Book Review: Power Through Prayer

“This man must be a Christian Philosopher or a poet,” those were my first thoughts after going through the initial pages of Power through Prayer by E.M Bounds. It’s not surprising to know he was an attorney (they have some background in philosophy) and a member of the Methodist Church. The man played with words in this 75-page book, which also carried a strong message and is very relevant for the period that we find ourselves in.

Power through Prayer admonishes readers/preachers/Christians to adopt a lifestyle of prayer. E.M Bounds, in the book, established the importance of spending quality in prayer, particularly, for preachers who have the mandate to propagate the gospel and win souls for Christ. He provided the likely effects of relegating prayer into the background and bemoaned the current practice which has been adopted by preachers – spend more time to research and less time in prayer when preparing to preach. The 20-short-chapters’ book challenges ministers of the gospel to spend long and quality time with God and see how that translates to the congregation. Bounds provided examples of past preachers who spent quality time with God and how that affected their ministries.

This is one of the most pertinent messages that the church needs currently. The book’s content reminds me of a Christian broadcast I listened to where the preacher also challenged Christians, especially, Charismatics to stop hiding behind tongues-speaking and ‘pray properly.’ In the broadcast, the preacher defined prayer as talking to God and knowing you are talking to Him. In other words, our mind should be fixed on the activity that we are indulging in. He made emphasis on the duration, which shouldn’t be as important as the quality and when Christians genuinely pray to God, we become conduits for the manifestation of miracles and the power of God. I could detect hints of E.M Bounds’ Power through Prayer in that broadcast.

The book was undoubtedly exquisitely written and if you a lover of poetry then this book is just for you. In my opinion, it could have easily been simplified into fewer pages but the flowery nature of the content did not permit that but it is still a great book and the message, very strong. The book is highly recommended for preachers or anyone playing a role in the Christ-ministry and for which, Christian bloggers are not an exemption. We can’t do away with quality prayer and expect to flourish in our various callings.

There were several amazing quotes in Power through Prayer and below are three of them:

  • “The preacher is the golden pipe through which the divine oil flows. The pipe must not only be golden, but open and flawless, that the oil may have a full, unhindered, unwashed flow.”
  • “Prayer is not to the modern pulpit the mighty force it was in Paul’s life or Paul’s ministry. Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to project God’s cause in this world.”
  • “A prepared heart is much better than a prepared sermon.”

Have you read this book? What are your opinions about it? Do share!

© picasion.com_9CWp

 

 

 

Book Review: Strategies for Prayer

Strategies for Prayer by Dag Heward-Mills is a 40-page book, very succinct, straight-to-the-point, yet, makes some powerful revelations on the need for Christians to pray and do it effectively. It can easily be read at a sitting, but, it is important to go through this book slowly, so, to digest its content and apply it to one’s prayer life.

The book, divided into four chapters, introduces the reader to the Daniel’s Principles of Prayer and also, The Timothy, Ephesians and Lord’s prayer formula. What the first chapter does is to admonish Christians, among other things, that they are never too big, blessed or busy to pray.  It primarily establishes the importance of prayer to the life of the believer.

In the subsequent chapters, the reader is introduced to the other prayer strategies/formula. The book also raises important subjects like the need to pray for our leaders, praying always and for long hours which also summarises the Timothian Prayer in Chapter 2 of the book. The other two chapters introduce Ephesians 1 and Matthew 6 as prayer guides/strategies for the Christian.

Bishop Dag, as an author, puts his points in plain language probably for easy memorisation. If you have ever listened to any of his sermons, you’d realise he writes just like the way he speaks – concise, straightforward and instructive. He also makes emphases on some of his points by relating them to his personal life experiences. As a reader, I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the scenarios he provided in the book. One of such was when he recalled his days as a medical student with a tight schedule but still made time to pray. On one of those occasions, he nearly walked into a wall because he was tired. Although this was easy to picture, it drives home the point that he consciously made time to pray and gave himself no excuse and looking at where he is now, that serves as a source of motivation for the reader.

The aim of the book was to ginger the reader to adopt praying strategies which will enable him/her to pray for long hours and that was successfully achieved. As Christians, we may have several reasons for not praying and even reading, the author recognises that, therefore, he provides several motivations in a few pages to help us adopt a healthy prayer life. This book is highly recommended for anyone having a hard time praying and for long hours. It is also great for Christians of all ages and for people who do not want to read huge volumes of books.

There were some powerful quotes in the book but below are three of them:

  • “My friend, if you cannot find something to thank God for, for at least ten minutes, then you have an ungrateful heart.”
  • “If you want to have peace and confidence in this life, spend time praying that the will of God comes to pass in your life.”dag

 

© picasion.com_9CWp

3 Biblical Principles to Having a Successful Year

Christian Blog Ghana
Dr Emmanuel Sogah || Medical Doctor|| Budding Minister

When the clock strikes midnight on the 1st of January, there seems to be some glimmer of hope that the New Year will automatically be better than the previous one. It is not bad but to have a successful year requires deliberate steps and like a soldier preparing for war, it is important to have a plan and strategy.

People start the year with different ambitions and resolutions but half-way, they lose hope even though they believe the will of God for them is to have an amazing and successful year.

To ensure 2018 becomes one of the best years yet, believers are required to follow these principles as listed by Dr. Emmanauel Sogah: 

  1.  Abide in the Word

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you – John 15:7

To have a great year, you need to be a person of the word.  It is in the word that you’ll find strategies and ideas to accomplish whichever goal you list. When there is a union between the Christian and the word of God, whatsoever you ask will be granted.

In God’s mind, there is no prayer of a Christian that should be rejected. Jesus in his earth walk demonstrated that when he, for example, spoke words to the fig tree and it was done (Mark 11:12-25).  As a Christian, this should be our everyday experience – when we speak we ought to receive answers and that can only be done when there is a perfect union between the Christian and the word of God.

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to Influence you

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. – Luke 1:35

After setting our goals for the year, we wonder how we are going to achieve them. Just as Mary conceived her baby after she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, so shall we achieve our goals this year by the influence of the Holy Spirit.  This point is also emphasised in Zechariah 4:6

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

If you are going to achieve anything, then it is going to be by the Holy Spirit. It is also important to fellowship with the Holy Spirit by praying with other tongues. He (the Holy Spirit) will help you as emphasised in Romans 8:26.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

The Spirit gives us insight into the future for us to understand the details of projects we wish to undertake. The Holy Spirit also helps us in our shortcomings when it comes to goals we have set for the year. Joshua received unorthodox directions from God to march around the walls of Jericho, seven times (Joshua 6) in order to bring the walls down. If we are going to succeed this year, we’ll need to go by the strategies of the Holy Spirit which is sometimes uncommon and not according to the systems of the world.

  1. Pursue Excellence

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge…. – 2 Peter 1:5-8

Ensure excellence is seen whatever you do as a Christian this year. Be steadfast and immovable in the decisions you take. Pay attention to expressing your inward virtues.

If these things (aforementioned) are in you in an increasing measure, fruitfulness will be inevitable.

You can also click on the link below to listen to the audio.

New Year Resolutions – Are they relevant to Christians? 

Back in Senior High School, a very good friend and I used to joke that our new year resolutions must be more terrible than the previous year. We resolved to be more ‘sly’ with our seniors, ‘cut’ school functions and simply break more rules because to us, in the previous year, we had been good but new year resolutions meant doing things differently.

Even though we were not confident enough to put into practice those resolutions, the perception we had added some excitement to the way we approached our seniors. That was also a wrong mindset and a not-so-good way to start the new year.

New Year resolutions are often defined as a tradition where individuals resolve to achieve certain goals (positive) and quit undesired behaviour.

Some of us, while we grow have stopped believing in new year resolutions because of personal reasons. We used to make lists of things we wish to achieve in a particular year but halfway, we realised we could not achieve them, hence, the decision to do without them.

We’d love to lose weight, continue our education, find better jobs, start our own businesses, find life partners, move out of our parents’ homes among others. These are some examples of new year resolutions.

The new year does not automatically change who we are. We do not become superhumans because the clock struck 12 midnight on 1-1-2018 but as Christians, we believe God’s mercies are new every morning and He’s a faithful God (Lamentations 3:22) who has the interest of His Children at heart. That is the reason He’d like to see us succeed each day and that is the reason we believe in positive new year resolutions.

From a personal experience with this blog, anytime I listed ideas of topics, I realised I was able to follow through proving right Habakkuk 2:2:

“Write down your visions on scrolls…”

Do not just fold your arms and watch the year pass by. Prayerfully seek the face of God on what He’d like to achieve with you in 2018 and list whatever He reveals to you. Go back and ask Him how He’d like you to achieve them. Hold God’s hand every day through quality prayer time and word study and see if you will not achieve what you had on that new year resolutions’ list.

We’ll be here at the end of the year to take your testimonies.

Happy New Year!

True Story: When Favour did not Receive Favour

“I do not have anything to lose,” Favour thought. “God is probably giving me a second chance. Besides, I am only on a short contract with this organisation.”

Those were Favour’s thoughts when he received the job description from one of the managers of the organisation. In 2012, he had attended an interview with this company but he was not offered the job. When the managers called him the second time to re-apply for the same position, Favour was beside himself with so much excitement. This was going to be his second try and probably his final job application.

Favour knew how well the company paid its employees, not to even mention the trips and allowances which came with working there. He could not keep himself from imagining how his life was going to transform when he finally reports to the office. Before that, the Human Resource manager had also asked him to forward his latest Curriculum Vitae (CV) and cover letter. Favour felt special when an interview date was forwarded to him immediately he submitted his CV and cover letter.

During the interview, he did put up a splendid performance. Favour recalls how the Manager kept nodding at every sentence that came out of his mouth. To him, the questions were simpler compared to the other interviews he had attended. He never doubted the position was going to be his.

After the interview, he could not help but reminisce over the entire experience. He tuned in to his favourite Christian FM station as he sipped on the bottle of fanta he had bought from the shop. This is called ‘celebrating victory ahead of time.’

“I can tell there is victory ahead. Somebody is about to hear the best news ever,” the preacher on the radio said. “Can I hear someone shout a loud Amen.”

This must be the Holy Spirit speaking to me, Favour thought. He did shout his largest Amen as he made a quick trot and ended up somersaulting in his bedroom. He jumped three more times and was completely out of breath when he finally walked to sit on his bed. This preacher is indeed a man of God. He made a mental note to capture his contact details and probably sow a seed into his ministry when he is employed in the company. Indeed it is not flesh and blood that had revealed his enormous victory to the preacher.

The days following the interview were one of the longest ever experienced by this young man. He kept praying, trusting and believing that indeed, his miracle was knocking on his door. He had earlier told his mum about the job and she was also trusting and praying with Favour.

On the fourth day, after constantly checking his smartphone for updates or email from the organization, Favour decided to include a fast to his daily routine. He remembered an aspect of a sermon which was preached on the radio the other day in Daniel 10:13, where Daniel had been praying but the prince of the Persian kingdom kept resisting him for twenty-one days, thus, his prayers going unanswered. This scripture pushed Favour to pray some holy ghost crazy prayers which could last for about three hours. His shirt was always drenched in his own sweat whenever he finished praying those prayers.

That was the routine for Favour for 14 days. He barely touched his meals which were prepared by his mum. All he wanted was a phone call confirming his appointment in that company.

On the 15th Day, the heavens smiled on him when his phone finally beeped notifying him of an email from the company. The logo of the company was unmistakable. His heart flipped out of excitement while he clicked on the email.

“Dear Favour. This email is to inform you that the interview panel has decided to select another candidate for the Business Development Manager Position. We are sorry….”

This is a true story which was shared by one of our readers. Favour is seeking your response to what he should do next. Remember to leave your views and remarks in the comments box.

 

Pray ‘Quality’ Prayers

It is quite easy to say we have great prayer lives because ‘to pray’ means ‘to communicate with God.’ It is simple to speak with God and whisper something to Him first thing in the morning before jumping to our duties. When we are almost late for work and need to rush to the roadside, we whisper something to Him which we describe as a form of communication. Some of us even have the special ability to shut out people mentally and start talking to God even in noisy places. We can pray to God at any place and time because the Bible has admonished us to pray without this ceasing (I Thessalonians 5: 17).

The above scenarios form the broad definition of communication or at least speaking with God but how about including ‘quality’ to that prayer time? There is nothing wrong with speaking to Him everywhere but it is even more fulfilling to have a quiet place to yourself, away from every form of distraction and tuning your whole being to the Spirit. Such times allow the Holy Spirit to minister to and with you in ways that your body cannot comprehend. How sweet it is to allow the Holy Ghost to take over your prayer time and direct you on how it should go (Romans 8:26). When you do not pray in your own understanding but with that of the Spirit.

There are so many worries in life – work issues, family, academics etc and they can easily overwhelm us into believing we can achieve success by our own strength and intelligence. Prayer times are hurried because we always have deadlines to meet or traffic to beat.

Quality prayer, steered by the Holy Spirit makes the journey through life enjoyable. Prayer meetings are good but having some personal, quality time with your Father is also very important.

The deadline which is preventing you from praying can easily be met when you spend some good time in God’s presence. As for that traffic, it is so basic. The situation you are trying to change, using your own capabilities, has the answer resting with God and it takes just quality prayer time to unlock it.

Let us stop looking everywhere but to God for answers to our lives’ issues. Quality prayer time steered by the Holy Spirit heals wounds, provides directions and answers and, makes the seemingly impossible situations with God possible.

Just give it a try and when your testimonies start to manifest, send an email to your first online Christian magazine in Ghana (christianblogghana@gmail.com) and we’ll celebrate with you.

You are blessed!

Unravelling the Mystery of Ceaseless Prayers 

“Prayer must be very hard. I doubt I can ever pray like these people,”

These were thoughts of young Abu, a man who accepted Christ not too long ago, while he observed a group of believers praying in other tongues.

Abu was born into a typical African Traditional home and had heard tales of a particular faction of Christians – the Charismatics, who were aggressive when praying but this was his first time observing them. 
He never thought praying could be this vigorous and perspiring, however, Abu made a remarkable observation. 

These charismatic Christians prayed for several hours, more rigorously by the time, in a totally different language but they appeared refreshed throughout the process.

This scene kept playing in his mind while he sat in church the following Sunday. Mysteriously, his pastor’s sermon that dwelt  on praying endlessly.

“To pray without ceasing, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, means to pray uninterruptedly,” said  Reverend Paul to the joyous congregation who seem to understand what that meant.

“How can that be possible? I don’t think anyone can follow through with this,” Abu thought. 

He grew increasingly confused but nurtured a desire to learn more about this ‘endless’ prayer.

This desire pushed him to interview Reverend Paul after close of service.

“Prayer simply means communicating with God but there’s more to it,” says the Reverend. “Prayer helps you to be conscious of your ‘new’ life in God and grants you means of receiving from Him.”

Conscious of my new life? Abu interjected. 

Reverend Paul noticed it was a good time to dwell on the subject of the new life since that would allow Abu to grasp the subject of prayer better. 

He invites Abu into his office so they could have a detailed discussion on the subject.

Find out how the conversation between the Reverend and Abu transpired in the next part of this post. 

This post was written by Dr. Emmanuel Sogah. Dr. Sogah is a medical doctor by profession, a budding minister of the gospel who is passionate about teaching.