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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 107

Corporate Prayer continued...

The practice of unity in prayer and of agreeing in prayer carries through to the New Testament as well. It is not something that was practiced only by Old Testament believers, but also by the Disciples of Christ, and those who followed after Him.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples returned to Jerusalem and rather than see how they would divvy up His ministry, rather than see who got what, rather than pick a leader and a surrogate for He who had gone to the Father, they were all in one accord praying.

A preliminary headcount puts the number of souls gathered in the upper room at one-hundred-twenty, and to the last, all were in one accord, praying. Nowadays it’s a task just to get two people to agree on something, never mind over one hundred.

Unity in prayer, and being in one accord, or agreeing upon a certain thing strips us of our selfishness. You’ll never see a group of individuals in one accord praying selfishly, or praying for their own wants to be given them. Whatever it is a group comes together for, it is that purpose they focus on, that purpose they cry out about, and that purpose they agree on behalf of.

It is a beautiful thing to see unity among the children of God, to see them gathered together as one, crying out to God for one purpose, and being adamant in their prayers.

I fear it is because many Christians today don’t know how to pray, that they don’t see their prayers answered as they ought. Because they don’t see their prayers answered as they ought, they are quick to doubt God’s ability to answer prayer, as well as His power, and because doubt settles in their heart, they cease to pray altogether.

I had just turned thirteen, which would put my brother Sergiu at eight, when my mother bought him a remote controlled car for his birthday. By then we had been in the States for four years, my mother had a couple cleaning jobs per day, and so she decided to splurge and get Sergiu something he really wanted. Granted, it was one of those cheaply made, forward and backward remote controlled cars you’d find at the swap meet for around ten dollars, but for Sergiu it was what he’d always wanted, and his smile was somehow bigger than the space between his ears.

Having been informed by the salesclerk that the car and the controller needed batteries, my mother also bought a pack of AAA batteries for it, and after the requisite thank you, misty eyes, and great big hugs, Sergiu set about putting the batteries in the car and the controller, then started pushing the button but nothing happened.

He tried getting closer to the car, thinking maybe the signal wasn’t strong enough, he tried moving away from it, but to no avail, the car just sat there, unmoving and unresponsive to my brother’s increasingly violent jabs at the remote control.

Almost having to pry the controller from his hands, and having to promise on pain of death that I would return it to him forthwith, Sergiu let me take a look at it, and I realized the batteries were put in the wrong way.

No matter how much force of will my brother possessed, no matter how much he wanted that car to move when he pressed the button, because the batteries were put in the wrong way, the car wouldn’t move.

The point is simple: there are certain things that will only work if we do them the right way, and prayer is one of those things.

After I put the batteries in the way they ought to have been put in to begin with, the controller sent the signal to the car, and the car moved forward until it would hit a wall or the couch.

Because everything was in its rightful place, it worked.

We are discussing prayer because it’s important to know how prayer works, and how it is we can pray most effectively. I realize the ‘it’ll do’ culture is visible everywhere you look nowadays, but it ought not to be present within the household of faith. It’s the ‘it’ll do’ mentality that brought the church to the edge of the precipice, wherein one misstep will cause it to plummet to the jagged stones below.

‘No, the Bible doesn’t say this is how we should worship, but it’ll do. No, the Bible doesn’t say we shouldn’t preach against sin, but seeing as the people don’t seem to mind, it’ll do. No, the power of God is no longer moving in the church, but we’ve added allot of new programs, so it’ll do.’

Because everything is now relative, and given to subjectivity, because such ideas as ‘creating your own reality’ or ‘reality is what I perceive it to be’ have taken on a life of their own, even within the household of faith, there no right way of doing something, nor is there for that matter, a wrong way of doing something.

As was once the case during Israel’s history, nowadays everyone simply does what is right in their own eyes, they’re ‘living their own truth,’ and let’s be honest…most of the time man’s truth and God’s truth are two very different things.

It is because we insist on living our own truth that the truth of God can no longer penetrate the stony hearts of men, it is because we do what is right in our own eyes that we no longer see sin as sin, and hypocrisy as hypocrisy, yet even with all that, we still have the audacity to demand of God that He answer our prayers, and that whatever we ask of Him, He give us forthwith and without delay.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 5

Apparently my name is not so unique after all. I woke up this morning, went through my usual routine of saying a prayer, making some coffee, reading some Scriptures, and firing up the old laptop, and after hearing the now grinding ‘you’ve got mail,’ proceeded to check my messages.

I opened up an e-mail titled ‘Dear Michael’ and in it the person asked how it was that I’m still able to post on the blog daily…are they letting me keep my laptop in prison?

I did a double take, reread the message a little slower, but no, my eyes were not deceiving me, she did ask if I somehow managed to talk the powers that be into keeping my laptop in prison.

After a quick Google search, yes, there is a politician in Romania named Michael Boldea, he is currently incarcerated, and no, I’m not him!

I thought I’d nip this in the bud before I started seeing the requisite websites pop up – who knows, perhaps the end times prophetess would come out of retirement for that one – denouncing me as a godless heathen who’s paying for his crimes by spending years and years in a Romania prison.

So, once again, to one and all, two Michael Boldeas, one of which is a preacher, the other a politician, one of which is incarcerated, the other, writing to you today from the comfort of his Spartan apartment.

While we’re on the topic, if only tangentially, make sure that if you’re going to start slinging mud, it’s warranted. Make certain! Double-check, and triple-check, that whatever you’re going to say about another human being – not necessarily someone in ministry but even your next door neighbor – is true.

No, the internet is not confirmation of your suspicions. If everything on the internet is to be believed, then the Antichrist will be the lovechild of space aliens and Bigfoot. Surf the web long enough, and you’ll realize there are some truly whacky people out there, and now all of them have a platform and a voice...isn’t technology grand?

We’re quick to jump the gun, because we’re itching to break the story. We want to be the first to pull back the curtain and expose whatever it is we feel we need to expose, and in our haste, we sometimes jump the shark and accuse innocent people of awful things, just because we didn’t take the time to investigate, and learn all that there was to be learned.

Dispelling foolish doctrines and silly myths, yes, by all means, dismantle them with a battering ram and a bulldozer. People however, are people, and the Bible does say we are to do to others as we would have done unto us.

I for one would prefer someone search out the truth before they pass judgment, and ask me personally if something is true or not. And so, I extend the same courtesy to everyone else, and thoroughly search out a matter before reaching a conclusion.

Richard Steele, an eighteenth century journalist once wrote that fire and swords are slow engines of destruction compared to the tongue of a gossip. Melodramatic as the preceding might sound, I tend to agree, seeing the damage and havoc gossip wreaks upon men.

And so, yes, I appreciate the sister who wrote me, and asked – if in a seemingly roundabout way – if I was the aforementioned incarcerated Mr. Boldea, or if another bore my name.

It has been an interesting morning…who knows what the afternoon will bring?

As always, thank you all for reading my musings and ruminations, thank you for your prayers, and to those of you whom the Lord has called to support it, thank you for supporting the orphanage we run.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 106

Corporate Prayer continued...

Psalm 111:1, “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”

Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, fellowship is a basic need for us as children of God. If I’m on the road for any significant amount of time, I begin to miss the fellowship, the corporate prayer times, and the togetherness of brotherhood, to the point that it becomes an almost physical ache.

Our goal as wise believers, and as sanctified saints, is not to find the most opulent, financially stable, influential, or well-perceived assembly, it is to find an assembly of the upright, and a congregation of the saints wherein we can praise the Lord with our whole heart.

Often times, it is because we start out looking for the wrong things that we never seem to find the right ones. The criterion by which we choose the congregation in which we worship – for most people at least – has more to do with driving distance, service time, length of sermon, program diversification, and scores of other things that have nothing whatsoever to do with righteousness, holiness, or uprightness.

Granted there are those who still put uprightness at the top of the list when it comes to looking for a fellowship, but such individuals are rare, and growing rarer with each passing day. The priorities of the household of faith have shifted – and yes, I am generalizing here – from God centered worship, to a man centered worship. We idolize the self, we praise the self, we glory in self, Jesus has been relegated to a second-tier act whenever we need to pump up church revenue, and yet we wonder why God is nowhere to be found in the church.

It is difficult to admit that we have done this to ourselves. It is difficult to admit that we have strayed from truth, and righteousness, and holiness unto God, and now we are reaping the harvest of our own rebellion. Just because something is difficult to admit however, doesn’t make it any less true, and I fear things will only deteriorate as time progresses.

I realize it’s getting harder than ever before to find an upright fellowship…I am not obtuse in regards to this fact. Just because something has grown more difficult however, does not mean we have permission to cease doing it altogether. We can’t stop looking, we can’t stop trying, because coming together as one, agreeing on a certain thing, and petitioning God in unity are Biblical mandates to which we must adhere.

Yes, it would be easier just to lock ourselves away in a cabin somewhere, with our Bible, a lifetime supply of water, some beef jerky and some crackers, but easy isn’t always right.

I would be lying if I said pulling a Jonah didn’t hold some appeal for me. I would likewise be lying if I said I’d never contemplated it, or given it serious thought. In the end however, it’s about the obedience, about standing your ground, brandishing your sword, and hacking away at darkness and deception until you can’t hack anymore.

Sauntering off into the sunset is tempting until you realize you are not your own, you don’t belong to yourself, and He from whom you ran will eventually find you. Where can we run from the face of God? Where on this earth could we possibly hide? Jonah tried, and we see what all the trying got him.

I will not deny that it’s getting more difficult to preach truth with each passing day, nor will I deny the number of those hungry for truth is decreasing at an alarming rate. As such, anyone coming into the ministry, starting a church or an organization, already knows that truth is unprofitable, and if you focus on the truth, if you focus on Christ, the cross, and repentance, you will never have the mansions, or the jets, or the yachts.

Because they realize preaching truth is hard work with minimal earthly reward, most men focus on how to circumvent or sidestep the truth altogether, and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, wherein because there is no gain in truth the truth is rarely preached, and because the truth is rarely preached fewer and fewer individuals come to the knowledge of the one true Christ.

In times such as these we need to pray for one another, hold up one another, entreat God for one another and fellowship with one another as often as we are able. I have noticed of late the enemy doing everything in his considerable power to divide the household of faith, to cause even those few that still remain on the frontlines to turn their swords against each other rather than the devil, and find reasons for which to stop communicating, agreeing, and fellowshipping together.

We must realize when it’s the enemy and rebuke him, for only when we rebuke him will he flee from us.

The enemy is mortified of a united front, of a body of believers standing together, in one accord, with one purpose, praying corporately and in agreement. Thus, the reason he attempts to sow division within congregations so readily, and why he is so focused on pitting brother against brother.

Like any experienced tactician, the enemy focuses on his greatest threat first, then on the weaknesses of his adversary. By what the enemy attacks, we know what he fears most, and it doesn’t take much to realize the enemy fears the power of the Holy Spirit, and a united body of believers.

When you couple these two aspects together, when you have a united church filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, then you have an army that can stand against the darkness, that can stand against the lie, and that can lift high the name of Jesus. Of this, the enemy is downright terrified.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 105

Corporate Prayer continued...

I would surely be remiss if within our list of examples highlighting the power of corporate prayer I did not include Daniel the prophet of the Lord.

During the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he had a dream…so far, nothing out of the ordinary. Anxious to know the interpretation of the dream, the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, and so, they came and stood before him.

The king informs those who had gathered before him that he had a dream, and all too anxious to serve, they inquired as to what the dream was, so they might interpret it for him.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Not only did the king want his dream interpreted, he wanted his magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers to likewise tell him what his dream was.

In realizing the impossibility of this, since all who had gathered before the king were idol worshippers and knew not of the power of the one true God, they informed the king they could not do as he requested. Nebuchadnezzar’s mind having been made up, and his decision having been firm, the king informed those who had gathered before him that if they could not make the dream and the interpretation known to him, they would all be cut to pieces.

Try as the sorcerers and magicians might, they could not get the king to relent, and after repeatedly telling him what he was asking for was impossible, he grew angry and gave the command that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.

Daniel 2:12-13, “For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions to kill them.”

Although Daniel had not been among those who stood before the king, since Scripture would have informed us if this were the case, because he and his friends were considered among the wise men of Babylon, they were also sought so they might be killed.

Sometimes you get stuck in the middle of a situation unintentionally, and without having done absolutely anything to facilitate finding yourself in said predicament.

Through no fault of their own, other than being considered among the wise men of Babylon, Daniel and his friends were now being hunted and sought out.

Daniel 2:14-16, “Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; he answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, ‘why is the decree from the king so urgent?’ Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel. So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.”

Daniel was oblivious and wholly ignorant as to the why of the king’s purging of his wise men. As would likely occur today, rumors were flying about as to why the king was having his wise men killed, and rather than take other men’s words for it, Daniel went to the man tasked with the deed and asked him why the decree from the king was so urgent.

Upon hearing what had occurred, Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, and if given the time, he would tell him the interpretation of his dream.

What I’ve always found interesting concerning this exchange, is that unlike Elijah, Daniel had not received word from the Lord that the dream would be revealed to him, or that the interpretation would be forthcoming, but standing on faith, and knowing the power of his God, Daniel made this promise to the king.

Daniel 2:17-18, “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

Seeing as he’d gotten a little breathing room, Daniel did not proceed to plot his escape out of Babylon, nor did he proceed to see who he could bribe in order to receive a special dispensation from the king. Daniel went to his companions – the selfsame three men that would soon be standing in a fiery furnace – and asked them to seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning the king’s dream.

Once again we see a handful of souls united in prayer, once again we see a handful of souls agreeing and petitioning God, and once again we see God answering, and miraculously so.

Daniel was already a man of prayer, he prayed three times per day without fail. Yet, in this situation, he saw the need for others to agree with him, and unite their hearts with his.

Consider the absolute trust Daniel and his friends had to have in God. Consider that there was nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to, and the only means of prolonging their lives and not perishing with the rest of the wise men of Babylon was if God did a real-life, bona fide, tried and true miracle. A miracle was the only way Daniel could have known what the king’s dream was, and what it meant.

We can try to do certain things on our own…God won’t stop us. But like Nebuchadnezzar’s magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers, there will come a time when we will say, ‘this cannot be done.’

In the great scheme of things, universally speaking, surprisingly few things are possible with man, but nothing is impossible with God. Daniel knew this lesson, and knew it well. He knew his God was the God of the impossible, and if he and his friends united their hearts and agreed as one, if they sought the face of God in unison, He would be faithful to answer, and reveal that which had been hidden.

Daniel 2:19, “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lord Teach Us To Pray! Part 104

Corporate Prayer continued...

Another Old Testament example highlighting of the power of agreement and corporate worship, is that of Esther and her victory over Haman and his plans. The story of Esther is well known, the book of Esther widely preached, so much so, that it is doubtful I could bring anything new to the table in regards to what transpired.

What I can reiterate, as many a writer and preacher before me has, is that Esther was hesitant in coming to the aid of the people of God. She was, after all queen and considered herself beyond the reach of Haman and his plans.

Seeing as Esther hesitated in coming to the people’s aid even after the king’s decree had been passed concerning the people of Israel, Mordecai sent word to Esther.

Esther 4:13-14, “Then Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’”

Even though some individuals are placed in specific locations for appointed times, it does not mean that they are indispensable, or that God will not do what He must without them, or in spite of them.

No one is indispensable! This is rule number one of the ‘how to stay humble instructional manual,’ and it is pretty much the only rule you will ever need if you understand its full ramifications.

Essentially, Mordecai sent word to Esther that not only was she not safe because she was queen, but God would save the people in spite of her, and due to her unwillingness to step in and remedy the situation her and her house would perish. These were harsh words from a man who had taken Esther in as his own daughter after her parents died.

Although it is generally assumed and widely accepted that Esther was Mordecai’s niece, in reality Ester was his uncle’s daughter, but this does not mean he loved her any less.

Contrary to popular belief, love does not compel you to be silent, or to accept and tolerate it when you see someone you care for leaning over the edge of the precipice. Love compels you to cry out and warn them, and do your utmost to cause them to see the light even at the risk of alienating yourself, or falling out of favor with them.

Regardless of reaction, or where the chips fall, love must compel us to speak the truth. If we omit the truth, or keep from speaking it, then we never really loved the individual enough to do the hard thing when it came to it.

It’s easy to love, when it’s easy to love. It gets exponentially more complicated when you have to do a difficult thing because you love the individual enough to put it all on the line.

Mordecai was faced with doing the difficult thing, and because he loved Esther, he risked his friendship with her, even though she was the queen, and sent a difficult word to her, which she received and heeded.

Esther 4:15-16, “Then Esther told them to return this answer to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so will I go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’”

The law of the land during the days of Esther, was that anyone, be they man or woman, entering the king’s inner court without being called, would be put to death. And so, for Esther it was a little more than having a conversation with the king, it was putting her own life on the line for the people of Israel, because if she displeased the king with her presence, it was law that she be put to death.

Because the stakes were so high, because real lives including hers were on the line, Esther asked Mordecai to go, gather all the Jews, and fast for her.

‘But it doesn’t say anything about praying. I thought this was a series on praying. She just asked them to fast, not to pray.’

To that I say: have you ever known anyone to fast without prayer? Have you ever known anyone whose life was on the line, who was asked to fast, yet dismissed prayer as unnecessary, or superfluous? I thought not.

If the plans of Haman would not have been stifled, every Jew within one hundred and twenty-seven provinces would have been slaughtered. You best believe they prayed, you best believe they sought the face of God…as every man does when he is between a rock and a hard place with no place to look but up.

Esther found herself in a dangerous situation, a situation that surpassed her, and she asked for the people’s help in that they would fast without eating or drinking for three days, so she might have favor in the king’s sight.

Not only did Esther ask all the Jews who were present in Shushan to fast for her, she, along with her maids likewise fasted. Just because there are others fasting on our behalf, or praying on our behalf, it does not mean we are exempted from praying and fasting. Just because others stand in the gap for us, it does not mean we ought not to do our part, and be on our faces before God.

After three days of united fasting and prayer, Esther goes before the king, is received by him, the king overturns his decree, and the people of Israel are once more saved from destruction.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 103

Corporate Prayer continued...

Experience had taught Moses two crucial things. First, never underestimate your enemy, and second, know that your victory comes from the hand of God. Much heartache and defeat could have been spared countless souls if they would have learned these two truths, and applied them to their lives.

Knowing, however, is pointless without acting on the knowledge you possess, and being the wise leader he was, Moses acted on his knowledge.

Exodus 17:9, “And Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.’”

Moses wasn’t going to stand on the top of the hill for a better view of the battle, nor was he going on the top of the hill to avoid it. There was a specific purpose for which Moses went on top of the hill, and he took Aaron and Hur with him.

We can readily get distracted at this juncture, and extrapolate certain truths from this Scripture such as, when you have the rod of God in your hand you are always above the fray, and catchy as such truisms might be, our destination throughout this journey is the understanding and applying of prayer. As such, as much as it pains me, I will refrain from pointing out the tempting morsels within this Scripture, and focus on the importance of corporate prayer and agreement.

Exodus 17:11, “And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”

What was happening was evident enough that the people started to notice the pattern. While Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed, gained ground, vanquished their foe, and was victorious. As soon as Moses let down his hands however, Amalek began to prevail and gain ground.

Exodus 17:12-13, “But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”

Three men had gone on top of the hill, but only one raised his hands toward heaven. The man in question was Moses, and after a given amount of time his hands became heavy. What Moses was doing, wasn’t just waving at the people below, it wasn’t just lifting his hands once in a while, he was doing warfare, and believe me when I say that spiritual warfare takes allot out of you.

Now here is where agreement and corporate unity come into play. Aaron and Hur saw that Moses’ hands had become heavy; they saw he could no longer hold them up, but they were not indifferent to his predicament.

They didn’t say, ‘well, it’s Moses, he’ll find a way through this, he always does.’

Aaron and Hur did all that they could do, because their heart, was as one with Moses’ heart, in that they desired to see the victory of Israel over Amalek.

And so, Aaron and Hur took a stone, put it under Moses, and as Moses sat down, they supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side.

Things might have been different if this had occurred in our upwardly mobile, dog-eat-dog generation. I could picture Aaron and Hur looking at Moses, seeing his exhaustion, noticing his hands had grown heavy, and rather than support his hands, rather than agree with him, roll him down the hill and attempt to take his place.

‘It’s our turn, it’s our time, the old man’s tired, he’s served his purpose, and we could probably do a far better job of leading the people than him. He’s so stubborn, so old school, he doesn’t understand the world has changed around him, and just ‘being faithful to God’ won’t cut it anymore.’

I’ve seen good men get stabbed in the back when they needed their hands supported, and when they needed someone to stand in agreement with them, time and again, so this is a sensitive topic.

I’ve seen good men being usurped, dismissed, thrown out of their own ministries like so much refuse, so some inept twit with a seminary diploma could take their place and show them how a ministry should really be run.

Those selfsame ministries that subsisted on faith for decades are now no more, because the up-and-coming enlightened breed who hijacked them, rode them into the ground trying to incorporate worldly gimmicks where once God, and God alone provided.

‘But it’s not your ministry it’s God’s ministry!’

How come the only people ever saying that, are those trying to snipe away other men’s ministries?

Of course it’s God’s ministry, but every true man of God who has been called to ministry has bled, and sweat, and poured their entire lives into the work to which they were called. They invested the most precious resource given to man, time, and for someone to swoop in and attempt to take away that for which they labored untold hours is not only unseemly and uncouth, it is downright evil and wrong.

Moses grew weak, his hands grew heavy, and he needed someone to stand with him, to agree with him, to help him where he needed it, and thankfully, Aaron and Hur were there, not as would-be future leaders of God’s people, but as servants who desired to serve, and help in whatever manner they could.

As sad and tragic as the following might sound, there are less and less servants roaming about today, and more individuals eying management positions hoping to overthrow or otherwise dispossess those who have labored all their lives for the glory of God, because it’s much easier stealing something another has built, than building it yourself.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 102

Corporate Prayer continued...

So let’s break this passage down a little, and see what it has to teach us. The first aspect of this passage that jumps out at me is the word ‘agree.’

‘If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.’

We see not only the importance of unity within this passage, we also see the importance of agreement. When we come together in prayer and do so corporately, agreeing on that which we are praying for, great and wondrous things take place.

Jesus promised that if as few as two individuals agreed on earth concerning something they asked for, God, the Father in heaven would take note, and it will be done for them.

I realize that being a lone wolf is not only growing in popularity nowadays, it is even preferred by believers due to the lack of spiritual nourishment they receive in churches and congregations. The only problem with the lone wolf mentality is that we all need fellowship sooner or later; we all need to gather together, and be in the presence of likeminded brothers in Christ, and not doing so for an extended period of time opens us up to undue attacks by the enemy.

Even Jesus needed fellowship. Especially toward the latter end of His ministry, when He knew that the time was upon Him, He sought fellowship with His disciples and spent more time with them.

As we journey through the three years of Christ’s ministry, we see that in the beginning He was wont to go off by Himself and pray to the Father, spending entire nights in prayer and supplication. As His time drew near however, we begin to see Him spending more time in a corporate setting, surrounded by His disciples and being in fellowship with them.

Matthew 26:38, “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’

Jesus asked His disciples to watch with Him. Even though He went a little farther, fell on His face, and prayed, Jesus asked His disciples to watch with Him, as He needed someone to be united with Him, to agree with Him in His prayers and supplications.

Isolation has its benefits. I prefer being alone, by myself, studying, reading, writing, praying, and spending time with God. Once in a while however, I feel the need to fellowship with others rising up in me, and if I ignore it for too long, it becomes almost overwhelming.

Wherever it is you find your fellowship, whether with your spouse, your children, family, friends, fellow brothers in Christ gathering in someone’s home or a church, do not forsake fellowship.

We all need somebody. However independent we might think ourselves to be, however autonomous and self-reliant, there will always be those occasions when we just need somebody to lean on, when we just need to know there are others agreeing with us in prayer, and that the family of God is standing with us.

Corporate prayer is united prayer. It is multiple individuals being as one in mind and heart as they petition God. Being in agreement or agreeing concerning something we ask, goes far beyond simply acknowledging we agree with our lips…it is being in agreement with our hearts. One united body comprised of different members, all desiring a singular thing.

The word of God has numerous examples as far as corporate prayer is concerned, and also how effective it truly is.

Israel was at war. This in itself was nothing new, for Israel had been on one campaign or another for long and long now. The soldiers had been honed, the skills had been mastered, the men of Israel had done all they could do to ensure that they had done all they could do.

No matter how much they prepared, no matter how hard they trained, no matter how many new tactics of war they incorporated into their battles, Israel knew that ultimately the battle would not be won by sword and steel, it would be won by the hand of the God of Israel.

Just because we know the victory belongs to the Lord, it does not nullify or annul our responsibilities, nor does it give us license to become slothful in our worship, and indifferent in regards to our spiritual preparedness.

Israel knew God would ultimately have to give them the victory – because even then they were outnumbered – but they still did their duty. They still learned to master the weapons of their warfare, they still learned how to take orders, they still took the field, and they still stood against their enemies.

This current battle was against Amalek. It was not a battle Israel chose, for Amalek came to fight against Israel in Rephidim.

You can’t always choose your battles. You can’t always choose where, when, how, or even why you must fight a battle…all you can do is be prepared for the eventuality thereof.

Some believe they can avoid battle all their life if only they keep their head down, don’t make any noise, and try to get along with everyone. The only problem with this mentality is that one cannot get along with everyone without making compromises, and once you start to compromise, the enemy will press his advantage until you’ve compromised to the point of enslaving yourself.

Rather than attempt to avoid battle in perpetuity, it is far wiser to prepare for it, knowing the inevitability of its nature.

Battle comes to us all sooner or later. Though we might not go looking for it, though we might attempt to avoid it, battle will find us, and when it does, I pray it finds us ready, having done all that was incumbent upon us to do in order to stand, trusting God to carry us further than any preparations we could have made ever could.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 101

Corporate Prayer

Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

It used to be that prayer night was an integral part of every congregation. It used to be that believers would come together, whether on a Monday, a Thursday, and even on what has become the holiest of days, a Friday night, just to pray and be in the presence of God.

What used to be and what is, are unfortunately two very different things, because priorities are priorities, and if we’re not the first in line to see the new theatrical release on Friday, a little bit of us dies.

For some, prayer has become a nuisance, and for others within the household of faith, it has become a quaint practice of the simple folk. Sure it’s fun to talk about, and read about, but doing it ourselves would be akin to milking a cow by hand, or plowing a field using nothing more than a hoe and a horse.

Perhaps the old fuddy-duddies needed to pray all the time, both corporately and on their own, but we are an evolved generation, who realizes there are far greater benefits in spending our time face-booking, tweeting, or surfing the web, than being in the presence of the one true God and having fellowship with Him.

And we still wonder why God isn’t moving in the churches? And we still wonder why we’re not seeing the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within the congregation of God?

There can be no glory without prayer, and those who came before us knew this truth without equivocation. Although we might look down our noses on past generations, there is no denying the fact that they knew God in greater measure, on a deeper level, possessing a far greater intimacy with Him, by appropriating and incorporating prayer into their lives, than we do having jam sessions, pizza nights, and bingo nights.

Our own foolish pride will not allow us to acknowledge simple truths which would make all the difference in how we prioritize prayer and fellowship with God, because to acknowledge these truths would be to admit we were wrong, and who admits to being wrong about anything nowadays?

We have replaced corporate fellowship in the presence of God, with spiritualized versions of block parties, wherein community is emphasized, but no one is ever directed toward the ultimate goal which is Christ.

‘Everyone just come for a good time. Free pizza, free soft drinks, and we even bought a Ping-Pong table.’

I’m sold, sign me up!

And so, people attend church for a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and not to encounter Christ Jesus the Savior, not to be born again in water and Spirit, and not to be reconciled unto God.

Because men’s initial reason for attending a certain congregation is not Jesus, and because Jesus is rarely if ever preached within many churches, you have armchair theologians, and part-time philosophers whose perpetual mottos are ‘Jesus didn’t really mean that,’ and ‘I know that’s what the Bible says, but that’s not what it means.’

It is because the sheep are ignorant of the gospel of Christ, and because they have no desire to get deeper into the word of God, that doctrines such as the prosperity gospel are still widely accepted within the church.

When you outsource your spiritual nourishment, and care not a smidge about it, you are in essence dependent on the individual to whom you outsourced your spiritual succor, as far as what he chooses to feed you is concerned.

Babies know what tastes good. This is why they giggle and smile when you feed them honey, and make funny faces when you try to feed them vegetable puree. The parent’s responsibility however, is to feed the child a balanced diet, so he grows, and has enough nutrients wherein his physical body is fully functional.

I fear we have come to trust and respect certain individuals as our spiritual mentors, elders, and even fathers, only to realize they themselves are not mature enough to feed us a balanced spiritual diet, but rather, they give us what we want, all day, every day, and what we want most of the time is fluff.

I’ve been in many a church, where the pastor insisted that I preach the truth to his congregation, only to walk it back once I got started, quantifying their statement with , ‘perhaps that’s a little too much truth. I don’t think my people are ready for that quite yet. ’

The truth is that the act of prayer is a necessity both individually and corporately. It was Jesus Himself, who spoke the words, ‘where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.’

As the old adage goes, ‘if Jesus said it, I believe it,’ Yes, it is that simple. Yes, it is that cut-and-dried.

But what if two or three are gathered together, yet they are not gathered in His name? Will He still be in the midst of them? No, He will not. If Jesus specified and quantified His statement by saying ‘in My name’ then it is only when we are gathered in His name that He will be in the midst of us.

It is in the name of Jesus that we must come together; it is in the name of Jesus that we must pray, even though it may offend the divinity neutral, or the pseudo-spiritual I-believe-in-a-god-but-not-necessarily-Jesus folks among us.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 4

It used to be, the first and only rule of a fight was to strike first, strike hard, and hopefully, strike last…that is, until youths started traveling in packs, with an entourage, or as the kids used to say in my day, ‘in a crew.’

I’ve seen more than one occasion play out, wherein a certain someone underestimated the abilities, experience, or number of friends another certain someone had, and lived to tell the tale from a hospital bed, donning a full body cast.

I grew up in a gang infested neighborhood in Southern California, and being an immigrant from one of the less than popular countries I was always somewhat of an outsider, even before you factored in my propensity for huskiness.

Due to my outsider status, most of the gang kids left me alone, and I could watch how certain things played out from afar, and with the requisite objectivity.

During my freshman year of High School I witnessed an interaction that closely mirrors what is occurring at this very moment, on an international scale.

Ruben was the new transfer – having just moved from Tennessee with his entire family – and he was anxious to prove himself and garner a reputation. Oscar was a smallish boy for his age, all skin and bone and not much else, who had three older brothers that had all been jumped into the local gang.

Oscar looked like a safe bet for Ruben to make his bones with, and so he started trying to pick a fight every which way he could. Oscar was shy, quiet, and non-confrontational, so he avoided getting into a fight with Ruben, but somehow word got to Oscar’s brothers that he was being bullied, and they decided to step in and deal with it.

Ruben was in the hospital for two weeks, after which he transferred to another school. This happened for two reasons: first, because Ruben was stupid, trying to pick a fight just to prove how tough he was, but also because he didn’t do his due diligence to find out who Oscar was, who he was associated with, and who ‘had his back,’ as the saying goes.

At this point in time, we are trying to pick a fight, and for the life of me I do not understand the why of it.

Yes, Biblically speaking, Damascus must fall. It is a known variable in the end time prophetic landscape. What astounds me however, is the lack of due diligence on our part as to who ‘Oscar’s’ friends are, and who all ‘has his back.’

For those still wondering, I am of course referring to Syria, and the fight we are trying to pick. Before we all start screaming ‘atrocity, atrocity, it is because of the atrocity that we’re trying to pick a fight,’ there are far worse atrocities going on right in our own country, and no one is batting an eye. I don’t see ‘Loosey Suzy’ and her ilk being threatened with annihilation for showing no more compunction about killing a baby then they would about what flavor of ice cream to order afterwards.

It’s about time we got off our high horse, gave it a sugar cube, and led it back into the barn. Let’s not pretend we are a holy nation, with a holy mandate, on a holy quest, any longer…at this juncture, we’re just embarrassing ourselves.

Perhaps, once, we were…but we’ve played that card, and any trust equity we might have had has long been spent, or rendered void due to our conduct, actions, and acceptance of evil in our midst.

‘Oscar’s’ got friends, but we’re so obsessed with making our bones and getting everyone else on the playground to realize ‘we’re really, really serious, and we’re not playing games anymore,’ that we either don’t notice, or don’t care that they’re sneaking up behind us with big sticks, ready to inflict maximum pain for picking on him.

This, I fear, will not end well, especially if we continue to pretend we’re still what we once were.

There is a marked difference between a battle and a brawl, and true warriors will tell you it is far more important to know your enemy and not underestimate him, under any circumstances, than it is to strike first, if striking first means going off halfcocked, unprepared, and with no situational awareness.

We cannot treat war as we would a bar fight, and God help us if we do.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 100

Fervent Prayer continued...

Although fervent prayers varied in length, scope, and purpose within the pages of Scripture, there is one commonality linking them all…God answered every one. Every fervent prayer ever prayed was answered of God, perhaps not in the way the individual wanted it answered, but it was, nevertheless, answered. Whether with a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘not yet,’ God answered every fervent prayer, because He responds to the fervency of the heart, and our passionate petitioning of Him.

Yes, sometimes God tests our faith. At other times He tests our perseverance, but if we stay the course, and continue to fervently petition Him, He will answer in due season. Even in testing there is purpose. Even when God delays, there is a reason…such as the angels of the Lord being withstood by the enemy. We cannot give up; we cannot abandon fervent prayer, just because the answer is not quick in arriving.

The answers we receive to our fervent prayers can, and do vary. We do not serve a cookie-cutter God, nor do we serve a God who moonlights as a magic genie, there only to grant us our wishes and nothing more.

Sometimes, God’s answer to our prayers is ‘yes,’ at other times the answer becomes a bit more complicated.

Matthew 8:2-3, “And behold a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘if You are willing, You can make me clean. Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

This was a short, intense prayer, with an equally short yet profound, positive answer. The leper did not stand before Christ with a laundry list of why he thought he should be made clean, he stood before Jesus and said, ‘if You are willing, You can make me clean.’

The leper knew what Jesus could do. No, he was not a theologian, but he had heard and he had seen enough of Jesus to know what He was capable of. Because he had seen and heard what Jesus could do, there was no doubt in his heart as to Christ’s ability to likewise cleanse him, if He so chose.

Christ’s answer to the leper’s short prayer of petition was equally concise. Jesus didn’t ask the leper to ‘sow a seed’ into His ministry first; He didn’t ask him to sign a release for an interview after he was healed, He simply said, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’

One word from God can change your entire life. One answered petition, one miraculous occurrence, one divine intervention, and your life will never be the same again.

Do you think this leper who had the boldness to entreat Christ for his healing was ever the same again? Do you for one second believe that he continued to see the world as he did before he was cleansed?

When we are cleansed, everything changes. When we are cleansed, our perception shifts from the things of this earth, to the things of the kingdom of God, and we learn to submit to the authority and will of our heavenly Father.

It is in submission to God’s will that we are able to accept those times when God’s answer to our prayer, is a resounding ‘no.’ It happens. Sometimes, God’s answer to our prayer is ‘no,’ even though our prayer was prayed fervently, even though we were insistent, and even though we continued in it for many days.

Deuteronomy 3:24-26, “O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.’”

Lest anyone think God plays favorites, the man to whom He said ‘no’ in the aforementioned Scripture passage, was none other than Moses, His loyal servant, the selfsame individual who led the people of Israel out of bondage, guided them through the desert for forty years, received the Ten Commandments on mount Sinai, and saw God’s back as He passed by.

It is to a man who served Him faithfully for forty years that God said ‘no,’ yet modern day preachers have led us to believe that it is impossible for God to deny us, it is impossible for Him to say ‘no’ to us, and if He does, ‘well, then just don’ take ‘no’ for an answer.’

It is biblically proven, e.g. – the people of Israel asking for meat – that if we insist upon something to which God said no to the first time, He will relent and give it to us, but it will not turn out to be the blessing we thought it would be.

Countless individuals today are praying for windfalls, for bushels of money, and sacks of cash, but once they get it, their lives get torn asunder, the joy leaks out of their existence, and they end up miserable, hopeless, often even suicidal souls, with bushels of cash.

If we diligently study the word of God, we discover He said ‘no’ to some of his most prominent and well known servants, and each time He had a plan and a purpose beyond the understanding of man.

David prayed for his sick child for seven days and seven nights, and still the child died. He even fasted, and humbled himself in sackcloth, prayed repeatedly for the child’s life to be spared, but to no avail, for God’s answer to David’s petition, was ‘no.’

Paul prayed, and insistently so, that his thorn might be removed, yet God’s answer to Paul was ‘no,’ reminding Paul His grace was sufficient.

Difficult as might be for some of us, we must learn to pray ‘God’s will be done,’ no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, and no matter the urgency. Sometimes saying ‘Your will be done, o God,’ is the most difficult aspect of our prayer life, because we realize that His will may not always be in accordance with our own.

Whatever it is you are praying for, pray fervently, pray passionately, but pray wisely, so all that you ask might bring glory to God, and edify your spiritual man.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 99

Fervent Prayer continued...

Some time after Gabriel’s first intervention, Daniel prays again, but this time his answer is not as quick in coming as was his first. Once more, there are lessons to be learned here…lessons we would be wise to receive and appropriate.

Daniel 10:1-3, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a great message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

I have found solace in this scripture passage more times than I could count, especially in the phrase, ‘the message was true, but the appointed time was long.’

The first time I truly meditated upon this section of the book of Daniel, was after receiving a word of prophecy through a vessel. It was shortly after my grandfather’s passing and the continuity of the ministry was in question as I did not desire to continue it, believing I had served enough, sacrificed enough, and labored enough, when I received a word concerning what the future held for the ministry. The word itself seemed so improbable, it seemed so out of step with what we were currently experiencing, that I began to have doubts concerning its veracity.

‘I know God can do what this person said He would do,’ I would think to myself, ‘but can it really happen?’

I had received words of prophecy through this vessel before, and they had all been accurate, but since doubt still threatened to take root in my heart, I went to the word of God for the answer, and opened my Bible to the aforementioned passage in Daniel.

It was as though the words, ‘The message was true, but the appointed time was long’ burned brightly, and lifted themselves off the page. It was the only confirmation I needed, and I have held to this word and the promises thereof since that time onward.

If anyone ever tells you that a thirty second prayer will suffice no matter the issue you bring before the Lord, just send them to this scripture passage, and make sure to highlight the part about Daniel being in mourning three full weeks.

The greatest takeaway from this passage is pray until God answers!

This is the essence of fervent prayer, the essence of passionate prayer, the fact that we do not give up and move on, we do not curtail our prayers, we do not find something else to do…we continue to pray until God answers.

Daniel did not give up after the first day, or the third day, or the first week, but for three weeks, until he received his answer, Daniel stood before the Lord.

Daniel 10:10-12, “Then, suddenly a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’”

Although it took the angel Gabriel three weeks to arrive with a message this time around, the first day Daniel set his heart on understanding and humbled himself before God, his words had been heard.

Even if we don’t receive an answer from God on the first day, or during the first prayer, we must know – and in fact be certain – that God has heard our words. The instant we humble ourselves before God, the instant we set our heart upon something which is in accordance with His will, we will be heard.

The angel Gabriel had come because of Daniel’s words, and when he finally arrived, Daniel was so weakened that he trembled when Gabriel touched him. By what Gabriel told Daniel, we can also infer that he was lying prostrate, as Daniel was commanded to stand upright.

As the conversation progressed, Gabriel also told Daniel why he had been delayed in bringing his answer, and it was not because he just didn’t feel like making the trip, or was busy doing other things.

Daniel 10:13, “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.”

By what the angel Gabriel said to Daniel, we understand that he was dispatched as soon as Daniel’s prayer was uttered, but he was withstood for the entire three weeks Daniel pleaded with God.

Seeing as to withstand is to ‘oppose with force or resolution,’ we know Gabriel wasn’t having tea with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, or with the kings of Persia for that matter.

The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed because there was a spiritual battle going on in the unseen realm. Angels were battling demons, demons were resisting angels, war was being waged, and all so Daniel’s answer to his prayer would not reach him.

It is only when we realize the lengths to which God and the heavenly realm will go in order to answer a prayer, that we realize just how much God loves us.

When we are as Daniel in our prayers, when we persist and fervently seek after an answer from God until it arrives, we will receive an answer as Daniel did, even if that answer might be delayed due to the enemy’s resistance.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 98

Fervent Prayer continued...

Few men exemplify true prayer in the Bible, as thoroughly as the prophet Daniel. Prayer was a fundamental need for Daniel, as it ought to be for every believer, and though he knew full well his life hung in the balance, he could not keep himself from being in the presence of God, and communing with Him.

Daniel 9:3-4, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.”

Although Daniel knew God, although he was a prophet of the Lord, although God had used him time and again to fulfill His plan and purpose, Daniel still made his requests by prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel was a man who knew reverence; he was a man who knew how to approach God, and how to be in His presence. This was no feigned humility, this was no feigned reverence or subservience, Daniel truly humbled and prepared himself with fasting, sackcloth, and ash as he stood before the Lord of lords.

If we humble ourselves and acknowledge the fact that we really don’t know it all, then there is much to learn from the lives of those who came before us, including how they entreated the favor of God in their lives, and what they did in order for their prayers to be answered, and speedily so.

It is when we refuse to believe that there is still something left for us to learn, that we close off our hearts and minds to the possibility that we might not know everything, that there are still areas in which we can grow, and that there are still practices we can apply to our spiritual lives which will make for a greater revelation of God and His presence in our lives as a whole.

We grow by learning. As we grow, our perception shifts and what we once thought was the optimal way of doing something turns out to be cumbersome and impractical.

This is, in the end, the point of this entire series: the learning of the practice of prayer, the learning of the practice of approaching God, and petitioning Him.

One thing is certain, I will have done my duty before God with this series, and once it is finished, if you will still not know how to pray effectively, it will be nobody’s fault but your own.

Daniel 9:20-23, “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I have seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.’”

While Daniel spoke, prayed, and confessed his sin and the sin of his people, the man Gabriel reached him, and talked to him.

We gloss over passages like these because they seem fantastical to us. Angels flying swiftly, delivering messages, coming to speak to individuals…God doesn’t do that anymore, does He?

The instant God ceases to do something simply because man says He can’t do it, is the instant He stops being God.

We are so full of ourselves, and believe our own hype so thoroughly, that we think as long as we say ‘God can’t do that anymore,’ He must submit to our will, and cease to do what He promised He would do until the day of His Son’s glorious return.

The best we can hope for is the thinly veiled illusion that we can somehow impose our own will upon God and compel Him to do, not according to His will and purpose, but to our own notions and predilections.

We present our supplication before God rather than demand of God, because God is not beholden to man, and so demanding or imposing something upon Him is in essence of no effect.

What I’ve always found telling, and humbling at the same time in the message Gabriel relayed to Daniel, is that at the beginning of his supplication the command went out, for he was greatly beloved.

God already knew what Daniel was going to pray for, before he even prayed it. It was at the beginning of his supplication, in the introductory stages of prayer that the command was already spoken, and decreed, and Gabriel was dispatched to come to Daniel, because he was greatly beloved.

Daniel was beloved of God. O that we would be as beloved of God, that when we bend our knee and begin to cry out to Him, the command would have already gone out, the angels of the Lord would have already been dispatched, and the answer to our prayer would make itself manifest even before we finished praying it.

In truth, we are as beloved of God as Daniel was, we just don’t have the same kind of faith.

Rather than begin our prayers as Daniel did, saying, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,’ many tend to start off with the less faith manifesting version of ‘God, if you’re there, please help.’

We must know He is God, we must know He is great and awesome, and we must know that He keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 97

Fervent Prayer continued...

The word of God is clear that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. We can try to throw out red herrings such as, ‘the Lord hears and answers every prayer, no matter how halfhearted or uncommitted,’ or ‘God is not impressed by your intensity when you pray. Just the fact that you pray, is enough for Him,’ as often as suits us, but truth is still truth, and we must abide by it.

Scripture does not say that any kind of prayer avails much, but the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man.

The word effective is defined as ‘producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect, able to accomplish a purpose, or prepared for use or action.’

The word fervent on the other hand is defined as ‘intensely passionate, ardent, enthusiastic, burning, and very sincere.’

Fervent prayer is effective, because God responds to those moments when we stand before Him, petitioning Him, and doing so with intense passion and ardency.

James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

What is that one thing for which you are fervently petitioning God? What is that one thing that burdens your heart each time you come in His presence, each time you approach the Mercy Seat?

We all have someone we pray for on a continual basis, whether an offspring, a spouse, a neighbor, a friend, or a parent, we all have something we pray for, whether healing, understanding, wisdom, fellowship, protection, or comfort. It is different for each of us, but each of us must approach God with the selfsame fervency, with the selfsame effectiveness, so that our prayers might avail much.

Prayer, especially fervent prayer, is warfare. Make no mistake, whenever you come before God, whether in a public setting or by yourself in your prayer closet, you are engaging in spiritual warfare.

The enemy hates a praying Christian and it is incumbent upon us to do more of what the enemy hates, because if the enemy hates it, it is likely detrimental to him and his plans.

Romans 15:30, “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”

Who do we strive against in our prayers, and who do we strive for? Is it the Lord we strive against when we pray? No, it is not the Lord we strive against, it is the enemy who is continually attempting to stifle our prayers, to detour our prayers, or keep them from reaching their desired destination.

The enemy is a hinderer, and he attempts to hinder our prayers every time we come before God. The enemy knows that if we strive against him when we pray, if we pray fervently, passionately, and shrouded in righteousness, then God will answer our petitions and our pleas.

It upsets the enemy to no end to see believers having their prayer answered, because with each answered prayer our faith grows and solidifies, and each time our faith grows the enemy’s effectiveness in attempting to detour us, or put up roadblocks in our quest for all of God, is lessened and diminished.

Often times, in our desire to maintain a fervent and effectual prayer life, we must even strive against ourselves. There are moments in life when we know we ought to pray, yet can’t muster up the right frame of mind for prayer. Either we’re too distracted, too tired, too bogged down with the worries of this life, but whatever it is we must strive against and overcome, we know it is a hindrance to our prayerfulness.

We must readily identify the source of our hindrance, and whether it is due to some external force, or it is something within ourselves with which we must contend, strive against, and overcome.

We face two constant enemies in this life. The first enemy we face is the flesh, the second is the devil, and both desire to keep us from wholly surrendering ourselves to God, wholly submitting to His will, and wholly humbling ourselves at the foot of the cross.

Neither the enemy nor the flesh have an issue with partial surrender, partial submission, or feigned humility, because both know that God will not accept half measures, nor will He ever be content with only half our heart.

It is a trick the enemy employs frequently and successfully, as time and again he convinces would-be believers that God will be content with less than their all, that they don’t really have to thirst after righteousness, or hunger after holiness.

Because some come to believe that God will accept less than their all, and that He is eternally appreciative of however much time we can spare to stand in His presence, they take God for granted, and the absence of reverence when they do get around to fellowshipping with Him is something disheartening and off-putting to behold.

It is said that in an ancient land a king had a son with whom he was very close. The king loved his son, offered him a place of honor at his table, treated him kindly, and always heard him out, but with each passing year the son became less and less respectful of his father.

One day, the son comes into the king’s chamber disheveled and unkempt, and without preamble sits at the king’s right hand and begins to devour the king’s meal.

Finally, the king could take no more, and with a gentle tone he said, ‘my son, I am your father, but never forget that I am also your king.’

Yes, God is our father ,and He is a good father, but we must never forget that He is also King, He is also the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, and one day He will judge the living and the dead according to His righteousness.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Twelve Years Ago Today

Twelve years ago today, I stood before God and men alike and vowed to love, cherish, protect support, comfort, and provide for, the one whom God gave me as a suitable mate.

Sometimes it still seems fantastical that twelve years have passed since I said, ‘I do,’ but here we are, and yes, by all accounts it has been a dozen years.

No, it hasn’t always been easy – and anyone who tells you marriage is the next best thing to perpetual bliss is a liar and has never been married – but we make it work because the foundation of our relationship is love.

The art of keeping a marriage intact is no mystery, and I am in awe of the fact that although I published an article entitled ‘10 steps to a successful marriage’ two years ago on my tenth anniversary, it is still one of the most often read articles on this weblog.

Personally, I believe it all boils down to three things, and if we can master these three things, whether we are a husband or a wife, we will beat the odds and have a successful marriage.

First, of course, is love. Yes, that often overused, borderline clich̩, perpetually misunderstood, and often derided concept Рlove.

Admittedly, as a man I’m still trying to wrap my head around the ‘I love you, but I’m not in live with you’ paradigm, because to us it’s either we love you or we don’t, but as long as love is the foundation upon which you build a marriage, even the hard times won’t seem so hard.

Second on the list, is selflessness. Yes, selflessness is a two way street, and must be reciprocal for a marriage to be successful. When we put the need of our spouse before our own, and they do likewise, we learn to appreciate, and grow, and find common ground, no matter the situation.

Third, on the list of what it takes to have a successful marriage, is the often painful but consistently rewarding art of compromise.

Whether you are a husband or a wife, eventually, at a certain point in your relationship, likely sooner rather than later, you will have to compromise!

For me, the first compromise was an old, and beat up easy chair that was more duct tape than leather, but which I loved to write in.

I’d had this chair for so long that it had conformed to my body, like a pair of well-worn gloves, or a favorite old t-shirt.

It was perhaps three months into our marriage, when my wife finally said ‘I think the chair has to go. It’s ugly, and it smells funny.’

Of course, I knew she was right. The chair was ugly, it was old, and due to a stint on a transatlantic container where it got wet for some reason, it did smell funny.

Instead of hemming and hawing, I acquiesced to removing the chair, thinking to myself that if lace doilies ever magically appeared in our home, I’d have one in the chamber, as the saying goes.

It wasn’t lace doilies. As it turns out, it was a hideous painting of a would-be pitcher with some flowers in it, that looked more like someone threw up on a canvas than what one would customarily call art, but when it came to it, she compromised just as readily as I had.

I guess when we hit fifty years together, I’ll really have something to brag about.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 96

Fervent Prayer continued...

Psalm 143:6-7, “I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah Answer me speedily, O Lord; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit.”

Even in his writing David was an honest man. Taking into account that he was king of Israel, that he was a warrior, and a man of fierce reputation, it is interesting to note how David humbles himself, and pours out his heart before God, even in the writing of this psalm. David did not care who would read it, or what their opinion would be when they discovered that the king’s soul longed for God like a thirsty land, nor did he care who saw him as he spread out his hands to God.

Is your reputation worth more than truly experiencing God in your time of prayer? Is what you think men perceive you as worth more than knowing you have prayed fervently, openly, passionately and without reservation?

‘What will people think if I spread out my hands to God? What will people say if I cry out to God as though my soul longed for Him like a thirsty land?’

Pardon my intentional lack of tact, but who cares? Who cares what people think? Who cares how people judge you? Who cares that they do not understand you were just in the presence of God, and felt His comforting hand upon you?

We are often so superficial, that we prize the opinions of our fellow man above what God might think or say in regards to a certain thing.

‘Well, nobody else is raising their hands, or crying, or speaking in a loud voice during prayer…guess I shouldn’t either.’

Yes, the word of God speaks of order during public prayer, but that has more to do with speaking in tongues in an orderly fashion, than crying out to Him. You cannot pray a fervent prayer, and do so reservedly…it just can’t happen. It would be like trying to accelerate while stepping on the break.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reanimate your prayer life, and take it to the level of fervency, is to stop wondering, or being concerned with what others are thinking about the way you pray, while you pray.

It just so happens, that certain churches I am asked to speak in have a prayer time before service actually starts. It also happens that there are certain times wherein I feel the need to just be in the presence of God, pour my heart out to Him, and pray fervently. Although I am to be the guest speaker, although I am – by general convention and the unwritten rule of ministerial conduct – supposed to be the most sober faced individual in the crowd, giving off an air of hyper spirituality and superior enlightenment, I end up making a fool of myself, crying and lifting my hands, and carrying on.

You have my permission to be a fool for Christ!

Just being free in the presence of God, and unconcerned with how others perceive you is the most liberating feeling you will ever know during public worship. No, I am neither instructing you nor encouraging you to stand and start banging a tambourine while the pastor is attempting to give his Sunday sermon, but be free within the guidelines of Church order.

Do some people take it too far? I believe they do, and you can sense when it shifts from being in the presence of God, and fervently seeking His face, to ‘hey everybody, look at me’ syndrome.

Be wise, do a bit of self-diagnosis, and ascertain whether it is the Spirit or the flesh that is moving.

I was in a service once, where a certain sister was suffering from the aforementioned ‘look at me’ syndrome, and after giving a ten minute prophecy, she started quoting scriptures that weren’t really scriptures.

‘As the Lord says in Psalm 162, an apple a day keeps away colon cancer.’

The pastor being one who understood the true meaning of shepherd of the flock, stood, cleared his throat and said with authority, ‘sister Bernice, you may sit down.’

At the end of the service, as people were shaking hands, and walking out, none other than sister Bernice walks up to me and with a conspiratorial whisper says, ‘see what I have to put up with, that man stifles my Spirit every time the Lord moves.’

‘If it was truly the Lord sister Bernice, He would have known there is no Psalm 162, and so would the devil for that matter,’ I answered and walked away, leaving a stunned sister Bernice to ponder the ramifications of my answer.

Don’t confuse the Spirit for the flesh, because the flesh will make a fool of you more often than not. It’s not even something as nefarious as the enemy, it’s just the dumb old flesh trying to insert itself, puff itself up, and in its foolish pride makes some truly laughable mistakes.

Try as the flesh might, it can’t pull off feigning spirituality in perpetuity. Eventually it slips up, the mask drops, and whoever happens to be glancing at the individual at that particular moment, will see the flesh in all its glory rather than the spiritual juggernaut being projected.

If we pay close attention, we will see this with televangelists, preachers, teachers, and yes, even the self-anointed and self-appointed Apostles and Prophets who make sure everyone they ever run into, no matter the context or situation, knows that they are indeed an Apostle or Prophet.

Authentic faith, authentic Christianity is never forced. It is not something we have to think about being; it is something we are once we have been renewed of mind and heart.

When it’s the flesh attempting to be spiritual, there’s always a false note to the whole thing, sort of like a clanging cymbal, or a noisy gong. Sure they make some noise, but noise is all they really make.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 3

‘Like Jesus said, love the sinner, but hate the sin.’

‘But Jesus never said that.’

‘Yes He did.’

‘No He did not, it was Gandhi, and if you were getting your money’s worth at seminary you would know that.’

And that’s how what almost turned into a shouting match started between yours truly, and a seminary student.

Nobody likes it when certain things which they never said are attributed to them, and that includes Jesus. I’ve had my fair share of ‘brother Mike said’ moments in life, to make sure I document, confirm, and double-check before I attribute a phrase, a saying, or an idea to somebody.

Sometimes the most difficult thing is defending yourself against something you’ve never said. It catches you so off-guard, you don’t know how to react, and that split second you take to process what someone said you said when you didn’t really say it is as confirmation to that person, because, well, you’re acting squirrely, and you wouldn’t be acting squirrely if you hadn’t said what they said you’d said.

So, a few days ago – in fact the day before my flight to Romania – I walk into my favorite local coffeehouse, since chain anything whether department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, vitamin stores, restaurants, or coffee shops give me the heebie-jeebies, and as I’m ordering my coffee I overhear a conversation between two obvious seminarians.

Admittedly, I was dressed in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, so I didn’t give off the spiritual authority vibe, but the two clean cut, khaki-wearing-with-the-polo-shirt-tucked-in young men, screamed seminary through and through.

Yes, we have a Baptist seminary down the road from where I live when I’m in the States, in cosmopolitan Watertown Wisconsin, so it wasn’t overly difficult to put two and two together.

I had walked in mid-conversation, and the first thing I heard was the tired cliché, attributed to Jesus, of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’

Since minding my own business – especially when it comes to things of a spiritual nature – isn’t really my forte, I turn my head and say, ‘but Jesus never said that.’

Who’d have thought that little ole’ me would stir a hornet’s nest by such an inoffensive comment?

‘Yes He did!’ The obviously older of two boys said with such certainty, that for a second I almost believed him.

‘Show it to me in that leather-bound Bible you carry, and I’ll apologize’ I said, handing the girl behind the counter a crumpled five dollar bill.

I waited as the girl made my coffee, keeping one eye on the boy who was violently turning pages left and right. The girl finally called my order, I picked up my cup and took a few sips, and as I walked out, not being able to hold my tongue I said, ‘you can stop looking. The person to whom that particular quote is attributed is actually Gandhi. If you were getting your money’s worth at seminary, you would know that.’

So what’s the point in retelling this story?

The point is as simple as it is profound. As believers, as followers of Christ, and children of God it is important, even paramount that we know what Jesus did say, as well as what He did not say.

We cannot attribute words to Christ just because the words seem to support our preconceived notions, nor can we take away from what He said because His words might be misconstrued as offensive to unbelievers and those who do not yet know Him.

When we utter the words ‘Jesus said’ we’d better make sure He did say what we purport He said, because ignorance is a booming industry. The world is overflowing with experts in theology, men who readily reinterpret, add to, and erase from the word of God without a second thought. The seminaries are cranking out a new batch of bright eyed and bushy tailed molders-of-the-future every year or so, who are as ignorant of what Jesus said as they are of what it means to be a true Christian, but to the last they know how to take an offering, and feign an altar call.

We are the epitome of superficiality, possessing a faith absent obedience, desiring forgiveness absent repentance, and even those who pay good money to be taught in the ways of God remain blissfully ignorant of truth.

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

That, Jesus did say!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 95

Fervent Prayer continued...

Paul the Apostle was a man who knew what it was the pray with fervency. Whenever he wrote concerning his prayers for the church, whether to the church at Rome, the church at Corinth, or the church at Thessalonica, he was quick to remind them of his prayers on their behalf.

Paul’s prayers on behalf of the church were neither lighthearted nor passionless. Rather, whenever Paul prayed for the Body of Christ, whenever he prayed for the household of faith, his prayers were passionate and fervent and all consuming.

Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

This was the extent of Paul’s heart’s desire, this was the extent of his prayer…that Israel may be saved. His prayer did not focus on himself, his heart’s desire was not for himself, but rather for the people of Israel, that they might discover the truth in righteousness, and be saved from destruction.

The height of love is when we can forsake ourselves, and forget ourselves for the sake and benefit of others. Paul forsook himself, and made the salvation of Israel the desire of his heart.

It takes real, abiding, and burning love for an individual or a nation, to pen such words as, ‘I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, and giving of the law.’

We approach God differently when we have a burning need, or a burning desire in our heart, and when we do it out of habit or custom.

Most of the time the ‘why’ of a certain thing, determines the ‘how’ of a certain thing.

It is said two men were waiting to be interviewed for the same job. Just as it is now, times were hard, and jobs were sparse, and the man hiring only had one position to fill.

As the first man was called into the business owner’s office, and asked to sit, the owner began asking him questions, from what qualified him for the job, to why it was he wanted the job.

‘Well, I have a degree in the field you are looking to hire, and I suppose that’s what qualifies me for the job, and as far as wanting the job, my wife made me go look for one.’

After concluding the interview with the first individual, the second individual was called into the business owner’s office, and was asked the selfsame questions the first interviewee was asked.

‘Well, I’m not overly qualified in the field you’re looking for, but I’m a hard worker, and I learn quick, and as far as wanting the job, I’ve got nowhere else to go, and I need this job in order to provide for my family.’

Upon hearing this, the business over stood up, extended his hand, and said to the man sitting in the chair, ‘you’re hired.’

After the requisite thanks, the newly hired man leaves the office, and giving him a puzzled look the owner’s assistant asks, ‘why did you hire this gentleman over the other one? The other one was more qualified.’

‘Yes, the other one might have been more qualified, but he wasn’t driven. Between a man whose wife forces him to go looking for a job, and a man who seeks out a job all on his own because he desires to provide for his children, I’ll hire them man who doesn’t need to be nudged, every time.’

Why are you praying the prayer you are praying? Why do you petition God for what you’re petitioning Him for?

These are important questions and they will go far in determining whether we are fervently petitioning God for something truly valuable, or something that will just make our lives easier, and make us feel better about ourselves.

A fervent prayer can often be identified by its intensity, its passion, its physical exertion, its emotional exertion, and its persistence.

Luke 22:44, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Hebrews 5:6-8, “As He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’, who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”

Fervent prayer is the diametrical opposite of dry, customary prayer. Jesus prayed fervently, He prayed with passion, and because of His godly fear He was heard. When we couple godly fear, with fervent prayer, we too will be heard.

The author of Hebrews is not hesitant in pointing out that in the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears. If Jesus prayed in this manner, if Jesus prayed with vehement cries and tears, what makes us think we ought to pray any different, or that such prayers are unbecoming of us?

When we pray fervent prayers, the whole notion of pretense is utterly annihilated. During moments of fervent prayers no one wonders if their mascara is running, if the tears are staining their shirt, or if someone is watching.

It’s just you, and God, and no one else, and you cry out to Him, and you call on Him, and you petition Him from the depths of your heart, unconcerned with how others perceive you, or what they’re thinking about you.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 94

Fervent Prayer continued...

Another instance wherein we see the reward of insistence, persistence and fervency, even going so far as seeing the heart of Jesus moved, is the case of the Canaanite woman pleading on behalf of her daughter, who was demon-possessed.

Matthew 15:22-23, “And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.’ But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries out after us.’”

So here was a woman who was crying after Jesus to have mercy on her daughter, and not only doesn’t Jesus answer her, His disciples begin to urge him to send her away because her constant cries were disturbing them.

Now before the ‘I would never do that’ choir starts warming up their vocal chords, let’s admit it, we’ve all had bad days, we’ve all had days when we couldn’t stand ourselves, never mind total strangers yelling after us as we’re walking down the street. What the disciples did might have been insensitive, but let’s not judge them too harshly, for they were human, just as you and I are human, predisposed to being short tempered, strong willed, irascible, and grumpy like the rest of us.

Personally, I don’t deal well with compliments, praises, or accolades. It’s just who I am. I never know how to respond when someone says, ‘great sermon, or great teaching.’ It makes me feel awkward, and uncomfortable, because first of all it wasn’t my sermon or my teaching, it was God’s, and second of all, all I did, was preach the word of God.

Most of the time, after I’m done speaking and someone comes up to give me a compliment, I mumble a thank you, point to the Bible, and shrug my shoulders.

Even though it’s just who I am, and how I react to the situation, I’ve been accused of feigning humility, of being too proud to talk to people who just want to complement me, of getting too big for my britches, (which happens during winter hibernation, but I tend to work off the weight before summer rolls around), of being aloof, and even of thinking myself better than my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

The point I’m trying to make, is that men read more into a given situation or a certain action than was there to begin with.

The disciples were bothered by this woman’s constant cries, and they came and asked Jesus if He could send her away. That was it. They didn’t hate Canaanites, they didn’t hate women, and they didn’t hate Canaanite women.

Matthew 15:24-25, “But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’”

If there is a lesson to be learned from the Canaanite woman, it is that of persistence and fervency. Too many of us give up on the first try, and even that first try isn’t really our best. Because the seed of doubt still rests in our heart, because we are fearful of standing fully on the promises of God and having no other safety nets, we do not cry out as the Canaanite woman ‘Lord, help me!’ The Canaanite woman did not quantify her prayer with an ‘if you can, if you have the time, if it’s not too much trouble, if you can fit it into your schedule,’ she cried out, ‘Lord, help me!’

By her declarative plea, we can ascertain that this woman had nowhere else to go. She had run out of options, she had knocked on her last door, entreated upon her last friend, and now Jesus was all that remained for her in the entire world.

She did not approach Christ with the mindset that if He didn’t answer her prayer she’d go on to the next guy, she did not approach Christ with the mindset that if Jesus couldn’t heal her daughter she would just spend the cash and get the treatment, Jesus was her last and only option.

There was nowhere else to go for this woman, and she knew it. Because she knew that Jesus was he last viable hope to see her daughter freed of her possession, her plea was fervent and passionate, and though Jesus told her He had been sent exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, she pressed on, persevered, and cried out once more, ‘Lord, help me!’

Matthew 15:25-28, “But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she said, ‘True, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”

It is impossible to pray fervently, when we leave ourselves an out. If in the back of our minds there is the thought, ‘well, if God doesn’t answer my prayer at least I have such and such to fall back on,’ then we will never be able to pray a fervent prayer as this Canaanite woman prayed.

Jesus tested this woman’s persistence, faith, and conviction not once or twice, but multiple times, and each time she persevered, and held true to her petition. She did not waiver, she did not feel insulted, she did not threaten to sue because Jesus had compared her to a little dog…she needed help, and she knew Jesus was the only one who could help her.

In the end, even Jesus was impressed by her faith calling it great, and knowing Jesus was not given to exaggeration, her faith must have been great indeed. Faith, persistence, humility, and dependency are the ingredients that make up fervent prayer. Without these, we will never know what it is to pray with fervency.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.