#MyStory :: Corbin Pearce - Making Connections Through Serving

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In October I ended up serving at Winter Relief, although it was not quite my plan for the night. I came for the youth Bible study, but it was cancelled because the church was hosting the Winter Relief guests. I decided to go up to where Winter Relief was happening and I met a man with a really heartbreaking story. He told me about how he loved to work. He explained to me that his son was a heroin addict, and his life had gone downhill. He used to be a great student, physically fit, and very smart. He could have been a programmer and had a good life. Instead, addiction had destroyed his life, and he was living on the streets.

This man told me he was working so he could get his son off the streets. Every day he would give him money so he could rent a hotel room, or buy food. Of course, addiction tends to affect priorities so the money would often go to drugs instead of housing. Still, there wasn’t much else this man could do, every day he could he would bring his son to the addiction treatment center, but if he didn’t want to join the program, no one could make him.

So, here was a father who was just doing everything he could to give his son a chance to recover his life, even at his own expense. It vaguely reminded me of the prodigal son; his father didn’t care what he was wrapped up in, he only wanted his son to be okay. As I listened to this man talk, more and more I wanted to pray for him. This was kind of a new and weird experience for me, because I’m not the best at praying for people and I get nervous about praying in public. But God wouldn’t take away the feeling I was having that I had to pray for him. Eventually I asked him if I could pray for him and his son.

Lately I’ve been in a lonely spot in life, and that’s made life depressing for me. When I started praying with this man though, it was really strange…I felt like I suddenly had a real connection with someone. In that short moment I wasn’t lonely. Having that common relationship and trust in God, and having the willingness to call on him together brought us closer in that moment, and that destroyed my loneliness.

It seems to me that when we connect with other people and do what God is calling us to do, we can feel more fulfilled and happier.

Prayer Is The Window Through "Impossible!"

Prayer is the window

Too often we confuse magic with prayer. Magic is instant. Magic is showy, we just kind of wave a wand and it happens -but that's not supernatural!

Prayer is for THROUGH and not around!

Prayer is the window through, but we want around! So many of us, on our journey, have been stopped by Satan because we prayed about something and God didn't lead us around. I gotta tell you, God rarely does around!

God does through, and this is what we see in all of the life of Jesus!

Have we missed the heart of how God works? God is not an around God, He's a through God! Go back and read Luke 22:39-46, and look how Jesus had to go through every moment of the crucifixion.

You can't get to the resurrection without going through the cross!

You can't get to heaven without going through the hardship of a broken world!

And the truth is, we need to come back to through and understand that Daniel had to go through being dropped into rocks in a stinking cave in Daniel verse 6:16. And I know that because in the end, it tells us they had to lift him up out of the cave!

Daniel prays: and God's salvation and deliverance is not to have the king change his mind or to have Daniel avoid being dropped in a hole! Daniel's prayer didn't resolve impossible before he faced it, but as the clock ticked, moment by moment, through, through, through -Daniel prayed!

Then after all of this comes the question of the ages: “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20

Guys, at some point and 100 times over, you're going to have to decide in your life -Is God able? Is my God able? Will I trust him and will I pray "through?"

Will I believe that the impossible isn't?
No matter how things look to my eyes?
No matter how things sound to my ears?
No matter how things feel to my senses?

No matter how huge the storm is on my emotions, I will open the window of prayer and see through it all and see my Savior, Jesus Christ, who showed that the way through impossible is to a resurrection! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Praying as a Family

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“They all joined together constantly in prayer.” Acts 1:14

People often have an idealized idea of what praying as a family should look like. In a perfect world, praying with children would be easy. We would sit around the table with our well behaved children (who would have perfectly clean faces and perfectly ironed clothes), we would all hold hands and bow our heads, and even the youngest would remain quiet during this time of intersession with God.

But is this obviously not a perfect world, and I don’t know about your family, but my kids are loud. They usually have the remnants of their most recent meal on their clothes and they rarely sit still for anything other than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. My house is one monkey short of being a circus. So it can be a struggle to find, or more importantly, make time to teach our young ones to talk to Jesus. But find that time we must

When I was in college I went on a mission trip to East Africa. Our group spent months preparing for this trip. We would get together as a group to learn about the people we would meet and learn about their culture. We practiced how to speak to a group using an interpreter and we had amazing prayer meetings. One of my favorite things we would do during the prayer meetings is, we would pray with our eyes open, we would pray as if God were a tangible person sitting in the room with us. It felt strange at first, certainly not how I prayed when I was growing up, but it taught me that prayer can happen at anytime in any place. My understanding of prayer grew. It showed me another way that prayer can be an extremely intimate and powerful act of group worship.

I have taken this approach and applied it to my own “group”. My family.

My children have a tendency to be intimidated by the thought of talking to The Lord. They think there are certain words to say, a specific way to pray. While I want them to have an attitude of reverence and awe, I also want them to understand that they are God’s children and he delights in them. Even when they thank him for every single one of their favorite toys and it takes 5 minutes to list them all. I want them to simply get used to talking to God, whether that be around the table thanking him for our food or telling him about their Barbies and dinosaurs.

5 Ways to Pray as a Family

 

1. Set aside intentional time to pray together.

Set aside a regular time to pray with your kids or spouse. For my family, this is usually while we are driving to school in the morning or before bed at night. Praying for their safety at school, praying for the teachers and their friends is a great way to kick off the day. At night, we pray once everyone is in bed. The kids will (hopefully) be starting to settle down and it just seems like a natural time for children to open up and talk about whats on their hearts.

2. Pray spontaneously.

If you see a car accident, say a prayer out loud for those involved. If your kids are testing your patience, stop and let them hear you telling God how much you love them even when your tired and frustrated. If you can’t find the car keys, say a quick prayer together about it.

3. Let them see you pray on your own.

Get on your knees in front of your couch, let them see what it looks like to be in communication with the Lord throughout the day. You set the tone and the example for your children in your home.

4. Make a prayer chart or jar.

Make a chart and keep it in a visible place in the house or make a prayer jar. Get a jar or mug and fill it with strips of paper with people and things to pray about. Keep it on the kitchen table, during dinner take turns praying about whatever topic is picked. 

5. Give thanks for answered prayer.

Make a point to give thanks and celebrate answered prayer. Its important for children to understand that God answers prayers.

 

Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we can communicate with the Lord, and helping our children understand that and participating as a family is an amazing blessing.

Prayer Is The Way The Lost Get Found

Jeremiah 37

Father loves the lost, and prayer is the way the lost get found. 

When we pray, God does something in us and something through us! 
When we pray, we enter into the presence of God and if you go there often enough and you pray with all of your heart, and if you do not give up, you will be changed through prayer! 

Cold can't come into the presence of hot and not become warm. You cannot bring your life, with all of its pain, into the presence of healing without being healed! You cannot bring hopelessness into the presence of immeasurable hope without hope alighting in your life!

Physical battles are fought in physical ways that require knowledge and insight. 

Spiritual battles are fought in ways that require even more knowledge and insight and the truth is that in the battle of the ages between heaven and hell, between lost and saved, we know the enemy's battle plan! 

We know how Satan keeps people lost. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says,  "The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

They don't understand the message about the glory of Christ who is the exact likeness of God and so in a world where God has come, people say "where is God?" In a world in which love has demonstrated itself in the most sacrificial, selfless way imaginable we say "where is love?"

Why? Because Satan has blinded them. 

So now we know the enemy's battle plan but if we will start regularly and faithfully specifically praying for lost people - they will be saved! I believe we will see a supernatural wave of faith rising in the salvation of hundreds of men and women and boys and girls because no one is unreachable -no one!  

You know, it's not a coincidence that God chose Saul (the Apostle Paul) to be the twelfth replacement disciple! It's not a coincidence that God chose the hardest head. The furthest out, most radical opponent of Christianity in the day and said, "I'm going to show you the power of the Gospel. I'm going to take the person that you would say would never bear my name and he's going to bear my name most beautifully and brilliantly over all!" (Paraphrased)   That wasn't for no reason that God did that. And so I just want to say to you that no one is unreachable! 

Jeremiah 32:27 says, "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, is anything too hard for me?" And the answer is no! 

When we pray God works in us and changes us and then when we pray, God changes external reality as well. Prayer is the way the lost get found and when we become a house of prayer and we pray for lost people, we will begin to see many men and women and boys and girls come to know Jesus in ways that we have not seen before and it will be the power of God's Spirit doing this -because we prayed! -Dr. Drew Shofner 

It’s Always Something, Isn't It?

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The day starts with the best of intentions. You tell yourself in the most convincing manner possible that today is the day. You will absolutely find the time. You will have the most amazing prayer time ever.

Then its off to the races.

Your feet hit the floor running.

There’s no looking back.

The day ends.

You have no idea why you failed.

Maybe you did put on the breaks, briefly.

You sat quietly.

Took several deep breathes.

30 seconds later you were either snoozing or task list checking.

What happened?

One word…distractions.

They are Satan’s answer to keeping us from God!

“How can I keep from being distracted?” is not a new question but many of the distractions today are new.

There are really only two types of distractions. When we figure out what works to control them, prayer can and will become a beautiful part of our relationship with God. First we will look at environmental distractions and then internal thoughts distractions.

It’s not headline news that we all have a lot of activities in our lives. Family, work, home, friends, church, volunteering, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the list goes on and on. Although we do have commitments in many of these areas, the key is putting the commitment to God at the top of that list. Three specific steps will work to minimize the distractions around us for a productive prayer time:

Turn OFF all the screens:

This means actually turning them off and tuning them out. Yours and anyone near you. There is nothing that you can possibly be missing during your prayer time that’s more important then God.

Schedule a specific time and location:

Knowing when and where prayer time will be spent makes it a priority. Something come up? Just like any other important appointment reschedule.

Be intentional everyday:

Top priority tasks get done. Enough said!

These steps are half the challenge. Internal distractions are the next obstacle.

According to an article in Phycology Today about distractions in our mind, “It's not negotiable: there's no way not to be distracted by distractions.”

That’s encouraging!

The good news is it was reported in The Telegraph that a 2016 study concluded, “Intelligent people may find it difficult to focus the mind because of all the amazing ideas constantly running through their genius brains.”

That explains everything, right?

Bottom line is that everyone battles distractions. There are things we can do to control our thoughts and bring our focus to God. Each of us is unique. We each need to try various methods to find what works for us. Trying one or more of these suggested approaches may get you to that amazing prayer time.

Have a plan:

Consider using the ACTS approach - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. You can read more on this approach  at billygraham.org/answer/how-does-one-pray-ive-never-been-taught-how-to-say-a-personal-prayer-or-really-talk-to-god/

Force focus:

Either write out your prayer or say your prayer out loud. These approaches force your mind to stay on task.

Prepare your mind: 

Try listening to or singing a favorite worship song, reading a prayer from book of Psalm, or reciting a prayer such as The Serenity Prayer.

Group prayer:

Consider soliciting others to pray with you. Share requests and take turns praying out loud.

 

These are just a few ideas. Try these and others. Most importantly don’t give up until you have found your prayer sweet spot.

Be committed, be intentional, and prayer will be amazing.

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