Why and How To Create an Effective Prayer Strategy

Prayer

The previous weeks’ posts have been focused on goal setting and/or creating your life plans. But there is one important aspect of setting goals that I want to highlight today, that is, the importance of having a prayer strategy. In the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner I discuss the importance of connecting the word of God to your goals by speaking what God says about you.

Over the years, I have titled this method in different ways such as … “My daily confessions of faith” or “Pray the Word” or “What God says about me” or “My prayer strategy”. Prayer Strategy? What’s that? Simply defined prayer is conversation with God. And a strategy is also defined as “a plan, method, or series of manoeuvres or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result”. Therefore a prayer strategy is basically a set of guidelines you use when in prayer in order to see God’s will and purpose established in your life.

You may be wondering, “Do I have to plan how to prayer too?” Actually, yes. This isn’t something that the Lord Jesus wouldn’t approve of. After all, He gave us a model of how we should prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13). For years now I have used the Model Prayer along with creating my own prayer strategies. I have experienced the benefits of doing this:

More focused time – I am less distracted when I have my notes (prayer strategy). Whether on my phone or in a mini note book it serves as a point of reference to revert back to if I get side-tracked. And you and I know that sometimes when you set out to prayer distractions tend to come either because our minds drift off to something else or some other interruption occurs.

Purpose-driven prayer – I create prayer strategies based on the promises, commands, warnings and life examples found in the word of God. This way, my prayers are not based on what I want but on what God’s will is for me. They are focused on His plans for me.

Stronger faith emerges – As I pray according to His word, sometimes it wasn’t always faith-filled. But the more I spoke the word of God (Romans 10:17), the more I believed Him. The more I became certain that what I was hoping for would become a reality in my life (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Develop persistence – When you know what you are praying about or for and you have the help of your prayer strategy and the Holy Spirit, you zero in more on those life issues that need to be addressed with tenacity and passion until the answer to your prayer is received (Luke 18:1-8).

Answers to prayer are received – This I can attest to that as I have prayed for God to work on in specific areas or circumstances in my life He has been faithful to do so. Even though my prayers are Biblical based they are also include my goals or life areas I need to develop or improve. I can do nothing without God so I rely on Him for all things.

Become more thankful – Certainly as I have seen God at work in my life, I have become more thankful and appreciative of His goodness and His love toward me and others. Answered prayers not only cause you to develop a grateful heart but also a faith-filled one.

Establish God’s will in you and others – The beauty of developing a prayer strategy based on God’s word is that you are saying to God, “Come kingdom of God, be done will of God in my life and in the lives of others.” Furthermore, you are less likely to go to God complaining but rather you desire to see God and His righteousness in your specific situations. Also, you are less likely to pray amiss because your heart condition become one in which you seek the will of God rather than your own.

You know what to prayer – Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years or just give your life to the Lord Jesus sometimes you find yourself lost for words to say to the Lord. You can become frustrated with yourself if this happens regularly and may find yourself drifting away from spending that essential time with the Lord. Please don’t give up. Use your prayer strategy to help you express your heart to the Lord and also ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray effectively.

But you may be wondering how to create a prayer strategy. Here a few simple steps to help you get started.

  • Review your goals for this year or a few years ahead
  • Examine your life and write down what you don’t like or rather what doesn’t line with God’s will and is causing frustration, sickness, stress, or anything negative in your life
  • For each of the above you’ve listed (some will overlap), search the Scriptures. What does God’s word say about each of these areas? Write out the Word of God that resonates with you for each area. Two or three verses for each issue would be a good start.
  • You can personalize the Word by creating confessions of faith or faith declarations or simply use the verses you found to remind you of God’s will when you are praying on specific matters
  • Make time daily to prayer using the prayer strategies to assist you. Some days you may cover every aspect of the prayer strategy and other days only a few areas as the Holy Spirit guides you.
  • Listen for God’s direction. This is not just an exercise in you doing all the talking. Let God speak. Ask questions and listen. Speak and pause for His response. God has much He wants to share with you to help you prosper through life. As you do this, please obey His direction.
  • Try to involve others in the process. Pray with a trusted friend or two. Jesus promised that as you agree with others in prayer, our Father God will do as you ask (Matthew 18:19-20). You can do this by either in person, by telephone or even online meeting. Get innovative about prayer. There is greater power in numbers.
  • Post your list where you can frequently see it so that you are ever mindful of what needs to be sent up to the throne room of heaven. You can put the prayer strategy in your dresser mirror, closet, home office, fridge door, computer screen or wherever you frequently go to pray. During my study I normally write and then type and print out my prayer strategy. I keep my prayer strategy in a folder close to my bible and notebook. I have even posted it in my Evernote account or my phone’s note app so I can reference it when I am on the road and have some moments for prayer. Of course, there are apps that you can use to assist you but keep it simple. Do what works best for you.

One more thing, set reminders for yourself to pray. You can become so bogged down with life that at times when you should be praying you are trying to solve the problem or fight the battles of life on your own. Set reminders for a few times a day – it could be to rest, to pray, to read the Word, to listen to some gospel music. A 15-minute break or two during the day dedicated to things gospel would make a significant difference in your life. It will help you to lead a life of praying without ceasing.

A prayer strategy will help you to focus on what matters. Your prayers will be aligned with the will of God for your life and for those persons and circumstances that you bring before the Lord. In my journey with the Lord, the more I consistently prayed about the matters that concerned me, the more I saw the hand of the Lord in my life. The more I saw the Lord working through every situation to bring it into His will and plan for me, the more grateful I am. Also the more I prayed, the more my faith grew and I developed a resoluteness that what God promised in His Word, He would perform.

As you prayer the word of God you will see the will of God expressed in your life. Therefore, make your time with the Lord your must-do and not just another to-do. Through your essential time of prayer; the Lord will strengthen, encourage, empower and guide you. You will enjoy His love and His peace.

So, what do you do to ensure that you spend time in prayer?

Make the Most of Your Time with Goal Setting

Goal setting is a word that some don’t even want to hear. It’s a time that many dread and as a result do not even pursue. You may have tried setting goals and because you didn’t reach the goal you don’t think goals are worth pursuing. On the other hand, you think it’s time wasted and that you should just let life happen. But really, if God has plans for you you should make it your business to know what they are, pursue them and trust Him to help you see them become a reality in your life.

12073677_s_dream, plan, wrok

Goal setting time

“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (AMP)

Goal setting does not have to be a difficult process. It can be a rewarding and yet fun time in your life. As the word of God says, there is a time for everything under the sun and yes, that includes setting goals. Consider this as a time for planting – your vision, your dream, your destiny, your purpose – where you lay out what you want to be and to do. And remember that this time of planting will become a time of reaping or harvesting once you (with the Lord) have worked towards to goal to attain the prize!

Life planning and goal setting in a time to look forward to and a time to access if you have and to make sure that you make the most of the time God has given you on this side of heaven. Goal setting is a time of:

REFLECTION
This is a time to look at the past and the present to prepare for the future. This is not a time to be negative but use this to learn from your mistakes and from the setbacks you experienced. Also make note of the what your did achieve and started to do as well as the positive things that happened in your life.

Ask yourself a few important questions:
– Where am I today?
– How and what did I do to get here?
– What made this year great or not so great?
Make sure to reflect on each of these life areas: Spiritual, Family, Financial, Health (Physical), Intellectual / Personal Development, Social, Career development, Business development. This will help you to understand why you are where you are and help you continue the work to become who you want to be and do what you desire to do.

THANKSGIVING
Oftentimes you can live with regret, frustration or disappointment because you didn’t achieve what you wanted to. However, this is not the place for you to remain. Even if you “cry over the spilled milk” don’t keep crying. Get up, clean up the mess and move on.

Learn to be thankful for what you have and what you do not yet have. Be thankful in all things at all times (1 Thess. 5:18, AMP). Thank God want did work and for what small steps you made towards your goals. Have a heart of gratitude because no matter how bad things look there is some goodness in your life and that goodness came from your Father God.

Write a love letter to God – a note of appreciation. Don’t know how to start? Start with, “Dear God thank you for…” and make a list of all His goodness in your life. Or maybe you can start by worshiping Him just because He is God and then thanking Him for all the goodness has brought into your life. Think of yourself, your family, your friends. Thank Him for life, love, good health, safety and protection, provision and whatever else you recognize as God’s handiwork in your life. But for sure, His done you good, so be thankful.

CREATIVITY
Goal setting is a time to dream. In my goal setting workbook, I have a space for dreaming, there are at least three options you can use to start your dreaming process:
1. My Dream List – is a blank sheet or a mind map type sheet – you choose the either list in short form what your life looks like in the next year or two or beyond or you use the mind map page with cloud thoughts to express your heart and God’s heart for you.
2. My Vision Board – for those who are more visually inclined, you can collect images (from the web or from books or magazines) and create a collage of your dreams.
3. My Life Story – you can write in present tense what you life looks like several years from now. You choose the time and place you want to start seeing your dream become a reality and just write that vision.

This is a time to be imaginative, to let go of your doubts or fears and not limit yourself. It’s a not the time to think that God is limited in anyway. It’s a time to remove all the stops and road blocks from your mind. It’s a time to let your spirit soar, your heart smile as you gaze into your future of infinite possibilities God has planned for you (Jer. 29:11, AMP).

Goal setting is creative planning. As a Christian you plan your life according to God’s plan for you. This will require spending time in prayer to understand God’s heart for you.

PRAYER
Goal setting is a time of asking, seeking and knocking. However, depending on the size of your goal; you may need to fast, weep, vow or wrestle in prayer. In some case yours prayer regarding a specific goal may be turned to praise even though you haven’t seen the actual goal as yet. Nevertheless, goal setting requires time in prayer.

You may need to ask God, “Lord what do you want me to do in this coming year or the next 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40 years?” or “Lord, what is your Word to me for this year?”
Seeking the Lord is a time or season of drawing closer to Him and He coming closer to you also. It’s a time to connect with Him to know His heart and His plans for you which are totally good.

This time will also require you to knock on the doors of heaven and on the heart of your Heavenly Father. Why? To accomplish whatever goals God has placed on your heart you will need open doors. In other words, you will need God to supernaturally give your favor with others, create opportunities for you in whatever area you need it most, mend relationships and establish new much needed ones. You will need God to miraculously make things happen that normally would be difficult for you to accomplish on your own. Knocking prayer is needed when your goal is FAITH-filled goals that requires much of God’s intervention at every step as you press towards your prize.

As you can see, for the Christian goal setting can bring you closer to the Father. One thing I must also mention is that when you set you goals you must apply the Word of God to them and create a prayer strategy for each of them. (I will write about this in more detail in another post.)

As you set your goals for the coming year and years ahead, remember that you are working with God to carry out His purpose in your life and to see His kingdom come here in the earth (within your sphere of influence and beyond).

Now is your time! Go ahead, set those goals and see what God is able to do through you and for you.

Make the most of your time with the 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook and Planner. As an added bonus this year, a full year planner is included for your convenience. Wishing you experience the best year ahead!

7 Quick Tips to Make the Best of Goal Setting

wirting goals_16732976_s“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

I like December, not only because it’s Christmas – the time we celebrate Jesus – but because it marks the end of a season. December to me is like to ending of an old chapter and the start of a new one.

I usually take the time during this month not only to celebrate with family but to plan the year ahead. As I start to think ahead, I spend time praying and seeking God’s direction for the New Year.

In my excitement to get going this year, I started search for what I could find to help me do a better job at goal setting. I found information in abundance but it would take time to compile a process that would work for me. I found paid products but they didn’t have a Christian worldview. I believe that if you are a Christian, any goal setting you do should always lead you to seek the Lord’s will for your life.

Here are some tips you can use to make the best of goal setting and experience a great year:

1. Seek God’s Will through Prayer
Start your goal setting process with prayer. Ask the Lord what His will is for you in the coming year. Listen to hear His plans. You may already know where God is leading you. Your dreams or desires, the things you love to do, the things that you are eager to change are all pointers to your purpose.

2. Take Time Out to Plan
It’s okay to think about planning but you need to actually do it. Make an appointment with yourself and God. Set aside a few hours, half a day or two days, whatever you think you need to get your goals down on paper.

3. Reflect On The Past
Don’t hold onto the past but embrace it. Review the year with the aim of learning form it. What did you accomplish? What didn’t work well for you? What can you do differently in the New Year? What do you have to be thankful to God for? At the end of this exercise make sure to let go of the past and get ready to embrace the future.

4. Dream, Dream, Dream
Yes, it’s time to dream, not a little but a lot. Making your goals does not need be so rigid that you kill your dreams. I often write a dream list first before actually setting my goals. Get a blank sheet and write down what your heart’s desire is. Do this before making any of your goals concrete.

5. Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals
I don’t think most people like to hear about S.M.A.R.T. goals but the truth of the matter is that this process makes your dreams become goals that would bring them into reality. You don’t have to set big goals and a lot of goals; but you need to write what works for you. That could be 12 goals or 3 goals but write them down anyways.

6. Find Your Why
Why do you want to accomplish the goals you’ve outlined? Why are they so important to you? It’s important to know your “Why” because when the going get tough, the reason behind what you are doing will keep you moving forward.

7. Be Accountable
Ever noticed how much you get done when you have deadlines and someone else to report to. Why? Accountability results in performance. Get the support of a friend or two or join a group of likeminded people who hold each other accountable for their goals. You will reap great success from such support.

8. Simplicity Is Necessary
Yes, this is tip No. 8 but this is important. Goal setting takes effort and many are often deterred from starting or completing the process. Another reason for not setting goals is that you may not know how to set goals and make them happen. The key is to keep goal setting simple and I have created a workbook just to help you do that.

As I mention earlier in this post, I was on a search for a simple goal setting process with a Christian world view but found none. As I thought about it I realized that I already had a process I was practicing for more that 10 years, but I had never compiled into one simple format. So I decided to do just that.

Now available in ebook format (pdf) is my goal setting workbook – the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner.

If you are looking for a step-by-step guided process to goal setting, I’d encourage you to download the Living Success Goals Workbook.

What’s Your First?

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_stuartphoto'>stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo</a>But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

As Christians, Matthew 6:33 is such a well-known verse to the point where we may often quote it but without recognizing its importance. You may tell yourself and others that God is first in your life and that living righteously is your priority. But let’s pause and think about that. Is God really first in your life?

The principle of first or giving God your ‘first’ and best is rather important matter to God. The Lord wants us to make Him the first priority in our everyday activities. There are several areas that you and I need to look at so that God is in FIRST place.

 

Your Thoughts – What are your first thoughts about when you wake up? Do you think about what you have to do today or do you have thoughts towards your heavenly Father? When I wake up in the morning I like to start thanking Him for life, strength, health, family, and whatever else my heart thinks about His goodness. Of course, you and I need to spend time in prayer and in reading the Word but just by our first thoughts we have shown our priority. When our first thought and constant thoughts are of the Lord, He provides us with perfect shalom (i.e. peace, completeness, prosperity, and welfare).

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. – Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)

 

Your Talk – What do you talk about the most? What kind of conversation excites you? If your friends were present would they say that you love God? Do you often share your “God & me” story (i.e. share the gospel of Christ) when the opportunity arises? What you talk about says a lot about where our priorities are also. Often times we think people don’t want to hear about Jesus, but when the good news is heard those who receive it gladly welcome those who share it.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV)

 

Your Prayer – Are you so anxious about your problems that your conversations with God starts with what you need and want? Have you thought that your first should be to pour your love on God by honouring Him for who He is (God and God alone) and thanking Him for all the good He has already done and will do? If we practice the model of the Lord’s Prayer our first would be to hallow (bless, revere, respect) His holy name. This is the beginning of effective prayer.

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. – Matthew 6:9 (NKJV)

 

Your Time – I once heard a preacher say that you should tithe your time. In other words, you should spend at least 2.4 hours of each day in prayer and study of the word of God. That may sound extreme to some but who is the One who give you the time you have here on earth? Who is first in your 24/7? Busyness has gotten the best of us. Taking time to attend a church service, cell group meeting, prayer or bible study meetings are sometimes considered an inconvenience for the modern-day Christian. We tell ourselves that our schedule does not allow for it.

We ought to review our time and redeem it well. Make appointments with God if you have to just like you do for other meetings you have. But the important thing is not to compromise on that time to honour God. I have found that when I give my service to God especially when I am pressed for time, whatever I have to do for myself gets done. God helps me do what I need to in the time I have available.

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17 (AMP)

 

Your Heart – Ask yourself this question, “What is my first? Who is my first love?” There is a first in loving and that starts with loving God. God wants you to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, strength. When you do, He is placed first in all your life. And as you love Him totally you will in turn love others freely (See Mark 12:29-31). Along with loving Him first is the promise that you will receive more of what you left to serve Him here on earth and inherit eternal life.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  – Matthew 19:29 (NKJV)

 

Your Money – God wants you put Him first in your money by giving to Him first. What are you first thoughts when you receive income or a gift? Do you think about how much of that amount belongs to the Lord (Malachi 3:8-9, Matthew 20:21)? Or are your first thoughts about what you can spend it on, or what bills you have to pay? God wants first place, even in your money. When He is first, He will give you abundant provision and protect your possessions and your income potential. You can even take it a step further in your money management and give Him complete control over 100% of whatever you receive. Just ask Him to guide you in what to give, save, invest, spend, lend and even how much to earn and how to earn it. Then follow through on what He tells you to do.

Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency [from righteous labors] and with the firstfruits of all your income; so shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats will be overflowing with new wine. – Proverbs 3:9 (AMP)

 

This principle of placing God first is quite the challenge or even seem unfair but God does not ask us to do something that He does not give us the ability to do. Furthermore, His command to seek Him first is not empty. He promises to provide for us whatever we need. We don’t need to be preoccupied like the world about what we should eat or drink or wear or live in. He knows what you need even before you ask Him. Therefore, as you make Him your first priority, you will experience a worry-free and well-provided-for life.

It requires faith to give the first of your time, money, thoughts, words, and your whole life to God and His kingdom. However, as you do He will make you first by taking care of your every need and desire.

Today, and always, make God FIRST in your life.

What other areas in your life do you think you need to place God first?

The Mountain Can Be Removed!

Move mountains 21317Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.                                     —Isaiah 41:15-16

God’s word is so wonderful that no matter how many times you read the same passage, the Holy Spirit shows you something that isn’t necessary new but gracefully reveals what your need at that time in your life. I’ve certainly read Isaiah 41 before and have been encouraged by this word. But during a recent study time, Is. 41:15-16 stood out for me from among these verses. As I pondered in my heart, I asked the Lord, “How can God cause me to make mountain small and hills to become like chaff?”

Do you know what chaff is? Have you thought about this – hills becoming like chaff. Chaff is the husks of grains and grasses that are separated during threshing, or straw cut up for fodder. Chaff is even described as worthless matter or refuse. Yet God says in His word that you have been given the ability to make a mountain become worthless matter. Wow!

Then the Holy Spirit called this word to mind: “And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”                                       —Mark 11:22-24 (AMP)

Have you really thought about this verse, seriously? What is a mountain? It’s a part of the earth, it is high, it’s soaring, most importantly, it is considered immovable. Yet, Jesus said you can tell any mountain to move, where to go and it will move there!

Pause and think about that… Envision a mountain blocking your way, tell it to move out of your way and go into the sea. Now, picture it actually moving! Imagine that mountain obeying your command and now you are free to continuing going in the direction you wanted to! What powerful imagery or so you may say. But this is more than imagining, this is kingdom of God reality. This is what Jesus says you and I have the power to do.

Let’s think of this another way. What do you consider to be the mountain in your life? What is the huge obstacle or a limitation you need to deal with? A mountain can be something or someone standing in your way of progress or someone who opposes you. A mountain could be also a mindset or a limiting belief. A mountain could be a door, an opportunity that remains closed to you. In a situation like this, other people less likely to receive the opportunity are accepted or receive it but for you it seems to evade you all the time. Well, start knocking and command it to open for you.

Let me ask again, what is your mountain? I started to ponder that question for myself and come up with quite a few mountains examples.

  • Limiting thoughts about the level of income you could earn. Maybe you don’t see the possibility of receiving an increase
  • Having the expectation that you will experience the same sickness that other family members or one significant friend
  • The supervisor at work or other person in authority who is standing in the way of your promotion
  • The uncomfortable thought or belief that God doesn’t want you to prosper in life

I have just given a few examples but you know what your mountain is. Whatever that mountain may be it is time to do what Jesus said and command it to move out of your way.

Isaiah 41:15-16 was written for your benefit. God is saying that He has given you the power. Yes, you have the power to destroy the obstacles or mountains that stand in the way of your progress. Jesus says that with your words of faith are words of power that can remove or destroy any obstacles, difficulty or problem and give you the freedom to live fully and unhindered.

Any mountain or problem can be removed if you have faith in God. Live in the authority Christ has given you and command that mountain to move, don’t doubt and believe that what you say will happen.

Today, take action, speak to your problems and see them gone. Be Blessed.

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part II

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-2

4. Be willing to wrestle with God all night.       —Gen. 32:22-32

Jacob wrestled with God all night to receive his breakthrough. For him it wasn’t about money; he was wealthy. He needed a transformation in his life. His breakthrough was about getting a blessing that would change him from the inside out.  Jacob held unto God all night until He blessed him. And God blessed Him and changed him from being known as a trickster or swindler (someone who couldn’t be trusted) to being a prince with God.

What life transformation do you need? Are there areas in your life that remain stagnant or become worse? Do you have character issues or a reputation that stains you wherever you go? Are you willing to stay up all night seeking the Lord to receive your breakthrough? To wrestle with God is to passionately pursue Him and have an encounter with Him that changes your life and perspective. Maybe seeking God in the night season when there are no distractions and you can fully focus on Him is the answer to your breakthrough. Don’t let go until God blesses you.

5. Your heart must hold onto the promise. Speak God’s word over your life not matter how bad it looks.         —Joshua 1:8

Abraham believed God for his breakthrough – to have a son and become the father of many nations. In Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abraham (then Abram) promise that he would be the father of many nations. Years passed and in Gen. 15:1-6, Abraham confronts God about the promise because the only heir in his house was his servant’s child and Sarah wasn’t pregnant yet. God assured him of the promise, made a covenant with him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham (father of many nations). God also gave him a visual – the stars – to help him understand the vastness of the promise. Then Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22), God reiterates His promise with two visuals – the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. All those years, can you imagine, Abraham had to hold that promise but God gave him the tools to do it: his new name along with the visual of the stars and sand. In everyday conversation he was being reminded of the promise every time someone called his name. He was being reminded of the promise when he felt the sand under his feet and gazed at the stars at night.

To get the breakthrough you have to hold unto the promise (the word God gave to you). You have to hold to the Word – meditate on it day and night and live it out in your life (Joshua 1:8). You have to keep speaking in faith what God promised you (Heb. 4:14) – be it healing, deliverance, or another promise He has for you. Jesus’ ministry to you is to bring to past the word you speak concerning yourself that is according to the will of God. Therefore be careful what you say – not only in the prayer closet but in your daily conversation. You must hold fast (keep speaking) that confession until your breakthrough happens.

6. Examine your heart (rather ask the Holy Spirit to examine you) and ask for forgiveness where you have fallen.       —Psalm 51

Nothing severs our relationship with God like sin. Sin not only brings a barrier between you and God but it stops the blessing (Deut. 28:15-68). David is an excellent example for us. He wasn’t a perfect man, yet God calls him a man after His own heart. I believe one of the reasons he says this of David is because he was quick to repent whenever he faltered (2 Sam. 12:1-15).

Today, though we are under a better covenant than David was we too sin at times. However, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you (give you the ability to overcome the temptation) from all unrighteousness (1 <st1:bcv_smarttag>John 1:9). Don’t let sin come between you and the wonderful relationship you have with God. Be quick to forgive and be quick to ask for forgiveness. It is needed to continue in right relationship with God and to experience your breakthrough.

7. Don’t just call on Jesus but believe that you will see the glory of God.          —John 11:1-44

Mary & Martha called on Jesus for their breakthrough; they wanted their brother to be well again. However, as scripture points out Jesus delayed his visit for a few days and by the time he reached there Lazarus was dead. But His intention was still to restore Lazarus though dead. He encourages Martha – at her objection to have the stone removed from the tomb opening – to believe and she will see the glory of God (vs.40).

Often times we accept our sickness or problems quickly and are ready to give up. But your sickness or problem is not meant to end you but to honour God and promote His glory. (vs.4). How? When God gives you your breakthrough you will by all means praise Him and tell others what He has done for you. Ask God to show His glory in your life. Why His glory? Because the God of the breakthrough can make the impossible become possible and real to you. He can destroy the works of the enemy and bring you the breakthrough you need.

8. Step outside the norm or the status quo. Ignore what others may say.          —Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus needed a breakthrough – he wanted what he never had before – the ability to see. He was known for who he was – a blind man begging on the road side. Vision is something we take for granted but for him not being able to see meant living below standard and having to beg at the wayside in order to live. No vision was darkness over him – no work, begging all the time, being out in the scorching sun, being snubbed and ridiculed. Bartimaeus wanted more and saw the opportunity when he heard that Jesus was passing by. He was not willing to let this moment pass him by. He yelled out to Jesus until he got his attention. He ignored the naysayers and kept shouting until Jesus took notice of him. Then Jesus asked Bartimaeus … “What do you want me to do for you?”

Is there something in your life that you’ve never had before? Have you thought about how your life and those around you would be better if you could have your breakthrough? Maybe you need a clearer vision your purpose and help to get you started on that road but it’s hard to see or conceptualize and you need God’s direction. Hmm… What do you want Jesus to do for you? What breakthrough do you need from Jesus today? What is it that will get you on the path that God has ordained for you?

What are you willing to do for your breakthrough?

Will you pray and weep until your voice isn’t even heard or wrestle all night with God (pleading in desperation) to get your blessing. Maybe you need to mix your prayer with regular fasting, or make a vow to the Lord in advance of the breakthrough. For you, it may be as simple as asking God for direction or strategy or it may require boldness and faith doing to do what you’ve never done before.

Whatever the need, we all need a breakthrough – our countries, our churches, our families, and ourselves. Let’s pray to get the breakthrough coming….

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part I

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-25

What is a breakthrough?

David described his victory over the Philistines like the powerful force experienced when water breaks over the banks of a river or like a tsunami that washes away everything in its way. In honour of the Lord he renames what was once called the house of the giant (Valley of Rephaim) to the Lord Who breaks through (Baal Perazim). Where the enemy (the Philistines) thought they were strongest because they had their baals (gods) with them, God proved even stronger!

Today you don’t fight the physical war against people but a spiritual one against the enemy of our souls. We fight against the attacks of the enemy – sin, sickness, failure, lack or poverty, defeat or oppression of any kind. These problems are like the enemy’s floods that are meant to carry you away or to destroy you (Is 59:19). However, when God is the Lord of your breakthrough for you, He advances over and above the enemy’s flood. The Lord pushes back the enemy’s flood of trouble, sickness, lack, and all negativity with the flood of His blessing, goodness, love, favour and every good thing you need in life.

** God wants to give you a breakthrough in those areas of your life that the enemy appears to be the strongest.

Do you need a breakthrough?

  • Is there a need that is long overdue?
  • Have you been waiting on the Lord for a long time and nothing seems to be happening? Do you need God’s hand on your life?
  • Are you pregnant with a vision, dream or desire that seems to mock you?
  • What is your need? To be healed, to have a house of your own, to be relieved of the burden of financial debt, to have a positive income stream to help provide for your family, to see family members come to the Lord…?

Whatever the need, the Lord your God, is the Lord of Your breakthrough. The Word shows us what others have done to receive their breakthrough from God. Let’s see what you can do to receive for your breakthrough?

1. Ask the Lord what to do. Be prepared to seek the Lord.         —2 Sam. 5:17-20

David needed to fight and win the battle against the Philistines who had come after him. So David (as he often did) asked God what to do before going out to battle. He realised that he was in a better position whenever he consulted God. He not only asked what to do but he did as God directed. God gave him strategy on how best to defeat his enemies.

For you to receive your breakthrough you need to ask God and then step out in faith and in obedience to do as God said. God is the Master Strategist and has the upper-hand over the enemy, follow His leading and you will be victorious and rejoice.

2. Make a vow or commitment to do something for the Lord. —1 Sam. 1:1-20

Hannah desperately wanted a child. Being taunted by her rival about her barrenness didn’t make it easy to bear. Hannah poured her heart out to God. She wept her prayer and made a vow to the Lord to give back when she received her breakthrough. She offered to God the thing she wanted the most – a child. What a commitment!

What about you? Don’t be reserved. If you have to cry, then cry but let God know your burden and express your desire to Him (vs.10). If you are as determined as Hannah was about receiving her breakthrough, maybe you too need to make a commitment to the Lord. Is there an area in which you’ve been meaning to serve but haven’t yet? Is there something you will sacrificially vow to give to the Lord? I’ve seen friends vow their first pay check to the Lord when they needed an income stream and God blessed them. What can you vow? Make a vow to the Lord and when you receive your breakthrough be sure to follow through.

3. If you want to get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before and fast your prayer.         —Esther 4:13-17

Esther fasted and prayed to save her life and those of the Jews. She did something she never did before – she risked her life for the sake of her people by going before the king uninvited. However, before she took that risk, she and her people prepared themselves – they fasted and prayed to God for three days. Why? She knew only God could touch the heart of the king and give her favour with him.

Do you need to take some risk? Do you need to mix your prayers with fasting? As Jesus said there are some situations that would need prayer and fasting to bring deliverance, to be resolved or for breakthrough to come. Examine your life and the circumstances you are experiencing? Have you tried different ways to deal with your problems but they still prevail? Consider spending time in prayer and fasting. Even a commitment to skip a meal for a season would help bring light to your situation.

Next week, I will share the second part of this message.

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

Where Can You Find Safety In This World?

God over all

Life is no trouble-free zone and although we try our best to take care of and protect ourselves, we’re not very good at it.  Even in seasons of celebration and good times, in this world there is still turmoil, death, sickness, wars, and every kind of calamity that we silently hope would not come close to home.

For several weeks now, I have been meditating daily on Psalms 91:1-16 (AMP). I am fully persuaded that I am alive and well because of God’s protection and care. It is God alone who keeps us. He is always looking out for us and wanting our best. This does not mean that in this fallen world there won’t be trouble at times but certain there is a way we can keep most of them away. If you make the promises of God your own, if you make the Lord your secret place, you will be find safety while living in this world.

As I meditated on and prayed Psalm 91 over the past few weeks, I have some promises that I hold dear to my heart and wanted to share with you:

  • I am safe in God. He is my Protection and my Safety Nest. I imagine being a little girl with her Dad who she sees as Strong and Invincible. No one can defeat my Dad and when I am with Him I am so very sure that everything is alright and I don’t need to be afraid of anything (Ps. 91: 1-2, 5-6).
  • Although trouble may lurk and try to attack me, I am sure that God will rescue me from it. He will even allow me to see from a distance the trouble He kept me from (Ps. 91: 3, 7-8).
  • Jesus has given me authority over the enemy and nothing can harm me (Ps. 91: 13; Luke 10:19). Therefore I must use that authority as a defensive and offensive weapon against to works of the devil.
  • I especially like the benefit of being trouble-free and sick-free when God is my Refuge and My dwelling place (Ps. 91: 9-10).
  • It is comforting to know that I am not alone. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the angels of God are all on my side. God’s angels are specifically assigned to watch over me and each member of my family. I have my own 24/7 body guards who even make sure that I don’t do anything to hurt myself (Ps. 91:12). Wow! Indeed, if God is for me, who can be against me!
  • Even when there is danger, God will come to my rescue and hide me in a place of safety (Ps. 91: 14) and be with me in the midst of troubled times (Ps. 91:15).

I hope that as you read how I have applied this scripture to my life that you would be encouraged to make the Lord your hiding place and reap the benefits of doing so:

  1. I dwell in the secret place (presence) of the Most High and I shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow (protection) of the Almighty God (the Unconquerable One). [Almighty God, You are Shaddai is the All-sufficient God, who is forever capable of being all that I need.] Lord, You are the Almighty God whose power no foe (no sickness, no disease, no trouble) can withstand.
  2. Lord, You are my Refuge (Shelter) and my mighty Fortress, on You I lean and rely, and in You I [confidently] place all my trust!
  3. For You will deliver (rescue) me from the snares set by my enemies and from the deadly pestilence (plagues).
  4. Like a bird protecting its young, Lord You will cover me with Your feathers, and protect me under Your wings (my hiding place and my refuge). Lord, Your truth and faithfulness are a shield around me (a rock solid wall and a fire wall to protect me) and my armor. [Eph. 6:10-18]
  5. I shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day,
  6. Nor shall I be in fear of the plague (pestilence) that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and strike at noonday.
  7. A thousand will fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand, but they (my enemies nor their weapons) shall not come near me.
  8. I shall look with my eyes [while inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] and see the punishment (just reward) of the wicked (but I shall not suffer because of it).
  9. Because You Lord are my Refuge, and the Most High my dwelling place (my only home),
  10. No evil shall come to me; plague (sickness, disease or calamity) shall not come near my home (my household or my body).
  11. Father, You will command Your heavenly messengers to guard (accompany, defend and preserve) me in all my ways [as I obey and serve the Lord].
  12. Let them hold me up on their hands so that I will not crash, or fall or even graze my foot against a stone. [Luke 4:10-11; Heb. 1:14]
  13. I shall walk on the lion and cobra; I shall trample on the young lion and the serpent underfoot. [Luke 10:19]
  14. Because I love You Lord with all my being, therefore will You rescue me from harm. You will protect me (You will set me above danger), because I know and understand Your name [I know You intimately. I know Your mercy, love, and kindness– I trust and rely on You, knowing You will never forsake me, no, never].
  15. I shall call upon You Lord, and You will answer me; You will be with me through hard times (trouble). You will deliver me and grant me honor.
  16. With long life (many good and healthy years) Lord You will I satisfy me and show me Your salvation. I will experience the abundant eternal life of God, love, joy, peace, healing, deliverance, freedom, provision, prosperity and every good and perfect gift from God.

Thank you Lord for keeping me safe. Amen.

God, the All-Sufficient One is your Refuge! I hope what you have read encourages you to pray the Word and find safety and peace in God.

What other scriptures do you mediate or pray that are comforting to you?

7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Life

tomorrow starts now_22836421_sLook carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. — Eph. 5:15-17 (AMP)

It has been a while since I have submitted a blog post. Even though I had many ideas about what I wanted to write and even jotted them down, the inclination to write wasn’t there.

For months my family and I have been dealing with the care of my mother who recently went to be with the Lord. As I dealt with the passing of my mother, the Lord impressed upon my heart the importance of making the most of the time we have. During this time, two truths have stood out for me all the more:

1. No one knows the day, hour, minute when they will say goodbye to time and hello to eternity
2. We often have no idea what an impact we have on others but the ‘little’ things we do or by what we say

As I reflected on the above scripture and others, my question was, “How can we who are still here on earth make the most of our time?” Here a few things I have learnt from God’s word and from reflecting on my mum’s life:

  1. Live intentionally.    Eph. 5:15-17

We have to live purposely and act wisely in all we do. This decision alone can bring us to success. Having no purpose, living aimlessly and witlessly, it not what God intended for us. My mum was always looking ahead. She set her goals and worked, saved and prayed towards them and thankfully accomplished them.

We must also know and do God’s will. We have to start with the basics: acknowledge our sin, ask Jesus to be Saviour and Lord over our lives. This is the beginning of living intentionally. Live as He instructs you to do in His word. As you continue seeking Him, He will direct you into your purpose. Just obey because whatever God plans for you is good.

  1. Prayer effectively, fervently and always.          Jam.5:16-18

Mum always liked writing. There was a note for everything. Her view was that if you forgot you could always refer to your notes. But recently I discovered that she did not just write notes but she wrote prayers too. One prayer note I found read something like this, “Lord I need Your ability today to do whatever You need me to do. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

Prayer is a constant effort – pray within your heart, write your prayers, verbalize your prayers. But whenever and wherever you are, PRAY. God will certainly answer.

  1. Work hard but in all of it honor God.        Col. 3:17

We should make to best of what we have and be a blessing to others in whatever way God has called us to do. Mum worked hard all her life. We heard the childhood stories of carrying water and helping her mum press clothes. She worked her way from being a maid to an Executive Housekeeper and even after taking early retirement, she kept herself busy. But in all of the hard work, she loved her work and was ever thankful to God.

We have to nature of God and should also like and enjoy work. Whatever you do, when you do it, do it well and God will be pleased with you and bless your work.

  1. Play too. Enjoy life. Enjoy what God has provided for you.    Eccl. 3:13-13

As much as Mum worked hard, she also enjoyed life. Every opportunity to celebrate particularly with her family, she did. It does not mean she did not face her challenges, she certainly did. But she recognized God’s blessings on her life and her family’s and saw it fitting to enjoy and appreciate them.

  1. Give much and you will be blessed with more.  Acts 20:35

Mum was a giver, a constant one at that but yet she never lacked anything. What the scripture said in Prov. 11:24-25, it was true of her. She generously gave but yet had all she needed and wanted.

Mum gave to those she knew and to those she didn’t. As her child, I have seen lives blessed by her giving and for myself have learnt well the joy of giving to others. When you give, you are God’s hand of blessing to someone else in need. And you are blessed all the more for it.

  1. Fulfil destiny. Serve God’s purpose in your life time or generation. Acts 13:36

David served the purpose of God in his generation. I think my mum did too. Personally, I think she made a decision to leave this earth when she did. She wasn’t a pastor and even heavily involved in regular church activity but she served others well. As I looked into the congregation who attended my mother’s Farewell, and I listened to the stories of those who knew my mother, I saw a woman who served and blessed others. She provided for their needs in some way or listened as they shared their troubles and offered sound advice to those willing to accept it. Oh, that we would follow such example. Serve God by serving others.

  1. Love a lot. It’s the best gift from God to you and the world.  1 Cor. 13

My mum made it a point of saying, “I love you” to me and my siblings whenever she ended a conversation with us. She showed her love by always remembering the special days in our lives or by doing unexpected things for us. But she just didn’t show love to us but to others – there was always some assignment she had for one of us to take something for someone or do something for them if she was unable to do it. During her sickness she thought of others and sought ways to help them even if it meant asking one of us to help because she couldn’t.

One more point I’d like to add is this:

Give thanks in every thing and in every day.    1 Thess. 5:18

Life does not always go the way we want it to but every day we arise from our sleep is a new day God has given to us. He is showing us His new mercies to us every morning and displaying His faithfulness. For that, we ought to give thanks and make the very most of every opportunity to do good in whatever way the Lord would want us to.

As we make the most of every opportunity we will have success; we will fulfill destiny.

Are you doing the best with each day God gives you?

Sickness or Health – Which Do You Prefer?

Now at the setting of the sun [indicating the end of the Sabbath], all those who had any [who were] sick with various diseases brought them to Him, and He laid His hands upon every one of them and cured them.                                                                                                                                               —Luke 4:40 (AMP)

I have been experiencing the challenges of sickness especially that of a loved one. As I go through the process of nursing back to health, I have developed a hatred for sickness. Though that may sound harsh it’s a good hatred. Also, during this challenge I have been digging into the scriptures and praying the Word as it relates to healing. Indeed God wants us to be in good health just as much as He wants us to have a strong relationship with us. He too does not like sickness just like He doesn’t like sin but loves the sinner.

I heard someone said that we like to own our sickness. Oftentimes in the body of Christ, we are very accepting of sickness. We like to attach ourselves to the sickness, “I have diabetes.”, “My back is killing me.”, “I have this or I have that.” We tend to take ownership of sickness rather than hate it and banish it from our bodies by the authority we have in Jesus’ name.

Sometimes we even bring sickness upon ourselves. We may have bad eating habits. We may not exercise regularly or fail to practice good self-care. At times we even call sickness upon ourselves because we believe will have the same sickness another relative had and died from. Others willingly accept sickness as a part of life and always expect it. Yet some have the extreme thought that they will always be sick and therefore baby their sickness. But Jesus didn’t accept it. He fought against it. He healed many while He was on this earth. Many were and still are healed through the power of Christ’s resurrection.

Then why should we like or even entertain sickness. Sickness is not of God and carries many ill-effects in our lives. It in no way honours or glorifies God. Sickness:

  1. Makes our bodies weak and tired
  2. Reduces or brings our productivity to a halt. We are limited in how much we can do for ourselves or others
  3. Causes us to depend on others. Although the help is appreciated, any sick person longs to be able to help themselves
  4. Brings down the human spirit. Sick people feel weary in spirit and at times unwilling to keep going
  5. Has a negative impact on our finances in two ways – the inability to earn income and the increase expense due to medical care
  6. Disrupts or kills your dreams and goals. It is a potential destiny killer
  7. Limits our ability to serve God in whatever capacity we normally do

However there is much to be gained by having good health and this is what God desires for us. The prize of good health:

  1. Is strength in body, soul and spirit
  2. Frees us to do what we need to and want to. There is high productivity
  3. Gives us the opportunity to do good works for others
  4. Allows us to enjoy life to the full
  5. Impacts our finances positively because it is not decayed by reduced income or medical expenses
  6. Liberated to fulfill our God-given goals and destiny
  7. Brings glory to God because we are able to do good works that cause you and others to praise Him

Friends, which do you think is better? I vote for good health and with that long life. Just like Jesus does. So whether or not you or a loved one is sick, pray daily for good health. Meditate on scriptures that remind you what God’s heart is concerning your health:

  1. Jesus has already borne or sicknesses, weaknesses and distresses and carried our sorrows and pains, so why should be now. —Is. 53:4-5 (AMP) & 1 Pet. 2:24 (AMP)
  2. God can restore health and life to your body. —Rom. 8:11 (AMP)
  3. God willingly and freely give us all things including good health. —Rom. 8:32 (AMP)
  4. God sends His word to heal and deliver us. —Ps. 107:19 (NKJV)
  5. Speak the Word: “No disease, no sickness shall come near my dwelling.” Therefore, if not near your home then certainly not in your body. —Ps. 91:9-13 (GW)
  6. God’s desire is for us to prosper and be in good health and be in right standing with Him. —3 John 1:2 (AMP)
  7. If we are sick, Jesus wants to make us well. —Matt. 4:23-24; Matt. 8:5-7; Mk. 10:49-52; Jn 5:5-9; Acts 10:38 (NKJV)
  8. God wants to satisfy you with long life. —Ps. 91:16 (GW)
  9. He is the Lord our Healer. —Ex. 15:26 (NKJV)
  10. There is no limit to what God can do. He can heal any sickness. —Ps. 103:2-3 (NKJV)
  11. Since God is able to raise man from death (Luke 7:12-15, NKJV), He is well able to renew your youthful strength and perform a creative miracle in your body.—Ps. 103:5 (AMP)

May we all experience the kingdom of God in our lives and may good health and long life be ours. God bless you.