Category: Prayer

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Restoring Hope – September 28, 2012 (Psalm 4:1)

‘Prayer is the first and greatest work of love we can do for our brothers and sisters.’ (JPll)

 As we begin our 40-days of prayer together, King David grants us a way forward.

David is distressed by son Absalom’s murderous pursuit of him. We share a similar distress when we consider the aggressive and barely resisted move to normalize homosexuality in our day. At stake is the dignity of young people, and the God who made them in His image, male and female.

I caught a talk show the other day featuring a Christian lesbian’, model-perfect in appearance, who was advocating for a very confused girl/boy (gender unrecognizable) on the grounds that our public schools must accommodate ‘degendered’ persons. No-one in the audience protested. As the charming ‘lesbian’ claimed Christ as her guide, it was fair game for any Christian in the audience to share the truth about God’s image and redemption. No-one did.

The church is asleep, afraid of the kickback for taking a stand on gender wholeness. So ‘gay marriage’ advances, therapies helping people change are outlawed, and charming deceivers parade in the public square without resistance.

A new low involves Brian McLaren, seminal leader of the ‘emergent’ church movement. For years, Brian kept all in the dark on his views of homosexuality; last week he performed a same-sex commitment ceremony for his son and ‘spouse.’

With David, we cry out, aching for the truth that sets willing hearts free. ‘Give us release from our distress; be merciful and hear our cry.’ (PS 4:1) For the next 5 days, we shall meditate together on that verse.

God gave us all release from our distress through the inaugural gathering of the Restored Hope Network last week in CA. We set our hope on Him, and spoke freely of the gender shame and brokenness that He assumed for us. In turn, He is raising up a people whose very clarity as men and women, and commitment to one another, is founded on Mercy.

Jesus is gathering a humble people who rely upon His redeeming love. Pray that our light will shine in the darkness and make a way for many to come home.


September 28, 2012  (Psalm 4:1)

 ‘Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous, saving God.

Water ehartGive me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.’ (Ps. 4:1)

David is in trouble. The righteous king seduced Bathsheba then murdered her husband, which incited a series of betrayals that came back to haunt him. Now one of his sons, Absalom, wants David’s blood. (2Sam. 11-18)

David is clean. His sins are washed, his heart turned to the God who had shown him mercy. Still he must face the kickback of familiar sins.

He is no different than us amid the sexual idolatry of our day. Though we don’t face the immensity of David’s challenges, we can agree that sexual sin is an equal opportunity offender. Whether porn, romantic obsession, same-gender sensuality, premarital sex, or any number of ways we try to meet our needs in defiance of our Maker, we have all sinned and fallen short of Someone glorious. (Rom. 3:23) And something glorious—the dignity to live uprightly, valuing others fully clothed because they are worthy of value, not because they turn us on.

In the shameless, naked mess we’ve made our sexuality, we the forgiven must admit: our sins have been passed down to a generation more disoriented than we are. How else to explain our stammering response to ‘gay marriage’, as if we must apologize for defining marriage as male and female and thus oriented toward new life?

During the next 40 days, we will indeed cry out for the four states that have ‘gay marriage’ votes in November—Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington. But first things first: we will simply ask God to have mercy on us for our sexual sin.

‘Like David, we acknowledge our sins as consequential, seeds sown that now reap a whirlwind. (Hos. 8:7) In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.’ ‘

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Clothe us, O God

Tomorrow we begin our 40-day fast. Please join me in this extended meditation on Psalm 4, as we seek God’s heart for the sexual and relational brokenness all around us. Instead of seeking mere creatures to solve the moral mess we are in, we will seek our Creator and Redeemer as broken creatures desperately in need of Him.

Clothe us, O God!

40 Days of Prayer for Cleansing and Covering our Shameful Nakedness

September 28th – November 6th, 2012


Prayer Guide

Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.

6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

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Fasting: The Feast of Freedom

‘Speak, for Your servant is listening.’ (I Samuel 3:10)

Our 40 days of prayer begin this Friday. Might you consider some type of fast as a way of maximizing your time in prayer?

Freaketh not thou, child of God. Though fasting is usually associated with not eating, I urge you to broaden your view to include giving up one thing that will liberate a few minutes to pray. That could involve replacing 30 minutes of TV or FaceBook time with 30-minutes of prayer; and yes, it could involve going without a meal and praying instead.

My point? We do not give up something to showcase our denial skills—we let go in order to take up prayer. In other words, we fast in order to feast on God. Prayer is holy desire for Him—His heart, His presence, His purposes.

We fast to clear away the clutter and make room for Him. We provide you with a prayer guide, which includes a daily verse and prayer. Hopefully, that will gently immerse you in Jesus: the true desire of your heart. (Guide PDF available at

In this tumultuous political season, we do well to make room for Him. Let our hearts not be like the innkeepers in Bethlehem who welcomed everyone but Him. Never before have our hearts welcomed so many virtual ‘lodgers’; never before have we been as tempted to forego the face of God for a thousand virtual faces.

We must listen to the Word of God in order to pray what pleases Him. We must refuse the many and open to the One—the Great I Am—who alone holds the keys to the mess we are in.

I trust that He will clarify our focus on marriage, as He is its Author and Champion. We shall render to Caesar what is his and to God what is His—His image and holiness manifest in the nuptial bond. We will advocate on our knees for that bond, as it benefits every life on the planet.

I trust also that He shall focus our prayers on those tossed about by the false liberties of our day. My son Sam and I just did an amazing book study on 1 and 2 Peter and Jude, which feature warnings about false teachers who eschewed both future judgment and sexual purity.

Peter and Jude urge us as believers to hold fast to sexual integrity, to recognize the hell that awaits those who forego chastity, and the urgent call to pray and implore those under deception to turn back to Jesus and His community.

‘Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear, hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.’ (Jude 22, 23)

Might our fast be a feast of freedom? That feast begins as we partake of God then pray for ‘His will be done’ in marriage and extravagant mercy for the lost. Prayer is effectual. It changes our hearts and moves His on behalf of the broken creation.

I look forward to partnering with you in our feast of freedom.

Beginning the 28th, we shall post daily each prayer entry. Every 5 days, also beginning the 28th, we will blast and post a new encouragement that corresponds with the theme of the 5 days to come.

‘When you words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.’ (Jer. 15:16)

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Ache of God

Praying 40 days for repentance over sexual sin would be a vain task unless we encountered His ache of love for us.

Prayer unites us with His ache. Beneath His cross, we witness silently His naked broken body. Like rain from heaven, blood and water flow into our shameful nakedness and unites us with the Love that seeks nothing other than our good. Sexual sinners like you and I concur tearfully with Pope Benedict: ‘Any talk of love must begin with the open side of Christ.’

He aches for us, for our good, hating sin (never us!) only because it destroys us. So He pours Himself out generously, and awaits the time when we might stop beneath His cross and satisfy our misdirected appetites on Love alone.

He aches for us! He wants communion with us! Have you ever felt the acute pain of betrayal when a mere creature violated his/her covenant with you? How much more does our Creator ache when we bypass Him for a mere human image of Himself?

Having suffered to secure us in Love, He wants to waste none of His sorrows. He aches for us to abide beneath the cross, to linger there. He wants to reorient us around His ache for us; He delights when we soak in the water that cleanses and refreshes us, the blood that becomes our new life. We fulfill His ache when we welcome His passion as the foundation of our lives.

40 days of focused prayer may not be enough to reorient us wholly around His ache. But it’s a good start. And when we with broken hearts kneel before the cross welcome the fruit of His broken heart for us, we learn to pray for others.

God gives us His ache for the lonely and the lost; we grieve with Him for those wasting themselves on mere images of God. God wants them, Father to child, Bridegroom to bride. Prayer changes us by orienting us around His ache: first for us, and through our prayers, for the people He made and longs to redeem.

‘How beautiful you are, my darling. Oh, how beautiful! Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face lovely.’ (S of S 2:2, 14)

Please join us starting Friday, September 28th, for our 40 days of repentance. You can download the PDF of the entire 40-day devotional now at :

If you want us to email you the PDF, or to send you a paper copy of the devotional, email Ann at

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Ache of Humanity

We pray for forty days because we ache for love. And unless our ache finds its home in God, we will be vulnerable to false masters. If that is still true for us who love Jesus and His Church, how urgent the need to pray for those whose ache is aimed at false gods! I refer specifically to the sensual gods that captivate humanity and compel them to forsake God for passion with mere creatures.

Spiritual and sexual longing are similar in several ways: we experience both as an ache in a way that pervades the whole of our humanity. We cannot confine sexual longing to our genitals anymore than we can limit the ache for God to our ‘souls.’ Spirituality and sexuality motivate us into relationships, the former with God, the latter our fellows. These unions can result in new life, regeneration, and blessed creativity.

Or compulsive drives that persuade us to shuck the good for what feels good. Electrified by the body before us, we forget that we are the body, His body, and thus responsible to many other bodies in what we do with our own.

What we do with our sexual ache for communion testifies more about the God (gods) we serve than any other witness. Do our hearts and bodies manifest one God who unites us in love, joy, and peace? Or do we in agitation bear witness of serving myriad images that fire us up and fracture our capacity to love others?

This is where spirituality—our ache for God—must precede our desire to redeem our sexuality, that ache for our fellow humanity. Surrendered to love Himself, we can begin to integrate the whole of our lives. However broken and misdirected our desires, we discover that the heart yielded to Jesus begins to become whole. We worship Him, the One, and grace is released that helps us take the next step in letting go of false attachments to the creature.

In that way, prayer is an exercise of desire. Through opening our lives to him, we are cultivating passion for God. Though we do not equate sexual passion for the spiritual, we must not dismiss the powerful imagery from scripture, and the experience of Christian mystics throughout centuries, that suggest holy one-spirit communion with God may just surpass bridal intimacy.

Let me give you a personal example. A while ago I was struggling with my sexual ‘ache’ in a way that I felt would be wrong to offer to Annette. I needed to go to Jesus. He revealed Himself to me as very human but clothed in glorious robes of righteousness. He enfolded me in His love and somehow both the ache and the impurity had a place to go. The latter was absorbed in His garments while my heart rested, secured in love and deeply nourished from the Source Himself.

‘Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth, for Your love is more delightful than wine…Take me away with You—let us hurry! Let the King take me into His chambers….I delight to sit in His shade, and His fruit is sweet to my taste. He brought me into His banqueting table, and His banner over me is love.’    (S of S 1: 2, 4; 2: 3, 4)

We begin our 40-days of prayer for deepening intimacy with God, and repenting over the sexual sins of our land, on September 28th. The entire prayer guide is now available as a PDF at:

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