James 4:8

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

Battles are real in the Christian life.  As long as our flesh is our home, we will be in battles.  None are easy.  Some are draining.  Most are discouraging.  All are exhausting.  When I think of battles, I am reminded of a small figurine I have of a soldier returning to his to his home from the Civil War.  Still in the saddle, but hanging over the horse in complete exhaustion, the figurine is entitled Nothing Left.  I have been in battles like that in my Christian life; I have come to God with nothing left.

remnant-of-an-armyIt is in these types of battles that we move from sitting before the Lord in prayer to fighting the battle on our knees or on our face.  We come to Him like the soldier who came home with nothing left.  We not only pray, but we pray without ceasing.  This does not mean we never break from prayer, but it means we come to God regularly about the battle before us.  It means that we do not give up until God comes through.  In other words, we are persistent.  We ask Him and keep on asking Him.  We seek Him and keep on seeking Him.  We knock on His door and keep on knocking until He opens the door.  We don’t give up until God wins the battle through us and for us!  This is praying without ceasing.

Are you in a battle today?  You are probably in at least one.  Perhaps there is something difficult happening in your family, in your job, or in your heart, something you’re struggling with personally.  Perhaps you have battles in all of these areas simultaneously.  What do you do?  Get out of your chair and get on your knees.  Pray about that battle and do not give up.  Continue to do this daily, perhaps even more than just once a day.  In time, God will prevail.  And in the meantime, remember that the battle is not yours, but God’s*

Father, I need You more today than ever before.  Help!  Amen.

*Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Northwest Arkansas

James 5:15, 16

The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:15, 16


When we pray, God can do more in a moment than someone could ever do in a lifetime.  When we are sick or burdened to the point that we appeal to our spiritual leaders to pray over us, we are positioning ourselves to be a part of a miracle.  God alone heals and forgives, but He also challenges us to humble ourselves before our spiritual leaders, confess our sins to one another, and have others intercede for us in prayer.  As your demonstrate humility and practice obedience, God will raise up someone to pray for you.

When you have a need, ask others to pray for you.  When others have a need, pray over them.  Intercession is one of the most beautiful principles in all of Scripture.  Why?  It is just a matter of time before I need you to pray for me.  It is just a matter of time before you need me to pray for you.  Standing in the gap for another person in prayer is a huge privilege, responsibility, and opportunity.  God honors the energetic, passionate, and pure prayers of His children.  Through intercession, He works miracles.*

Lord, show me the people You want me to pray over today, and raise up people to pray for me when I have a need.  In the name of Jesus, Amen.

*Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Northwest Arkansas

Nehemiah 1:5, 6

How to Tackle a Prayer Burden…

December 2009 066[6]

I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open,  that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night.  Nehemiah 1:5, 6

A burden is something you go to bed with, wake up with, and live with each day of your life.  A burden grips your heart and does not let you go easily.  As you mature in the Lord, you learn that a burden is actually a wake-up call from God.  It’s a way He speaks to you, alerting you to something that requires your attention.

For Nehemiah, God was speaking to him about his home city of Jerusalem.  The gates were down, the city was plundered, and God was calling him back to Jerusalem to do something about it.  This was a time when prayer was not enough.  God wanted more.  He wanted action!  He wanted to prove Himself strong not only to Nehemiah but also to all of Jerusalem.  Nehemiah tackled his prayer burden with the actions of going, doing, fasting, and obeying God in all areas.

What is your prayer burden?  What is gripping your heart?  Call out to the Lord about this burden!  For Nehemiah, it was a wall; what is it for you?  Fast over this burden.  Be willing to go and do.  Be willing to transform your prayer burden into action!  This is no time to push the snooze button in your life.  God is waking you up and speaking to you.  He wants to do a new thing in you, through you, and around you.  This is what burdens do.*

Lord Jesus, this prayer burden is Your wake-up call to me.  Speak to me loudly and clearly.  I release myself to You; do whatever You want to do in and through me.  Amen.

*Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Northwest Arkansas  

Colossians 1:9, 12

We… do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding… giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints light.  Colossians 1:9, 12


How would you classify most of your praying?  Do you pray more about physical matters or spiritual matters?  The prison prayers of Paul are somewhat unique.  He prayed more for others than he did for himself, and most of his prayers for others regard spiritual rather than physical matters.  This is the kind of prayer partner we should all desire to have.

Paul prayed specifically for three things.  First, he prayed for spiritual intelligence for the church in Colossae.  He wanted believers to know, understand, and experience the will of God for their lives.  That only takes place as we get to know His Word and His Spirit, and as we live in community with one another.  All three -- Word, Spirit, and church -- are absolutely essential to Christian growth.

Second, he prayed for their practical obedience in living our God's will.  Someone has rightly said, "The devil finds his arsenal in the stockpile of our disobedience."  In the New Testament, learning and living go hand in hand.  Our confession and our conduct should be one and the same.  If we know to do the right thing but don't do it, then for us it is sin.  We cannot compartmentalize what we believe from how we live.  In Paul's words, we are to "walk worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10), which means we must live out a consistent, authenitic faith.

Third, Paul prayed for their moral character.  Knowledge, conduct, and service should always lead to character development.  Have you ever met people who seemed to know a lot about the Bible, yet the way they treated others did not resemble Jesus' words about loving and caring for people?  One of the greatest detriments to the Christian witness in today's world is not our message, but our lack of character.*

Father, thank You for recording Paul's prayer so that I could ponder it today.  I confess that sometimes my prayer life can be reduced to a list of personal physical needs.  Help me know, understand, and experience Your will for my life.  Help me live out what I say I believe.  Help me continue in the process of transformation on a daily basis.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

*Rick White, Franklin, TN

1 Kings 3:5

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”  1 Kings 3:5

Every Monday the Senior Management Team of our church staff has lunch together following our morning meeting.  The scenario is always the same:  I ask, “Where would you guys like to have lunch today?”  Nobody claims to care where we eat, just so long as we eat.  But when we are at restaurant, looking at the menu, someone will say how tired they are of eating there and they wish we could go somewhere else.  I always say, “Speak up next time!  I want to take you someplace you like, so tell me specially where you want to go.”

It isn’t that big of a deal when it’s just a restaurant menu, but what about the things we need in life that only God can give?  At Gibeon, the Lord very clearly said to Solomon, “Ask!  What shall I give you?”  It is apparent that Solomon was ready with an answer:  “Give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (Kings 3:9).  The opportunity could have been squandered on self, but Solomon knew what he really needed was wisdom for leadership.  God gave Solomon exactly what he asked for, plus so much more.

1 Kings 3

Over and over in the New Testament we are told by God to ask and we shall receive.  We are also told, “You do not have because you do not ask,” and sometimes when we do ask, we ask with the wrong motives and our desires are totally self-centered (James 4:2, 3).  God is not like a genie in a bottle, a great slot machine in the sky, or even a kindly, old grandfather figure that passes out gifts to his children.  But He is the God of this universe and He does stand ready to meet the needs of His children who trust Him and will ask Him specifically for the real desires of their heart.  Just ask Him.

Father, help me think deeply about this passage today.  Had I been in Solomon’s position, it would have been tempting to ask for all the “stuff” that brings temporary pleasure.  Help the desires of my heart be the desires You have for me.  Help me ask, believe, and receive the things that will first bring You glory and then bring me good.  Just like Solomon, I ask for the wisdom to lead and care for Your people.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Philippians 4:19

My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19


Do you really believe God will meet all of your needs?  If so, worry will be absent from your life.  This is not the case for most people.  In spite of God's promised provision, much of their time is spent worrying.  Right after challenging us not to worry, the apostle Paul reminds us of God's promise to provide.  

What are you worrying about today?  Your family, finances, future?  Worry appears when hopes pull you in one direction, fears pull you in another, and you feel pulled apart.  It demonstrates that you place more confidence in the possibility of problems than you do in the promises of God.  It causes you to feel strangled.  

How do you win the war over worry?  Paul provides the answer in Philippians 4.  First, you present your worries to God (vv. 6,7).  Nothing you face catches God off guard.  Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?  Persistent prayer will result in powerful peace, which ultimately defeats worry in your life.  Next, protect your thoughts (v. 8).  Think about the things that matter most.  Most of the things you worry about never happen.  Think instead about things that are true.  Finally, practice godly living (v. 9).  Do the things you know to do.  If you focus less on what you don't know and more on what you do know, life will be more enjoyable.  Focus on what you can actually do something about.  When you live according to this pattern, it becomes easier to trust God's provision.

In a world of uncertainty, worry may be natural, but the Christ-follower is called to live supernaturally.  Look at your life differently.  Place more confidence in God's promises than your problems.  An improper evaluation of your situation will always result in an inability to embrace God's supply.

Jesus, please forgive me for not trusting Your provision.  I confess the sin of worry in my life.  I believe that You will supply all my needs.  Thank You for this powerful promise.  Protect my thoughts today as I depend on You for worry-free living.  In Your name I pray.  Amen.

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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. (Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV)

This whole idea of waiting goes against what we naturally and culturally do. When our natural inclination is to step on the gas, God is often telling us to hit the brakes. Waiting is often difficult because we equate it with inactivity. But waiting, which can also be translated as hoping, means to wait with expectation, to look for. The implication is that we are waiting and watching with expectation towards what God is going to do.

During these periods of waiting, God is often refueling and refining us for what He has in store. Everything around you needs to be refueled after much use. Your car has to stop for gas, your body needs to sleep, and your cell phone needs to be recharged. So, why can’t this be the case with our spiritual life as well? What may seem like inactivity from our perspective is often purposeful preparation from God’s perspective. Be encouraged that those who wait end up even stronger after the Lord renews them.

If you are in one of those seasons…

Are you allowing God to refuel you?

Are you tuning into His voice?

Are you recognizing His activity around you?

How do you respond to these periods of waiting on God?

September 17-20, 2012 (CHOA - Tucker)

Just so thankful and blessed by all the thoughts and prayers that we experienced this week in Atlanta during Tucker's surgery.  Thank you Lord for giving us strength during these difficult moments to turn loose and know that You and only You are totally in control.

Life Guard


Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

God is for you

Moses had just spent forty years leading the Israelites through the wilderness. He was the only man to talk to God face to face (Exodus 33:11).  He was a great leader and man of God, but his time was up.  He was to pass the reins to a new leader who was to lead God’s people to the Promised Land.  This man was Joshua.  The first 9 verses of Joshua ch. 1 is comprised of God giving him a pep talk in preparation for his task.  As you read this, note that there is one thing that God mentions over and over.  We see that he says this for the third time in verse 9, “be strong and courageous”.  God doesn’t tell Joshua to take it slow and to pray over every little detail.  He doesn’t tell him to seek the council of 5 Godly men before he makes every decision.  He tells him to be “strong and courageous”.  God had already set in Joshua’s heart what he was to do and he wanted him to do it.

As a Christian, we can often spend much time trying to discern God’s will for our lives. This plays itself out in us stopping at every intersection in life to cast our lots or waiting for a voice from God.  How many times has God given us this pep talk and told us to be “strong and courageous” and we become timid and cowardly upon advice from those around us.  Remember, Joshua was one of two men who said God could help them take the promised land while the other 10 were afraid (Numbers 13:30).  God can call you to do great things as he did with Caleb.  Be strong and courageous today in your walk with the Lord.

How can you walk in greater boldness with the Lord and still maintain wise counsel? What will this look like in your life, or those around you?

Pray Today


Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

From Jordan:

I wish my testimony was one of unwavering faith and steadiness. I wish that you could go and talk to anyone I went to high school with and they would tell you about my commitment to the Gospel and my obvious love for Jesus. Now, some people would, because I do love Jesus and am committed to the Gospel. But others wouldn’t because they’ve seen me fall to sin and act pridefully. In fact, I’d wager that many of us are this way. We wish that we could have another chance at past situations or seasons. These were my thoughts prior to writing this. Pretty grim way to spend an afternoon, right?

But here was God’s answer to my angst and self-disappointment: “I’m not done with you yet.” He brought Paul’s words to light in my dark regret. I’m not finished, he’s still making me! I’m still being molded and shaped and conformed to Jesus’ likeness (Romans 8:29). And here’s more good news– so are you. God’s not done with us, we are still being drawn and invited into relationship with him. Jesus served us first, and from that place  of being served by him, we can serve him and his Church. What God did for me was turn my focus from myself and toward Jesus. This may seem simple, but it is a monumental gift of change and transformation.

When our hearts are focused on Jesus we see his servanthood and selflessness, we see his love for the Church (Ephesians 5:25), we see the image to which we’re being conformed. This changes us because we join Jesus in his mission and work on the earth. This is the context in which this molding, shaping and transforming takes place. No matter where we’ve fallen or cracked, our Maker has a grand design and intention for us that is not yet complete. Rest in hope and turn your focus upward and outward. Let the Father change your narrow scope from simply today, to that of eternity.

Do you let past failures dictate your standing before God? If so, stop! Rejoice today that we are being made more like Jesus as we accept God’s invitation to join him in his work. He isn’t done with us yet.

What's Best


September 6-13, 2012 (Haiti)

My only prayer is to never forget this week and the people that touched my heart.


No Worries


Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  (Psalm 46:10 ESV)

The words “be still” mean literally to let go, to let drop, to relax, and to be quiet. For most of us stillness, silence, and serenity are difficult to find. Even when we are able to find it externally, it can still be difficult to cultivate stillness internally. Life is busy! It is not only tough to be still, but it is tough to make the time to be still. This whole idea of being still goes against what we naturally and culturally do. When our natural inclination is to step on the gas and go full speed ahead, God is often telling us to hit the brakes and be still. Our problem is that many times we view being still with God as inactivity.

However, the less we are still:

the less we hear God’s voice,

the less we recognize Gods’ activity,

the bigger our issues seem,

the smaller God appears,

and the more we operate according to our own agenda, wisdom, and power.

When was the last time you released the pressing issues in your life to God? When was the last time you relaxed in the presence of God? Can you set aside just a few minutes to “be still” before God today?

Proverbs 3:5


Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  But you were unwilling, (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)

We all live busy, hectic, modern lives. When we work, we work a lot. When we play, we go all out. When we are home, we have kids to take care of or school events to attend. When it comes to church, we could be at a service or small group every other day if we really wanted. It can be hard to put time aside from our eventful days to rest and be quiet before God as today’s Scripture instructs. And this gets even harder when a monkey wrench is thrown into our busy lives. This could be a death in the family, a rebellious child, the loss of a job, or anything at all that is unexpected. When any of these happen to us, our first response is often to set things back to “normal mode”. Who wouldn’t want to do this? We look for the plans of action necessary to set things in order and ask God to bless us along the way. We fall into the trap that action is the only solvent for the unexpected problems in life. When many times, we simply need to live as the Psalmist and “be still and know that [He is] God” Psalm 46:10. Our comfort won’t come from solving the issues alone, but knowing God and his ways during our busy life.

Begin taking 5 minutes out of your workday to be in a quiet place and rest in God. As we begin to make this a habit, we will understand its importance and remember to make more time during our busy lives for God.

Only God