Dearest Father


Edition 3: Day 22

“…When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name’…”
— Luke 11:2, NASB


Something about the Lord Jesus’ pattern of prayer led the disciples to ask the Master for teaching. The disciples would have been stunned by Jesus’ words, “When you pray, say: ‘Father…’”

It was not the idea of God as Father that would have been startling to the disciples (Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 63:16; Malachi 2:10). However, Jesus used an Aramaic word common within family relationships, “Abba,” which is best rendered “Dearest Father.” Jesus avoided the formal address for a father, “Abinu,” which was found in the synagogue prayers.

“Abba” expresses:

1.    Intimacy
Jesus emphasized that prayer is more than praise and worship, confession, and petition. The first thing Jesus was teaching about prayer was that it is an expression of intimacy, a personal relationship with God.

2.    Respect
Paul emphasizes that our adoption as children is one of the best blessings of God’s redemptive plan. God has a fatherly authority in His family. (See Ephesians 1:2-5, 17; Galatians 1:1, 3-4). This relationship brings moral responsibility for God’s children to live in ways that bring glory to our adoptive father and to His family name.

3.    Abba expresses affection
As children, we all desperately need love. We can expect God’s steadfast and unfailing love to be available and accessible to us.

4.    Abba expresses dependence
Jesus was perhaps reinforcing the need for us to “become like children” (Matthew 18:3). We are invited to express our childlike dependence on the Father, who is the ultimate source and provider for life.

Further Reflection: Romans 8:15-17 and Galatians 4:4-6

1. What does addressing God as Father mean to you personally?
2. How does the fatherhood of God influence the life of your church family?

Dr. T.V. Thomas serves as the Multicultural/Intercultural Ministries Consultant for the C&MA in Canada and is part of the Alliance Pray! Team.

Photo credit: Julien Harneis via / CC BY-SA

Prayer Moves the Hand that Moves the World


Edition 3: Day 21

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”
— James 5:16, The Message


God has given us the gift of prayer. As we spend time praying, God reveals His will, which informs our prayers.  He has chosen to work through our prayers, to reveal His power as we pray. Prayer is foundational to our relationships, our work, and ministry.

People are messy, and we are needy. Yet God loves us and lends us His ear and heart as we walk with Him through each moment of the day. Our prayers move Him. Nothing powerful occurs without God!

This is where our prayer relationship with Him is key. Constant connection with God keeps us centered and gives us focus on His purposes. In my own journey, I carve out time to center myself in Christ each day, to spend time listening to His voice as I meditate on His word and the promise that He is with us. Yet beyond a set aside time, as I walk or exercise, stop for lunch, or drive to work… I make these additional moments intimate times with the Father by sharing my inner thoughts and concerns with Him.

We also have friends around the world that pray with us each week. We make it our common practice to pray together for the goals and desires that we trust God’s hand is moving in. We stand amazed at what the Holy Spirit is doing with and through us.

It has been a powerful experience to receive His leading, His comfort, His direction and to see God work through His Spirit. He gives answers to the concerns pressing on my heart and in our ministry.

As we cultivate a practice of praying throughout the day, we will hear God speak and see His victorious hand guiding us.  We will see Him moved to action and experience His love, power, and guidance. It will change your life.

1. Reflect on the truth that our prayers move the hand of God. In what circumstance do you need to see the power of God demonstrated?
2. Do you make it a common practice to pray regularly with others? What outcome does James teach about gathering with others for prayer?

Linda Doell and her husband, Curtis, work as regional team leaders for the justice and compassion ministry track in the Caribbean Sun Region. Their ministry is to equip local Alliance churches to transform their communities for Jesus Christ by implementing sustainable community development initiatives.

Photo credit: ericcommando89 via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Bringing Things about by Prayer


Edition 3 : Day 20

“Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’”
— John 5:19


Armin Gesswin, founder of Revival Prayer Fellowship in California, made a statement about prayer that rocked my world. Teaching at a College of Prayer module, he stretched out his 90+ year-old finger and with gentle boldness said, “Jesus didn’t pray about things, He brought things about by prayer.”

After letting that sentence hang for what seemed like an eternity, he opened the Gospels and went to work making his point. He highlighted Jesus’ own words in John 5:17, “…My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” And then in verse 19, “…I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

Armin used Mark 1:35-38 as an illustration: “Very early in the morning…Jesus got up… and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed….” Peter and the other disciples assumed that He would want to continue ministering to the crowd gathering in response to the previous day’s ministry. Instead, Jesus replies, “Let us go somewhere else…so I can preach there also.” Jesus discerned through listening prayer that He was to go “somewhere else.” Jesus lived in such unity with His Father by the Holy Spirit that He was completely aligned with the purposes of the Father.

We, as Spirit-filled people, can learn to live the very same way, doing nothing by ourselves; imitating what we see the Father doing through listening, discerning, yielding and obeying. Jesus brought things about by prayer—so must we!

1. Have you practised listening prayer? Reflect on times when you were inspired to obey a prompting by the Spirit.
2. How has your prayer life led you to bring about Kingdom values or principles?

Brent Farquhar pastored Midland Alliance Church in Ontario for 25 years before joining the C&MA’s Central Canadian District office staff in 2010 as the Assistant District Superintendent.
Photo credit: Fey Ilyas via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Praying and Living for God’s Glory


Edition 3: Day 19

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you”
— John 17:20-21


Jesus’ two key prayers are found in Matthew 6:5-16 (repeated in Luke 11:1-4) and in John 17.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus focuses on our relationship with the Father and with each other in the context of living in the Kingdom of God. In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ prayer focuses on our relationship with the Father and with each other in the context of God’s revealed glory through Christ. The God whose name is merciful, compassionate, and forgiving, who kept His face, full identity, and glory hidden from Moses, is now fully revealed to us in Jesus. The old covenant relationship is no longer limited to external commands inscribed on stone tablets. In Jesus’ prayer in John 17, we learn that God’s glory is revealed in Christ within the divine Father-Son relationship, and that He comes to live within us, unifying all believers.

This is the glory that is not only revealed but is also given to us in this prayer. Its implications are revolutionary for our relationships at every level. This prayer in John has become the focus for a spiritual revolution in a Caribbean Island and is uniting believers from more than 30 denominations across the nation. Join us in unleashing this revolution of Jesus’ prayer and glory in your life and church, where love and unity display works that make the Good News of Christ genuine to those who do not yet know Him.

1. What is the threat to the outworking of God’s glory in our lives in Jesus’ prayers of John 17:11 and John 17:15-17? Pray these passages with Jesus for the protection of your relationship with other believers and the unity in your local church.
2. What are the implications of God’s glory given to us in Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17:20-24?

Blake Penson and his wife, Kathy, are international workers working and living in a creative access country in the Caribbean Sun Region.

Photo credit: woofiegrrl via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

Experiencing God on the Beach


Edition 3: Day 18

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there”
— Psalm 139:7-8


Psalm 139 teaches that God knows all about each one of us and wants to spend time with us. Everywhere we go, He is with us.

One day, I was in Ucluelet, B.C. and decided to go to Florence Bay to walk the beach. This is one of my favorite places to spend time with God. I walked down the half-kilometre trail praying and praising God. I asked Him to show me things, let me feel things, smell things, and experience Him.

Looking off the gravel trail into the woods, I saw all types of trees; some were crooked, broken, skinny, or old. Others were young. They were all part of the forest. Some trees had fallen down, crisscrossing each other with new, smaller ones growing out of them. God does know where every log falls; this reminded me that God knows where we are in our history.

As I continued along the trail, with all its ups, downs, and bends, I could neither see the beach nor hear the crashing waves, but I anticipated the sights and sounds. It was as if the small plants beside the path were cheering me on, shouting, “Keep going! There is much to see.” I picked up my pace and reached the beach. How beautiful it was, even with the light fog and breeze. I started to take pictures of shells, seaweed, and other objects. For a few minutes, I forgot about spending time with my Heavenly Father and instead focused on capturing the perfect picture.

I realized this shift and asked, “Lord, show me something special from You.” Those words were still on my tongue as I looked up and saw a large sea otter about 100 metres away, running in my direction. It ran within five metres of me, stopped, and stared for a few minutes. Then it headed off. What a gift from God! For the next few hours, I enjoyed communing with my Heavenly Father.  What a precious time.

1. Do you hunger to experience God in a new and fresh way? Consider talking with God as you go about a routine activity today.
2. Read Psalm 139, pausing after each phrase. Consider how intimately your Heavenly Father knows and cares about you.

Stephen Foster has served as the Seamless Link Advisor/District Mission Consultant of the C&MA’s Canadian Pacific District.

Photo credit: El Chupacabrito via / CC BY-NC-SA

Worship through Lament


Edition 3 : Day 17

“Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?…You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry…”
— Psalm 10


At times, praying is hard to do, especially when we are hurting, feeling disillusioned, or questioning the goodness or even the existence of God. We live in a sinful, broken world where pain, suffering, and injustice thrive. We see evidence of this every day, and sometimes it impacts us personally, which can cause us to become overwhelmed and want to cry out to God in sorrow or even anger.

God can take it! There are many examples of people in Scripture pouring out their hearts to God with prayers of lament. They prayed deeply emotional prayers, questioning if God cared, why He was allowing bad things to happen, and asking if He were really there! “Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1). “How long, O Lord? Will you utterly forget me?” (Psalm 13:2).  The Old Testament book of Lamentations is a collection of poetic laments expressing deep despair over the destruction of Jerusalem. “Arise, cry out in the night…pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord” (Lamentations 2:19).

Yes, God has heard intense cries of despair from His people, and He welcomes it.

Individuals who have grown up in a church tradition that did not practise prayers of lament in corporate worship often don’t use them in personal prayer. Yet, prayers of lament can be extremely helpful in our spiritual journey. As we release our hurt or confusion, or offer profound questions to a Sovereign God, His Spirit comforts, heals, and renews our perspective. He provides us with hope as we come to a God who is all-powerful, who is actively reconciling the world to Himself.

Offering prayers of lament is actually an act of worship. Instead of turning away from God, letting our hearts get hard, we, as an act of faith, acknowledge our pain, our sorrow, and doubt to the One who is the only source of hope in this world!

1. Write your own prayer of lament, identifying the difficulties and challenges with which you are struggling that are causing you to question the goodness or even the existence of God.
2. To counter any feelings of despair, list 10 things that you can thank God for today.

Joanne Beach serves the C&MA as the Director of Alliance Justice and Compassion.

Photo credit: -Jeffrey- via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND

Celebration Sunday 3

Edition 3: Sunday 3


“May God so fill us today with the heart of Christ that we may glow with the divine fire of holy desire.”
— 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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If you would like to comment on any of the devotionals already posted this week, feel free to click on the appropriate image linked below which will take you to that devotional post online:

Edition 3: Day 11

Entering in

Edition 3: Day 12

Take Time to Listen

Edition 3: Day 13

Take Heart! Wait for the Lord!

Edition 3: Day 14

Listen: What Is the Lord Saying?

Edition 3: Day 15

The Spirit Speaks through Scripture

Edition 3: Day 16

A Walk with Him

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