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Friday, September 4th 2009

9:57 PM

 "Prayers...What You Can Expect!"

By Pastor Bruce Sikes

This is a bit of a departure from previous articles. It is an addendum of sorts to the article "Empty Guns, Empty Prayers". I wanted to share with you some examples of how God not only answers our prayers, but also how He communicates with us daily. I decided to choose a few experiences from my own prayer times of these past few months as I can hopefully present them in a more personal way. As you read these, I encourage you to remove me from these situations and place yourself in the midst of these prayer experiences. God wants you to be an active participant in what He is doing with His Remnant. I believe as God continues to grow and empower His people, these type of experiences are... "What you can expect!".

There are many prayer experiences I could share however I have chosen a brief cross section so that you may catch the spirit of what God is showing His Church. I'll just list them separately below and give each a title.

India Prayer Story:

This is NOT about money, it's about God showing his power and provision. Background wise, a few years ago I had gone on a mission trip to Calcutta, India. I knew after coming home the first time that I would be returning, so I started saving money, a little here and there. About one year prior to my second trip, I felt God moving me to return to India, so I prayed about it. The Lord answered within day or so when I received an unexpected call from a friend in India asking me to visit his sick relative here in my hometown of St. Louis! Eventhough this was a remarkable "coincidence", I asked the Lord again and a similar India contact occurred. I then asked Him a third time and after praying went to the TV and when I turned it on, there was a program showing about India. It was clear that He wanted me to return.

So, I started checking airfares etc.. and discovered it was much more expensive than the previous mission trip. In addition, the scheduling, job and family considerations this time around had made a trip of this nature extremely challenging. Well, I procrastinated until spring, when I asked The Lord again. He answered like before. I re-checked the airfares and hotel etc... and found that everything had doubled in price! In the meantime, bills started rolling in and the house needed some major repairs. I agonized over going to India for weeks. Things weren't working out schedule and money wise.

So being a typically dense Christian, I apologized to the Lord and asked one more time. He answered right away. I received an email from an Indian Journalist doing a story related to my previous mission trip to India. No coincidence. I began planning.

The ideal time frame for a camp in Calcutta was December, as kids were off of school and the weather was milder. It was now a little over two short months before a potential departure date. Finally, with time running out I sat down and worked on travel arrangements all day, but it was very frustrating! Nothing was working out. I decided that I would give it another 24 hours and then make the decision.

The next day I woke and sat down at the computer again. This time a scenario emerged. I calculated what I had saved against what I still needed and arrived at a total of $2,989.00.

I didn't have this and didn't know where it would come from. Frankly, I was stopped in my tracks, so did the only thing I knew to do, I prayed. I laid prostate, face down on the carpet floor next to the computer and told the Lord that I didn't know what to do, that perhaps He didn't want me to go, that I procrastinated and failed Him, or that He was protecting me, or that something was going to happen, or sin was keeping me from going, or Satan. I confessed everything including my lack of faith in Him providing the $2, 989.00. I told Him that I would accept whatever He told me, to go or not to go...God's will be done.

I felt a peace, knowing He heard me. I picked my face up out of the carpet and realized I had only one hour before teaching a class. Nevertheless, I wanted to get out of the house. So, I went where men go in times like these... to the hardware store. On my way out I grabbed the mail from the mail box and opened it in the car. I noticed the mail contained a paycheck from one of the regular classes I teach. This income represents two months work and the amount sometimes varies greatly depending on the number of students I have etc... I saw that the amount was much larger than usual.... When my eyes focused on the amount,...it was $2,989.60...

Yeah.....I made travel reservations and arrangements with the Calcutta church that day. The trip turned out to be a greater blessing than I could have ever imagined.


Anointing Prayer Story:

While serving at a former church, God had brought me to pray informally with a couple ladies on Wednesday evenings. We wanted to break out of the formula programmed prayer routines and simply seek time with the Lord in silent prayer. No agenda, no time limits, just spending time with God. On one of our very first meetings before we began, one of the ladies shared a scripture with me and asked how it read in my version. When I opened my Bible, I noticed that it was already book-marked to that very verse! No doubt God wanted us to meditate on it.

That very next Wednesday evening, we met for prayer again and we shared another scripture and then began to pray just as the week before, silently. Frankly, I struggled to pray. I told God that I coveted His presence, not just for myself, but for His church, that they might rid themselves of spiritual deception and experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

I prayed that the foundations of the church would be shaken, even literally. I prayed this three times. I then became concerned for the people and began to pray "Lord protect your Anointed Ones", but had trouble doing this as it might seem to apply only to the ministers, so I prayed that God protect all his "Anointed Ones", ministers and all his anointed ones at the church and that He would use us to minister and witness to those who do not know him. "Anointed" stuck in my mind as I didn't commonly use this phrase. (I do now!)

As a reminder, we were all praying silently, at some point while praying, I felt the need to ask the two ladies to come and lay hands on my head and pray for me. I have never desired to have this done for me before. I didn't say anything. We all finished praying at the same time, and then looked up at each other.

Immediately, one of the ladies looked straight at me and said, "The Lord told me that we are to lay hands on you, anoint your head with oil, and pray for you." She took some oil from her purse and anointed my head. Then they both laid hands on me and prayed for anointing and spiritual protection and strength from the Lord. God's Anointing power flowed through them into my heart and soul. He gave me protection and strength.

These ladies were not embarrassed or ashamed but "risked" obedience. They listened to God and had the courage to followed it with action. Something we must all do - now.

Car Crash Story:

This is about listening and being obedient to pray for your friends and neighbors. On a Tuesday, while working from my little home office, I heard a car crash outside at the intersection. I looked outside just in time to see a car quickly drive away from the scene of the accident. The driver lost control and slammed full speed into my neighbor's house across the street. The driver had become confused and panicked. It did a fair amount of damage. My neighbors were home. The father was asleep with his baby in the bedroom that got hit. Miraculously no one was hurt. None of the drivers were seriously injured either. I know God's hand was in this.

On that previous night while securing the doors before going to bed, I unexpectedly felt lead to pray for my neighbors, honestly I had never specifically prayed for my "literal" next door neighbors individually before as I had that night. I prayed that God would protect them. He absolutely did!

We cannot ignore the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us to intercede for people, near or far. We must stop and pray at that time. We may never know the outcome of our prayers as in the above instance, yet the effects of our prayers may be no less dramatic. Pray.


Answer Before Prayer:

In the past month or so, I had been lamenting with some impatience, God's lack of visible intervention in a situation wherein some spiritually corrupt leaders were running rough-shod over their people. I wanted to intervene myself. Late one night I shared with a fellow remnant believer via email. He gave me a Bible verse which the Lord had laid on his heart for me. It was Exodus 14:13-14;

"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today... The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

I took heart and looked forward to gathering with my little weekly prayer group that evening. Before we started to pray, I wanted to share the above verse with them. I began by saying to was in Exodus. One of the ladies sitting across the room smiled and lifted her Bible. She said it was already open to Exodus and that the Lord had given her a verse for us as well. Before I told her what chapter and verse I had, my wife stopped me and said, let's see what verses God gave her. The lady then began reading,

"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today... The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:13-14)

While this might not be as dramatic as many of the other prayer stories, it is very real and happens quite often. This should not be surprising as God speaks to us all the time, if we only listen and look for it. Jesus is right there with us, always, even now. We must change our thinking, our priorities, our desires to include Him as our constant companion. Then we will see our lives change and our ability to proclaim, prophecy and evangelize others as the called people of His Remnant will grow exponentially. The Remnant must do more than simply take up the Cross, they must move with it.

Do you want to have this kind of real day to day relationship with Christ? Then ask Him right now to "take up a notch" with your walk. Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the LORD is good." Ask Him to show you.

For Christ and His Remnant,

Pastor Bruce

You can reach me at BruceSikes@aol.com

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