MONTH OF PRAYER.
MONTH OF PRAYER.
EVERY JANUARY IS “THE MONTH OF PRAYER” HERE AT IMAGINE CHURCH GLOBAL. WE LOVE TO START THE NEW YEAR OUT FOCUSED ON ALL THAT GOD HAS FOR US AS INDIVIDUALS, AS COMMUNITIES AND AS A CHURCH.
PLEASE READ BELOW AT ALL THE EVENTS AND SERVICES THAT ARE HAPPENING THIS JANUARY 2022 FOR THE “MONTH OF PRAYER”.
PRAYER BLOG ALERT!!!
PAM MURRIN IS IMAGINE CHURCH’S SPIRITUAL GIANT. UNOFFICIALLY, SHE IS OUR RESIDENT THEOLOGIAN AND DEEP THINKER. SHE HAS INCREASED KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH FOR A LOT OF US OVER THE YEARS OF BEING APART OF IMAGINE.
WHEN SHE HEARD THAT JANUARY WAS THE MONTH OF PRAYER FOR IMAGINE SHE ASKED ME IF IT WAS OK TO IF SHE WROTE A FEW ARTICLES ABOUT PRAYER TO SHARE WITH ALL OF US.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE I WILL BE POSTING 3 ARTICLES BY PAM THE NEXT 3 SATURDAYS… SCROLL DOWN AND LEARN AND ENJOY!!! THANK YOU PAM FOR YOUR LIFE OF SERVING JESUS AND LISTENING TO HOLY SPIRIT!
– PASTOR JUSTIN
21 DAYS OF PRAYER + FASTING
Please join all of Imagine Church, plus 80,000 other Foursquare churches across the globe, as we FAST + PRAY for 21 days together. Pastor Janae and the team that works for her at Foursquare puts this together every year and this year for the first time we have family resources to go along with the 21 days. This means that you can do this with your kids to teach them the importance of fasting and praying. Yay! Each day there are short readings for the prayer theme of that day and prompts on what to pray about.
Click the logo below, or go to www.foursquareprayer.org to learn more and to:
1) Sign up for the daily reading and prayer prompts to be emailed to you every day by Pastor Janae’s team
2) Download and print the daily reading and prayer prompts
3) Download the Family & kids resources
This is going to be incredible. Please start praying now about what you will be fasting (i.e. desserts, breakfast, dinner, Netflix, social media, sugar, etc.) during this 21 days. When you know what you will be fasting, please tell your Imagine Community.
Imagine Communities…please talk at church each week, during and the week after, about all that God did in your lives during this fasting and prayer time.
Lastly, after the 21 days of Prayer + Fasting ends, if you have a story of something that God did for you during this time that you would like to share with Imagine Church then please fill out the form below the logo below and tell us about it. Yay!
Love you all – Pastor Justin
YOUR PRAYER + FASTING TESTIMONY
PRAYING FOR THE NATION
By PAM MURRIN
“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14, NIV
In the mid-nineteen seventies, a movement swept the church. Christians, particularly Evangelicals, became aware that politics, government, and the culture mattered. Many people got involved in elections, and prayer for those in positions of authority was emphasized and taught.
Jimmy and Carol Owens, pioneers of Contemporary Christian Music, wrote a musical called “If My People” that stressed the Biblical concept that God was prodding us to remember and act on. We should pray for our nation.
Like most movements, though, it faded off. America in 2022 is a far different place than was America in 1975. We are even more divided than we were in those days of hippies and Fascinating Womanhood. There is more hatred, more intolerance, and much less respect for the Lord and His Word. But God is still the same. Truth is truth, no matter what the circumstances around it. God still wants us to pray for our nation.
This scripture, which anchored the beautiful musical from forty-seven years ago, tells us how to intercede for America.
First, we should humble ourselves. The original Hebrew word used here is “kana.” That means to submit and to surrender all your resources to another. This word is often used regarding military conquest. It has been translated as “bring low,” “vanquish,” or “subdue.” We should “bend the knee” to the kingship of Jesus and regard Him and His will to be paramount in our lives.
Included in this humility is the acknowledgement of His omniscience (that means God knows everything) and that He is always right. But we aren’t. Some things we believe or advocate may be wrong. We must be able to listen to Him and be open to what He is telling us. Sometimes, He is speaking to people with whom we disagree. Or maybe on some subject, they’re listening to Him better. Our pride shouldn’t be what matters. God’s truth does.
I’m afraid that includes political parties and news sources. It is ridiculous to wonder whether God is a Democrat or Republican. Or Green party member or socialist, for that matter. God has not joined any of our little human parties. The question is which party is agreeing with Him. Answer? No human group always pleases or serves God. There are people in each of these parties (even Green and Socialist) who sincerely love God. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. But we must love them. And God wants us to pray for them.
News outlets should present facts in an unbiased way. I wish. Too many speak from their own bias to support their own agenda. Some make assumptions and accuse their opponents of dark motives. Some make up “facts.” If journalists aren’t committed to fair and objective reporting, it is terribly difficult for viewers and readers to know the truth. We need to pray for truth and fairness in our land. Be humble and know that you and those you admire are sometimes wrong. Listen to and love those with other views. Submit to our Lord and king, Jesus Christ.
Secondly, we must seek God’s face. Work to find out what God wants. To humble ourselves is to adjust our attitudes and perceptions toward Him and away from our own will and advantage. When we seek His face, we act. We study and pray actively, praising God, bringing Him our petitions, and listening to His responses. He will guide us in knowing how to pray.
Lastly, the author of II Chronicles tells us we must “turn from our wicked ways.” Repentance is not something we think a lot about in the church today. That doesn’t mean it isn’t of vital importance to God. Or to us.
We should avoid sin as much as possible. This will please God and make us more spiritually healthy and sensitive.
But we are talking right now about praying for the nation. All countries are made up of human beings. All human beings are fallible and sinful. If a people is not looking to God, they are going to do evil.
God was pleased when great leaders of Israel prayed for their nation. They acknowledged that the people had sinned and asked God to forgive them. Many of them mourned and wept in their sorrow for the people’s guilt.
“Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.” Psalms 119:36, NIV
The governor of Persian Judea was a faithful man of God. Yet Nehemiah identified with the sinful people as he prayed. Do you see? He was humble.
“Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.” Nehemiah 1:6, NIV
Daniel praised God, confessed the sins of the nation, and pled for mercy.
“O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.” Daniel 9:16, 17, ESV
We don’t have to be as eloquent as Daniel or Nehemiah. God will hear us. And there is good news! Prayer works! Even if our nation has been so sinful that God has determined to punish us, if we repent and turn from evil, He will respond. For the sake of our fellow citizens, our nation, and ourselves, we must humble ourselves, seek God, and pray for our land to avoid sin.
”The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.” Jeremiah 18:7, 8, NKJV
PRAYING FOR PEOPLE WE CAN’T STAND
By PAM MURRIN
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful andquiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases our savior.” I Timothy 2:1-3 NLT
The Bible is our source and our standard. It is God speaking to us. It is truth. And when it instructs us to do something, we should do it. The Bible tells us to pray for all people. We should ask God to help them and meet their needs. We should thank him for them. That’s not hard when the person we’re praying for is a friend or a
beloved relative. We want God to help them. But what if we don’t feel thankful? What if they are mean to us or to others? What if they have views or values that conflict with ours? Do we still have to pray for them? Yep. Jesus dealt with this topic during His Sermon on the Mount.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 NKJV
Jesus goes much further than Paul. We are to love these turkeys. And not just the annoying ones. We are to love and pray for those who hate us and persecute us.
Matthew was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Before following Jesus, he had been a tax collector, forcing money from his fellow-Jews to give to the hated Romans. He knew what it was like to be despised. This teaching must have hit Matthew personally. He said that Jesus added,
“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even tax collectors do so?” Matthew 5:46, NKJV
Jesus knew Matthew’s background. He knew that His disciple was in the crowd listening to Him. He knew that Matthew would later write the gospel that bears his name. Jesus wanted to make the concept real and memorable to him. Today, that same Jesus knows your background and wants you to understand His truth and His hopes for you. Even if you are as “despicable” as Matthew or the people you’re supposed to be praying for. Unlikeable folks may need prayer more than the nice people who agree with us. We may need to pray for them, to help our attitude be more Christ-like. He loves them, after all. Like the one lost sheep the shepherd went to search for, or the prodigal son who was welcomed home by his father, He wants them healed and restored. He gives us the opportunity to participate in their restoration. Paul writes that we should especially pray for those in authority over us. But what if we didn’t vote for them or if we think they’re doing damage to the country (or city, or state, or workplace)? What if we think they’re racist or senile?
God doesn’t let us off the hook. He commands us to pray and says that our doing so pleases Him. There is no “unless they’re yucky” escape clause.
Paul wrote to the Romans: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1 NKJV
Wow. It just got worse. If God wants us to submit to these guys, we sure better be praying for them. Our leaders aren’t perfect, and God doesn’t approve of everything they are saying or doing. But God has determined that we should live in an ordered world. When we show a positive spirit and attitude, others, including but not limited to authorities, will be more likely to listen to and respect us. We will be more likely to listen to – and really hear – them. Working together requires obedience and a whole lot of prayer. Especially if we don’t like those authorities.
How do we pray for these men and women? Well, we shouldn’t do it hoping God will clobber them or make them sorry they were so foolish as to disagree with us. Pray that He will protect them. Pray that they will be healthy. Pray that God will give them wisdom and good information. Pray that God will give us compassion and help us forgive them.
Here’s a scary thought. What if they’re right and we’re the ones in error or intolerance? We need to pray for all people, including those in authority. It will help them and those around them. It will help us. Above all, we should pray because God commands us to do it. He is giving us the opportunity to make our world a better place under His rule. And that makes Him happy.
PRAYER + RELATIONSHIP
BY PAM MURRIN
Christianity is not just a religion. It’s a relationship! Have you heard that common declaration?
It’s true. We have a relationship with our Father, Creator, Savior and Lord. And that is pretty darned wonderful.
In Imagine, we emphasize relationships, which is another way to say community. We don’t just watch a service as it’s livestreamed. We don’t just walk into a church building, enjoy the service, and sneak out. No! We talk together before the service, sharing each other’s good and bad news. We pray together.
We stop in the middle of the message to talk about what we’re learning and about what God is telling us. If someone doesn’t understand or is troubled about something, we try to help them. At the end of worship, we talk about anything else that is on anyone’s heart. We might chat, wish each other a great week, and tell the others we love them. We make sure everyone who wants to say something has the opportunity. We talk. And that builds relationships.
The same applies to God. Since Christianity is a relationship, we need to talk to God to deepenthat relationship. We need to chat, to request help, to ask for wisdom, and to praise. We need to pour out our hearts and share our fears, joys, and angers with the One who knows and loves us most.
Talking to God is prayer. We can do it anywhere, since wherever we are, He is too. We can do it loudly, crying or even shouting. He understands. (I would recommend noisy prayer only when you’re alone. Otherwise, you might do some damage to your relationships to family or friends who are nearby.)
You can pray silently. God knows what you’re thinking. You can “mouth” your words, moving your lips, but not making a sound. We evangelicals can proudly say that we pray spontaneously. We make up the words as we say them. Or we plan what we’re going to say (in public prayer) but don’t write it down. Ooo! Oh no! But millions of Christians today and through the centuries have read or memorized prayers. If they mean the words they are speaking, if they are reaching up to God, their prayer is just fine, too. God is happy to hear from His children any way they’re comfortable talking to Him. Since we are in a relationship with God, He wants to speak with us, too. Prayer is a two-way conversation.
The Bible is His message to us. When we read it, we are hearing from Him. Often, He will “quicken” a verse to us. That means the verse will seem especially real and relevant to us. It “jumps out,” as God points it out to us. It is a good idea to read His Word and pray every day. We talk to Him. We listen to Him.
He can also talk with us through an “impression.” An idea occurs to us, and we are sure it’s from God. Or we think it might be. Impressions are subjective. The Bible says “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” (I John 4:1). Is what you’re hearing consistent with scripture? If it isn’t, it’s not God talking to you. If it does follow scripture, pray and ask other Christians for counsel. If God is leading you to do something, you want to do it. You and those around you will be better off. Don’t be afraid. Life with God is a joyous relationship. He wants it to be a close one. So He wants you to talk to Him and to listen. Any way you choose.