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05 - How to Have a Powerful Life of Prayer

Shauna Chung Gem Castor
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This episode features Gem Castor and Shauna Chung as they discuss the power of prayer and how to put that power to practice. Gem Castor is an itinerant missionary from the Philippines who travels the world leading out united prayer sessions and seminars. Inspired by the life of George Mueller he has spent the last seven years relying entirely on the Lord's providence to provide for his needs and mission ventures. Listen in on this engaging conversation.

Recorded

  • March 11, 2018
    10:00 AM

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A favorite author Prayer is the breath of the soul but although the Bible encourages us to pray always and with us for many of us prayer is nothing more than a five minute wishlist The truth is prayer is much more than getting what we want or at least it should be prayer is getting to know what the Lord wants for us it's about knowing his will when we are able to recognize that isn't selfish. We are then able to appreciate the purpose. Join shot a child enjoy his store in this episode as they discuss a biblical model of prayer and what that looks like in the life of a Christian story is an end to a missionary for the Philippines he travels the world leaning out United Press actions and seminars inspired by the life of George Miller he has spent the last seven years rely entirely on its providence to provide for his needs and misadventures listen and. Thank you so much for being here and for being willing to talk about him here so I guess my first question for you is Why don't we start in prayer for the great. Depression or sure there are many valid and he so much for the opportunity to have a conversation with jam and to talk about prayer and pray that you guide our discussion and that you inspire Jen with the words to sing and she's in command so how did you develop your philosophy of prayer oh I didn't develop my philosophy of prayer I tell you before I don't even I don't even like praying because for me prayer is a waste of time I mean I don't know if. I'm just like this energizer bunny hops around run along and for me the prayer is is like doing nothing so my prayer life before I was like five minutes. All day not five minutes per prayer session. Five minutes compiled all day and somehow the Lord put me in a spot make a long story short of my of my very liberal to. Put me in a spot that the Lord showed me that there with my own strength and all my plans without him nothing would be accomplished So God put me in a corner that I don't have any none and no choice I have a choice but I've seen all my options and my options are not working out and then I came to the Lord and said OK Lord what do you want me to do and the Lord convicted me to spend time with him. So I guess a philosophy of prayer is. Much much more than just getting what we want it's getting to know what the Lord wants for us. Knowing his will but I think a lot of times people think about prayer or the kind of see it as you did before you came to the realization and we always hear we want to know god's will who will how do you know how do you even start to communicate with God when it seems that you're just talking to the ceiling. Yes I experience that let's let's go back to do His will yes let's go back to his will because most of the time we are asking for things that we don't even know if those things are good for us are not. Like we are like kids who does not know really what what they're asking for if a kid you would allow a kid to make a choice isn't like what's for breakfast kids will eat chocolates all the time job blitz but we're got this and that ice cream is that good for a kid in now and some of us will think that's a bad analogy because we know what we're doing we know we're not what we want but really do we know what we want because can we see the future no we can't we don't even know what's going to happen a day from now even five minutes from now. Sometimes what we're asking is not going to be good for us in the near future who knows was the infinite beginning only God knows only God knows and what what is God's will for us is what's best for us so that's one thing I am seeing knowing God's will is is really important or not even knowing God's will just understanding what the will of God is because most of the time we are so focused on what we want what I want needs to happen we are like we are acting like kids and when we don't get what we want we thought tantrums like a vegetable is good for for the kid is healthy for the kid so is God's will is healthy for us both physical spiritual mental social in everything I'll give you now give an example I was invited to go to Europe nine country trip China all expense paid trip even maybe said he will handle it so I was so excited so my friends and I we were we were so pumped this is and I'm a photographer I'm a photographer my profession I was a wedding photographer wow yeah always the photographer never to go. So that particular time I accepted that invitation who would not accept a free invitation going to Europe the way another evangelist friend of mine invited me to go with him to Malaysia border Myler me and Mar and Philippines I've been to those places special as a Libyans that's where I live. And then so I told my friend because my thing is first come first serve basis so I told my Vangelis friend I'm sorry I cannot go with you because I've been invited first to go to Europe and I don't know what happened I guess it was not me who it's not my intention to say the next line but I said let me pray about it. And then he said OK Gemma I'm hoping that you could come that's what he said so I prayed with my friends who are going to Europe the people who invited me the people who would be paying everything so we prayed one two nights three nights we prayed and we were praying over Skype and then on the second night on the third night my friend said Jem you know what this is quite wrong and what went wrong were brave what's wrong with that no we're praying for God's will to be done what we are praying for is let Jenna go with us and I know that you want to go with us we are so excited to go and you my friend even bought this wide angle lens just for that trip I told my friend so what should we do let's pray that the Lord will empty our desires. That we may know his desire for us and we prayed. And then the second night you know what happened I don't even have the desired to go to to Asia or to Europe I mean I'm a blank slate and I tell my friend hey maybe it's time for me to ask for the Lord's will and OK And guess where the Lord sent me. And but this is what happened China while we were on the trip and his Asian trip was supposed to be like a boring ship because I've been to that place as I went to the Burma and I was having an amazing experience one of the most memorable mission trips that I've had was during those three country trips and I was going to be with my friends who were in Europe and you know what they said Jem We wish we were there with you doesn't make sense in the first world country here in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and they wish to be with me under third world and then it hit me the best mission or the best decision. In life is where God wants you to be is what God makes for you we really don't know sometimes we think we we look only at the present situation our vision is so limited that God sees the end from the beginning and the question is why don't we trust him why don't we let him choose for us with that experience I begin to trust God more with his will so in everything I do right now I've survived for the past seven years of missionary work receiving no salary no stipend and asking no money from anyone else everything that I need I ask the Lord I was inspired by the story of George Miller and lo and behold I'm still existing after seventy years and what's amazing is the Lord is just showing me trip after trip year after year that his not done yet that there's more so that's I guess the will of God drawn out in my life so when people ask me So what do you want what are you praying for you know what before I have I have been asking for for things in my life and I've discovered in the end most of the things that I ask it doesn't are not good in the end and would not even like it in the end until I submitted everything to God and every time the Lord gives me something it blows my mind so my prayer right now is Lord just be bare my heart for what you're about to get for that surprises and I have been surprised every single day so God is good I'm tracking with you I love the fact that you're you're saying that we need to kind of empty ourselves and enough to make room for God to communicate with us through our intercession here. Things like that my question is you know for those who are plants in situations that are tougher for example they had no choice to be in a painful situation where they're they're suffering they're oppressed and they're crying out to God Help help help in how does God work in that situation how do we communicate with God What is the role of prayer in that iteration that says that's a good thing that's a very good question China most of the time with thinking that prayer changes God. But actually prayer changes us and the more we spend time in prayer as the more we spend time we got the more we are being changed into him the more our hearts becomes inclined to be like his heart the more our minds become inclined to be like his mind Jesus chose to be in that situation to save us the worst case of all worst case S. The Lord wants us to have the Mayan Heart of Jesus that we may face those ugly situation the way Jesus didn't even though you be persecuted and all you'll be a man of Zorro acquainted with grief or a woman of sore acquitted to grieve but still have the peace that better than there standing still had the joy of heaven last month we were in Cuba and sometimes you think that impression that the Cubans have experienced was a disadvantage for them doesn't it like their freedom was taken there even choice of a good life was taken away but where was there in Cuba you know what I was envious of the Cubans when we prayed It's like traffic jam it's like stampede they they want to break it every time I instruct them lead as keep our prayers are they prayed short prayers and let's give way to one another near this people just like prayed three times at the same time five times are the same then this people are so grateful to their god and question why. Why are these people who are somehow deprived of a lot of things are so grateful and this is one thing that I I saw in Cuba that I didn't see in in the first one countries that I've visited all the dross an important things in their lives that dead weight have been taken away from them now they see the real need of their hearts and that is God in our human vision in our human perspective we could see that as a curse a curse because they don't have the comforts the same as we do and that's how we define like like happiness or joy but I really truly happy compared to the Cubans their ways when they pray they probe in so much passion their heart is is like out there. How can you not envy that. They pray with so much tears in their voice and in their eyes and when when you look at them when you open your eyes when you see them prayer there's just this is heavenly glow in their faces that's why I envy the Cubans I think credible in I love that story and I love the fact that they're they truly see the heart of prayer and the prayer what would you say to people however who might interpret that reaction or the need for prayer as a coping mechanism for example I think a lot of people that is in going through hard times and looking about and I'm just going to bring in kind of see as a band aid to cover a problem in how how would you respond to any it could be a Band-Aid At first it could be about it but the more I guess says it's better that way than going somewhere else for solution that's that's where God wants us to be sometimes we come to prayer session or even we come to the on our knees on a different spirit but as long as we come to the Lord the Lord could somehow work with our hearts I guess is the most important thing we come to him and a lot of of people go to deploy. Just because that they want to experience something or sometimes some people just goes there too to see what's wrong with this and they come out a different person and that's one thing with God we don't go to God because we are clean we don't go to God because our our motives our intentions are right all of us have different or all intentions wrong motives and as the biggest reason why we should come to him and the more we draw to him the more we see him the more we are being changed we cannot change ourselves so even if it's just a band aid for people and still I still applaud them for coming in Houston prayer to band aid happening when we know for a fact that prayer is more than a band aid. More than a band aid prayer is is a privilege prayer when you begin to pray the way God wants you to pray it become a joy and of by the way I have this code about about prayer. Because most of the time we come to the Lord like he's a genie in his a shopping list a Christmas list or sometimes ugly or a laundry list. With thing that that we just have do to do this do that and most of them become to him with our own words because it's all about us married isn't it is our is all about AS But this is the desire of the Lord it says here I don't know what book it is OK it says as B.D. B. fifteen nine point three. It is His will that the Holy Spirit should indict our or it's and English is not my first language I went and look at the definition of indict and it says composts it is His will that the Holy Spirit will compose our words and give us speech that will impress hearts with the truth of God saw the real prayer or not the real power. Or the most beautiful prayer happens when it's not you praying when your heart is so surrendered to him that what comes out of your mouth are the words that were posed by the Holy Spirit. Because what is happening in China is because of sin our mind is not so connected with God Our desires are not so in line or in tune with have been everything that that we do is so opposite of of God and that is why of that is one reason why we have to pray and one of the reasons why we have to praise because we need to submit when we pray I guess everyone knows that the posture for prayer is nearing down and in ancient times even bowing your head to the ground so what does that signify submission you don't pray like standing up with chin held high that's a very psycho prayer and prayer is submission and that heart that mine needs to be submitted to the one who gives power in the one who knows to the one who who directs who teaches who guides I appreciate your kind of flipping the perspective of prayer and mine it had in that your showing or your explaining that it is not necessary for us but it is for us to sanity ourselves to submit but even if we don't work that yes yes that's wonderful So what would you see to somebody who is trying to develop their parent there at the very beginning of this seamy what kind of things that you recommend they start thinking about so I begin to do have a gratitude journal. Like listing down the things that God has done for me things that I should be thankful for that I have not been thanking God for because most of the time we come to the Lord with our complaints begun to the Lord with all our burdens and the Lord becomes so small and a bird. It's become so big. And have you know this in our in our prayer time what is the percentage of our over Thanksgiving and praises in a paradigm almost nothing is of it's like formality but when you intentionally think about the things that you need to be thankful for you will realize that your God is faithful you will realize that you have God is a beautiful God is a powerful God So whatever it is that you are worrying about whatever it is that you're carrying on your shoulders begin to understand you begin to see that your god is bigger than a burden that your god is so capable of carrying those burdens that's beautiful so for those people who have a consistent prayer and I can pray like it's just kind of become stale would you suggest a kind of revitalize their prayer life I guess it starts with understanding. John fifteen I am Divine you're the branches if you abide in me you will bear much fruit that's the problem with us when ever we feel we're OK We detach ourselves from the vine and as a result we wither and God is so good that when we come to him we go back and he says we bear much fruit we bear much fruit you could not bear fruit of your own and even you have a flower if you detach yourself the flower will die I like the illustration of one pastor who broke off a stem that has a flower he has it the congregation is this thing alive or dead and the house was divided some people dead or alive now if they're dead and he said you know what both of you are right. This looks alive but it's beginning to die it has the presence of being alive but it's dying because it was detached from the main branch and that's us sometimes we look like we're alive but we're dying inside. And the only way to sustain life is to know that you could not get part from him if you had that understanding you would not have the confidence to go out without spending time with divine in so it's it's a matter of of understanding it of it's a matter of urgency when you know that your life would be in danger you would cling on like like there's no tomorrow to divine and I love that that quote from the Spirit of Prophecy that if our eyes could be opened we will see evil in just contending for souls and heavily angels restraining them if we have that vision if we have that understanding your choices you'd be very very careful with your choices wouldn't it so it's same thing with us if we fully understood that you could not depart from not just because that or if I if I depart from the Lord I'll go to hell that said Rama division life is with him Joy is with him and you cannot have joy without him remember the verse some sixteen Reza leaven in his presence is fullness of joy if you are not joyful it means to say you have moved away from its presence if you are not joyful it means to say you have the pardon from from the source of joy I will define it as well as life if your life is fading away you have moved away from the source of life so stick to divine. That's great advice so for those who have an active prayer life now looking for others I guess to bring together I know that you are really involved with prayer rooms missionary and there's been some huge turn on and raise a lot of people have been changed how does that work how does that work and they will not make it or. First of all my life was changed in a prayer room I was at the point of. Even giving up on God been heard so much been double crossed in the ministry could you believe that and I was having so much anger so much hatred and so much frustration ministry was member I've used ministry was my life back home and if you take that away from me it's like taking air out of me and I even thought of leaving the church. Got to that point but somehow the Lord brought me into the prayer room I did not want to be there I went to that conference just to chaperone my niece because my cousin her mom would not allow her to go if our if I would not go so I went there and sampled this prayer leader assigned me to be a prayer go ordinator in a prayer room and I did not like prayer. So we were there and the first few prayers that I prayed like first the three prayers the Lord broke the was OUR was crying I was weeping it's a good thing there was just three of us may knees me and a prayer leader I was weeping I was inconsolable and then I begin to realize that it's because of of the walls that I have put up because of this age it is anger and while I was praying I begin to to see that this is what we need as a church the reason why the Holy Spirit is not being poured out because there's a lot of wars in us there's a lot of barriers in us that that we refused to to destroy and I could not stop thinking people need to be prayerful that we should do this in every institution in every church is just imagine doing that in a school doing that in our churches like all the was all done you know what will happen Holy Spirit will be poured out with that mindset with that realisation you had this fire know that lights you up that could not be put out and that's the reason why I got so involved in the prayer room so the eating out. A prayer session some people tells me and then they asked me a question how many years have you been doing this in a dog I'm seventy years but do not think that that is an advantage actually sometimes experience is a disadvantage. Because sometimes we think that I've been doing this for like hundreds thousands of times I can make this happen it doesn't work because bleeding out in a prayer session is not about you is it about your expertise is about the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit cannot use you in a Holy Spirit cannot work through you prayer session would die off. I'll tell you this this week is a very very grueling week supposedly a grueling week but you could not see any grueling reactions because God is just so good first thing is pathways to health Monday Tuesday Wednesday and in transition to G Y C I was leading out in a prayer room at pathways to health yeah its whole day pathways to health is a whole day prayer session not just six am and you are running back and forth because there's a lot of patients worship starts at eight. And I set my alarm at four the Lord woke me up at two sixteen Monday and I could not go back to sleep and the next day to seventeen who Wednesday to eighteen the Lord is giving me like one minute a grace every day and then I ask God every morning what do you want me to do the Lord's conviction was empty any ounce of self that is left empty that the reason why the Lord woke me up that early because I need a lot of empty I need a lot of surrendering and if I want to wake up at two fifteen to sixteen of course no I love my pillow more than I love waking up but God is. Good at he gives me to desire to wake up when when the Lord gives me his burden and all through the rest of pathways I was sustained now G. Y.C. Thursday morning the first pair session Guess what time the Lord walked me up to nineteen two hundred fifty five. To fifty five and I could not go back to bed and the Lord just brought me to my knees I prayed that whole stretch I even called my friend from New Zealand a prayer partner bro pray with me and we prayed together at around like three o'clock my time and the Lord's conviction as again. There's be there'd be a lot of people in the prayer room you could not mess with this. You have to be purged out of self so I need to I need to do that that he may work so it's not. It's not because of expertise he say it's about the prayer either yes it could be about the pair leader if the prayer leader and he's himself or herself before God and that's how God could direct and lead guy in a by. We are so used to methods we are so used to looking at things and how they did it but we missed out somehow on on the main reason how they did it in a quick sample like when there's an event a successful event and you ask them what did you do at all we advertise we did this we did that oh it's also accessible let me copy your your strategy you copy the strategy but you forgot the main reason why how they come up to that strategy they didn't know what to do they came together and the Lord gave them the instruction so you just use the strategy but you didn't use the real method and how to go to that strategy and that is coming together and create so. Pleading out in a prayer session should not be led by men it should be led by the Holy Spirit so when the Holy Spirit works he will just be an audience. That seems to be the theme of this entire conversation is just creating space. You have and I guess this this is summed up by what is a one beautiful code by by this Christian author and the Christians secret of a happy life had no with us Smith you may have left much to follow Christ you may have believed on him and worked for him and loved him and yet may not be like him allegiance you know and confidence you know but not yet Union there are still two wheels to interest two lives you have not yet lost your own that you may live only his once it was I not Christ then it was I and Christ perhaps now it is even Christ and I but has it come yet to be Christ only and not I at all. Spewed before as you know I guess that's one thing that God wants us to become that it will be zero of gem all of Christ. And that the perfect way to end them and this episode thank you so much for being here at a clinical prayer Let's pray. The Father in heaven thank you so much Lord for this beautiful beautiful day it you have given us in this beautiful life the life of prayer Lord please help us to want you more than we want answers to our prayer to need you more than we need miracles Help us Lord even to pray Lord even if it takes. If it takes bankruptcy even if it takes me loosing my reputation even if it takes death as long as your name be glorified me you will be done. But I pray for. For all those brothers and sisters who have been longing to have a closer walk with you. Where we praise and we thank you that as much as we would we want to draw near to you oh Lord it is your intense desire to join you or to us poor upon us Lord of full measure of your spirit speak to each and every heart and may we spend most of our time with you reading your word and just basking in your presence for abundance the Father full measure of your spirit for the pretty this in a loving New Years and Jesus and. We are grateful the dentist or for lending his time and voice to contribute that you like this conversation is just the beginning of a journey delving into disciplines of the Christian life we hope that you continue to travel with us.

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