Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Finding Time for Prayer

Question: I realize that prayer is important, and I want to use it to connect with God, but it never seems like I have the time. How can I fit it into an already busy day?
Answer: It takes time to communicate with anyone, including God. There’s no way around it. It’s a mistake, though, to think of time spent in prayer as time that could have been better used to get other things done, because if you take time to pray, you’ll be able to get a lot more done than you would otherwise. It’s an investment, but once you start reaping the benefits, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
Make a conscious effort. Like forming any new habit, this will take consistent determination. In time, though, you’ll find that you’re remembering to pray more, and forgetting to less.
Make prayer a priority. You always have time for the things you consider most important.
Set aside specific times in your daily routine. If you wait till everything else is taken care of, it will never happen. If you find that one time of day doesn’t work well for you, try another. If you miss your appointed times one day, don’t give up! Try again the next day.
Set attainable goals. It’s not how long you pray that counts, but how earnest and sincere you are and how much you believe your prayers will be answered.
Take advantage of spare moments. You can pray during a coffee break, when stuck in traffic, while waiting for an appointment, while cooking, while taking a shower, while waiting for the baby to drift off to sleep, while walking the dog—almost any time, really.
Pray before starting each new task. “In all your ways acknowledge [God], and He shall direct your paths.” In many cases, a prayer of only a sentence or two is all it takes.
Pray at the first sign of trouble. Ask for clarity of thought, composure, strength, inspiration, or answers—whatever you need at the moment—and God will give it.
Matthew 6:33 ESV – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:6 ESV – But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
John 15:1-5 ESV – I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Parcel

How many times have most parents wanted to buy a toy for their child “just because”? It wasn’t a special occasion or something the child needed or had even asked for—but the parent knew the child would enjoy it and wanted him or her to have it.
I faced such a situation with my 19-month-old son Logan recently. I’m not sure why I had set my heart on getting him a rocking horse. Maybe it was because his favorite video included a scene with children on rocking horses, or maybe it was because every time we went to a nearby toy store the salesperson would invite him to play on one of the display horses, and he never fussed when it was time to go. To tell you the truth, he didn’t seem as attached to that rocking horse as I was, but I couldn’t stop thinking how nice it would be for him to have it.
The problem was that it cost more than I could afford. I tried telling myself that children grow out of toys quickly and that Logan might not even play with it much, but the desire to get him one persisted.
One evening Logan and I were looking at pictures of toys, and there was a rocking horse. On impulse I suggested, “Let’s pray for Jesus to give you a horse like this one.” After a short but sincere prayer, I felt I had done what I could, and I soon forgot about the matter.
A few days later, we got a large parcel from some friends who had said they were going to send some clothes for the children. I had expected a small box, but what came was massive.
I opened the box and started to go through it. Imagine my surprise when I saw, buried under clothes and small toys, a wooden rocking horse that was the perfect size for Logan. I could hardly believe my eyes. Then I remembered our prayer a few days earlier. God had used this incident to inspire our faith.
Every time I see the horse I realize once more how much God loves us—enough to supply not only our needs, but also our wants.
Hebrews 13:5 ESV – Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Philippians 4:19 ESV – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 23:1 ESV – A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018 - Major Kunam visit

Click here for more pictures


Addicted to Prayer

The 19th-century British preacher Charles Spurgeon said something that to me defines the role of a Christian in regard to prayer. “As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer.”
I must admit, though, that at times I have had a hard time maintaining a strong prayer life. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to pray—to the contrary—I just had a hard time sticking to my good intentions. It seemed that whenever I’d try to pray, thoughts would flood my mind and I would quickly find myself embroiled in other things.
I finally decided that I had to get to the core of the matter. Why was I having such a hard time? Was it laziness, a lack of motivation, or difficulty concentrating? It finally dawned on me that it was because praying seems like inaction. I knew in theory that prayer was essential to a Christian life, but in practice, I just didn’t feel it. I’m an action-oriented person, and praying simply didn’t make me feel like I was doing anything substantial.
So I had to change my attitude and see things in a different light. For me, that meant that when I was praying for a sick child, I imagined that I was actually there, cooling that fevered brow. When I prayed for peace in Africa, I pictured myself in the midst of the fighting, begging for it to stop. Visualizing my prayers helped them to come alive. It helped me feel more involved, as if I was “doing” something.
I’ve also found it helpful to start a file where I keep track of the people and situations I pray for, arranged by topic. I regularly add prayer requests that I hear about, promises from the Bible that apply, updates, etc., and I keep track of which prayers have been answered.
Psalms 55:17 KJV – Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
Psalms 118:5 KJV – I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, [and set me] in a large place.
Isaiah 55:6 KJV – Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Announcements

Youth Spiritual Growth Retreat
Date: 21-23 Aug 2018 (Tue-Thur)
Guest Speaker: Bro Alfred (Singapore Central Corps)
Venue: Penang Corps.

The Salvation Army Youth Council 2018
Date: 23rd-24th August 2018 (Thu-Fri)
Theme: Shine! Let There Be Light, Isaiah 60:1
Venue: Penang Corps/Escape Theme Park
Details: Kindly contact Capt. Fiona for further information.

Penang Open Days Coupons
Details: Once again, your help is needed to sell the coupons, your support and assistance is greatly appreciated. Please look for Capt Fiona/Andrew for the coupons.
Date: 29th Sept 2018 (Sat)
Venue: TSA Penang Children's Home

North East Cell Group
Date: 28th Aug (Sun)
Time: 12:45pm
Venue: Community Hall

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Prayer Pointers

Variety is the spice of life. This certainly has proven true in my prayer life. Here are a few things that have worked for me at different times.
Prayer list. When I began taking a few minutes every day to pray for others, I simply prayed for whoever came to mind. I soon found, however, that there was almost no end to people and situations that needed divine intervention. To make the most of my prayer time, I needed to get organized, so I started keeping a written list. I don’t have time to pray for every item on my list every day, so I keep track by checking off each item as I pray for it. When I get to the bottom, I start over with another series of checkmarks. I also add new items as new needs arise, and mark items “Done!” when God answers.
Prayer promises. I printed “promise” verses from the Bible—“Ask and it will be given to you,” for example—on small cards. As I pray for each item on my list, I draw a card from the stack and apply that promise.
Meditative prayer. Nowhere am I more aware of God’s love and care than when I walk in nature. As I take in the sights and sounds of His creation, I ask Him to guide my thoughts to people and situations that need my prayers, and then ask Him to take care of them as only He can.
Teaming up. Sometimes I arrange with a friend to spend 10 or 15 minutes praying together. “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask,” Jesus promised, “it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
Pillow prayer. When I can’t sleep, I focus my thoughts on others and their needs, and pray for God to provide. Or sometimes I count my blessings in the form of short, specific prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God for His goodness. After a short while, I usually drift off to sleep.
Unloading. When I feel overwhelmed by problems or the task ahead, I sometimes unburden my mind and spirit by imagining each issue as a brick and handing it over to Jesus, in the form of a short prayer.
Variety. When prayer gets ho-hum or routine, I ask Jesus for a new plan or way to pray.
Romans 8:26 KJV – Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Matthew 21:22 KJV – And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Colossians 4:2 KJV – Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Friday, August 17, 2018

How Prayer Benefits You

There are so many benefits to spending time with God that you really can’t afford not to. He can help you solve every problem, answer your every question, heal all your heartaches, comfort you when you’re sorrowful, give you joy, and bring you closer to heaven. The list is endless.
Prayer changes things. It’s one means by which God gives His children what they need or want, as long as it’s good for them and others. “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Time spent in quiet reflection builds inner strength that will carry you through life’s toughest times. “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.”
You will find rest and renewal when your spirit is sagging and your mind is troubled. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Once you have committed a matter to God in prayer, you can have the assurance that He will take care of it as He knows best. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.”
You will find comfort in times of sadness and grief, reassurance when you’re down, and courage to go on when you think you can’t. Jesus will help you see your troubles in proper perspective, as He sees them, and give you peace of mind. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”
As you receive and apply the things the Lord shows you, you will become wiser. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Jesus will guide you through the maze of life. He will help you know what to do when you face problems and tough decisions. He has promised to instruct you, establish your thoughts, and guide your steps. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
He will inspire you with good ideas. “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jesus will prevent some problems from happening by warning you in advance, and give you solutions to others. “Whoever listens to Me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”
You can be healed physically. “The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”
You can be forgiven for wrongdoing. “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
You will gain insight into the natural world as well as the spiritual realm. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
Prayer draws on the power of God, so you will be able to accomplish more, and do so more easily. “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. … Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
You will have greater peace of mind. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
You can claim God’s supply of your material needs. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Jesus will open to you the treasures of His Word if you will pray, as King David did, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”
You can get the Lord’s help even when you don’t know what to ask for. “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us.”
John 15:7 ESV – If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Matthew 18:19-20 ESV – Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
Luke 18:1 ESV – And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Why Not?

For the New Year when I was six, what I wanted above all was to move to the mountains. Over the Christmas holidays my family had visited relatives who lived in a mountainous area, and it was the first time I’d experienced the magic of so much snow. I’d loved every moment of it.
I prayed earnestly for our family’s relocation, starting around Christmas and continuing well into January. At first I was confident that it would take place soon, but it finally became obvious that no move was imminent. I eventually got over the childish fixation, but the question lingered in my mind much longer: Why had God not answered my prayer?
I realize now that God does always answer our prayers, but not always right away or always in the way we want or expect Him to. Sometimes He says “yes,” sometimes He says “no,” and sometimes He says “wait.”
As children, we would see something we wanted in a store, or something that our schoolmates had, and we were convinced it could make us happy. Some of us still have this mentality and act as though God were a pharmacist filling prescriptions for us, or Santa Claus ticking items off our wish list. In fact, God doesn’t answer some prayers the way we want or expect Him to because He knows that what we’re praying for would not really be good for us or others.
When we don’t receive an immediate, favorable answer from God, instead of concluding that God hasn’t heard our prayer or that He has forsaken us, we should consider that maybe He wants to test our faith, to see if we will keep loving and trusting Him no matter what, which wouldn’t be evident if He gave us everything we wanted the moment we asked.
Other times, God may have answered our prayer, but we simply don’t like the way He did it. If we’ve already figured out exactly what we want and are just asking God to provide it for us, but our plan is not what He knows is best, then He is doing the wise and loving thing in withholding our request. We need to try to align our petitions with His much broader and better plans.
Oh, and in the years since I prayed that New Year prayer that didn’t seem to materialize, I’ve enjoyed many snowy winters in several countries and settings. God’s answer, it turned out, was “Yes, in My time.”
Ephesians 6:18 ESV – Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Colossians 4:2 ESV – Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Psalm 34:17 ESV – When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Surrounded by Prayer

When my older sister Evelyn was 16, she suddenly began experiencing excruciating pain in her lower-right abdomen. As the pain intensified, she began running a fever and vomiting. I remember the anxiety and desperation we all felt as my dad rushed her to the nearest hospital.
A doctor in the emergency unit discovered a large gangrenous cyst in Evelyn’s abdomen. The cyst had twisted, cutting off blood circulation and causing the extreme pain. Time sped by in a blur as she was hurriedly prepared for emergency surgery. At home, the rest of us prayed fervently, asking Jesus to protect, comfort, and surround her with His loving presence.
It was nearly midnight when Evelyn was wheeled out of the operating room. The surgery, it turned out, had been performed just in time. The cyst had already begun to leak toxic fluids and destroy the surrounding tissues, but she was alive and safe. We thanked Jesus for that.
During the five-day hospital stay that followed, I wished I could be there around the clock to help in some physical way. But I found that even after visiting hours were over and I had to go home, my prayers could do more for her than my physical presence could have. For example, when Evelyn suffered serious allergic reactions to the intravenous painkillers, I believe my prayers were much more of a help to her doctors’ finding a solution than whatever comfort I might have been able to give her had I been there.
Our family’s and friends’ prayers surrounded her every day until she returned safely home, and they continued throughout the weeks of her recovery. “I always knew you were praying for me,” she told me after the ordeal was over. “That gave me strength for the difficult things I faced, as well as peace that Jesus was in control.”
Do you know someone who is struggling, whose load can’t be lifted with human hands? Do you have a loved one who is hurting, whose pain you cannot ease by human means? Do you long to be there to help care for them, yet you don’t know how? Then pray. Jesus hears, He cares, and His power—activated through your prayers—has no limits.
You hold amazing power to help those you love, to span the gulf between you, and to bring them the best possible support and care. Surround your loved ones with prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV – Pray without ceasing.
Philippians 4:6 KJV – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Romans 12:12 KJV – Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;