Is it Ever Okay to Pray Against a Relationship?

When is it okay to pray that God would prevent something from happening?

God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. And He invites us to share every burden with Him (1 Peter 5:7). He already knows what is on our hearts. He knows what prayers we have before we say them. There is no need to come trying to hide anything.

So my point is simply: be honest when you pray. Makes no sense to try otherwise. If there is a relationship that looks like it may be toxic, just take that to God.

“Father, You know everything. I don’t. But this relationship looks like trouble, and I don’t want to see someone get hurt in the longterm...”

But remember: everything you pray for, you should ask according to God’s Will. 1 John 5:14 says “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (emphasis mine)

Every single prayer should end there. “...but God, you know what is right and best. So may your will be done, and give me the faith to trust you during this time.” That is yielding to His sovereignty and wisdom.

We pray in reverence and faith. But as far as I can see, no subjects are off limits. No concerns too small. God loves you and wants to commune with you in prayer.

p.s. - God already knows...

Your PART in Prayer

We believe firmly in the power of prayer.  In fact, that is the third pillar in The Four Pillars of Harvest Bible Chapel.   We believe that God wants to hear from us.  We also believe that God answers prayer because we've seen Him answer them in so many amazing ways!  Whether we have been praying for years or we're new at praying, we can all improve in our relationship with the Lord through this wonderful means of communication.  There are really no formulas for talking to God, but when we 'order our prayers', as David says in Psalm 5:1-3, our alone time with God can be much more fruitful.   Ordering our prayers means that we should not just wonder aimlessly through our prayer time, but rather be organized in our thoughts as we talk to the Lord. 

You may have heard of the acrostic ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication).  This is a really good method to help us order our prayers!  What follows is a similar acrostic that I created that was helpful in our own family teaching time.  I called it ,"Our PART in Prayer".  Praise, Agreement, Requests and Thanks make up this acrostic, each component having some corresponding Bible references and also a sample of how we might pray.  

I hope you find this to be useful in your family and that it ignites a new flame of passionate prayer in your lives. 

PRAISE (Matthew 6:9, Psalm 145) 

God is worthy of my worship and adoration.  He loves to hear how much I love Him for who He is.  God never grows tired of hearing praises from His children.   I can praise God in my prayers by declaring His worth and greatness and majesty. 

"Lord, You are awesome and amazing.  You alone are holy and mighty and powerful.  There is no one like you, God.  All glory, honor and praise belongs to You, O Lord" 

AGREEMENT  (Proverbs, 28:13, 1 John 1:9) 

I need to regularly confess my sins to God in prayer.  Confessing is not telling God something he doesn't know.  He knows everything.   Confessing is actually telling God that I am in 'agreement' with Him about my sins.  I need to tell God about my specific sins.  Being specific is helpful in gaining victory over them.   

"Holy God, I am unworthy to come into your presence.  I have sinned against you.  I have spoken  in ways that are not pleasing to you and I have had a rotten attitude.  I have not trusted you and I  have not been content.   I have not loved You God, with all my heart.   I confess these things before you Lord because I know that you are a forgiving God and I need to be cleansed from my sins".

REQUESTS (James 4:2, Phil 4:6, Matthew 7:7) 

The Bible says 'we do not have because we do not ask'.   Our Heavenly Father wants to provide for me like an earthly father wants to provide for his own children (only infinitely more so!).   I should tell God what my needs are.  These could be material needs, spiritual needs or health concerns.  I can also make requests on behalf of others too.   After I make requests of God, then I should eagerly watch and wait expectantly to see how God will answer. 

"Heavenly Father, because I am totally dependent upon you, I ask for your help in many things. I haven't felt well this week and I need your healing touch in my life. I have a test at school tomorrow; please help me to understand and recall everything I've learned.  I need your help in resolving a personality conflict at work.  I have a friend who lost his job.  Please provide for his  family's every need".

THANKS (Psalm 100:4, Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:18) 

Telling the Lord how thankful I am is so very important, regardless of the circumstances I may find myself in.  I should not only thank Him for the good things in life, but also for the difficulties and trials.  Because I am utterly dependent upon God for absolutely everything, showing my appreciation and gratitude is well pleasing to Him.  Thankfulness glorifies the Lord!

"Thank you, Lord, for all you are and all you have done.  I am so grateful for the gift of your Precious Son who purchased my salvation on the cross.  Thank you for how you always provide  for me:  my food, my clothes, my house, my family.  Thank you so much for the stability in my life and for the people who care about me.  Thank you even for the hard times I am going through because I know that you will teach me something through it”.

Your Faith: Dead or Alive? Prove it.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. -James 2:14-17

It’s been all over the news. ISIS. Terrorist attacks. People beheaded. Christians driven from their homes simply because they believe in Jesus.

It’s hard to believe it is happening in 2014. We are so advanced, so civilized, so tolerant… but it is happening.

Right now. 

Just a plane ride away. You have brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering the persecution Jesus promised believers would endure.

The only question for you is: what are you going to do about it? Can we simply dismiss it, pretend it’s not happening? Can we be content to say, “That’s too bad…” and go about our business? What are you going to do about it?

By the way, James tells us that if we are able to hear the need and quickly move on, without helping, our faith is dead. Not real, not even just “weak” - dead.

So what are you going to do about it?

What can you do about it? The answer is you can do a lot - if you are willing!

Pray. Pray passionately, persistently, specifically, like Jesus taught us.

And help meet the needs. Dan and Alicia Thompson are two incredible people from our church who are unwilling to sit back and watch. Right now they are spearheading an effort to get supplies to these persecuted Christians. And they need your help. Yes, you! You can partner in this effort and show the love of Christ!

Click on this link for the details. And I thank you in advance for demonstrating a faith that is not only alive but compassionate and active!

p.s. - thankful to be surrounded by people who have a heart of compassion and a faith that steps out

Sometimes the Answer is No

"Sometimes the Answer is No."

Parents, have you ever said that to your kids?

Your child makes a request. “Can I go to Joey‘s house?”


“Why not?”

“We can’t do that right now.”


“Stop whining. Sometimes the answer is no.”

And then we get frustrated when we ask our heavenly Father for something, and He says no.

Last Sunday we discussed prayer. Prayer moves the hand of God, and we should pray big things. God is never going to be intimidated by a prayer request. And knowing that He is powerful and He loves us certainly gives us plenty of reason to pray.

The burning question, though, we addressed briefly, is this one: “Why doesn‘t He answer sometimes?” Sometimes you pray and pray and fast and pray and fast - and there seems to be no answer. Or the situation even takes a bad turn. The cancer gets worse, the money gets tighter, the marriage is even more strained, the kid are even more rebellious…

This is by no means contradictory to what I said in the sermon or a detraction from Sunday. This is just a reminder. Well, 2 reminders:

  1. God is not a vending machine. Prayer is not pressing B5 and getting a Snickers bar. I have seen people’s “faith” shattered because God didn’t give them exactly what they wanted when they thought they should have it, AKA immediately. It's a shame when your "god" is given zero latitude to say no because you have convinced yourself you know what is best.
  2. God is, however, the most loving and perfect Father ever. He loves us. And He wants to hear from us, and He wants to bless us - but His knowledge is infinitely greater than ours, so His answer may look different than the one you were looking for. But He still answers. And His answer is always better than what we were asking for anyways. It’s like asking for God to remove a thorn, but instead He gives you His strength. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 says something about that.

Sometimes God doesn’t take away the adversity because He intends to reveal Himself to you through it. And I promise you, looking back on this life from the perspective of heaven, you will fondly recall as your favorite memories of earth the times God’s answer to your distress was His presence.

p.s. - Thanks God for unanswered prayers, just like Garth Brooks