Prayer and Sovereignty – Andy Brown

If God is sovereign, then what is the purpose of prayer? Why do we pray at all?

Today I share an article I wrote a few years ago, trying to address this very subject.



A couple of years ago, I was challenged about my view of God’s Sovereignty. I once believe that He did not control all things, but rather had delegated some control (for want of a better term) to humankind. Yet, a careful look at the Bible made me question this view, and ultimately dismiss it. God…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/07/14/prayer-and-sovereignty/

Serving Christians (Psalm 100 #2) – Andy Brown

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!2     Serve the Lord with gladness!    Come into his presence with singing!3 Know that the Lord, he is God!    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,    and his…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/05/20/serving-christians-psalm-100-2/

Reflection-13 September 2022

If you live outside of the UK, it may be difficult to grasp the magnitude of feeling surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Talking to many people about this, lots feel a genuine sense of loss at her death. Few have actually met her, and yet have been impacted by her passing.

Her many decades of service, her kindness, and her Christian faith all play a part in this.

Another reason people have felt her death so profoundly is because it reminds us of our own losses. for me, this event has reminded me of my own late grandmother – who we affectionately referred to as the Queen of our family.

If you are experiencing loss at the moment, the pain of grief, or have been reminded of such things, then I pray for you today.

Heavenly father, we thank you for the life and service of our late Queen. we pray for her family at the moment, asking you to comfort them, and indeed, to comfort all those who feel her loss.

Lord, I pray for all of those who are reminded of their own grief at the moment. May you also comfort them, strengthening them and giving them peace.

Let us remember, with Thanksgiving, those we have lost. we thank you, dear God, for the impact these people have had on our lives. We pray to, that we may be a positive influence in the lives of those around us.

We thank you heavenly father, for your grace and mercy toward us. May you bless King Charles and the UK government with wisdom at this time, as they lead the nation.

As we consider the Christian example of our late Queen, may the nation of the UK return to faith in Christ.

In Jesus name I pray

Amen

Pray for People #SundaySuggestion

One of the best things about a church fellowship is the variety of the members. In virtually no other setting do you find people of such varying age or experience. Think about it, most of your friends are likely a similar age to you, or in the same season of life. In church though, you could just as easily be sat next to a young family or an octogenarian.

No matter what the age profile of your church, today I am suggesting you identify an individual or family and set about praying for them consistently throughout this week. You might choose someone you know well, or you may decide to select a family you have spent little time with. Either way, make them your prayer mission for the week.

People are generally very appreciative of prayer. I know I need a lot of prayer coverage, and so if someone offered to set about praying for me for a week, I’d be very glad of it.

People appreciate #prayer – I know I do! #Pray for someone this #Sunday #Bible #Jesus #Church

What would be even better though is to let them know. Don’t just pray for them at a distance, tell them that this is what you are doing. You can even ask them what is happening that week that you could specifically pray for. Use your phone or a notebook to write things down if your memory is not all that reliable.

You can pray for the spiritual health of the family, that God would bless their working lives, that the Lord would protect them from harm this week, and that the Holy Spirit would reveal God’s love to them in a new or deeper way. Pray for their health. Pray for their home. Pray for their time with God to be productive and fruitful.

Do not merely ask for things though, remember to thank God for them and for their place in your fellowship.

Listen to what God is telling you too, as He may have a word of encouragement for them.

If you really feel led to, you could keep a prayer journal over the course of the week and present it back to them the following Sunday. What a blessing that would be!

I hope that this exercise will not just be a blessing to them, but it will encourage and uplift you also. What a privilege it is to stand alongside someone and invite the Lord into their lives.

#Pray without ceasing – #Bible #Jesus #Prayer #Christianity

Have a great day and a productive week in prayer!

When God Answers Prayer

Victoria Hospital Reception Carpark, Kirkcaldy, Fife. Photo by Alan Kearns. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with…

When God Answers Prayer

A God of Justice (Psalm 36:7-12)

We conclude our trio of studies on Psalm 36 today by reviewing the final six verses. So far, we have considered David’s revelation of sinfulness in part 1 – A Revelation of Wickedness, and then yesterday we thought about some of the attributes of God in – Faithful to the Skies.

How precious is your unfailing love, O God!

All humanity finds shelter

    in the shadow of your wings.

8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,

    letting them drink from your river of delights.

9 For you are the fountain of life,

    the light by which we see.

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;

    give justice to those with honest hearts.

11 Don’t let the proud trample me

   or the wicked push me around.

12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen!

    They are thrown down, never to rise again.

Psalm 36:7-12 NLT

Verse seven reminds us of how precious God’s unfailing love is. In many ways, this is obvious but that makes it all too easy to just pass it over. Preciousness means value, not necessarily financial, but something we prize. God does not have to love us (in a sense). Although it would be against His character and nature, He could look upon our sinfulness and reject us outright. God’s love is not to be taken lightly or for granted. The more precious something is, the more it tends to cost, and God’s love cost Him His Son.

Many Christians ask themselves if God really loves them. They may not feel loved, and so question whether God cares at all. In the hectic world we live in, it can be difficult to hear from God at times. This leads us to think He is distant, or even uncaring. Not so! I often ask myself how well or often I hear from God, and my answer is usually the same. When I set aside other things, sit down in the quiet with Him, and listen – truly listen – I inevitably hear what God is telling me. To hear God speak into my life through His Word or in other ways is a true privilege, and it reminds me how much He really does care for me. And the same is true for you.

God’s love is not just restricted to us however, but extends to all humanity (as verse seven reminds us). John 3:16 springs to mind here:

For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life

John 3:16 NLT

God’s love extends to all humanity. While this does not mean all will accept it, it does affirm that it is available to all. The Bible does not support the idea that all people will be saved, no matter what, for that idea cheapens the cross and leaves little incentive to live a godly life in Christ Jesus. There is a hell to avoid, and while the thought does not bless me, I rejoice that God has made a way for us. Let each of us tell as many as we can of God’s saving love which never fails.

Upon first reading of verse eight, I am not certain if it refers to physical food and drink, or rather points to something more spiritual. God does indeed provide us food and sustenance, and it is certainly important to take a moment to thank Him at each meal time. Not everyone has the abundance of food we do, so it is right not to take our material blessings for granted.

Looking to verse nine as well, I wonder if David was thinking of more spiritual food in verse eight. Verse nine shows us that God is the fountain of life for us. While we need food to survive, we need God no less so. He controls all things, sustains all things, and our next breath is utterly dependent on Him and His grace towards us. God is not just our life, but our light as well. 1 John 1:5 echoes this psalm in telling us God is light. We cannot hope to see our way through this life or the next without the light of God. We cannot hope to understand, nor can we see the right way to go unless God first shows us the way. His Word is indeed a lamp unto our feet as Psalm 119:105 tells us.

Verse ten and eleven turn into an apparent word of prayer. The psalmist asks God to pour out His unfailing love on those who love Him. As referred to above, God has done this at the cross of Calvary. I am not sure we now need ask God to pour out His love, but perhaps it is better to pray that we understand and perceive the love He has already shown. David asks God to give justice to those with honest hearts. Justice is a common theme in the Bible, and we trust God to make all things well in the end. Justice in this life is not guaranteed, but we know that the God of justice will indeed comfort the afflicted and wipe every tear from their eye.

Pour out your unfailing #love on those who love you; give #justice to those with honest hearts. Psa 36:10 NLT #Bible

Verse eleven seeks protection from the proud. I like the phrasing of the NLT here, as no one likes to be “pushed around.” This continues the theme of justice, and the cry to protect the downtrodden. The proud pick on the weak, exploiting them for their own gain. We, as the people of God, must not be like this. We must not show favouritism, nor exploit those who we think are beneath us. Time and time again the Bible speaks of looking after orphans and widows, and we must look after those who are in need or marginalised.

This psalm of contrasts comes to an end with an almost prophetic note. Behold, the psalmist cries out, the wicked are no more! David knows the justice of his God, and knows that the wicked cannot stand before Him. A time will come when sin will end. A time is coming soon when the wicked will see justice. At the end of all things, God will separate the sheep from the goats, and will take care of His sheep for all eternity. I want to be among them, and want you to be too.

You cannot have #love without #justice. #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

God’s love touched on in this psalm is not so far removed from His justice. To love someone means hating anyone or anything that would harm them. You cannot have love without justice. We give thanks that our God is both full of unfailing love, and a God of true justice. Receive His love today, and allow Jesus to pay the penalty for your sin so that justice is satisfied.

Blessings on you this day.

Getting Things Done with God

The church where our little congregation meets was built in 1935. Now, to my friends in the UK, where there are churches and castles centuries old, …

Getting Things Done with God

A Fig Tree

Today I share some further thoughts on the fig tree from a fellow blogger Bruce Cooper. He gives us some further thoughts on the power of prayer but also its limitations. We cannot, for example, pray outside of God’s will.

Anyway, I shall leave it to Bruce to explain! I hope you enjoy the post and do encourage you to check out his blog.

I was reading a post by Andy Brown this morning, where Jesus curses a fig tree, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, which you can view here. These …

A Fig Tree

Anything

This passage from the Gospel of Matthew has been on my heart of late. Well, particularly verse 22.

In the morning he went back to the city. On the way he was hungry.

19 Along the road he saw a fig tree. He went to the tree. There was no fruit on it, only leaves. He said to the tree, `No fruit will ever grow on you again!’ Right away the tree died.

20 The disciples saw it and were surprised. They said, `So soon the fig tree has died!’

21 Jesus said to them, `I tell you the truth. Believe God. Do not doubt him. Then you can do what I did to this fig tree. But that is not all. You can even say to this hill, “Go and jump into the sea” and it will be done.

22 When you ask God for anything, believe that you will have it. Then you will have it.’

Matthew 21:18-22 WEB

The “He” in verse 18 refers to Jesus, in case it wasn’t clear. As Jesus passes by this fig tree, which apparently offers the promise of fruit, He finds only leaves on it. He then curses it, causing it to wither. Many feel sorry for this poor little fig tree, but in context, we realise it is an allusion to the Pharisees and teachers of the Laws aka the religious leaders of the day. They, like the fig tree, promised fruit but instead delivered nothing.

But the fig tree really did wither. It was not just a clever analogy for the religious leaders. There was a real tree, and Jesus spoke to it, and it died. We ought not to miss that simple truth.

Like Moses when he struck the rock twice, and God punished him for it. This was a serious problem because the rock symbolised Christ who would only be struck the once. Yet, irrespective of the symbol, there was a real piece of stone and Moses, in his anger, actually hit it twice with his staff (see Numbers 20). Symbolic or not, it was a real event.

Verse 20 of Matthew 21 shows us that the disciples were surprised at the withering of the tree. They perhaps did not fully understand the power of Christ’s words.

Jesus answers their astonishment with verses 21 and 22, and I restate them here because they are so utterly amazing.

21 Jesus said to them, `I tell you the truth. Believe God. Do not doubt him. Then you can do what I did to this fig tree. But that is not all. You can even say to this hill, “Go and jump into the sea” and it will be done.

22 When you ask God for anything, believe that you will have it. Then you will have it.’

Matthew 21:21-22 WEB

Believe God. Do not doubt. Then you can do what I did to the fig tree, and not just that, but tell the hill to go jump into the sea, and it will be done. Let that sink in!

And likewise, the next verse, the Lord says, when you ask God for anything, believe that you have it and you will have it. It sounds so matter of fact, and yet is seemingly beyond the realms of our prayers.

Ask God for anything – anything! No limits, no boundaries! Although I hasten to add that there are those who would take this Scripture on its own, ignoring all others, and claim whatever their flesh desires. Within the confines of the Bible and the will of God, we can ask for absolutely anything! Yet, I so often pray like I’m bothering God or that He is a miserly, stingy Father unwilling to part with anything. Not so! God knows how to give good gifts to His children.

I want to start praying Matthew 21:22 prayers. I want to ask God for what is on my heart. I don’t wish to be greedy, but I do want to recognise who He is and the kind of Father I worship. He is generous, and kind, and more powerful than anything we can imagine. I want my prayers to reflect that.

More than just asking though, I also need to believe. There is little point asking God for something, and then saying to my family, “That’ll never work!” Nothing pours cold water on the fire of faith than words of doubt.

Nothing pours cold water on the fire of #faith than words of #doubt – Andy #Believe #Jesus

Nothing is too big for our God to handle. There is no request we can make which will dim the lights in heaven because it uses so much power. God is more than able to respond to our needs and our prayers. Let each of us step more boldly into prayer, being specific, recording what we ask for and praising Him when the answer comes.

Those points are important. If we cannot be specific, then we cannot know for sure if God answered or not. If we do not record what we pray (in a journal or note of some kind), then there is a good chance we will forget what we have asked for and so, when it comes to pass, may not give proper thanks.

My prayer life can be sporadic at times, but I want to press into it more and more. Not every prayer I utter may be answered the way I expect, but if I do not pray at all, it certainly won’t! I want to partner with God, praying His will and seeing the answer come. The point of my post today is to do no more than encourage you to pray; pray more and pray bolder.

What will you ask for today? Whose life will change for the better because you prayed for them? For what will you give thanks to God for when you see Him moving?

Thanks be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – to whom we can ask anything in His Name!

What is Prayer? – Andy Brown

Recent news has reported a big increase in the number of Google searches for the term “prayer.” The stories suggest that the increase in these searches is in step with the spread of Coronavirus and in general perhaps reflects people’s growing fears in recent times. Just yesterday I caught a video on Facebook of Russell…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/05/15/what-is-prayer/

Plumb line

I really enjoyed this post which I read a couple of days ago. So I thought I would share it with you today for some Saturday reading

Have a blessed weekend!

If you search for the definition of a biblical plumb-line then the reference to the book of Amos will often come up. “Thus He showed me: Behold, the …

Plumb line

This Sunday at Church: Pray for Ukraine

For this Sunday here’s what you can do: Pray for Ukraine.

This Sunday at Church: Pray for Ukraine