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August 2008 entries

Thoughts on Prayer

I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately. Here are some things I've been mulling around in my grey matter.

 One of the critical activities of every believer’s life is prayer. It is also one of the most misunderstood.

Prayer is listed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17  as a continual activity in our daily walk. It reads:

16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,

However, Most of the time there is no certain confirmation when we pray that we have even been heard.  We pray in faith that somehow our words cross a bridge between visible and invisible worlds, penetrating a realm of which we have no proof.

Why do we pray? Prayer is more than just a transaction with God. It is not just a way of getting something from God.

When prayer is just bargaining with God it becomes more duty than joy. It becomes a must do rather than an opportunity. It diminishes to an awkward religious exercise to alleviate the guilt experienced if it isn’t done.

Prayer is not a way of getting God’s attention, but focusing our attention on God.

Then, how do we focus our attention on God’s presence in our prayers rather than ourselves? We follow the pattern that Jesus taught His disciples. We begin with “Our Father Who are in heaven, holy is your name…”

Praying Against the Darkness

It has been a few days since I returned with 4 others from Malta. Malta seems to be one of those places everyone has heard of they just don't seem to remember where or why. It has a tremendously interesting history going back thousands of years. There is the oldest free-standing temple in the world on the island that pre-dates Stonehenge by 1,000 years. While there my team attended a festival where the church was celebrating its 600 year anniversary. If you ever saw the movie "Gladiator" it was filmed on Malta. The Grand Harbor is the deepest natural harbor in the world where Allied ships sailed into during WWII.

I could go on and on about the country, but the real treasure is the people. They are kind and helpful. It seems they have not changed in 2,000 years since Paul was shipwrecked on their island. He described them as very friendly and hospitable as well. They are also very religious. When Paul shook a poisonous snake off his hand into the fire the Maltese began to worship him as a god. They are very superstitious. Even to the point of painting eyes on their fishing boats to scare away evil spirits. Roman Catholicism is the most dominant influence on the island. The people go so far as to celebrate the sinless life and ascension of Saint Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is so revered our team rejoiced whenever we saw a statue of Jesus higher on the side ot the church than Mary. Some cathedrals were almost devoid of pictures of Jesus while they were filled with icons of Mary. They refer to her as the "Queen of Heaven" and are petitioning Rome to make her "Co-Redemptress" along with Jesus.

It is heartbreaking to see such kind people be so terribly blinded to the truth of God's Word. One lady told us when she converted to Christianity (Yes they differentiate between Catholicism and Christianity) her family dis-owned her. Another said that if she read the Bible for herself she was told by her mother she would go mad.

While I was there I was asked to pray for the people. I did, but God impressed upon me to pray in another way as well. I felt impressed to pray against the forces of darkness. I remembered the words of Paul who said "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood." I prayed against the principalities and powers of darkness that had plunged these wonderful people into a spiritual midnight of the soul. I became keenly aware that the enemy uses different tactics in different cultures according to his schemes. While we have been lulled into spiritual apathy in America,  the Maltese are very religious but lost. Would you join with me and pray against the spiritual powers that have the citizens of Malta cloaked in spiritual darkness? If you ever have the chance to travel with me or other teams traveling to Malta from Dallas Bay over the next several years I hope you will go. I want you to pray for these people as well. What a great victory it would be for the Kingdom if there were many people led out of idolatry into grace by the power of prayer. I'll talk with you soon.

In His Shadow,

Pastor Ken           

Leaving for Malta

I'm taking a break from packing long enough to drop you all a note. Tomorrow morning (early in the morning, 5:30 to be exact) I have to be at the airport. I am going with 4 others from Dallas Bay to meet about 30 Tennessee Baptists in London to fly on to Malta. Dallas Bay has signed a 5 year agreement with the missionaries on this island nation to assist themsharing the gospel. We are going this time to just get acquainted with the island and the people. We'll be doing prayer walks all over the island for several days. The last time I traveled overseas I tried to keep up with my laptop. That was such a hassle I've decided to leave it behind this time. So I'll not be blogging for about a week. Hopefully, when you hear from me again I will have some beautiful pictures to share. Be sure to pray for our team while we are gone. Talk with you soon.

Pastor Ken