Pages Navigation Menu

First of All, Pray: Blog

Bringing Biblical Truths to Daily Life


Psalm 91:4 Faithful to cover

Posted by on Sep 9, 2020 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on Psalm 91:4 Faithful to cover

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.

When you picture feathers or wings, do you typically think of military shields? That’s not my customary train of thought, but this unusual pairing reveals how intensely protective God feels about you. His heart brims with the desire to cover you when danger lurks and to be your shield against incoming attacks.

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge…

The Creator has always had a bird’s eye view of the animal kingdom, and He chose—out of all His creatures—to liken Himself to an eagle when revealing His protective nature toward His people.

In the Song of Moses, it says of God’s relationship to Jacob, “…He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions” (Deuteronomy 32:10-11).

David also use this same imagery in five of his Psalms. In Psalm 57, you can hear his anguished devotion when he cries out, “Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by (verse 1). I love this! In the hour of greatest desperation, you, like David, have the right to hunker down under the shadow of God’s wings until destruction passes you by.

Not only did God’s people the Jews have access to the powerful shelter of God’s wings, but the Moabite Ruth also found refuge under His protective wings as well. Boaz spoke highly of Ruth’s deep devotion to and care for her mother-in-law Naomi when he said, “May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge” (Ruth 2:12).

David, Moses, and Ruth each found refuge under the majestic wings of the Lord. The Almighty God is still ready and willing to cover anyone who seeks His help; He will never tire of protecting you.

…His faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.

When I come to this section in prayer, I am reminded of another shield—the mighty shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). But how many times—instead of believing your faith could quench every incoming missile—you’ve felt absolutely worthless? The enemy works overtime to make you feel like a complete faith-failure.

I felt like that more times than I could count…until this verse came alive to me. You see, God’s faithfulness itself is your shield! You don’t have to have monster faith; your God has enough faithfulness for the two of you! Just put your faith into His faithfulness, and when you feel weak, your trust is no longer in your own ability to be some kind of faith giant; your trust is in God!

And when it comes to God’s protective care over you? Place your trust fully in His faithfulness to do what it takes to keep you safe.

One night as a thirty-something woman, I had been passing out gospel tracts on the St. Louis Arch grounds with a group from my church. Because I was somewhat “seasoned” at this sort of thing, an inexperienced young couple were paired with me. Toward the end of the evening I was sharing Jesus with a young woman. The couple got bored and wandered off to find the rest of the group. I didn’t care because she was very interested in giving her life to Christ.

Soon, her eyes popped open as big as silver dollars, and she scrambled away. I turned and immediately was surrounded by a group of six to eight men. As they closed in around me, the oddest thing happened. I had a vision!

No longer was I standing near the top of the south stairway of the Arch; I was at a Charles Capps meeting at my church! There Brother Capps stood, preaching with his Arkansas twang, “My brother, sister, Jesus SAID ‘Let us GO to the other side of the lake’; and if Jesus SAID ‘Let us GO to the other side of the lake’, then no wave, no wind, no storm could stop Him!”

And with that, there I was, back at the Arch, surrounded by the same six to eight men. I looked across the way and saw the old Riverboat McDonald’s. I SAID to the men, “I am GOING to McDonald’s!”

I walked right through that circle; no one touched me. As I descended the long stairway, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly, “Walk. Don’t run. Hold your head high, and don’t look back.”

There were whistles and catcalls as I fearlessly walked across Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd. to the gangplank leading to McDonald’s. Down the gangplank I marched, opened the door to the Golden Arches and saw my whole team—including the young couple. In an instant it dawned on me what God had just shielded me from. My knees became Jello, and I wobbled to the counter to order a bag of fries and a Coke.

God’s faithfulness was my shield and buckler that night; and the good news is that He will always be the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Put your faith in the faithfulness of the Lord and take refuge under His all-encompassing wings!

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

Psalm 91:3 Surely He will deliver you

Posted by on Sep 7, 2020 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on Psalm 91:3 Surely He will deliver you

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:3

I love this verse. It is straightforward, crisp, and clear. God’s intention is for you to be delivered, pure and simple, from snares (danger) and disease.

Surely

Nothing is more settled in the Word of God than any statement preceded by the word SURELY. Whenever Jesus said, “Verily, verily…” in the gospels, He was saying “Absolutely. Certainly. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Set in stone.” This word “surely” is the exact same thing. God is saying, “I’ve made up My mind about the issue.”

He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler…

Your God is ready and willing to deliver you from danger. He sees the path you take and is prepared to deliver you from any and all harm along the way. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have liberty to violate the precepts of the Word or your conscience just because “God will cover it no matter what”. Remember verse one? These promises are for you who seek to put the Lord first place in your heart, life, and decisions. (Satan tried to get Jesus to take a flying leap from the top of the Temple quoting another verse from this Psalm—“Hey! God’s angels will catch You up in their hands if You jump! Just do it, and everyone will know You’re God!” Jesus told him, “BUG OFF! You don’t have the right to put the Lord your God to this kind of stupid test” (see Matthew 4:5-7; my paraphrase).

But trust me—God knows how human we are; and He cares for us nonetheless. Do you seek to put Him first? Then whether you’re perfect or not (and you’re not), He’s prepared to deliver—rescue, snatch you away, recover you, and pluck you out—from every conceivable trap, snare, or danger. He just wants you to look to Him first for help—and help will come.

I’ve experienced several occasions in which God came through for me in a big way. Car accidents were averted, turbulence on planes was brought to nothing, violent people meaning to harm me backed off for no apparent reason (one man threatening to “martyr” my friend and me literally fell over backwards when I quoted God’s Word), and I’ve even had God tell me one Monday not to mow my lawn on Thursday—no explanation, but when Wednesday came, I reluctantly mowed—and then mid-morning Thursday (my prime mowing time) I sat looking out the window and CRASH! Down came a large silver maple across the width of my back yard—right where I would have been mowing!

The Lord is not limited to delivering you from physical danger; He is also well aware of moral, emotional, social, and relational dangers. He may give you a subtle nudge to avoid a certain party, meeting, or date; as you yield to His leading, you are sparing yourself unnecessary trouble. Even when someone actively seeks to undermine your reputation, He is willing to deliver you. Trust Him; as you lean on Him in purposeful trust, He’ll show you what to do—and what not to do. Obey Him, and you will see yourself rescued from big fat headaches and heartaches.

And from the deadly pestilence.

As greatly as He cares for your safety, He also cares about your health. In fact, He made provision for this in Christ. It is written, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Don’t think the Lord isn’t aware of Covid-19 and everything that has to do with it—fact and fiction, danger and disinformation. It’s His stated purpose in this verse to SURELY deliver you…from the deadly pestilence. He’s given you the tools to use—common sense and good hygiene knowledge—and has graciously granted a plethora of insight into how to build your immune health just for the asking. Above all, though, dare to trust Him with your body. He knows how to protect it; and even if you do contract this or any other virus or disease, SURELY He is faithful to deliver you and to walk with you through it to the other side.

Honestly, with the world around us swirling in a chaotic cacophony of injustice, violence, despair, and disease, I can’t think of any better place to park my focus:

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the deadly pestilence.

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

Psalm 91:2 SAY it!

Posted by on Aug 29, 2020 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on Psalm 91:2 SAY it!

NOTE: All the promises of Psalm 91 are accessed as you dwell in the secret place of the Most High (verse 1)—through prioritizing your relationship with God. Does that mean you’ll never have trouble? Of course not. But you will walk through those troubles under the protective shadow of the Almighty. This Psalm is a faith-building promise pledge to you from God. Lean hard on it as you navigate the chaos of life while never ceasing to put Jesus first place.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:2

SAY IT!

I WILL SAY to the Lord…Determine not to be shy with God; use your voice with Him. Three things happen when you speak out in this way:

  1. You demonstrate to God your willingness to align yourself with Him and His promises. He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6);  
  2. When you pray God’s Word aloud, you will hear your own voice praying the Word, and as a result, your faith will increase.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
  3. As your faith increases so does your CONFIDENCE: Your boldness to speak OF the Lord to others will also increase.

God longs to hear you SAY to HIm: YOU are my refuge. YOU are my fortress. YOU are my God. In YOU I will trust.

Here’s how I might pray out the rest of this verse:

YOU are my Refuge

Lord God, YOU are my Refuge—my safety and my shelter from pursuit, danger, and trouble. You are my protection in times of danger or distress. As my Refuge, I can flee to You for safety and protection in times of violence or storm. As I take refuge in You, I am safe from the snare of the hunter and from siege, war, and upheaval.

YOU are my Fortress

Lord, YOU are my Fortress—YOU are my place of defense. YOU are a stronghold and garrison so fortified that enemies can not approach. In You I am safe; in You the evil one touches me not (1 John 5:18).

YOU are my GOD

Father, I will acknowledge no other God but YOU. YOU are my God. You are real; You are alive; and You are mindful of me. You are my God, and I am Your child.

In YOU I will trust

YOU are my God and in You alone I will trust. I trust You today with everything that comes my way; I will trust You tomorrow with everything I may face; I will trust You throughout the rest of my days, through high times and hard times. I choose to lean on You with my whole being, and I trust You to always be my refuge and fortress. I will trust You, Lord, because You are worthy to be trusted.

ANOTHER NOTE: One day as I was walking and praying this last section of verse two—You are my God in whom I trust—out of the blue it hit me: IN GOD WE TRUST. Our coins and paper currency proclaim Psalm 91:2!

No wonder there’s such a push to crush this powerful national motto. Clueless men blindly hate God; however, the enemy who drives them is terrified of what a unified return to trust in God in this nation would spark, and he is scrambling furiously to prevent that from arising.

And concerning the strategies of the enemy to destroy our trust in the Living God? I will SAY OF THE LORD MY GOD—YOU are my Refuge! YOU are my Fortress! YOU are my GOD [and the GOD of this nation]; AND IN GOD WE WILL TRUST.

SAYING it every day of my life,

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

Psalm 91:1 The secret place

Posted by on Aug 27, 2020 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on Psalm 91:1 The secret place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who used to search out secret hiding places as a kid. There was a group of lilac bushes when I was growing up between my back yard and the adjoining one, and I would get up at the crack of dawn, while the Indian test pattern was the only thing on TV, fix a bowl of Sugar Smacks, Sugar Pops, Cocoa Puffs, or Alpha-Bits, and sneak out the back door to that lilac hiding place to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the neighborhood waking up. In fact, I can still feel the same excitement in my stomach that I used to experience as I sneaked out the door.

I had a different hiding place on the edge of my street, between the developed and undeveloped parts when I was twelve or thirteen. I was so concerned about kids from distant reaches of the subdivision finding and taking over my “fort” that I dug a foot and a half deep hole and covered it with thin sticks and weeds so I could sabotage intruders.

Later, when I was a counselor at Ranger, a primitive camp program at Camp Lakewood during the 70’s, we would play Capture the Flag after dark in the rocky glens and fields surrounded by woods. Oh, how I loved finding the right spy post, jumping out at unsuspecting enemy campers or counselors to put them in Capture the Flag prison!

And as a freshman and sophomore in college, right before I gave my heart to Christ, I would return to my dorm after a night of drinking and partying and sit on the stairwell landing of the 7th floor of my dorm to talk to God about my night, hidden away from everyone but my Creator.

I shared all this to give context to my delight over having a secret place. Every time I read or pray this first verse in Psalm 91, He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, I am brought back to one or another of my coveted secret places.

Think about your best hiding places as a kid or teen when you read this verse, because you now have an open invitation not only to visit, but to live in a very cool secret place—the secret place of the Most High! The Living God has invited YOU to move on in, baggage and all. The accoutrements are beyond your expectations, the very atmosphere is alive with wonder, and the longer you stay, the more in awe you will be. Right there, in His secret place, you can feel safe enough to start removing some of that heavy old baggage you brought in with you. You won’t need it there, anyway.

How do you find this hiding place? A long ago radio preacher I once heard explained it like this: Dwelling in the secret place of the Most High is simply this—prioritizing intimacy with God. Hey! I did that to an extent before I ever gave my heart to Jesus. I talked to Him about the parties I had just returned from, how everyone was acting, even how much fun it was. I know that doesn’t sound very “holy”, but I was making a point to acknowledge Him. The fact that you don’t yet know Jesus is no reason to avoid Him. He actually enjoys it…but like I discovered, if you hang around the creek bank long enough, you’ll eventually fall in. (No better Slip ‘n’ Slide anywhere!)

The hiding places of my youth were stationary, and when I sneaked in there, I stayed put in one spot. This secret place, however, is mobile. As you prioritize your relationship with the Lord, you are dwelling on Him in your mind and heart; and you are actually dwelling in Him as well. Wherever you go, He’s there with you.

The book of James tells us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you,” (chapter 4, verse 8). This is an incredible arrangement, because the next statement in Psalm 91:1 paints a vivid picture of just this very occurrence. It says:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

If you take the initiative to prioritize your relationship and time with God, you are drawing near to Him. You are dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.

He, in turn—just as He did with me as a confused teen—will draw near to you. In fact, He will hover so closely that you will be under His direct shadow.

Have you ever seen a little fledgling bird just beginning to try out its wings? Mama bird is close, watchful, ready to intervene if necessary.  But you? YOU are under the direct shadow of the Almighty. That fledgling can flap and flop several feet away from Mama; but you who prioritize intimacy with God are within arm’s reach—arm’s reach of the Almighty. This is how miraculous interventions happen.

One more thought: Remember back in the early days of the apostles after Jesus returned to Heaven? Acts 5 tells the story:

At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people…And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them,” (verses 12, 14-15)

These Jewish believers had witnessed the power of God moving through Peter; and I’ll bet they knew the 91st Psalm as well. They put two and two together, and probably figured that since God was moving through Peter, then Peter was under His shadow. Therefore, what better place for sick people to be than under the shadow of the man who was obviously under the shadow of the Almighty! And if you have any infirmity in your body, what better place for you to be than under the shadow of the Almighty?

As you prioritize your intimacy with God, moving about under His shadow, don’t be surprised if interesting things, new perspectives, special blessings, and remarkable “turnarounds” happen. Remember, however, this is not a magic spell or a genie in a bottle you’ve stumbled upon, but a lifelong relationship and adventure with the Almighty God Himself.

See you under His shadow!

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

Psalm 91: Security in God’s protection

Posted by on Aug 26, 2020 in Prayer Perspective, Psalm 91 | Comments Off on Psalm 91: Security in God’s protection

Are you feeling a little shaky right now with all the uncertainty of our culture pressing in on you from all sides? Covid-19 shut downs, positive tests, quarantines, isolation, masks, racial disparities and the ensuing unrest and violence, anger on social media, crazy weather and horrific fires, clashing political conventions, passions, and fears, tensions at home, at work, among friends…even while shopping, gassing up the car, or hanging at the park?

I have found some solace in all of this, a refuge from oppression and intimidation. It’s in the Bible—Psalm 91—and the entire chapter focuses on one thing: God is willing and ready to protect you—yes, YOU—in all kinds of danger.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I keep a pile of laminated Psalm 91 index cards handy so I can grab one and go. I have them in my car, my purse, I take them on trips, but mostly I carry one in my hand when I go for a walk. I have fresh Psalm 91s, used Psalm 91s, and raggedy Psalm 91s. I like the raggedy ones the best. They have a good feel to them.

Several years ago, maybe in 2015 or so, I sensed the Lord telling me to pray Psalm 91 a thousand times. When I shared this with someone, they said, “OK. Pray it three times a day and you can be finished in a year.”

That’s not how I approach things. When I try to race through Bible reading just to say I’ve done it, I honestly don’t retain much. I like to squeeze the juice out of what I’m reading; I like to interact with what I’m reading; and I like to tear into it.

It’s kind of like when I went to Grenada on a mission trip back in the ‘80s. Kim, a Canadian full-time missionary there, picked up the local way of eating chicken. She ate each piece with great gusto, but unlike me—who when once the meat was pretty well picked off the bone, I’d set it down and reach for a fresh one—she would gnaw and chew every last tidbit of meat and gristle off that bone. Then, without hesitation, she would crack that bone and go after the marrow! She’d worked that chicken bone until there was nothing left but splinters!

That’s how I’m happiest with my Bible time. If I go for reading large amounts, I know I’ll miss out on so much. I go for the meat, the morsels, the tidbits, the gristle, and then crack that Bible “bone” to go in after the marrow. I may not cover the whole Bible in a year, but I sure get as much out of what I do read as I can.

Anyway, I’m somewhere in the four-hundreds in praying this Psalm. As you can see, I don’t do this every day, and sometimes I forget to tally when I do pray it, but nonetheless, Psalm 91 has become a dear friend to me.

As I walk my neighborhood and pray this Psalm, I often like to emphasize one word at a time in a verse. For example, take the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” Here’s how my “emphasis method” would go:

  • JESUS wept.” I’d ponder the fact that JESUS HIMSELF did the weeping. I would think about how the Lord HIMSELF had such deep, human emotions, and because of that, He has no problem understanding my sorrow or anguish.
  • “Jesus WEPT.” Now I would consider the fact that He actually WEPT. I’d think about salty tears falling down His face, and I’d be pulled into His moment, His feelings, His sorrow. I would find myself wanting to comfort Him.

As I walk and pray Psalm 91, I am frequently surprised by new ways of thinking about one verse or another. Of course, there are also times when I realize I haven’t listened to anything I’ve just prayed. When this happens, I simply start again where I first trailed off in my mind.

I’ve been sensing a leading by the Holy Spirit for a few months to start blogging about the amazing protective provisions God has revealed in this Psalm. I just need the boost to get started…and telling YOU I plan to do this should light the fire I need to get this meal cooking.

Please pray for me! I am asking for Holy Ghost get-up-and-go to grip and propel me so I can fulfill this task which I know He’s given me.

Thanks!

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

The power of Your anger

Posted by on Jul 3, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on The power of Your anger

Some of you may remember my series at the beginning of the year on Vision. The Lord downloaded six principles that He wanted me to hold dear this year.

Today as I was praying concerning these, I decided to reacquaint myself with the accompanying Scriptures.

The very first principle I received for the year of clear vision was to fear God.

Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? Psalm 90:11

Right away, I was transfixed as I absorbed that first statement: Who understands the power of Your anger?

As I prayed and mulled it over in my mind, I thought of recent scenes of anger in the news. An officer kneeling on a defenseless man’s neck, depriving him of oxygen…of life. The ensuing anger and rage, destroying properties and burning cities. I thought of the targeted rage of man against man and of multitudes intent on destroying an individual. I imagined myself as the focus of such targeted rage; then I heard this in my spirit: That rage is nothing compared to Mine when once it is released.

The God I serve is Love (see 1 John 4:16), and yet, He who made Man and Woman in His own image feels—and He feels deeply—just like us.

When we see a wrong, it angers us. God made us that way because He is that way.

I read it again, in a different translation. Who knows the power of Your anger? Then it hit me: No one alive—north or south, east or west, left or right—KNOWS the power of our God’s anger. None of us have experienced it—if we had, we would no longer be here.

And because we have never experienced the full range of God’s anger—and because we know from Scripture that He is Love—we suppose He is devoid of anger.

He is not.

Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?

He is patient with us; He is kind toward us. He loved us so much and longed for intimate friendship with us, His creation, so greatly that He sent His Son to allow our sins to be heaped upon Him and, as a result, He took on the full wrath of God that we deserved. Once the full measure of that punishment was spent, in accordance with God’s plan, He raised Jesus from death to be our forever Advocate before God as a reminder—I paid for their sins in full.

So why fear Him if everything is already covered? It has to do with the very reason Jesus came here in the first place—to restore relationship between God and His creatures.

I know many of you are bothered by that word “fear” in relation to a loving God. Well, imagine with me for a moment my favorite animal on earth—a cat.

Let’s say a large cat—a Lion—came to live with you. This Lion loved humans—and not necessarily to eat! This Lion enjoyed companionship with humans and chose to live with you, to love you, and to be loved by you.

Imagine burrowing your face into His [hypoallergenic] golden fur, walking with him down your street with your hand on his back, unafraid of a soul due to his magnificent strength and presence.

You would learn how to care for him and what made him happy. Just as quickly, you would want to know what made him mad. In your love and desire to continue to live with your Lion in harmony, you would refrain from everything that would arouse his displeasure. Why? Because fellowship with this Lion would be too rich, too amazing, and too precious to recklessly neglect, discard, or jeopardize.

In other words, you would both love and fear your Lion. You would love him because of his great love and gentleness toward you; you would fear him because you understood that in his love for you, he restrained the unmatchable exercise of the full range of his terrifying ability to destroy. And because of his terrifying ability to inflict damage on those who hated him (and by association, you), you felt safe whenever he was near.

So it is with the Living God. He loves you and is gentle toward you. And yet, He is unmatchable in the full range of His terrifying ability to destroy—that devastating power which He has chosen to restrain for now. But because of that power, those of us who have opened our hearts and our homes to Him can feel safe.

I am grateful that I have neither known nor experienced the power of His anger. But not unlike that Lion, He is certainly worthy of all the fear, respect, and reverence that is due Him. The day is coming when His anger toward those who shun Him will no longer be restrained.

Choosing to live in the fear that is due Him,

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

Declare

Posted by on Jun 17, 2020 in Everyday Observations, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Declare

I had a thought today while reading Romans 1:4a. “[Jesus] was DECLARED the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…”

That word DECLARED stood out to me. I thought that word always had to do with WORDS that are SPOKEN. However, here, it is a NON-VERBAL declaration by the ultimate DEMONSTRATION of GOD’S POWER—raising Jesus from the dead.

That got me to thinking. I SAY things all the time; but what is my LIFE declaring? It is certainly speaking day in and day out.

I will pray that my life, as well as my words, will declare the things God has ordained for me to declare. I am aware that this will take some discipline, self-control, and at times being brutally honest with myself and others. It will take the power of God that is beyond my ability.

But I believe it will be well worth it. 

Dorothy


© 2020, Dorothy Frick

One way to restrain…

Posted by on Jun 15, 2020 in Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on One way to restrain…

Second Timothy 3 is one of the oft-quoted end times chapters in the Bible. BUT good news! Buried within are these two verses which reveal how to pray in such a time (which I am taking out of order for the purpose of my argument):


Verse 13: “But evil men and impostors will PROCEED from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” NOTE the word PROCEED. It is the EXACT same Greek word as the word PROGRESS in the next verse (vs. 9a):

“But they will not make further PROGRESS; for their folly will be obvious to all…”

How do we pray in such a demonically-driven, deceptive time?

One way is revealed in 2 Timothy 3:9. Pray boldly that “their folly will be OBVIOUS, OPENLY MANIFESTED to ALL.”

You see, men and women of evil intentions WILL proceed from bad to worse; however, their PROGRESS will remain LIMITED as we pray and act effectively. After all, this is STILL the Age of Grace. We STILL have authority as members of the Body of Christ. We ARE individually members of the RESTRAINING FORCE that is STILL on the earth (2 Thes. 2:6-7).

We must pray and act like it!

Dorothy

© 2020, Dorothy Frick

The weapons of our warfare

Posted by on Jun 2, 2020 in Ferguson, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on The weapons of our warfare

[As intercessors, we are engaged in probably the most intense battle we’ve seen in our lifetime. Your stand in this hour is not one of weakness or ineffectiveness, NO. God, in His foresight has equipped you and me with spiritual weapons custom-made for this very hour of warfare. My hope is that this entry, originally posted on August 15, 2014, will help to gird and strengthen you for your portion of this spiritual battle.]

***This was first posted on Day 6 of the conflict in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown. Although our current events rage even greater than in those days, the principles in the Word of God are eternal and sufficient for every conflict.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Many around the nation have been praying about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. I am grateful for every bit of spiritual assistance in the face of all the hurt, anger, and discord in the area—my area.

We stand in the gap before the Lord on behalf of the residents and others involved in this situation. As we stand, we pray, sowing seeds of peace for the purpose of rebuilding the hedge of protection around the community.

But we also stand equipped. God never sends His children into spiritual battle without granting them the appropriate equipment and weaponry.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh…

If you are alive, you are walking around in a flesh and blood body. But even though you are “packaged” in flesh, you don’t conduct spiritual warfare according to the flesh.

for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh

Bible commentator David Guzik explained this portion of Scripture. He wrote, “The carnal [or fleshly] weapons Paul refuses were not material weapons like swords or spears. The carnal weapons he renounced were the manipulative and deceitful ways his opponents used.” (Guzik’s Bible Commentary can be found at BlueLetterBible.com)

No matter what the concern or conflict may be, you need to lay aside manipulation, backstabbing, slander, deceit, hate, insinuations, power plays, and all the other methods which typically rise up out of a fleshly desire to justify yourself, prop yourself up, save face, or get ahead.

but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

God does outfit you with equipment and weapons for fighting spiritual battles. In Ephesians 6:11, the apostle Paul urged, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” when struggling against the unseen forces of darkness. The armor He provides not only protects you defensively, but it is also effective offensively against the enemy targeting you or those for whom you pray. However, you must lay aside both the defensive and offensive techniques of the flesh and take up God’s equipment if you are serious about effectual gap-standing.

According to Ephesians 6, God provides six specific pieces of equipment to any believer seeking to stand against the enemy—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Guzik observes, “Our spiritual weapons are scorned by the world, but feared by demonic powers”. The man or woman who launches into prayer covered by the truth and righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, the preparation of the gospel of peace, steadfast faith, the helmet of salvation, and the Word of God can be confident in the face of any scheme of the evil one.

We are destroying speculations

While praying for volatile situations such as in Ferguson [or in 2020, throughout the nation], you may not be able to distinguish between speculation and fact. But your part is to remain in the gap and pray. As you do, speculations will be brought down and truth will be made known. Pray that the authorized fact-finders will receive divine direction, grace, and wisdom as they do their jobs. Cover them—those in law enforcement and government and the journalists reporting on unfolding events—so that speculative and incorrect information will be squelched, enabling truth to prevail and healing to begin.

…and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…

One prayer focus of mine is to address the “lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God” stirring around in Ferguson. People from outside of the community have arrived to take advantage of the chaos and to push their own agendas [as has occurred in 2020 across the nation, drowning the message of those protestors who sincerely cry out for reformed and humane policing]. As I pray, I remind myself that despite what I see or hear, the weapons I’m wielding in the gap are divinely powerful to bring those lofty things down. The forces of darkness—manipulating men like pawns—are not more powerful than the living God—and as you and I pray, their demonic effectiveness is being diminished. However, more often than not, it takes persistence and the long-haul in prayer to see the restoration of territory which the devil has ravaged. That’s why Paul wrote, “…and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm” (see Ephesians 6:13-14).

If things you’re hearing or seeing in a local, national, or international situation don’t line up with the knowledge of God, you are equipped with spiritual weaponry to address them in prayer and render them ineffective. But again, remember—this is warfare, and it won’t necessarily change overnight. Stand.

…and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…

Whose thoughts should you take captive to the obedience of Christ as you stand in the gap? Despite the fact that individuals being manipulated by the enemy are unpredictable or volatile, it’s not their thoughts you’re to take captive. As a prayer warrior, that’s not your job—controlling people or their minds. Instead, first you must get control over your own thoughts, lining them up with the Word of God to the obedience of Christ. Saturate yourself in His Word; let it speak to your heart and direct your thoughts as you yield to the Holy Ghost. Then you’ll be ready to take up your authority in the name of Jesus against the realm of demonic forces stirring and agitating chaos, violence, and destruction.

I have barely scratched the surface of the divinely powerful weaponry God has given to you for effective spiritual warfare. My aim in writing this is to whet your appetite, hoping to make you hungry to press in and learn more and more about how to stand in the all the gaps God reveals to you—and to do so effectively.

Dorothy

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

© 2014, Dorothy Frick; revised 2020

Gaps

Posted by on Jun 1, 2020 in Ferguson, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Gaps

[How can YOU, as an intercessor, make a difference regarding the sea of unrest roiling in our nation? Because of our current situation, I have decided to post the series I originally wrote in August, 2014, during the crisis in my neighboring town of Ferguson. It is my hope that this teaching will assist you as you make a difference in prayer for our country. Originally posted August 14, 2014]

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Ezekiel 22:30, KJV; emphasis added

Let’s take a closer look at gaps: What are they, what is your responsibility concerning them, and how do you interact with them?

Gaps—what are they?

A gap is a gaping hole in a hedge—an unprotected opening through which bad things can gain access to a person, a relationship, a family, a church, a community, a people group, or a nation. The original gap was sin—Adam and Eve blasted a gap in the protective “bubble” surrounding the human race by disobeying God. Ever since then, sin has been the common denominator for all gaps, both large and small. And the common denominator for closing the gap blown opened by Adam and Eve—and every subsequent gap—is Jesus Christ.

Gaps exist wherever there are people. They happen because the devil wants access to lives—saved and unsaved alike. Conflicts between husbands and wives, if not dealt with appropriately, create gaps. Hurts, misunderstandings, miscommunication, and the like can tear open gaps between friends, neighbors, and colleagues. I call these “micro-gaps” due to the limited number of people involved. How do you approach these micro-gaps? Simply, you pray and then you obey; you stand your ground in love before God and you walk by faith—not by feelings or by sight.

Macro-gaps also exist, affecting hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of souls. Very likely each one of these gaps began as micro-gaps—unresolved conflicts between two parties which eventually became infected by unforgiveness, bitterness, and unrepentant, hardened hearts. “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled (Hebrews 12:15, emphasis added) In effect, this is how micro-gaps morph into macro-gaps

Here are some of the glaring macro-gaps in today’s world: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; terrorism; racial conflict; culture war; political polarities; etc. How do these issues qualify as gaps? They are openings through which the devil has gained entrance to create turmoil, confusion, terror, destruction, and the like. They are opportunities for Satan to create a smokescreen, obscuring the gospel. They are openings through which ungodly men and women gain access to positions of influence so as to steer entire cultures away from both godly values and the Lord Himself. Have you noticed any gaps in your world lately?

Gaps—what is your responsibility concerning them?

Because of the immense number of gaps on every hand, recognize that you won’t be able to cover everything you see. But as certain issues pop up on your “radar”—especially repeatedly—you can be certain that those are gaps in which you are to stand in prayer. Trust God to direct you to those specific people and issues about which to pray. Then believe that He will lead you as you pray.

Due to the avalanche of issues out there, I frequently ask God to orchestrate the prayers of believers all over the nation and around the world, divvying up all the various situations, people, and crises, depositing them separately into all the different hearts so that every gap gets plugged and every broken hedge gets addressed. A great company of men, women, boys, and girls are called by the name of Christ; if each one of us prays our part, then much will be accomplished.

You may ask, How much time should I pray about an issue or a person? You pray about it until it lifts off of you or until it resolves. This doesn’t mean, though, that you do nothing else but pray; you set aside time to pray specifically and you pray as you go about your business. This is one reason I like to pray in the Spirit quietly as I move through my day—I keep my spirit open to input from God, making myself available to pray when He brings something up.

And although you’re responsible to pray and stand in the gaps He assigns to you, you need to stay balanced. If you get “heavied out”, back off for a while. Talk with someone. Sing. Laugh. Have fun. Eat a good meal. Get some sleep. If you wipe yourself out as an intercessor, you diminish your effectiveness. You aren’t God; He is, and He’s the only One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. You will need to give it a break from time to time—and then, just like a soldier who has been on leave—after you have rested, you return once again to the front lines.

Gaps—how do you interact with them?

Once you become aware of a gap, simply ask God how He wants you to pray. If you can, pray in tongues as you think about it. The Holy Spirit will direct you. It may lift off of you quickly; that’s OK. A lot of the time, you will be a “stop-gap” gap-stander. In other words, you may be led to pray about something in passing. Sometimes that’s all the Lord leads you to do; perhaps you’re plugging the gap while some other intercessor takes a break. God has all the angles covered; your part and mine is to be ready and willing to participate however He leads.

In the case of the Ferguson, Missouri, situation, I know that I’m supposed to stand for the dissipation of chaos and the resolution of conflict. It’s my region that’s under attack; I must stand for my people—both black and white. I could shrug it off, denying any responsibility to pray by saying that God is sovereign and His way will prevail, but to do so ignores the fact that He searches for folks to stand in the gap.

So how do you stand in the gap? You pray, both in the Spirit and with the understanding. You pray the Word over the situation. You make time to pray; you pray quietly as you go about your day. When God brings light, you pray what you see; when He speaks to your heart, you pray what you hear. If you get no direction, you trust God and pray for His intervention. If your faith is wavering, you build it by feeding on the Word and praying in the Holy Spirit. And you stand, refusing to believe that the situation is hopeless. And you stand, resisting the temptation to throw in the towel. And you stand; having done everything to stand, you stand.

Know that your Father girds you up as you stand. “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10). Although this verse speaks of financial seed, know that as you pray for crisis situations by the leading of the Holy Spirit (often far harder on the flesh than giving money), you are sowing precious seeds of life and deliverance. And He—who has given you that seed to sow directly in the gap of the hedge—will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and He will increase the harvest of your righteousness—a tall, robust hedge!

That’s how you stand in the gap.

Dorothy

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13

© 2014, Dorothy Frick; revised 2020