Tag Archives: mike for Christ

The Necessity Of Morning Prayer

This week I will be taking a break from writing devotions while I attend a conference. My friend and fellow blogger, Michael Stephens, and I like to have debates offline for fun and to engage in deep discussions. We understand that our discussions are not to prove one of us is right and the other is wrong. They are intended to help us expand our own perspectives. We thought we would share one of our debates with you. This week we will be discussing the best time of day to pray. I have chosen to speak on morning prayer, and he will be rebutting, then making a case for evening prayer which I will rebut. We’d also like to get your input into the discussion.

For me, there’s no better time to pray than in the morning. Just like a good breakfast sets the tone for my day, so does morning prayer. I believe that the way we start each day sets our attitude for it. David said in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (NLT). The Good News translation says, “This is the day of the Lord’s victory.” Our daily victory starts in the morning before we take our first steps of the day.

In his book Early On Our Knees, E. M. Bounds wrote, “The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, it’s opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God, will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day.” That first sentence is the strongest statement to me. People like Dwight Moody, George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Martin Luther were all men who believed in early morning prayer.

They understood that if there is going to be any victory over the enemy, it’s going to require significant time in prayer. The U.S. Army used to say, “We do more before 9AM than most people do all day.” I believe the same should be said of us as prayer warriors. We should wage more war on our knees tearing down strongholds by 9 AM than the enemy does all day. I want the enemy to think, “Look out! He’s up already! To your stations!”

God has also been specific since the beginning of creation that He desires our first fruits. They are the most holy to Him. I believe that should extend beyond my giving and into every aspect of my life including my time. If you don’t schedule God first, you run the risk of your day getting away from you and being too tired or busy, just giving Him your left overs if anything at all. I read a sign recently that said, “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

If you don’t control your time and make time for God in prayer, you run the risk of losing your victory. Each day God gives us is a gift of 1,440 minutes. Once they’re gone, you can’t get them back. Jump into the cockpit and take control of your day by giving it to God. If you do, you’ll find it easier to obey I Thessalonians 5:17 which says, “Never stop praying.” You will also find your attitude will change and so will your number of victories. The keys to your victory are to get up, give God the first fruits of your time, and wage war in prayer early.

What time in the morning do you start praying?


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Caring Enough To Correct

In college I started a Friday night event on my wing called “Midnight Monopoly”. It was a leisure outlet for those of us who didn’t work or have other entertainment to make fete of an otherwise boring evening. It was always a fun time.

One night two roommates joined the game; as we played, one made an innocent joke about the other. It was not received well, however, and the other guy spitefully and openly countered with the sharpest, crudest remark he could muster. Everyone quickly overlooked the comment, but I sat there appalled. I was the wing chaplain and decided to let it pass and confront the guy once the game ended.

In my room with him, I addressed the comment—how ugly and unchristian it was and expressed to his own roommate and spiritual brother. How could he say such a thing? I explained that he needed to apologize and simply repent. I wasn’t trying to be a dad, but it sure felt like it. The comment had offended and angered me.

Well he didn’t like it. He left abruptly and said nothing to me for two weeks—that is until a knock at my door one evening. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” He explained that he had thought very much about what I had said to him and felt convicted. He acknowledged his wrong and thanked me for having the courage to challenge him. He also stated that he had apologized to his roommate.

The Profitability of Correction

Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Challenging others is never easy, even when done lovingly. Some people let offenses and bad behavior go unchallenged rather than making folk accountable for them. But this is wrong and unloving.

It is a false conception to think we can become successful or mature individuals, even good Christians, if we fail to submit to correction. Accountability safeguards character by cultivating wholesome traits and challenging negative ones. A mode of accountability, correction is essential to personal growth and also God’s plan for us. Being non-teachable and prideful, however, causes us to miss valuable lessons and costs us in the end.

Hosea graphically expresses the need for correction and repentance: “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us” (6:1-2, NASB). Here is the idea of purposely wounding, perhaps to set a fracture or to clean away infection.

And sometimes we don’t see that our lives have defect or fester with some sin. So seeking accountability is a positive and proactive move to ensure integrity and godliness. Moreover, godly reproof is a grace and sign of God’s ownership. We should welcome it and not resist it, lest we accept the charge of Hebrews 12:8—“you are not legitimate children at all.”

The wing mate I confronted serves the Lord today around the globe sharing the love of Jesus with orphans and the distressed. I consider what I did a small but necessary part of preparing him for the ministry he performs today.

What might we be leaving untended in the lives of others God is burdening us to correct? And are you asking the Lord to reveal the places in your life in need of correction? Just own enough humility whether you’re correcting or being corrected. It helps to remember Jesus’s words that we bear abundant fruit when we are pruned (John 15:2).

This guest post is from Mike Stephens. Mike is the author of “A ‘Mike’ for Christ“, a devotional blog featuring thoughtful, topical discussion and spiritual reflection.

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