Guided Prayer

Day Forty Eight

May 18, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive her plagues.” Rev.18:4 These are the words of Jesus to His people in the end days. He is referring to the judgment which was about to fall on Babylon. So, what was Jesus asking of His people? Babylon has always stood for the full rebellion and resistance of man. To come out of ‘her’ is to leave a number of entanglements. The first of which would be false religions. There is a day coming when all who dwell on the earth will be forced to follow the religion of the anti-Christ or die. Those who follow false religions will be easily deceived and led astray. The second entanglement of Babylon will be economic destruction. God will destroy the world economic system in a day and the world will grieve. The merchants of the world will mourn as no one will buy their merchandise any more. Following the economic collapse will be the loss of luxury. Those who have lavished luxury on themselves and not paid honor to Jesus Christ the risen Lord will be utterly devastated emotionally not knowing where to turn. In their mind all will be lost. The above statements reveal to us the end of the wicked and deceived, but the story for the followers of Jesus Christ will have a different end. We will be forever with Jesus enjoying His great love and forgiveness. His mercy will be poured out like rain on a thirsty people and we will be forever refreshed in His presence. Prayer: Dear heavenly Father. I thank you for the Hope that is mine in Jesus. Knowing that we are living in unprecedented times and events give me wisdom as to my life. Show me if there is any part of me that is being influenced by false religions, economic unfaithfulness or sinful extravagance. I long to be faithful to You first and last and always. Deliver me out of any Babylon mentality and show me the path that You want me to walk. I love You Lord. Help me love You more. Make me what You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Day Forty Seven

May 14, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, I will give her vineyards from there…” Hosea 2:14-15a Many believers are at the present time wondering what on earth is going on in our nation and our world. Some are convinced we are being judged, others that we are only being disciplined and yet others believe we are in the beginning of the end times. I have pondered all these questions and have yet to gain any certainty about the answer. One thing I do know. If the Church is being pressed and if we as Christians are entering difficult times the solution is not going to be political. As much as some would like it to be the issue for the Church is never political but spiritual. So, what are we to do at this time and in this situation? First, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. What are you and your family doing to keep that focus? He alone can make things clear to us for our day. Second, we must listen for His voice; the voice of the Holy Spirit. In stressful times the Church must learn to hear His voice and obey Him. Third, we must understand that we do not battle against flesh and blood. That is exactly what the evil one wants us to think. He wants us to trust in man. We must trust in God and must fight this battle with spiritual weapons. We will only win if we fight on our knees. We move forward on our knees. Finally, we must believe that God has allowed us this wilderness experience; He is still in charge. Then we must believe His promise that He will give us vineyards as our reward for faithfulness. Prayer: Father, help me resist the pull of depression or anxiety. Keep me from trusting in the arm of the flesh and to believe You will not only deliver me, but Your plan and promise is to bless me. Help me focus on You and Your kingdom. May I be a vessel You may fill and use to Your glory. In Jesus’ Name Amen

Day Forty Six

May 12, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Eccl.3:1 In all of life there is timing. In theater, politics and religion there is a very common phrase. “Timing is everything.” This is a truth that the older we are the more we understand about God and His timing. In the gospel of John, Jesus from the second chapter until John 17:1 frequently spoke of His hour appointed by the Father. He did not rush this hour nor did He shrink from it. Jesus was faithful to the plan and will of His Father in Heaven. The plan of salvation could not be rushed. All things had to take place in the Father’s timing for the mission to be accomplished. This is a divine truth we must all grasp. God’s timing is not our timing and His ways are not our ways. We are to listen for His voice. As westerners of the faith we have a tendency to rush ahead of God and often fail to allow Him to do what He knows is best. This is a hard habit to break and one that dies slowly, resisting our efforts to acquiesce. Our flesh and its motivations resist surrender. As we move forward in our faith, we must believe God always has perfect timing. He knows our struggle with compliance to Him and His will. We find it hard to believe God is in control when He does not move as quickly as we would like. This is just the time to wait on God and trust His perfect timing. Do not rush God. Wait patiently for His way. I do not know what your struggle may be; that thing you want God to resolve. What I have learned is the obvious is rarely the issue. The issue, the struggle is learning to wait on God and trust Him for the timing and the outcome. It is so difficult. Remember ‘timing is everything.’ Prayer: Heavenly Father I confess my impatience. I confess at times I have been frustrated at Your timing but I hope to become more patient and trusting of You beginning today. Teach me to wait upon the Lord so that I may first learn and then see Your hand in all things. Thank You for loving me and accepting me when I question Your interest in my life. I will learn to trust and follow. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Day Forty Five

May 11, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“Then they remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” Ps.78:35 It seems so many times we come up to barriers and obstacles to our forward progress in faith and in life in general. This is the case for all people whether rich or poor, strong or weak. The difference is our mindset. In this passage we are encouraged to be a people who remember that God is our Rock. He has set our feet on solid ground and that ground is Jesus Christ and His gospel. I think of barriers as obstacles not yet mature. When thinking this way, I give great latitude to the Lord to do as He knows best. His best is always what we can and should expect. You may think that the trial or tribulation or disappointment is not a good thing but it may be the very thing God will use to bring you closer to Him. The difficulties we face may in fact remind us to run to the Rock and set our feet firmly on Him; Jesus Christ the Lord. Remember Jesus was, according to Paul in his letter to the Corinthians the super natural Rock that followed them in the desert. How faithful is our Rock. Israel drank water from that Rock while in the desert and we are to drink water from that same ancient Source; the Rock of our salvation. Remember too that Jesus is our Redeemer. He redeems us from Satan and sin. He redeems us from our past and calls us His very own. What love the Father has for us. He redeems and restores. Believe Him for that today. Prayer: Lord Jesus I turn to You my solid Rock and I stand in faith on You. You are the Rock of my life. I choose You and Your way this day. Help me from this day forward to remember You when I come into difficulty. Show me every day Your will and Your way. Amen.

Day Forty Four

May 8, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.” John 4:3-4 (read the whole story) It intrigues me that Jesus ‘needed’ to go through Samaria. He was a Jew, in fact a perfect Jew. Why would a good Jew go through Samaria? There was great resentment on both sides. The Jews rejected the people of Samaria and the Samaritans rejected the Jews. But still He ‘needed’ to go through Samaria. The question is why? What I came to understand was He had an appointment with a Samaritan woman. She was not aware of this appointment, but Jesus being the Son of God knew of this appointment and why He needed to be there. There was a person who needed Him and He was not going to forsake one He knew would become one of His sheep. She was lost and she needed to be rescued. He knew her need before she did. He knew the shunning she was experiencing due to her life of sin and bad choices, but He came anyway. How amazing! How great the love of God for us! He comes to meet our needs before we know or understand them ourselves. The woman of Samaria was born again that day and then ran and brought the whole village to Him. As we read the story, we can see her hopelessness and then see the joy that became hers knowing that she was accepted and forgiven. What an experience! She had no idea that day would be any different than any other day but was she surprised! It is the same for people everywhere today. We never know when God is going to step into our lives and change everything, but He still does such things today. Prayer: Lord Jesus I thank You for saving me and making me one of Your flock. I know at times I make and have made poor choices in my life. I ask that You would be for me what You were to the woman at the well. She had settled for just getting by, for being an outcast, for being a great big failure, but You saw her for what she would be in You. When she realized You saw her for what she would become because of You she was set free! Let me meet You in this way. To see me as You see me. Thank You Lord Jesus for loving me always. Amen

Day Forty Three

May 7, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that all men ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Lk.18:1 Jesus used a parable to teach the importance of individual consistent prayer. Perhaps the greatest weakness of Christians today is their lack of prayer. Looking back at the Church in Acts 2 it is obvious they knew the importance and power of prayer. When they waited for the Holy Spirit, not knowing what to expect they waited in prayer and prayed together. God kept His promise! When Peter and John were arrested the Church was praying for their release and when they reported all that had taken place the Christians raised their voices as one and prayed for boldness. They did not pray for protection, but for the word of God to go forth in boldness. We can look at all the prayers of the Apostles in the New Testament and learn a great deal about how we should be praying. The great revivals of the last two centuries were birthed in prayer and not just a sentence or two but prayers uttered day and night to the Lord. Have you been praying? Have you been praying for revival? Have you been setting a time daily to intercede on behalf of the nation? Have you asked God consistently to pour out His Spirit on all flesh? Prayer is the most needed and most difficult ministry because we lose heart. We begin to tire of asking for things yet unseen. Jesus is calling us as Christians to intercede for His Kingdom; His kingdom in the hearts of men. Would you begin today to cry out to God for His Kingdom to be established in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls everywhere? Prayer: Heavenly Father I ask Your help in the spiritual discipline of prayer. It is a difficult ministry because my flesh resists prayer and the devil desires to keep me disinterested and discouraged. Teach me to pray O Lord. Show me what to pray; how to pray your heart. In Jesus’ Name Amen

Day Forty Two

May 6, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“Two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, ’Son of David, have mercy on us!’ And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes Lord’.” Mt.9:27-28 It is never the question if Jesus is able, but will we believe He is able. Very often we interpret this passage to apply only to physical healings and miracles. Yes, He is able to do such things and does so more often than we realize, but that is not the most important miracle. The most important miracle is His ability to breathe into us eternal life; His life. We are actually born again in our spirits because of the power of Jesus Christ. Another miracle very like being born again is His capacity to make us what He wants us to be. This is His work entirely by the Holy Spirit. All we can do is cooperate with the touch of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit and be transformed by that touch. He desires to make us more like Himself every day. The problem is we often feel unworthy of His ministry to us and resist Him out of a sense of guilt and shame. Like Adam and Eve, we hide ourselves from God when we most need Him. We believe He cannot make us what He wants us to be. This is a misconception of who God is. God is ever for us and never against us. His mercies are new every morning and He will bring to completion the work He has begun in each of us. Phil.1:6 “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him…” II Tim. 1:12 Beloved believe this and He will transform your life in His timing and to His glory. You will know freedom beyond your understanding. Prayer: Lord Jesus, Heavenly Father I come to you asking that You work Your will in me. Make me what You want me to be. I surrender to Your hand. Mold me and shape me as You see fit and use me in any way that pleases You. I believe You are able. Amen.

Day Forty One

May 5, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

My apologies for not writing a prayer guide the last two days. I have been back to visitation and nearly full-time office hours. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Mt.5:8 This passage troubled me for many years as I contemplated the condition of my heart. How many times I begged God to give me a pure heart, but it seems never to have happened. I always find myself back at His throne asking for forgiveness and mercy. Thanks be to God that He always forgives the sincere heart. In looking at this passage many times I finally discovered the word ‘pure’ was better understood to mean ‘an undivided heart’. What I believe this means is blessed or happy is the person who knows God and is pursuing Him instead of the world. Do I do this perfectly or do you? I am certain we do not, but that does not deter God’s great love or provision for us. He truly does love us. Where I fail Jesus Christ prevails. My struggle is the pursuit of an undivided heart. I have learned that if I truly pursue an undivided heart, I must pursue God Himself for Himself. I must want to know Him as He is and love Him as I am. I must be completely honest with the God Who made me and knew me when I was formed in my mother’s womb. He has loved me from the beginning and has created me to know Him. What mystery! What confidence! What joy can exceed this purpose of God in creating me that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection. Glory to God! Prayer: I thank You O God that I may know You, not just know about You but really know You. Help me this day to pursue You for just You, not for what You can give me but just for the joy of knowing You. Let Your Presence rest on me today as never before. I love You lord. In Jesus’ Name I praise You! Amen.

Day Forty

May 2, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

In the last few weeks I have heard many opinions regarding the Christian response to the lockdown. Many have asked my opinion, so I will share it in the form of the Guided Prayer. My opinion is based on Scripture, history and experience in China. I hope it is a help to some. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42 At present our government tells us to meet in groups of 20 or less and social distancing must be practiced. No matter what our differing opinions, it is important to put all this into context. This is not the first time governments have locked down believers. We saw churches shut down in the former Soviet Union and in The Peoples Republic of China today. There are many more closures in Muslim countries. Perhaps we should learn from those who have gone before us. Richard Wurmbrand may serve as an example in modern history. Facing the Communist Party of Romania in 1948 he, along with other pastors continued his ministry as usual until the government demanded their allegiance above allegiance to Jesus Christ. At that moment Wurmbrand said he could not do so and the rest is history. There are many more stories just like this being played out in Communist China today. What should our response be? The early church was creative in their response to situations much more difficult than ours. They remained cooperative to the ruling authorities as long as they could until allegiance to Rome over allegiance to Christ was demanded; thus the Roman coliseum with lions and gladiators and fire. The early church showed us the way historically and scripturally as they enacted Acts 2:42 literally. They remained steadfast to the Word of the Lord. This we can do no matter where we are. Second, they maintained fellowship with one another when it was all the more difficult in their day. This we can do by being creative and committed to the principle of fellowship according to Heb.10:25 While in China, Shirley and I saw Christians finding creative ways to be together in small groups and gathering in large groups - any and every opportunity they could find. They often met for meals. Breaking of bread was the perfect cover for the church to come together as a whole. They came together to celebrate Jesus, encourage and learn. The tradition of the modern church was changed radically in order to survive. What was discovered was the church did not just survive. It thrived! How did this happen? By the courage, creativity and unity of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Apostles. There was great unity among the believers. Although we are apart for a time we must seek this same unity in Jesus Christ. So now pray. Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray for unity in our body of Christ at FLCC. We all need wisdom and patience as we wait to see where all this leads. If we are ever required to pledge allegiance to the state above our allegiance to You and Jesus we cannot. Help us to be cooperative with the state authorities as long as it does not compromise our faith. Help us each to love those of different opinions. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen

Day Thirty Nine

May 1, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me actually turned out for the furtherance for the gospel.” Phil.1:12 Each time I read this passage I am amazed at the attitude expressed by the Apostle Paul. He put everything in the context of the gospel. He was not a prisoner of man but for Christ Jesus. How is your attitude today? This morning I was a bit grumpy and Shirley was a little down. With me you know it but with Shirley she is less obvious. All be it we both had a slow start. I know Paul felt this way at times in his own experience, at least once because he wrote, “…so that we despaired of life itself.” II Cor.1:8 The great Apostle Paul felt this way but never for long. He took control of his attitude when he was unable to control his situation or condition. This is a great lesson and encouragement to all followers of Jesus. We can have down days or down moments but they should not be our lifestyle. We are to rise above our trials and disappointments by taking charge of our thoughts and putting them in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is to be our focus, our hope. Nothing else should interfere with that relationship or the joy we have in knowing Him. What we have or do not have of this world should have no lasting impact on our joy and faith in Jesus. The attitude we should develop is said well in an old hymn. “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather have Jesus than riches untold, I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land, I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hands. Than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sins dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything the world affords today.” As I read this aloud to Shirley I had to stop as tears began to flow and even now, I write though the blur of yet more. Prayer: At present I am overwhelmed by His love for me and urge you to pray as you are able. I can say no more for the moment but that Jesus loves me and I long to love Him the way of Paul. That Jesus would be my all in all. I’d rather have Jesus.

Day Thirty Eight

April 30, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“He only is my Rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the Rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” Ps. 62:6-7 Refuge is defined as a place of safety, a shelter or protection from danger or trouble. A refuge is a place or anything to which we run for help, relief or escape. The refuge for the Christian is not a place or thing but a Person. Praise the Lord, He is our refuge. No greater refuge is available to man. When things are not going our way or when life becomes chaotic and confusing, we can and should turn to Jesus our Refuge. King David wrote many times of God being His refuge and deliverer and it is so for each of us today. David knew God so intimately that he really knew God as his refuge. Knowing God so well enabled David to trust God for everything in his life. He had moments of sin and weakness, but overall he trusted God for his life and safety. The question for some, even believers, is how do I make God my refuge? The first and easiest way to make God your refuge is to ask Him to be the refuge you need. Second, when you encounter trouble do not attempt to solve it until you have gone first to the Lord and declared Him your refuge. This is a faith action, which reminds us of our focus and the Resource which is ours. It is tempting to forget the willingness of the Lord to save us and exalt us when we turn to Him. Third, we must give time for God to work. Not all answers come quickly but we must believe that God is working the solution in the unseen realm first. Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know I am impatient at times and not trusting You is not intentional; I just forget. Help me to remember You in times of trouble and to come quickly to You and take refuge in You. I know there is no safer place for me to be than in Your will; Your care, but in times of struggle I doubt. Please forgive me and teach me to come to You first in all things. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Day Thirty Seven

April 29, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to those things which lie ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil.3:13-14 If we are to live the Christian life, successfully we must force ourselves to stop looking back. It is a well known fact that when running a race it is very costly to look back to see our opponent. When we look back there are two dangers. The first danger is that we may break stride or even stumble causing us to lose ground gained or even lose the race all together. The second danger is that we lose our focus. We are never to take our eyes or concentration of the goal. For the Christian the goal is arrival in the presence of Jesus Christ. To forget what lies behind actually means to no longer be influenced by our past. We are to focus on the present and the future. I have been in much thought and prayer about the current crisis in our nation and world and I suspect a return to normal as we once knew it may never happen. With that thought in mind I then have to encourage myself to look to the Lord Jesus Christ as my Strength, Comfort and Living Hope. How true it is that everything we cherish and depend on can be gone in mere weeks or days or seconds. If that happens where is our focus? We should be focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. Life is change. May we all be able to adapt to the changes we are experiencing and stand firm in Jesus Christ. Prayer: Heavenly Father I do not like all the changes taking place. It is hard to endure them. Help me Lord to be Your faithful servant no matter the conditions in which I find myself. May my life bring glory to You and to Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Day Thirty Six

April 27, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” I Tim.2:1-2 It appears to me that we should be increasing our efforts in prayer on behalf of the leaders of our nation. Especially for wisdom as regards the Covid-19 issue. Like everyone else I have my opinion in this matter, but our opinions do not matter. What matters is the will of God and the obedience of the nation. “There is no authority except that which God has established and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Ro.13:1 “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” Daniel 2:21 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 At this time our President needs to seek God for wisdom and direction because the wisdom of man in not sufficient for the need. Pray for him to hear the will of God and the way to go and then pray for him to have the courage to take the action God reveals to him. In a much smaller scale pray for the pastors in our nation. We are seeking God’s wisdom as to how to lead and direct the flock God has given to each of us. Wisdom is the need. Prayer: Heavenly Father I bring to You those who are in positions of authority and service. Every leader should not see themselves as ruling, but as servants appointed by God. I am certain Lord that the load they carry may at times seem overwhelming. Please lead them and strengthen each one to be obedient to Your voice. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Day Thirty Five

April 25, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” Mt.5:6 In our world today we see many appetites. There are those who hunger for literal food for their bodies and there are those who have appetites for money or power or success in some field of work. Jesus has a lot to say to us today about our appetites. Jesus says blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. An appetite for righteousness is an acquired taste for man. Our flesh naturally goes to things which are easy to obtain, and things which gratify our wants in the quickest way. Hunger for righteousness and God is not so alluring. Righteousness comes at a cost. Yes, there is the righteousness that is imputed to us by putting our faith in Jesus Christ, but there was a cost He had to pay. There is also what is known as personal righteousness, which is demonstrated in us by the way we live, the choices we make and the obedience we render to God. There is a righteousness in our lives which brings glory to the Lord, but it too comes at a personal cost. Jesus also refers to thirsting for righteousness. Can you remember a time when you were so thirsty that all you wanted was clear cool water? Milk was not going to cut it and neither was a cold drink of your favorite carbonated beverage. This is the kind of thirst Jesus tells us that God will satisfy. Remember the woman at the well in Samaria. Jesus told her that “whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst.” John 4:14 Jesus is that for which we should hunger and thirst. When we recognize Him as the One who satisfies our souls we are again discovering a secret hidden in plain sight. Jesus alone can satisfy the longings of our souls. Prayer: Heavenly Father please create in me a thirst for You and then O Lord satisfy me with Your Son and with Your manifest Presence. You alone know my heart and You alone can change it. I give you liberty to create such hunger and thirst in me and then to satisfy such longings with Yourself. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen

Day Thirty Four

April 24, 2020 • Pastor John Wilson

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Phil.3:7-8 What an amazing attitude the Apostle Paul demonstrates to us. He cared nothing for the things of this world. He also was willing even to suffer for the Lord Jesus. To give up possessions for Jesus is a privilege when our hearts are right. I like to believe that we as Christians will be willing to surrender all if ever called to walk that journey. What is greater still was the heart of Paul regarding his very life. His heart was so confident in God that he declared… “But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 Most of us are curious as to our courage to make such sacrifices. What would we do, if God allowed we lose all our worldly possessions? What if we were called on to give our life for the Lord Jesus? What would life be like if we yielded ourselves to God in this way? I believe there is a hidden treasure in this kind of love for and commitment to the Lord Jesus. What is the treasure? It is simplicity. Every choice is broken down to radical simplicity which we can be identified with one question; God or not God? When life is lived in this way the pressure of life is minimized and joy of life is maximized. It is a secret hidden in plain sight. This was the secret of Paul and before Paul the secret of Jesus. Prayer: Heavenly Father help me trust You so profoundly that my life will be drawn down to this simple question; God or not God? There really are only two choices in our lives and situations. What would God have me do? Is what I want to do in line with Your will? Teach me and give me strength to be the Christian I would like to be and that I know would bring joy to your heart. Thank you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.