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Preparing Our Hearts for 40 Days of Prayer

Esther Knott

Description

This seminar has two desired outcomes: 1) We will allow God to use His Word to speak to us, revealing anything that would hinder our prayers, and 2) We will enter into 40 days of intentional prayer for personal spiritual growth and in order to reach five people God has laid on our hearts. The seminar will provide time for reflection on God’s Word, along with inspiring steps to becoming a prayerful, contagious Adventist witness for God, wherever He calls you. 

Presenter

Esther Ramharacksingh Knott has pastored for 28 years in Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan. She brings a wealth of experience to her role as associate director of NAD Ministerial and director of the InMinistry Center located at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University. 

Conference

Recorded

  • July 3, 2015
    12:15 PM
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Other in heaven. We're really grateful for your mercy. We're grateful for your being with all of us and you brought us safely here to San Antonio for this G.C. session we asked the speaker to do will be inspired and blessed and our hearts and minds will be encouraged inspired blessed as well. He was each one here in Jesus' name. Our speaker today is a friend and that's saying a lot. If you're listening to someone or you're responding to someone who's a friend it makes an absolute difference. This is Pastor Esther Hicks the NAACP and she's pestered for twenty eight years in Illinois and Maryland and in Michigan. She's currently in Michigan. She brings a wealth of experience to her role as the associate director of the North American division ministerial. She's also director of the Ministry Center located at the Adventist the illogical seminary on the campus of Andrews University. And there are about twenty years ago I think probably more than that because it was before her daughter was born and then we got to know her or her daughter while her husband brought her daughter Olivia so she brings a wealth of experience and a variety of areas. So we're excited to have her here and we hope that indeed you will be less than that you'll share what I want to mention is that we have some handouts that we're going to see that you get. And we also have those available. What you'll receive in your hand also be available online. So. Purpose of the earth and we're also being recording today and that'll be uploaded. This will not just be available to you who are here but to people around the world so they'll be able to go online if they have that kind of access and they'll be able to hear this as well. Thank you very much. The next voice of Esther ramble Rexin. I really hope that the next voice that you hear speaking to your heart will be that of our Savior through the Holy Spirit. It's a privilege to be with you. And at the seminars that we're doing is actually two seminars. The first is about preparing our hearts and the second part is about forty days of prayer and so we want to start with that preparing our hearts in order that we can participate in the forty days of prayer and for the record I want you to know and Don My friend mentioned I am married to Ronald Allen knocked people meet me and they think I'm married to Bill not Bill is the editor at that Advent interview. I married to his younger brother Ron Ron is the director of the Andrews University Press. You may have heard of the Andrew Study Bible that many of you are not in your head to couple they have that this is a wonderful study Bible that I especially like to give to people that I've recently baptized them. So we baptize someone we want to become disciples who want to study God's word and I love the study notes in that Bible because I can trust them. And we want to make disciples. And one of the things that we do when we make disciples is to teach people how to pray how to become more like Jesus every day and. That is what this whole focus is about when we come to pray and especially at the G C session. There's a quotation that really helped to shape my life. And it says as long as you are content to live without Revival you will as long as you are content to live with that we live will you will. And don't we so often go to are they just being content that we are brothers and sisters must not be content to live with that revival. That's what we need and what God wants to do in our lives. And I've been reading in the book the Romans and there are two passages that I want to focus some of this on Romans eight verses one to two and Romans twelve verses one to two Romans eight tells us there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus for the law of the spirit of life for the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death and the reason I want to stress the no condemnation is because the first part of the seminar that we look at this morning is going to focus on Christian sins. I recently had a Bible study with someone and she said well I don't think that I'm that much of a sinner you know especially as some of the Avonex Christians were not guilty of the Big Ten as we see them. We keep the Sabbath we don't murder we don't kill we don't openly tell lies. You know what we seek to honor God and to love to log on and to love our fellow human beings. But part of what we're going to look at today and I have some people here are going to be helping me. Is that Evelyn Christiansen in her book what happens when women pray. It's also what happens when people pray. There's no difference whether you're a man or a. Then when you pray God answers and he works on our behalf. But even as we look at Christians then I want you to understand how it is that we have no condemnation how many of you are from a country outside of North America who does not live in North America right now. OK so I need to take some time to help you understand how the American legal system works because it will help you understand how we can view how we can have no condemnation because we're in Christ Jesus. So and then if you watch the American television you might understand a little bit about that. But in the American legal system there's a judge who sits up front and there is a jury and the jury's purpose is to listen to the evidence that's been presented and then they decide where the person is guilty or innocent. There are also two attorneys at least two attorneys in the room. One is the defense attorney. The job of the defense attorney is to try to show the jury why this person should be considered innocent. Then there's a prosecuting attorney. I'm going to put the defense attorney on that side to through my perspective and then there's a prosecuting attorney who try to make you decide this person is guilty they deserve punishment. So you understand that and then there's the person who's on trial. So Reuel I'm going to pretend that you're you know the person is on trial just so we can have a face just turn around and wait for they see if you're the guy that's on trial. So we're going to have to decide whether or not he is innocent or guilty. And biblical terms we have an attorney who the Bible says that I advocate is who Jesus Christ is your advocate who does the Bible say is the adversary and the accuser of the brethren. Satan so Satan is the accuser Jesus is our advocate. We are on trial and because we know who Satan has his nature he is telling the jury all of these things about us about why we should be condemned and probably some of the things that he's saying are not true because of who he is he's a liar. But as we listen as through a listens as I listen and evidence of my life is brought up. I know that I'm innocent that I'm not innocent I know that I'm guilty and it's a jury has to make a decision about whether I'm guilty or innocent. I would stand condemned. We're all sorry brother but you would be condemned I don't know you we just met but I know you're not perfect but you're probably like me and you deserve condemnation but your attorney who is Jesus. And it's the job of your attorney to let you know how you can present yourself in the best light. And he knows that from history. And in American politics not an American legal system a lot of it based on case law which means precedent has been set and because of precedent you can that helps you attribute to how to defend you. So we know from the very beginning of Earth's history that there is a law that says you can choose to have somebody else's record stand in your place instead of the evidence of your life the him presented to the jury. You can choose to have somebody else's record stand in your place. So you want to scan history and say OK I want to do that. Who who who can stand in my place who's got the perfect record so that I will not be pronounced guilty. I want to help to help them out here. Jesus Jesus's record can stand in your place but only if you choose to. That's a very humbling position to put yourself and you can say oh man I'm going to not look at my life I'm going to not I should be able to be saved. But because you have a wise attorney your advocate Jesus Christ and because you want to choose to listen to him you will think please I do not want to be condemned. Let this man Jesus as a record stand in my place. And so let's pretend that you are the jury and you're listening. And this record of this perfect life is prevented. You can to save that rual is guilty or not guilty what is your verdict. Because they allowed it on the recording to pick you up if you do you know if you are not guilty not guilty. And those words are so sweet to you because you don't you know want to be condemned. So our choice is whether or not we want to this is racket to stand in our place because we see our sins but you know it is not unless we see our life a sinful that we would even want somebody else's record to stand in a place they think that if somebody is in the ocean and you throw them a life preserver they will ignore it unless they realize that they're drowning. So part of the exercise today is to help us wonderful Godling simply Adventist to realize that we are drowning. We have accepted Jesus as our Savior but we keep on sinning but we still need a savior so that we can stand condemned and every day we need to surrender to Jesus and to say please stand in my place. Let the record of your life stand in my place so I will not be condemned no condemnation. You know one of the early perks as per the conversation one of the early conversations with God took place in Genesis three where with Adam and Eve had sinned and Jesus came and said. Where are you. He came looking to the one for the ones who now after condemned he said Where are you. And in Genesis chapter three verse sixteen he gave a promise that we would learn to hate sin and I say for myself as well as for you it says that this part of the struggle that we have we keep sinning because we like it but we have to learn to hate sin and I had a teacher when I was a physical education major hurt for I would always consumes Haley's word for it helps us to love you more and to hate sin more and God's promise that we would learn to do that and that a redeemer would come and we will live on this side of the cross. We know that that's the Saviour came to live that perfect life so I could be forgiven and then Romans twelve verses one to two talks about the fact that our alliance can be transformed into not be conformed to this world than be transformed by the renewal of your mind and so as we look at these Christians then I want you to listen enough to feel guilty because I let you feel guilty. You won't realize that you were drowning. You won't realize that you need a savior. So I'm going to invite my for volunteers to come up and stand right here. What they're going to do is I have one volunteer is going to be reading some Scripture passages. She's going to read the scripture passage and then we're going to reflect on some questions that each of the Scripture passages to bring to mind. So there are going to be twenty of these and this information is on the Web site so that you can download it later to review for yourself. Typically when I do a prayer conference we go through this and then you go with a partner somewhere you reflect on these questions and you think about where is God speaking to me. These questions and you will pray for each other on a particular area that you hear God saying hey Esther addressed this in your life and the reason this is part of a person are as we know the Bible says that God can't hear our prayers if we cherish them. He can't practice unconfessed sin. Our road blocks to God being able to do all that he wants to do in our lives. So we're going to have one going to use this Mike for you to hear and the other one for the recordings. So again the process is we're going to read a scripture you can read your first set of questions. A scripture your second set of questions you each have five. First that's alone in five eighteen in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Jesus in Christ Jesus concerning you. Do you worry about anything because you fail to thank God for things the seemingly better as well as the good. Do you neglect to give thanks for seasons three twenty now and to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that work is enough to you for your to attempt things for God because you are not to land. Do you have the feelings of inferiority keep you from trying to serve God when you accomplish something for Christ you failed to give him all the glory. Acts one eight but he shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses and to me both in Jerusalem and Judea and in some area and then to the uttermost part of the earth. Have you failed to be a witness for Christ with your life. Have you felt it was enough just to lift your Christianity and not witness with your mouth to the last. It's for I say to any man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Romans twelve three. Are you proud of your accomplishments your talents your family. Do you fear to see others as better or more important than yourself. In the Body of Christ. Do you insist on your own rights. Do you think as a Christian you are doing quite well. If agents for thirty one let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with malice. Do you complain find fault argue. Do we have a critical spirit. Do you carry a grudge against Christians of another group because they don't see eye to eye with you on all things. Do you speak unkindly about people when they are not present. Are you angry with yourself with others. God First Corinthians six nineteen what I know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have of God and yet not your own. Are you careless with your body. Are you guilty of not caring for others. Temple of the Holy Spirit. In eating and exercise habits. Efficient for twenty nine. Let no correct communication proceed out of your mouth. Do you ever use filthy language. Do you tell slightly off color jokes. Do you condone others doing so in your presence in your home. If each and for twenty seven neither give place to the devil do you fail to see that you are a landing strip for Satan. When you open your mind to him through transcendental meditation yoga she answers psychic predictions. A cult that ature sick tannic music movies T.V. websites and dogma of feet and pornographic literature. Do you get advice for daily living from horoscopes rather than from God. Do you let Satan use You Tube for the cause of Christ in your church through criticism gossip and lack of support. Romans twelve eleven. Be not slothful in business. Do you fail to pay your debts on time. Avoid paying them altogether. Do you charge more on credit cards than you pay. When do. Do you neglect to keep honest income tax records. Do you engage in any shady business deals whether as an employer or as an employee. First Corinthians eight nine but take heed lest by any means the liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. If you feel you can do anything you want to do because the Bible says you are free in Christ even though you are strong enough not to fall so you fail to take responsibility for weaker Christian who has fallen because of following your example. Hebrews ten twenty five not for seeking the assembling of ourselves together. Are you regular sporadic in church attendance. Do you ten preaching in body only whispering a reason or planning work out what is being preached. Are you skipping prayer meetings after you neglect each family devotion. Kalash three nine lie not to one another. Seeing that you have put off the old man and his deeds. Do you ever lie exaggerate the charge if you fail to see little white lies the same foods how things the way you want them rather than the way they really are. First Peter two eleven dearly beloved a stain from fleshly lust which war against the soul. Are you guilty of a lot. I swore the opposite sex. Do you fill your mind with sexual or in state T.V. programs movies books magazines they cover centerfolds Greenville's in any look for activity. God's word condemns fornication adultry position. John thirteen thirty five by this shall know that you are my disciples if you have love one to another. Are you guilty of being a part of factions and divisions in your church would be rather as feel to me from the standings and help directly. I feel both only the ones in your own church Finian's those of other denominations are not the Body of Christ are you secretly please over the misfortunes of others annoyed by their successes. Kalash and three thirteen for bearing one another and forgiving one another. If any man have a quarrel against any even as Christ forgave. So also do we have youth outs if we give any party anything he or she much is said against you as the chosen to ignore certain people. Are you holding grudges. Ephesians four twenty eight. Let him that stole steal no more. Rather let him labor Do you still from your employer. By doing less work staying on the job less time in you are paid for. Do you underpay if Asians five sixteen redeeming the time because the days are evil do you waste your time. Do you waste the time of others. Do you spend time watching unprofitable T.V. reading cheap books or procrastinating. Matthew six twenty four. No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money is your goal in life to make as much money as possible accumulate accumulate things. Have you held God share of your income from him. Is money your god. Matthew twenty three twenty eight. Even so he wouldn't be a parrot to some and to men. But within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Do you know in your heart you are fake just pretending to be a real Christian. Are you hiding behind church membership to cover a life still full of sin. Are you faking Christianity for social status acceptance in your church or community. Do you smile piously during the Sunday Sabbath sermon. But live but live in your sin all week. Are you the person at home that you cut claim to be in public. Philippians four eight. Finally brethren what the way things are true whatsoever things are honest whatsoever things are just whatsoever things are pure whatsoever things are lovely whatsoever things are of good report if there be any virtue and if there be any praise think on these things. Do you enjoy listening to gossip Pat. When you believe rumors or partial truths it specially about an enemy or your competitor. Do you feel to spend time every day reading the Bible. Do you fail to think on the things of God only good in true impure things always. Thank you very much for volunteers who read for us and if you are just coming and we've been looking at Christians since and every time I hear those read God speaks to me and I heard some of you in the room kind of a Manning not Sylvia but recognizing the important part. So what I'd like to do even though it's not a prayer we can't. God spoke to some of you on these things. I'm going to just sit down for five minutes and let the Holy Spirit continue to work and just ask God what you want you to do in your life regarding one of these things. I know when the one was read again about you know I don't let people swear in my home. But do you ever have a T.V. show or something with somebody swearing in it or they're committing adultery. We would let somebody do that in our bedroom in our house. But we bring that into our home to do the things that we watch the choices that we make about how we will live and eat and how we might cause divisions in our church. My sister was out of the church for twenty five years. We prayed for her and when she came back into that church there were people there who didn't talk to each other because they were upset with each other over political not church politics thing. And you know my sister didn't want to go to that church. So if we want to be viable and reclamation it's a got to bring people into our churches. We have to be people who love God and love others. A stranger walking in off the street will recognize if our church is a place of loving people and truly not just that's because your the greater your friendly and you walk in them. They can sense what's happening. It's so easy for me at this point to want to make you feel better like it's OK but I want you to feel bad enough that you want God to transform you to create a new a clean heart and put his spirit in you. So I'm going to look at my watch and we'll just take five minutes to let God begin that process of speaking and nothing between and we say that because we want nothing to prevent God from answering our prayers. Because when we have a heart like God we know what to pray. It changes the way that we pray that this whole thing about prayer is it transforms our lives because we start out with silly kinds of prayers. You know maybe it's just a great weather but because you want to have a picnic but the farmer is praying for rain. So the cops can grow and millions of people could be fed. So we learned to pray in different ways and we know God's heart is not praying for that brand new shiny car is that my colleagues on my campus might be praying for but it's praying that God will help us to use our money wisely. They'll give us a vehicle for transportation so that we can get to work so that we can support our families the way that we approach. We pray changes. Prayer is about discipleship is not just about praying to Santa Claus to get whatever is on our wish left to purge transforms our allies and makes us more more like Jesus every day because of the things that we start praying for. Or we can pray in the name of Jesus because we know this is what Jesus would pray for if he was the one that was praying. If you've ever put any. Oh and if you gardeners I love fresh tomatoes and I wish that I could plant my house and too much shade. But I have a friend who grows over forty seven varieties of tomatoes and I pick them at her place. And I'm fortunate when I have some left in my car by the time I get home because you know a plant to make sure. HECHT And it is right is better than ones that are picked a week ago and travel across the country that a grocery store has been served. But you know where you plant your own tomato seeds you get a packet. It's got a picture on it of the the luscious tomatoes that you know these seeds will become someday but so often I'm like that a little seed in the packet in the stream all that brown little thing and I look at the picture on the packet and I think there's no way I could ever become like that tomato plant but also I'd asked us to do all the gardener asked us to do is to place your little shriveled up self in the soil. Allow yourself to be planted in the soil in a place where the rain will come with the sun will shine where the rain will come with a sunless shine. And over time we will become like that plant. It's not about the work that we do it's place in ourselves in an environment where God can cause the rain and the sun to come on us and we will naturally become that plant but we have to place ourselves in the place in the position where that can happen. We can't stay in that little packet and think I'm going to grow into that tomato plant. Put yourself in a place and God will grow you and because. It's a part of this world. We know that the rain which sometimes seems to be the adverse things in our life the rain will help us to grow. We love just to be in the sunshine. Also of course you're walking in the heat of the day which we hear and the Alamodome. But the some of the rating together is what makes us grow to place yourself in the environment where you can experience that and God is the one who works in us but we have to be willing to let him do that. When I were early marriage with a little apartment building and we got one of these kind of free packages where you could get free cable. They want you to get caught onto it so that you will then sign up for it even though it was free. I kind of thought well we have to use this you know good stewardship you got to use it if you have it. Well one morning my husband was gone and I looked through the T.V. cable guide to see what might be coming on and there was a movie going to be coming on and I wanted to tell you the title of the movie because I'm ashamed of myself but I wanted to watch that movie. Nobody was around. I had not been around and I was going to watch that movie and buy the very title of the movie I would know I shouldn't watch it but I haven't had my morning devotional time yet. The movie was going to be coming on in forty five minutes in forty five minutes. So I went to the den where I was used to having worship. I read my Bible when I was finished reading my Bible. I had no desire to watch that movie. Songs tells us the I word have I hit him in my heart that I might not sin against you. It's not trying to work so hard to overcome something. Got to spend time with me when we spent time with Jesus. The things that we wanted to do are changed. Because in light of the Gospel of Mark and in light of something the world is trying to pull us to they cannot exist in the same world and so our battle is to every day spent time with Jesus and the PASTOR DWIGHT says it's oh it's mind over matter if you're getting up in the morning it's our mind over matter. But the little phrase I like too is that there is no power in the pillow. We might use in a pillow fight. Think you're strong but that will work against the devil. There's no power in the pillow. We have to get up and spend that time with Jesus and walk with him all day long. We practice his presence when he either with us and there are things that we might be tempted to do that because Jesus is record has stood in our place and we are I'm condemned. We have not only absent a savior but we've asked him to be the Lord of our life and because we realize that serving him and doing what he wants us to do we get much better results. Could we can the only choice we have is who will be the Lord of our life. Satan want you to think it's either Jesus or it ourselves. Sorry he got his deception. It's not you it's him. If you choose to be the Lord of your life it's the devil be in the Lord of your life. But he's so sneaky he makes you think that there's three ways. Jesus yourself or him and you know if you're gonna say no to him but you and him are the same person. The choice is to make Jesus the Lord of your life. So the I word by hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. So once we do that now I want to move on to the second part of the seminar is dealing with forty days of prayer and envision diversity. We asked specific process to reprint a book which we edited for young adults we changed the version to the New King James instead of the king. That's more the way that we speak today. The King James was written for the people who spoke King James English. Today we speak american or however so we want to put in the language that I students would understand but the forty days of prayer this one is forty days of prayer and devotion to prepare for the second coming and it's by Dennis mats so we did some editing on it to make it more come in line with what we thought were clearer theological concepts. But we loved the idea of what he had. So I want to outline the process for you you don't even have to use this book but the principles that we gain from it. A What I think are important though it's the idea of praying for people in your community and that we created this card and this sample of this is online. So you'll be able to download it. You're invited to choose five people that you will pray for over the forty days so these are some steps for you to consider. And you do it with a partner. So first of all as you prepare to embark on the journey find a prayer partner. Please don't think that you'll just do it yourself because there's no accountability when you going to do it yourself. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. And also when you do it with somebody else you are blessed because you have a brother or sister that you can draw closer to because it's a forty day commitment forty days and do it with the same gender. And I suggest that you don't do it with your spouse because it's too easy to let each other off the hook because you're both busy you both went to sleep then find somebody of the same sex and do it with them and you know why we say somebody of the same sex because praying is an intimate thing you draw closer together your heart together and it needs to be with somebody of the same sex not the opposite sex. So find a prayer partner. Because you will be contacting that person every day for forty days. You're going to be sharing insights with them on what you're reading. You're going to discuss the personal reflections that are in the book and you can to pray for each other and you're going to encourage each other to pray for these five people and you're going to remind each other that that's the who you're praying for you going to do something to care for them too in the forty days and then you going to pray that God will show you who you should be praying for the first call you want to find a proprietor and then you go to pray about who God wants you to pray for and you can eliminate to five and that's going to be hard the first time I did this I said I can't limit it to five when I take off my list. But the problem is if you pray for ten people it's going to take more time and you will not be able to respond to what God is telling you to do for those people because praise to people takes time. It's not God be with Aaliyah used to enter into Leo's life. So God how can I pray for her. Do you have for Dave all you say is God Do Leah today it will become a road where you start thinking Well Leon your husband just moved to a new pastoral position you know what are they dealing with in those transitions and I'm talking about the A because she's my friend and she's in the room but I want you to actually pray for somebody that is not walking with God and then choose the five people for you to pray for example could be family members you might have family members that are not walking with Jesus. A co-worker a friend someone in your rotary club somebody who has a lot of church but I want it to be according to these instructions somebody that you can actually do something for not just generic people that are far away but who is in your sphere of influence right now because the next thing you're going to do is to contact these five people to let them know that you're praying for them and the reason why. I think this is important because some people didn't do that. The thing is when I write my friend or contact them to say that I'm going to pray for them for the next forty days when something happens in their life they're going to say I want that because of just praying for me. Otherwise they just see it as coincidence instead of realizing that God is at work in their life and in the book there's a sample that we used in the letters that we sent out and I sent out. So it went something like this for my own spiritual growth and the reason it's important to say that is it's like I'm not I'm not praying for you because I'm the righteous one and you need my prayers. It's because because of my own spiritual journey and wanted to do something for myself. I'm having a special emphasis on prayer and I'm choosing five people that I can pray for in the next forty days. And since you are a friend of mine through rotary it seemed only natural that I would think of you where the God brought me brought you to mind and I would be honored if you would let me know how I could pray for you over the next forty days. He has a simple that is you say because it's a spiritual journey you're on I want to focus on prayer and other people and it seemed natural because of our friendship because we're co-workers. It seem natural that I would pray for you I would be honored. I would be honored if you would tell me how I could pray for you over the next forty days. I hope to hear from you soon. So the first time I did this it was I actually sent a card in the mail with this a handwritten note and I included in itself addressed stamped envelope that they can write something out and return it to me and I want to share with you some of the responses that I got. I actually brought them with me so I could share them with you so you can see I had the return of a look with a card for them. If the other things that is on these cards. You see there's some boxes there for you to track. So because I can make a commitment to them that I'm going to pray for them. But I needed to tangibly check it off because it was something about physically checking it off. That made me more accountable and I would call my prayer partner and together we would pray for my five and she would pray for her five. But on the back of the card as a place to say carrying activities because as you're praying God can bring to your mind something that you should do for that person to demonstrate your care for them. So I have the date when I did something and I will tell you that as I was going through my courage in the forty days there'd be some people like I had nothing written on the back which which was tangible proof I hadn't done anything to demonstrate my love and caring for them. So having something physical that I could use helped me visually to see what I needed to do. So just some of the examples I sent one out to Jim Jim is a friend of mine at Rotary and he responded by sending a note that said thank you after Please pray for me that I will grow spiritually led by the Holy Spirit so that I me better perform the work which God has planned for me to do. Love in Christ. And because he talked about work and wanted to do the work that God wanted for him to do I sent him a copy of steps to Christ but I marched a chapter called The working for Christ. And I said I'm done with the whole book just read this chapter. And he went online and he Googled Ellen White and fortunately it was a good site. He said man this woman is amazing. I'm going to read this whole book. I want to read other books that she has written. And so I would pray for him and I since I saw him once a week we were able to follow up a little. Things that he was praying for. But forty days of prayer was a gem. There's another. So he's a Christian of another denomination but I wanted to expose him to more of the truth about God My friend Alice she was raised on Avonex home but no longer attends an Adventist church so she was somebody I chose to pray for and she said Dear Esther thank you so much for offering to pray for me. What a blessing. I mean having a hard time generally. I know God has blessed me with physical with a physical therapy job. But right now I'm having a hard time with work and I am I'm not holding up well under the stress. Please pray for me and my kids. Thank you for being such a kind supportive friend. Life is awful right now. I need strength. I love you I would never have known the else was struggling I told her I was willing to pray for her. Forty days and open the doors for many opportunities to continue she's invited me to lunch several times and we've talked about spiritual things and I thought I need to continue to grow my friend Karen she said you know that we are not religious but the thought is there and we all need to help where we can. So she just prayed that the children would be safe and free from hunger and because of this journey when she was in the hospital I was able to visit her and even asked her if I could pray with her to the very secular person and she said to me as you know I grew up going to a church will never guess what it is she said. I hope we can say something happens that she was a joke over the wetness I had no idea that she had any sort of spiritual background that because I said I was going to pray with her I was going to pray for her to open the doors to other conversations and then it happened. Her husband was in the hospital. When they were on vacation he got sick and nobody knew what was going on. It took a long time to diagnose it and if he actually because he was so sick he read a lot of books while he was in the hospital and I gave him the book steps to Christ. I said Tom This book has meant a lot to me I have read it over and over again and I think that you will appreciate reading it. Tom died but his daughter told me I said to her you know I gave your dad a book when I visited him. I'm just more of a chance to read it and she said he read every book I know he read your book and saw what open the door was because I had prayed with his wife and then I learned that he was in the hospital and I know that God I mean I don't know what ended up happening but I know that if a person reads a book and they engage with God to life will be transformed. So in eternity we will know it was because we started I started to pray and was willing to do that. So this is my friend Mike. I see him walking in the neighborhood and when I would see him I would pray for him because he was also one of those who used to walk with Jesus and doesn't anymore doesn't attend church but is very critical of those who attend church they don't live up to what they're supposed to be doing. So he said you're after thank you for your kind words and opportune clued me in your daily prayers for the next forty days. I am both humbled and appreciative if you are accurate to reach out to me in a time where a lot or even most of us need all the prayers we can get me included in general it is not a daily habit of mine to pray or to to or to take the time to grow spiritually although I do consider myself a Christian and believe in a power greater than myself that being a logical person there are many questions that remain and and that are answered for me personally. So without rambling on for there. I will be happy to list what is on my heart and all my thoughts today in no particular order. These are his top five for State Safety and Health for my family and my parents. Each day that my son will have a good school year guidance to make the right decision for my clients I will strive to be a better husband father and friend and example to others and I will learn to not hold on so tight but to let go and to trust that God has a plan for me in spite of what I might think or feel at other times. So over the years we've continued this and when he's had a hard difficult time in his life he has asked me to pray for him. Here's a young woman who was on my list. Caressa simple three little sentences that my acne on my face would go away for the yearbook that I'm working on and for my school year. Humble prayers and God wants to answer. My friend Tom He says your offer for prayers come at the right time. As a recovering alcoholic I am faced with many challenges to keep my life alcohol free. Your prayers and support and most welcome. This is a man that I thought every week I had no idea that he was struggling with alcohol you see it when we volunteer for pray to pray for people they will learn to trust us and we can enter into their lives. And because I knew that he had problems with alcohol we were at a function with my Rotary Club and this man was behaving differently than he usually does. He used language that I was not used to hearing him say that because I knew of his cum I walked up to him I said Tom have you been drinking. None of his other friends will confront you with that and I said Don't drink any more tonight because you are not making the choices that you have told me that you want to make I have lots of friends that drink but none of the men asked me to pray for them. So I wouldn't approach them but he has asked me to help him and we have a wonderful Christian relationship and I've been able to talk with his wife because now I understand the struggles that she has had because her husband has had struggled with alcohol just a couple more and this is a sad one. But this neighbor three months ago committed suicide. He shot himself. But my you know was somebody commits suicide. You wonder what more could I have done. We all feel guilty and this was my next door neighbor but you know his family didn't even know. And his wife thanks so much for being friends with them and just wish that you could have done more. That for the forty days I prayed for him this was it this was years ago. This was a couple years ago that I prayed for his niece that was dying of cancer when she died and went and I prayed and I took a pot of soup over to their house never we had our rotary chicken barbecue I would take tickets for them to go. We had we find opportunities to pray. But this man he had incredible back pain hip kind of hooked on medications for that alcohol relieved his symptoms that he had DUIs drinking and employers he spent time in jail because of his drinking and was facing going back to jail and when he was in prison in jail he was in incredible pain but they didn't have his medications and I think it was just too much for him to deal with. And he chose to take his own life but he chose to take it in a way that didn't make a mess in the house I mean he was thinking of other people even though he shot himself but I do not know what his last thoughts were. He just could not deal with it anymore. But I'm grateful that I pulled up this card and knew that I had prayed for him. And then there's another neighbor Wes who recently died also but it's a little bit of a different story because well you know I was a praying person and whenever he would go for surgery or anything else he said Esther would you pray with me. He actually died at the Mayo Clinic. But I prayed with him before he went on a clinic. I pray with him when he was at the Mayo Clinic over the phone and he would tell me how much his prayers my prayers meant he had grown up in a Christian home had kind of stopped going to church because it's not as evidence I have political issues going on other churches. But his wife had stopped going to church but we had always encouraged them. And his niece. So his granddaughter had always said to him Grandpa Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior and he would say to her my husband man I do things to help my neighbors and which is true. But she said Grandpa that's not it's not about being good it's not recognizing that you're a sinner and you've accepted Jesus as your Savior. So I knew that in the last months of his life she has been pushing for him to do that. And when I would pray with him I would tell him it doesn't matter what happens to you when you go for the surgery as long as you know where you stand with Jesus and he and when I would pray I would say that I knew that Wes had accepted Jesus as his Savior and in making the word of his life and so when I was asked to do the funeral for them. But here's a room full two hundred fifty people who were from the sheriff's department from the fire department from Health and Human Services and our neighbors. I will tell you I was a little intimidated because I've done many funerals for people who were Adventists or even people I didn't know who the funeral home called and said would you do a service for this person they died of a drug overdose. But he had a room full of people who I didn't know where they stood spiritually and to preach an Adventist message at a funeral because I know that many of them felt that what was in heaven because he was such a wonderful man but I remember that his one my mom had died and this is a little distant thing here. I learned to be proactive because when my mom died people would say well I know that she is probably a good woman and she's in heaven and I hesitated to contradict them because it was a time to get into a theological discussion. So what I started to say yes my mom my mom died but I know that she's sleeping. The Bible says that she's sleeping at the second coming. I have confidence that I will see her again when Jesus raises her to life. So this man's wife had said to me years ago in two thousand and three when my mom died. So you don't think that your mom's in heaven and so I said no and he gave me the chance to explain what we believe. And so now how many years later more than ten years later we're coming back to that conversation and so I was able to explain to her again and to these two hundred people what the Bible teaches nuns a confrontational way. But it shares the story of Lazarus and how do you said that Lazarus was sleeping and you know if Lazarus was in heaven it would have been very nice for Jesus to bring him back to live in this world only to die again and that the daughter of the man died. That answer now I understand it all makes sense. So I want to tell you this is a Seventh Day Adventist Christians what we believe the Bible teaches. It makes sense from beginning to end. You can be proud of what you believe not proud an arrogant way but this makes sense and we have a wonderful thing that we can share with other people so I will close it with a story about Tom and Catherine because the first time I did the forty days of prayer they were on my list. I've people to pray for the next time we do the forty days of prayer. Catherine was the one that I prayed with she and her husband have been coming to church but they always left they never went to a Sabbath school and I said to them if there was a small group Sabbath school class would you become a part of it and they said sure so we created quickly created a small group Sabbath school class for them and they came and so that was in response to the first forty days of prayer and then when we were going to be a church it's going to be going to forty days of her again. I said Katherine would you be willing to do the forty days of prayer with me and she said sure but we're going to be leaving in six days we're going to be well we're going to be gone for ten days to Paris. But her husband said Well we can call and then he said to my husband but why don't you and I do it together. I remember these people are not yet members of our church and so I'm very faithfully. We would do the reading. Katherine had her list of people Tom had his list and it was kind of fun. We thought we were on vacation with them because they were calls from the Riviera or they would call us and some other famous place in Paris to do the study and the train together. And Tom said I've never taken my patch on vacation with me before. But we got the benefit and then one of so one of the lessons in the book says so what do you need to do to be part of God's movement to reach the world. And Tom said to my husband Ron I guess I need to be baptized and join the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Isn't that what we do this we want people to see the wonderful truth about God and join this movement from the denomination we are a movement and I was telling someone at the hotel and often that we don't see ourselves just not as your nomination. So there was a dark ages in the period of the church where the truth about God had been hidden. And God wanted to bring them back to light. He wanted us to know it's not by works that were saved because of what Jesus has done. He wants us to know that I wife can be transformed and we can begin living that precious life now that better life now. When we were in relationship with Jesus we have a wonderful truth that we just show them. So when Tom and Catherine came back from Paris and were in the middle of the forty days of prayer we wanted to encourage our members to keep at it because you know forty days it's forty days and it takes a chunk of time so I had Tom and Catherine up front interaction and we then said Well what have you been while you were doing the forty days of prayer and so we put a picture up of them in front of the Eiffel Tower that people can see that they were committed to this journey and they were not yet members of our church. And Catherine who is a professional salesperson she said if I can do this when I'm on my vacation traveling you have no excuse why you can't be part of the forty days of prayer and then I said to Tom the what is it that you sent to Ron about what you need to do to be part of this movement to take this message of God's love to the world and he said to that congregation you know with about two thousand people sitting there I guess I need to I need to about ties and join the Seventh Day Adventist Church it was such a wonderful moment because people in the congregation pining Moyle church just broke out in applause because yes to God yes to the Holy Spirit being at work so I want to encourage you. The two parts of the seminar to walk with Jesus. Let him show you where you're guilty. Guilt is not bad. It's guilt is meant to lead us to repentance not to wallow in that for us to see that we need a savior and asked Jesus to transform our lives. And then as we do that he will bring into our lives the people that we need to be praying for. And your willingness to pray for them will allow God to do wonderful things in their lives and to give you permission to speak God's truth into their lives. There's another seminar that we go to with our congregation is called contagious Adventist and it helps people recognize and create contagious adventurous moments as we build on common ground. And so all of these seminars kind of fit together because we want to learn how to live with God living in our lives but how to actively share a faith with other people so it is my prayer that as you reflect on these things that God will be able to use you if you want to use us his you know when somebody comes across your path God wants you to open your mouth and we have found in the contagious Avonex them in our it's a nine sessions seminar. We have found that partly through the participants come and say I don't know what it is for God to bring all of these people into my path now. I think there's two things One is that now the Holy Spirit knows that they can use you and you will open your mouth the other is you have new eyes now you see what God will do. I see that I have a few more minutes I want to share one story with you in closing. My friend Becky peppered just told a story of the pastors convention in Austin I'd heard a tele before but it's just remind us about the power of prayer and how we can be involved. Becky Pippa wrote the book out of the salt shaker and it's twenty after a twenty fifth year edition it came out again and it's just wonderful to help us know how to be salt and light. Becky you just moved to Naperville and the women maybe understand this more than men but you know who Kutcher the president cut your hair is important because that you kind of give all the relationship for the person who does your hair. Because they can know how your hair works and it's difficult when you move to a new area to find the right person so that he called her friend in Naperville and said You know I've been to a hundred different places I think get my haircut. Where do you recommend the lady told her a store and she said ask for Mary. The bet he made an appointment to see Mary and when she showed up Mary wasn't there instead there was a woman named Martha Martha ended up cutting back his hair and you know that when you're talking when the President's car and you hear you develop a relationship over time is a Becky that in my simple tummy but your family she told us she had a brother and she said my brother you know he's kind of one of those he considers himself a born again Christian I love you know nothing about them. And Becky said well I'm a born again Christian too and over time we developed a relationship we talk about family and as the months went by that he found out that Martha's brother likes to read a lot of books and a lot of Christian books. Mike has only just read Christian books and that he said well you know I've written a few books. One interesting thing is when one of my books and so my father had contacted her brother and she didn't think that her brother would read any of Becky's books. Well a month later Becky comes back in and Martha says you'll never believe that my brother has read your book out of the salt shaker. He read it about seven years ago and so that was that was nice at the back he was happy that Martin's brother had read his book then that he is checking out writing her a check for her hair appointment and it's closing time now so the only people in the store are Becky. Martha and all the other women who were working in the store and Becky realizes that they're saying to Martha Well you can tell are you going to tell her that this is what are you talking about. They wanted more. It's a tell baccy the rest of the story. Seven years ago Martha's brother had read the book out of the salt shaker and he had prayed God if my sister could only meet someone like back someone who loves Jesus who can share her faith in such a contagious way. If if you could only see some somebody like Becky. I know one sister would come into relationship with you. Could God did he sent back Katie not to someone like Becky and the reason they were whispering is because they don't want Becky to feel any pressure that she had to leave this woman to do this and do you know that in that store the only one of the women that was a Christian was Mary Kay has been named Mary to be cutting back his hair he didn't want her to be cutting back hair. Years later Martha got married. Becky was invited to the wedding. You know who she sat beside Martin's brother who had prayed for God to bring somebody like Becky into into his sister's life. So you know my brothers and sisters somebody is praying. When we prayed for my sister for twenty five years I wanted you to be the answer to my prayer because you were the ones that were going to be in touch with my sister and the same I realize that other people were praying for the brothers and sisters and mothers and parents who were in my sphere of influence. So I need to be the answer to somebody else's prayer by choosing to love people so I could speak God's truth and love into their life to be the answer to somebody else's prayer by how you love the people around you. And this world will be transformed and Jesus will come. Pray to God I thank you so much they love us. And for my brothers and sisters in this room and those who may listen to this recording later have your way in our lives. Indeed we want nothing to stand in the way. If you transform enough and you know us you know these these simple pleasures of life that we think are harmless that they keep us from loving you with all our heart with a whole soul with all our mind but we can give you permission to be at work to do whatever it takes in our lives and in the lives of those we are trying to reach. Will we be men and women of prayer men and women who allow you to transform our lives and to make us more like Jesus every day. That is that is what we want. Please to be at work for your honor and your glory in the name of Jesus our advocate the one with a similar flight in whose presence and condemned we stand innocent because of Jesus's great sacrifice in his name we pray Amen. Thank you again so much for being here. That last story here part of the play for if you take it quickly to make this story real quick because you can get. When my sister was younger she went through a rebellious stage. It's over twenty five years we prayed for her but I asked my small group I'm a Christian. Remind me to do something for my sister every month to show her that you know when you when you have family that walk with God you're closer to your friends and you are to your family but you don't share things in common. And my tears just kept loving my sister just kept loving her loving her loving her being involved in her life and what we would pray. I don't I didn't want my daughter to know about the bad things. A sister was doing so every Friday night we prayed I would pray that my sister would learn to love Jesus more and so would I So the same for my sister. Then one day my dad called me and asked Do you won't believe what happened. But your sister has come back to God and because my sister called my dad and she said Daddy I recognize that I am a sinner and if you know my dad and he is a godly man and he gave the perfect response to my sister. He said Ellen So why so am I And she said I know that you the best parents ever could have had and that was important because she took my parent to court because it was letter smoke and let it stay out late at night and in the Canadian system you could become a ward of the state. You can imagine the pain that my family went through but it was before when my mom died in two thousand and three and it was before that that my sister came back. My mom died knowing that my sister was coming back and then I just thought I was sobbing because this is my sister that I love and I prayed for and my little daughter my daughter said Mommy what's wrong I said Monday. Nothing is wrong. Everything is right everything now is right and I said to my sister now I can pray for Jesus to come she said no we have to pray for Stephen that first time so the prayers go on. We wanted this to come as too much suffering in the world. We can't be selfish and want him to wait for one more person but I wanted to know my sister in back she loves Jesus and God is using her to me. So thank God that we played what I wanted you to know is that we have so many handout for you know you've been everywhere getting things that people are giving to you. But what we're doing is giving you something small so when you put it in your case it won't go over the fifty per cent and you'll have something. That will be very meaningful. These cards are called Everyday prayers for your spiritual world. We have enough for everybody to have one. We also have this card you haven't already. We have some of these up at the table as well and all you need to do it. If you're like me you want to hear this again and it's going to be online probably by the end of this month. That's why we're recording it. But you need to add something. If you have this card and if you don't we have some that you can have it says revival and reformation dot orgy. You've probably been there already. What you need to do today and that is slash prayer room revival and reformation or largely slash prayer and that will take you there. You'll have so many resources we'll be saving a few trees by not printing so many handouts and you'll have it online which if you don't have that access. We do have some a lot of coffee but the recording will be online. If you don't have the access ask somebody. Or maybe your local library where you are might have the ability for you to do that. We're trying to make it available to people around the world not just people who came here for the session. This video was brought to you by audio course a web site dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more. If you would like to know more about how do you first go if you would like to listen to more sermon W W W dot org.

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