Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Nat'l Day of Prayer: Why I pray

Hey gang!

Today is Thursday, May 7th and in America, the day is recognized as The National Day of Prayer. The day was started back in 1952. I knew it had been around awhile, even though I didn’t realize there had been 58 of them. Oh yeah, no video today. I want you focused.

I sat around thinking about what I would say and I thought about doing the tried and true meaning of the day on the national level and tell you about what the organizers would like you to do. But I choose not to do that. I may talk about the 7x7 program in the near future that they are also doing, but I’m not doing that today either. Instead, what I would like to talk about is why prayer is so important here for this ministry, One Man Revival.

When the wheels started turning on this ministry back in August 2008, it was originally thought that I would type up nice little encouragements and that would be the extent of it. However, it became more than that. Every ministry needs to have a purpose and I was asked by people what that purpose was. Truthfully, I hated to have to answer, “well, we’re just encouraging people.” I do hope that I am encouraging with the words I type, but I also want to be more than that. I want to challenge people to be stronger Christians.

That’s when it hit me. As much as I want to encourage people and as much as I want to see people come to salvation, the real challenge is to challenge and disciple people in the faith. One of my natural knocks on the church in general is that they fail Christians today by just giving the fire insurance policy at the door and never really require you to come to the altar and examine yourself. It’s not just about accepting the free gift that Jesus gave us by dying on the cross. It’s the huge first step, but not the end game.

Jesus called us to a Great Commission. Here’s what Jesus said at the end of Matthew beginning in verse 18, “All authority has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

He told us to go. He didn’t tell us to sit like a bump on a log in our comfortable pew chairs. He didn’t say hang on to what I gave you, go home and watch TV until your eyes are bloodshot. He didn’t say, go take a nap and Gabriel will wake you when we need you. That means me. That means you. Now, do we have to go to another country. No. I’m not telling you all to start your own internet ministry either. I’m telling you to start in your community. If you’re graced with some cool people in your town, you’ll find someone else that is to take the long trips. Then help those people. Give them whatever they need. Be it money, be it clothes, be it toys, anything. First and foremost, give them your prayers. Having others telling Jesus, “Hey, this person is doing something great for you. I’d like to be there with them. But since I’m not, would you please take care of this person? Not only are they special to you, they are special to me.” Jesus will do it. Ask any missionary what he covets most. They will tell you it’s the prayers that keep them going.

Let me get off my soapbox and come back to my ministry. That’s why it is so important to me. I realize that there are so many people out there that could be changed by the words I type. That’s a huge responsibility. Do you realize that someone from my current town reads me from New Zealand. One of my neighbors told me his daughter has been reading One Man Revival for a month or so. It gave me energy to finish cutting my yard and come inside and do a few other things even when I was tired. I love that these words are up for the entire world.

That’s why prayer is so important to my ministry. I have to choose my words carefully and cautiously. I said something on my Facebook page yesterday that was totally innocent, but being the comedian that I am, I said it in a crazy way rather than directly. I got called out on it. A friend of mine told me that I needed to pick better wording. I knew what I was saying, but people actually read what I say. They can take it the wrong way. They can think that I am not sincere in what I am saying. They can totally lose respect for me by the way I say something. That didn’t happen, but it’s good that I have you guys out there looking out for me.

Some of you tell me that you don’t just look out for me by checking how grammatically correct I am, but you pray that I use wisdom in what I say. Believe me, if no other person of Christian influence tells you this, I TOTALLY APPRECIATE THAT YOU CARE ENOUGH TO DO THAT. Yes, I’m screaming. Because it’s true.

Bob Lenz talked over the weekend about how important it was that we find accountability partners to help keep us on the straight and narrow. That is so important. When you pray, you’ve become a partner with this ministry. TV ministries will tell you that when you give money, that’s when you’re a partner. If you want to donate money to this ministry, you can email me and I’ll tell you how, but that’s not why I do what I do. I covet your prayers first. That’s the biggest aid to me.

I tell Peter Brown, Dick White and Bob Jones all the time how much prayer has influenced this ministry. It’s taken me from the real baby steps of writing occasionally to full-time dedication. It’s taken me from just being on MySpace to being on Shoutlife, Facebook, Blogger and Live Journal. Five places to find me. Prayer gave me the great idea to have days dedicated. That’s how Marriage Mondays, Wisdom Wednesdays and Prayerfully Minded Fridays came into being. There’s also the thought of Manly Weekend Blogs, but that’s still in the prayer process, too.

Anyhow, I asked 13 people to be accountability partners when I started. Not all of them were able to accept because of how full their plates were. That’s why occasionally, I’ll ask someone who is really reading the web page or who has become more than just an acquaintance in my life for input. Some of you will give me input for free and please continue. I get my best constructive criticism from those that care enough to email me. I also get blasted occasionally, but we have to accept the tough with the brutal. That’s why I always pray the serenity prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

In closing, I’ll tell you what I pray for when I can.

First, there are times I have to pray quick in the battle of my day. I pray for wisdom to discipline my kids the right way, love my wife as I should, be kind and courteous to those I encounter and to carry a Christian attitude as I walk my day.

I always pray for my kids first. Two reasons. First, because they are the closest people to me in proximity all of the time and secondly, because my actions speak the loudest into their lives. If I mess up, normally they will be the first to see it.

I pray for my wife. We’ve been together for six and half years. We’ve not always been great to each other and sometimes she is the biggest thorn in my side. I love her more than anything though. She works her butt off to allow me to spend time with my kids and do this ministry. We’re not rich and that’s her biggest fear, financial protection. But she had placed that aside to love me and the kids.

I pray for my pastors. Past and present. They have had impact in my life. Good and bad. The three I presently I sit under I can’t talk enough about or pray for enough. They’ve let me inside the veil to know that they are three of the busiest men I’ve ever met. They impact countless people daily and they need my prayer to keep a level mind walking through the mine field.

I pray for my leaders. Everyone from Obama on down to the local level. I pray for my buddy Ron on the park board. My kids need a great place to play and now he has the responsibility of helping make that happen. Let’s be honest, here in America the times we are going through make prayer almost mandatory. Christianity was one of the foundations of this country (those of you that don’t agree and don’t like that better read an accurate history book) and prayer helps carry us through these trying times.

I pray for my church. We have a lot of people and have one of the strongest youth to teen ministry churches in the area. We are influencing Effingham’s youth for a better tomorrow. Today’s children will be picking my nursing home tomorrow (hopefully not). We have an opportunity to impact change.

I pray for my friends. I could tell you stories of what people are going through but that’s their business and they can share if they want. Most of them appreciate it even if they never tell me.

I pray for my community. Effingham is a little town in southern Illinois that holds about 12,000 people. If you come from the west or south, you will notice that little cross at our border (ok, so it’s only like 200 feet tall). We are a God believing people. I also pray for Kissimmee, Florida, and most of central West Virginia where I grew up. Anywhere there’s people I love, I pray for.

I pray for my readers. Yeah, if you subscribe to One Man Revival in any community of the internet and your name is on the list, I pray for you. I may not mention you by name everyday, but I do think about you. What I say probably has some influence on your life or you would’ve left by now, so I better be right and real with you.

Lastly, I pray for the unsaved that have never read me or have never met a person that can lead them to Christ. I totally realize that One Man Revival and my time here is not about me (even thought sometimes I wish it were), it’s about a relationship with the one and only true savior that will be able to punch your ticket into heaven. You can’t get in just because you read One Man Revival (I wish you could). You get in because you receive a free gift from Jesus and then go and try to make a difference in this world for the Kingdom. I’m not saying that once you get the gift, you have to earn it to keep it. What I am saying is that once you have the gift, you can’t help but want to spread it around.

Finally, today, if you get a chance, please pray for my friend Shelly Crane. Shelly and I went to high school together and she was one of the kindest people I knew then. Right now, she’s laying in a hospital in North Carolina and is suffering from blood clotting and a diagnosis I can’t even pronounce. She has been blinded because of this. She’s depressed and hurting. Pray for her healing and that the right people are given the chance to just love on her to show her that regardless of the circumstances, God is with her and his grace is sufficient.

I love you guys!

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