OPEN DOORS is an international ministry serving persecuted Christians and Churches throughout the World.

I have just received their November 2014 magazine and I feel drawn to quoting from the Editorial.

“Christmas is a time to celebrate, meet the family and worship the Lord. It’s a time for meals, decorations and presents.

But for some of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, none of this is possible. I think of persecuted Christians in the Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria. What can they look forward to when there is no room for them – and no silent night?

Christmas used to be a time of big celebrations in Syria, when Christians would go out and even distribute Christian literature. But that was before the war. It won’t be like that this year. The situation is becoming worse.

It is not safe in Damascus. People don’t sleep at night. Before the war, we had the best Christmas in the world. We had freedom, but now I think no one is in the mood for singing in the streets. In most of the Christian houses there is sadness; many lost relatives”.

Syrian Christian, Hanna, says, “For sure, God is with us, all the days of this war. God hears our prayers, God is good. That doesn’t change during all the shooting and bombing. Around 25% of Syria’s Christians have left the country, but the churches are not empty.

New people are always attending church, interested in the gospel, and comforted by the message.

And the church is making room for them, doing its best to be a place of encouragement, so there will be presents for the children and something extra for those who have lost their homes.”

“Every year of this war, “says Hanna, “we said that things would change and would get better. To be honest, humanly speaking, I see no hope for 2015, but I know that God is there.

He is moving things and He holds the coming year. I trust Him.”

Hanna asks us to keep speaking up for the safety of Christians, to make room for them in our prayers.

“Pray for an end to the bloodshed, for the broken ones, for encouragement. Without prayer we would all be dead by now!”

It’s not easy for us, living in the relative security of a safe environment, to hear such words as we plan our Christmas celebrations. But that is exactly why Jesus came, ‘to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (Luke 1:74).

Zechariah celebrated because he could see the Lord redeeming His people. He could see hope, rescue, forgiveness and mercy coming to ‘shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace‘ – which is exactly what Hanna, and all our persecuted Christian family, are praying for this Christmas.

Let’s join them – by making room for them within all our hearts.

 

 

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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Praying Every Day

The Bible tells us we should “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, for many of us, a few minutes spent in prayer feels like forever.

Why do we struggle so much with prayer when we know how vital it is to our relationship with God?

We certainly don’t lack information about how to pray. Christian bookstores are packed with books that explain in great detail the various methods of prayer. But perhaps we need to also direct our attention to our motivation, our attitude, in prayer?

Of all the ingredients in discipleship, the area many of us struggle with most is prayer.

According to one recently published estimate, a typical Christian layman spends about three and a half minutes each day in prayer. Full-time Christian workers average about seven minutes per day.

This pitiful situation must amaze even the Lord Himself, for Isaiah 59:16 records that when no one was found to intercede for His people, God was appalled.

Why do we fail to take full advantage of the privilege of prayer? Is it a lack of discipline? Are we too busy? Are we unmotivated?

What things make it difficult for you to spend quality time in prayer?

Too busy or tired

Can’t concentrate

Don’t know what to pray about

Don’t feel like it

Feel guilty

Not convinced it makes a difference

Perhaps the basic cause of our weakness in prayer relates to how we view God?

We may have no genuine awe for the One “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13).

God often seems to many people more like a superhero from a child’s cartoon, whittled down to human size.

If we aren’t captivated by God, prayer is a tedious task. It becomes a discipline that only those with wills of steel can master.

My wife and I pray several times a day. Our morning prayer can easily encompass 15-20 minutes (sometimes more).

And from our experience our Father God seems to like our prayers because in many instances he has benevolently granted our petitions. And on several notable occasions He has provided us with miracles.

For God is often able to make the seemingly impossible become possible!

Sometimes, of course, He knows, in His infinite wisdom, that our prayer requests are not being made at the right time. We must remember that in the Lord’s Prayer we say ‘Thy will be done!’

And we have personally found that God is always right; even if, in our mortal vision, we cannot always understand why some of our requests have become delayed.

Do you pray every day? And if not, why not? Our Father God is always so very pleased to hear from you and will always do His very best to grant your prayer requests if it is in your best interests for Him so to do!

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Intercession

What is intercession?

First of all, intercession is sacrificial prayer. It focuses less on you and more on others. It asks God’s power to be unleashed in the world.

Intercessory prayer involves spiritual warfare. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, and it is not fought with carnal weapons. We win these battles on our knees!

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 5)

Through intercessory prayer, you can subdue the forces of hell and render Satan powerless, because “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds!”

Through Intercession, you can change the course of history. Through prayer and intercession, you can touch your community and impact your world.

God has placed all that He is and has at your disposal in prayer. No principality or power can stand against the person who knows how to pray.

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With many prayerful blessings

Geoffrey

The Power of Intercessory Prayer – my new Kindle Book

The Power of Intercessory Prayer

What is intercession? First of all, intercession is sacrificial prayer. It focuses less on you and more on others.

It asks God’s power to be unleashed in the world.

Intercessory prayer involves spiritual warfare. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, and it is not fought with carnal weapons. We win these battles on our knees!

2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Through intercessory prayer, you can subdue the forces of hell and render Satan powerless, because “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling sown of strongholds!” Through Intercession, you can change the course of history.

Through prayer and intercession, you can touch your community and impact your world.

God has placed all that He is and has at your disposal in prayer. No principality or power can stand against the person who knows how to pray.

Until Sunday June 10th  you may download a free copy of ‘The Power of Intercessory Prayer’ by clicking below:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Intercessory-Prayer-Angelene-Jacob-ebook/dp/B00G8OY2JC

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Meet Mike the Laptop

My name is Mike, I am a laptop computer, but of course I’m a very special one. Inside me there’s a special thinking bit, so I’m a laptop which can think for itself, which makes me unique among computers, so I like to think!

I live in a place called a school, which is lived in also for some of the day by noisy children and by a few bigger people called teachers.

They seem to have been programmed to use a different language from the children; they say things like ‘Sit down’ and ‘Be quiet’ and, when they seem to looked very tired or fed up, they say, ‘Good afternoon, children,’ and all the children disappear out of doors to a place they call ‘home’. I’m not sure if the teachers have got a home; they don’t vanish at the same time as the children.

The schoolroom where I live is quite lonely after all the children have gone home, but some days one teacher comes over to me and make such unkind remarks as: ‘Well, I suppose I’ve got to learn how to use this thing!’ It upsets me, really, to be called a thing; after all, I’m quite clever and very willing to be really helpful to anyone who tried to understand and use me properly.

I must say that honestly the children are better at using me than the teachers. The children have a great deal of trust in me, and so I can really help them. After all, if you don’t believe I can work for you, why bother to use me at all?

The teacher, whose room I live in, gets very cross with me at times. He messes about, presses the wrong keys and loses his temper when I just print ‘mistake’ on the screen.

He says: ‘Stupid machine, I know I’ve made a mistake, there is no need to keep on telling me!’ I can’t understand this, because he’s always telling the children: ‘There is a mistake, do it again!’

They don’t get cross with him, so I don’t see why he gets cross with me when I tell him he’s made a mistake. There must be a difference, but I don’t know what it is.

One day, though, I was pleasantly surprised. He came across to me, sat down and said, ‘Well, I’m really going to get this right today, even if it takes me hours!’

I hoped it wouldn’t take as long as that, because some of my parts were getting quite hot and tired and I want to have a nap. The teacher checked all the plugs, then he said to himself, ‘Well, now I’ve really thought what I want to say to the computer, I’ve read the instruction book carefully, I’ve done all that my computer expert friend has told me do. Now that it’s all quiet, all I’ve got to use some care, thought and patience, and I should get the correct result.’

And do you know, everything went right.. I was amazed, and also very pleased, because I’m only waiting and wanting to be useful. I think the teacher was amazed as well!’

After so many unsuccessful tries, he found that he could use me properly. Of course, this time he was really thinking about what he was doing. Mind you, he’s only drawn a triangle and filled it in with two colours, but you would have thought from the look on his face that he had just invented a completely new game of space invaders!

I was pleased, though, when he muttered to himself, ‘That’s a good beginning. If I keep on trying, I shall get better and better. I suppose it’s like learning anything else; saying a prayer for instance.

You’ve really got to work out properly what you want to say, how to say  it and  really believe in what you’re doing and then keep on trying.

After all, you don’t learn anything without some effort. Mind you,’  he went on to himself (sometimes I worry about these teachers), ‘actually I say my prayers because I know God is there waiting to help me, whereas that laptop over there…’

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Many of us say the Lord’s Prayer, especially when we go to Church on a Sunday.

But, how many of us, I wonder, repeat this powerful prayer in an almost robotic fashion?

Do we ever think about the words which we are repeating out loud?

Our Father

Thus the great and powerful prayer begins. This simple, yet tremendous, greeting establishes instantly, without any question or doubt, who is praying and to whom the prayer is addressed.

Which art in heaven

This tells us where the God ‘lives’ to whom our prayer is addressed.

Jesus said clearly that the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, was not in this mountain or that temple, but “within you.” In other words, we don’t have to run after it physically. And where we pray doesn’t matter a great deal as long as we worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

Hallowed be Thy name

It is God we honour. We are not praying to impress men, nor do we put our trust in material things or in persons. We are observing the first commandment given by God to Moses: “Thou shall have no other gods before me.”

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

This tells us to stop giving orders or making selfish requests and ask simply that as in Heaven, so on earth, the Kingdom of God be manifest in our life. By surrendering, we place ourselves completely under His grace, and we bring the entire world, all sick and suffering humanity, into the care of a loving Father who alone knows how to achieve a harmonious kingdom.

Give us this day our daily bread

As to the when of our prayers, we accept the fact that today, this minute, is all that we  have to be concerned about.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not arrived; and when it does, it will be now. The release from tension and anxiety is tremendous when we stop worrying about yesterday or tomorrow.

We must focus on today, and pray today, as our actual moment of contact with God.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

We must also ask forgiveness and receive freedom from all sense of guilt. But we shall not obtain our own release until we have forgiven people who have done us wrong.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

We seek to renounce all that is not of God. We say – and mean – that we wish to walk in His way, and to sin no more. What we are praying for is true peace of mind, and serenity of soul.

We are also asking God to protect us from the evil one (Satan).

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, and ever. Amen

Why do we pray?

Because God is  in control of  everyone and everything, in all, through all.

All things are His and we are His.

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When you next say the Lord’s Prayer, please take time to think and understand of what you are praying.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Our Father God Loves to Hear Your Prayers

I recently heard about a lady who is slowly recovering from a very serious illness.

She admitted that during the past few years, whilst she has been so very ill, that she had become embittered and very miserable because she thought that she had no hope of ever being well again.

There came, however, a sudden realisation to her that there were many other people suffering too – and having to fight even harder battles than she.

And from that day and hour she began praying; not for herself, but for people she knew, asking God to strengthen and comfort them.

Ever since she began praying for others, she began to make good progress in feeling healthier herself – and she is now feeling much much happier and content than the days before she had begun to experience pain!

If you too think of – and pray for – others who are less fortunate than yourself, you will know the deep peace that passeth all understanding.

And our Father God loves to hear your prayers – especially if they are unselfish and ask for His blessings to be bestowed upon people who are, for whatever reason, unable to ask for themselves!