Praying for Others

Steve Arterburn

Here’s a great principle of prayer: You can do a great deal for people after you pray for them but little of lasting value until you pray for them.  

I don’t think I need to argue about the value of praying for your spouse, kids, and friends.  But sometimes in our busy culture it’s tough to clear your mind and get started.  So let’s look to a man who knew the value of prayer.  The apostle Paul begins many of his letters with a helpful pattern.  

If you look at his letter to the Philippians, for instance, you’ll see it begins with a blessing of grace and peace.  Grace is the reason for our salvation and peace is the result.  Paul then gives thanks for the Philippian believers.  Cherish the work that God’s doing in and through others.  Next Paul makes requests to aid the spiritual growth of his friends.  He wants them to grow in their love, knowledge, and understanding of Christ.  Last, Paul prays that they’d behave in a manner that honors God in light of coming judgment.  This isn’t a fear tactic but a reminder to live for the ultimate goal of heaven, not the short-term rewards of comfort and pleasure.  

God loves it when we come to him in prayer.  Will you select one person that God has placed on your heart, and write a prayer for them?  For help, look to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Letting Go Of Hatred

Steve Arterburn

 

 

It’s easy to say you love God but how do you show it?  God’s hoping you’ll show it by loving other people. In fact, God has so intertwined your love for Him with love for others that when you seek and surrender to Him, He requires that you give up your hatred and prejudice.

In first John chapter four, the apostle John wrote: ‘God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them’If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?  God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.’

Men, God simply doesn’t give us the option of hating our brothers and sisters while loving Him.  In fact, He doesn’t even give you the option of hating your enemies.  Jesus said, ‘But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you’ (Luke 6:27-28). Boy, that’s a revolutionary kind of love.

The bottom line is this: surrendering to God means surrendering your hatred as well.  And that, my friend, is something you can’t do on your own ‘ you need to depend upon God’s love, residing in you, to do that.

How You Can Help

Steve Arterburn

Anyone who investigates the extent and effects of pornography in our country is tempted to conclude: ‘The problem’s too big to be beaten.’ Or perhaps: ‘What could I possibly do to make a difference in something so overblown?’ Folks, don’t succumb to these temptations. You can make a difference! In fact, if you love Jesus Christ; if you love your children; if you love your neighbor; then being passive and accepting defeat just isn’t an option.

 

God is holy. All forms of evil’pornography included’contradict God’s character. Therefore, God doesn’t’and can’t’compromise with it, or be reconciled to it. Make no mistake: God hates all forms of wickedness. So if you belong to Him, you must ask yourself: ‘Can I dare be indifferent to what my Lord hates and opposes?’ Clearly, you cannot.

In a Christianity Today editorial, I read four ways you can stem the rising tide of pornograpy:

1)      Teach sex education at home and in church-sponsored programs. 

2)      Speak out against pornography, whether to PTA groups or to family stores selling pornographic materials.

3)      Support those who are waging a battle against porn through petitions, letters, and boycotts.

4)      Support and encourage any forums that will help people distinguish between opposition to pornography and the limitations to free speech.

And in all these things, pray. Pray that God will strengthen your hands and your heart for His service, and that, through His power, your efforts will bear fruit.