Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. (‭Jonah‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ NLT)

God had Jonah right where he wanted him. After his rebellion, God has pursued him and cornered him because he loved him.

We may find ourselves at rock-bottom with nowhere else to turn, but in those moments we are probably exactly where we need to be for God to work in us and with us.

Let’s let our prayer be like that of Jonah in the verses following this passage: confession, praise, repentance, commitment.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬ NLT)

Hope is a powerful thing. When we understand the hope we have in Jesus, we don’t live in fear and we never question our worth. We are his RICH inheritance. In Christ we are loved.

Let pray this prayer for each other as followers of Jesus: that we will know and fully grasp the hope we have in Jesus.

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. (‭Daniel‬ ‭6‬:‭10‬ NLT)

For Daniel, prayer was not something he tacked onto his day. He didn’t pray when and if he had time, prayer was the most regular part of everything he did. It’s hard to imagine how his life would have looked without prayer.

We tend to pray more when things get difficult. The same was true for Daniel and we see that in this verse. When the law was passed, outlawing prayer to his God, his first instinct was to pray anyway. But he didn’t begin this regimen of prayer three times a day when times got tough, no it it says he went home to pray “as usual” and “Just as he had always done.”

Like Daniel, let’s be people of prayer. Not just for 21 days, but for everyday.

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. (Luke 5:16 NLT)

Once his earthly ministry began, large crowds seemed to gather wherever Jesus went. Some came to see miracles, others to hear him teach, but regardless they came. He was famous and the demands on his life and his time became greater everywhere he went. I love this short verse because in the middle of all of this, Jesus maintained the discipline of intentional prayer. He found this happened best through solitude. He would withdraw or escape for prayer.

As we’ve passed the halfway point of our 21 days of prayer and fasting, I hope you are beginning to establish the discipline of prayer in your life. I hope you are becoming intentional about escaping for prayer. Even though Jesus was busy, he made time for prayer. We can learn from his model. If Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we?

If you’re struggling to find the time, I’ll leave you with this quote from Martin Luther,”I have so much to do that if I didn’t spend at least three hours a day in prayer I would never get it all done.”

 

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. (‭Psalms‬ ‭127‬:‭3‬ NLT)

Today I felt led to call us to pray for the parents in our church. Pray that God will help us to see with fresh eyes the blessing and responsibility that our children are. Pray that we will make the most of the days we have with our kids and that we will raise them to know Jesus and his love.

But I also felt clearly led to pray for the people in our lives who are still waiting and wanting to be parents. Some are dealing with infertility, others are in the process of adopting. Let’s pray for a fresh taste of the goodness of God in their lives today and for encouragement for their souls.

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭1‬:‭27‬ NIV)

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. (‭1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭14-15‬ NLT)(

Aligning our prayers with the will of God and the realities of heaven is the key to answered prayer. It’s not just persistence or flowery prayers that bend the ear of God. His word says we can ask for anything that pleases him and he will hear an answer that prayer.

Now if this were you or me, how selfish would that sound? It would be incredibly self-absorbed. But for a perfect, holy, righteous God it makes perfect sense. Why would he withhold from us anything we ask that he already wants for us–anything that is best for us–anything that pleases him?

As you pray today, ask God to show you his will. Ask him to align your heart with his so you can pray not just in his name, but for his pleasure and his glory.

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭19‬:‭13-14‬ NIV)

As you pray today, pray for the children and children’s ministry of Verge Church. Communicating the gospel to them and displaying the love of Jesus to them is one of the most important things we do.

Pray for the VergeKids leaders as well. Pray that their heart for children will grow even more and that they will be encouraged in their service. And pray that God will call more caring adults into service in this vital ministry.

I pray to you, O LORD, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. (‭Psalms‬ ‭28‬:‭1‬ NLT)

O that we would see prayer this way. That we would long for God to not only hear but to SPEAK.

If you are silent, I might as well give up and die…

Today as we pray, let us be sure to take time to LISTEN to God speak. Read his Word, pray his Word and wait for him to speak.

So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭38‬ NLT)

We’re believing God will expand the reach and the depth of Verge Church during 2015. Today let’s pray for God to send workers into the ministry of our church. For some of us, we’ll be praying for ourselves as God is going to begin showing us how and where he would have us serve.

In the verse before Matthew 9:38, Jesus told his disciples that the harvest is great. The harvest in Northeast Arkansas is great, so let’s pray for more believers who will serve sacrificially.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” (‭ Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭43-45‬ NLT)

Love your enemies? Pray for your enemies? That is totally unreasonable, right? Yet this is exactly how Jesus commands us to respond to those who would attack, defame or destroy us. To love them and pray for them.

Get this: It is impossible to carry a grudge or carry out revenge toward a person if we’re actively praying for them and their welfare. Our heart changes toward them even if they’ve done nothing to deserve it.

So let me encourage you to take time today to pray for the difficult people in your lives–the people who have hurt you. Ask God to give you a love for them–that you will show them his love.