A Prayer life that yields results  

With the current devastating events that occurred in Paris this past week, nearly everyone on social media shared hashtags to #Pray4Paris. I wondered how do I even begin to pray, where do I even start, as my heart was so broken at the loss of so many innocent people, as well as the heartache of my Parisian friends because of this malevolent tragedy. Immediately the movie ‘War Room’ came to mind. I remembered the movie to be an excellent pictorial that speaks to the strength and power of prayer. After viewing it, I was greatly encouraged by it. It taught me how to pray and reminded me to keep pressing in with faith no matter what the circumstances look like!
There were scenes I clearly identified with in the movie that reminded me when I too first started getting serious with God: when the protagonist went into the prayer closet to pray and found herself either falling asleep, eating or becoming distracted. Guilty!

How should you pray?

As a novice Christian there would be times I prepared myself to pray, sat in a room and my mind started wandering, I got bored easily, and lastly, I felt like I did not know how to even start praying. This made me wonder how many others  are going through this dilemma today.

When most people think about prayer, they may think about a scheduled time to talk to God, praying within the confines of their home, a house prayer meeting or prayer night at their local church.

In hindsight I too thought I needed to make time for God on a specific day, at a specific hour or pretty much only when I was going through something.

I would hear pastors, family and friends retort, “pray about it!” when trying times came. I Never quite fully grasped if I were praying correctly, was unsure if my prayers would be answered or was uncertain of how long to pray.

After many years of being a Christian I’ve learned a lot, have grown exponentially, and have learned how to perfect my prayer life.

We may think we know how to pray, but are we really utilizing (exploring ) the full magnitude of prayer? Which also includes waiting to hear from God.

Let’s examine the full gamut of a powerful prayer life. Firstly, prayer doesn’t just involve you talking to God and waiting aimlessly for an answer from Him or just waiting for a problem to be solved, but prayer is reciprocal. It’s giving and receiving; giving time to God whilst receiving and doggedly believing His promises found in His word. Receiving, in faith and hope, His leading, direction, and guidance. I have created the following list of what a well-rounded prayer life looks like:

1. Praying doctrinal prayers

That means praying God’s word (the bible) back to Him. Memorizing scripture and reciting aloud the promises God tells us in His word. Doctrinal prayers tells God that you believe His word and are standing firm on it until what you are praying for comes to pass. Moreover, it syncopates in the spirit realm that you know what the word of God says and you have hidden it in your heart. It is your spiritual sword. When the devil attacks you, you pull out your weapon and immediately go to war, as opposed to having to look for a verse while the devil is gaining precious ground. That’s why it is of utmost importance to memorize scripture. In these days and times you never know if you may find yourself in a precarious situation with no access to a Bible.

2. Pray wherever you are, at any time of the day

You don’t have to wait until you get home or set aside a time to pray, or wait a week to pray with your church! No! Seize the hour! Feeling overwhelmed at work? Step into the bathroom and pray! Faced with anxiety or stress on the job? Pray at your desk, take a minute to pray. Instead of taking a lunch break with coworkers which oftentimes entails being an ear to gossip, separate yourself and pray for that hour! Stuck in traffic? It’s a perfect time to pray! Maybe if more people took the time to pray in their cars we’d have less road rage. Treated rudely by a store clerk? Discipline yourself to pray before you react! I love the verse. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The Father is telling us, be indwelled with my love, peace, security; He’s telling us to shut out worldly chatter and reach in to Him; anytime and in whatever situation we are going through. He’s available around the clock. Amen! No matter how small or how big your need is.

3. Don’t pray in unbelief

As a neophyte, whenever I endured a painful situation I would shut down. I was so weak, distraught, knocked down, I could hardly utter a word out of my mouth. Slowly, I got to where I could pray for 5,10 minutes then eventually as I kept going, I was able to pray a little bit more. I had gone through so many bad things in my life, when I could pray, I prayed out of desperation. Quite frankly, not even believing what I was praying for and demanding God–while feeling helpless–to do this, or to do that. Telling Him He owed me for such a difficult life! Wow! Most sadly, I was praying in anger and unforgiveness. Beloved, we have to release these things and come before God with a pure heart. We have to wait on God’s timing, trust that the situation will work out in the best interest for us, and not judge by what we see. Lastly, forgive anyone who has offended you. Only then can you be assured your prayers are reaching the throne room! Amen!

4. Pray in faith

The Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen, Hebrews 11:6. It takes a lot of courage to hope for something when you are in the middle of a terrible situation and can’t possibly see a way out that will end good. But the good news is–you ready?–you need to go through some bad things in order to perfect your faith and to stretch your faith. It is not something that can be taught; but practiced. The more things you go through, the more you begin to see how God delivers you out of them all! It is building your warfare muscles! So each forthcoming obstacle becomes a little easier to believe God for deliverance. You won’t be as frightened as you used to be when problems arise. You won’t worry and fear as much as you used to. But, it will definitely be a challenge! That’s why it’s of utmost importance to replace your words with God’s words, replace your thoughts with His thoughts. This will greatly encourage your faith.

5. Command your future

The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).When the devil attacks our mind with fear, worry and lies, we have to learn not to accept it as truth. No, we have to refute the enemies’ lies. We have to speak back to the devil and reiterate to him what God’s word says is true, not the contrary! Moreover, we have to prophesy over our own future! We have to learn to speak into existence the things that we want to happen in our lives and pray for God’s will regarding it! As opposed to speaking negatively, degrading ourselves or our family members or children; no matter how bad we think they are, we must prophesy over their lives with positive words. When you use epithets towards and talk down to your children, spouse or family member when they do something wrong, you are speaking a curse over them that will eventually manifest! Learn to speak life over every situation in your life!

6. Command joy, peace and love

One day after I finished praying, a gloominess came over me. I couldn’t shake the feeling and was really bothered that I had just prayed and felt as if a cloud were hanging over my head. So I started asking God what’s going on, I just prayed why am I feeling like this? So out of frustration I just started speaking over my life and commanding whatever that feeling was to leave! On my way out of the house I kept demanding the feeling to go, singing in the spirit and calling forth joy, peace and tranquillity to surround me! I thought, how many times are we attacked mentally and accept this feeling as we go about our day and tell others, “I’m in a bad mood,” or I’m not feeling my best,” when asked. No! Command your happiness! Don’t let the devil oppress you when you have a Loving Father who has already defeated satan and has passed on to you his inheritance of abundant joy and happiness! His inheritance of victory, power, and the ability to conquer any enemy that attacks you. I’ve learned that when I’m feeling sad or downtrodden, not to settle for that feeling, but change my spiritual atmosphere by simply confessing life out of my mouth! I then saw how God changed my prayer language from desperation to prophesying over my life!

7. Encourage yourself

I hate to say it, but the road on this Christian journey can be very lonely at times. You’re not always gonna have people who are happy for you, happy for your success, cheering you on and excited about your progress. More, there will be times when you need encouragement and no one will be there! Sometimes people will be just busy with their own life. Other times God will use this isolation to teach you to depend totally on Him. Moreover, We have to learn how to stop depending on people when we need to be encouraged, but depend on God to uplift your mood. He will always be there when no one else is.

8. Create and compile a prayer list/vision board

A prayer list entails writing down a list of people to pray for or things that you would like to happen or come to pass in your life, then praying over it daily. Whether it’s people in your inner circle or people you feel led to pray for or pressing situations in your life that you really need to hear from God. Likewise, a vision board goes one step further. The term vision board has become very popular as of late. It is simply creating a visual board of reference, kind of like a powerpoint presentation at an office meeting. It is a visual compilation of words, pictures, and ideas. People cut out quotes, affirmative statements, or pictures out of magazines, news papers etc. and paste it onto a board. It is their visual story board that chronicles their future dreams and goals.

9. Fast

It is of utmost importance to fast in desperate times of need; times when you need an answer, a breakthrough, healing or direction. I have found that when I had a pressing situation or needed direction on which way to go, when I fasted God always gave me the answer via a dream, sermon, person or made it clearly stand out to me in the Bible!

10. Worship

When I take notice of my prayer language, it often sounds like this: God please! God I need! God won’t you! God could you! God, help me! It’s I, I, I, I, I ! It’s like children, not fully grasping the concept of hard work and appreciation, but always asking their parents to buy them things.

One day when I went to pray yet again for that problem, I just felt so guilty of this behavior that I just started worshipping God. Even though my heart was heavy, I had just started thanking Him for what He had already done for me. I think that’s why God doesn’t sometimes immediately answer prayer, oh how forgetful we are and take his blessings for granted. Sometimes as humans we take, take, take. To have a balanced, healthy relationship, it involves giving, thanking and appreciation. We have to begin to thank God for His many blessings and deliverance in our lives. We have to thank Him for our health, strength and mobility, among many other ways He’s blessing us. We have to tell God that we appreciate Him and what He has done and is doing in our lives. Thank Him for being a true and living God whom we have the benefit of being able to talk to on a daily basis! Thank Him for being our friend!

Beloved, to fully grasp this type of prayer life, it may take many years. I’m still trying to discipline myself in some of  these areas.

-Puah Neiel

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The Death In The Valley

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The word of God teaches you how to fight. When you face trials and tribulation, you will either succumb to the attack or put on your God appointed armor and do battle! Caveat emptor: It requires discipline! Just face it now, if you’re born again and you choose the call of The Great Commission, you will face a life-long spiritual battle with the devil! The life of Christianity is not passive. It is not desperately sitting back waiting for the battle to be over, but contrarily picking up your spiritual weapons and fighting back until you have penetrated the enemy’s ground! So many Saints struggle in this area of their Christian walk. They endure a life of harassment, mental torment and persecution from the devil. Often settling for their health, joy and peace to be taken away from them. If you have a dogged determination and stand firmly on God’s promise, you can take back ground stolen from you, your family members and loved ones; precious lives the enemy has destroyed.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Beloved, one must be spiritually prepared, and not blindly walk into encampments set up by the enemy to destroy you! What are those encampments? Your household, your job, your friendships, your business dealings, your finances, your health! Sometimes the attack is so vicious it may feel like you are stepping on land mines all around you! Satan works through people, including yourself! More, some battles you will lose! Others you may have to keep fighting a lifetime with the enemy not budging!

There was a beloved pastor’s wife whom I knew of. This beautiful, humble soul was stricken with cancer at an early age. It was reported that she had suffered 21 or so grueling surgeries! One can barley tolerate the thought of one let alone 21! Sadly to report, after many decades of prayer, the church interceding, and fighting the devil, the First Lady eventually lost her battle to cancer. Some things we will just have to endure that only God will know the answer to. But, we must not lose hope! It will take persistence, consistence, and diligence to keep fighting the good fight of faith! When severe pressure is upon us, hard as it may be, we must not cave in and quit or give up. Even when you feel like you can’t pray, God knows your thoughts before you even think them–keep your mind on Him! When you feel like you can’t read your Bible, turn on worship music and let the words minister to you! Remembering:

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 KJV) You cannot give up!

The “night” matures us spiritually, it makes us more Christ like. When you first gave your life to Christ, there may have been overwhelming joy and great anticipation of your new christian walk: you joined a church, attended new believer’s classes, and supplied Christian books to read. There was a general feeling of euphoria that you were finally on the right path in life. You felt God’s touch on your life and some, God may have delivered out of deep bondage. But along the way, you began to face situations that challenged your faith, situations that tested your will, situations that you couldn’t find the answers to in a self-help book! My friend, you may have experienced devastating, life altering situations that resigned you to that of a fetal position, on the floor weeping like a baby, the pain hurt so badly! Beloved, this may have been your night, BUT! The Bible says that if you will just trust in Him with ALL your heart and ALL your mind (Proverbs 3:5), your joy will come in the morning! Amen!

I find that there are different stages of our christian walk. After conversion, you first learn how to pray, how to maneuver the Bible, and what it means to live a God called life. Secondly, God then begins to show you what your calling is in Him. Along with that calling, rest assured, will come an assigned fleet of demons whose job it is to do everything in their power to disprove the anointing on your life! The next phase will be a phase of the testing of your will and your faith. Indeed, the hardest stage for the called in Christ! In this stage you will experience extreme torment from the devil, even though you may be doing all the spiritual work! For those that may be saying this is not my testimony, this message is not for you!–but those on the front line of spiritual warfare, those that are experiencing extreme harassment from the devil because of your anointed call in Christ! The devil vehemently hates it when another pastor is birthed, another church is planted, and when another sinner gives his soul to Christ!

You will go through periods when God’s voice will seem reticent, or you may question: ‘God where are you?’ It will seem as if all hell has broken loose in every area of your life! You will be persecuted on every side, and may feel as Paul did on his Christian journey:

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. (2 Corinthians 7:5)

It may seem as if you are screaming out to God with all your might and yet your voice is inaudible. You may even become angry at God in His silence. It’s a time of testing, tearing down, building up, and strengthening you. It will cause you to go deeper in the work of Christ; deeper in study, deeper in spiritual preparation, deeper in prayer, deeper in fasting. His silence is teaching you how to adamantly trust the word of God and not your feelings! No matter how dark the valley is, He’s teaching you to fear not the evil one, He’s teaching you that, although you cannot see Him, or feel His presence, He’s fighting right beside you! It’s like the parable of the footsteps in the sand. Some things you will look back on and wonder in amazement, how you made it through! Amen! It’s because God carried you! We were wounded and ready to be slaughtered, yet a loving Savior picked us up where our strength failed, and carried us the rest of the way! Selah!

The longer it takes us to completely trust and have faith in God, I believe the longer our spiritual growth will be stunted in our Christian walk. Christianity requires proactively growing in Christ. There will be trial and error in our growth yes, but to grow in Him with a purpose and a plan, that requires diligent study, prayer, and a concerted effort to make time with God daily. Beloved there is something to be said about spending time in God’s presence! The anointing comes down! There is a sweet peace. God will give you wisdom, knowledge, and signs and wonders. He will give you secrets, direction, and ideas your mind could never possibly conceive on its own.

And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. (Acts 5:12 KJV)

In the latter part of the Christian walk, you may enter into a place of supernatural discernment. You will have Godly wisdom and a deeper understanding of spirituality! Those called began to teach, edify, encourage, prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:4-12). There will still be testing, but it will not destroy you like it used to! You’ll know the exact spiritual tools to apply against your enemy and come out a victor! Amen! You will have a concrete belief in God; no trick, lie, or scheme from the devil will be able to dissuade you. You know it’s a war between good and evil, and you will distinctively know your place in the battle. You know that silence does not mean neglect. You know that you and God are in this together!

Lastly, the valley experience changes your attitude! You may have walked with Christ for years but still have a defeated attitude! Instead of thinking you are a victor, and knowing that you are already equipped to win the fight raged against you ( Luke 10:19), you are numb because of persecution, and are thinking defeated thoughts.

To live a victorious life in Christ, there has to be a turning over of mental thinking to the side of victory. Your spiritual language has to change. You have to learn to always speak positive words over your life and circumstances no matter what your physical eyes may be telling you. You have to learn how to see with our spiritual eyes–the eyes of faith!

Additionally, your mind set has to change. A lot of people may quote the verse, say the Christian slogans but deep down inside, perhaps because of continuous oppression, have not come to a place where they believe what they are even saying! If you have a certain call on your life the opposition can be so intense, that you have given up on the inside! You’re spiritually dead! You have been sowing, but sadly feel like you are not reaping. It’s a testing beyond your imagination! With all your might and knowledge about God, you’ve got to take God at His word, getting in your spirit man the living word!

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)

People often talk about the character of God. That is a culmination of His teachings, His anointing on the lives of the Biblical prophets, and His grace. The devil tries to undermine God and His work in your life. Fight hard with all that is within you to not believe him! There is an evil, vile, more diabolical level of spiritual warfare in this day and time. Satan’s kingdom has become more perverted, more wicked. Its mission is not the ungodly–he already has them under his control–but specifically to attack the saints of God! The death in the valley is so gruesome beloved, let us not forget the saints that are literally fighting a physical battle with the devil; having been permanently scarred, maimed, and tormented. Those who have lost their lives for the sake of the Gospel! As we continue to carry the weight of our cross–with blood, sweat and tears–let us remember: the battle is not between us and the devil, but between God and satan!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)