Thank you to everyone who came to hear my talk at City Church on Sunday evening (May 17, 2015). My topic was:
The Enormity of Prayer
Here are the full notes from my talk. The bits colored in BLUE are the bits that I had to cut out for time (or that I think I missed inadvertently). The bits colored in RED are bits that I think are significant.
NOTE: I will post all my notes that I spoke from first … then I will put in links to the various sections that are already on this website to make it easy to jump to the appropriate section for more details.
===: Starting prayer and introduction
Heavenly Father … thank you for eyes that see and ears that hear. Thank you for revealing bits of your beauty and glory to us every day without fail. Thank you for giving us your Word and how you have helped me find ways to make your Word part of prayers for many of your sons and daughters . I pray that this would not be just a project, but that it would be a WAY OF LIFE. I pray this in the name of Christ Jesus, King of kings. Amen
I put most of the scripture references, resources and examples on my website. This will make it easy for you to check on them later and help me fit it into 20 minutes … but a warning – it is hard to speak slowly when the topic is so extremely exciting!
===: Added a few hours before my talk
The TITLE Enormity of Prayer comes from a revelation I had in June 2009 (click=>read my article I posted then). Then on March 12 of this year it seemed like God wanted me to share my revelation with you. The past two months I collected my material, put up this website and kept fine tuning my talk until it was just 20 minutes. However … just this morning it seems like God wanted me to change a few things, especially how I start … with something that has been the basis of my life for years now – maybe because it then also is the basis for all my written prayers!
I hear Jesus saying this to me:
Look at Me. Look at me. Don’t look off to either side. Just look at me! I will always be with you!
But then I explained to God that if I start with that I need a scripture basis. And a half hour later I got the MAIN scripture as part of the Sunday service this morning, from Hebrews, to go with what I found in Proverbs and Matthew!
Prov 4:25-27 NIV Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. (26) Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. (27) Do not swerve to the right or the left
Matthew 28:20 GW – remember that I am always with you until the end of time.
Hebrews 12: 1-2 (other translations include these words: run with perseverance, patience, endurance)
GW: We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.2 We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Now he holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne.
===: Introduction to prayer
What Can One Person Do?
First person I asked said:
Looked through the Bible and found 22 ways (then stopped looking)
- Kneeling (King Solomon, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul, others)
- Sitting/lying down (Ananias)
- Standing (Jesus instructed on standing to pray)
- With Hands Lifted Up (Psalms plus Paul’s instructions to men)
- Out Loud (Tax Collector, Peter and John’s companions)
- Inside (instructions from Jesus)
- Outside (Peter, Jesus)
- Short (instructions from Jesus – Paul had a 5 word prayer for healing)
- For Hours (Jesus)
- Softly (Hannah)
- Intensely (Jesus, Elijah, City of Nineveh)
- With Joy (Paul)
- In your mind (Abraham’s servant)
- In the Spirit (instructions from Paul, instructions from Jude)
- By Yourself (instructions from Jesus)
- With Another (King Hezekiah, instructions from Jesus)
- With a Group (Nehemiah, the apostles, the disciples, a crowd)
- A Whole City (Nineveh)
- Singing (Levites, Paul & Silas, instructions from James)
- Crying (Hannah, Ezra, Jesus, the psalms)
- With Fasting (Nineveh, Esther & her maids with all the Jews, Paul & Barnabas)
- Constantly (psalms, instructions from Jesus, Paul)
- and finally … what I am going to talk about right now… IN WRITING!
===: Put It In Writing
PUT IT IN WRITING!
(how writing it was considered VERY important and significant in scriptures)
In scriptures we can see how writing was important.
When a new king is crowned … one of the first things he was to do was to WRITE OUT a complete copy of the books of Moses!
God told Habakkuk to WRITE the vision.
God told Moses to WRITE each word of the law.
God asked the Israelites to WRITE his words on their doorposts
God also asked Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joshua and John to write down his words.
Samuel wrote out the words.
Paul said he would keep WRITING these things.
Even GOD wrote down his instructions! (the TABLETS of STONE written by the finger of God)
[ This is where I stacked some of my folded prayers to show how they accumulated and tip over]
===: 2 Stories
Someone else has Prayer Cards in his Pockets
A week ago we had company for Mothers Day and one of our guests was telling about someone they know who wrote his prayers on cards and kept the cards in his pocket
Someone else is already writing her prayers
Someone I invited replied back that they had a conflict in their schedule and could not come but that they did look at my website AND then they said that THEY ALREADY ARE writing their prayers!
So … I am not the only one who is doing this :)
===: Examples from scripture on why SEEING is important
Queen of Sheba
Scriptures tell us that she had HEARD all about Solomon’s wisdom. But she wanted to SEE it for herself. So she made the LONG journey and scriptures says that when she saw it with her own eyes she was BREATHLESS!
All the disciples had their doubts … but Thomas is a prime example from Scriptures of how important it is to see something TANGIBLE!
Thomas said he would not believe Jesus had risen unless he could SEE and TOUCH the wounds in Jesus’s hands and side!
*** MY CONCLUSION … many people need to SEE something. They need something visible, something tangible to make their FAITH REAL!
So … let’s help them with this.
Let’s give them things to SEE.
Let’s write out our prayers!
===: A Written Prayer template
Ask God what you should pray – Wait to hear from God
Then your prayer can be in three sections:
1) Thanking God
2) Quoting scripture
(use words from scripture – multiple translations help)
NOTE: For me the prayer itself is usually only 3 or 4 sentences! AND listing the scripture in several translations gives me different phrases that I can use in my short prayer!
See the back of tonight’s handout for a full example of this!
NOTE: I cannot take credit for most if not all of these prayers … I usually ask Jesus to give me the words … and He does! So the credit goes to Him!
===: One of my stories (with permission)
A couple years ago I wrote and emailed a prayer every day for 40 days to a friend, then afterwards, I created a SQUINT ART summary page of phrases from those prayers. Recently I talked with her and she said that she has that summary page on her desk at work. And she told me that those written prayers were often just what she needed on the day I sent them. The summary page now reminds her of the prayers!
Email a prayer every day – it will help you to be consistent!
***ONCE PRAYERS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN …. MANY OPTIONS***
*** Squint Art (an instant reminder of each of the 40 daily prayers)
*** WORDLE from all the words in all the prayers (see what words you use most)
*** Booklet of the prayers (a way to keep all the prayers in one place)
*** Real Book – Grimm will bind them in leather or shiny laminated covers!
NOTE: all the pages for the books were ALREADY WRITTEN … they are just reprints of the daily prayers! You just hand the sheets of paper to Grimm Book Bindery and two weeks later they hand you the laminated hard covered book!
===: Story from Grimm Book Bindery (with permission)
The Shiny Cover Book of Blessings
I have talked with Tracy at Grimm Book Bindery many times over the past few years, and it was great when she said that I could utilize their KIDS PICTURE STORY BOOK system for my books too. So I did!
I printed out all 40 of my recent Blessing Prayers back to back (printed on both sides of the page). This was 24 pages (a few took two pages) – perfect! (I think 24 or 25 pages is the maximum number that will work with this story book format).
So … I dropped off my pages. Then two weeks later when I picked up my two books, she liked them so much that she asked me if she could make a copy for herself … she wanted to give a copy to someone! So I gave her my document files for all the prayers so she could personalize them herself!
===: Getting Started – IMITATE!
I remembered Paul had told people to imitate him … so I looked for it…
And found MANY places say something similar!
John says “do not imitate evil but imitate good” (3John 1:11)
Proverbs assumes you ARE imitating something … so make sure it is not a violent man (Proverbs 3:31)
Hebrews says to imitate those who persevere to inherit the promises through faith (Hebrews 6:12)
Hebrews later says to imitate the faith of your leaders (Hebrews 13:7)
Paul says to imitate the life of a godly person
Paul even says “I urge you to imitate me” (1Corinthians 4:16)
Then Paul says “follow my example” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Paul also tells the Philippians to practice the things they have seen and heard in him (Philippians 4:9)
Paul tells the Thessalonians that he wanted to give them a model they could follow (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
So … don’t start from scratch! That could be overwhelming. Ask for help from the Holy Spirit as Romans 8:26 tells us He will cover for us!
Find someone to imitate! (maybe in this room tonight)
Find a model to follow!
Come to a Tuesday Evening prayer meeting and ask someone if they would help you get started writing a daily prayer.
See the list of resources on the main handout plus the Resources section of the website
===: Testimony – prayer works!
A friend once told me that her doctor had just informed her that she might have cancer, but that they needed to run another test in about 6 weeks. This was VERY bad news (I think that she had been crying over this diagnosis). At that point I had already been writing out prayers and emailing them to her now and then for a couple months. And so I told her that I would commit to praying for her healing every single day for 40 days. And I did. The first day I searched scriptures to find over 40 scripture passages about healing. I was ready. I had a plan. And I started. I waited to hear from God before writing each prayer … waiting for the scripture that God had for me to use. I had planned out 40 days of scriptures to use … but God had other plans. More often than not, God had me use a scripture that was NOT in my list or my plan and often was not even about healing! But I stuck with God’s plan (no, my plan was NOT better). Then after 40 days I created a SQUINT ART page with phrases and words from all 40 prayers and also printed all the prayers over again as a booklet using clickbook and presented both to her. And the end result? She did NOT have cancer.
===: Story – Don’t Stop Now! Then STOP!
Once God had asked me to send a daily email prayer to someone and so I did.
After awhile I was not hearing back from them so I thought I’d stop writing the daily prayers. I mentioned this to a friend who asked me …
- “Is God still asking you to send a prayer every day?”
- umm … “yes”
- “Then why would you think of stopping?!”
- ummm …
- And so I continued emailing one prayer every day.
A bit later … it seemed that God said that I should stop writing the prayers. And THEN after I stopped… the one thing that was the background of all the prayers (which I thought impossible) actually happened.
REMEMBER … sometimes you get to see the results of your prayers … but sometimes you DON’T
===: Blessing to OTHERS!
I don’t think that writing out your prayers will necessarily make them more effective (but who knows? Perhaps God will honor the extra effort you make to write them out).
However … I **DO** think that writing them out gives MANY bonuses!
*** It is an added blessing to the person you are praying for
*** They can SEE the prayer and touch it!
*** With a summary page they can be reminded of the prayers (which they already have seen)
*** With a book they see the prayers STACKED (but neatly)
For Example, if you prayed just one written prayer each day for a year and THEN leather bound it, it would like like this!
[HOLD UP Handwritten Bible]
Yes … I am aiming to do that for the person I am praying for now (that I have never even met!!) … over 160 prayers done so far
===: Part of my Life now
INTERESTING how this became part of my life, yet it wasn’t till after writing HUNDREDS of prayers that it occurred to me … HEY … these scriptures apply to me too!
Another benefit to writing a daily prayer is during the days when you just do NOT feel like praying … THOSE are the days you need to pray the most!
Are prayers effective? Can WRITTEN prayers have an extra benefit to the person writing them and to the person receiving them? At this point I hope you would agree with me and be 100% certain that YES they are effective and YES writing them can have special benefits over and above God’s working the results!
Jesus is the foundation of this
Jesus is the basis because of his ultimate sacrifice on the cross
Jesus is the one with me always
>>> I am partnering with Jesus
- I don’t expect to have to do it on my own
- Jesus will light the way
- He will give me the words
>>> I am enriched by God’s Word
- Writing over a THOUSAND prayers means I have put A LOT of scripture into prayers – applying it to someone
- It would be interesting to SEE all the scriptures that I have used in my prayers (a project that I may undertake some time … just NOT NOW!!!)
===: Example of a prayer I wrote a couple days ago (with permission)
Here is how it went:
- God asked me to email a prayer to someone (I had never sent them a prayer before)
- I wasn’t hearing what to pray about nor getting a scripture
- So, even without knowing what I was going to pray … I just started! (KEY)
- I started typing an email to the person and even typed that I wasn’t sure what I would be praying yet.
- Then I paused … and got a word:
- Pausing again … got a scripture
- Ephesians 6:11 (about the full armor of God … and STAND FIRM)
- And then when I started typing the prayer, while thanking God for things … all of a sudden I heard this:
- a month ago JUST DIRT … NOW FLOWERS
- for some reason, I typed that. I typed “JUST DIRT” … actually, I typed it THREE TIMES and bold faced it the third time!
Interesting … I talked with this person a couple days later and it ENDS UP that the JUST DIRT was quite significant! Also it was interesting to see that what IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWS Ephesians 6:11 (ie, 6:12) applied SPECIFICALLY to what had been going on recently for her as well.
The very next morning … my daily reading included a reference to DIRT (Psalm 113:7-8… God raises the poor from the dirt… to seat him with princes)
A couple days later the City Church weekly devotional was titled:
STANDING FIRM in your faith
===: More to come
All the references, scriptures, resources, etc are already on the website, but I hope I will get time to cross link them to these notes!