"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Becoming a Prayer Warrior

Are You a Prayer Warrior or a Prayer Wimp? ~~Victor M. Parachin (Victor Parachin is a freelance writer who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This article is taken from The Deacon, Winter 1999-2000 General George S. Patton was a prayer warrior. During the Battle of the Bulge, inclement weather was hindering the efforts of the Third Army to counter a Nazi attack in Belgium. Patton called on chaplain George Metcalf to write a prayer for fair weather that Patton later sent out to all members of the Third Army. Hundreds of prayers went up for favorable weather, and the effects were dramatic and immediate: On December 23, the heavy fog had lifted, and Allied aircraft were successfully pushing back the Nazi advance. Patton's faith propelled him to count on God for large results, and he expressed that through his prayer life. Many of us, however, are not such prayer warriors--we are prayer wimps! Prayer wimps are those whose faith is timid, hesitant, ambivalent and fainthearted. Apparently, there were prayer wimps in the earliest Christian communities. Paralyzed by their own fears and insecurities, they were afraid to ask God for their deepest needs. The apostle James lamented, "The reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it (James 4:2)." Jesus expected his followers to be prayer warriors like Himself: "I assure you, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, 'May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,' and it will happen. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Matthew 21:21-22)." Here are some guidelines for becoming a prayer warrior: Use Scripture to boost your prayer confidence.
If you want to become a prayer warrior, saturate yourself with the words and examples of prayer warriors found in the Bible. Consider these texts: Moses in Exodus 15:2-3: "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my victory ... The Lord is a warrior." David in Psalm 28:7: "The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me." The three Hebrew captives in Daniel 3:17: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty." The prophet Micah, 3:8: "But as for me, I am filled with power and the Spirit of the Lord. I am filled with justice and might." Jesus in Mark 9:23: "Anything is possible if a person believes." Paul in Ephesians 3:20: "Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope."
Pray for the impossible. Prayer warriors don't hesitate to pray for the impossible. They take seriously these words from Jesus: "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." No matter how grim the circumstances, move ahead and pray for the impossible. Robert W. Zinnecker of Rexford, N.Y., writes about a time when he felt frightened and alone. He was sitting in a garden area outside the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "I had just agreed to have my second major surgery in three weeks for a rare form of cancer," he recalls. The prospects were dubious. Mayo had only handled 25 cases like his in its history and none had survived. Throughout his illness, Zinnecker's faith had remained strong, but now he felt abandoned by God. Returning to his motel room, he found an envelope that was mailed to him. It was from a work colleague and contained a card with a small pewter pin replica of a tiny child in the palm of a giant hand. The accompanying Scripture was from Isaiah 49:15-16: "I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand." As Zinnecker read that verse and held the little pewter pin, he felt a warm glow of assurance that God had not forgotten him. He prayed for the "impossible," a successful surgical outcome. "The next day, after I was four hours in surgery, the surgeon told my wife, 'There is no trace of the cancer.' Now, 15 years later, I continue to rejoice in the warmth of that assurance of God's love. I am in His hands," Zinnecker says. Pray in simple, concrete language. Minister and author, Norman Vincent Peale, said the most effective way to open spiritual circuits and receive prayer power is by speaking to God in simple, concrete language. "Do not use exaggerated, formal speech … This does not diminish respect for Him, but serves to make the relationship more natural. Talk to God about everything that is on your mind and in your heart." Praying in simple, concrete language was what Jesus instructed us to do when he taught people the Lord's Prayer. That prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, is only 57 words long in the original Greek and 52 words in English. Also, most of the words in that prayer consist of one syllable, which by today's standards means that the written form of the Lord's Prayer is on a second or third grade level.
The lesson: Use simple, concrete language when speaking with God. Express yourself clearly and concisely.
Offer bold prayers. A prayer warrior who offered bold prayers was Archibald Campbell Tait, an Archbishop of Canterbury in the 19th century. Between March 11 and April 8, 1856, Tait and his wife lost five of their six daughters to scarlet fever. At the height of his enormous grief, the archbishop offered this bold prayer of gratitude for God's blessings in his life:
"O God, you have dealt very mysteriously with us. We have been passing through deep waters ... You have reclaimed the lent jewels. Yet, O Lord, shall I not thank you now? I will thank you not only for the children you have left to us, but for those you have reclaimed. I thank you for the blessing of the last 10 years, and for all the sweet memories of these lives ... I thank you for the full assurance that each has gone to the arms of the Good Shepherd, whom each loved according to the capacity of her years. I thank you for the bright hopes of a happy reunion, when we shall meet to part no more."
Have great expectations. Some people are prayer worriers, not prayer warriors. They do pray but they are filled with worry and self-doubt. This spiritual condition results in weakened, ineffective prayers. When approaching God with your needs, be strong and positive. Believe with all your mind and heart that God can and will respond to you. Pray big. Believe big. Think big. Cultivate a strong, positive, vibrant faith.

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