Spiritual Formation: The Power and Privilege of Prayer

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. James 5:16b-17

Rain-stopping prayer–that’s the kind of prayer life most of us would like to have. In reality, we often describe our prayer lives as inconsistent and feeble. I hear many Christians say that they would pray more if they knew what to pray for. A quick remedy for this would to be to check the latest news headlines. Truthfully, there is no shortage of things to pray for; what’s lacking is faith in God’s promise to answer our prayers. In these moments, our prayer should be “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).”

1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Perhaps the reason some of our prayer go unanswered is because we are asking that God would bless our will instead of “Thy will be done.” It is a tremendous blessing to be able to approach the God of the Universe through Christ in prayer. Not only that, but God hears us! With this in mind, may we boldly approach the throne of grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16)


Make no mistake; prayer is work. It is glorious, worthwhile work, but it is work nonetheless. In the introduction of his book, “Christ in the School of Prayer” Andrew Murray writes, “when we learn to regard [prayer] as the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work, we shall see that there is nothing that we so need to study and practice as the art of praying aright.” Whether we are praying through Scripture, attending a prayer meeting, or praying quietly to ourselves for the soul of our neighbor, may we never lose sight of the power and privilege of prayer. It is essential to our spiritual formation.

praying in the morning

Your Mornings Matter

Brothers and sisters, don’t sleep the day away. Listen, I know how nice it is to sleep in every now and then. Sometimes we need to catch up on our sleep and that’s okay. But just remember that there is a constant war going on beyond your comforter.

I’m talking about a spiritual war between good and evil; truth vs. lies; morality vs. immorality. All you have to do is turn on the news or scroll through your social media feed to see that the future of our world is becoming increasingly more chaotic and unsure. For many, these are beyond frightening times.

For Americans, we are seeing more and more division between coworkers. I’ve noticed more hostility between friends and neighbors. And the nuclear family is disappearing like Spiderman at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. It seems as though all of our relationships are strained.

But there is hope!

The Bible makes it clear that the prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much (James 5:16). Furthermore, things happen when we pray to our Father in heaven that wouldn’t happen unless we prayed. It may be difficult for you to imagine your atheist friend trusting in Jesus. It is difficult for me to wrap my mind around the abolition of abortion in the United States. And honestly, there are some days where fulfilling the Great Commission seems laughable. Why is this? Because in our own strength none of these things will come to pass. We aren’t strong enough. But God is! And that is why we pray. Prayer acknowledges who God is and who we are not.

It is easy to stay in bed and ignore the problems of the day. I have wasted so many opportunities in the past snoozing my alarm when I could have been praying to the only One fully capable of handing all of my problems. Mornings are important because they are usually quiet, and we are unencumbered with things we have to do for that day. Before you get on your phone, get on your knees. Before you call up a friend, call out to God. Christian, you are a soldier for Christ. You are on the front lines now. The only weapons you have are prayer and the Word of God. But they are all you need.

Brothers and sisters, your mornings matter. They matter because God hears the prayers of His children. Do not take prayer for granted or undervalue its worth. Pray all throughout the day, but especially at the start. Your prayer this morning could change the course of the day. It could even lead to a brighter tomorrow.



3 Ways To Get Out of a Prayer Rut

3 Ways to Get Out of a Prayer Rut

If you are like me then sometimes your prayers can feel very mechanical and rote. Whenever I become apathetic in my prayer life, all of my prayers end up sounding the same. They are also usually rushed, lacking an earnestness and fervor that only comes from actively pursuing intimacy with God. Occasionally, I try to change things up a bit in order to break these cycles. Here are three things I do regularly when I feel like I am in a prayer rut.

1. I change my prayer posture.

This may sound somewhat silly, but it has truly helped me at times. Whenever I am feeling lazy in prayer I notice that much of my praying is done slouched over in a chair. Sometimes I simply need to move to my knees or stand up with arms spread wide in order to be refreshed in my prayer life. On many occasions, changing the position of my body has helped me to better “position” my prayers towards God and His will. We should always make sure our hearts are bowed low when we pray. If changing your posture of prayer will help you to bow your heart to God even lower, change it! If you are in public, don’t worry about looking foolish or what people might say. Do whatever you must in order to get right with God.

2. I thank God for the things I overlook.

We all have things we thank God for on a regular basis—our friends, our family, our health, our blessings, etc. When is the last time you thanked Him for the way the light shines through the window on a sunny day? Or for the peaceful sound of a midnight rainstorm? Have you every stopped to thank Him for the color green? The smell of fresh baked cookies? The laughter of your children?

How long has it been since you thanked God for saving you? 

There are so many things we have to be thankful for. Understanding this will help us to get out of those prayer ruts. We know that every good gift comes from the Father. It should be our desire to thank Him for them all. It doesn’t matter how small or “insignificant” the thing might seem. God is worthy of the praise for it!

3. I turn to the Psalms.

What a treasure the Psalms are in the life of the Christian. Whenever I am struggling in my prayer life, I can always turn to the Psalms and be refreshed. The Psalms teach us how to pray with the knowledge of God’s character and attributes. They show us what it looks like to put God first when we pray. They also show us what is acceptable and not acceptable to pray for. We are all prone to pray selfishly for things, behaving as if God is our personal genie instead of Our Creator and Master. Praying through the Psalms will help any Christian to get his prayer life back in order.

I pray that your prayer life would deepen and grow as a result of implementing these three things. I know how difficult it can be to get out of a rut, but let me reassure you that it’s not impossible. If there is anything that you would add please leave it in the comments. It may be a blessing to someone else who comes along to read this post.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

3 Tips for Sharing Your Faith

3 Tips for Sharing Your Faith

This morning I am praying for the Lord to give us more opportunities to share the Gospel where we live. In this current season of our lives, we could make many excuses not to share it with others. “We don’t speak the language well enough yet. What if it damages a relationship we have been building? What if they get angry, or worse, laugh at us?” These are the questions we ask in fear of man, not in reverential fear of God.

Of course we want to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, but we should never be fearful. God is with us. He goes before us. And He is always there to fall back on. Our speech should be seasoned with the salt, but not watered down (Colossians 4:6). Here are three tips that I have learned over the years from sharing my faith with others from around the world:

1. Preach the simple Gospel

It is so easy to get carried away while sharing with a non-believer. You had every intention to tell that Jesus loves them and that He died for their sins. But, now you are in an unfruitful debate about who the Nephilim were. This happened to me just the other day. Christians, know and study every word in the Bible. I’ll say it again. KNOW AND STUDY EVERY WORD IN THE BIBLE. However, when sharing your faith with a non-believer, you don’t have to defend every word of Scripture or try to answer every last question they ask you. In fact, you likely will not have all of the answers. That’s okay! You have all of the Gospel, so preach that. Explain the depths of mankind’s sin and then, explain the great lengths that God went to, in order to, save us from it.  Tell them that He sent His only begotten Son to the earth to be crucified on a cross for our sins. Then, share with them the glorious Good News of the Resurrection! Jesus is alive; He is risen from the dead and He is coming again! Make sure they know that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. Of course, there is always more that can be said and explained, but this is the crux of the Gospel. Don’t get distracted by things that take you away from preaching this. Tell them how this Good News has changed your life.

2. Don’t wait 

People are dying every minute and are going to hell. It is not a truth we like to talk about, but it is the truth nonetheless. I read the other day that there at still around 2 billion people in the world who are considered unreached with the Gospel. Our message is urgent. Our mission is non-negotiable. Our task is still unfinished. If you feel burdened to share with a friend, co-worker, or even a stranger, do it today. Don’t wait. Pray for God to give you the courage, strength, and words to speak. No one knows when he or she will breathe their last breath. Likewise, no one knows the day or the hour when Jesus will return. Today is the day for sharing. Today is the day of salvation.

3. Rest in the grace of God

I have had wonderful evangelism encounters and I have had not so wonderful evangelism encounters in the past. I have seen people respond in faith and I have seen people respond in anger. I have had times when I felt like the Lord was speaking through me and other times where I felt like was stumbling over my words and thoughts. Can I give you a word of advice? Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t see the desired outcome. I would love for every person I share with to become a believer right there on the spot. But if I am honest, that is rarely the case. You may spend your entire life watering and watering without ever seeing much harvest. Even so, do not compromise. Do not try to manufacture results or coerce people into making decisions. Rest in His grace at all times. In the end, sharing your faith isn’t about you. It is about Him. He will do the heavy lifting. You just stay faithful.

Will you join me in praying for the people of Thailand to come to know Jesus? Will you pray for us as we seek opportunities to share this wonderful Good News with others? Let us cling tightly to the truth of Romans 1:16 today. And may God bless you as you share with others wherever you are today.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.


3 Things I Love About Being a Father

As a relatively new father, I am still learning things each and every day. I do not consider myself an expert when it comes to parenting, but I do consider myself extremely blessed by God. Being a father is a joy unlike any other in this life. And contrary to an unspoken, yet popular belief of guys my age, children don’t ruin “the best years of your life.” I would argue that these are the best years of my life so far because now my daughter is in them. Is my life easier? Maybe not, but it is overflowing with joy. Today a want to talk about three joys I get to experience everyday by being a father.

1. Having someone call me daddy

It seems so simple, yet it is so profound. At one time in my life, no one could call me “daddy” because I wasn’t one. Now, no one can take that title away from me. One of the sweetest sounds in all the universe is to hear my little girl say “DADDY!” from across a room. God has given me the responsibility and privilege to be her daddy. I never want to take that for granted.

2. Being able to watch her grow

I can’t believe that my daughter will be turning 2 this year. It seems like last week we were taking her home from the hospital. Now she is literally running around the house. I have loved every second of watching her grow and discover new things about the world around her. If you ask me, she is some kind of baby genius, but I guess every parent feels that way. It has been especially fun to watch her grow up in a foreign country. She is learning English and Thai faster than I ever could have imagined! I feel so very blessed to have front row seat through every milestone.

3. Teaching her about her Father in heaven

As a Christian father, I have the greatest responsibility of training my daughter up in the ways of the Lord. I get to teach her about the One who saved my soul and can do the same for her. I, alongside her mother, get to teach her how to pray, read the Bible, and love people like Jesus. What a tremendous honor! Recently, we have been asking if she would like to pray before bed. Usually her bedtime prayer is this: “God, I love you so much. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” Right now she doesn’t really understand what she is saying, but one day she will. She will remember the example we set in praying to the Father. Like the Shane and Shane song says, “I wish that I could be your everything…but sometimes I’m gonna let you down.” I may not be able to give her everything she needs, but I can point her to the Father who can always provide.

I am not a perfect father. I have days where I lose my temper and have no patience for her crying. I have days where I choose to play on my phone, instead of with her, when I know that is all she wants. I need God’s grace and strength at all times to be the father I am suppose to be. I am so thankful for His love and example of how I am to love my little girl. When my love falls short of perfection, His loves carries right on through.

Thank you, Father. I love you so much. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

woman encouraging someone

3 Ways to Encourage Others Better

If I have learned anything in the past two years of living overseas it is that missionaries need daily encouragement. And not just missionaries. Every Christian needs to be told that they are loved, appreciated, and have value on a regular basis. My family and I are so blessed to have such an encouraging support team that literally spans across the entire world. We are so thankful for their faithful commitment to praying for us and sending words of encouragement. They have helped us through some of our most difficult days. Today I wanted to provide you with three ways to encourage others better based on what we have personally experienced. I hope they bless you.

1. Become a good listener

Sometimes in our efforts to give people an encouraging word, we fail to extended to them a listening ear. Most people need to vent about what they are dealing with. I have found that a word of encouragement will often mean more after I have taken the time to listen to the person I want to encourage. Listening helps us shape our encouragement to fit people’s specific needs. Instead of giving blanket statements, give people personalized, tailor-made encouragement.

2. Pray with them

We have all said these words before: “I’ll be praying for you!” We always mean well, but many times we fail to follow through on this promise. Certainly saying these words to someone can be encouraging to some degree, but it does not compare to actually taking the time to pray for someone right then and there. It just means more; and according to Scripture, accomplishes more (James 5:16). Make praying with others a priority as you seek to encourage others better.

3. Live a life of encouragement

What do I mean by this? I mean that we do not only encourage others with our words. We also encourage others by our actions. When we trust God, others are encouraged to trust God. When we speak truth, others are encouraged to do so. When we exercise faith, our brothers and sisters will be motivated to exercise their own. Be an example to those around you. You may never know who is watching and being encouraged by your walk with Jesus. But know this: we will one day when the saints of God gather together in heaven.

I will leave you with Romans 15:5—

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.