What Jesus Is Doing Right Now

 

Edition 3: Day 34

“…because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”
 — Hebrews 7:24-25

 

What is Jesus doing right now” The question was posed to me in a manner consistent with a heart that was longing to know Jesus more. It was a question I didn’t see coming, but it sparked in me a desire to discover the answer. Can we know what Jesus is doing at any given moment? And what would the implications be if we did know? My inquiry became, “Jesus, what are you doing now?”

Hebrews 7 informs us about what Jesus is doing right now. He is interceding; He is praying for you and me. The implications of this truth are many, but one has become a way of prayer that has been transformational for me. When I pray, I begin by asking Jesus, “What prayer is on your heart for this person, situation, family, church, or for me?” And then I listen. Eventually a picture, idea, Scripture, or even a single word will come to mind as an invitation to join Jesus in His prayer as He intercedes for us. It is so refreshing, so life-giving, to pray out of a posture of listening to Jesus as opposed to coming up with what I think should be prayed.

There is a conversation happening between Father, Son, and Spirit right now. Every time we pray, we are entering into the prayer gathering of Heaven, and we are invited to participate in  the intercession that is already taking place.

What is Jesus doing right now? He’s praying for you. By name. Take time to listen to His words and passion. What He has to say promises to be a treasure of wisdom, insight, and love.

REFLECTION
1. What are the implications of Jesus interceding for you?
2. Ask Jesus, “What is the prayer that you are praying for me? For the person on my mind? The Church? Our nation?” Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and align your prayers with the intercession of Jesus.


Wade Paton, over the past sixteen years, has served three Alliance churches in Canada and as an international worker in Thailand. Currently, he serves as Associate Pastor at Sherwood Park Alliance Church in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

Photo credit: Mike Boening Photography via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Prayer, Refugees, and Global Impact

 

“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing”
 — I Timothy 2:8

 

Nicolaus, an upper-class German, and his family were suddenly inundated with refugees on their peaceful, quiet property outside the city.  Hundreds of thousands of people forced to find life elsewhere due to violent political and religious conflict had been uprooted from secure homes, schools, and work. Would Nicolaus welcome them?

Sounds like an event from 2015!

When Nicolaus was a student, he met regularly with five friends for prayer and Bible study. They committed themselves to three main priorities:  to holding Christ above all things, to being kind to all people, and to seeing the Gospel preached to all nations. This was life-shaping for him.

Now as a young man, facing the refugees—with a family and new career at stake—Nicolaus said yes to these families and helped them establish a settlement there. It went well at first, but soon religious passions began to divide them. Nicolaus went house to house to plea for reconciliation, showing that unity among brothers and sisters is possible in Christ if we follow His ways.

At a communion time of reconciliation, the Spirit moved among them in power. In a year of unity that followed, a desire grew to see the Gospel preached among the nations. In short, Nicolaus and this small community of refugees from Moravia went on to send 278 missionaries over thirty years; after he died, the community sent many more missionaries.

How was this possible? Early on, they established a prayer watch; someone was always awake praying, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This prayer vigil went on for 100 years!

How like God it is to use the lowly and despised of this world to show His glory. No, this wasn’t in 2015 – but it really could be, couldn’t it? It could be, because our turn has come. Oh, what God will do through those who say “Yes”!

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory
for ever and ever. Amen” (I Timothy 1:17).

REFLECTION
1. Do you have a group of friends with whom you pray? If not, why not consider it
and see how God leads you?
2. Is there an issue or a ministry that you are aware of that needs a prayer vigil of
24/7 praying?


Mike Linnen, Director of Seamless Link, served as a pastor in East Gate Alliance Church in Ottawa for eleven years, and as the District Missions Consultant for the churches of the C&MA’s Eastern Canadian District for five years. He is married to Michelle and lives in Oshawa, Ontario with their two sons, Christopher and Nicholas.

Photo credit: Anderson Mancini via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Proclamation Prayer

 

Edition 3 :Day 32

“’In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet…walking and jumping, and praising God…all the people saw him…”
— Acts 3:6-9

 

I am challenged in my personal faith by this proclamation prayer, as expressed by Peter and John to this paralyzed man.

A prayer of proclamation is pronounced with a firm assurance in the power of the name of Jesus Christ with no doubts. I know the theology, the teachings, and balanced view of my tradition can make me feel trapped in the default position of expecting nothing. Lord, help me to pray prayers of proclamation like Peter and John, expecting the miraculous. Free me from my secure, middle-of-the-road stance.

A prophetic prayer gesture. Peter and John coupled their proclamation prayer with a prophetic gesture when Peter stretched out his hand to help the man up. I know there is no power in prophetic gestures, God will accomplish His work no matter what. However, I believe that we can reach out with a real prophetic touch that inspires hope, faith, restoration, and healing. Lord, help me to engage, with firm assurance, in gestures that communicate hope and healing in this suffering world.

A prayer witness. “…all the people saw…” (Acts 3:9). The Holy Spirit’s wondrous work happened within the public square. We must not contain our prayer witness within the church walls or our worship settings. Lord, you want to display your Kingdom power to all those who do not know you; those who are longing to know your power but don’t often see it in organized churches. Lead me to places and individuals needing Jesus, and give me faith and courage to deliver prayers of proclamation.

REFLECTION
1. Do you have firm assurance in the power of the name of Jesus Christ to do the miraculous in people’s lives today? If not, ask God to help you in your unbelief.
2. Are there individuals in your life that need to experience Jesus’ power?  Do you have the courage to boldly act when Jesus leads you to offer a prayer of proclamation on their behalf?


Francis Pearson is the District Superintendent for the C&MA’s St. Lawrence District.

Photo credit: Viewminder via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Ministry from above

 

“…he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion…And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms”
— Ephesians 1:20-21; 2:6

 

In your life and ministry, do you minister from above or below? It seems that all too often our prayers are postured from a place other than where we are seated with Christ, far above all else, from the very throne room that possesses the riches of our glorious inheritance.

When our prayers emerge from below, far from our seated position with Christ, they are characterized by a sense of scarcity, helpless desperation, and a lack of faith and expectancy.  When our place of prayer and ministry emerges from the very presence of Christ, we experience abundance, spiritual authority, anointing, and faith.  So in your mind’s eye, do you envision the matters for which you pray (the challenges and difficulties) as things that are over your head or under your feet?

Christ is supreme over all things. His ascension is now our ascension and we are seated with Him. Living from this geographic locale is the key to living with the power and authority that every believer already has in Christ. Even the Lord’s Prayer demonstrates this kind of authority.  Rather than asking, it declares, “…thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” Jesus has given us not only His mission, but His authority.

Prayer from above, and ministry from above, move His Kingdom forward in power and authority. Like any spiritual discipline, the practice of ministering from above needs to be developed.

Further Scripture Reflection: Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:12

REFLECTION
1. Ask Jesus to enlighten the eyes of your heart to know this reality (Ephesians 1:18).
2. Approach God with freedom and confidence in your prayers (Ephesians 3:12).


Doug Balzer serves in the C&MA’s Western Canadian District Office in Church-Planting and Leader Development.  He also serves to advance a movement of renewal through leading others in personal encounter with the Holy Spirit.

Photo credit: kisses are a better fate than wisdom via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Selfless Intercession

 

Edition 3: Day 30

“For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel”
— Romans 9:3-4

 

There is no deeper form of intercession than praying for and on behalf of people who have wronged you. Three individuals in biblical history dared to pray this way. All three interceded when their love for a particular group of people outweighed ordinary limits of love.

Utterly aware of the Lord’s presence, while interceding, these three completely identified with the object of their intercession. Two embraced this intercessory prayer through a gradual process of movement toward people who had wronged them. More importantly, the Lord, the third, individual was born to pray this type of prayer.

These three individuals are Moses, Paul, and Jesus. All three prayed to be damned so that others could be saved.

It began with Moses. On day thirty-nine of a forty day fast, God told Moses that the people had broken two commands: “No other gods” and “No graven images”. In an orgiastic feast, they worshipped a carved piece of metal as the god of the Exodus. So awful was God’s rage that He said to Moses, “Leave Me alone…that I may destroy them…” (Exodus 32:10).

Moses refused to go!

Bolder yet, Moses asked God to change His mind (Exodus 32:12). Even stronger, he prayed from a place of participation in the destiny of the damned: Moses acknowledges that the people have committed a great sin and pleads, “Now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:32).

Then God changed His mind.

Paul also prayed that he would be condemned for the sake of his Hebrew kin (Romans 9:3).

Jesus lived that prayer as His calling.

Not one of them had asked for this kind of praying—it was given—and these three did more to transform Earth than any others. There is no deeper intercession!

REFLECTION
1. Is there an individual that God is prompting you to intercede for?
2. Is there a people group that God is asking you to pray for with this form of deeper intercession?


David Chotka is the Lead Pastor at Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor, Ontario.

Photo credit: kern.justin via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

A Reflection on Prayerlessness

 

Edition 3: Day 29

 “…You do not have, because you do not ask”
— James 4:2, ESV

 

One of the difficult things about prayer is that the very act of praying is an indication that we can’t do life alone. It is an affront to our aspirations of independence. In fact, we would prefer not to ask anybody for anything. To ask for help is a sign of weakness.

In his very helpful and encouraging book, A Praying Life, Paul Miller writes, “We have an allergic reaction to dependency, but this is the state of the heart most necessary for a praying life….Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer.”

In the book of James, we are informed that we do not have because we do not ask. Before we even begin to consider our motives in prayer, there is this problem of prayerlessness; a prayerlessness that comes from a warped desire for independence. And yet, as Christians, we should know how crucially dependent on God we are and ought to be. A willing dependence on God is the starting point of prayer.

Paul Miller continues, “If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life….But, if like Jesus you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.”

Perhaps one of the hindrances to prayer in your life is an unwillingness to recognize your position of dependency. Maybe an inflated opinion of your talents, or an ill-placed trust in time and money have you convinced that prayer isn’t necessary, and so you don’t ask; however, if Jesus prayed in dependence on God, how much more do we need to put our imagined independence behind us and pray to our Heavenly Father?

REFLECTION
1. Do you believe that all your problems can be fixed with time and money in your capable hands?
2. If you’re honest, what areas of your life are currently in need of help from God?


Jude St. John is currently serving as West London Alliance Church’s Interim Lead Pastor. Jude is happily married to his wife, Nicole. They have five beautiful children: Ena, Mara, Adele, Judah, and Arwen.

Photo credit: FotoRita [Allstar maniac] via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Celebration Sunday 5

Edition 3: Sunday 5

We begin life with the natural, next we come into the spiritual; but then, when we have truly received the kingdom of God and His righteousness, the natural is added to the spiritual, and we are able to receive the gifts of His providence and the blessings of life without becoming centered in them or allowing them to separate us from Him.
— A. B. Simpson

The six Sundays are not counted among the forty days of Lent because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” – a celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. With this in mind, let’s pause today to celebrate the opportunities we have had this week for deeper intimacy with Jesus.

Let us also consider during this time of celebration that we are actively participating in this journey together, in community, with thousands of others. Lets encourage one another, and inspire each other with thoughts and ideas as we celebrate together what the Lord has graciously done for us.

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Edition 3: Day 23

Living in His Promises

Edition 3: Day 24

Prayer for Wisdom

Edition 3: Day 25

Let God Be God

Edition 3: Day 26

Praying for those we Love

Edition 3: Day 27

Pray and Obey

Edition 3: Day 28

Pausing in His Presence