Sunday, November 17, 2019


There is only one major American city, of which it can be said, that it is completely blanketed in daily Prayer. On the surface,  Austin, Texas, whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird” may seem like the unlikeliest place for the most concentrated, sustained and focused city-wide movement of prayer in this great country.

Just as in the Third Great Awakening began with one man’s vision for prayer  (Jeremiah Lanphier), Austin’s decade old “Unceasing Prayer Movement” began when one man and his wife. Pastor Trey Kent of Northwest fellowship Church in Austin Texas, and his wife, Mary Anne,  were prayer-walking their neighborhood one night in February 2008. There, under a street lamp, the Holy Spirit gave Pastor Kent a clear vision for a 24/7 prayer movement, powered by many churches from the capitol city of Texas – Austin.

Thus began execution of this divine directive, which quickly evolved into what is now 100 churches of all races and denominations, praying for their city, their churches and the lost. They pray, literally, 24/7/365.  CITY OF PRAYER is the first document of its type to not just record the success of a growing grassroots movement, but the book provides a roadmap which can be, and has already been reproduced in the USA, with interest from other countries!

Written by Pastor Kent and Dr. Kie Bowman of Austin's Hyde Park Baptist Church, CITY OF PRAYER gives not just the history of what is now "The Unceasing Prayer Movement" and "Austin Prays", but also a brief primer on the great revivals and moves of God in the last 150 or so years. These Revivals/Awakenings began with and were fueled only by prayer. Some of the prayer movements of Scripture are also looked at, as a foundational to this book.

Chapters include such themes as: A Culture of Prayer; A People of Prayer; The People of Prayer; Launching 24/7 Prayer in Your City and the Results of Prayer. Without "spoiling the end", as "they" say, this group of churches fervently praying in Austin brought a direct answer from Heaven, which ended a terrible drought in Central Texas! 
The Chapter on "Launching Your Own 24/7 Prayer Movement in Your City" is of particular interest to me. I have been part of now five year old and on-going, intentional, twice per month noon prayer meeting of some local pastors and just anyone who loves to prayer. We had met for years on end from 2005 at the local HOP or House of Prayer run by a good brother of mine- Scott Beauchamp. However since relaunching in recent years, more and more prayer leaders are coming by on our lunch hours on the First and Third Tuesdays of each month to press in for transformation (personal and city wide), the church and everything else that comes up. We have pastors who are Bible churches; Baptist, Assembly of God, Nazarene, Apostolic, Non-denominational and others I have no idea where they go to church. All I know is they love Jesus and love to pray.

When I assumed leadership of the Annual National Day of Prayer event at the Illinois State Capitol, little did I know I was walking, as a prime target, into a blazing hot war. The Lord led me directly to this core group which were already in the infancy of our little city prayer group.  There is a living testimony as to the power of prayer to deliver, empower and embolden which I personally found in this group of praying men back in February 2006. I have never forgotten it as we move into Year 16 of facilitating the annual National Day of Prayer, and stay close to the flame of praying men and women of God, who are all about Jesus and the Holy Ghost. We may be growing very slowly, but there is something to persevering and pressing ahead, regardless, since our Audience is an Audience of One.
Almost every movement of God began with one man praying. The Third Great Awakening, the last great nationwide move of God in America, began in New York City in 1857 when one man with a vision for prayer – Jeremiah Lanphier. The first week Lanphier called a prayer meeting, no one showed up. But then on week, one other man showed up….and then more and more. The economic and socio-political conditions in the USA were not unlike those we have today.  Yet Revival spread like wildfire across the nation, leading to many millions saved and the gospel spreading like wildfire to the new American frontier! It laid the spiritual foundation which guided the nation through the devastating Civil War which followed very soon after the Awakening.

We are almost similar Civil War times, not with the Fort Sumters or Gettysburgs, but a civil war of Culture, Community and Church dysfunction. The only answer is the Praying Church. Get this book and let the Lord lead us to what He would have us do.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


The Holy Spirit is our direct, or “wireless” if you will, connection to Almighty God our Father, and Jesus Christ- our Lord and Savior. Only the redeemed/saved/born-again of the Lord can testify to this Truth. So when sin and guilt reside in one end of this pipeline – the living, breathing Christian, there is a “clog” or glitch in the communication.

This glitch can only be resolved if the steps described in Parts 1 and 2 of this series on Psalm 32, are mirrored into the soul of the believer. Repentance comes before Restoration.

The Lord walked us through this process in His Word (Psalm 32) and now in verses 8 and 9, the Almighty Himself response to His servant David, and anyone who is serious about repentance and restoring the most important relationship we will ever have – the one with Jesus Himself.

Here is what the Lord Himself says:
Psalm 32

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9   Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

Here is what He literally means in His own original Hebrew language:
“I will instruct you” – The Lord is saying here “I will make you prudent and wise and give the ability to have the proper insight (you and I will need). The original word here isSakal
“I will teach you” -  After God says He will provide insight and the proper view of things, He says here that He will guide and direct. The original word is “Yara”.
“I will counsel you” – Then, our great and Gracious God goes one step further in promising to give advice and provide the right counsel to His people. The original word is Yaats.

IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED WE READ THOSE THREE STATEMENTS FROM THE LORD OVER AGAIN! Let this sink in for a moment. When we are given the ability to have the proper view (insight) and then God Himself takes a whole of the direction of our lives and we seek His counsel in many things, we could never go wrong!

What we should always hold near, daily, minute by minute even, is this truth – God loves us and only wants the best for us. When we mess up, He wants to give and forgive and then give again. He is the Lord Who welcomes us with open arms. He is more loving than our earthly parents and more forgiving than anyone every born, except the Lord Jesus Himself.

This is why He exhorts in Psalm 32:10 and says “he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness (grace and mercy on steroids) will surround him (her)

This is why we rejoice, as in Verse 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"

This is the true Joy than can only be found in Forgiveness.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Personal baggage is a terrible thing to carry around. The sad thing is too many carry theirs around for a lifetime, never seeking remedy, relief or restoration. Guilt - real or imagined or created out of thin air - is a heavy burden. It not only destroys your joy, but is the devil's ploy to keep God's Children down.

We, who are followers and disciples of the Lord Jesus, are on a journey and like any good traveler, we must check our baggage in before we get on that flight. No good airline will allow a passenger to bring a huge fifty pound suitcase unto an aircraft...of any size. There is simply, first, no place to store that big bag and secondly it would not fair to the other passengers.

So what are we do do, when the believer actually has a past which has never been confessed or dealt with, and the guilt of the sinful act(s) are just eating away inside. Well, the next portion of Psalm 32, clearly shows us what happened when the man of God - David - covered up his sin for two years....that is, until God sent His prophet Nathan, to bust him.

We read, from Psalm 32:
3  When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.
4  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5  I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Verses 3 and 4 tells us exactly what happens when a person lives with sin and shame, covered over with a blanket, on the inside. 
 -  It affects the person physically. Things may appear nice and healthy on the outside, but like the whitewashed tombs which Jesus spoke about, on the inside, things ain't right.

 -  The psalmist David said there was "groaning all day long". So even if all is well in every day life, and the job is getting down. The person seems to be accomplishing things at her job or in his particular role, but there is not peace inside. Apart from the physical internal decline, now the emotions are in play.

 -  When verse 4 proclaims that the "Hand of the Lord was heavy", this denotes the conscience.  The Lord has written His Law on EVERY single spiritual heart of every single human who was ever been or will be born. This is our conscience. We instinctively know when we have done wrong - either to God or to another person. If a person is saved, the Holy Spirit immediately convicts us of our sin, which as we saw earlier, is missing the mark.

Everyone can confirm these three symptoms of guilt and baggage in each of our lives in the past, until we made it right. Guilt and baggage affects the person physically, emotionally and spiritually. We learn of this from Psalm 32:3-4 and from personal experience.

The remedy is verse 5! Here is how the sinner got his joy back and how anyone who has fallen short before God, or before a loved one, or even more intense - offended a person whom you do not even like,  can be made completely whole. This is the ONLY way to live the Joyful Christian Life. Look at verse 5: 

  -  He not only acknowledge the general umbrella of sin, which his actions fell under, but he acknowledged getting busted, did not say "the devil made me do it" or some such "playing the victim". He own his actions. But he went even further and laid his soul and entire person before the Lord.

  -  He got detailed about his sin. Getting specific about what the actions committed against God and another person are, are KEY to full restoration. Iniquity is worse than just saying a bad word, shouting at someone, or posting something mean on social media. Iniquity violates God's High Moral Standards. We Christians know better than to do that, and if we ever "go there", it would serve us well to uncover it before God and if it is against another person - then, seek immediate forgiveness.

-  Certain sins break ALL God's Commandments. As the Book of James tells us, when we break one commandment, we break them all, since the Law of God is like a chain. Outright rebellion against God is knowing that having that affair is dead wrong, but doing it anyway, because it's more about you than God. It is knowing that getting into that automobile drunk is stupid or cheating on your taxes etc. Even disobeying a command of God.  Rebellion against God is NOT wise and can cause a temporary break between a person and her/his family and definitely, against God.

The good news is the Love, Grace, Mercy and Compassion of our Great God in Heaven can, has and will forgive all of this and lead us to full restoration.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


At a recent series of Revival Services, where I led worship music on the opening night (October 9, 2019) two major things happened which affected the lives and even the eternity, of members of two distinctive churches. Both entities were personally revived and both experienced the Joy and Freedom of Forgiveness.

The final service was on the regular Sunday morning service with the title "Embracing Forgiveness". In it, my good friend, the Texas pastor/author Dr. David King, who has a background in both Christian radio and church leadership, used the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis. Joseph as the example of HOW to live a life of forgiveness which reflects both God and the willingness to complete our mission here on earth, with the richness and inner peace which only comes from the Father. We know this story very well. The favorite son of the patriarch Jacob was sold into slavery by this brothers, who schemed and told their father that Jacob was dead....simply because they hated him. Fast forward two decades later and Joseph is the prime minister of Egypt, whom the Lord used to save the entire world from famine. He rescued those same brothers and their families, forgiving them in an act of Mercy which only came from God. He never told a soul about it. (READ MORE ABOUT THAT HERE).

There is HUGE BURDEN lifted when we forgive others. HOWEVER, we can never really know what that means until we are forgiven ourselves! To that end, we begin a new series in Psalm 32, in part, to personally know this powerful pardon from the Lord. In Psalm 32, King David has repented fully before the Lord, for his murderous adultery with Bathsheba. We read his prayers of repentance and sorrow in Psalm 51, which is the example for us to go to God with, when we have blown it so bad, that we think the Lord cannot forgive us.

Now in Psalm 32, the Holy Spirit-inspired author of the Psalms (most of them) - King David, has his eyes opened as what God has really done for him, by forgiving him of his crimes against both God and man. It was too late for David to apologize to Uriah the Hititte, whom he had killed so he (David) could cover up the affair with Uriah's wife, but David did the right thing by responding to God exposing his sin. Now, he shares for all the ages, how this really feels.

Psalm 32, verses 1 and 2 (NKJV):
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

There are three varying degrees of sin listed here, which we have ALL committed and some, maybe still do. Each one is worse than the other one:

Transgression: (pesha, or the rebellion of humans against God which will send the majority of the world away from Him. This can be forgiven if the sinner is truly repent and is the highest degree of sin).
Iniquity: (awon or willfully and blatantly knowing God's standard but breaking it anyway)
Sin: (chattah or missing the mark or the threshold of the Lord).

Here, David is committed all three when he disrespected God, broke all His Commandments and basically not just crossed the line, but willingly blew across it.

The key is Repentance.

The original bible word for "BLESSED" is "Esher" which basically means perfect happiness which cannot be bought by things or conditions, but only comes from the love, grace and peace of Almighty God! Basically, it means - joy.

The other key word to note here is "impute", where God does not consider or hold this against us anymore. We will still have to face the CONSEQUENCES of those sins in our time here on earth, unless we attempt to make it right and others forgive us. To achieve that and to fully receive the blessings of this imputation from the Lord, we must fully embrace forgiveness - and truly forgive others, while not holding anything against them.

This is a hard calling. Are we up to it? Yes, we are.