April 12: Honest Praying

Harold Vaughan
Harold Vaughan

Not only had Peter denied the Lord multiple times, they all forsook Him. Despite their pledges of undying loyalty, they had done their absolute best and utterly failed!

Their dreams were dashed. Their preconceived notions had been demolished. Yet they huddled together in that Upper Room. No longer were they vying for the seat at Jesus’ right hand. Their aspirations for greatness had given way to brokenness and humility. Self-seeking was over and God-seeking was their singular desire.

What would motivate these devastated men and women to wait on the Lord in a ten-day prayer meeting? Here we find the soul of all heart-felt prayer: A SENSE OF NEED! Before the crucifixion, they could not even watch one hour. But now they are spiritually wide awake and persevering in prayer for ten days!

No doubt they did own up to their personal failures during this prolonged season of prayer. Is there any doubt that they spent a good amount of time lamenting and confessing their sins? I can hear them individually and collectively “taking the witness stand against their own hearts” and agreeing with God. I don’t believe for a moment that this was a casual prayer time.

After they had cleared themselves, they were ready to get down to the business of crying out to God for the next step.

This article is used by permission from Harold Vaughan. After graduating from Bible College in 1979, Harold Vaughan immediately began full-time evangelism. To date, Christ Life Ministries has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Shortly after entering full-time evangelism in 1979, Harold and his wife Debbie were married. Debbie works in the CLM office and maintains their home. During the Revival Summits she ministers with the children ages 4-9 in a nightly Kid’s Klub. Harold and Debbie have three grown sons. Michael and his wife, Laura have two children – John and Asa. Brandon and his wife Ashley have three children – Sara, Hope and Noah. Stephen married his wife, Emily in 2015.

April 11: The Key to Revival

Harold Vaughan
Harold Vaughan

When Jesus left earth, all He left behind was a prayer meeting. In fact, it was an Upper Room prayer meeting. His sole strategy to impact the planet was limited to a handful of distressed disciples in an Upper Room. These humble beginnings were the springboard to Pentecost. What took place in the Upper Room would determine the course and destiny of the early church. Since everything in the Bible is recorded for our learning, there is no question that we can discover things there that will help us here. So what kind of praying took place in the Upper Room?

Obedient Praying

Jesus told his followers “Not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father.” The word used here is a military term. He literally “charged them” to wait and abide in prayer. Essentially, Jesus commanded them to pray. They waited in prayer and the fire fell!

No revival has ever taken place apart from obedience. Obedience is instantly doing all God tells me to do with the right attitude. What about it? Is there something you know you should do, but have yet to act on it? Is there a prompting you have neglected? A word waiting to be spoken? A witness that needs to be given? A violated conscience which needs to be cleared? A forgiveness that should be granted? An apology which needs to be made? A gift of encouragement to someone in need?

Obedience may not be convenient, but it is always profitable. God has chosen to work in unison with His people. Had the 120 failed to “wait” and “pray,” things would have turned out differently. This is why some things can be put off, but obedience cannot!

God desires a praying people and a praying church. The duty of prayer is inferred throughout the entire Bible. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Th. 5:17). Paul exhorted, “Praying always with all prayer” (Eph. 5:18). Jesus’ central definition of the church is a house of prayer.

Obedience brings blessing. The Pentecostal fire landed on those who were walking in the light they had received. God’s power came to those who obediently prepared their hearts. They were not laid back in their theological easy chairs. They were not analyzing, theorizing, or criticizing; they were busy on their knees.

This article is used by permission from Harold Vaughan. After graduating from Bible College in 1979, Harold Vaughan immediately began full-time evangelism. To date, Christ Life Ministries has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Shortly after entering full-time evangelism in 1979, Harold and his wife Debbie were married. Debbie works in the CLM office and maintains their home. During the Revival Summits she ministers with the children ages 4-9 in a nightly Kid’s Klub. Harold and Debbie have three grown sons. Michael and his wife, Laura have two children – John and Asa. Brandon and his wife Ashley have three children – Sara, Hope and Noah. Stephen married his wife, Emily in 2015.

April 10: Can Prayer make a difference today?

Harold Vaughan
Harold Vaughan

We’ve looked at writings on prayer from leaders of the past, and at prayer revivals in the past. This week we’ll be sharing some thoughts on prayer from a contemporary, Harold Vaughan, director of Christ Life Ministries (http://www.christlifemin.org). God may not bring nationwide revival like he did in New York in 1857, but He can and does still bring personal revival. Let’s see what Brother Vaughan has to say:

I was asked by a friend to write an article about the Prayer Advances. It all started back in the late 1980’s when an evangelist friend and I decided we needed to start the New Year off on our knees in a season of prayer. As we thought about this, it dawned on us that there might be some pastors who would like to join us. We put the word out and were surprised when about 30 pastors invested three days dedicated to preaching and praying. Those early years were seasons of brokenness and refreshing. We did not announce any special speakers and the only attraction was God Himself!

After a few years the thought came that some of the pastors might want to bring some of their key men to join them. About 150 men registered for the first year as we transitioned from the Pastor’s Prayer Advance to the Men’s Prayer Advance. Attendance virtually doubled in each of the two years following. We maxed out that facility with about 500 men. The atmosphere was electrified with intensity. The congregational singing was so powerful that men would burst out in tears when they entered the auditorium. I remember over fifty men lined up to use the pay phone so they could call home and clear their consciences with their wives. In those days we went after sin with a vengeance. Bunyan said, “When preaching the gospel, shoot to kill!” We preached for revival, not about revival. The “no holds” barred approach to dealing with sin made the Advance unique.

The Advances begin on Thursday afternoon with two preaching sessions. After dinner we train the group leaders on How to Have a REAL REVIVAL Prayer Meeting or what we later came to label Spiritual C.P.R (Confession, Praise, and Requests). The leaders were instructed to lead their groups in three rounds of prayer. Round one was Confession of Sin only. “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). There is no need to pray if God is not listening, so the first thing to do is get the ear of God by agreeing with God about our sins. The second round of prayer is Praise. God loves to be appreciated and praised. After owning up to personal failures by name, people are prone to get excited and lavish exuberant praise on the Lord Jesus for the cleansing power of His Blood! Confession gets the ear of God. Praise blesses the heart of God. Now we are ready to move into the third round of prayer which is Requests or intercession. We found that Openness leads to Brokenness which leads to Oneness. When God is at work and manifesting His powerful presence, no price is too great to pay. God resists the proud but He gives grace to the humble.

I recall one Thursday night, I decided to walk down the hallway of the Cedar Crest motel (a lodge at the Conference Center) after the preaching service. As I walked through the corridor of that 40 room building, I would pause in front of each door. That night I stood and listened through the closed doors as men were crying out to God from the bottom of their hearts. These men were not saying their prayers, they were praying their prayers! Door after door I heard men taking the witness stand against their own hearts while sobbing in the Presence of God. I was so moved I could hardly contain myself. This was breaking up of the fallow ground like I had seldom seen.

Friday mornings we have another preaching session followed by the Sweet Hour of Prayer. During the Sweet Hour of Prayer men are instructed not to speak to anyone but God for the whole hour. They are sent off alone with a brochure, Bible, and open heart to find a place where they can pray out loud. Some men, and even pastors, commented that this was the first time they had ever spent an hour with God in prayer. Some skipped lunch because they found God’s presence sweeter than food. Their hunger for God exceeded their physical appetite. These men came back with radiant faces and cleansed hearts. Year after year men would comment that the Sweet Hour of Prayer was the best part of the Prayer Advance. Testimonies of men getting right, getting saved and getting revived thrilled our hearts!

Friday afternoon is scheduled with two more preaching sessions. We bring men in from foreign countries and the States who have a special touch of God upon their lives. I cannot begin to explain the congregational singing, especially on Friday nights! Revived people sing from the bottom of their hearts. What will heaven be like when multiplied millions of redeemed sinners are singing to the Lamb in the midst of the throne!!!! In revival eternity is brought to bear upon time, and being right with God is ALL THAT MATTERS. People who are forgiven much love much, and you can sense the indescribable joy of cleansed souls singing to the Lord with unbridled praise.

After the Friday evening service we have another Half Night of Prayer. Church groups huddle and pray together. What a freedom it is to be in a place of honest transparency. Some groups have prayed through the night until five o’clock in the morning.

Then on Saturday morning we have two more messages, sing the Doxology, and send the men home on a mission. Armed with tracts, a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, and a determination to obey God, the men head for home. I cannot begin to tell you of the impact these men had on their homes, churches, and workplaces. Wives began to call in and say, “What did you do to my husband?” Of course we knew that God had done something for these men and no human could account for the impact. Consciences would be cleared. Obedience’s were acted upon. Relationships were restored. The women began calling and asking that we would have a Ladies’ Prayer Advance. They wanted the same things their husbands were getting. They would plead, “Please don’t change a thing.” They did not want “Susie Homemaker” sessions – they wanted industrial strength revival truth. Parents are always encouraged to bring their children, and many did and still do. A few years later we held the first Student Prayer Advance.

I recall one Advance when the Spirit of God fell on the congregation after the message. Instantly men fell on their knees without any human prompting. At least 90% of these men were weeping aloud. There was no piano playing and no Altar Call. No one was in any shape to speak. For the next hour men remained on their knees as God turned the hearts of the fathers to their children. God high-jacked the schedule and we prayed through the next session. By the way, you know revival has come when the clock is crucified! Time does not exist in revival. We did not sleep much, but no one cared.

In the early years we had a man come and give the report on The Canadian Revival. At the end of the service one evening, he set a chair in the middle of the stage. He then informed us that if any man had a need and wanted to be prayed for he could come and kneel in front of that chair. The man would state his need or confess his sin. Men would come and kneel by him as he broke his heart talking to God about his need. Then the men kneeling with him would cry out to God for his deliverance. Would you believe that men were running to get on what was later dubbed the “Hot Seat?!” That year a lawyer, an engineer, a doctor, and two salesmen were among those who were so affected that they changed their careers and surrendered to vocational ministry! Looking back, my heart is filled with amazement and gratitude for God’s mercy.

Our Men’s Prayer Advance in January 2008 was the largest to date. Men gathered from across America and the United Kingdom to seek God’s face. While many of the previous Advances were characterized with unspeakably deep conviction of sin, this Advance was supercharged with faith, hope, and encouragement. One pastor, who attended for the first time with ten men, called and gave me the details of what happened in his church. One of his Sunday School teachers was so overcome on Sunday following the Advance that he could not teach. Some in the choir were so overwhelmed that the choir could not rehearse, much less sing in the morning service. The pastor was moved to the point he could not preach. People began to testify and respond. The same thing happened that night. After the Advance a policeman asked his captain if he could pray before they went out on patrol. When his superior granted permission, this policeman fell on his knees and began to cry out to God. He thought his fellow policemen would throw things at him or mock him. To his surprise they were moved to a point of stunned silence. This policeman called his pastor and said he wanted to pray with him Monday night. The pastor said yes. Then he said he wanted to pray with him at his home. That night over a dozen people showed up to pray!

I don’t believe in Prayer Retreats. We have retreated too long. It’s time to stop backing up and start going forward! Many have attended an Advance and gone home and started their own Prayer Advances. Praise the Lord for anointed men of vision who have the burden to move our generation toward God for personal and corporate revival.

A. J. Gordon said, “To arouse one man or woman to the tremendous power of prayer for others, is worth more than the combined activity of a score of average Christians.” Amen, Brother Gordon! Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts.

This article is used by permission from Harold Vaughan. After graduating from Bible College in 1979, Harold Vaughan immediately began full-time evangelism. To date, Christ Life Ministries has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Shortly after entering full-time evangelism in 1979, Harold and his wife Debbie were married. Debbie works in the CLM office and maintains their home. During the Revival Summits she ministers with the children ages 4-9 in a nightly Kid’s Klub. Harold and Debbie have three grown sons. Michael and his wife, Laura have two children – John and Asa. Brandon and his wife Ashley have three children – Sara, Hope and Noah. Stephen married his wife, Emily in 2015.

April 9: Praying Couples – the best protection against divorce!

As a recently married man, I’ve seen too many friends experience the pains of divorce. Did you know that prayer is the best way to protect your marriage against divorce?

A recent survey concluded that 80 percent of relationships in which the couples were living together without marriage vows end in separation. Sixty percent off those who are married by a justice of the peace are divorced later. Forty percent of those who are married in churches eventually divorce. And those who read their Bibles together daily divorce at the rate of 1 out of 1,050!

https://futureofamericanchristianity.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/praying-together-divorce/

So how often do married couples pray?

https://futureofamericanchristianity.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/why-arent-evangelical-couples-praying/

Only 11% of American couples pray together – even assuming that all 11% are evangelical – that means that only 44% of self-proclaimed born-again Christian couples pray together daily.

Want to divorce-proof your marriage? Start praying together today!

April 8: Back to Basics – Don’t be a stranger!

One of the most convicting songs that I hear on the radio asks how long has it been since you talked with your Friend! If it’s been too long, talk to Him right now!

How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
And told Him your heart’s hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed? How long since you stayed
On your knees ‘till the light shone through?

How long has it been since your mind felt at ease?
How long since your heart knew no burden?
Can you call Him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you?

How long has it been since you knelt by your bed
And prayed to the Lord up in heaven?
How long since you knew that He’d answer you
And would keep you the long night through?

How long has it been since you woke with the dawn
And felt that the day’s worth the living?
Can you call Him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you?

Can you call Him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you?
Do you know that He cares for you?

April 7: Back to Basics – What if I can’t pray?

We’ve talked a lot about prayer – but what if you’re feeling discouraged? You’ve prayed but never saw revival break out. You’ve prayed for years and haven’t seen an answer to prayer that you’ve begged God for. You’re not sure if you’re praying right. You feel depressed and don’t know what to do and some days don’t even feel like praying.

At times like these – be encouraged – the Holy Spirit of God is praying for you!

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:26

This verse is a great encouragement – when we feel like we can’t even pray – or we don’t even know what to pray – the Spirit will intercede for us! But what will He pray for?

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:27

He will be praying for God’s Will for us? But isn’t that dangerous? What if God wants me to do something impossible – or something that will hurt me? We can let fears run rampant – or we can keep reading!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

The Spirit is praying for God’s Will – which is good. Here’s a reminder from our good friends at Patch the Pirate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3SPnJbHG3s

April 6: Prayer becomes work?

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Matthew 7:7

Charles Stanley points out a couple of observations here – we are commanded to ask – and to ask repeatedly!

He says “Ask, seek, knock” when you pray. That is, he says, ‘I’m giving you directions as to how to pray.’ You don’t sort of wabble and just say, “Now Lord, you know I’ve got some needs, and want you to bless him and her and Lord the Bible says you already know what I have need of before I ask, so I’m gonna just trust you and just sort of, you know”–and we just sort of mosey along and we don’t get down to business in prayer. Now one of the reasons Jesus has made this very clear and very specific in these steps he’s given us, is because that prayer is not really all that simple when you begin to evaluate it, on the one hand.

Secondly, prayer isn’t just talking to God, prayer becomes work. And prayer demands diligence. And when he says “Ask, seek, knock” Jesus is saying there’s a sequence of events. And there’s something going on here more than just something verbal. Now why did he put it in that fashion? And why did he not simply say, “Pray, and you will receive”–period, and let that be it? Because he wants us to understand the true nature of prayer, that it is more than asking. Because there are times when you and I ask and we don’t get exactly what we ask for. There are times when we ask when we don’t get what we ask for. There are times when we ask and there’s a delay. And so Jesus is teaching us here the very vital steps in an effective prayer life.

https://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/bibleway.htm

April 5: Back to Basics – How to start the morning?

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Psalm 63:1

How do we start our day with God when its hard enough just to start the day?

I heard someone on Unshackled way back when use this method, and I’ve found it works for me. Sometimes when I realize I’ve gone too long without spending time with God, I pray to God asking Him to wake me up early the next day. Without fail, each time He has.

Now just because I’m up doesn’t mean the temptation is over – my flesh likes to convince me I can pray snuggled up in the nice warm blankets of bed, but the Spirit tells me my flesh is very weak.

If you’re finding it hard to start your day with God, pray to God right now and ask Him to wake you up early tomorrow so you can start your day with Him.

And when you wake up early – don’t roll over or stay in bed. Get out of bed and pray! Your Father wants to talk to you!

April 4: Back to Basics: What to pray for

When we sit down for prayer meeting, or in our prayer closet with the requests from friends and family, what do we pray for? Let’s compare that to what Paul prayed for.

It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances. It is certain that they lived in the midst of many dangers and hardships. They faced persecution, death from disease, oppression by powerful forces, and separation from loved ones. Their existence was far less secure than ours is today. Yet in these prayers you see not one petition for a better emperor, for protection from marauding armies, or even for bread for the next meal. Paul does not pray for the goods we would usually have near the top of our lists of requests.

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, p. 19

None of these things are wrong to pray for – we’re commanded to pray for all our worries!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

But what was Paul’s primary prayer request?

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Ephesians 1:17

Before we ask Christ to do for us, we need to ask to know Him better!

April 3: Back to Basics – Who are we praying to?

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:15-16

Prayer is enabled by the Spirit, directed to the Father. Not just the Father of Jesus Christ, but our Father!

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name

Matthew 6:9

Yes He is “Our Father!”

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Ephesians 3:14-15

We have His name! But He is not the Father of all.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 8:44

If God is your Father – you can talk to your Father.

If God is not your Father – you can be adopted today!