Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Concert of Prayer

Yes, ANOTHER post on prayer.  Simply because I'm learning so much about it and this past Saturday I had an opportunity to go to something called the Concert of Prayer.  It was a gathering of churches in the Delmarva region (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) for prayer and worship to our Savior.  The atmosphere was electric with everyone crying out to God and just laying everything down before His feet.  We did quite a lot of praying for our Nation as well and we are in dire need of even more.  My favorite speaker of the day was Pastor Jackson Seyonga.  This man has a powerful ministry in Uganda; pastoring a church of over 16,000.  He has many other ministries but his message on the effectiveness of prayer was awesome.  He used the story of Elijah and the altar to illustrate what he said.  Four points he made were:

Effective Prayer
  1. Effective prayer begins with the right relationship with God
  2. You have to be prepared to do what you've never done before
  3. Mix your prayer with sacrifice
  4. Focus on the finished work at Calvary

The last point "Focus on the finished work at Calvary" was something particularly interesting because of what he compared it to.  When Elijah sacrificed the animal to God the blood of it mixed with the water he had poured in the trenches.  This resembling Christ's side being pierced at the crucifixion.  Another side of the story that many people (at least I didn't) never think about is the amount of times he poured the water on the altar and the number of stones he used to build it.  Elijah asked the priests of the idol gods to pour 4 jugs of water on the alter 3 different times.  This number is the same number of stones used to build it; 12.  Both were representing the 12 tribes of Israel.  You can see here that Elijah was very intentional with what he did, which brings me to the point that you should ALWAYS be intentional with your prayers.  If you don't believe that God will answer them then you have no faith and your prayers are wasted.  If there is no purpose behind them then you're better off not praying at all.  Always remember that nothing on the altar is wasted...so be faithful and be intentional.

The last point that I want to make is that when praying, it always helps to pray at the right time.  As Christians we are given the word and all different forms of communication with God (as I shared in "The In's and Out's of Prayer") but something else we can do is wait on the Lord to know when the right time to ask something of God is.  We can pray all we want to, but if we are not in tune with our walk with God and faithful to Him then we can not expect Him to meet our needs.  Elijah waited until nightfall.  This was the time that all sacrifices were made to God and the heavens were opened to receive them.  As you see here, Elijah was once again very intentional with what he did.

As Christians we must be prayer warriors, praying consistently and we must pray in faith.  Praying with expectancy instead of apathy.

"It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray - but we must pray patiently, believingly continue in prayer...to continue in prayer unto the end.  We have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers.  Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained and in not expecting the blessing."  - George Muller    

**Picture of Jackson and his wife Eve at top**                                                                                       

Weights Weights and more...Cardio

Yeah you guessed right.  This week for my body shop I did more weight training and cardio.  The two big things I talked about on my last post.

1. What I did this week: Weight training, Cardio, and Core work
2. How long:  One hour of cardio and two hours of weights
3. Health Benefits:  I will continue to get stronger and build endurance as well.  I'll be able to do more for longer and it will keep all in all keep me in shape.

The Romanian Deadlift...crucial

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The In's and Out's of Prayer (The Basics)

I go to a ministry school called Mission Baltimore.  It is a school fully dedicated to the gospel of Christ and molding Christians into future leaders in the field of ministry.  So, it should come as no surprise  that we are always learning new things.  Sometimes it can be something complex that I really have to pull apart and other times it is the simplest of things that make the biggest impact in our minds.

During our Prayer 101 class this week (a class that teaches us the vastness of what prayer really is)  I learned 4 reasons why people don't pray.

4 Reasons People Don't Pray

  1. People are not sure HOW to pray
  2. They get easily bored or distracted when trying to pray due to the Enemy (Satan)
  3. They think that their request is too SMALL for God (This comes from a lack of biblical perspective of who they are in Christ)
  4. They are not sure their prayers will make a difference
Prayer is simply communicating with God.  Talking to God should be an intimate conversation with our Lord and Savior.  Conversation here meaning that it should go two ways.  Yes you pray to Him but there should also be silence for you to listen to His still small voice speak to you through his Holy Spirit.

Ways God Speaks
  • Prayer
  • Church
  • Bible
  • Circumstance
Something important to remember is that other people can become your gods.  Yes, OTHER people can separate us from the goal and God's love.  We tend to think that only objects and activities can become our Idols but that is untrue.  If you talk and spend time with other people more than you spend time with God you are making them your idols or gods.  You are potentially just praying to them instead of God.  Remember!  If you cut even one of these off, you are cutting off one channel God uses to speak to you!

Definitely something to chew on.  Take these last 4 ways to communicate with God and see if it changes your prayer life.

4 Simple Ways to Communicate With God

  1. Talk to God with gut-level honesty
  2. Talk to God about everything
  3. Talk to God continually
  4. Listen for his response

The Goal

Now that body shop for Mission Baltimore has become a personal endeavor I can finally fit some weight training into the equation!  And man did I miss it.  Of course you always have to throw cardio in there (the most boring always being the most important) to stay in shape; so I have to keep up with that too but all in all I like this.  I'm trying to push myself hard for my goal of weighing in at 185lbs and keeping it that way.  I'm around 240lbs now so I have about 55 to go.  I'm excited to get there.

What I did this week - Weight training including things like benching, front and back squats, dips, triceps and threw in some core work as well.  Always gotta work the core!  Extremely important!  Don't wanna keep that stomach flabby if you're getting everything else right! haha  I also ran a few miles this week as well. (The boring I was talking about earlier)

Now I look nothing like this guy...but I thought I'd show what a squat looks like for anyone who didn't know.  I do hope to achieve this eventually though.  Work Work Work!

How Long - Total of three hours; two of weight training and one of cardio

Health Benefits - These workouts will make me stronger, not only in general but also in focused areas.  The cardio will help build my endurance so I can push farther the next time.  Combined with weight training and done right it can be a monster for losing weight and staying in shape.  I just have to keep up with it!  It's also best to work big muscle groups for faster results...but I can't go easy on myself.  The key is to give all I've got all the way through.