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"Confess your faults one to another, and prayer one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16

One great concern storms and hurricanes pose is power outages. When the power is out, life can be difficult, at least uncomfortable. Your routine changes, your diet changes and even sleep is interrupted when the lights go off. The darkness bothers us even though our eyes are closed. You can board up the windows and tie down your possessions, but when the power is out, we lose our composure because we lose our control of daily routines. The world entices and creates in us a hunger for power. God though, recreates us and makes us dependent on power - His power. When God saves us, He places within our hearts a power station of irresistible grace called the Holy Spirit. This amazing source of redemptive resources enables us to become the people God ordained us to be; and, God has arranged our lives so that we don't have everything we want but all that we need. Actually, God mixes our life on earth with experiences and people to help us, to hurt us, to leave us, to love us, and to make us the people we were meant to be. He will not allow any person or experience to keep us from our destiny either. They may be bigger, stronger, and more powerful, but God knows how to get us where we're supposed to be - with Him! During this rocky road journey, as we travel through the maze of life, trekking through the sand and the mud, the valleys and hills, we can and do have power outages. The substation of His amazing grace can and often is short circuited by sin, doubts, and fears. Storms do happen! And when the wind blows it's hard to sleep. The power never leaves us, but we leave the power. There is a limb (a problem) on the line somewhere. Sometimes our power may be cut off temporarily, so someone else's power can be restored. Even the Apostle Paul experienced a power outage and his power was cut off so ours could be cut on.

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"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." II Corinthians 12:9

So Paul's problem, his disappointment, resulted in a temporary power outage. But this temporary power outage resulted in a much greater power surge from his sufficient grace substation. The Apostle seemed to be disappointed because his prayer wasn't answered. There is no such thing as an unanswered prayer for a believer though. The answer will be yes, no, or wait. God answers all his children's prayers. A Christian should never be out of sorts because he or she has the ear of their Heavenly Father. Disappointments are like trees that fall on power lines during storms. They can interrupt life and make for some uncomfortable living conditions. When we remember that God is sovereign and over all the storms, disappointments become divine appointments and the lights come on.

The first thing the Apostle Paul did after his conversion on the road to Damascus was pray.

"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Acts 9:6A

The first thing a Christian does after realizing who God is and what we are and what God has done for us is pray. One of the most powerful prayers that can be prayed is "Thank you God!" Prayer comes naturally, really supernaturally, to a born again believer. Prayer is like breathing, it is a response to the life of Christ within us; and, we can be sure when we sincerely desire to do what God wants us to do, we will pray. Prayer pleases God because it is the platform of faith. But not only does prayer please God, it pleases us too, because prayer is our power source which makes for contentment and sensitivity to the reality and the things of life that really matter. A day without prayer is a day without power and life without noticing our blessings. Really, God never intended for us to do anything without Him. (We absolutely cannot do one thing without Him, yet at times we think and act like we can.) How does it make you feel to know that you can't even pray without God prompting and enabling us to do it. God never intended for us to pray on our own. That's why He gave us His Holy Spirit. One of the purposes of the New Covenant is that God not only guarantees His faithfulness to His people, he also assures that His people will be faithful to Him. It is no more possible for a child of God not to pray than it is for a living person not to breathe. When the Bible says to "Pray without ceasing," it means if we don't pray, we die!

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How is your prayer life? We all know that we want to put God first in our lives. After all, He died for us and He knew that what He must do on Calvary for us was going to be so horrific and hurt so much that He prayed before He did it.

"And he went a little farther and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39

Prayer strengthens us because our spirit responds to God, through the Son, by His Spirit confirming that we want what God wants. Prayer is the plug-in to God's grace that helps us face what we have to face. We should always remember to pray hardest when it's hardest to pray. That's what Jesus did; He prayed so hard that blood dropped from His eyes, preparing Him to please His Father and save His people, by the blood flowing from His side.

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If we neglect our prayer life, we will neglect God, others and ourselves. Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: Love, prayer and forgiveness. All three are wonderful and are desperately needed, but prayer opens the breaker to the power of love and forgiveness. Now, if you are not sure of the quality or sincerity of your prayer life, ask someone else, someone who loves you and if they really love you, they can tell and will tell you how it is. If it's true, and it is, that "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he" then it is also true that as a man prays, so is he.

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A few months ago, Penny told me one night that she was concerned about my breathing while sleeping. She said she noticed that I would go for several seconds without taking a breath, then gasp and even jerk as I caught my breath. (She also had told me long ago that I snored). I realized too that I hadn't gotten into a deep sleep in a long time and that some nights I would wake up several times with an increased heart rate. So, when I visited my family doctor, I told him what my wife and I had noticed regarding sleep. After taking a home sleep test and survey, he prescribed a CPAP machine. I really had a tough time adjusting to wearing an artificial headgear and mouthpiece at first. I think just the thought of it bothered me more than anything. But from the very first night I have rested more and slept deeper. It was a lot easier for me to adjust to this foreign device when I compared it to prayer. When I stop breathing, my CPAP breathes for me, likewise, when I stop praying, God's spiritual CPAP takes over. Something foreign gets right on our face and blows grace right into our hearts. God really does much more than we can imagine or expect. The best rest we'll ever get is completely surrendering our burdens to the Lord as we humbly, but confidently enter the throne room of prayer in conversing with God. Yes, prayer is God's way of pumping His miracle making power into our souls so that we can bear the strain of human need in this sin cursed world. And you know what, once you get into serious, fervent, honest prayer time with God, you will never want to stop the conversation. Actually, my concern during the warnings for hurricane Dorian was that a power outage might mean sleeping without my CPAP (Prayer Device). Even though we have generators and I have a son-in-law expert electrician, God's CPAC never loses power. If you doubt that, just wait until your next calamity comes, and see if you don't pray. Sometimes I think God allows tragedies and problems to touch our lives and the lives or our loved ones, just to keep us praying. There will be no atheists in the ER, the maternity lobby, nor the funeral home parlor.

Two things we ought to do are: believe in the power of prayer and believe that God answers prayer. You don't have to have a special theological, poetic, alphabetic approach to prayer either. You just let your spirit inner man talk to God. (That means you pour out your heart to God). Empty it all out, the hurt, the praise, the gratitude, the bitterness, even the anger. That's what casting your burdens is about. It's about naked prayer from a beggar.

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7

Don't feel inadequate or bad if you are not comfortable praying in public either. The Pharisee in Luke eighteen liked to pray out loud in public, but Jesus heard the silent cries of the publican. A season of silence may be the best preparation for speech with God. The main thing is that we meet with the Lord personally each day so that we go through the day with a sense of His presence.

Every morning pray because God allowed you to wake up to see another day. No matter what others may think or say, you pray! Remember, if our lives make sense to the world, then we are not living in the power of prayer. Take a deep breath and note the power of prayer.

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Since the power of prayer is in the one who hears and not in the one doing the talking, our prayers are powerful and they do great things. When we have a work to do, we may ask for God's guidance and do the work, but when we pray, God works and when God works, things happen. The power of prayer is the only power that overcomes the laws of nature. Joshua once prayed for the sun to stand still and the sun stood still!

"And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies." Joshua 10:13A

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The centurion believed that his servant could be healed by Jesus speaking the word only. He believed that Jesus had so much authority that all He had to do was say the word. First John chapter one and the ninth verse says that if we confess our sins (That's prayer) God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all trespasses (That's promoting God's promise).

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Corrie ten Boom said that any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into burden. God is a very present help in time of trouble and prayer highlights His presence. The world and our worries will pull us in all directions, but prayer helps us to look in the right direction - up. Just think of it, just one prayer could change your life forever! When trouble comes, the best remedy for stress, pain and failure is prayer.

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Prayer is the most powerful weapon against trials and temptations. It is the best medicine against sickness. I read recently an article that interviewed a medical surgeon who said he had experienced several cases of terminally ill patients being healed and that he attributed their healing primarily to prayer. Prayer is the most valuable gift you can give to someone you love because it gets them through the hurt and hard places.

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Prayer enables us to take a step toward God. As His grace draws us and His voice speaks to us, it comes with courage to follow His calling. At that moment of grace, we shut out the lies of the world and recognize the only One who can help us. Prayer should open the gate of our day and it should secure our fears at night. When we pray to God, we tap into the great reservoir of the river of God that flows in our hearts and that will never go dry.

So although we may need better health, more money, a friend, a job, or understanding, what we need most is to pray. There may be people who need changing, churches that need changing and risks that need chancing, but it all begins with us and it starts when we pray. Sometimes, all it takes is a prayer!

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Brother Randy


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