A companion to Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer
Carolyn Dale Newell
Copyright © 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell
Distributed by Shakespir
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other – except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Published by Carolyn Dale Newell
All Scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Why Should I Do This Bible Study
• Enhance your prayer life.
• Understand praying while believing and praying according to God’s will.
• Establish an intimate relationship with God the Father.
• Grasp the power of God through prayer.
• Discover the lengths Satan goes to in order to keep us silent.
• Encourage you to persist in prayer.
• Discover prayer using some of God’s names.
• Learn about prayer from saints like David, Daniel, and Hannah.
• Eliminate the need to worry.
I have had the privilege of working with Carolyn as a proofreader on this Bible study. I am blessed that I get to read her wonderful words early. Her life and words are a testimony to her faith, love, and dependence on God.
- Judi Rhodes
Carolyn’s Bible study, Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer, provides beautiful insight to Biblical truth about the power of prayer. It is eye-opening and impactful. Carolyn has such a great understanding of prayer and the incredible influence it can have in the life of a Christian. In her study, she shares the wisdom God has revealed to her through her personal study and life experience. Incense Rising is a wonderful study that I highly recommend!
- Michala Bryant
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer released in September 2016. It was not long before God laid a Bible study on my heart. What better way to start the new year than a Bible study on prayer. I began it as an online study in January 2017, and the response was overwhelming. That is when I decided to take this online study one step further. That Bible study is this book!
To get the most from this book, you will want to purchase a copy of Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer. Read five devotions weekly along with the corresponding material in this book. There are two parts for each week in this Bible study.
For example, Monday thru Friday, read days 1-5 from the devotional. That weekend, complete Week 1 of this book. You can schedule it for what suits you best.
You have been covered in prayer. As I have written this book, I prayed it would enlighten and encourage you to talk with God.
I want to thank the following people for their help with this book: Michala Bryant, Judi Rhodes, Steve and Eva Brown, and my husband Timmy. Their names do not appear on the cover, but without them, this book could not exist. Their input, editing, and proofreading has been their gift to this ministry and to you.
As always, I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for calling me to this ministry, equipping me to do it, and leading me on the path He has set before me. I also thank Him for this gift we call prayer.
Welcome to my first Bible study. You will need a Bible, something to jot notes on, and a copy of Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer. Week 1 covers days 1 through 5. Incense Rising is not a typical devotional book. It is almost a Bible study. This study will elaborate on the hidden treasures of prayer.
We will begin by learning about God’s view on prayer. How does God want us to pray? Do we realize how special the prayers of the saints are to God? Do you ever feel as if you are bothering God with your requests? Maybe it’s too small. Maybe it’s repetitive. The first thing we need to understand about prayer is how much God loves it. Parents of grown children, how do you feel when you hear from your kids? God is thrilled to hear from His children. He treasures the prayers you continue to bring repeatedly to Him. It says that you have not given up on Him. It indicates your faith in His ability, His timing, and His promises.
People may not have time for us. People may shut the door in our face, but not our heavenly Father.
On day 3 of Incense Rising, we begin to look at God as our Daddy. That is hard for many people. Many women have suffered abuse at the hands of their fathers. Many men and women alike have been abandoned by their earthly dads. Some of us were blessed by a good daddy, but he struggled to express affection to us. That was my dad. He was good, but not one to give hugs or even say, “I love you”. That is why it is difficult for me to understand the depths of my heavenly Daddy’s love for me.
When we look at God as our Father, we are hindered by what we have learned from earthly fathers. That could be why the Lord’s prayer reminds us immediately that He is heavenly. We cannot compare Him with an earthly father. Our Abba Daddy is divine, and everything about Him is heavenly. He is flawless. He never breaks a promise.
We may have a trust issue stemming from the relationship we had with our own dads. Once again, our heavenly Daddy is trustworthy. No comparison
As we ask God to counsel us in prayer, we also need to pray about our misconceptions and scars that have not healed. Just know that your prayers are adored by God. If it is too difficult to consider Him as your Daddy, know the Lord God loves you intensely.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;” Jer. 31:3b
How would you describe an everlasting love?
When did it begin?
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 john 4:19
What do the following verses say about God’s love and care for His children: Jeremiah 1:5 and Romans 8:35-40?
Dear Abba, help us perceive You as the truly perfect Father You are. Teach us as we dig into Your Word, learning about prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10
The Holy Spirit spoke to me through my own words today. We must desire God’s kingdom, not our own kingdom. Life is crazy now. I have a 22-month old guide dog, much like a baby, and a 14-year old sick cat, much like an aging parent. If that is not enough, try to find a contractor during hunting season. No wonder, my prayers have been short. Possibly, God led me to write this Bible study to get my eyes back on Him. Amidst all this craziness, I never prayed about She Speaks 2017. God called me to speak, but the phone isn’t ringing. I must attend the conference this year!
Sounds good! Sounds right! My kingdom includes She Speaks, but what about God’s kingdom? My first clue was that it doesn’t fit into my budget.
It is so easy to think God’s plan includes your service to Him. Until we pray long and hard about something, we will not know what God has planned for us.
It would be great if God sent us an email detailing the specific steps He wants us to take. However, we have that message in the Bible.
Without prayer, God does not reveal His plan. He wants us to spend time with Him. He insists on it. parents of grown children, how does it feel if they only call when they need something?
How do you think God feels when we only pray when we want something?
Day 5, in the devotional, directs us to read Romans 14:17-19. Verse 17 tells us two things about God’s kingdom. This is not a complete list, but let’s take a closer look.
What is not included in the kingdom of God?
What makes up the kingdom of God?
The things that are not of the kingdom of God are physical such as food and drink. The things of the kingdom are spiritual. They are not tangible. What does that indicate to you?
What things should we pursue (v. 19)?
It is just days prior to Thanksgiving as I write today. Verse 19 almost sounds like a Christmas card. There is much emphasis placed on peace and helping others during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Although Christmas is a time of giving, let’s consider this thought; Since we discovered the emphasis of the kingdom was spiritual in verse 17, the edification of others should be spiritual in verse 19. Yes, people need help. Many people genuinely need money, food, or a ride to the doctor’s office. Please do that! However, everyone has a spiritual need. No matter how rich or how poor, each person needs personal edification.
What does that look like? Here are some examples:
• Prayer, especially praying with them
• Share the gospel
• Share your testimony. Someone needs to hear what God has done for you.
• Be an encourager, not a discouragement.
• Check on someone with a text or phone call
What are some ways you can pursue peace and the edification of others this week?
Prayer is the channel through which peace flows.
Lord, help us begin edifying those You bring into our life today and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Last week, our focus was on God’s kingdom and God’s will. Now, the focus shifts to our needs.
Many times, we don’t like God’s will. Be honest. We don’t want to be in our situation. Think over your lifetime, and reflect on the seasons when your will would have been quite different than the will of God. You may be there right now.
Those days are not easy, but one thing that helps us through them is God’s promise to provide. When life does not go our way, we can stand on the promise in Philippians 4:19:
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.
Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide) is one of God’s names that I use in prayer often. When circumstances are not what I would prefer, it reminds me God sustains us. God will equip us during the storm, and He will grant us a way out of the storm.
Abraham was in one of those places. He did not wish to sacrifice his son. His precious and only son. He did not want Isaac to die, and he certainly would rather not be the one who took his life, but he trusted God. Abraham said, “Your will, not mine.” We don’t find that in Scripture, but it appears in his actions. He trusted God to resurrect Isaac.
Isn’t it comforting to know that in troubling times, God will provide! We submit to God’s will, and we say, “I don’t like this, but this is the path You have chosen for me. I trust You, and I claim Your promise to provide because that is who You are – Jehovah Jireh.”
God gave Abraham faith, the faith to trust Him.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Eph. 2:8
God gives us that same faith. Jehovah Jireh provides for us the same way He provided for Abraham. He gave Abraham a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac (Gen. 22:11-13). He parted the Red Sea when the Israelites were trapped with Pharaoh on their heels (Ex. 14:16-18). Jehovah Jireh supplied the widow of Zarephath a bottomless barrel of flour and a jar of oil that never ran dry (1 Kings 17:11-16). Jehovah Jireh presented Paul and Silas with a way of escape from the Philippian prison (Acts 16:25-31). Jehovah Jireh has bestowed healing upon many, and grace when healing was not part of His plan (2 Cor. 12:9).
When you lose your job, Jehovah Jireh will provide your necessities until He provides you with another job. When you are grieving, Jehovah Jireh will provide comfort to the mourning. He will provide when the bank account is empty. Jehovah Jireh provides us with safety. He opens doors when other doors close.
Read Genesis 22:1-19.
What emotions do you think Abraham felt as he cut the wood and made the journey to Mount Moriah?
What did Abraham tell his men (v. 5)?
How can you trust Jehovah Jireh today?
Jehovah Jireh, we pray for You to provide for our needs. Not just food, clothing and shelter, but supply our spiritual and emotional needs also. Thank You. Amen.
Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone? Are you there right now? Forgiveness is difficult. Most of us wrestle with it, knowing we ought to forgive, but harboring anger within our hearts. When someone wrongs you, it is hard to overlook. When they hurt your children, it usually means war, except for one thing: we are commanded to forgive.
What does forgiveness look like?
We hear the words, “Forgive one another”, but resentment still lingers. Bitterness takes root, and left to grow, it will consume us like weeds taking over a flowerbed.
Weeds are almost impossible to get rid of, and a bitter heart is much the same.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret – it only causes harm. Psalm 37:8
The anger we feel when we have been hurt is a natural human emotion, just like hatred. The resentment we feel today will fuel the hatred we feel tomorrow. We cannot allow our emotions to rule us. When we identify these potentially harmful feelings, we must pray.
God will help us relinquish the hard feelings. The problem is sometimes, we want to hold onto our hurt. We want to wear it like a badge. I am the one who was mistreated. They deserve what they get. That is not what the Bible teaches.
As Psalm 37:8 above says, only harm can come from allowing these raw emotions to grow. That harm is self-inflicted. This person has already insulted us, injured us, and injected their venom into us. We can choose to allow them to destroy us, or we can forgive. They win when we cannot forgive.
Unforgiveness will harden our hearts. It will disrupt our fellowship with God. It will hinder answered prayer. It will steal our joy. This is why it is important to take the matter to our heavenly Father immediately before it takes root. It is only by the grace of God that we can forgive. Do you realize we are never more like God than when we forgive? He has forgiven us so much. How can we not forgive others?
I am not speaking as someone who easily forgives. I am like Peter. Seven times should be their limit. I am right there with you, trying to forgive the unforgivable.
Read Ephesians 4:26-27.
What does verse 26 say about anger?
If we continue in anger and wrath, what is really happening (v. 27)?
Anger can boil over like a hot pot of water. It spews out from us onto those we love, especially our family. Sometimes, we feel safe doing that rather than projecting our rage on those we are really upset with. We also like to tell everyone about how we have been treated unfairly. In both cases, would it not be better if we turn the heat off the boiling pot? That is what forgiveness does. It removes the source.
Now read Ephesians 4:31-32. Verse 31 tells us what we need to rid ourselves of, and verse 32 tells us what we need to do.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and it can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Father God, help us forgive others. Remove the anger, bitterness and wrath. Help us move on with tender hearts as suitable witnesses for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Days 10 and 11 of Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer focus on temptation and our enemy. Let’s turn to Genesis 3 and examine the first sin.
Before chapter 3 begins, we find Satan’s first step – isolation, but we can call it desolation. For some unknown reason, Eve was alone when she met the serpent. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect paradise. The first couple obviously had not argued and sought out solitude. If it was easy to find Eve alone in a sinless world, how easy is it for him to seclude us? He stirs up strife here and creates a disagreement there. Now you are alone.
When Christians hurt one another, no matter how unintentional, the pain is intense because we don’t expect it within the church. Now, Satan has an isolated victim.
Still in verse 1, we find tactic number two -disguise.
And no wonder! For Satan, himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 2 Cor. 11:14
Satan cleverly presents himself as good. He doesn’t wear a T-shirt with the words “temptation” or “devil” splashed across the front.
Lucifer began deceiving Eve by putting a negative spin on God’s command (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1). We are deceived even more easily because we live in a sin-filled world. Lies and corruption surround us. How different things may be if Eve had stopped the devil’s lies immediately, but she played right into his hands. How often do we believe the enemy’s fabrications?
Next comes doubt (Gen. 3:4-5). Lies push doubt into our minds. Do you realize what doubt does? It doesn’t sound harmful, but it means we do not trust God one hundred percent. Our faith has been shaken. Doubt opens the flood gates to fear and worry.
The fruit was not sinful. Desire for it was not sinful. Being in proximity to the tree was unwise, but not sinful. It was not sin until Eve believed the devil’s lie and doubted God. Eve fell from perfection, but we are already fallen.
Illness ravages your body. Why did God allow it? Doubt. Why did God allow me to lose my job and now I may lose my car? Doubt! Why did God allow people to mistreat me? Again, doubt! God, why did You take the life of my spouse? My child? Questions are not sinful, but doubt is.
When the storm is fierce, we question God. We begin to doubt God. We are no longer loving Him with all our heart, and all our mind.
Sin will keep us from prayer, but a prayer warrior will be kept from sin.
Read Genesis 3:6 and 1 John 2:16. What do these verses have in common? What are the three avenues of temptation?
Abba, Father, keep us from the enemy. Protect us from his desolation, disguise and deception which creates doubt. Forgive us when our flesh fails and doubts. Strengthen us. Teach us to fight on our knees. In the name of Jesus, amen.
We find ourselves looking at the nuts and bolts of prayer today. When you admire a beautifully crafted piece of furniture or a candy apple red corvette, you are not looking at the nuts and bolts holding it together. Take them away and you will be left with a heap of wood or metal.
Just like furniture and cars, our prayers need something to hold them together, it comes in the form of discipline. We have some nuts and bolts for prayer. They are the building blocks, the foundation of heavenly communication.
Let’s gather some of the tools we need for communing with our Father. Our toolbox for prayer includes:
• When? Scheduling a specific time for prayer is necessary. Put it on the calendar or set up a reminder on your phone. You may need a different time on weekends than on weekdays. I change my time during different seasons, since I need to work outside early in the summer, avoiding the afternoon heat.
• Where? A prayer closet is not a literal closet, although it can be. A great example is the war room depicted in the movie bearing the same name. Find a place where you are not likely to be interrupted. That holds true for time also. This may vary on weekends and at various times of the year. Avoid schedule changes catching you off-guard. Think ahead and plan ahead as much as possible. This includes vacations and holidays. Our prayers will slip through the cracks if we fail to make provision for change.
• Bible. Keep it handy. If you use an app, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by phone calls and notifications. Praying through Scripture ensures you won’t repeat yesterday’s prayer word-for-word. It will inspire worship and add new dimensions to your prayer life. You may find particular sections of the Bible are your favorite passages to pray through. The Psalms make a great selection. Genealogies, not so much.
• Prayer list, journal, app. A prayer list reminds you of each request. When we list our supplications, it gives us time to consider all the aspects of the request. Is it selfish? Is it God’s will? Is it contrary to God’s Word? I tend to spend more time praying for others than myself when I utilize a list. Some great apps for prayer lists exist such as “Prayer Free” and “Echo”. They offer categories and even a schedule. Some folks like to journal their prayers keeping record of answered prayer and writing them out. This also allows for variety. There is no room for the same dull routine prayer with these tools available.
Once we establish a time and place, and we have everything handy, we can get down to business. A review of the Lord’s prayer will help us know what to pray. This may work great incorporated into your prayer list.
• We are part of a family praying to our Daddy who has heavenly resources.
• Worship. Repeat His attributes: holiness, awesome, merciful…
• Pray for His kingdom, not ours, this includes salvation for the lost and spiritual growth for the saints.
• Pray for God’s will.
• Pray for provision and sustenance.
• Pray for Forgiveness.
• Pray for protection from temptation and the enemy.
• Praise and worship.
Lord, ensure that we keep all the hardware of our prayer life running smooth. Help us focus on the bigger picture, time with You. Amen.
How do we pray in faith, believing God will answer, but also pray for His will to be done? It is a good question, but it is rooted in doubt.
I have considered this question, and this morning God revealed new insight.
Why do we think His will is not in agreement with our request? Do we want to pray contrary to God’s will? Of course not! We automatically assume God’s will is contrary to our will. We fear we will not get our way, and often, that fear is very real. Jesus has commanded us to pray persistently. Never give up. Keep asking. Continue seeking. Storm the throne room of heaven. (Luke 11:9). Jesus Christ commanded us to pray believing for an answer:
Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24
We are commanded to pray for God’s will (Matt 6:10). James, the half-brother of Jesus, explains doubt by comparing it to the ocean waves.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; James 1:6-7
Daniel was protected from the hungry lions because he believed (Dan. 6:23). If Daniel had lacked faith, would the outcome be the same? We do not know.
The three Hebrews did not doubt when they said:
” …our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image…” Dan. 3:17-18
They believed God’s will was either to deliver them from the fire or bring them through it. Friend, that is exactly what He will do for us. We should not fear God’s will. Does this mean we will like it? Not necessarily, but we will have a tremendous testimony.
In conclusion, never doubt God or His plan. We need to believe for our miracle and know He is able. Trust Him to accomplish it.
We are commanded to believe and receive. We are commanded to pray boldly according to God’s will. We are not commanded to understand it. We are not praying contrary to the will of God when we believe for healing. We are not praying contrary when we pray for a financial breakthrough. We are not praying contrary to God’s will when we believe for divine protection.
God may answer in a different manner than we expected. Last year, I believed for complete restoration of my vision. Instead, I received a guide dog, who has won my heart. Healing heartache was better than improved vision, and I will see perfectly in heaven. God definitely knows what He is doing.
God’s timing may be different than ours, but He is always right on time.
This is quite a mystery. Commit to believe. You will be discouraged, but don’t give up. Keep believing. Keep receiving.
Father, I believe for my miracle because You have commanded me to believe. I pray for Your will to be done because You have also commanded that. I trust You. You will do the best thing for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
How long have you prayed for that loved one? Perhaps a child, a spouse, or a parent? The request may be for salvation or healing. How many requests have you stopped praying about? You didn’t intend to drop them from your prayer list, but for one reason, or no reason, that supplication is overlooked.
Sometimes we pray about the same thing for years, even decades. Many times, the prayer may not be answered within our lifetime.
Jesus wants us to continue bringing the same names and needs to Him. Let’s look at Luke chapter 18.
When I read the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:2-6), I picture Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies”. She is a spitfire, and this evil judge who does not fear God, nor regard man, has ignored her request. Someone did Granny wrong, and she wants justice. When the judge who probably can be bought, does nothing, she returns. Wagging her skinny finger in his face, she demands justice once again. She is poor and cannot bribe him, but the judge doesn’t have time for Granny. He has corrupt politicians to blackmail, so he gives her the justice she sought.
The point? If an evil judge bestows sweet Granny’s request, think what more your loving heavenly Father will do.
Jesus says that “men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1).
Don’t lose heart! Don’t become discouraged! Don’t give up!
How do you feel when you continue praying without results?
What does it look like when you “lose heart”?
Then Jesus asks his disciples an odd question:
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
When we cease praying, it is likely we have lost faith. Faith is synonymous with trust. Sometimes we quit asking for something because the situation has changed. Many times, we give up, lose heart.
Jesus asked this question over 2017 years ago, Is there less faith now? Is there more? Where would you fall?
Jot down Luke 18:1 on some post-it notes and place them where you will see them. I am not telling you to keep praying. Jesus is telling you to keep praying.
The next parable in Luke 18 revolves around two men praying. One is a tax collector, a deceitful character. The other is a Pharisee. He believes he has no sin. His works buy him a spot in heaven, or so he thinks.
Of the two men, which one was more righteous? Why?
We need to understand righteousness because James 5:16 says:
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Who is a righteous man?
God sees the righteousness of Christ when He sees those who have been born again. This is called positional righteousness. Practical righteousness is when the lifestyle of a Christian is obedient to God. In other words, we cannot have habitual sin in our life and expect our prayers to be heard, much less answered. Obedience begins in the heart. Sins of attitude are still sin. What sins do you think the average believer struggles with most?
Over the next few days, ask God to search your heart, revealing all sin and cleansing you from it.
Heavenly Father, strengthen our faith. Rid us of discouragement. Cause us to be obedient, bringing You much deserved glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Are you in a storm? Are you coming out of one? Can you recall a trial where you saw the hand of God? Trials serve to strengthen our faith.
There was a widow in Zarephath who needed greater faith. When we meet her in 1 Kings 17:10, she has given up. The famine that Elijah had prayed for was in the land, and she was out of food. This distressed widow is preparing her son’s last meal before they die.
Read 1 Kings 17. What were the two requests Elijah made of the widow?
How did Elijah try to sooth the widow’s fears?
What was the first miracle the widow witnessed?
Do you ever feel like you come out of one storm and head right into another? This widow can sympathize with you. God miraculously provided food for her and her son as long as Elijah resided with them. Their lives were spared from starvation only to have her son become deathly ill. How do you think she felt?
What emotion does she display in verse 18?
Do you think Elijah shared in the frustration of the widow (v. 20)?
Here is Elijah, a prophet, but a man, just like us as James has pointed out (James 5:17). Never feel ashamed when your burdens begin to overwhelm your faith. It happened to Elijah. However, our faith must overwhelm our burdens. Like the widow, Elijah was wondering what God was doing and why was God allowing it.
Elijah prayed fervently three times for the boy to be revived before God answered. In 1 Kings 18:42-44, Elijah prayed for rain, but he prayed seven times before seeing a tiny cloud. That is almost double the prayer time when he prayed for the widow’s son. This is a great example for us to understand how God stretches our faith.
According to 1 Kings 17:24, how did this second storm affect the widow’s faith?
God enlarged the faith of Elijah and the widow both. Elijah sounded confident when he declared to the widow that her flour and oil would never run out. God had already provided for Elijah using a babbling brook and the ravens. God had told Elijah a widow would provide food for him in Zarephath, but Scripture never tells us that Elijah was warned about the boy’s illness and death.
Storms catch us off-guard. That is the nature of a storm. Have you ever been out on a summer’s day and suddenly the sky grows black and thunder rumbles? Elijah was caught off-guard with this boy’s sickness.
Whenever God made a promise to Elijah, Elijah was confident. God made no promise concerning the widow’s son.
God has promised us many things throughout His Word. Which promises comfort you most? Which ones do you need to cling to more?
Man is a promise-breaker. God is a promise-keeper. We may not know the extent God will provide for us, but we know He will provide (Phil. 4:19) We may not know when the peace will arrive, but we know it comes (Phil. 4:6-7). We may feel alone, but we know we are never alone (Heb. 13:5). Life may be horrible, but we know some way, God will work it all out for good (Rom. 8:28). Rest on His promises today.
Lord, help us discover Your promises as we read Your Word. Thank You for always keeping the promises You have made. Help us trust You to always come through. Amen.
On Day 24, in Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer, we explored the name of God, Jehovah Rohi, The Lord my Shepherd. Let’s get to know Jehovah Rohi by reading Psalm 23.
Jehovah Rohi is like an umbrella name with several other names of God under it. For example, verse 1 assures us we will never be in want. We have already seen that Jehovah Jireh is our Provider. Sheep are totally dependent on their shepherds for all their needs. Unattended, they would starve, wander off or die.
Green meadows and still waters (v. 2) provide abundantly for the flock. Not only is there plentiful grazing, but the atmosphere is peaceful.
A shepherd guides his sheep, as we read in Day 24 about seeking direction from God. When faced with important decisions, it is difficult to know with certainty the path God has for us.
There are times when Scripture is clear about the right path. We can wander away in disobedience. Many sheep do, but our Shepherd restores us to the paths of righteousness.
Prayer is vital to staying in God’s will. When we remain close to the Shepherd, we will not wander far. When some grass on the other side looks greener for nibbling, the sheep meanders toward it. Straying sheep are often returned to the flock by the shepherd’s staff. Pressure is applied as the shepherd directs him back to his place. Sometimes, the shepherd must find the missing sheep to restore him.
The rod is a tool of protection and correction. Sheep have enemies. A bear or wolf will sneak in for the attack. The wandering sheep, the isolated sheep, is always a target. The shepherd uses the rod to beat wild animals off. Obviously, David used his slingshot for the same purpose.
Christians are under the protective hand of their Shepherd, Jehovah Rohi. Have you felt the pressure of the staff or the correction of God’s rod?
Walking through the valley of the shadow of death is imminent, but our Protector is with us. We need not fear evil. David saw the confidence his sheep had in him. He penned these verses knowing he had no reason to fear his enemies. David prayed for his Shepherd’s help many times. Prayers of desperation. Prayers of distress. David lived many years running from enemies. He understood evil.
We see evil in our world today. David’s prayers reassure us that our Shepherd is watching.
As Christians are shot, beheaded, and crushed by trucks, God gives them dying grace. It is only a shadow of death until they reach their heavenly home where they will live forever. Goodness and mercy will be with them forever, and it is with us today.
It is by God’s mercy that we are alive today. It is by His goodness that our health is not worse. The unseen evil our Shepherd has protected us from remains unknown to us.
Where do you see God’s goodness in your life today?
Where do you see God’s mercy today? It is hard to remember these names of God which are in Hebrew. However, we can pray to our Shepherd. He provides. He is the source of peace. He directs our paths. He protects us, and He restores us.
Jehovah Rohi, like a wandering sheep, we need You to guide us. We trust You to provide for us and to protect us from the enemy. Thank You, Lord, for being our Shepherd. Amen.
Sermons about Hannah are preached around Mother’s Day, but today, we dive into 1 Samuel chapter 1 where we get better acquainted with her.
Sorrow has filled Hannah’s heart. Despite her husband’s attempts to be extremely good to her (1 Sam. 1:8). The Elkannah family was dysfunctional. God was displeased with Elkannah marrying two wives. We learn early in Scripture that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman at one time.
Hannah shared her husband with a woman who bore babies with ease, but Hannah was barren. She also rubbed Hannah’s nose in her ability to bear children. We all have dealt with that personality type at some time. Many of you ladies understand Hannah’s pain. The longing to be a mother loses hope with each passing month, but there is always hope with God.
What phrases in verse 10 describe Hannah’s emotional state?
Here is something refreshing we may miss as we read. Notice the providence of God here. At the moment, Hannah is praying, Eli is present. Not only is he there, but his attention is drawn to Hannah. Providence means God arranges a series of events to bring about His desired outcome. Miracles are usually a single supernatural event, but providence can encompass many steps.
Can you recall a miracle in your lifetime? When have you witnessed God’s providence at work?
Pay attention to Hannah’s boldness as she prays (v. 11). She not only states the fact that God will give her a child, but a male child. She vows to return her son to the Lord.
In verse 16, Hannah told Eli she had complained to God. Is complaining sinful? What about complaining to God?
Does Eli’s reply in verse 17 shed any light on your thoughts?
When a complaint is given to God, He can do something about it. When we share our grievances with people, they usually have no power to change the situation. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. We can make a complaint to a store clerk and get action. You return an item to the store. Your reason for the return, your complaint, is the product’s unsatisfactory performance. The clerk gives you a refund. Does that look different than keeping the product and complaining to anyone who will listen about its unsatisfactory performance?
The Israelites were condemned for their murmuring. However, they did not take it to the Lord (Ex. 15:24, Ex. 17:3)
Job said his complaint was just (Job 6:1).
Many verses in the New Testament command us not to complain (1 Cor. 10:10, Phil. 2:14, Col. 3:13, Jude 1:16). Psalm 142:1-2 gives us an example as to how we might pray, complaining to God:
I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
Do you see any differences between making a complaint to God rather than running a complaint campaign?
What complaints have you taken to God recently?
What have you complained about to others?
What changes do you anticipate to make in the future?
Lord, how can we complain to You when our first thoughts bring our minds to all You have blessed us with? Many of us have complaints today. We are in pain. Physical pain. Emotional pain. Many are at the end of their rope. Help us because only You can. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What does brokenness look like in your life? Do you bear the burden of family problems, such as an estranged child or an aging parent? Possibly constricting finances or a heavy workload? Maybe the stress of a health crisis? Perhaps you cope with abuse, depression, rejection, or church hurt. David experienced most of these at some point in his life. Brokenness will build strength in us, the same way it did for David. Our scars from today will be our strength for tomorrow.
On Day 29, of Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer, we examined David’s prayer in Psalm 61. Let’s turn our attention to Psalm 143. If doubt exists about the deep despair David felt, read Psalm 143, his prayer when he boldly approached God (v. 1).
Our prayers often lack fire until we feel desperate. Then we have a reason to get fired up. In Psalm 143:5, David reflected on the works God had accomplished in his life. David also recalled what God had accomplished in history.
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
Remember where God has brought you from. Remember what God has brought you through. Remember the parting of the Red Sea. Remember the walls of Jericho tumbling down.
Remembering God’s greatness stirs up trust. We remember who our Abba is. We can rely on Him. Like David, we know we can trust Him.
Next, David committed to trust God in verse 8:
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
The third aspect in this Psalm portrays God as our refuge. David describes God as his shelter and his deliverer. Even the mighty warrior, David sought God’s deliverance.
Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter. (Ps. 143:9)
The fourth point in this prayer of brokenness is guidance. Since we trust God, we desire His guidance in our lives. We want Him to order our steps, keeping us from wandering off the path He has prepared for us.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness. (Ps. 143:10)
Finally, we seek personal revival. Not the spring or fall revival at church. Personal revival is just that, personal, between you and God. It usually does not occur when everything runs smoothly. Our scars from today will be our strength for tomorrow.
Brokenness creates the thirst only God can quench. In a typical day, how often do you thirst for a glass of cold water? Just as we are not constantly physically thirsty, we are not always spiritually thirsty, but we should be. Often, it takes a desperate situation to make us thirst. An overwhelmed spirit or a distressed heart leaves us parched, wanting the touch of God.
Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. (Ps. 143:11)
A bold prayer, reciting the acts of God, trusting Him, seeking His lead, and personal revival are bundled up in David’s prayer. Not a cure-all, but a prayer to soothe your shattered heart during the seasons of brokenness.
Father God, You are the Great Physician. You are the best at healing broken hearts. Broken souls. Broken spirits. Broken marriages. Broken families. You have done mighty acts, and You are not finished. We trust You to revive us once again. Amen.
Get to know the God who knows you. That was the focus of Day 31 in Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer. Paul’s prayer for the church at Colosse ended with a power-packed prayer request.
Read Colossians 1:7-12. We should pray in like manner for Christians, our church, and ourselves. Pay close attention to verse 11.
Strengthen with all might
If we prayed for believers to be strengthened with all might, wouldn’t that render them almighty? Only God is almighty (El Shaddai, Almighty God). God does not endow us with “all might”, but He will supply us all the might necessary for the day. God grants us sufficient strength, sufficient might, for this season of struggle.
What are you facing today? What trial are you going through now? God empowers you with just the right amount of strength when you need it. Never too little, but never too much.
Have you ever thought you could never handle someone else’s circumstances? That is because you lack the substance to handle it. God has not empowered you to handle their trial because it is not your trial to handle.
The next phrase is:
…according to His glorious power
What are we strengthened with? Not our own power, but the power of God. When the Lord fortifies us with all might, we are fueled with a divine gift. God’s power strengthens us. This is why Paul wrote Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I clung to that verse for the intense training with my guide dog. Physical strength was necessary during guide dog school, but several years ago, while learning braille, I needed patience. That is the next thing Paul speaks about:
…for all patience and longsuffering…
As I explained, braille required more patience than working with a guide dog. However, almost everything we encounter requires some amount of patience, especially the long trials. Trials that never seem to end. God enables us to patiently come through them. Why do we still feel impatient, wanting the pain and sorrow to end? If we ever felt we could handle it, we would no longer need to depend on God. He gives us just what we need while still depending on Him.
Finally, Paul closes the verse:
Joy in a trial? Yes! Read James 1:2. Have you ever wondered how we can consider trials as joyful? Only by the potency and power of Almighty God can joy prevail.
Would you like to pray in the same manner as Paul? Remember to include all of God’s family. Pray for their healing. Pray for their finances. Pray about their job or family. Pray for God to strengthen them with all might according to His power. Power that will give Him glory. Power to make Christians patient, and even count their trial as joy. Sound impossible? Nothing is impossible with God!
Lord, I pray for this reader. Strengthen them with all the might they need. Strengthen with Your power that You may be glorified. Fill them with patience. Fill them with joy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What is the difference between having faith and believing? Believing comes first. We cannot have faith in something if we do not first believe in it. For example, we cannot have faith in God’s peace during difficult times if we did not believe peace was possible. Read Philippians 4:6-7.
If these verses were not in Scripture, or if you did not believe them to be true, how would that affect your thoughts about peace?
Now, read John 14:27.
How does this verse give you confidence that peace is Christ’s very own divine peace?
Jesus’ peace is not a worldly passing peace, but a heavenly peace.
Our beliefs build trust. We must trust God to save us. We must trust Him to care for us. When we believe He will provide peace beyond understanding, especially once we experience it, our faith grows.
Although the word “faith” is a noun, it is an action word. Sometimes it is confusing because the word often refers to the Christian faith or we may say that someone is a woman (or man) of faith. Since publishing Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer, I have studied some of Priscilla Shire’s Bible studies and listened to some of her messages. Somewhere within the books and her messages, she quoted her father. This may not be the exact quote, but Dr. Tony Evans said that faith is acting like God is telling the truth. Faith is acting like God is telling the truth. Yes, it bears repeating, and let’s say it like this: Faith is living like God is telling the truth.
Faith is a work. Now, we see the word “works” and works/righteousness comes to mind. Maybe, works reminds us of the good works Christians do. We read our Bibles. We attend church. We give our tithes.
Read James 2:19-20.
What comes before faith?
Do you see how James refers to faith as an action by referring to faith without works as dead faith? Living faith is an action.
Look at the example of Abraham (verses 21-23). Abraham believed God’s promise to him, descendants who would outnumber the grains of sand. He trusted God enough to obediently follow God’s direction to sacrifice his only son of promise. Abraham acted in faith. He acted like he believed God. If he had not truly believed God, Abraham would not have gone as far as he did before God stopped him.
Read verses 24-26. Rahab knew very little about God. She did not even know that lying was wrong. She was a prostitute living in one of the most heathen cultures ever. Yet, Rahab had faith. She acted in faith, risking her life, and the lives of her family, by hiding the spies. Rahab trusted God to protect her. She did not possess great knowledge about God, but she acted in faith. We have studied our Bibles at great lengths, but at times, we fail to live in faith.
It took faith for Noah to spend 120 years building an ark when rain had never fallen upon the earth. He acted like God was telling the truth. He acted in faith.
Daniel’s faith kept him safe in the lion’s den. He acted in faith because he believed God.
The same is true for Daniel’s three Hebrew friends. They refused to bow down to the image. They acted in faith. Things may have been quite different if the children of Israel had acted in faith while Moses received the Ten Commandments. Instead of acting in faith, they did not trust God, and they created a golden calf to worship rather than the one true God.
Faith is a necessity for prayer. We believe God’s Word about peace mentioned earlier. We trust God. We pray about our circumstances. The illness. The emergency. The home disaster. The depression. The trouble. The problem. The trial.
After we pray, we live like God is telling the truth. His peace will comfort us until the trial is over. Or do we live like God is a liar, trembling with anxious thoughts? We may have anxious thoughts, but God quickly calms our trembling hearts when we pray with a thankful heart.
How do you measure up with living in faith? It will be a daily battle, but the battlefield is under our knees.
Heavenly Father, You have promised peace, along with a myriad of other things. Thank You for the peace that flows through prayer. Thank You for the resolution You will bring to this problem. Thank You for Your many blessings. Amen.
On day 37 of Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer, we did not dig into the details of Daniel’s prayer, but we can spend more time there today.
Daniel begins by looking at God’s attributes. God’s greatness overshadows Daniel’s weakness. He remembers God is a promise keeper, and Daniel was claiming a particular promise in Scripture. As Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy, he rejoiced at the promise that their return to Israel was soon. Daniel knew the Israelites did not deserve God’s blessings. They had sinned. That was the reason they were in Babylon.
Daniel confessed the sins of Israel. Do we do that? Do we seek the forgiveness of a nation that slaughters the unborn? No, I have never had an abortion. No, I have never performed one, but I live in a nation with bloodstains on its hands. That was Daniels point. His beloved nation of Israel had sinned. They did not deserve God’s mercy, but God is gracious and forgiving.
Only God was, and is, righteous. Not Israel. Not us. We are like the people Daniel was praying for. We are as shameful as them. Anything God would do to them… to us, would be fair, because only He is righteous.
Daniel recalls God’s power. Sometimes, we talk about God’s power so much that we become complacent about it. We need a reminder about just how awesome God’s power really is. Daniel knew only God had the power to deliver them out of captivity. They could not deliver themselves. They could do nothing without God.
Sometimes, we trust in ourselves to do things. We fail when we believe we can do it in our own anemic strength. When there is no one, no one at all, but God, we are reminded just how powerless we really are. The incurable cancer. The accident which should have taken your life. The depression even the anti-depressants do not halt. The child who will not return. The door that refuses to budge.
Why would God want to use His mighty arm on behalf of sinful Israel? Why would He do it on our behalf?
Not for the sake of Daniel. Not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of the Lord and His name. Save the people. Return them to their beloved Jerusalem. Though they did not deserve it, the good name of the Lord did.
Daniel knew it was God’s will to be merciful to Israel. He begged for His mercy.
We pray to the same merciful God. We cry out on behalf of our nation, our churches, and our families. Not for our benefit. Not for our pleasure, but for God’s glory. If our prayer requests do not bring glory to God, we should remain silent. If we do not make supplication for God’s glory, we should keep quiet. The glory of God must be our sole purpose in prayer.
Lord, we can be selfish asking for what we want at times. Help us think like Daniel. Help us keep Your glory front and center in our prayers. Amen.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 18% of all Americans suffer from anxiety or depression. Most of them are women, but it is safe to say that no U.S. citizen is immune from worry.
Worry happens when concern is exaggerated. It is normal to have concerns for our children, our safety, and our livelihood. Worry occurs, along with its drastic effect on our health, when concerns become our obsession.
Jesus told us not to worry. Read Matthew 6:25-34.
What two areas of life did the people in Jesus’ day worry about?
Are you concerned about food or clothing?
Do you worry about them?
Our worries today are much different than those of the Jews listening to Jesus that day. They worried about their existence. We still worry about that, but not about what we will eat or wear. We worry about our health, our families and especially our children.
We seem to wear our worry like a badge, as if we are proud of it. Mommas often share how their grown children must call them on a daily basis to keep from worrying. I lost that opportunity. When my daughter was only 18, she left home with some not-so-good people.
I did not know where she was, and she refused to talk to me. Prior to this day, she had to check in with me every time she arrived at her destination, just so I knew she was safe. You know – that Mommy-Worry-Syndrome. Now, I would never know. At that point, the only solution was to trust God to take care of her. Otherwise, I would go crazy with worry. I was already dealing with depression stemming from the situation itself. The truth is God was in control of her safety all along. I did not totally trust Him with it.
Much of what worries us is not what is happening today, but what might happen tomorrow, next month, or next year. We even worry about things which may never happen. If a sentence begins with “What if?”, it may be an indication that you are unnecessarily worried.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:34)
This verse tells us we have ample things to be concerned about today. Don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come, and the trouble you expect may never happen.
The point of this entire passage is that God loves us. Since God loves us, He will provide for us. Jesus uses the flowers and birds as examples. He says we are more valuable to God than the birds and flowers.
Meditate on that for a while. We are valuable to our heavenly Father. God cares for the birds and wildflowers that are of little value to Him. Think what He will provide for His children!
Why waste time in worry, when worry can be conquered with time in prayer?
Father, forgive us for not fully trusting You. Help us learn to rely on You and cast our worries upon You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What does Satan think about prayer? He hates it with a passion, and he will do anything to keep you from it. If you have followed this study through Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer, you have a book that Satan did not want in your hands.
During my study on prayer, taking notes for the devotions that became Incense Rising, I was plagued with several health issues. The only major crisis that arose was a tick bite that became itchy and red. Strong antibiotics were necessary to prevent Lyme disease. I did not tolerate them well since my digestive system took a beating.
The other health issues were small and annoying. If you look inside a person over fifty, you are bound to find something wrong. It was time-consuming and frustrating. Thankfully, God never allowed anything serious to develop.
I spent one night in an emergency room. The next day, I gave thanks that all was well, yet asking God why. I fully expected Him to reveal some sinful act I had not been convicted about. God had my attention.
The answer came within a few hours in a text message from a missionary friend. He knew I had been sick. He had prayed while we drove to the ER, but he was unaware of my questions to God. His text read, “The enemy is attacking you because of your ministry and your study on prayer.”
I stood amazed at the thought that Satan or one of his cohorts would waste time on me. I knew nothing of satanic attack. I thought Satan kept busy with all the dictators of the world.
Then came the movie, “War Room” and Priscilla Shirer’s book, “Fervent”. That opened a new view on spiritual warfare for me. I highly recommend both, along with her “Armor of God Bible study”. Your prayer life will change dramatically.
Incense Rising was my second book, and this time, I hired an editor. After the editing process, the manuscript was formatted. I received the files on a Friday night. It could not have been a worst time to tell me the entire manuscript needed proofing once again, and in ten days. My husband was leaving for North Carolina to be with his seriously ill brother for the weekend. I did not tell him I needed his time. I searched for someone else to help me, but things got worse. His brother was dying and on life support. My husband spent the majority of the next two weeks away from home.
Satan attacked the book. It was filled with errors that had not been present before formatting. I have the most patient formatter in the world, who was baffled at what was happening. He made revisions six times before it was left with just a few remaining errors. God impressed me to continue the publishing process and not wait for perfection.
In the meantime, I was alone and depression crept back into my life. It was rough, to say the least.
Today’s study is not really a study, but a testimony about the lengths Satan will go to in order to stop prayer and even a book about it. Be careful because a very real enemy seeks to devour us.
Father, protect Your children from the evil one. Rebuke Him on every level, and give us the discernment to see him coming. Amen.
What keeps you from prayer? The same things keep most of us from prayer. Daniel was forbidden to pray. The law deemed It punishable by death.
Prayer is prohibited in schools, but they can never stop you from praying. Organized prayer groups may not be allowed, but nothing can prevent the child of God from speaking to his heavenly Father.
We can pray silently. Silent prayers roll like thunder to God’s ears. One of the best prayer closets can be a bathroom stall. Many times the bathroom is the only place of solitude in our own homes.
What hinders our prayer lives even though we have the freedom to pray? The most popular answers are busy schedules and interruptions. Let’s look at some other possible culprits for blocking our time with God.
Discouragement can create an attitude that makes someone feel there is no need to pray. Perhaps we think our prayers go unanswered. Perhaps we feel the answer is usually “no”. Could that be the reason Scripture continually encourages us to keep praying?
Look up these verses: Matt. 7:7-12, Luke 18:1, Luke 21:36, and Heb. 4:16.
There are many verses in Scripture like these. What do these verses have in common?
What can you conclude about prayer after reading these verses?
Is it possible that prayer is no longer a priority? Ouch! That one steps on our toes. If prayer was vital, as it should be, wouldn’t we rush into prayer rather than rushing out?
Prayer should be a daily routine, but routine should not be in our prayers. That is where praying with an open Bible is beneficial. A repetition of the same requests every day can become boring. Boring is not the way we want to describe our prayer lives. Pray from different portions of Scripture. Pray for different sections of your prayer list.
We may not spend time in prayer because we do not understand the power it unleashes. We are weak, but the power of God is a mighty force.
During this study, we have discussed various things to aid us in prayer. These have included a prayer list, a prayer journal, prayer apps (Echo), praying through Scripture, and praying the promises. With every good intention, we planned to start doing one or more of these suggestions. We fail to get started on it despite how good it sounds. Consider this your reminder. Today is the best time to get started because today is the day to improve your most important conversation – prayer.
I will ask the question again: What keeps you from prayer? Write down your answer. Spend time in prayer today seeking God’s guidance about how you can become a powerful prayer warrior. Once you have your prayer strategy, write it down and get started.
Prayer is the battlefield Satan does not want you stepping on. Prepare to battle TO pray, and prepare to battle IN prayer.
Heavenly Father, You know better than we do what keeps us from talking with You. Help us devise a plan that will give us the quiet time we desperately need with You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This week, we are unpacking the prayers of King Hezekiah. The principles of prayer are not numerous, and that is why we find the same themes running throughout Scripture. The Lord’s Prayer has similarities to Daniel’s prayer (Dan. 9:4-19), and Hezekiah’s prayer is no different.
Repetition is good for two reasons. First, we need this knowledge pounded into our heads. Every time, we see the same principle applied, it is like a hammer driving a nail into a board. We need these principles to penetrate deep into our minds.
Next, we should appreciate the same ideas running throughout the prayers of the saints because it reflects continuity. If every prayer in the Bible was different, how would we know the best way to pray? There are personality differences, as there should be, but enough similarities exist to give us a basic outline.
Hezekiah was a good king in a long line of kings who had allowed idolatry in Judah. The king of Assyria was trying to persuade Hezekiah’s people not to follow Hezekiah. His message was not to trust the Lord as Hezekiah did, but to turn to Assyria and their land of so-called goodness.
You and I are not a king or queen, but we are mommas and daddies. Think how it feels when someone tries to lead our little darlings astray. That is what Hezekiah faced, but on a larger scale.
While Hezekiah made his way to the temple to pray, he sent messengers to the prophet, Isaiah.
Read 2 Kings 19:6-8. In your own words, what was the message the Lord gave Isaiah for Hezekiah?
Read verses 8-14. What did Hezekiah do with the letter he received?
We know we can pray anytime and anywhere. If you were King Hezekiah, would you feel better laying the letter on the altar and praying there rather than in your home?
Read Hezekiah’s prayer in 2 Kings 19:15-20. What similarities do you find between Hezekiah’s prayer and the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)?
What phrases did Hezekiah use indicating he was praying boldly (v. 16)?
What was Hezekiah’s request?
Notice that Hezekiah sought deliverance so God could receive glory, not for personal relief.
How did he close his prayer?
Pay attention to the immediate response to Hezekiah’s prayer. We saw the same result when Daniel prayed (Dan. 9:21)
Read 2 Kings 19:35-37.
Compare and contrast this passage with the passage of King Jehoshaphat in Day 47 of Incense Rising (2 Chron. 20:1-20).
Lord, help us learn, retain, and put into practice what we learn from the prayers of these great men. Thank You for preserving them in Your Holy Word. Amen.
Today, we are looking at the second prayer of King Hezekiah. Everyone can relate to this prayer, a prayer for healing.
Hezekiah was a young man in his thirties when this illness threatened his life. Read 2 Kings 20:1-11.
When God tells someone to get their house in order for their death is soon, it seems imminent. This death sentence came from God. Hezekiah was bold to pray for healing when God had already handed him a death sentence. Hezekiah did not directly request God to heal him. Instead, his prayer was for God to remember his loyalty and obedience.
Hezekiah didn’t go to the house of the Lord as he did previously. Possibly, he was too sick, too weak, or too distraught. Both prayers were answered favorably, even though one was upon the altar and the other at home.
Why do you think Hezekiah turned his head toward the wall to pray? Many think it may have been the direction of the temple, but his reason could be simply privacy.
Hezekiah prayed, weeping bitterly. Perhaps his entire prayer was not recorded. It is possible that his prayer was brief but his spirit was praying through his tears.
Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Rom. 8:26-27
I have been praying when the sobs erupt, or is it really the Spirit’s groanings? Words are not uttered, but what about weeping? Many theologians differ on this.
Use a commentary or study Bible and prayerfully consider Romans 8:26-27.
King Hezekiah’s answer came immediately. God spoke to the prophet, Isaiah before he had gone far.
In this instance, God gave Hezekiah instructions. Obedience precedes blessing. Noah was obedient by building the ark in the midst of mocking. Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God.
Where was Hezekiah directed to go on the third day?
Other than healing and adding fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life, what other two things did God promise him?
Then Isaiah gave Hezekiah a prescription, as if to demonstrate God’s blessing on medication. A lump of figs was laid on the boil.
Do you know someone who does not believe in using medicine for religious reasons? Many times, lives could be spared if they would use the prescriptions the doctors write or have the procedure the doctor recommends.
Read 1 Timothy 5:23.
As a confirmation, Hezekiah requested a sign from God. God encouraged Hezekiah with a miraculous sign. What did God do?
Personally, I seek confirmation from God, and it is never anything as wondrous as what Hezekiah witnessed. I regard it as a reassurance that I heard God correctly. It is comforting that Scripture gives us a picture of seeking confirmations. We must never be hasty concerning the direction in which God is leading. Once we receive a confirmation from God, we trust Him. Do you seek confirmations when you pray?
This sums up our study on the prayers of Hezekiah, the obedient king who sought to glorify God.
Lord, as You lead and direct our steps, help us clearly seek Your will. Help us walk obediently and be loyal followers like Hezekiah. Amen.
Who accompanied you on your way to work or school today? Who is present with you now? One thing is certain, if you are a Christian, Jesus Christ is with you right now.
Reflect on your last drive with someone. How often did you talk? Compare and contrast that with your prayers today.
I have found that I often fail to consider Jesus is here with me. How long did I talk with Him today? How much time was I in silence? This can help us grasp the idea of praying without ceasing. Now consider this: What if we lived in the same town as Jesus during His earthly ministry?
Reading John chapter 11, I reflected upon the conversations between Mary and Martha with Jesus Christ. Read John 11. In verse 2, we are reminded of Mary and how she sacrificially worshipped the Lord. Worship is a vital part of prayer.
Note that the sisters did not tell Jesus what to do. They did not suggest Jesus rush to Lazarus’ side. They did not request healing, although it was implied.
We learn in verse 4 that Lazarus will not die, at least not permanently. Mary and Martha know nothing of this. Does that remind you of your prayer life?
We pray and we wait. We are unaware of what Jesus is doing. We wait and the healing does not come. We wait and then it is too late. The healing comes, but on the other side. That can rattle the faith of anyone. Martha’s statement to Jesus in John 11: 21-22 exemplifies her faith. Her brother died, and Jesus was too late. Even with all her faith, Martha lacked an understanding about the resurrection power of Jesus. Jesus had raised the dead before, but Lazarus had been dead four days.
What principle of prayer does Martha’s statement in verse 27 reflect? What is the coordinating Scripture in the Lord’s prayer?
Look at the reaction of Jesus to Mary’s tears in verse 33.
Friend, think about that. When we are downtrodden with sorrows, Jesus is sympathetic. These Scriptures portray His compassion for the tears of His beloved. That moves me to pray. I need this reminder daily.
We do not approach the throne of grace with a solemn king on the throne. No, our King is full of emotions. Let this verse remind us of this truth:
Casting our cares on Him for He cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7
John 11:39 is very familiar in our prayer lives. We receive instruction from God. He calls us to serve, to give, to witness, but something doesn’t make sense. Like Martha, we are the voice of reason, or so we think. Lord, that cannot be because… I cannot write books because I have never written. I cannot give that money because I need it myself. I cannot witness to my family because they will shun me. God’s wisdom contradicts man’s wisdom.
How often do we miss out on blessings because we do not follow through? Martha obeyed Jesus and her beloved brother was raised from the dead.
Like all prayers, this interaction resulted in giving glory to God.
I encourage you to look at other conversations with Jesus and compare them to what you have learned about prayer. After all, prayer is simply a conversation with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, forgive my silence. Help me remember You are always present. You long to hear from me. Amen.
Whether we praise in prayer, or pray with praise, we are reminded of who God really is. Praise is a form of prayer. He is our rock, our strength, and our God of all grace.
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10
When we go through trials, we often become discouraged. Meditate on our God of all grace. Grace to save and grace to deliver.
Let’s unpack this verse. God called us. You are His adopted child and heir. That makes you special. You are in the family of God because He wants you there. Never feel like you are an intruder. None are worthy, but He loves us anyway.
Next, we are called to His eternal glory. Unlike our time on earth, our time in heaven will be forever and ever. God will be glorified, but so will we. We will receive our glorified bodies to replace these bodies that age and become sick and corrupt. We will no longer sin. We will give all, and we will possess all.
But first, on earth, we must suffer a while. Just a while, not for eternity. Our clocks and calendars are earthly. God has His own concept of time. We desire the agonizing trial to be over, but it drags on. In God’s eyes, it spans only a minimal part of our lives.
There are reasons for our sufferings. Comprehending the results of trials may help us endure them, so let’s look closely at the four things God accomplishes through us in stormy times.
First, God perfects us, not that we will reach perfection on earth. As we mature and struggle, we grow more Christ-like. Reflect on years gone by. Do you see how you have changed?
Next, He establishes us. Look carefully at this word, and you will see two words within it: stable and able. As we journey through tribulations, we have more stability. We are no longer floundering around, slipping and sliding our way through trials. We must stand firm to resist the devil. As we pray through rough times, God grants us the ability to persevere.
Third, God strengthens us. We must first see our own weakness before we admit we need His strength. We know His strength is reliable when the next test occurs.
Finally, we are settled by our suffering. It develops a firm foundation.
These are the reasons testing is necessary. Understanding their purpose will enable us to pray with a better realization of what is taking place.
Tests are inevitable. Do you remember taking tests in school? Every class had them, and each semester, we had exams, the big tests. The Christian life is no different.
Will we like the suffering? Never, but perhaps a knowledge of the purpose will enable us to pass through them swiftly.
Heavenly Father, we realize Your purpose. We ask that it be accomplished through our tests. Shower us with gracious mercy as we persevere. In Jesus’ name, amen.
We have reached the final week of our Incense Rising study. We have learned what the Bible says about prayer through the 60-day devotional, and we have dug deep into Scripture to learn even more in this Bible study. Today, we will look at prayer from a different angle. What happens when you don’t pray?
Read Joshua 9. Pay special attention to verse 14:
Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD.
The Israelites never sought God’s guidance on this matter. Do you think the outcome would have been different if they had taken the matter before the Lord?
Are there times when you do not seek God’s counsel? Which situations do you make decisions on without first praying?
Immediately, my mind went to vacations. I used to seek God’s will, but now we have the same week marked off for the same trip annually. What are the areas in your life that you do not seek God’s will? We do not want to find ourselves out of God’s will simply because we did not inquire with Him.
Prayer is the channel through which peace flows. We may re-visit the same request for days, weeks, even years, but peace is readily available each time we pray. We rob ourselves of peace when we don’t pray. Do you remember our study of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel chapter 1? She was bathed in peace when she arose from prayer. What does Philippians 4:6-7 say about peace and prayer?
When we don’t pray, we lack many things. James says:
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. James 4:2
Again, we return to a theme that runs throughout Scripture. Ask! A simple word, but it can make huge differences. Do we realize what we do not have today just because we did not ask? Has there been something you asked for, but instead God answered very differently? Did you feel God blessed you even more than you thought possible? Unanswered prayers are often the best answered prayers.
My precious guide dog, Iva was an unanswered prayer. The prayer was originally for my vision to be restored. I gained some sight, but through God’s providence, I found I needed a guide dog. Once I received Iva, I realized how much she filled an emptiness in my life.
Finally, the worst outcome from an anemic prayer life is the damage it does to our relationship with God. Why wouldn’t a Christian want to talk with their heavenly Father? One day, you realize the great gulf between you and God. Who moved, you or God? Who stopped the communication? Usually, by this point, there is sin in the life of a believer.
The numerous dangers of not praying and the abundant benefits of prayer make a good case for a diligent prayer time. Your flesh fights it. Your enemy fights it, so you must fight for it.
Heavenly Father, help me establish a life of prayer. I stand amazed that our conversations are so important to You. Therefore, they are vital to me. Guard my time with You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Now that you are equipped as a mighty prayer warrior, be careful not to miss the simple stuff. I cannot count the books I have read about organization and taking control of my schedule. How did they work? Not well because I failed to take time to discipline myself and put them into practice. The same is true for prayer.
This study did not reveal some hidden truth about prayer. It only organized the Bible’s teachings and continually reminded you of them.
To study prayer is useless unless you use it. Think about that. The time you invested in Incense Rising was useless unless you live what you learned. That is what you must do. Live what you learned.
The next simple step is to pray for people. Go beyond praying for them. Pray with them. Tell them you will continue to approach the throne of grace on their behalf. Remember, we have that enemy lurking around waiting to cast a slippery slope under our feet and simply cause us to forget. Praying with someone gives you a mental note, plus you will encourage the person whose faith may be waning.
Another simple step is sharing what you have learned. Share with friends. Share with family. You have a wealth of wisdom. Share a few nuggets that work well for you.
Finally, let’s do it again! Repeat this study next year. You will find it refreshing. You will discover what works for you: a review every six months, annually, or bi-annually.
How do I close a study about prayer? What would be the best final word on such a wide topic?
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
The impossible becomes possible in prayer. Our heavenly Daddy is able to do all things. His plans and abilities exceed anything we could ever ask. Anything we could ever think. We can depend on God to give us an abundance of blessing.
Maybe you are in a place right now where you don’t feel blessed. Friend, look at the good things of God. When He brings you out of this storm, look back at what He has done. Is it not exceedingly abundantly above anything you ever asked or thought?
Where is the power? Look at the verse. It abides within us, and prayer unleashes it. Doesn’t that make prayer exciting and full of energy?
As always, it is all for the glory of God. Your healing? For God’s glory. Your financial breakthrough? For God’s glory. Your burdens lifted? For God’s glory. Your prayers? For God’s glory. Your life? For God’s glory.
Pray, praise, worship, give thanks, and boldly, fervently, ask in faith, seeking His will. For His glory!
Before you do one more thing, pray! That’s right, pray now.
Father, we are in awe that You desire to talk with us. Thank You for countless blessings. Thank You for the privilege to be Your child and to come to You in prayer. For Your glory, forever, amen.
I am excited about my next book, coming in 2018, if the Lord allows and He tarries. Believe: A Journey of Faith, will be different than anything I have written. It is my memoir, but it is actually God’s story. He is the hero. Travel with me through my husband’s leukemia diagnosis, a wayward child, depression, loss of sight, a miracle and a homosexual child.
• Discover how our faith grows.
• Experience the blessing of unanswered prayer.
• Learn to face fear.
• Believe in your heart for a miracle.
• Trust God more than ever.
• Discern biblical truths about homosexuality, grace, and salvation.
• Achieve independence by depending on God.
Through my mistakes, growth, and blessings, you will be better equipped to handle your own trials.
While you wait, drop by our Mountain of Faith. Visit my blog for uplifting devotions and the Guide Dog Tales, a new series everyone loves.
Carolyn Dale Newell is a Christ-follower, excited to share the grace of God. Her passionate writing and inspirational speaking encourages people of all ages. Carolyn and her husband, Tim, have been married nearly twenty years. They reside in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia along with Carolyn’s guide dog, Iva, a black Labrador Retriever. They enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and southern gospel music. After losing most of her vision, Carolyn began writing devotions to remind people of the hope they have in Jesus Christ.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13NKJV) became her life verse as Carolyn struggled to learn to live with minimal sight. She leads a ladies Bible study at her home church. She is the author of In The Storm and Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer. Keep up-to-date with her books and Bible studies at
Need a speaker for your next event? Contact Carolyn at
Carolyn lifts up the hearts of readers on her blog at:
Incense Rising Bible Study is a study companion to Incense Rising 60 Days to Powerful Prayer. When used together, your prayer prayer life will dramatically change. This Bible study will: • Enhance your prayer life. • Understand praying while believing and praying according to God’s will. • Establish an intimate relationship with God the Father. • Grasp the power of God through prayer. • Discover the lengths Satan goes to in order to keep us silent. • Encourage you to persist in prayer. • Discover prayer using some of God’s names. • Learn about prayer from saints like David, Daniel, and Hannah. • Eliminate the need to worry. Prayer makes the impossible possible. However, most Christians fail to find the time or privacy to pray without ceasing. This study will offer some options with our busy schedules. You will discover exactly what the Bible says about prayer, and you will become a well-equipped prayer warrior.