Prayer                                                             

Pray for Your Man
Ladies, we need to be praying for our husbands!  No husband?  There is a man in your life somewhere that needs prayer!  Let me tell you, I am so guilty of not doing this enough and for very ridiculous reasons.  Sure, I prayed for my man, what Christian woman doesn't?  But I didn't pray earnestly for him.  Being a spiritual giant of a wife, I thought things like, "Well, he loves the LORD, he's good."  Was that thinking the work of the enemy in me or my own sinful nature?  Who knows, but it is wrong and stupid, to say the least.  We all should be praying for our men in bold ways!

I love the prayer Nehemiah prays to God in Nehemiah 1:11, "'O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.'  Now I was cupbearer to the king."  And, I know that my husband, Chuck, is praying over his next steps in ministry.  He wants nothing more than to serve God with his remaining days on this dusty earth.  He is praying similar prayers to what Nehemiah is praying in this verse, so, I am praying verse 11 around him.  I am praying big and bold.  I am praying for his success, for God to be the sole purpose, and for God to receive all glory in his efforts.  Chuck has a passion to be the LORD's worker so God can have a great harvest and I am praying this happens to the glory of His name.

These are just the beginning prayers because God has shown me how wrong I was by my lukewarm prayers and called me to pray big things for my man.  1 John 5, "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."

I do not know what the man in your life needs prayer for, but I know that Hebrews 4:12 says,  "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart," and 2 Timothy 3:16, " All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."  In this good book, there is scripture to be found that you could pray and wrap around your husband.  Please remember, that prayer is not so much for changing your guy, but for loving him. 

We are commanded to pray in Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  So, let's pray!  Do you know what happens when women seek God and pray?  God hears.  Things happen.  Be patient and praise Him with thankfulness. 

Amen.

by Andrea Simmons  
  
Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Nehemiah Love, Chapter 1
Nehemiah Chapter 1, Compassion and Prayer
 
I am studying Nehemiah chapter 1, and at first I thought, “Oh, how boring! What can I get out of this chapter? Lord, please help me to learn something.” I can just hear Him thinking something like, “You should know by now, I do not waste words! There some piles of gold in there.” Well, let me tell you this, I have fallen in love with Nehemiah in just one boring chapter. It’s not so boring anymore.
 
This man is on a first name basis with the king. Not just any king of a small unimportant country no one has ever heard of, no, the King of Persia, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the earth of its time! Nehemiah is kind of a big deal in the honored and trusted position of cup bearer to the king. The king has to trust Nehemiah thoroughly with his life otherwise poison would be served to the king and well, you know.
 
During Nehemiah some of the Israelites have already gone back to Jerusalem after seventy years of bondage in Babylon, just like God promised. Obviously, Nehemiah did not return with them because he was still in Persia working in the palace. But, I loved a verse from Ezra (chapter 1 verse 5) that says the heads of households that returned to Jerusalem were those that ‘God stirred’ to go and rebuild. There was a reason Nehemiah was left in Persia next to the king, he wasn’t stirred by God to go. It may have seemed like a life event unrelated to anything but daily living, but it was ordained by God.
 
Nehemiah learned from some relatives (maybe a brother) that visited from Judah that his people and homeland, which he had never seen, were in great distress. Their walls and gates were torn down and burned leaving them open to enemy attacks. They were also a pitiful group that neighboring places could laugh at, helpless and dishonorable. Laughingstocks!
 
When Nehemiah heard this discouraging news he wept, prayed, and fasted for days. Since he had never actually been to his home country I can only conclude his strong response was due to his love for God. He had a heart for what God had a heart for- His lost and hurting people.
 
Don’t you just love Nehemiah’s heart?
 
This next part is a little foreshadowing and leaves you hanging at the end of the chapter just reeling you into chapter 2. Nehemiah says to God at the end of a prayer that is reminding God how important the Israelites are to Him when he says, “…and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in sight of this man.” Please just tell us what you are thinking, Nehemiah! What plan do you have that you need success in? And, ‘this man’ is the King of Persia. His compassion for the desperate Israelites end in plan for some kind of action he is talking to God about. Don’t you just want to know what it is? Me, too!
 
What we can learn from Nehemiah is that we need compassion for the lost and hurting and we need to pray for them and this kind of response comes out of our commitment and love to God. Not only that, we need to let our compassion move us into action. If there is a lack of compassion in our lives we need to ask God to give us a heart for a need that He shows to us. God is faithful to answer prayers that are lined up with His will. My friend, let’s ask Him together in prayer right now!
 
Dear LORD, you are a God of love and compassion! Thank you for this and for what you are teaching us through the book of Nehemiah. Please show me your heart for a need that you have chosen. Give me prayers to pray, needs to fill, actions to take, and a way that brings you glory. Thank you for hearing our prayer, in your name I pray, amen.
 
by Andrea Simmons
Nehemiah 1:4
"As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven."
Pray
The following day, she was getting married. She was living out almost every little girl’s dream! The night before, as she was walking through the living room and up some steps, she felt the plea of God pour into her, “Come and pray to me about marrying him.” The request was so real that she responded out loud to God, “I know it is your will for me to marry him, so I don’t need to pray.”
 
This is a sad story of a divided heart.

Just like when Peter was listening to Jesus he could walk on the water, but when he stopped to look at the waves he sank. His heart was divided between Jesus and earthly things. Her heart was divided between God and earthy things. Like Peter, she sank when she took her eyes off of Jesus.

This sad story is a true story and happened to none other than yours truly. I would like to tell you that I regret more than anything my divided heart and disobedience to God. My LORD who loves me with all that He is and has provided so lavishly for me and this is what I do? LORD, I am sorry. What if I would have gone to pray and listen to what He had to tell me? Perhaps I would have been spared ten years of agony. What if I would have prayed…?

We’ve seen the classic movie moment where the non-believer calls out to God, “God, if you’re really there…” not really knowing or believing- just hoping. I think those kind of moments have to happen in real life, too, don’t you?

As I’m studying prayer today, the bible is clear on one basic idea. It is to pray with an undivided heart. Following are some scripture that help us to get the full picture.

Mark 11:25, “And wherever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” This is a good verse to remind us that our heart can easily be divided by un-forgiveness. We must forgive people in order to our Father to forgive us and hear our prayers not being divided between forgiveness and un-forgiveness.

Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened.” This verse reminds us that if we have sin in us that is not surrendered to the LORD, but stays with us, then the LORD would not listen to our prayers. We cannot divide ourselves between sins and prayer to our Savior, there is no room for both.

1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Easily, it is understood that if we are praying something that goes against God’s goodness or in our own selfish and evil motives, God will not honor the prayer. We must be so in tune with God so that we pray according to what He loves.

Hebrew 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” When we pray it must be done in faith that God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. We cannot be divided between faith and un-faith.

James 1:6-8, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” This one is self-explanatory. When we approach God in prayer we absolutely must believe that He hears, is there, and is real and not be divided between belief and unbelief!

Luke 22:24, “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest." This verse reminds us that we are not to demand in prayer (to be great or get our way) but rather to be humbled enough to be the last, because then we will be first. We must be willing to accept that the answer may be ‘no’. As in this verse, those who wanted to be the greatest were told ‘no’. They were answered, but were told to be last instead. We cannot be divided between having our own way and God having His perfect way.

In all of these verses so far, that common thread is all or nothing. There is no room for a divided heart when we come to God Almighty. We are to come in faith, believing, humble, and without doubt.
Romans 10:17, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” This is wonderful, in that it tells us how to grow in faith. We must hear God’s message to us, i.e. the Bible. But not just the physical act of hearing audible words. We are talking about the kind of hearing that causes a change within the person, a believing kind of hearing.

Daniel 19:2-3, “In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the LORD God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” There were a lot of words in those two verses, but we can learn from them that we need to pray in order to overcome doubt. Read your bible and pray, these are the solution for doubting and lack of faith.

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” This is a beautiful promise; God has promised to answer you when you pray. Sometimes we get a ‘yes’ and sometimes a ‘no’. Sometimes we have to wait, but you can believe and not doubt that your prayers are heard and will be answered!

by Andrea Simmons
Jeremiah 33:3
 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” 
Let's Go to Bat
We have had a string of foreign exchange students from South Korea in our home the past three years. It’s not something we intended to do but one night I listened to a message on my phone that ended with the sentiment of urgency. That is, this brother and sister’s original host family backed out and they were looking for a new home so they don’t miss the opportunity to come to the USA. Three days later they arrived, occupying the same home space with us and for two full school years, I might add. It posed more challenges than I could have originally thought up.
 
Chuck led our family in the ways of the LORD. He reminded us that God is in control and that if we cannot go to the mission field then God has brought the mission field to us. The mission field is a hard place to be at times, even when it is in your own home, but God’s ways are bigger than our ways.
 
It was quickly apparent that the little space on their application which marked ‘Christian’ for their preferred religion was only marked by default due to them not being Buddhist. They knew very little of the Bible, church, or God. The older sister was dutiful in nature and the one year younger brother was angry, and Christian- well, let’s just say they didn’t exhibit the fruits of the Spirit.
 
I can tell you this, having someone come and live in your home that doesn’t know the rhythm or culture of your family is a recipe for problems to rise up. We dealt with the issues and learned a lot about boundary setting. During those two years of struggles I prayed for them. Despite our differences, far be it from me to imagine someone coming into my home and not encountering God. I couldn’t bear the thought of it. Prayer was a natural response towards them.
 
They came and went in and out of our lives. I am still friends with the older sister on Facebook and we share pleasantries once in a while but the brother was a different story. He lost all contact and I fear that was the way he preferred it. I still prayed for them through the months and years when they came to mind not knowing how much hope to have. She was set in her ways and he was one tough cookie, both dealing with so much junk from their young lives.
 
One October day in 2015 we had a sudden surprise; our host son was in town. He was attending a college in Oklahoma about five hours away and he just showed up. He visited us, his high school, and a few friends and was in town for only a few hours. Wow, it was good to see him. His countenance had changed and he didn’t seem angry. He was bigger and more grown up. It was a true blessing to see his tan face and coarse black hair. It was somehow refreshing to relive the mannerisms that made him, him. He is, after all, the only son I have ever had.
 
The results of that short visit were that he came home for Thanksgiving the following month. And, here’s the good news we learned about him…
 
He found and went to a Korean church when he started college for the sole purpose of speaking his original tongue in an English speaking world and to have a little piece of home away from home. As we talked we learned that he found more than that; He found Jesus. He was able to speak to the pastor and get some counseling and healing from some of the pain in his life and received the gift of Salvation. Can you praise the LORD with me on this one? No wonder his countenance had changed!
 
All of this is to say that God answers our prayers of intercession for others. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,” 1 Timothy 2:1.
 
Do not give up praying for that someone God has placed on your heart and be encouraged today to keep on praying! Go to bat for them, they need your help fighting behind the scenes of spiritual battles. We are commanded to do this and in our act of obedience we glorify God. And, they are worth it!
 
Dear God, I want to personally thank you for the overwhelming blessing of answered prayers; you are so faithful! I love seeing your work first hand. Keep each of us obedient to your command to pray for those around us who so desperately need you and more than that, to be bold enough to speak your truth to them. Give us wisdom in the moments of praying and speaking truth and guide our words to be your words that will be exactly what needs to be uttered. We are your servants in this, be glorified! In your name I pray, amen.
 
1 Timothy 2:1
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior."