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In this Issue:

God’s Plan for Praying in Difficult Times

Retirement accounts have vaporized as pink slips abound. For many; these are very difficult times and who knows when it will get better. Over the next five Newsletters, we’ll consider God’s plan for praying in times of difficulty. The five installments (from conference session, The Great Commission of Prayer) will be:

  1. The Great Commission of Prayer
  2. No Purer Motive
  3. No Greater Ambition
  4. No Stronger Fellowship
  5. No Higher Power

Part One – The Great Commission of Prayer

In times of difficulty we must take our eyes off our problems and look to Jesus. How often have you been taught that truth? But what does it mean and how do you do it? Matthew chapter 18 is a complicated and seldom taught passage that contains some principles and promises that you desperately need to understand if you’re going to experience the power of God in these difficult times.

As a follower of Christ; you’re on a pilgrimage of faithfulness very much like the twelve apostles. Like them, you probably struggle to understand what God is doing much of the time – especially when things go wrong. Consider the following familiar words of Jesus?’

"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matt 18:19-20 NKJV

I call these verses The Great Commission of Prayer. Like the Great Commission (exactly ten chapters later) Jesus gives impossible instructions made possible because He’ll be with those who follow them.

Do you remember the context in which Jesus made these powerful prayer promises? It wasn't the Sermon on Mount. In fact, He never said these things in public. They’re repeated at other times, but always in a private session with those who are actively following Him.

These verses come right in the middle of one of Christ’s most poignant rabbinic teaching sessions. He’s gathered the apostles and their families in Capernaum, probably the court yard of Peter’s home. In the previous two weeks, Jesus has done His best to show them that He was not the conquering ‘king’ of the millennial prophesies, but the much less exciting ‘suffering servant’.

When Jesus opens the floor to discussion; the very first question has noting to do with the suffering servant concepts He’s been teaching and everything to do with conflict among the apostles caused by pride, jealousy, and the desire for wealth and power.

In response; Jesus launches into a powerful sermon about the foundational principles of what it means to be a church. With one of the apostle’s children standing in front of Him, He exclaims, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt 18:3-4 NKJV

Surely that got their attention, but what does it have to do with you praying in difficult times? Jesus knew these families would soon face more struggles than they could ever imagine. In this passage, He lays out a strategy for staying on task while dealing with the most difficult kinds of problems. Your difficulties may not be just the same, but these principles will certainly apply to you and/or your church.

What’s number one on your prayer list right now? Jesus almost certainly sees that issue differently than you do because He's not only seeing your struggle; He's also seeing Kingdom opportunities. The apostles’ assumption was that Jesus would become king of the world and they would be rich and powerful as leaders in the new world order. Then all their problems would be solved.

Do you tend to think and pray along similar lines? Maybe not world domination, but prosperity and power over your situation is likely high on your wish list. It’s easy in hindsight to see how far off the apostles were. Have you ever considered that you may be just as far off in your understanding of what God is up to in your life?

The apostles weren't’t dumb. They were just immersed in their own culture and needs. They tended to see everything from their own perspective. If you are to reach the kind of powerful prayer that Jesus teaches in this passage, you will have to start where those apostles had to start. You must get your understanding of life in line with His. That’s where we’ll start next time with No Purer Motive – Do you want what Jesus wants?

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Ministry news:

For churches that desire a Prayer 'Revival'; we’ve added two worship services to the conference options. The added sermons are ‘Hearing God Speak’ and ‘Praying with Purpose’. In this optional ‘revival’ format, the Prayer Guide teachings become morning/afternoon breakout sessions. There’s more about it on the ‘ Prayer Conference’ page of the web site.

The web site continues to grow. We minister to more and more people and book sales have picked up. Just recently we had our greatest number of individual visits in one day – over 900. This is the result of some concerted effort over the winter months to build our database and improve our broadcast email presentation.

I mentioned this in our last newsletter, but let me emphasize it again. We’ve greatly reducing our printed newsletter. Our plan is to start doing the email newsletter monthly and the printed one when we can.

God is Great, All the Time. Like many of you, the economic downturn has had a negative impact on us, but difficulty usually opens the door for God to do things not possible at other times. For instance, this past Sunday the worship leader led the following song for the invitation. As we sang; the Holy Spirit took the frustrations I had been praying about the previous week and just turned them into joy.

  • I have no life but this one life; there is no other I can offer.
  • And so, my Lord, I lay it at your feet; all that I am I give to You.
  • All that I have, nothing left for me; all that I am I give to You.*

Peggy and I are healthy and happy. Our finances will rebound and we know nothing of persecution. It may seem a little pathetic that I even speak of sacrifice, but there was spiritual victory in that moment for me. God is Great, All the Time!


*All That I Am I Give to You – copyright by Mike Paslay 2002


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Newsletter Special!

Get the book & CD-Set (a $35 value) for only $25 !!!

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The combination of reading the book and listening to sessions and prayer times is going to make it so much easier for you to apply the Prayer Guide principles and techniques. If you've already got the book and CDs, why not get the combo for someone who doesn't. For instance, if you know a missionary, we've found that the Prayer Guide way of leading prayer is very helpful on the mission field.

Included is one paperback Prayer Guide book and one Audio CD Boxed Set. The CD set contains three CDs with the five main sessions of the conference including the five prayer times.

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Prayer Conference Promotional DVD

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The Journey Into the Presence of God prayer conference is so unique that many struggle to understand what it is. If you're considering hosting the conference; the Promo DVD is a big step toward solving that problem. It contains three segments.

  1. Click here to view the one minute publicity video suitable for promotions during a worship service
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  3. Click here to view the seven minute explanation of the conference by Lowell Snow.

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