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May 2024


By | Christian Writing | No Comments

And He was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17; see Isaiah 56:7)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-10, 13)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me …. (Ephesians 6:12, 16-19)

… If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

… Pray without ceasing …. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Sometimes you need to group multiple scriptures together to really hear what God is saying. Every church within reach of this newspaper should be a house of prayer. But few are.

Start by asking yourself how much time you personally spend in prayer each day. How much time in your church’s Sunday morning worship service is dedicated to prayer? Does your church have an active and organized prayer ministry?

National surveys indicate that Christians average five minutes of prayer per day. Average daily use of social media is over two hours for adults and even more for youth, and average daily television use is over three hours.

The average daily prayer time for pastors – our spiritual leaders – is under seven minutes. They spend less than 1% of their waking hours talking with the Lord they serve and represent.

Even the historic mainstay of church prayer, Wednesday night prayer meeting, has in most churches become a smorgasbord of fellowship meals, music practice, youth activities, bible studies, and committee meetings, with a prayer gathering nowhere in sight. All of these have their place, but they were never supposed to displace and replace prayer.

My friends, we are giving lip service to the power of prayer, but it is clear we do not really believe in it because we do not practice what we preach, and we are suffering the consequences of our failure.

A prayerless church operates in its own human strength rather than the divine power of the Lord. You can help people, but you cannot overcome the evil that is our real enemy. Just as the Amalekites prevailed against the Hebrew army whenever Moses lowered his staff, the gates of hell will prevail against a prayerless church. (Exodus 17:8-13) It has already happened in Europe, and it is gradually happening in America, where both participation in Christian faith and the impact of Christianity on society are shrinking with ever-accelerating speed.

To change the direction we are heading, we must change how we operate. Changing your music style and embracing social media outreach may draw more people to your church. Changing your individual and congregational prayer life will draw the presence, power, and purposes of God, which is what we need most. (James 4:8)

While most churches in our Kingsport region do not even mention prayer on their websites, there are wonderful exceptions. Christ Fellowship has prayer room services every Monday and Wednesday night. Preaching Christ Church has Tuesday night prayer meeting, with a true focus on prayer, and a social media prayer ministry that even reaches people in other nations. Celebration Church has a Sunday night prayer meeting, as well as small gatherings that meet to pray before their worship services. There are other examples as well, and all these churches are thriving.

Please share this column with your pastor. Volunteer to help. The early Church devoted themselves to prayer, and the results were amazing. (Acts 2:42-47, 4:24-31, 12:1-17) Our Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Become His house of prayer and see what happens!

God bless you, and God bless our community.


By | Christian Writing | No Comments

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)


Matthew 16 describes the most significant case of mistaken identity in history. God sent His only begotten Son to earth as the Savior of the world, but most people believed He was just a man. (John 1:1-14, 3:16; Philippians 2:5-11) They crucified Him.

Although there are people today professing Christianity while making the same mistake about who Jesus is, biblically grounded Christians know Jesus is the Christ, the eternal Son of the living God. Unfortunately, there are two other cases of mistaken identity that wreak havoc among us. The first case concerns the Holy Spirit. The second concerns how we view other people.

Every Christian knows you receive the Holy Spirit when you embrace Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. (Acts 2:38-39) Amidst the debates on what that means in terms of supernatural power and spiritual gifts, we have failed to answer the even more important question: Who is the Holy Spirit we have received?

The Holy Spirit is God! The marvelous, mysterious truth of the Trinity is that while we know God as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit, we also know there is only one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Galatians 3:20; James 2:19) The Holy Spirit is the third person of the triune Godhead. He proceeds from the Father through the Son to us but always remains eternally and perfectly one with the Father and the Son. (John 15:26, 16:7-15; Galatians 4:6)

For this reason, the Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of your Father. (Luke 4:18; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:9; Matthew 10:20) Through the Holy Spirit, our fellowship is with the Father and the Son, and both our Lord Jesus and our heavenly Father can make their home in us. (John 14:23, 15:4; 1 John 1:3)

Nowhere is it said more clearly than this: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him (or her), and he in God.” (1 John 4:15) I repeat, the Holy Spirit within you is God.

Our second case of mistaken identity involves everyone you know and everyone you don’t know: Christians and non-Christians, Americans and every other nationality, people you like and people you don’t like, people who agree with your theology and politics and people who don’t. These truths about their identity apply to all of them:

  1. They are loved by God.
  2. They are created by God in His image and likeness.
  3. They are sinners who fall short of the glory of God, just like you and me. (Romans 3:23)
  4. They are people Jesus died for when He paid the price for all sins of all people for all time. (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 9:26, 8:12)
  5. If not yet Christians, they are people the Lord desires to see repent and come into everlasting life. (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) God does not live within them yet, but He wants to, and your assignment is to witness Jesus and His Kingdom to them so that can happen. (Acts 1:8; Romans 10:14-15)
  6. If not yet Christians, the enemy has blinded them in one way or another to keep them from grasping the truth and love of the Gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Jesus came to give them sight and set them free. (Luke 4:17-21)
  7. If they are born-again Christians, even though they may disagree with your theology or politics, then they are people indwelled by the same God who lives in you (John 1:12-13, 3:3-6)
  8. They are all people God commands you to love in truth and in deed. (Matthew 5:43-48; 1 John 3:18) 1 Corinthians 13 describes the type of love you are to have for them.


Imagine with me for a moment what it would be like if all Christians remembered every moment of every day that the Holy Spirit is God living within us. Imagine how Christians could treat each other if we lived with the awareness that the same God who lives in me lives in you.

Now imagine what it would be like if while indwelled by God, we also chose to identify and treat all other people in a manner consistent with His perspective and the biblical truths set forth in this column.

Everything would change. (Romans 12:2)

God bless you, and God bless our community.