7 Weeks – 8/24/2015 to 10/09/2015

Overview – It’s an old spiritual phrase you may even remember from a plaque you saw on someone’s wall in your childhood:  “Prayer changes things….”  It’s a rather quaint saying, yet according to the Word of God, it’s true.  For seven weeks, we look at actual prayers from the book of Psalms that not only can change your life in theory; they have real time power in your life today.

Each week, we discuss the prayer and then make suggestions about praying those prayers out loud in your own prayer closet.  They deal with the sin that’s in each of our lives, the burdens and pressures of life, and the hope we need to even function in the world in 2015.  God bless you as you listen to them!


Week 7 – 10/05/2015

The Prayer That Says It ALL

Psalm 39:4-7

There’s a verse in Psalms that when spoken (and meant) defines who you are as a man or woman.  It not only defines you in terms of what you believe, but in terms of your identity.  It defines who you are at the core of your being.   It’s the verse we study with three others from Psalm 39 that says this: “Lord, my hope is in you!” This is the final prayer of seven we have studied in this series, “Seven Prayers to Change Your Life”.

The Prayer that Says it ALL, Podcast

Monday – We begin with talking about “one-dimensional people”, people who actually believe that they are the center of their universe.  Know anyone like that?  We all know, work, and possibly live with people like that.  David in Psalm 39 came to the realization that God was and is the center of everything!  His belief in that is reflected in his prayer from verses 4-7 from the chapter.  When God is the center of our lives, everything changes!

The Prayer that Says it ALL, Part 1

Tuesday – Verse four says, “Lord, show me my life’s end, and the number of my days. Let me know how fleeting my life is.”  That may sound depressing, but it’s actually very liberating to know that our lives have a start date and an end date.  When we acknowledge that, every day takes on a special meaning.  It’s a gift from God; tomorrow is a gift that we haven’t received yet!

The Prayer that Says it ALL, Part 2

Wednesday – David says that man is a mere phantom, as he goes to and fro.  A better word than phantom for us in 2015 is the word “shadow”.   There’s nothing more temporary than our shadow! It’s a great word picture of our lives.  There is nothing permanent about our lives on this earth.  Any permanence in our lives is always connected to the Lord God Almighty.

The Prayer that Says it ALL, Part 3

Thursday – Even the best of friendships can be temporary.  We quote a psychologist who believes Facebook has been indirectly responsible for broken friendships and strained relationships.  People we thought were friends for life aren’t.  Only the Lord can be ultimately depended upon!  Does that speak to you and your life at all?

The Prayer that Says it ALL, Part 4

Friday – This message was given shortly before Christmas. We close with an illustration from the former anchor of ABC News, Harry Reasoner. He says one of the most powerful thoughts about Christmas that you have ever heard.  It powerfully summarizes this message about looking to the Lord as the center of everything.  We either worship the Lord or we run from Him as fast as possible!

The Prayer that Says it ALL, Part 5


Week 6– 09/28/2015

The Prayer of Daily Praise

Psalm 145:1-4, 8, 13-18

What do we do every day?  Well, for one thing, we eat every day.  We groom ourselves every day.  We may walk a dog or feed a pet every day.  Today, it’s safe to say we email or Facebook every day.  Actually, there may be many things we do every single day.  And yet, David in Psalm 145 says, “Every day I will praise you and extol (magnify) your name forever!”  Do we do that?

The Prayer of Daily Praise, Podcast

Monday – What could happen in your life and mine if we literally did what David admonished us to do in Psalm 145: praise God every day!  Would it make any difference in your life, your marriage, your family, and in your career?  Maybe it would.  If it’s true that God inhabits our praise, then daily praise means daily presence of the Lord in our lives. Wow, what a concept!

The Prayer of Daily Praise, Part 1

Tuesday – We begin with a true story about a praise conference in Omaha, Nebraska that will make you smile.  People were given helium- filled balloons and told to release them when they sensed something that they could praise God for.  What happens next will surprise you and amuse you! We can thank God for what He’s done in creation, what He has done in redemption, and what He has done in our personal lives.

The Prayer of Daily Praise, Part 2

Wednesday – Verse 4 says we are to “commend to the next generation” what God has done.  We are under orders to “pass the baton” of praise to our children and grandchildren.  And yet, most people never think to share with younger family members any reason to praise God.  Have you ever shared with a child or grandchild what the Lord has even done in your life?

The Prayer of Daily Praise, Part 3

Thursday – Verse 8 says that the Lord is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love.”  It’s the most quoted verse in the Old Testament.   Even though it’s a description of the Lord Himself, it could be a description of us!  Do people think of you as gracious and compassionate?  Do they think of you as slow to anger and rich in love?  As unbelievable as it may seem, through Christ, we can be that type of person!

The Prayer of Daily Praise, Part 4

Friday – If you’ve ever watched the television program, “Survivor”, you know that the people who do well on that program are usually shrewd, cunning, and even scheming.  No one will ever make it to heaven through scheming or plotting.  We won’t “talk” or manipulate our way into heaven.   We all come as forgiven sinners, people who have praised God for His mercy and grace.  What does that say to you?

The Prayer of Daily Praise, Part 5


Week 5– 09/21/2015

The Prayer for Life’s Distress

Psalm 31:9-15

All of life can be summarized with one word: distress!  Every day our lives face situational distress that is physical, emotional, and spiritual. No one is exempt!  David’s prayer in Psalm 31 can powerfully address all the distress in your life.  All of it?  Yes, all of it.  This passage contains a verse that can literally become a “life verse” for your life.  It’s that important and powerful.

The Prayer for Life’s Distress, Podcast

Monday – Distress is different in the way it affects our lives.  Yet it is universal in all of our lives.  David describes in Psalm 31 the details of his distress: physical symptoms, emotional anguish, and even affliction.  His distress even includes how other people treat him.  What he describes just may describe some of what you may be experiencing this week.

The Prayer for Life’s Distress, Part 1

Tuesday – We quote an author who had so much distress in his life; the only word he could offer up in prayer was “help!”  He actually said he repeated the word over thirty times over and over! Maybe you have been in that valley at some point in your life.   David talks about his eyes “growing weak with weeping”.  That’s a vivid description of distress. When you take one step toward the Lord, He takes some toward you!

The Prayer for Life’s Distress, Part 2

Wednesday – You don’t have to be at a church or an “altar” to pray, you can call upon Him anytime and anywhere.  God is available 24/7 and there is no place in the universe that is beyond His hearing.  You either “give up” or you “lift up” in terms of the issues in your life.  For instance, you either “lift up” your marriage and family, or you “give up” on your marriage and your family!  Which description best fits you and your situation?

The Prayer for Life’s Distress, Part 3

Thursday – We share a powerful story related to our missionaries in Mexico, and the tragic death of a young man in their village.  Their description of the boy’s funeral is both sad and pathetic.  And yet it’s an object lesson about the God whom we call Father.   What they witnessed at the boy’s funeral, reminded them about our sin being atoned for at the cross.  Don’t miss this story.

The Prayer for Life’s Distress, Part 4

Friday – The key verse of this passage is verse 15 that says, “Oh Lord, my times are in your hands.”  The word “times” means both the immediate moment and the stages of my life.  I like both definitions!    We need to know that our immediate moment, right now is in the hand of the Lord.  But we also need to know that the stages of our lives are in His hands as well.  That is a great help with the distress of our lives, it really is!

The Prayer for Life’s Distress, Part 5


Week 4– 09/14/2015

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence

Psalm 63:1-8

You may not be familiar with the term “emotional intelligence”.  According to one author, emotional intelligence is the capacity not just to do things rightly, but to do the right thing.  Sometimes a person has to choose between doing things rightly and doing the “right thing” in a certain situation.   All this week, we talk about praying for “spiritual intelligence” from Psalm 63.  Spiritual intelligence is seeing the hand of God at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence, Podcast

Monday – We begin with illustrations of people demonstrating emotional intelligence in dealing with people in our lives.  We would be surprised at what is going on in the lives of the people around us.  People struggle with doubt, depression, anger, and any number of negative emotions.  David wrote Psalm 63 when he was in the desert of Judah.  People around us often are having a desert experience.

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence, Part 1

Tuesday – A desert experience, according to David was being in a “dry and weary land, where there is no water”.  That could describe people’s marriages, work experience, physical health, or personal finances:  a dry and weary land where there is no water.  What is going on in your life that is a desert experience?  David was able to say even in the desert, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you.”

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence, Part 2

Wednesday – David said that he saw the power of God and His glory in the sanctuary.  He also said that God’s love was actually better than life itself.  What do you call that?  Spiritual intelligence, for one thing.  He was able to see God working in his life even though he was in an actual desert experience.  Are we able to see God’s power in the desert like experiences of our lives?

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence, Part 3

Thursday – David says in verse 4,” I will praise the Lord as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”  We lift up our hands at an athletic event or concert, but what does it mean to lift up our hands to the Lord?  It’s the act of a child toward a parent, “Pick me up!  Hold me!”  Spiritual intelligence is acknowledging our need, and recognizing God’s capacity to meet my needs.

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence, Part 4

Friday – We close with the story of Jesus being asked to raise the dead daughter of a ruler named Jairus.  On the way to bring resurrection life to this girl, He performs a miracle for someone else on the way.  One commentator says that the message here is this; pitch your tent near where Jesus is!  That is being spiritually intelligent!  Everyone pitches their tent near something or someone.  Why not be near the One David said was “our help and protection”.

The Prayer for Spiritual Intelligence, Part 5


Week 3– 09/07/2015

The Prayer of Sincerity

Psalm 84:1-2, 10-12

Have you ever had someone say something very nice to you, only to suspect that there was no sincerity to the remark?  Closer to home, have you ever said something gracious to someone else, but you really didn’t mean it?  How about the sincerity or lack thereof of our prayers?  We’ve all said things in prayer that we didn’t mean.  Today the operative phrase is sincerity in prayer.

The Prayer of Sincerity, Podcast

Monday – We begin with a humorous story of a man pledging his unfailing love to his girlfriend, promising to “fight any foe, cross any ocean, and face any opposition” to be with her.  He then adds that he’ll see her Thursday night as long as it doesn’t rain!  Perhaps we pray prayers like that!  We read the text that you really don’t want to pray if you don’t mean it.

The Prayer of Sincerity, Part 1

Tuesday – It may not be blasphemous to pray a prayer that you didn’t mean, but it can and does wound a relationship.  In the same way that we can wound a spouse, a friend, or a child by our insincere words; we can wound the Living God with an insincere prayer.  You can and so can I!

The Prayer of Sincerity, Part 2

Wednesday – We talk in depth about the Psalm writer saying, “I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”  David was saying he’d rather being in the lowest place in heaven, than to be in the best place in hell!  To be in the tents of the wicked sounds very immoral; but it simply means to be in the presence of people who don’t give the Lord the time of day!  Where would you and I rather be?

The Prayer of Sincerity, Part 3

Thursday – God says that He doesn’t withhold any good thing from someone whose walk is “blameless”.  Blameless doesn’t mean perfect; it just means that no accusation can be made of unconfessed sin in our lives.  There are only two kinds of sin in our lives: confessed and unconfessed.  Prayer is a great time for the honest confession of sin to the God who forgives us.

The Prayer of Sincerity, Part 4

Friday – We close with a story about an abandoned house in Tifton, Georgia that was taken over by thousands of bats.  What the bats did to the old Victorian home is not only unpleasant but indescribable.  The minister who tells the story of the house wonders what you and I have allowed to move into the “house” that is us.  We allow things like resentment, anger, bitterness, and lust to move into our house just like the bats did in Georgia.  We need to expel them in the name of Christ in sincere prayer.

The Prayer of Sincerity, Part 5


Week 2– 08/31/2015

The Prayer of Confession

Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12, 17

This Week: Earlier this year on “CrossHope”, we looked at Psalm 51 as one of the Psalms called, “penitential”.  There were seven that are referred to in this way because they have to do with repentance, contrition, guilt, and penance for sin.  This week, we look at it as a prayer of confession when David finally was convicted in his spirit for the sins of adultery and murder.  What he prayed is a prayer that can change your life and mine!

The Prayer of Confession, Podcast

Monday – What if you lived your life as a man or woman who truly felt forgiven?  Not just intellectually, but inside your heart where you live?  A Christian psychologist told me years ago that he felt one reason why people only occasionally or rarely attend any church is because of this reason:  they don’t feel forgiven!  Forgiveness is the gut issue of people’s lives, it really is.  Feeling unforgiven may contribute to a lot of the anxiety we feel in life.  What do you think?

The Prayer of Confession, Part 1

Tuesday – One commentator believes that Psalm 51 is the most important passage in the Old Testament that points the way to Christ!  It’s a holy or spiritual moment in your life and mine when we come to terms with a sin and recognize what it is, and what it does to our heavenly Father.  The amazing thing is that it is actually God’s nature is to forgive!  Most people can’t truly say that of themselves.  You can’t and neither can I!

The Prayer of Confession, Part 2

Wednesday – We are not only sinners; we are people who have a “sinful nature”.  When a man or woman faces that reality, something happens!  David says that his sin was “ever before me”.  We all know people in chronic pain; their pain is ever before them.  They live, work, and sleep with their pain.  David became aware of his sin in such a way that he couldn’t escape the guilt for one minute.  Have you ever experienced guilt like that?

The Prayer of Confession, Part 3

Thursday – Max Lucado says that “confession does for the soul what preparing the land does for the field.”  Confession prepares the soil of our hearts for God to work in our lives!  Confession is ultimately acknowledging that we have not just violated a rule or command; we have wounded the Father!  That’s no small thing.  Have you ever acknowledged that in your life? God will never make fun of or mock your repentance!

The Prayer of Confession, Part 4

Friday – I close the message with a poem that I was asked to read at my father’s funeral.  It’s a poem that some would consider old fashioned, dated, and perhaps trite.  Listen to it today; it just may impact your life.  It’s about the “touch of the Master’s hand”.  That’s why the commentator said Psalm 51 may draw us to the “Master” more than any other Psalm.  Read it, pray it, and believe it!

The Prayer of Confession, Part 5


Week 1– 08/24/2015

The Prayer for Relief

Psalm 4:1-8

This Week: Rarely do I share the circumstances that surround a message.  Three days before I gave this message, I lost my “mentor” in the ministry.  He didn’t know it, but he was my mentor nonetheless.  His name was Ben Haden from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  I talk about his life and ministry this week as a part of the first message in a new series about prayer.  We begin with Psalm 4, written by David as an “evening prayer”.  What he says about the Lord can change your life if you pray this prayer, and actually mean it!

The Prayer for Relief, Podcast

Monday – Ben Haden tells the story of accidently overhearing the prayer of a stranger.  All he heard the man say was, “God, change the way I think!”  It was a holy moment.  It could be a holy moment for you and me if we were to pray Psalm 4, out loud, to the Lord today!  Each week in this series, I’m going to ask you to pray these prayers privately!  Why?  Because they can change your life!

The Prayer for Relief, Part 1

Tuesday – David begins by asking the Lord to answer him when he calls out to him.  He appeals to the Lord not on the basis of his righteousness, but God’s!  We have nothing to offer Him but our failure, appealing to Him for His mercy.  Don’t ever ask God for justice; justice is hell! We appeal to God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace.

The Prayer for Relief, Part 2

Wednesday – David asks the Lord to relieve him from his distress.  All stress in our lives isn’t’ necessarily bad; but distress is negative.  Distress in your life is anything that binds you or encircles you.  It can be family or job related.  It can be health related.  It’s anything in our lives that requires the help of God to face.  That’s why David appealed to the Lord for the distress in his life.  So can you!

The Prayer for Relief, Part 3

Thursday – David says in verse four, “In your anger, do not sin”.  That implies that we can experience anger and not sin.  If we use anger to dominate people, to control people, or to manipulate people, that’s sin!  That may speak to your marriage, to your family, or to your place of work.  We are all the victims of someone else’s anger as well as victimizers.  We are both, we really are.

The Prayer for Relief, Part 4

Friday – We close with a story about Ben Haden, the minister from Chattanooga who influenced my ministry in a powerful way.  This story, told by a newspaper editor and member of Ben’s church, is probably the most unusual you’ve ever heard.  It’s about a $5,000.00 bet that Ben made with this church member.  You’ll never forget this story!  Don’t miss it.

The Prayer for Relief, Part 5