriving at your feet to worship and adore You.  Give me their heart to follow You, the Bright Morning Star who alone gives light to the darkest sky and life.  Give me their humility to bow down and worship the One who came then— and Who still comes today—without fanfare to a world desperately needing a Ruler Who is “Faithful and True”. May I be willing— as the kings were in giving their frankincense, gold, and myrrh— to sacrificially give Jesus gifts that will bless and glorify Him: my time, talents, resources, and most of all my will and life.  May I be like the Magi in that I too will be willing to disobey guidance and instruction given by mankind when it conflicts with the vision and voice of the Lord.

May I have the heart of the shepherds who with exuberant joy and without delay left their assigned “task of the urgent” to minister to the “most important”.  May I walk in the reality that the only thing that will bring joy to my life and leave a mark on this world forever is when, like the shepherds, I leave my own field behind so I can go to and enter the place where I wholeheartedly worship the Unblemished Lamb of God.  May I too be willing to leave behind the good—tending to “my sheep”—in order to do the best— tending to the Perfect Lamb and ministering to His needs and desires.

May my life never be too full— like the innkeeper’s was— that I cast you outside the primary place and do not make room for the ‘King of Kings’ and ‘Lord of Lords’ to have preeminence in my life. May I recognize that my heart—like the manger on that first Christmas— was made for the sole purpose of receiving the Messiah, the greatest One ever born of woman who also came to be born in me, and in all who are willing to receive the One and Only truly life-changing Christmas gift!

Most of all, I pray that I will be like You, Jesus, consumed with the desire to do the will of Our Father, who also has called me and sent me to minister to a lost and dying world.  May my life also be a perfect reflection of God the Father’s sacrificial, unconditional, everlasting love.  I pray this in the Name that is above all Names, the Name of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, Who alone is worthy of all glory and honor!  Amen

Prayer written by Julie Van Gorp

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What To Pray After You've Been Hurt

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Recognizing that the greatest challenge you will face after being wounded by someone is keeping yourself free from anger, bitterness, and resentment, I suggest that your first prayer should be for yourself.  Our role is to be pure vessels through which the Holy Spirit can freely flow.  We must not harbor anything that will block the flowing of His Spirit within and through us.

Example of a prayer for yourself:

  •  If you are unable to love and forgive the person, confess that as sin to God.  “Lord, forgive me that I have not loved  ___ (name of person) as you have loved me (John 13:34-35); that I have not forgiven _______ as you have forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32). Give me Your heart of love and forgiveness for________(the person who wounded you). Please give me ‘a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone’ (Ezekiel 36:26), and ‘create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me’ (Psalm 51:10).  Give me eyes to see ________ as your child whom you love and with whom you long for me to be in unity by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Empty me of all that stands in the way of you having full reign in my life, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit! Help me to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others as you have loved me. (Matthew 22:36-40 )

If you are tempted to harbor anger, bitterness, and resentment against the person who wounded you, immediately take the thought captive (2ndCorinthians 10:5). Instead of focusing on the sin against you, look to Jesus who bore both your sins and the sins of the person who wounded you.  We’ve been commanded to love and pray for others, even our enemies (Matthew 5:44). “God is rich in mercy, full of compassion, not desiring that any should perish but that all should come to know Him and have eternal life. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reachrepentance.”(2nd Peter 3:9).  Do for the other person what Jesus does for you: intercede!

Example of a prayer for the person who wounded you:

  •  “Lord, break his/her heart over that which breaks Yours!  Give him/her a revelation of how deep your love is for them; draw them to Yourself where they alone can find forgiveness, peace, joy and true and everlasting love.  Give them a vision of eternity that they might humble themselves, confess their sin, and turn from it to You. Give him/her the gift of faith so that they might comprehend how deep, wide, long and high is Your love for them so that they might be filled to the full measure of You (Ephesians 3:14-19). May they have “love that abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,so that they may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.’ (Philippians 1:9-11)

You cannot pray for someone with love for them and at the same time hold bitterness toward them.  Which are you going to allow to grow in your heart….seeds of bitterness that lead to death, or seeds of intercession that spring forth new life? What you choose to do will not only affect the person who wounded you, but even more importantly, it will determine the intimacy of your relationship with Jesus, the most important thing in your life.

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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When A Soul Goes Astray, Pray!

I went to bed last night with conviction and grief in my heart. I did not personally watch the VMA’s to see all that ensued that night, but naturally Facebook was blowing up with things about Miley Cyrus. I looked at one and it showed all the strange moments in her performance (clearly with sarcasm and showing how people thought she was crazy). The way that the post was written was rather humorous, and I found myself smirking. Then, the Lord totally convicted me. God reminded me that Miley is someone created in His image [Genesis 1:27]. She is someone created. God took the time to let her be on this earth, and just like every human, He calls her to Himself. Whether she hears His call or not is not up to me; but I need to see worth in her. In every celebrity that we see who we think acts ridiculous, let us remember that they have worth in God’s eyes. 

    So I challenge you as I have now been challenged: when you see things like what Miley did, do not make the person the butt of your joke, mock them, judge them, or even glorify things that are sinful with laughter. Fight for that person! Show them the love that you have been shown, Christian. Who is to say you would not act the exact same way if you did not know the grace of God? We are to heed the Word of the Lord and love others as ourselves. [Matthew 22:36-40]. Why do we laugh or mock people instead of grieve over their pain and fight for them in prayer? Do we not know that God is at work everywhere and that we get to be a part of His work, even when we might never meet the person who is the object of our prayer? Prayer is powerful! 

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    We put celebrities on a pedestal, and then we pull them down. They are constantly surrounded by people who are looking to make sure they are perfect 24/7; that they do charity work; work-out; be good role models; etc. Yet, we do not know these people at all. We expect much of them, yet how much do we support them? As the Lord led me to pray specifically for Miley, He brought to my mind a picture of the Gladiators in the Roman times. One day the crowd can be cheering for you and wishing you to be the one to survive, however, if you don’t entertain them enough or someone better comes along then the crowd cries out for your blood. Do we not fuel the madness before us?

     Brothers and Sisters, let us come and fight for these human beings that have value. Let us desire that their eyes be opened to true freedom and the knowledge that they have purpose [Romans 10:11 Timothy 2:1-6Acts 26:18]. They were meant to be reflections of God! So let us reflect the love of Christ and change the way we speak about everyone— whether celebrity or acquaintance— and fight for them in earnest prayer, desiring their good; seeing their worth; and praying that God would open their eyes. 

     Let us reflect Christ and desire that others would know the joy, hope, and freedom in being His reflection. 

Guest blog by Katie Van Gorp

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Avoid Becoming A Drama Queen With These 3 Tips

Do you ever find yourself being “caught up” in drama with family, neighbors, co-workers, or  friends?  It can be an enormous distraction to an otherwise productive day.  “Drama” in relationships can also create tension, division, and emotional pain.  

 ”Drama” is any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results: for example, the vacation we planned with our friends was filled with a lot of drama.

In talking with women regularly about their lives, I have heard about conflicts and misunderstandings that have caused emotional pain, turmoil, and the loss of relationships.  

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Here are 3 tips to creating a drama-free life, as well as some scriptures showing what the Bible has to say about each.

 1)Stop gossiping.  This is idle talk, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.  The word idle means: having no worth, importance or significance.  The Bible states this about gossip:

 Proverbs 16:28

"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends."

Proverbs 18:7-8

“The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”

Proverbs 20:19

"A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much."

Proverbs 26:20

"Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down."

 2)Stop Justifying Your Actions.  Do you desire to have peace?  Peace comes only when we are living in line with God’s will. If you are following God’s will, you won’t need approval from your dad, mom, friends, neighbors or co-workers.  Often times we can create a lot of drama in our lives by trying to get others to “see our point of view,” or to agree with a decision we made.  It doesn’t matter what other people think of you; what really matters is what God thinks of you.  If someone has a problem with a decision you are making or a way you choose to live your life, if you know you are right before God you have no need to defend yourself and justify your reasoning before others.  Often times we do this because we fear the rejection of men. We fear we may hurt someone’s feelings. Frequently at the root of our action is our pride and fear that others will not approve of us. In the end, when you try to please man instead of focusing on pleasing God, it’s your feelings that are hurt and God finds our man-pleasing ways detestable. 

Ecclesiastes 5:7

"Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God."

Luke 16:15

"He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”

 3)Start Praying: Ask God for wisdom and guidance.  There is NOTHING that is too big— or too small— for God to care about in your life.  He is a God of details.  He knows all things.  Read His Word and expect that He will answer your question.  

 James 1:5

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

When King Solomon asked for knowledge, God was pleased and He gave it to Him.  

2 Chronicles 1:7-11

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

How would those who know you best describe you?  

A. Being a daughter of the King?  Or:

B. Being a drama Queen?

Written by Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?