Where Are The Houses Of Prayer?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

They stood in a circle, about 40 of them, in the center of the parking lot. United, hands clasped with their neighbor and heads bowed, they prayed. No fear. No shame. No wavering. As I drove by, tears stung the back of my eyes. Emotions assailed me. I was thrilled to witness such an incredible sight, so many people openly gathering before the throne of the Most High God! And yet I felt sad that such a sight is so rare. I could not recall the last time I had been involved in a prayer circle like that! And I wondered if God’s reaction was a little like mine. I thought back to a question that’s been heavy on my heart for several months: Why don’t more churches gather for prayer and fasting? When I was young, every once in a while our little church met just to pray. As I grew older, I noticed that some churches had regular prayer meetings, and some didn’t. I never thought much about it until I came across this scripture: “And as [Jesus] taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” … Read More

The Hazard of People-Pleasing

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

All my life I have craved approval. In elementary school, I wanted my friends to like me. In high school, I wanted the popular kids to accept me. In college, I wanted to be respected and liked. I was terrified that someone would think I was “strange”, so I kept my little quirks to myself. As an adult, I have grown more independent, but I still crave approval. I want people to think positive thoughts about me. I can express some pretty strong opinions when I know I’m in the company of like-minded friends, but I clam up in embarrassment as soon as a dissenting opinion is expressed. Blogging has added a whole new dynamic to this fear of displeasing people. It’s fine and dandy to write strongly and boldly in front of my computer. It’s a completely different thing to put that writing out on the internet for all to see. When God has shown me something revolutionary, I am still tempted to keep it hidden so that no one thinks I’m “strange”. A friend of mine posted a sermon from Francis Chan recently. Chan mentioned how he has often been tempted to water down a message from God … Read More

Is Jesus REALLY Enough?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Trials2 Comments

We sing at the top of our lungs. We raise our hands in worship, proclaiming the greatness of our God. We join with hundreds of others in worship of Jesus, the One who died and rose again to pay our sin-debt. Yet we are a bunch of hypocrites. We proclaim the wonders of our Savior on Sunday morning and then fret about the greatness of our problems the rest of the week. Five minutes after we sing that there is no stronger power than Jesus, we revert to worry about how we are going to meet the pressures of the coming week. Hold on. It’s time we get that emotional worship experience to sink deeper. We must let those words of praise and faith penetrate our minds and hearts, too. They must change our way of thinking, so that we no longer wallow in doubt, fear, and defeat. Recently, a friend encouraged several of us bloggers to remember the omnipotent power of Jesus’ name. She had us look up John 14:12-14… I have read these verses many times over the last several months. They really became alive for me when I went through Kim Erickson’s His Last Words twice during … Read More

A Little Comma

Carol DunfeeHoliday, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

I generally like to fit in and fly under the radar. I don’t mind being different, but I don’t want to make a scene about it. So, when I noticed my dad saying the Pledge of Allegiance differently, I hoped no one else noticed. After all, why say it differently than the 500 other people in the building?? Everyone around him says, “One nation, under God, indivisible,” with a small pause at each comma. Dad removes one single comma. A little comma that changes everything. He says, “One nation, under God indivisible…” I asked him about it one time. He explained that you can’t separate America’s indivisibility from its relationship to God. America’s ability to remain a united nation is wholly dependent upon America’s choice to remain “under God”. By removing the comma, We recognize that without God’s grace, our nation is NOT indivisible. It is subject to being torn apart–from within and from without. We admit that our national security is dependent upon God, not politics or military might. We confess that God is not obligated to protect a nation that rejects Him. We acknowledge that God is sovereign. We humbly surrender our sins of arrogance and pride. As … Read More

Did You Pray About That?

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

prayer

I don’t recall the specific situation; I just remember that I was mad. I marched over to where my friend was sitting and told her the details of what happened. Her words stopped me in my tracks and defused my emotions in about half a second. She raised an eyebrow as she regarded me. “Did you pray about that?” I gulped, then gave a nervous chuckle. “Well, not yet. It just happened.” I went back to my seat, sufficiently scolded that I had not taken my concerns to God first. That situation was the start of a new journey for me. I knew I was instructed in the Bible to pray without ceasing, but I had not been applying the concept. I began to recall many other situations where I got upset or worried rather than handing the burden over to my Savior. God wants to be part of our day, and more than just a genie who grants our wishes. He wants to be acknowledged and involved in everything we do. We sometimes forget that talking with God is an honor. We have direct access to the King of Kings! That’s something to get excited about! He devotes His … Read More

Where Do Unanswered Prayers Go?

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

I don’t know about you but I have thought about this question many times.  There have been many prayers I have prayed my whole life, God still hasn’t answered.  Does that mean he doesn’t care?  Does it mean God isn’t listening?  I pray this post encourages you to know that God indeed is listening and he cares and loves you very much. I have heard many say ‘God didn’t answer my prayer, that must mean he doesn’t love me.’  Even though it may be true God doesn’t answer all of our prayers the way we want him to, he isn’t a genie in the bottle waiting to grant our every wish.  God doesn’t work that way.  He is our Father who loves us, who knows what is best for us, who sees the bigger picture and has the best plan ever for our lives.  To not answer our prayers may mean that God has something better waiting ahead. When our third child was born with a fatal kidney disease, my husband and I prayed for God to please heal our son and for him not to suffer anymore.   We had so many people praying for healing for him.  The day he … Read More

Response in the Struggle

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Redemption1 Comment

What is the proper response when I hear my own thoughts asking, “what am I to do if things stay the way they are today…am I always going to feel this lonely, this sad, this empty, this hopeless…what would happen if I just gave up…” I wrestle through the times that my thinking is brings me down and I am desperate to know when the struggle will end. When my emotions get the best of me and I find myself feeling as if things will never change…that I may be stuck in the sadness and tire of the fight. A significant part of me really does feel bad to entertain thoughts of giving up. I feel guilty because I know some of the verses that I needed to echo in order to repeat truth and the honest answer to that dilemma is…in and of myself, I didn’t have the strength to keep reminding myself of the truth. In my weakness and weariness I long for release from the pain…I am exhausted from the hurt that keeps me company. It feels like an unwanted guest that has overstayed its welcome. I feel irritable and impatient. I no longer looked at the … Read More

Stand Firm: Pray Without Ceasing

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

“Christ actually meant prayer to be the great power by which His church should do its work…” Andrew Murray We’ve begun a series on How to Stand Firm. First, we discussed briefly why we can’t allow ourselves to be moved when the enemy attacks. Last week we reviewed the armor of God and why that is so significant in our lives. Today, we’ll discuss a tool that is seriously (and sadly) under-utilized in our world today: prayer. Previously I shared 4 ways to resist the enemy based on the scripture from James 4:7 stating if we resist, he will flee. Another way to resist is to never stop praying (1 Thes 5:16). Satan hates when believers pray. He knows that when we humble ourselves before God, the Holy Spirit and God’s glory are released on earth. The Bible tells us to ask and it will be given to us (Matthew 7), that if we remain in Him then whatever we wish will be done (John 15:7). Prayer is essential if we want to see God move. Simply put, talking with God changes things. The early church in Acts grew immensely because of the believers’ devotion to prayer. Major revivals throughout … Read More

When Gratitude Unlocked a Miracle

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Trials, Womanhood1 Comment

Last week, I wrote about giving thanks in the middle of trouble. Little did I know just how much I would need that message on the very day the blog published. A few months ago, several of us at Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry began praying about having a vendor table at a local homeschool convention. The topics of womanhood and women’s discipleship had been forefront in our minds. We were approved to teach a class about those topics at the convention. I cannot tell you how much prayer went into the preparation. I can only tell you that it was a LOT!! We prayed for the women who would attend our class. We asked God to use our class to set women free from false beliefs, to open their eyes to life-giving truth, and to release God’s favor over their lives. Our goals were big and we believed them to be God-given. The day of that class was the same day that I published the blog about gratitude. I planned to attend our middle child’s school concert that morning before heading to the convention at 10:00. As my husband and kids were about ready to head out the door for work and … Read More

Why is Prayer so Important in Marriage?

Heather GillisFaith, Marriage, Prayer & Fasting, Trials2 Comments

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER. A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home? The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that … Read More

Tell me about your daddy

Rosalynn LasleyPrayer & Fasting, Redemption, Trials1 Comment

Jesus Love

I have been avoiding writing this post for a very long time.  The title alone is one that can elicit a wide variety of responses.  For some people the thought of their dad will cause a visible smile to spread across their face, thinking of all of the lovely things that make their dad who he is.  For others it may cause their eyes to well up with tears because their dad is no longer on earth.  There are others who may get a sinking feeling in their stomach because their relationship with their dad isn’t a good one.  There are some who may not know their dad at all.  There are some who think of a stepdad or foster dad when thinking of their dad.  There may even be some who won’t read this post at all because it has to do with dads.  That’s why it has been so hard for me to write this, it’s hard for me to talk about my dad. When people talk about God as The Father, its is often hard for me to comprehend that.  I don’t have a good relationship with my dad so my view of what a father looks like is cloudy.  I … Read More

A Love that Never Fails

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

  This post is a little different from previous posts I have written, mostly because I have written a love poem and prayer to share about God’s agapé love for us. If there was only one thing I could write about as a writer in the whole entire world, it would be about God’s love for us.  My hope and prayer is God would use the words we write on these pages to tell His story in our hearts, to shout above the noise of this world so we can hear and see how much He loves and cares for us.  I pray these pages of words tell about His goodness, His faithfulness, how He will and do anything for us.  There is nothing we could ask of God, He isn’t be able to do.  His love is the greatest of all love, an agapé love, one that can never be destroyed–one that never fails or ever leaves us. In the Bible, there are four different translations for love in the Greek language.  We can determine what type of the love the Bible is speaking of in the context it is used.  There is a term for brotherly love ‘philia,’ a term for … Read More

What Does It Mean To Surrender?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Surrender. What emotions does this word invoke in your heart? For some, it’s positive, stirring memories of a sweet moment with God. For others, it’s negative, bringing light to areas defiantly kept away from Him. Years ago, I recall being confused about what it means to be surrendered to God. Does it just mean that I’ve agreed to believe in Him and serve Him? Does that mean I go where He tells me to go? Does it mean I trust Him – a lot? Does it mean I follow all His Thou-shalt-not rules? According to Merriam-Webster, surrender is defined this way: 1a :  to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand b :  to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another 2a :  to give (oneself) up into the power of another to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence) Recently during our 21-Day-Fast, God brought this word to my mind. Curious, I wondered what He was prompting me to do. If you had asked me a month ago, I would have quickly agreed that Yes, I’m fully surrendered to God. But as I dug deep into my … Read More

5 Powerful Prayers to Pray Over Our Goals

Heather GillisFaith, Holiday, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

  Welcome Back!  The previous week we talked about how God helps us make plans for success.  Goal setting can be tough, because it asks tough questions about ourselves. Was I successful? What did I accomplish or haven’t accomplished in the past year? I hope you will share your goals and what word you picked for the year. Picking a word helps give our year more direction, purpose and vision not only for ourself but our families as well. The word I picked for 2017 is Victory. A journey of victory is not to be enslaved by our circumstances or ways of the world but to be victorious no matter what. Victory is such a powerful word. It encapsulates all areas of life, whether it be financial victory or victory from whatever is going on in the world, it is possible to be victorious when we have Jesus. Others have shared their word with me; Presence, Hope, Believe and Restored. Whatever your word is, I pray you are able to apply it to all areas of your life to live fully in your word that God has picked for you. Goal Writing Tips: When making goals ask yourself these two important questions. 1. Are these goals adding value to my … Read More

God-Sized Dreams

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Like many Proverbs, I never understood this one. What could the plans of my heart have to do with my answers belonging to God? It was like a riddle that eluded my grasp. The New Living Translation states it like this: “We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.” Two years ago, the founder of Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry and I were in a planning meeting together. She suddenly announced that she needed more bloggers to write for ACWM’s new website. She asked if any of us liked to write. Without a hesitation, my mouth opened and said, “Yes!” Then my brain kicked in: “Wait! I don’t write for people. I used to journal, but no one ever read an of it. And that was years ago! What did you just say, Carol?? I honestly believe God opened my mouth before my rational mind could object. Writing for ACWM has been a blessing both unexpected and profound. Blogging helped heal my heart from our family’s bout with a brain tumor. It has redeemed the pain and agony of that year, while revealing God to me in ways I never expected. Could this be an application … Read More

Our Reward for Fasting

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

“… and your Father who sees… will reward you.” Matt 6:18 When fasting, we’re not supposed to seek the praise of men, as the passage in Matthew explains, nor as an attempt to earn God’s blessing. Yet when we fast with pure motives, where we focus on Him and our desperation for more of Him in our lives, that’s when God sends a blessing. In Scripture, those who fasted always saw a reward. For Daniel, it was favor and position. For Esther, it was deliverance for her people. For Jehosephat, it was protection from destruction. For Nehamiah, it was the rebuilding of his hometown. For Ezra, it was guidance and protection for his people. For Anna, it was the privilege to meet baby Jesus. For Paul, it was direction in spreading the gospel. So what blessing awaits us when we fast? God does above and beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine, and His miracles come in all shapes and sizes. But this passage in Isaiah 58 will give us an idea of what He promises to those who fast properly. God says: 6“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to … Read More

God’s Love Language

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

You might have heard of the five love languages, based on a book by Gary Chapman. Some people feel love through a hug. Some feel love when their husband washes their car. Others understand love through a long conversation. Or maybe love is communicated while shoveling snow together. Or maybe it’s a sweet, sentimental note that does the trick. We all understand and receive love differently. Relationships are enriched or sucked dry depending on the language we use to communicate love. For example, some women just adore flowers. A bouquet of flowers melts their hearts into a puddle. For me? Not so much. But give me a written note expressing love and appreciation? I’m all over that! Have you ever wondered what God’s love language is? As the Creator of love, He responds to all five. He comes near when we praise Him with our words and songs. (Psalm 100:4) He appreciates our service to the “least of these”. (Matthew 25:40) He created us to spend time in His presence. (Psalm 140:13) He reveals some of His plans to us so we can join in. (John 15:15) He laid His hands on little children to bless them. (Matthew 19:13) He loves each one … Read More

5 Tasks While You’re Fasting

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

Is there something specific we must do during a fast, any action or behavior that’s required? We discussed in previous posts that fasting is more than merely abstaining from certain foods or fluids. It’s about connecting with God and proclaiming our desperation for His intervention in our lives. So how exactly do we do that? By following the example of the disciples in Acts 13: “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers…. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” While they were worshiping – that’s when God responded. The word ‘worship’, as defined in a couple different online dictionaries, means “to show reverence and adoration; to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion“. How do we show God reverence and adoration? How do we regard Him with great respect, honor and devotion? 1) We praise Him. Not only does God deserve our gratitude for all the good He’s done in our lives, He … Read More

Praying for a City

Carol DunfeePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

I always had good intentions to become a prayer warrior like Miss Clara. My problems start when I get on my knees. I can’t think of a single thing to say. I go through all the steps of prayer and in two minutes then…nothing. Expect a random cricket. Or a creaking pipe. I was so relieved to discover that the Bible actually is full of scripted prayers and prayer outlines.  I was even more excited to learn that praying with Bible verses is some of the most effective praying we can do! This month, several women from around Anchorage (and beyond) have joined together to pray purposely and fervently. Many of us have committed to pray for our city, state, and nation. As I was writing a prayer plan in my journal, I was kind of stumped on what verses to pray over our city and state. Some of the other prayer topics came easy, but this one was hard. Suddenly, I remembered the parable about the sower. It’s one of the most commonly heard parables, but I never thought about it as a prayer guide before. “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across … Read More

Fasting and the Motives of the Heart

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

Before we start a fast, we must check our motives. There are a couple places in scripture where God is displeased with fasting, and it was all because of selfish heart motivation. Wrong Motive #1 – Desiring attention from people. This was the problem Jesus addressed when he said we should fast in secret (Matt 6:16-18). Because the Pharisees were making a public display of their spirituality, their fasting was all about getting admiration from others. It was no longer a means of connecting with God on a deeper level, but a matter of pride. They weren’t after God’s glory, they were after applause. This is why Jesus cautions us to fast in secret. While it’s important to keep our fasting private rather than putting on a show to get people to think highly of us, we don’t have to hide. Almost every fast mentioned in the Bible was a group of people getting together to seek God – no one hid what they were doing. That scripture was merely Jesus cautioning believers to be careful about their motives. As John Piper says, “Being seen fasting is not the same things as fasting to be seen.” Wrong Motive # 2 … Read More