Pastor's Blog
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July 26, 2017, 8:54 AM

Answered Prayer



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God answers prayer. The Scriptures are clear. Nothing could be more definite. All peoples are commanded to pray, at all times, in all places, and for all needs. Assurances abound that prayer is heard. The promises are explicit, and the Scriptures are full of examples and encouragement. Christ’s own word is, “Everyone that asks receives” (Matt. 7:8). The scope of the promise is without limit of place (1 Tim. 2:8), time (Luke 18:1), or subject (John 16:23). Yet, there are conditions and limitation. We are commanded to pray for all persons, but there were some for whom the prophet was forbidden to pray (Jer. 7:16). It is possible to ask and not receive (Psalm 66:18). Prayers that lack sincerity and faith cannot be heard. So, are all the sincere, earnest, believing prayers of good people granted? The answer of experience is, No. Consider three great men in Scripture.

Moses prayed that he might be allowed to complete his work (Deut. 2:23-35). He had undertaken it at God’s command. For 40 years he had nursed and led a murmuring and ungrateful people through the wilderness. The Promised Land was within sight. No wonder he prayed that he might go over. Despite a nation’s entreaty, regardless of his record, and notwithstanding his earnest pleading, he died: died with his final work unfinished. Elijah was mighty in prayer. God seemingly answered all his prayers but one, and that was the prayer that he might die. He was under a broom tree, suffering from mental and physical exhaustion. Yesterday had been a great day. The next day was the day after! At the threat of a violent woman he fled. Fear, despondency, and despair took hold of him and he prayed that he might die. The apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a physical affliction and he prayed for its removal. It was not removed, though he pleaded three times of the Lord.

None of these prayers went unanswered. They were not granted, but they were answered, and “No” was the answer. “No” is as truly an answer as “Yes.” In fact, refusal may be the only answer possible of love, wisdom, and truth. God never refuses without reason. He knows the past, in which there may be reasons for present disqualification. The Lord knows the future as well as the past. The immediate may imperil the future. The eagerness for a bowl of stew may involve the loss of an inheritance, just ask Esau. God spared Hezekiah 15 years, but it would’ve been better if God simply said, “No,” and he went on to glory when first called.

Delays are not denials, and it pays to wait for God’s time. Moses got into Canaan, and Elijah went to heaven by a more glorious way than that of a broom tree. “No” is never God’s last word. If the prayer seems unanswered, it is because it is lost in the glory of the answer when it comes. God may refuse the route requested because he knows a better way, and He took Moses into Canaan by a better way and in better company. Likewise, He took Elijah to heaven by a much more wonderful way than that of the grave. Paul learned to glory in the affliction and adversity and thus received the joy of being content in any and every circumstance.

Let us pray: Almighty God, thank you for answered prayer. Help us to trust your answer. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens




July 19, 2017, 2:22 PM

Prayer for Healing



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven” (James 5:15). The subject of divine healing is always with me. The infirmities of the flesh keep it continually among the complications of my faith. In the work of a pastor there is no escape from it. The sick look at this statement in Scripture concerning the prayer that heals the sick, and seek guidance. Some are healed by the prayer of faith, and if one, why not another? I have searched the Scriptures backwards and forwards and not found any easy answers.

There is healing through the prayer of faith. The truth of this is confirmed by many witnesses. There are those to whom is given the gift of healing, and they lay hands upon the sick and they recover. I personally have been healed through the prayer of faith. Likewise, I have been used of God to the heal the sick and have been blessed to be a witness to several miracles of God’s healing grace. In other cases, I have been quite helpless. There are those for whom I would’ve given my right hand if I could’ve prayed them to health, but instead I have seen them suffer and die. Indeed, many godly people have suffered untold anguish because they sought healing in vain. That has been my problem. Indeed, my own spouse has battled type 1 diabetes daily for fifteen years despite of our faith. I could multiply such instances on both sides, and it may be that others have been similarly perplexed.

The teaching of the Scriptures is the final authority on this subject, as on every other question of faith and life. I accept it whether I understand it or not. There is no doubt that the Scriptures teach that the Lord is our Healer. That is one of the names by which He is revealed. It is also beyond dispute that our Lord and Savior regarded healing as an integral part of His ministry. He healed all kinds of diseases. He commissioned His apostles to heal the sick. The gift of healing was, and is, among the gifts of the Spirit. Through all the ages there have been witnesses to its power. Yet, there is also a sickness that is of grace. Sometimes it is used of God for good. Scripture must interpret Scripture. The affliction of Job was of grace. It was to the glory of God. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not of sin. God permitted it for the glory of His grace. Epaphroditus was healed of the Lord (Phil. 2:27), but Trophimus had to be left at Miletum sick (2 Tim. 4:20). Instead of divine healing, Paul recommended a moderate use of wine (1 Tim. 5:23) for Timothy’s stomach. And on his travels, Paul took Luke, the beloved physician. In short, divine healing is not an automatic guarantee for those who love the Lord and are of great faith.

Sickness may be chastisement for disobedience, and by faith the cause may be removed, the sin forgiven, and health restored. Yet, it is also true that sickness may (whether we understand it or not) be in the will of God, for the purpose of discipline, the glory of His grace, and the ministry of Christ. Either way, Christ can be glorified in us if we keep our eyes and our faith upon Him.

Let us pray together: Gracious Father, into Your hand, we commend our souls and our bodies. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens




June 28, 2017, 9:00 AM

Pray for One Another



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no intercessor” (Isaiah 59:15b-16a). It is utterly appalling to God for a people not to intercede for one another. The praying people of the Bible are intercessors. Abraham pleaded for Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses made intercession for lost Israel. Samuel prayed all night for Saul and continually for the nation. David pleaded on behalf of his people before God. Daniel prayed for the deliverance of the Lord’s people from Babylon. Christ prayed for His disciples, and made special intercession for Peter. Paul was an example of his own exhortation “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men.”

The one thing that is said to have bewildered and disgusted God is that the voice of intercession had ceased. “…he was appalled that there was no intercessor.” His delivering mercy depends upon intercessors, who will put their shoulders under the burdens of others. The Lord tells us, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). The normal function of prayer is to make intercession with God for others. I wonder what the Lord might find among us regarding intercessory prayer today? Would He find a people who faithfully pray on behalf of one another?

That we may pray for others is the deepest mystery and crowning glory of prayer. If we do not know how to pray for ourselves as we ought, how can we know how to pray for others? If we know so imperfectly our own needs, how can we know the needs of others? Who are we that we should presume to interpret the needs of another to God? He alone knows, and may not His knowledge and love be trusted? The answer is that prayer cannot be solitary. It must be personal, but it cannot be isolated. Life is relative and interdependent, “For none of us lives to himself alone” (Romans 14:7). Prayer cannot stop at personal need. Even in the inner chamber there is no escape from the impact of those who cross our paths in the home, the church, and the world. The law of prayer is that each one stands alone in the Presence of God, just as surely as “each one of us shall give an account of them self to God,” each bearing their own burden, and yet everyone bearing the burden of others.

Jesus, as always, is our example in this regard. The Savior made intercession for us because He bore the sin of the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). So it is in all prayer that we implore God on behalf of others. Who can tell the influences that have come into their life through the intercession of those who have prayed on their behalf? The great need of God and His Kingdom is of intercessors!

Let us pray together: Gracious Father, thank you for those who have interceded on my behalf. Help me to likewise be a faithful intercessor before You on behalf of others, that Your will may be done!

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens




June 14, 2017, 8:58 AM

The Reward of Prayer



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“When you pray… your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). Our Lord Jesus did not hesitate to associate reward with prayer, and who can measure the blessings that come through the avenue of prayer? The value of a daily habit of prayer is beyond exaggeration. The contemplation of the unseen, the attempt to think in terms of the Eternal, and the honest endeavor of the soul to enter in communion with God in themselves redeem life from all that is fitful, fretful, and futile. Apart from specific blessings, the sheer influence of a daily habit of prayer is incalculable. Consider the life of Moses and just three of the rewards he discovered from a life of prayer.

First, prayer is a place of revelation. Moses found God in the mount. You can read the story in the third chapter of Exodus. After forty years of exile for his championship of God’s people, the shepherd-prince found the God of Israel. He was not a stranger to Him in Egypt. He had renounced the privileges and pleasures of a royal palace and cast in his lost with the afflicted people of his race. He had given proof of his zeal for the Most High, but he had never had a personal revelation of Him till he found Him that day in the mount. It is on the mount of prayer where the Lord manifests Himself to those who pray in secret as He cannot to those who have no inner sanctuary of the soul.

Second, prayer is a place of power. In Exodus 17 the Amalekites came against the Hebrew people. Joshua commanded the army of Israel, while Moses went up into the mount to pray. The fluctuation of the battle was astonishing. In turns the opposing forces prevailed, until it was found that the issue of the battle was not with the fighters in the field, but with the intercessors on the mount. It was the weaponless hand of prayer that ruled the battle. “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning” (Exodus 17:11). Is it necessary to point out the moral of the story? Power is the reward of prayer. Unfortunately, it seems to take us entirely too long to learn that prayer is more important than organization, more powerful than armies, more influential than wealth, and mightier than all learning. Samuel Chadwick writes, “Prevailing prayer makes men invincible... All things are possible to secret prayer.”

Third, prayer is a place of fellowship. The Lord spoke to Moses face to face on the mount, as a man speaks to his friend. Like Abraham, Moses was admitted to the friendship of God. He did not come simply to lead petitions and receive orders. He was there for communion on a common basis of fellowship. The inner chamber is an audience chamber where the soul enters into friendly interaction and mutual interchange. It is a place for listening as well as for speech. The most important part of prayer is not what we say to God, but what God says to us as we fellowship together.

Let us pray together: O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens




May 31, 2017, 9:30 AM

Persistent Prayer



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is not far off. He is near. He does not need to be informed, for Jesus says, “your Father knows what your need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). Neither does he need to be persuaded; for the Scripture says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Nothing could be simpler, more natural, more assuring. “Ask and you will receive” (John 16:24); “For everyone who asks receives” (Matt. 7:8). Yet, alongside this teaching there comes the parables of the friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-13) and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8). They are not like Jesus’ other parables, for they teach by contrast, and not by comparison. Then why tell the stories? The point in common between them and prayer is that in both persistence prevails.

Our Lord Himself prayed with intensity and persistence. He rose early to pray (Mark 1:35). He spent entire nights in prayer (Luke 6:12). Jesus offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears (Heb. 5:7). In the Garden He called upon the Father, but in His praying there was the sweat and agony of blood. “‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me …’ And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood” (Luke 22:41-44). If God is our Father, and if He hears, then why at times is prayer such tedious, bloody, hard work?

Samuel Chadwick writes, “Jesus prayed in an agony unto blood. If God be Father, why such agony in the praying of His Son? …It is quite clear that prayer is not the easy thing that seems to be implied in the simplicity of asking our Heavenly Father for what we want and getting it. There is travail in it. There is work in it. There is entreaty in it. There is importunity in it. Maybe Coleridge was not far wrong when he spoke of prayer as the highest energy of which the human heart is capable and greatest achievement of the Christian’s warfare on earth.”

Prayer is full of apparent contradictions. It is so simple that a child can pray, and it is so profound that the wisest cannot explain its mystery. It is so easy that those who have no strength can pray, and it is so strenuous that it taxes every resource of energy, intelligence, and power. It is so natural that it need not be taught, and it is so far beyond nature that it cannot be learned in the greatest school of this world’s wisdom. Prayer is a world in itself. The fervent effectual prayer of the righteous is a great force (James 5:16). Yet, we also understand, as Jesus has declared, “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Prayer is more mystery than a formula for getting what we want. So, we pray without ceasing, asking for that which burdens us, until the Father answers in His own way (2 Cor. 7-9).

Let us pray together: Almighty Father, fill us with a comforting and sustaining sense of your presence throughout this day. Teach us to pray and to trust, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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