Tag Archives: Money

Prayer – Wisdom protects the promise

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bouncersAfter last week’s post we need to call in the second bouncer who protects the powerful promise of prayer for those in the 41414 club!

How do you build up prayer power? Jude gives us a possible option.

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 1:20

But what is praying in the Holy Spirit for you? Is it being zapped by some charismatic gift from heaven? Is it praying from the Spirit inspired Scriptures or praying with holy,  sanctified character? While you’re deciding on an answer, here’s another question!

How did Solomon pray?

One day he had an amazing encounter with God who invited him to join the 41414 club.

“That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 2 Chronicles 1:7

What would you ask for? What do you want?

To coin a once popular phrase from Harry Enfield, you might ask for “Loadsamoney.” Number two on the list might be fame, and then a healthy long life, and protection from enemies. You could no doubt find various forms of such prayer aspirations on most pages of the glossy “How to be happy” Christian magazines, and their self-centred echo resonates in even the most orthodox prayer meetings.loadsamoney

We must stop putting the cart before the horses! Take five minutes to tame the fleshly prayers and listen to Solomon’s answer.

 “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” v.10

Like Solomon, we need to constantly call in Wisdom to our prayer lives.

Someone, disappointed, may then ask: “Does that mean I can’t ask for all the other stuff?” On the contrary, God is generous and loving, wanting to shower you with intelligent blessings. Once the wisdom is in place we are safe to receive the measure of “Shalom” appropriate for our growth and personal situation. Wisdom adds, like sonship, the necessary component of discipleship. The promise says “Yes.”

 “…therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honour, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” v.12

Practical James also sees the ongoing character building qualities of heavenly wisdom.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

So ask for wisdom:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

True wisdom is not simply “clever thoughts”, wisdom is a person. Wisdom shared the creative process with God and is always a source of inspiration and joy. Wisdom was born of Mary in a stable. Solomon used his lifelong revelation of wisdom to write Proverbs. The eighth proverb is an ode to wisdom and well worth a meditative read in our quest to be wise.

“Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” v.30-31

Not many of us could claim to be wise in the harsh judging eyes of the world. However, as we have seen, the source of true wisdom goes beyond intellectual capacity to the ability to receive a living relationship. God is constantly calling us to a living relationship with Christ, the true wisdom from heaven.

“…but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24

God's wisdomGod confounds the world’s wisdom, by making wisdom a gift, a person, to be received by the weak and humble in grace.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God– that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” v.30

So, indeed, build yourself up in faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, praying for more intimacy with Christ, praying for wisdom.

 

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

 

 

 

Feeling the pinch?

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Faith for FinanceThumeries_Nord_Le_Chateau_Blanc_dos

“Buying this building makes no sense – there is much renovation work to do and we have no financial resources to even begin to meet the £200,000 asking price.

These wise words from our mission directors echoed in my mind as I prayed. I was willing to listen to their advice…but the Lord’s prophetic word to go for the building was still before us.  Struggling in prayer to find the faith to go forward I lost my health and spent some time in bed shut up with the Lord.  One morning I was listening to a cassette by the Icthus churches’ founder Roger Forster.  In the middle of the cassette he broke off and began to talk about the First World War and how this had unleashed such a devastating destruction on the Welsh revival and the evangelisation of Europe.  As he spoke I felt the Holy Spirit gripping my spirit and I seemed to overhear the words “Redeem the Dreams”. He continued with a verse from the prophet Haggai chapter 2 verses 9:

“…In this place I will bring peace.”

“OK Lord, if this chateau is for us I am going down into the prayer meeting where I want someone to give me that same verse.”

I went downstairs where folk were praying.

“Does anyone have something from God?” I asked.

There was an embarrassed silence, and a few scuffling feet, before someone spoke up.

“As I was praying around the chateau on my way back down here, the Lord clearly said:

“In this place I will bring peace (shalom).”

Martin-Luther-KingIn that moment the step was made.  God was asking us to set up a “redemptive prayer house” at the gateway to Europe; a place where the dreams of so many young men who died in the war might be taken up afresh by a new generation of young men and women.  It all seemed a bit way out, and a bit mysterious, but the Lord’s grip was there. It was a long drawn out battle raising the finance, and God stretched us right to the limit with the loan coming on the day we needed to sign and the other half of the money coming in with 36 francs (about 5 pounds) to spare!”

I’m sure that many in world Horizons have similar stories of praying in finance for their ministries and lives. I include the above as it illustrated two fundamental principles:

1)      Provision is “for the Vision” – Your provision will be determined by the size and strength of your vision. Don’t be afraid to let the Lord nurture and grow a vision within you over a number of years. Don’t resist being discipled into a vision by serving and learning from older mentors. The financial provision will only be the visible tip of the iceberg of the many hidden years which have patiently woven the substance of vision within.

2)      Corporate prayer action – weighing up words, taking advice together and fighting a battle in prolonged faith filled prayer.

Let me add another few principles that have helped me personally in my financial journey of faith over the years.

3)      Learn obedience, generosity and honesty – Walking radically in these three areas will inevitably release financial provision over your life.

4)      Ask for a supernatural visitation of faith! –  When I could no longer go on in faith for paying impossible bills, the Holy Spirit graciously met me. A significant breakthrough came as I experienced the new wine of the Spirit which has been known as The Toronto Blessing. Hours of intercessory holy laughter seemed to heal my dead, unbelieving “spiritual womb” and put in a new vitality to enable an “Isaac”– he laughs, to be born.bird4

5)      Know your personal value – You are worth more than dumb bird! In Luke 12:24, God commits himself to feed the birds – “And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

6)      Learn the “Redemption Refrain” of Romains 8:32 – “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” If your loving auntie had already given you her most precious, priceless diamond, would it be an issue for her to give you a meal? God has already given us His “most precious” in Christ – will he not also give “all things”, with him, by grace!

7)      Learn to be content – “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10

 And finally, be willing to be very practical. If you have personal possessions don’t be afraid to sell them to raise money for ministry. It is always hypocritical to ask others to make a financial sacrifice you are not willing to make yourself. “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”  2 Samuel 24:24

Communicate your vision in the best way possible. Create a network of relationships. Be open to creativity. The apostle Paul, adopting the Levite ShoeStretch_0principle of the Old Testament, was at the same time using one hand to receive gifts but also the other hand to work…with a heart of faith in the middle! Some seasons and ministries require a total devotion to the “gift” principle, while others are being led to concentrate their efforts on entrepreneurial activities, which, apart from providing for basic needs, are designed to bring blessing and transformation to nations.

“Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.”  John Locke

I wish you good shoes for your long financial journey!