Neil's Blogs

Today's Post

Effective Prayer

Effective Prayer

What man cannot do in eternity, God can do in an instant, and He does it in response to our prayers. Thomas Chalmers said, “Prayer does not enable us to do a greater work for God. Prayer is a greater work for God.” Samuel demonstrated this principle when he said, “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes” (1 Samuel 12:16). God didn’t move until “Samuel called upon the Lord” (vs. 18). James said, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (5:16-18). Both Samuel and Elijah were righteous, and that is why they were effective in prayer, but in every other way they were no different from us.

We will never be effective in prayer if we go to God in emergencies and then return to managing our own lives when the crisis passes. That would make prayer a fourth down punting situation instead of a first down huddle. It is not appropriate to ask God to bless our plans. We humbly ask God to reveal His plans. God is capable of doing anything that is consistent with His nature. The question is, will He? We may never know unless we ask. Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). Our prayers will always be effective if our petitions and intercessions are in agreement with the Word of God.

Paul instructed us to be alert and pray in the Spirit for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer is part of our divine protection as believers. We need to respond immediately in prayer to the Spirit’s prompting and to the requests of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In addition Paul says, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Samuel considered it a sin against God not to pray for others (vs. 23). However, we can only ask the Lord to do through others what we are willing for the Lord to do through us. Only to the degree that we have been tested and found approved can we request on behalf of others. Neither Christ nor the Holy Spirit can intercede through us on a higher level than that which they have first had victory in us. Christ is the perfect intercessor, because He took the place of each one prayed for.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

The Seventh Step in Overcoming Depression

The final step in overcoming depression is to let go of the past. A woman shared that her best friend ran off with her husband ten years earlier. She was deeply hurt by this incredible betrayal. She thought her life was ruined by those adulterers, and there was...

Overcoming Losses – Part Three

5. Facilitate the grieving process The natural response to any crisis is to first deny that it is really happening, then get angry that it did happen, then try to alter the situation by bargaining with God or others. When that doesn’t work you feel depressed. You...

Overcoming Losses – Part Two

4. Convert imagined and threatened losses to real losses Imagined loses are distortions of reality. They are based on suspicions or lies that we have believed, or presumptions that we have made. The mind doesn’t like vacuums and will make assumptions when we don’t...

Sixth Step in Overcoming Depression – Part 1

The sixth step in overcoming depression is to process your losses. A loss can be real, threatened or imagined, which is often a negative thought or lie that is believed. Either one can precipitate a depression. How we respond to any loss or crisis will determine how...

Fifth Step in Overcoming Depression

One of the major symptoms of depression is withdrawal from meaningful relationships. Isolating ourselves and being alone with our negative thoughts will only contribute to the downward spiral. You may feel like you want to be alone, but you need to stay connected to...

Fourth Step in Overcoming Depression

The fourth step in overcoming depression is to make responsible behavioral changes. We are not instantly delivered from lifestyle depression, we have to grow out of it. It takes time to renew our minds, but it doesn’t take time to change our behavior, which a...

Third Step in Overcoming Depression

Renewing your mind is the third step in overcoming depression. Depression can be divided into two categories. One is related to life-style and the other is precipitated by some crisis event. Lifestyle depression can be traced to early childhood development or living...

Second Step in Overcoming Depression

The second step is to commit your body to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), which may mean “Go see your doctor.” Depression is a multi-faceted problem that affects the body, soul, and spirit. Consequently, a comprehensive cure for depression will require a...

First Step in Overcoming Depression

Recovery begins by saying, “I have a problem and I need help.” There are adequate answers for depression but you have to want to get well and be willing to do whatever it takes to be free. The key to any cure is commitment. Over the next few days I will share in...

Learned Helplessness

Scientific studies have shed light on the relationship between learned helplessness and neurochemical changes in the body. Researchers describe an experiment where rats were “taught” helplessness by the use of shock. They were able to measure neurological changes...

9051 Executive Park Drive, Suite 503 • Knoxville, TN 37923 • 865.342.4000