Thursday, June 19, 2008

Praying but Not Believing

I read this devotional in my "Experiencing God" devotional and thought I would pass it on...

Praying but Not Believing

Acts 12:14-15
When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, "You are beside yourself!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel."

You can say prayers in your mind but doubt in your heart. At times God will answer such prayer as He did when Peter was in prison, scheduled for execution. The believers in Jerusalem were powerless to free him, so they prayed. When God released Peter, their reaction revealed doubt in their hearts. They argued that Peter could not possibly be free, even as he stood outside knocking on the door!

Is it possible to be a "person of prayer" and yet not have faith? Is it possible to fool yourself into believing that because you ask God for help, you have faith in His ability to meet your needs? Is your faith so weak that you are surprised when God answers your prayer? As a child of God, you ought to expect God to answer your prayers. Do you ask God to do something without adjusting your life to what you are praying? If you are praying for revival, how are you preparing for its coming? If you are praying for forgiveness, are you still living with guilt? If you have asked God to provide for your needs, do you remain worried and anxious?

Ask God to increase your faith and then begin living a life that reflects absolute trust in Him. Out of His grace, God may choose to respond to your requests despite your lack of faith, but you will miss the joy of praying in faith.
I am reminded of the father in Mark who cried out to Christ and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What are you reading this summer?

Monday was the first full day that Chicago Public School students were out of school. So summer is definitely here. The pace has picked up, and the days are long. In the midst of it I hope to carve out time over the course of the summer to do some reading. There are three books that I am hoping to finish this summer. They are...

1) "Disciplines of a Godly Man" by Kent Hughes

I was actually supposed to have finished this one by the end of May with my learning community, but I didn't quite make it through. I have about four chapters to go. This has been a very challenging book, and has caused me to do much self-examination. Each chapter title starts with "Discipline Of" - including: purity, marriage, fatherhood, devotion, prayer, work, perseverance, church, leadership, etc. You can check this book out at at...

2) "Taking A City By Prayer: What Happens When Churches Unite For Renewal"

by Mac Pier and Katie Sweeting

I have only read the introduction thus far, but I am excited to get into this one. I really want to become an intercessor. You can check this book out on at...

3) "Toward A Prophetic Youth Ministry" by Fernando Arzola

I have only read the first chapter of this book. In a nutshell, the author defines a prophetic youth ministry as a Christ-centered youth ministry that is concerned about the wholisitic needs of young people, and desires to see whole life transformation. The first chapter seems to be setting the stage for a deeper discussion. You can check this book out on at...

What are you reading this summer?