The role of prayer in unseen warfare (Scupoli)

May 20, 2012

      “It is where we fight and pray together, in the same spiritual combat against the same unseen enemies, that we shall find ourselves to be one army – not become one army, but discover that we are one.”   H.A.Hodges

CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE

The role of prayer in unseen warfare

 

In speaking of prayer I drew your attention above all to the means of raising prayer to the level to which it belongs. It might seem strange to you that, since we are speaking of unseen warfare, and you wish to know in what way prayer can help in it, all you have heard of was how to make prayer real prayer. Do not be surprised, for prayer can become a victorious weapon in unseen warfare only when it becomes real, that is, when it takes root in the heart and begins to act there unceasingly. From that moment it becomes an impenetrable, unconquerable and insuperable barrier, protecting the soul from the arrows of the enemy, the passionate assaults of the flesh, and the enticements of the world with its prelest. [Real prayer’s] very presence in the heart cuts off the unseen warfare. This is why you were advised to make haste and graft the action of prayer on to your heart, and to see that it should remain in ceaseless movement. For this is the same as to say: do this and you will conquer, even without struggle.

And indeed this is how it actually happens. But until your prayer reaches such power, enemies will give you no peace and you will have no moment of respite from war, or threat of war. Does prayer help at this stage? Assuredly: and more so than any other weapon of spiritual warfare. It always attracts Divine help, and

God’s power repulses the enemies, so long as it is practised with zeal and with surrender to God’s will. Its place is at the very forefront of resistance to enemy attacks. This is how matters go. When, like a watchful sentry, attention sounds the alarm about the approaching enemy, and enemy arrows begin to be felt, that is, either a passionate thought or stirrings of passion appear within, the spirit, aflame with zeal for salvation, recognises it to be the evil doing of the enemy and, by straining its powers to the utmost, mercilessly repulses it from the heart, not letting it penetrate within. At the same moment, almost as one and the same inner action, it ascends to God in prayer, calling for His help. Help comes, enemies are dispersed, and the battle subsides.

Read the rest of this entry »


Praying for Saudi Arabia

May 20, 2012

10 Days of Prayer for the Nations – Day 4

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Saudi Arabia surely ranks as one of the most unreached / most-resistant nations to the Gospel.  We’d love to encourage our readers to commit to praying for Saudi Arabia for more than one day if possible!  The entry below from the GlobalPrayer365 website offers suggestions for praying for Saudi Arabia for a full week.

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Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a rich history steeped in desert culture. For thousands of years the Saudis have thrived in the heat and expanse of the Saudi desert. That desert life was forever altered about 70 years ago when 25% of the world’s oil reserves were found beneath the sand. This oil has allowed the Saudi family to rule the country through the years. The Saudi government is also known to be a generous contributor to the propagation of Islam around the world.

One of the key tenets of Islam is a pilgrimage, Hajj, to Mecca at least once in a Muslim’s life. Approximately two million Muslims from Saudi Arabia and around the world arrive there annually for the Hajj. Many come to fulfill a life’s dream and attempt to be reconciled with Allah (God), but many leave disappointed at the experience. The most holy site within this holy city is the Great Mosque. Within the Great Mosque sits the Black Stone, a large black monolith that is central to the Hajj.

The Saudi population is, by government statistics, 100% Muslim. There are few local Christians among the Saudis. While there are many foreign Christians living and working in Saudi Arabia, churches for them are not officially permitted.

Christian missionaries are not allowed in Saudi Arabia. Any sort of proselytizing of the country’s population is strictly forbidden. People accused of proselytizing will lose their jobs and may be imprisoned prior to deportation. Despite this, many Saudis are very approachable on the topic of religion. Many Saudis travel internationally, and it is quite easy to speak to them about Christ, especially when they are away from their homeland.

Sunday – Pray for more labourers to share the Gospel in Saudi Arabia. Pray for foreign Christians living in Saudi Arabia to live a life fully committed to Christ, sharing the Truth with the people around them. Pray that whole Saudi families would come to know Christ and grow in Him together.

Monday – Family, employment and social pressures cause incredible stress on believers who often struggle once they have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for Saudi believers to grow in their walk with Christ and persevere in faith.

Tuesday -Pray for Saudis who travel and live abroad, that they might discover Christ while outside of Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday – Pray for every Saudi to have the opportunity to hear and receive the Gospel. Think of the number of times you have heard the gospel message, and yet there are people who have never even heard it once. Pray for them.

Thursday – Pray that more people in Saudi Arabia would hear about Christ through radio, satellite TV and the Internet.

Friday  – Pray that Muslims around the world will begin to experience deeper dissatisfaction with their faith as they bow toward Mecca. Pray that they will find Christ as the Great Shepherd. Pray that they will encounter Jesus even today as they go to the mosque to pray.

Saturday – Pray that Muslims who go to Mecca on the Hajj (pilgrimage) will not find contentment but will have visions and dreams of Jesus that will lead them to the truth.

Sources – Operation World, www.pray-ap.info, www.lovesaudis.com

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This entry is part of our “praying for the nations” blog series in preparation for the Global Day of Prayer 2012.


An update on praying for Syria

May 20, 2012

On Friday we posted prayer requests for Syria, but neglected to include some very helpful  information / prayer requests from the GlobalPrayer365 website – Syria was their focus country for prayer during the week of April 22 – 29, 2012, so the prayer requests posted there reflect current events.

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Here’s the full entry on Syria from April 2012:

‘Many Syrians take to the streets.’

This is becoming a familiar refrain in our news feeds.  Thousands of the 18.4 million people in Syria have sipped from the cup of boldness, inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.  The Assad government has so far resisted and sought to quell the uprising.

Syria In The Bible

Syria features prominently throughout Scripture.  The capital city of Damascus is mentioned in Genesis and in much of the Old Testament.

The most well-known incident linked with Damascus is recorded in Acts, when Paul was approaching the city, intending to arrest any who belonged to the Way.  A light flashed around him and he was struck blind.  The risen Lord Jesus instructed Paul to continue towards the city, where he met Ananias.  His ministry to the Gentiles began in there, where he preached that “Jesus is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

The Church Today

Christianity took root in Syria in the first century until Islam came in the seventh century.  Today, about 10 per-cent of Syrians are Christians while 87 per-cent are Muslims.  Many Christians adhere to Orthodox traditions, with a Protestant minority.  One Christian town in Syria uses Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ.

Under the present leadership, Christians have been allowed to co-exist alongside Muslims and others.  Christians are not free to witness openly to Muslims, although Syrian and foreign Christians do seek to share the claims of Christ with their Muslim friends and neighbours.

Prayer Points

Sunday – Pray for an end to the violence.  According to reports, 3000 people have died and tens of thousands have been injured.

Monday – Pray for the 10,000 Syrians who have fled to Turkey and who now live there as refugees.  May the Lord send Christians to be salt and light.

Tuesday – Pray that the witness of Syrian and foreign Christians would be effective. The presence of Christian workers in Syria is a fragile and precarious thing; pray for great wisdom and discretion for them. Many have left because of the escalation of violence. Pray for them as they wait and trust for the door to open once again.

Wednesday – Praise God that President Assad has sought to protect Christians and allow them to co-exist peacefully with other religious groups – may this continue, regardless of the outcome of the present struggles. Thank God for the wise leadership of the Christian communities, and pray that these communities might grow.

Thursday – Praise God for the Christian history of Syria – may the Spirit of God flood this land with a new wave of spiritual life. Pray for renewal in these ancient traditions.

Friday – Pray for new believers from other backgrounds. Pray for those who have made a decision to follow Jesus, for perseverance in persecution, acceptance into fellowship by other believers and growth to maturity.

Saturday – Pray for Christian Media reaching into Syria – radio (FEBA, IBRA and TWR), television (SAT-7, Al Hayat and The Miracle Channel), and the JESUS film. Pray that many will hear and understand the Gospel through these means, and also through literature available via the Bible Society.


How Shall I Sing That Majesty?

May 20, 2012

One of my favorite recent blog finds (discovered during Lent 2012) is the Rev. Patrick Comerford’s blog. (The Rev. Comerford is Canon at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland).  Today in his post for the Seventh Sunday of Easter – the Sunday between Ascension Day and Pentecost, he mentions one of his favorite hymns:  How Shall I Sing That Majesty.

It’s a hymn I did not know – but what a wonderful hymn of adoration!

How shall I sing that majesty
Which angels do admire?
Let dust in dust and silence lie;
Sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.
Thousands of thousands stand around
Thy throne, O God most high;
Ten thousand times ten thousand sound
Thy praise; but who am I?

Thy brightness unto them appears,
Whilst I Thy footsteps trace;
A sound of God comes to my ears,
But they behold Thy face.
They sing because Thou art their sun;
Lord, send a beam on me;
For where heaven is but once begun
There alleluias be.

Enlighten with faith’s light my heart,
Inflame it with love’s fire;
Then shall I sing and bear a part
With that celestial choir.
I shall, I fear, be dark and cold,
With all my fire and light;
Yet when Thou dost accept their gold,
Lord, treasure up my mite.

How great a being, Lord, is Thine,
Which doth all beings keep!
Thy knowledge is the only line
To sound so vast a deep.
Thou art a sea without a shore,
A sun without a sphere;
Thy time is now and evermore,
Thy place is everywhere.

You can hear the tune played on the Salisbury Cathedral Organ here.


A prayer of Exultation for the Ascension

May 20, 2012

From Kendall Harmon’s TitusOneNine:

An Exultation Prayer for the Ascension

Glory to our ascended Lord, that he is with us always.
Glory to the Word of God, going forth with his armies, conquering and to conquer.
Glory to him who has led captivity captive, and given gifts for the perfecting of his saints.
Glory to him who has gone before to prepare a place in his Father’s home for us.
Glory to the author and finisher of our faith; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion now and for evermore.

 


Praying for Oman

May 20, 2012

10 Days of Prayer for the Nations: Day 3

Today our prayer focus is on OMAN.

The following prayer requests were sent to Lent & Beyond by someone who knows the country well:

Pray for the culture of fear based in magic and jinn.  The city (and region) of Bah’la is the center of magic and mysticism.  Often people have strange stories of supernatural encounters with persons from Bah’la and/or experiences there.

Omanis are mostly Ibadi Muslims.  What we have discovered is that they are quite curious to learn about our faith, but it is not generally from a desire to know Jesus.  They seem to have the mentality that “your religion is good for you, but I would never accept that” even though they want to know about it.

There are many secret marriages to second, third and fourth wives.  Sometimes men keeps these additional wives secret for years.  It is the first wife’s biggest fear that their husband will take another wife.

Many Omanis are lonely, not experiencing deep close friendships.  Even after marriage, men and women desire intimacy with a friend because their marriage is arranged.

Here are some additional prayer requests from the Global Day of Prayer entry for Oman:

Pray that the influence of violent groups operating in neighboring countries will not spread to Oman. (2 Timothy 2:24–26)

Oman has changed rapidly since the new Sultan took power in 1970. Pray that as people adapt to new ideas and change they would be open to spiritual change as well.

Nearly all Christians in Oman are from other countries. In particular there are active churches that are seeing more and more Asians being saved. Pray the Christians in Oman would be witness to Jesus love and life in all they do.

Pray that Oman’s Muslim population would have a revelation of Jesus’ sacrifice for them.

Ask the Lord to give expatriate Christians boldness and opportunities to share the Gospel. (II Timothy 4:2)

Pray for Omanis to be set free from the bondage of Islam. Pray for them to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Luke 4:18)

Pray for the Kingdom of God to come to Oman and spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula. (Psalm 108:3)

Some other prayer resources for Oman:

From the 30-Days.Net site: Pray for Muslim cities in Oman

Praying Through the Arabian Peninsula: Oman (it has some very nice videos, as well as prayer points and background info)

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This entry is part of our “praying for the nations” blog series in preparation for the Global Day of Prayer 2012.


Praying for the Nations – Days 3 & 4

May 20, 2012

Apologies that I could not get time online yesterday to post the entries for Day 3 of our series on 10 days of prayer for the nations.

This is part of our “praying for the nations” blog series in preparation for the Global Day of Prayer 2012.

The ten days of prayer from Ascension to Pentecost are focused on praying and meditating through Acts.  You can learn more by reading the Global Day of Prayer 10 Days Prayer Guide.

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Day 3 : 19 May 2012 

Sanctify us!

 BE HOLY AS I AM HOLY

 [Jesus said:] “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” John 15:16

 PRAY:

  • For the Church to grow in maturity and be released in ministry through the faithful work of apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists
  • For the revival of holiness, humility, simplicity and integrity in the Church
  • For the world to see the reflection of Christ in the lives of ordinary believers in every aspect of society and in acts of selfless compassion

 Read and meditate on Acts 6,7 and 8

 


 Day 4 :  20 May 201  

Guide us!

KNOW THE TRUTH

[Jesus said:] “He [the Spirit of Truth] will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13

PRAY:

  • For the Church to proclaim the undiluted and uncompromising truth about Jesus Christ and the fact that there is no salvation but in His Name
  • For Christians to be strengthened in their knowledge of Jesus Christ, for deceptions to be exposed and for ignorance to be removed
  • For the veil that the god of this world put on the minds of unbelievers to be removed through the testimony of Christians and the truth of the Gospel message

Read and meditate on Acts 9,10 and 11

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Join us today in praying for OMAN

We are also praying for SAUDI ARABIA –  please consider praying with us for Saudi Arabia for a full week!


Sunday School Lesson

May 20, 2012

A word received: I AM the vine, you are the branches. Abide in me.

STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 31, May 20, 2012
Theme Verse: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Readings: Ps. 47; Acts 1:15-26; 1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19
Next Week: Ps. 104:25-32;Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:4-13; John 14:8-17

A word received: I want to build you into the church I want. I AM the foundation and cornerstone. Look to me — let me build you up by my Holy Spirit and my word.

      Gospel: John 17:11b-19

A word received: I want to bring each of you to the full measure of my joy. My joy was and is to do the will of my Father. I want you to enter into that same joy.

      Epistle: 1 John 5:9-15

(verse 3) A word received: I want you to know the freedom that comes from keeping my commandments.

      First Lesson: Acts 1:15-26

(verse 24) A word received: “Then they prayed…” I want more prayer from you as you raise up men and women to lead in the various ministry roles in the church. They trusted that I would know the heart of each candidate for leadership and I would show the way. I want you to trust me in the same way.

      Psalm: Ps. 47

For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding. (Psalm 47:7 NKJV)
A word received: I want your singing of my praise to be filled with understanding. Come to me; immerse yourself in my word; be filled with my Spirit; know me as your Lord and Savior.

Sunday: 66, 67 * 19, 46; Exod. 3:1-12: Heb. 12:18-29: Matt. Luke 10:17-24
HC: 68:1-20 or 47; Acts 1:15-26 or Exodus 28:1-4,9-10,29-30; 1 John 5:9-15 or Acts 1:15-26; John 17:11b-19
Monday: 89:1-18 * 89:19-52; Joshua 1:1-9: Eph. 3:1-13: Matt. 8:5-17

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for next Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (104:25-37 or 104:25-32 or 33:12-15,18-22; Acts 2:1-11 or Isaiah 44:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-13 or Acts 2:1-11; John 20:19-23 or John 14:8-17).

***** Date: Sat, 19 May 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily quote
      Conditioning?
Ok, so why is it that my pocket feels like it is vibrating, even though my cell phone is not in my pocket? God calling?
I use that feeling now to remind me that God is with me always… Perhaps He is calling me to remind me!
Good vibrations. Huh… Someone should write a song about that! ~ Fr. Nigel Mumford+

***** Date: Sat, 19 May 2012
From: Carol VanHoosier
Dear Torre and Jean,
      My husband Michael and I live in Richmond, VA and receive your newsletters. We are ninety+ miles from Fairfax County but are in a very close relationship with The Falls Church Anglican and Truro Church Anglican and The Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. We are on The Welcome Home Initiative team, also—that’s the Albany connection.
      My reading today in Spurgeon’s devotional, Faith’s Checkbook spoke to me, and I thought about these Anglican churches and The Diocese of Albany. Perhaps it will speak to you, also. I considered putting it on the blog. You may do so if you feel it’s appropriate, of course!
      In Christ, Carol VanHoosier

Faith’s Checkbook, CH Spurgeon
May 19
We May Speak for God

Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth. (Jeremiah 15:19)
      Poor Jeremiah! Yet why do we say so? The weeping prophet was one of the choicest servants of God and honored by Him above many. He was hated for speaking the truth. The word which was so sweet to him was bitter to his hearers, yet he was accepted of his Lord. He was commanded to abide in his faithfulness, and then the Lord would continue to speak through him. He was to deal boldly and truthfully with men and perform the Lord’s winnowing work upon the professors of his day, and then the Lord gave him this word: “Thou shalt be as my mouth.”
      What an honor! Should not every preacher, yea, every believer, covet it? For God to speak by us, what a marvel! We shall speak sure, pure truth; and we shall speak it with power. Our word shall not return void; it shall be a blessing to those who receive it, and those who refuse it shall do so at their peril. Our lips shall feed many. We shall arouse the sleeping and call the dead to life.
      O dear reader, pray that it may be so with all the sent servants of our Lord.

Albany Intercessor


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