August 20: The Pilgrim’s Prayer for Rain

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

Daniel Whittle shares this account of our Pilgrim Forefathers:

It is well known that many of the good men who were driven from England to America by persecution in the seventeenth century, had to endure great privations. In the Spring of 1623 they planted more corn than ever before; but by the time they had done planting, their food was spent. They daily prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread;” and in some way or other the prayer was always answered. With a single boat and a net they caught some fish, and when these failed, they dug in the sand for shell-fish. In the month of June their hopes of a harvest were nearly blasted by a drought which withered up their corn and made the grass look like hay. All expected to perish with hunger.

In their distress the pilgrims set apart a day of humiliation and prayer, and continued their worship for eight or nine hours. God heard their prayers, and answered them in a way which excited universal admiration. Although the morning of that day was clear, and the weather very hot and dry during the whole forenoon, yet before night it began to rain, and gentle showers continued to fall for many days, so that the ground became thoroughly soaked, and the drooping corn revived. 

August 19: Thanksgiving – Expected, Free, and Abundant

We’re on our last day of looking at Thanksgiving in the “Hour of Prayer.”

As we wrap up – I want you to catch 3 key words that are somewhat contradictory when it comes to our attitude on prayer:

  1. Expected
  2. Free
  3. Abundant

Expected:

[12] And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
[13] And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
[14] And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
[15] And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
[16] And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
[17] And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
[18] There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
[19] And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:12-19

Notice Jesus in Luke 17:17 – “Where are the nine?” Jesus was expecting them to “return to give glory to God” – yet they were missing. Jesus expects us to give glory to God thru our thanksgiving!

Free:

How can something ‘expected’ be ‘free?’

[29] And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.

Leviticus 22:29

God does not force us to give thanks. He wants us to offer thanks. This is a bit of an oxymoron but this fits nicely with the picture of loyalty we saw yesterday – God is loyal to disloyal people because of His love. God also wants us to love Him not because of a command but as a free response of our heart. Yet if the heart response is missing, Jesus comments on it publicly!

Abundant:

[7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:7

Paul tells us that we should be thankful, and in this verse, that we should be abounding in thanksgiving. Yet it is again a voluntary action that makes our Father smile!

So take some time today and give thanks abundantly and freely!

August 18 – Thanksgiving – for deliverance!

We’re looking at the eighth way we can pray for an hour each day, Thanksgiving!

And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

1 Chronicles 16:35

Salvation is cause for Thanksgiving! Thank God for saving you from the power of sin and death and hell!

Salvation from heathen attacks is also a great occasion for Thanksgiving. Often times we cry with the Psalmist:

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Psalm 35:1

We ask God for deliverance and yet forget to praise him for His aid. Has God delivered you from a slanderous attack by a coworker, an unfair accusation from a neighbor, a jealous supposed friend? A motorist blaming you for the car wreck? A former employee filing a frivolous claim? A bureaucrat relentlessly harassing your company? A neighbor complaining to the city about your actions? An ex-parishioner gossiping about your pastor.

Right now I’m thinking back to multiple situations where God has miraculously delivered me – and I’m giving thanks to Him for His salvation.

I had a friend ask me what to do about a situation where he was short changed by several hundred dollars. I suggested letting God handle it. God blessed him when he gave it to the Lord.

I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

Psalm 35:18

August 17: Thanksgiving for His Loyalty

We’re on our third day of focus on Thanksgiving. We’ve looked at giving thanks for people and for events, but today let’s focus on how we can give thanks for the Lord’s loyalty to us!

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 118:1

We can give thanks to the LORD because He is good. How is He good? Let’s look at Psalm 118 and see!

5 different times we see the phrase, “his mercy endureth forever.” Mercy is the Hebrew word “hesed” – a theologically loaded term. R.C. Sproul says it means “God loves His people genuinely, immutably, loyally.”

If you’ve read the Bible for any period of time – that is a seemingly crazy idea – why should God be loyal to people who 1) are disloyal to Him, 2) have done nothing deserving of loyalty, and 3) actively invite the deserved wrath of God upon their lives (Romans 1:18, John 3:36)!

That’s answered by the concept of love. Unmerited. Undeserved. Often unrequited. That’s why we read it in the KJV as “mercy” – God’s merciful favor to us. How is this shown in the chapter?

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.

Psalm 118:5

His loyalty means that when we call He answers us!

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Psalm 118:6

His loyalty means that He will defend us!

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8

His loyalty is better than any others!

I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

Psalm 118:21

The loyalty of the Lord brings salvation!

And if you remember the classic Sunday School song, you can rejoice with the Psalmist for all the blessings of the Lord’s loyalty!

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

August 16: Thanksgiving – for Events!

We’re continuing looking at the 8th segment of prayer – Thanksgiving!

As we continue looking in the Bible – we see an admonition from the Psalmist:

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Psalm 105:1

For the rest of the Psalm, the Psalmist does make know His deeds:

  • choosing Israel (Psalm 105:6)
  • covenanting with Abraham (Psalm 105:9)
  • giving them the land (Psalm 105:11)
  • freeing Joseph (Psalm 105:20)
  • sending Moses (Psalm 105:26)
  • sending plagues (Psalm 105:27-36)
  • spoiling Egypt (Psalm 105:37)
  • providing Manna and quail (Psalm 105:40)
  • and sending joy and gladness (Psalm 105:43)

What has God done for you that you can thank Him for today?

Getting Ready for 2019!

Hello and welcome to the 2019 Prayer Encouragement Project! I’m excited about partnering with you to go deeper in prayer in 2019. We’ll be looking at mnemonics to use the days of the weeks to organize our prayer requests, learn from the shortest prayers of the Bible, and how to keep our prayers from being blocked!

As we get started – would you be willing to time how long you pray tomorrow? Don’t send the results to me – just make a note in your journal. While there is no spiritual points for how long you pray – I’d encourage you to time yourself because often we over-estimate how much time we spend with God, and under-estimate how much time we spend elsewhere.

If you’re looking for a simple to use stopwatch, just type ‘stopwatch’ into Google, and it will pull up an easy to use stopwatch.

Google Stopwatch

The average American prays about 1 minute per day. Unfortunately we use our phones about 215 minutes per day. If you want to know how much time you spend on your phone, use Screen Time for iOS, or Antisocial for Android.

US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 35 minutes per day on mobile devices in 2018

https://www.emarketer.com/content/mobile-time-spent-2018
Comparison of minutes a day on a smartphone vs. prayer

Don’t be discouraged – pray that God will help you learn how to pray this coming year! If you haven’t signed up for our email list, please do – you’ll get links to free books from 4 great authors like E.M. Bounds, D.L. Moody, and more.

Finally, invite a friend to join with you! The best way to grow is with accountability – whether it’s at the gym or reading your Bible or anything! Share with them about 2019pray.org!

Why the 2019 Prayer Encouragement Project?

2019 Prayer Encouragement Project TV Commercial

We’ve researched the state of prayer in 2018 America – learn how America prays and why we desperately need to improve our prayer life!

Invite Randy to present 2018 – Prayer in America to your church!

Watch our interview on WVCY-TV30!

Join us on the 2019 Prayer Encouragement Project!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required