Prayer Ministries

Home > Contact Us > Ministries >
.
Teach Us to Pray (Ten Life-changing Days in the Lord's Prayer)
 7-8pm nightly by conference call except when otherwise indicated

Call 605-475-6700 Access Code 1082882. 
(except when indicated at 1U)

Jan 8    The secret of His Power
Jan 9     Children of the King
Jan 10   Name above all Names at 1U (7:30pm)
Jan 11   All night prayer service at 1U (7pm - 8am)
Jan 12   Walking in step with Jesus
Jan 13   Filled to the overflowing
Jan 14  Clean hands pure heart 1U (7pm)
Jan 15  Victory in Jesus
Jan 16  Unlimited power
Jan  17 Pleading for the spirit 
Jan  18 Testimonies at 1U (11am)
 
  



40 DAYS OF PRAYING AND FASTING: I Will Do A New Thing - Nov 20 – Dec 29  (* see Daily Readings Below)


THE CHRISTIAN ARSENAL: PRAYER AND FASTING
 
“One of the most important disciplines for God’s warriors to cultivate is fasting.
When you couple fasting with prayer, your prayers transcend earthly understanding and bring about supernatural breakthrough. Fasting is more than just abstaining from food; it is an act of self-denial for higher purpose. Therefore, it is important to check your motives and heart attitudes with the Lord before you determine to fast.”
 
Biblical reasons for fasting:
  • Jesus set an example by spending 40 days fasting in the desert (Matt 4:2)
  • As a free will offering to the farther, it pleases Him. (1Sam 7:5,6)
  • It produces a spiritual and physical discipline. (Luke 2:36,37)
  • It keeps you from God’s judgments (Joel 2:12-14)
  • It manifests concern for family, church, community and country (Dan 9:3)
 
Fasting has the following benefits:
  • It strengthens and implements prayer. (Acts 10:30,31)
  • It brings blessings of obedience. (Matt. 6:6,16)
  • It brings humility through repentance. (Neh. 9:1-3.)
  • It gives revelation of God’s way and will for your future. (Dan. 9.)
  • It establishes authority and power in prayer and spiritual warfare.
(Matt 4:1-11.)
 
Different types of fasts:
  • Twenty-four-hour fast: from sunset to sunset. Abstain from solids
  • Partial fast: Abstain from pleasant foods. Partake only of clear soups, Fruit juices, cereals or grains, or give up one meal a day for prayer.
  • Three-day fast: Total abstinence of food for three days. Esther 4:16
  • Total Fast: Excludes all food but does include water. Fasts should be slowly broken. Only diluted juices for a day or two. Next graduall proceed to fruits, vegetables and grains, adding meat last.”   Elizabeth, Alves. Becoming a prayer warrior. 1998
 
40 DAYS OF PRAYING AND FASTING, Nov 20 – Dec 29
 
Preparing for the 40 days:  
  1. Find a prayer partner.
  2. Pray that God will show you whom you should be praying for.
  3. Choose five people to pray for.
  4. Contact each of the five people you have selected.
  5. Create a prayer card for each individual to keep track on.
  6. Pray for these individuals every day.
  7. Prayerfully consider what activities you can do to show you care.
 
Activities during the 40 days:
  1. Introduction of each topic will be every Wednesday, with discussion prayer; at 605-465-6700; 1082882#
  2. Daily devotion available at www.firstuniversitysda.org
  3. Choose one day each week to fast.
  4. Believe, God will grant you the desires of your heart according   to His will for your life.   

          
* DAILY READINGS
 
 
 
I WILL DO A NEW THING: WEEK 1- OUR NEED FOR GOD

DAY 1. Why was sin permitted? “The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its principles of righteousness. God desires from all his creatures the service of love- service that springs from an appreciation of His character. So long as all created being acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, has been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Ezekiel 28:17. Satan coveted the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34-36).
  • How important it is for you to live a life of obedience, and stay connected to Jesus?
  • Ask God to give you the strength to obey all that He says.
  • “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face” (Psalm 89:14).
 Day 2. The temptation and fall “Our first parents were not left without a warning of the danger that threatened them. The tree of knowledge had been a test of their obedience and love to God. In order to accomplish his work unperceived, Satan chose to employ as his medium the serpent- a disguised well adapted for his purpose of deception. By partaking of this tree, he declared, they would attain to a more exalted sphere of existence and enter a broader field of knowledge. He himself had eaten of the forbidden fruit, and as a result had acquired the power of speech. After is transgression Adam at first imagined himself entering a higher state of existence. The robe of light which had enshrouded them, now disappeared, and to supply its place they endeavored to fashion for themselves a covering; for they could not, while unclothed, meet the eye of God and the holy angels.”
(Patriarchs and Prophet, p. 52, 55).
  • What lesson can you learn from our first parents disobedience.
  • Seek God daily, asking Him to give you the power to overcome temptation.
  • “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heal” (Genesis 3:15).
 Day 3. The plan of redemption “ The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that God had made was blighted with a curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death. The son of God, heaven’s glorious commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the world rose up before Him. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring again harmony with heaven. The plan by which alone man’s salvation could be secured, involved all of heaven in its infinite sacrificed. The angels could not rejoice as Christ opened before them the plan of redemption, for they saw that man’s salvation must cost them their loved commander. “ (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 64, 65).
  • Contemplate Christ’s sacrifice for you, what do you need to sacrifice for Him?
  • Pray for a deeper understanding of the price He paid for your salvation.
  • “For God so loved the world that He have His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Day 4. Repentance “includes sorrow for sin and turning away from it. We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.  There are many who fail to understand the true nature of repentance. Multitudes sorrow that they have sinned and even make an outward reformation because they fear that their wrong doing will bring suffering upon themselves. But this is not repentance in bible sense. The prayer of David after his fall,  illustrates the nature of true sorrow for sin; it was sincere and deep. It was not for pardon only the he prayed, but for purity of heart. He longed for the joy of holiness to be restored to harmony and communion with God”
(Steps to Christ, p. 23, 24).
  • How important is repentance in the life of the believer?
  • Invite God to search your life for a revelation of sin. Allow Him to take you way back to childhood if necessary.
  • “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of       refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
 DAY 5. Confession “When sin has deadened the moral perceptions, the wrongdoer does not discern the defects of his character nor realize the enormity of the evil he has committed; and unless he yields to the convicting  power of the Holy Spirit he remains in partial blindness to his sin  His confessions are not sincere and in earnest. To every acknowledgement of his guilt he adds an apology in excuse of his course, declaring that if it had not been for certain circumstances he would not have done this or that for which he is reproved. True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only;  they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should be publicly confessed” (Steps to Christ, p. 38,39).
  • Ask God to reveal things you need to confess, whether public or private.
  • Pray for a spirit of true confession to be manifested in our church.
  • “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that He cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1,2).
 
DAY 6. Consecration  “God’s promise is, Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13. The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness. The warfare with self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed to holiness” Steps to Christ, p. 42).
  • What area of your life, do you need to surrender to God?
  • Pray for the strength to yield yourself totally to the will of God.
 
Day 7. Faith and Acceptance “ As your conscience has been quickened by the Holy Spirit, you have seen something of the evil of sin, of its power, guilt, woe; and you look upon it with abhorrence. You feel that sin has separated you from God, that you are in bondage to the power of evil. The more you struggle to escape, the more you realize your helplessness. The Lord says,  “though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,  they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. Do not wait to feel that you are whole, but say, I believe it; is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.” (Steps to Christ, p. 49, 50).
  • Thank God for speaking to your heart, and for what He will do in your life.


WEEK 2

Day 8 - God's Amazing Grace, Page 12, The Message of the First Advent


Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14, 15.
As Jesus traveled through Galilee, teaching and healing, multitudes flocked to Him from the cities and villages. Many came even from Judea and the adjoining provinces. Often He was obliged to hide Himself from the people. The enthusiasm ran so high that it was necessary to take precautions lest the Roman authorities should be aroused to fear an insurrection. Never before had there been such a period as this for the world. Heaven was brought down to men. Hungering and thirsting souls that had waited long for the redemption of Israel now feasted upon the grace of a merciful Saviour....
The gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies. The “time” which He declared to be fulfilled was the period made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel.... “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” (Daniel 9:25), sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9, margin), went into effect in the autumn of 457 B.C. From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of A.D. 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In A.D. 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled”....
The time of Christ’s coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out.... “The Spirit of Christ which was in them” “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11).... As the message of Christ’s first advent announced the kingdom of His grace, so the message of His second advent announces the kingdom of His glory.

Day 9 - God's Amazing Grace, Page 13, A Spiritual Kingdom

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36.
The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic....
But today in the religious world there are multitudes who, as they believe, are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its legislative halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead, to execute the laws of His kingdom. The establishment of such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. They would have received Jesus, had He been willing to establish a temporal dominion, to enforce what they regarded as the laws of God, and to make them the expositors of His will and the agents of His authority. But He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He would not accept the earthly throne....
Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit.... Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the Word of God....
Now, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Day 10 God's Amazing Grace, Page 16, God’s Kingdom in the Heart

Behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21.
The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.

Some of the Pharisees had come to Jesus demanding “when the kingdom of God should come” (Luke 17:20). More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message that like a trumpet call had sounded through the land, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). And as yet these Pharisees saw no indication of the establishment of the kingdom....
Jesus answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show [margin]: neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom of God begins at the heart. Look not here or there for manifestations of earthly power to mark its coming.
The works of Christ not only declared Him to be the Messiah, but showed in what manner His kingdom was to be established.... It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. The greatest manifestation of its power is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of the character of Christ....
When God gave His Son to our world, He endowed human beings with imperishable riches—riches compared with which the treasured wealth of men since the world began is nothingness. Christ came to the earth and stood before the children of men with the hoarded love of eternity, and this is the treasure that, through our connection with Him, we are to receive, to reveal, and to impart.

Day 11 - God's Amazing Grace, Page 21, Our Top Priority

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.
The people who listened to the words of Christ were still anxiously watching for some announcement of the earthly kingdom. While Jesus was opening to them the treasures of heaven, the question uppermost in many minds was, How will a connection with Him advance our prospects in the world? Jesus shows that in making the things of the world their supreme anxiety they were like the heathen nations about them....
“All these things,” said Jesus, “do the nations of the world seek after” (Luke 12:30).... I have come to open to you the kingdom of love and righteousness and peace. Open your hearts to receive this kingdom, and make its service your highest interest. Though it is a spiritual kingdom, fear not that your needs for this life will be uncared for....

Jesus does not release us from the necessity of effort, but He teaches that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything. We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure, that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness in our character and life. Whatever we do is to be done heartily, as unto the Lord.

Jesus, while He dwelt on earth, dignified life in all its details by keeping before men the glory of God, and by subordinating everything to the will of His Father. If we follow His example, His assurance to us is that all things needful in this life “shall be added.” Poverty or wealth, sickness or health, simplicity or wisdom—all are provided for in the promise of His grace.
Difficulties will be powerless to hinder him who is determined to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.... Looking to Jesus,... the believer will willingly brave contempt and derision. And help and grace sufficient for every circumstance are promised by Him whose word is truth. His everlasting arms encircle the soul that turns to Him for aid. In His care we may rest safely, saying, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Psalm 56:3).

Day 12 - God's Amazing Grace, Page 29, The Army of the Lord

Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13.
The strength of an army is measured largely by the efficiency of the men in the ranks. A wise general instructs his officers to train every soldier for active service. He seeks to develop the highest efficiency on the part of all. If he were to depend on his officers alone he could never expect to conduct a successful campaign. He counts on loyal and untiring service from every man in his army. The responsibility rests largely upon the men in the ranks.
And so it is in the army of Prince Immanuel. Our General, who has never lost a battle, expects willing, faithful service from everyone who has enlisted under His banner. In the closing controversy now waging between the forces for good and the hosts of evil He expects all, laymen as well as ministers, to take part. All who have enlisted as His soldiers are to render faithful service as minutemen, with a keen sense of the responsibility resting upon them individually.
All who enter the army are not to be generals, captains, sergeants, or even corporals. All have not the care and responsibility of leaders. There is hard work of other kinds to be done. Some must dig trenches and build fortifications; some are to stand as sentinels, some to carry messages. While there are but few officers, it requires many soldiers to form the rank and file of the army; yet its success depends upon the fidelity of every soldier. One man’s cowardice or treachery may bring disaster upon the entire army.
There is earnest work to be done by us individually if we would fight the good fight of faith. Eternal interests are at stake. We must put on the whole armor of righteousness, we must resist the devil, and we have the sure promise that he will be put to flight. The church is to conduct an aggressive warfare, to make conquests for Christ, to rescue souls from the power of the enemy. God and holy angels are engaged in this warfare. Let us please Him who has called us to be soldiers.

Day 13 - God's Amazing Grace, Page 30, A Girdle of Truth

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth. Ephesians 6:14.
There is absolutely no safeguard against evil but truth. No man can stand firm for right in whose heart the truth does not abide. There is only one power that can make and keep us steadfast—the power of God, imparted to us through the grace of Christ.
There are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth....
The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold.... Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God so that when the testing time shall come and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear....
The erroneous teachings of popular theology have made thousands upon thousands of skeptics and infidels. There are errors and inconsistencies which many denounce as the teaching of the Bible that are really false interpretations of Scripture.... Instead of criticizing the Bible, let us seek, by precept and example, to present to the world its sacred, life-giving truths, that we may “show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
The truth stands firmly established on the eternal Rock—a foundation that storm and tempest can never move.... Do not lower the banner of truth ... in order to unite with the solemn message for these last days anything that will tend to hide the peculiar features of our faith.

Day 14 - God's Amazing Grace, Page 35, A Sword for Battle

And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17.
God has provided abundant means for successful warfare against the evil that is in the world. The Bible is the armory where we may equip for the struggle. Our loins must be girt about with truth. Our breastplate must be righteousness. The shield of faith must be in our hand, the helmet of salvation on our brow; and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, we are to cut our way through the obstructions and entanglements of sin.
The first Adam fell; the second Adam held fast to God and His Word under the most trying circumstances, and His faith in His Father’s goodness, mercy, and love did not waver for one moment. “It is written” was His weapon of resistance, and it is the sword of the Spirit which every human being is to use.
In these days of peril and corruption, the young are exposed to many trials and temptations. Many are sailing in a dangerous harbor. They need a pilot; but they scorn to accept the much needed help, feeling that they are competent to guide their own bark, and not realizing that it is about to strike a hidden rock that may cause them to make shipwreck of faith and happiness.... There is a disposition with many to be impetuous and headstrong. They have not heeded the wise counsel of the word of God; they have not battled with self, and obtained precious victories; and their proud, unbending will has driven them from the path of duty and obedience.
There are great things expected from the sons and daughters of God. I look upon the youth of today, and my heart yearns over them. What possibilities are open before them! If they sincerely seek to learn of Christ, He will give them wisdom, as He gave wisdom to Daniel.... “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.... “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 3:6).
Let the youth try to appreciate the privilege that may be theirs, to be directed by the unerring wisdom of God. Let them take the Word of truth as the man of their counsel, and become skillful in the use of “the sword of the Spirit.” Satan is a wise general; but the humble, devoted soldier of Jesus Christ may overcome him.
 

Week 3 -  Daily Readings on Leadership

Day 15  -  IF THEY RESPECT YOU, THEY FOLLOW

"Then Jesus said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him."  Mark 1:17-18
 
People don't follow others by accident. They follow individuals whose leadership they respect. And the more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he or she recognizes leadership - or its lack - in others. When people get together for the first time as a group, take a look at what happens. As they start interacting, the leaders in the group immediately take charge. They think in terms of the direction they desire to go and who they want to take with them. At first, people may make tentative moves in several different directions, but after the people get to know one another, it doesn't take long for them to recognize the strongest leaders and to follow them.
 
In time, people in the group get on board and follow the strongest leaders. Either that or they leave the group and pursue their own agendas.
Excerpt from The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

 

Day 16  -  The Importance of Organization

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”—1 Corinthians 12:4-7. ChL 1.4
 
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”—1 Corinthians 12:27-28. ChL 1.5
 
The Divine Purpose—As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization there would be great confusion, and the work would not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 26. ChL 1.6
 
Lord’s Business Demands Order—The Lord is not pleased with the present lack of order and accuracy among those who do business in connection with His work. Even in the business meetings of the conference, much time could be saved and many mistakes avoided, by a little more study and punctuality. Everything that bears any relation to the work of God should be as nearly perfect as human brains and hands can make it.—Gospel Workers, 460. ChL 1.7

Day 17  -  Christian Leadership

Christian Leadership—Praying Leadership—The path of men who are placed as leaders is not an easy one. But they are to see in every difficulty a call to prayer. Never are they to fail of consulting the great Source of all wisdom. Strengthened and enlightened by the Master Worker, they will be enabled to stand firm against unholy influences and to discern right from wrong, good from evil. They will approve that which God approves, and will strive earnestly against the introduction of wrong principles into His cause.—Prophets and Kings, 31. ChL 4.1
 
Christian Leadership is in Touch With God—Those engaged in the work of God cannot serve His cause acceptably unless they make the best use possible of the religious privileges they enjoy. We are as trees planted in the garden of the Lord; and He comes to us seeking the fruit He has a right to expect. His eye is upon each of us; He reads our hearts and understands our lives. This is a solemn search, for it has reference to duty and to destiny; and with what interest is it prosecuted. ChL 4.2
 
Let each of those to whom are committed sacred trusts inquire: “How do I meet the inspecting eye of God? Is my heart cleansed from its defilement? or have its temple courts become so desecrated, so occupied with buyers and sellers, that Christ finds no room?” The bustle of business, if continuous, will dry up spirituality and leave the soul Christless. ChL 4.3
 
Although they may profess the truth, yet if men pass along day by day with no living connection with God, they will be led to do strange things; decisions will be made not in accordance with the will of God. There is no safety for our leading brethren while they shall go forward according to their own impulses. They will not be yoked up with Christ, and so will not move in harmony with Him. They will be unable to see and realize the wants of the cause, and Satan will move upon them to take positions that will embarrass and hinder.—Testimonies for the Church 5:423. ChL 4.4
 
Day 18  -  The Power of Kindness—We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. ChL 7.1
 
If after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian, and they become surprised and ashamed and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them. ChL 7.2
 
If you had laid their wrong course of action before them, they would have braced themselves in stubbornness and defiance; but to be treated in tenderness and consideration, they feel more deeply their own course of action and contrast it with yours. Then you have the staff in your own hands. You occupy vantage ground, and when you show a solicitude for their souls, they know that you are no hypocrite, but that you mean every word you say. ChL 7.3
 
I have been shown that a few words spoken in a hasty manner, under provocation, and which seemed but a little thing—just what they deserved, often cut the cords of influence that should have bound the soul to your soul. The very idea of their being in darkness, under the temptation of Satan and blinded by his bewitching power, should make you feel deep sympathy for them—the same that you would feel for a diseased patient who suffers, but, on account of his disease, is not aware of his danger.—Letter 20, 1892 (October 17, 1892 to J. H. Kellogg). ChL 7.4

Day 19  -  Modeling Christ to Your Employer, by Os Hillman

“Urge slaves to obey their masters and to try their best to satisfy them. They must not talk back, nor steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy. In this way they will make people want to believe in our Savior and God” (Titus 2:9-10 TLB).
Sometimes I hear people say they don’t see how they can have any significant impact on their workplace because they are pretty low on the totem pole, with little authority to make change. “I’m just a worker,” they say. They fail to realize that the authority to impact any workplace comes from having authority with God, not man. And each person can have great authority in God.
 
The apostle Paul was instructing Titus on how common workers on the island of Create could have an impact on their employers. These workers were often no more than slaves, working in deplorable conditions for masters who were likely involved in lawlessness, drunkenness and idolatry. Not the nicest of working conditions.
Paul felt the way to win over your employer was to follow several key principles: 1) don’t talk back, 2) don’t steal, and 3) be trustworthy.
 
There is a great example of a young girl who worked for the wife of an army commander named Naaman. He had leprosy. The godly servant girl from Israel told her employer how he could get healed. What faith and boldness on the part of the servant girl!
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:1-3).
 
Naaman followed the advice of the lowly servant girl. God healed him through Elisha. I can only imagine the conversations between the servant girl and her employers after this healing occurred. How might God want to use you in your employer’s life?

Day 20  -  Empowering Others, by Os Hillman

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
 
The CEO was excited that he’d found the right man to be general manager of his growing enterprise. He had all the training, the right skill set, and great people skills. The CEO gave him all authority to fulfill his role. However, after six months the CEO had to fire him. It seems the general manager refused to use the empowerment given him to accomplish his tasks.
 
Great leaders, mentors, and managers must empower others to fulfill the mission of any organization. Jesus invested time and energy developing leaders. Only at the point at which they could properly manage the resource did Jesus empower them. The teacher who offers empowerment too early sets up followers for failure. On the other hand, the leader who fails to empower capable people creates frustration.
 
Part two of good empowerment is engaging your follower to use his/her authority entrusted to them to fulfill their mission.
 
Jesus imparted to his followers a balance of both of these concepts. Peter was not ready for leadership before the crucifixion. He failed to use the empowerment given to him by Jesus. It required a failure in Peter’s life before he matured in his leadership. However, once Peter began to appropriate from Jesus what He had imparted to him he became a powerful and effective leader. Jesus told his disciples they would be able to not only do what He had done, but they would do even greater things than He did.
 
This is a key attribute of a leader who wants to empower others to advance their mission.

Day 21  -  Promises to Leaders, E. G White

Jesus will strengthen the leaders of His people if they will learn of Him. The Lord has given to every man his appointed work, and if He places men in positions of responsibility, He will communicate His Holy Spirit to them, giving them efficiency for their work. Despondency may shake the most heroic faith and weaken the most steadfast will. But God understands and He still pities and loves. He reads the motives and the purposes of the heart. To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark is the lesson that the leader in God’s work need to learn.
 
Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Are you tempted to give way to feelings of anxious foreboding or utter despondency? In the darkest days w, when appearances see most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God, He knows your need. He has all power. His infinite love and compassion never weary. Fear not that He will fail of fulfilling His promise. He is eternal truth. Never will He change the covenant He has made with those who love Him. And He will bestow upon His faithful servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands.

John 4:37-38 – The Long Haul

For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
(John 4:37-38 ESV)
 
It’s very easy to get caught up in the “go big, go fast, or go home” mentality.  This can also creep into the church and our Christian walk.  Almost every story you hear of church planting success is of how a gifted leader started with almost nothing and then the congregation just blew up overnight.  Seldom do we hear a leader share about long years of faithful labor with little initial fruit, but how God was still at work regardless of the numbers.
 
The Bible verses for today come after the famous story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus had just finished talking to the woman and she was bringing people from the city to see the Christ (John 4:29-30).  We read this and can rejoice about it.  Jesus talked to a woman and now a large number of people came to him.  This is a success story we want to be a part of. But, Jesus wanted the disciples to know that the spiritual harvest they were experiencing was the result of a long-term process and other people’s labor.  Other people had gone before them- tilling the ground, planting the seed, watering the soil, and now they were witnessing the harvest.
 
We can get caught up in the reaping as the disciples probably were.  This can happen in our ministry circles or even with lost friends we want to see come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. We often focus on reaping as opposed to the tilling, sowing, watering, and cultivating that must occur before we reap.  In other words we want to see the result of people embracing and pursuing Jesus without putting the work into the rest of the cycle.  This can also cause us to be discouraged when we don’t see quick results in our ministry.  But, we can be encouraged by Jesus’ words and realize that the work we are doing now will bring a harvest even if we aren’t there to be a part of it.
 
Be faithful with the small but significant doors God has opened in people’s lives around you and have a long-haul view of investing in those lives. Also, recognize and celebrate God moving in people’s lives even when it isn’t harvest time.
 


Week 4- PERSONAL CONCERNS: December 11-December 17, 2013
 
(Day 22)      How To Know If You Are In The Will Of God
To do God’s will is to be involved in His direction.  The most generally shared reason we hear God is: Through His Word; Through your prayer time; Through others; and Through your circumstances.  God speaks to us in all these ways and is always speaking to us.  It is up to us to always be listening.
James 1: 7 says the person who is double-minded, not fully committed to God’s priorities, cannot expect direction from God.  The will of God is to trust Him to care for us rather than trusting the world’s system of taking care of us, connecting to His values rather than those around us, and going to Him in dependent prayer that expects Him to act.  If we don’t make these directions our own, we can’t expect God to guide us.  When these directions are met, the only question is, where among all the opportunities does God want me? What is my role in what He is doing?
Romans 12:3 tells us, within the context of getting involved in ministry, we are to “think of ourselves so as to have sound judgment.”  Romans 12: 3-8 says that we are to be involved in ministry according to ‘gifts that differ according to the grace given us.”  If God wants you to do something He will gift you for it.  So look at your gifts and abilities for evidence of what God maybe calling you to do.  If you “feel called” to a particular ministry, but see no evidence that God has gifted you for it, you need to reexamine your feelings.  
It goes back to the same things it takes to be in tune to hear God’s voice as He speaks to us throughout the day, and that is your intimate, daily time with Him in the Word and in prayer. When God wants you to do something for Him, He will tell you.  He tells you through passages of Scripture that you read.  He tells you through that “still small voice” as you pray.  It is God who gives you the inspiration to serve Him.  God gives us the passions and desires we have in our life.

(Day 23)   Repentance
The question is asked, “How shall a man be just with God and how shall the sinner be made righteous?”  It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ?  Many are asking the same question as did the multitude on the Day of Pentecost, when, convicted of sin, they cried out, “What shall we do?”  The first word of Peter’s answer was, “Repent.”  Acts 2:37, 38.  At another time, shortly after, he said, “Repent, . . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”  Acts 3:19.
Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away from it.  We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.
There are many who fail to understand the true nature of repentance.  Multitudes sorrow that they have sinned and even make an outward reformation because they fear that their wrongdoing will bring suffering upon themselves.  But this is not repentance in the Bible sense.  They lament the suffering rather than the sin.  Such was the grief of Esau when he saw the birthright was lost to him forever.  Balaam, terrified by the angel standing in his pathway with drawn sword, acknowledged his guilt lest he should lose his life; but there was no genuine repentance for sin, no conversion of purpose, no abhorrence of evil.  Judas Iscariot, after betraying his [p.24] Lord, exclaimed, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.”  Matthew 27:4
 
(Day 24)    Basic Concepts of Christians
The most important concept of a Christian is a belief in the existence of God.  How do we know that God is?  Can we go into the laboratory, take a test tube, and by manipulating certain chemicals and things like that prove that God is?  No.  How then would you go about to prove that God is?
The fact is that most of us as Christians do not ask for proof.  We just say, “Well, God is?  And that in inself is a manifestation of our implicit faith in Him.  To us belief in the existence of God is simple, but to non-Christians, to unbelievers, it is more difficult—it is at times a stumbling block.  To us God’s existence is a fact, but a fact is faith.  To them it is pure foolishness.  They demand proof.  They demand evidence.  Of course, we can use such evidence as the beautiful sunset, the planting of the seed, the growing of the trees, and the bearing of the fruit—all of that.  We can easily prove that everything that exists must have a maker, and by inference come to the conclusion that God is the Maker of the world and the universe.  As a Christian, and to all Christians generally, there is no difficulty at all about this great fact upon which Christianity is based—the fact that God is.
Because of our implicit and unbounded faith in God, we take for granted that He is.  We simply know that God “is in His holy temple”; therefore, “let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Hab. 2:20), “for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).  (See also Job 22: 21, 26.)
Without hesitation or a word of proof, Christ admonishes all who claim His name, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11: 22); and Seventh-day Adventists, more than a million strong, from every corner of the earth declare, “Lord, we believe; help Thou our unbelief.”
    
(Day 25)  The Kind of People God Wants
You and I had nothing to say about our coming into this world, but how and where we spend eternity is entirely in our hands, and depends wholly upon our own choice. 
If you choose to spend eternity in God’s everlasting kingdom, then you must bring your life into harmony with God’s ways, with His ideals and standards, with His laws and patterns of living.  For He will not change His kingdom to suit your convenience or to conform to your ideas.  His is a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy.  If you want to live in God’s kingdom, you must be righteous, at peace with God and man, and full of joy.
The prophet Isaiah states the case very clearly and leaves none in doubt regarding who shall make the changes.  He says: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts…For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55: 6-9).
Such is the difference between God’s eternal kingdom and the kingdoms of this world.  Here on this earth man’s ideas and ways prevail, but over there God’s thoughts and standards hold absolute sway.  If you do not like them, then you will not be there; for God does not want you in His everlasting kingdom unless you want to be there and are willing to conform your life in every detail to His ways and wishes, to His pattern of righteousness  and noble living.
 
(Day 26)       Serving God Is To Serve Others
Serving God and to serve others is the greatest form of charity: the pure love of Christ.  Jesus Christ said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13: 34). 
To serve God starts with serving in our families.  Daily we work, clean, love, support, listen to, teach, and endlessly give of ourselves to the members of our family.  We may often feel overwhelmed with all that we must do.  The thought is to know and understand your own capabilities and limitations and then to pace yourself, allocating and prioritizing your time, your attention, and your resources to wisely help others, including your family…(“O Be Wise,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 17-20).
As we lovingly give of ourselves to our family, and serve them with hearts full of love, our acts will also be counted as service to God.
Another way to serve God is by befriending one another.  “As we take the time and be friendly, we’ll not ony support others but also build a network of support for ourselves.  Make others feel at home, and soon you’ll feel at home…” (Kimberly Webb, “On Your Own but Not Alone,” Ensign, Jun 2007, 15-27).
Sometimes in the church our first response when we hear that someone needs help is to bring them food, but there are so many other ways we can give service.  Each of us have been given talents from the Lord that we should develop and use to serve God and others.  Examine your life and see what talents you have.  What are you good at?  How could you use your talents to help those around you?  Do you enjoy making cards?  You could make a set of card for someone who had a death in their family.  Are you good with children?  Offer to watch someone’s child(ren) in a time of need.  Are you good with your hands?  Computers? Gardening? Organizing?  You can help others with your skills by praying for help to develop your talents.
 
(Day 27)   Discovering God’s Will
God has given us a user’s manual for life called the Bible.  It helps us to understand the will of God.  Before we get into the specifics and try to discover His plan and purpose for our lives as individuals, let’s ask ourselves the question, Am I already doing what God has clearly told me to do in His Word?
To know the will of God, you need to be a believer.  2 Peter 3:9 says that the Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (NKJV).  In other words, it is the will of God that you believe in Jesus Christ.  There has to come a moment in your life when you acknowledge that you are a sinner, that you are separated from God, and that you turn from that sin and put your faith in Jesus.
Having established what is obviously the will of God for every person, let’s look now at Romans 12 to help us discover the will of God for our lives as individuals.  If you want to know God’s perfect and acceptable will for you, give yourself to God (see verses 1-2).  Present yourself to Him without reservation, 100 percent.  God is essentially saying, Give me your life, and then I will show you My will.
Don’t let this world squeeze you into its mold.  When the Bible speaks of the world, it is speaking of a culture that is largely hostile to God.  Live the way that God wants you to live.  As you do that, you will begin to discover His plan for you.  Then you will know what is “that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
God is not trying to make your life miserable.  He wants you to reach your potential and live in the perfect plan He has for you.  His plan and purpose for you is good.  Not only is His plan good, it is perfect.  No plan of ours can improve on the plan of God.  Don’t be afraid to surrender it to Him.
 
(Day 28)  How Can I Know God’s Will for My Life?
There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation:
  1. Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids.
  2. Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually.  If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for.  Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it.  Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult.  People want God to tell them specifically what to do –where to work, whom to marry, etc.  God rarely gives people information that direct and specific.  God allows us to make choices regarding those things.
Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  The only decision God does not want us to make is the decision to sin or resist His will.  God wants us to make choices that are in agreement with His will.  So, how do you know what God’s will is for you?  If you are walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for your life, God will place His desires on your heart.  The key is wanting God’s will, not your own.  “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).  If the Bible does not speak against it and it can genuinely benefit you spiritually, then the Bible gives you the “permission” to make decisions and to follow your heart.  If you truly seek God’s will with a humble spirit and an open mind, He will reveal His will to you.
 

Week 5, Dec 18-24 "Family Prayer"

Day 29 (Wed, Dec 18)

Let There Be Households of Prayer—Like the patriarchs of old, those who profess to love God should erect an altar to the Lord wherever they pitch their tent.... Fathers and mothers should often lift up their hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household Jesus will love to tarry. (Patriarchs and Prophets, 144.)
 
Let the members of every family bear in mind that they are closely allied to heaven. The Lord has a special interest in the families of His children here below. Angels offer the smoke of the fragrant incense for the praying saints. Then in every family let prayer ascend to heaven both in the morning and at the cool sunset hour, in our behalf presenting before God the Saviour’s merits. Morning and evening the heavenly universe take notice of every praying household. (Manuscript 19, 1900.)
 
Angels Guard Children Dedicated to God—Before leaving the house for labor, all the family should be called together; and the father, or the mother in the father’s absence, should plead fervently with God to keep them through the day. Come in humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers before yourselves and your children; by faith bind them upon the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Ministering angels will guard children who are thus dedicated to God. (Testimonies For The Church 1:397, 398.)

Parents should make a hedge about their children by prayer; they should pray with full faith that God will abide with them and that holy angels will guard themselves and their children from Satan’s cruel power....
 

Day 30 (Thu, Dec 19)
Have Fixed Times for Worship—In every family there should be a fixed time for morning and evening worship. How appropriate it is for parents to gather their children about them before the fast is broken, to thank the heavenly Father for His protection during the night, and to ask Him for His help and guidance and watch care during the day! How fitting, also, when evening comes, for parents and children to gather once more before Him and thank Him for the blessings of the day that is past! (Testimonies For The Church 7:43.)
 
Do Not Be Governed by Circumstances—Family worship should not be governed by circumstances. You are not to pray occasionally and, when you have a large day’s work to do, neglect it. In thus doing you lead your children to look upon prayer as of no special consequence. Prayer means very much to the children of God, and thank offerings should come up before God morning and evening. Says the psalmist, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” (Manuscript 12, 1898.)
 
Fathers and mothers, however pressing your business, do not fail to gather your family around God’s altar. Ask for the guardianship of holy angels in your home. Remember that your dear ones are exposed to temptations. (The Ministry of Healing, 393.)

Day 31 (Fri, Dec 20)
Nothing So Sad as a Home Without Prayer—I know of nothing that causes me so great sadness as a prayerless home. I do not feel safe in such a house for a single night; and were it not for the hope of helping the parents to realize their necessity and their sad neglect, I would not remain. The children show the result of this neglect, for the fear of God is not before them.—(Child Guidance, 518.)
 
Tragedy of a Prayerless Home—I know of nothing that causes me so great sadness as a prayerless home. I do not feel safe in such a house for a single night; and were it not for the hope of helping the parents to realize their necessity and their sad neglect, I would not remain. The children show the result of this neglect, for the fear of God is not before them. (The Signs of the Times, August 7, 1884.)
 
Formal Prayer Is Not Acceptable—In many cases the morning and evening worship is little more than a mere form, a dull, monotonous repetition of set phrases in which the spirit of gratitude or the sense of need finds no expression. The Lord accepts not such service. But the petitions of a humble heart and contrite spirit He will not despise. The opening of our hearts to our heavenly Father, the acknowledgment of our entire dependence, the expression of our wants, the homage of grateful love—this is true prayer. (The Signs of the Times, July 1, 1886.)

Day 32 (Sat, Dec 21)

Family Prayer Brings Strength and Blessings—We should pray to God much more than we do. There is great strength and blessing in praying together in our families, with and for our children. When my children have done wrong, and I have talked with them kindly and then prayed with them, I have never found it necessary after that to punish them. Their hearts would melt in tenderness before the Holy Spirit that came in answer to prayer.—(Child Guidance, 525.)

Prayer Makes a Hedge About Children—In the morning the Christian’s first thoughts should be upon God. Worldly labor and self-interest should be secondary. Children should be taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer.... It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children. They should patiently instruct them—kindly and untiringly teach them how to live in order to please God.
 
The Need for Family Prayer—Every family should rear its altar of prayer, realizing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If any persons in the world need the strength and encouragement that religion gives, it is those who are responsible for the education and training of children. They cannot do their work in a manner acceptable to God while their daily example teaches those who look to them for guidance that they can live without God. If they educate their children to live for this life only, they will make no preparation for eternity. They will die as they have lived, without God, and parents will be called to account for the loss of their souls. Fathers, mothers, you need to seek God morning and evening at the family altar, that you may learn how to teach your children wisely, tenderly, lovingly. (The Review and Herald, June 27, 1899.)

Day 33 (Sun, Dec 22) Do Not Neglect Personal Prayer Life
We should pray in the family circle, and above all we must not neglect secret prayer, for this is the life of the soul. It is impossible for the soul to flourish while prayer is neglected. Family or public prayer alone is not sufficient. In solitude let the soul be laid open to the inspecting eye of God. Secret prayer is to be heard only by the prayer-hearing God. No curious ear is to receive the burden of such petitions. In secret prayer the soul is free from surrounding influences, free from excitement. Calmly, yet fervently, will it reach out after God. Sweet and abiding will be the influence emanating from Him who seeth in secret, whose ear is open to hear the prayer arising from the heart. By calm, simple faith the soul holds communion with God and gathers to itself rays of divine light to strengthen and sustain it in the conflict with Satan. God is our tower of strength.
 
Pray in your closet, and as you go about your daily labor let your heart be often uplifted to God. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. These silent prayers rise like precious incense before the throne of grace. Satan cannot overcome him whose heart is thus stayed upon God.
 
There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God. There is nothing that can prevent us from lifting up our hearts in the spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God and plead for divine guidance, as did Nehemiah when he made his request before King Artaxerxes. A closet of communion may be found wherever we are. We should have the door of the heart open continually and our invitation going up that Jesus may come and abide as a heavenly guest in the soul.
 
Although there may be a tainted, corrupted atmosphere around us, we need not breathe its miasma, but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts by lifting the soul into the presence of God through sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessing of God will walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have constant communion with heaven. {SC 99.2}
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:18.

Jesus prayed to the Father with strong crying and tears. Paul exhorts believers to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). “In every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).... God has a right to command our devotions; His authority is sacred and unquestionable. We are under obligation to pray because He requires it; and in obeying His requirements we shall receive a gracious and precious reward....

Day 34 (Mon, Dec 23) Prayer Essential For Families
The idea that prayer is not essential is one of Satan’s most successful devices to ruin souls. Prayer is communion with God, the Fountain of wisdom, the Source of strength, and peace, and happiness. Jesus prayed to the Father “with strong crying and tears.” Paul exhorts believers to “pray without ceasing,” in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, making known their requests to God. “Pray one for another,” James says. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Hebrews 5:71 Thessalonians 5:17James 5:16.

Prayer is addressing the mind to God, the Fountain of wisdom, the Source of strength and peace and happiness. Prayer includes acknowledgement of the divine perfections, gratitude for mercies received, penitential confession of sins, and earnest entreaty for the blessing of God, both for ourselves and for others.

Prayer & The Spirit of God Will Win Family Members 
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

 
We will never win people to Christ on an intellectual basis or through innovative methods alone. Certainly, a continual barrage of nagging and harassing questions won't bring them to the Lord.

In How to Pray for Your Family and Friends (Servant Publications), author Quin Sherrer wrote: "I've talked with many women who believed it was their responsibility to do everything in their power to 'make' their husbands become Christians, but by their manipulative scheming, they only succeeded in turning their husbands away from any interest in spiritual matters. As many wives have learned the hard way, only the Holy Spirit can reveal to an individual the truth of who Jesus is" (see John 16:8-13)
 
Day 35 (Mon, Dec 24) Prayer Is The Family's Safeguard 
If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Infidelity and skepticism are prevailing. Iniquity abounds, and in consequence the love of many waxes cold..
 

Although there may be a tainted, corrupted atmosphere around us, we need not breathe its miasma, but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts by lifting the soul into the presence of God through sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessing of God will walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have constant communion with heaven. {SC 99.2}

Fathers and mothers, at least morning and evening lift up your hearts to God in humble supplication for yourselves and your children. Your dear ones are exposed to temptations and trials. There are frets and irritations that daily beset the path of old and young; and those who would live patient, loving, cheerful lives amid daily annoyances must pray. This victory can be gained only by a resolute and unwavering purpose, constant watchfulness, and continual help from God.

Fathers and mothers, each morning and evening gather your children around you, and in humble supplication lift the heart to God for help. Your dear ones are exposed to temptation. Daily annoyances beset the path of young and old. Those who would live patient, loving, cheerful lives must pray. Only by receiving constant help from God can we gain the victory over self.
 



WEEK SIX: HELPING OTHERS
(Day 36) Saved by the Effort of Another
 A working church is a growing church. The members find a stimulus and a tonic in I have read of a man who, journeying on a winter’s day through deep drifts of snow, became benumbed by the cold, which was almost imperceptibly freezing his vital powers. He was nearly chilled to death, and was about to give up the struggle for life, when he heard the moans of a fellow-traveler, who was also perishing with cold. His sympathy was aroused, and he determined to rescue him. He chafed the ice-cold limbs of the unfortunate man, and after considerable effort raised him to his feet. As the sufferer could not stand, he bore him in sympathizing arms through the very drifts he had thought he could never get through alone. {GW 198.3}
When he had carried his fellow-traveler to a place of safety, the truth flashed home to him that in saving his neighbor he had also saved himself. His earnest efforts to help another had quickened the blood that was freezing in his own veins, and sent a healthy warmth to the extremities of his body. {GW 199.1}
The lesson that in we ourselves receive help, must be urged upon young believers continually, by precept and example, that in their Christian experience they may gain the best results. Let the desponding ones, those disposed to think that the way to eternal life is trying and difficult, go to work to help. Such efforts, united with prayer for divine light, will cause their own hearts to throb with the quickening influence of the grace of God, their own affections to glow with more divine fervor. Their whole Christian life will be more of a reality, more earnest, more prayerful. {GW 199.2}
Let us remember that we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. Those who have united with the Lord in the covenant of service are under bonds to co-operate with Him in the work of soul-saving. {GW 199.3}
 
(Day 37) Unselfish Work
308. There is a much greater work upon us than we as yet have any idea of, if we would insure health by placing ourselves in the right relation to life.... The peculiar people whom God is purifying unto himself, to be translated to heaven without seeing death, should not be behind others in good works. In their efforts to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, they should be as far ahead of any other class of people on the earth as their profession is more exalted than that of others.—Testimonies for the Church 1:487. {HL 69.5}
309. Those who, so far as possible, engage in the work of doing good to others by giving practical demonstration of their interest in them, are not only relieving the ills of human life in them bear their burdens, but are at the same time contributing largely to their own health of soul and body. Doing good is a work that benefits both giver and receiver. If you forget self in your interest for, you gain a victory over your infirmities.... The pleasure of doing good animates the mind and vibrates through the whole body.—Testimonies for the Church 2:534. {HL 70.1}
 
(Day 38) Health through Service for others
Those who, so far as it is possible, engage in the work of doing good to by giving practical demonstration of their interest in them, are not only relieving the ills of human life in  them bear their burdens, but are at the same time contributing largely to their own health of soul and body. Doing good is a work that benefits both giver and receiver. If you forget self in your interest for, you gain a victory over your infirmities. The satisfaction you will realize in doing good will aid you greatly in the recovery of the healthy tone of the imagination. {MM 105.3}
The pleasure of doing good animates the mind and vibrates through the whole body. While the faces of benevolent men are lighted up with cheerfulness, and their countenances express the moral elevation of the mind, those of selfish, stingy men are dejected, cast down, and gloomy. Their moral defects are seen in their countenances.... {MM 106.1}Invalids, I advise you to venture something. Arouse your willpower, and at least make a trial of this matter. Withdraw your thoughts and affections from yourselves. Walk out by faith. Are you inclined to center your thoughts upon yourselves, fearing to exercise, and fearing that if you expose yourself to the air you will lose your life; resist these thoughts and feelings. Do not yield to your diseased imagination.—Testimonies for the Church 2:534. {MM 106.2}
 
 
(Day 39) Consideration and Thoughtfulness
In the work of, we may gain most precious victories. We should devote ourselves with untiring zeal, with earnest fidelity, with self-denial, and with patience, to the work of  those who need to develop. Kind, encouraging words will do wonders. There are many who, if a constant, cheerful effort is put forth in their behalf, without faultfinding or chiding, will show themselves susceptible of improvement. The less we criticize others, the greater will be our influence over them for good. To many, frequent, positive admonitions will do more harm than good. Let Christlike kindness be enjoined upon all. {MM 208.4}
There is a science in dealing with those who seem especially weak. If we would teach others, we ourselves must first learn of Christ. We need broad views, that we may do true medical missionary work, and show tact in dealing with minds. {MM 209.1}
Those who are really the least in need of help are likely to receive the most of our attention. But we need to show special wisdom in dealing with those who seem inconsiderate and thoughtless. Some do not comprehend the sacredness of the work of God. Those of the least ability, the thoughtless, and even the indolent, especially demand careful, prayerful consideration. We must exercise tact in dealing with those who seem to be ignorant and out of the way. By persevering effort in their behalf, we must help them to become useful in the Lord’s work. They will respond readily to a patient, tender, loving interest. {MM 209.2}
We are to cooperate with the Lord Jesus in restoring the inefficient and the erring to intelligence and purity. This work ranks equally in importance with the work of the gospel ministry. We are called upon by God to manifest an untiring, patient interest in the salvation of those who need divine polishing.—Letter 113, 1905. {MM 209.3}
 
(Day 40) The Saviour was disappointed in His lack of success in recruiting workers but persisted—If our workers had been baptized with the Spirit of Christ, they would have done fifty times more than they have done to train men for laborers. Though one or two, or even many, have not borne the test, we should not cease our efforts; for this work must be done for Christ. The Saviour was disappointed; because of the perversity of human hearts, His efforts were not rewarded with success; but He kept at the work, and so must we. If we had toiled with fidelity, patience, and love, we should have had one hundred workers where there is one. Unimproved opportunities are written against us in the same book that bears the record of envy and rebellion against God. Years have been lost to us in our foreign missions. There have been a few earnest workers; but to a great extent their energies have been employed in keeping men who profess the truth from making shipwreck of faith. Had these men who required so much help to keep them propped up, been working for the salvation of their fellowmen, they would have forgotten their trials, and would have become strong in helping others. We are able to achieve vastly more than we have done, if we will call to our aid all whom we can get to enlist in the work. Some will prove worthless; but while finding this out, we must yet keep at work. One worthy, God-fearing worker will repay all our effort, care, and expense.—The Review and Herald, December 15, 1885. {PaM 155.1
 

 
Prayer Conference Calls

1U: every Wednesdays at 7am, for half an hour. Format: reading, testimony, prayer
  605-475-6700 AC1082882
 
SEC Women's Ministry: every Thursday at 5:30, for half hour 218-936-4141 AC377745#
 
NAD: First Thursday of every month, 10pm - 5:30am 712-432-0031 AC435650#

More Prayer
 
Early Morning Prayer - first Sabbath of each month from 8:30-9:30 am
 
Prayer and Fast - first Sabbath of each quarter, North American Division
 
* Seventh-Day Adventist, praying at 7am and 7pm, 7days a week for the Holy Spirit
 
   
Praise Reports
Employment: four individuals started new jobs
 
Health- successful surgeries: brain, foot, stomach, removal of tumors, treatment
for cancer. Healing from prostrate cancer, blood clots, fibrious tumor. 
Three were released from the hospital from critical illnesses.
 
Miscellaneous- Closing on a home, new apartment, son returning from Afghanistan,
travel mercies for many, passport returning on time, successful comprehensive
exam/ dessertation, money provided for Ph.D. program, four baptisms, two individuals
returning to church, successful Prayer Conference, woman spared from imprisonment,
marriage restored, increase attendance at Prayer Meeting.