How Can Christians Learn to Pray Confidently

Prayer can seem intimidating if we lack confidence that God will really listen to our prayers and answer them. We may see prayer as an obligation rather than an opportunity – and end up not praying much, then feeling guilty. If we learn to pray confidently, though, we can enjoy the process of praying, because we’ll wake up to God’s presence with us there.

What Does it Really Mean to Pray Confidently?

Praying confidently means trusting that God will meet us in prayer because he cares about us. 1 John 5:14-15 assures us that we can pray to our loving God with confidence: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” It’s possible to pray confidently because God will listen to us with love and answer us according to his will, which reflects his great wisdom and power.

All we need to do is show up, do our best to communicate with God, and then trust God to respond in the best ways and in the best timing. The more we devote ourselves to prayer, the more we can develop the trust we need to do so.

Here are five ways Christians can learn to pray confidently:

  1. Approach God with reverence and humility:

If any sin in our lives has distanced us from God, we may lack the confidence to pray. John 9:31 reveals, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” We should be reverent and humble when approaching our awesome God, confessing our sins and accepting God’s help and forgiveness so we’ll be able to come into his holy presence with a clear mind and an open heart. We can confess directly to God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can also confess to our brothers and sisters in Christ: “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16). Once we’ve dealt with any sins we need to confess, we can be confident in approaching God with our prayers. “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God” 1 John 3:21 assures us.

  1. Let go of formulas:

We don’t need to worry about following any formulas when we pray. God will still accept our prayers if we don’t use formal language when we speak or if we don’t sit still with our eyes closed. God will still listen and respond if our thoughts are unorganized or our emotions are raw. God will meet us where we are when we simply pray naturally, and his Spirit will help us express what we’re truly longing to pray. As Romans 8:26 assures us, “… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” We don’t need formulaic methods of praying; all we need is a genuine desire to communicate with God.

  1. Try out creative possibilities:

We can feel free to try praying in new ways that shake up our prayer routines. The creative possibilities for expressing our prayers are unlimited, and include writing, drawing, singing, and dancing. We can pray silently anytime and anywhere, such as while driving, walking, or cooking. What’s most important is that we pray in ways that truly get us excited about communicating with God.

  1. Listen as well as talk:

Prayer should be a two-sided conversation between us and God. So, after we talk to God, we need to listen to what God may have to say to us. God promises in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.” By quieting our minds and focusing on hearing from God, we can discern messages that the Holy Spirit sends into our minds during prayer.

  1. Expect big answers from our great God:

We can also develop more confidence as we pray by expanding our prayers. Rather than only praying small prayers (for situations that don’t require much help from God to change) pray big prayers (asking God to intervene in situations and do what only he can do). We can remove limitations from our prayers, keeping in mind that God “… is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). Invite God to do something greater than what we can do ourselves, in each situation we present to God in prayer. Dare to ask for big answers from our big God! As Jesus encourages us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

The ability to communicate with our Creator in prayer is a blessing that we can embrace with confidence. Learning to pray confidently will move us closer to our loving God who always wants to meet with us. As Hebrew 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Let’s look forward to the wonder we can discover during our prayer times with God!

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How Can We Guard Against Our Own Spiritual Blindness

Jesus talks a lot about eyesight. He heals people born blind and critiques religious leaders for their lack of vision. In fact, in the Gospel of John, Jesus states that he had come into the world “so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind” (John 9:39). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, spiritual blindness is highlighted as a perpetual problem for the people around him.

We rarely talk about this today. We may even assume that it is not a problem for a society as advanced as ours. After all, in a pluralistic world, with a myriad of viewpoints and opinions, what right do we have to charge someone with spiritual blindness? This may sound reasonable, but Jesus was clear about the reality of this condition. What is more, the first-century world was as pluralistic as our own. Spiritual blindness isn’t about opinion, it is about being unable to recognize the power of God revealed in Jesus. Given this, how might we guard against our own blindness?

What Does “Spiritual Blindness” Mean?
Blindness is an inability to see; Spiritual blindness, therefore, is an inability to see the things of the Spirit. Jesus frequently heals the blind as a testimony to his messianic status, and his divinity. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 35 that “the eyes of the blind will be opened” (John 35:5). Such activity, however, is often met with disbelief, or even ridicule. As the blind are made to see, those who “see” refuse to accept Jesus’ words or actions. This is spiritual blindness. Whenever someone is unable to recognize the activity of God, through the work or words of Jesus, they are considered spiritually blind.

Importantly, spiritual blindness is a condition that afflicts the religious. Jesus’ harshest criticisms regarding it are reserved for the Pharisees and the Scribes, those who make up the religious elite of the day. Jesus never charges a Gentile person with spiritual blindness; the broken and hurting do not suffer from this condition. Instead, those who believe that they have mastered the ways of God often find themselves dumbfounded by Jesus’ ministry.

John’s account of the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41) is a wonderful depiction of spiritual blindness. After Jesus restores the man’s sight, the Pharisees are unwilling to accept this healing. Despite evidence, logic, and good theology, the Pharisees simply refuse to accept the truth standing before them. First, they point to the fact that healing on the Sabbath was against Jewish law. Then, they question the man’s parents to see if the man was truly born blind. The insinuation here is that this healing is but a trick from a charlatan prophet. Finally, the man himself is ridiculed and insulted. They label him a sinner undeserving of God’s love and healing.

This blindness of the Pharisees is contrasted beautifully with the vision of the blind man. Throughout the entire exchange, it is the blind man who speaks truthfully the things of God. He testifies to his experience of miraculous healing in the words “One thing I do know, I was blind, but now I see” (vs 25). He even schools the Pharisees on a point of theology! “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person how does his will. Nobody has ever heard of the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (31-32). The man born blind sees Jesus, and the power of God, rightly. He has true sight, whereas the Pharisees are nothing more than blind guides.

How Do We Become Spiritually Blind?
If spiritual blindness is a condition that affects the religious, how do we, as Christians, ensure that we do not fall into this trap? How do we become spiritually blind? The gospels make clear that it is a misdirection of our vision. Jesus says “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of life. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23). Spiritual blindness is an internal condition. It occurs when we focus our attention upon our own pride, desire, or limited understanding.

This is exactly what the Pharisees exhibit. Their prideful assumption that they were “experts” in the things of God made them inhospitable to Jesus. Because Jesus often called people way from the blind execution of religious rules, the Pharisees could not accept the incarnation. God, they believed, only worked in the context of their limited understanding.

Because of this pride, Jesus calls them “blind guides” (Matthew 23:16). Their hearts were set more on following the rules of the Temple than on observing a heartfelt devotion to God. Jesus criticizes them for “giving a tenth of your spices – mint, dill, and cumin, but neglecting the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23). The Pharisees frequently had their eyes set upon the praises of others, rather than on truly walking the way of holiness and righteousness. Their life, and faith, served their own glorification.

Before we become overly critical of the Pharisees, we must recognize that this also happens with Peter and the other disciples. When Peter rebukes Jesus for speaking about his upcoming death, Jesus turns around and declares he did not have in mind the things of God” (Mark 8:33). In that moment, despite his desire to be faithful to his Lord, Peter’s vision was set upon his own understanding of God’s ways, rather than the humble acceptance of Jesus. Similarly, the disciples argue about who is the greatest, and who will sit on Jesus’ right and left hand in the kingdom. Each of these instances is an example of spiritual blindness because the disciples turn their spiritual vision to their own glorification and exaltation. While they claim to understand the nuances of Christ’s Lordship they fail to recognize the way of redemption and grace.

Whenever we believe that we have plumbed the depths of God, we act in spiritual blindness. Such an attitude does not embody the grace of Jesus. It does not take into consideration that Jesus may do something unexpected in our lives. God’s ways and thoughts are always beyond our own. We always have something to learn, and we can always use more healing in our life.

How Do We Break Free from Spiritual Blindness?
Given that spiritual blindness afflicts the faithful, from the Pharisees to the disciples, how might we ensure that we keep ourselves from this condition? How can we break free from spiritual blindness if it occurs in our lives? The answer is relatively simple: we look to Jesus. Looking to Jesus is the only antidote to spiritual blindness.

Prior to healing the man born blind, Jesus famously declares “I am the light of the world” (9:5). Jesus is the light that illuminates the fullness of God’s identity, love, power, and grace. Spiritual sightedness is not about the wealth of religious knowledge, scripture memorization, or an understanding of intricate liturgical rules. Having true, authentic, spiritual sight is about seeing, and receiving, Jesus. Anything within ourselves, or within our own religious or spiritual identity, that gets in the way of receiving Jesus eventually moves us to spiritual blindness.

We are called to be like Paul, who declared “I resolve to know nothing except Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Our vision is cast solely upon Jesus. The author of Hebrews reminds us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus is to be the one to whom all the faithful look upon in humble obedience.

This is easy to say, and easier to write, but harder to do. Too often, the root of spiritual blindness is pride. This pride keeps us from the necessary disciplines of humility and trust. Yet the call of faith is to believe in the guiding, healing, power of Jesus. We stubbornly look to him, even in those moments where we can’t understand what Jesus is doing, or where he is taking us. As we intentionally place Jesus at the center of our lives, the Spirit will lead us to deeper experiences of healing and grace.

The Necessity of Prayer
Ultimately, the only true way for us to ensure our spiritual sightedness is to continually pray for a clearer vision of Jesus Christ in our lives. We never arrive at a place where we progress beyond the danger of spiritual blindness. In fact, if we think that spiritual blindness is not a problem for us, that may be a good indication that it is closer than we think.

We are to cast our eyes upon the Lord, faithfully and diligently. In raw and unhindered honesty, we are to pray that his will be done in our lives, and not our own. We radically accept his vision of who we are, and who we are called to be. Undoubtedly, this is an act of faith and one that requires a constant lifting of ourselves before the Lord. Warding off spiritual blindness involves the willful laying down of our own pride.

What would it look like for you to pray for a deeper vision of Jesus in your life? Just as Moses asked to see a vision of God’s glory, and just as the Psalmist exclaims “Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Psalms 27:8), and just as Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened (Ephesians 1;18), so too can we ask for a deeper vision of Christ’s presence. It is when we seek the face of Jesus that we can be assured of true spiritual sightedness. As we look to him, Jesus fills our vision and lightens our way.

I hope and pray that everyone reading this has an AMAZING weekend!

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Seven Ways to Biblically Empower Other Women

We live in a culture where it’s finally politically correct to empower women. But how we do it makes all the difference in the world. Neither men nor women get their power or strength from within themselves, nor from others who give them opportunities, promotions, or positions of authority.

Psalm 75:6-7 says, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (KJV). Scripture makes it clear the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers (1 Corinthians 10:11). When we understand and acknowledge the true source of empowerment, we can strengthen and empower others far more effectively than training courses and positive affirmation. We can also lead them to a well of power that is constantly available to draw from themselves.

With the recognition of where true empowerment comes from, here are seven ways to empower other women, biblically.

  1. Encourage them to rely on God’s strength.
  2. Encourage their faith that with God, all things are possible.
  3. Teach them to be humble.
  4. Share your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
  5. Help them understand their new identity in Christ.
  6. Pray for and with them.

Ask how you can pray for a woman you’re hoping to empower – and then do it. If you’re talking on the phone or via zoom, pray for her right there. If you’re having coffee or lunch together, pray for her at that moment. Saying “I’ll pray for you” and then doing that outside her presence might rob her of the blessing of being empowered by your actual prayer. It also teaches her how to pray. Prayer is empowering in itself. Let women see it through your willingness to pray for them at the moment.

  1. Encourage them to suit up with the armor of God.

Take the concept of “power dressing” to a whole new level when you teach another woman to suit up with the armor of God. After we are instructed in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might,” we are then told in verse 11 to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

To put on the whole armor of God (as covered in Ephesians 6:12-18) simply means to abide in Christ in every area of our lives – covering every part of our bodies with Christlikeness, so we can withstand the spiritual battle that rages around us. Scripture says, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (verse 12). There is no better way to be prepared for and empowered against the satanic realm than to literally “wear” Christ by abiding intimately with Him.

Specifically, we are told in that passage to fasten on the belt of truth and – because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – that means we are to be centered in the truth of Christ. Tell a woman to put on the breastplate of righteousness by explaining that the LORD is our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:6), and we are to cover our hearts with Him or make Him our first love. Encourage her to wear the helmet of salvation, covering her mind with the truth that salvation exists in no other name but Jesus (Acts 4:12), and she is to love Him with all her mind (Matthew 22:37). By encouraging her to suit up daily in the armor of God, you are giving her a whole new perspective on how to “dress for success.”

Be faithful in these seven ways to biblically empower women in your circle of influence, and you will be unleashing within them the power to change the world around them, as they glean the truth from 1 John 4:4 that greater is He who is in them than he who is in the world.

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10 Steps to Fight Satan

Grab your bible and let’s discuss 10 Steps to Fight Satan together…if you think I;m missing any steps and should add more please let me know so I can do that!

10 Steps to Fight Satan – Grab Your Bible

Here’s how…

  1. Open to the Gospel of Matthew.

That’s page one of the New Testament. You can read all 28 chapters of this short volume in an hour or so.

  1. Keep reading.

You will read three other gospels similar to Matthew—Mark, Luke, and John—but different, on the life and ministry of Jesus. Each writer has something unique to offer.

  1. Keep reading.

Acts of the Apostles tells what happened after Jesus left.

  1. And yes, keep on reading.

You are now to the “epistles,” a fancy word for “letters,” most of them from the Apostle Paul to churches in various locales. You won’t understand everything, but you can grasp a great deal.

  1. Don’t worry about what you cannot understand.

Treasure all that you do understand, because there is a great deal of it.

  1. Read it consecutively.

Not just jumping around. And, in large sections, at least one hour at a time.

  1. When you finish, go back and start again.

You will get more the second time through than you did the first.

  1. Pray.

Each time you open the Bible, say this: “Father, help me to understand this and to get what You want me to see. Thank you for hearing my prayer.”

  1. Get help.

After you have read it through a few times, ask a pastor if there is a Bible study class you could attend. To hear a good teacher teach about what you have been reading can be a privilege.

  1. Obey it.

In John 13:17, Jesus said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Also, see James 1:22. The blessing comes from obeying His teachings, not from reading or learning them.

Eventually, you will be able to say what Job did:

I have esteemed the words of Thy mouth more than my necessary food – Job 23:12

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Bible Quotes About Love

It’s me the Christian Tech Nerd here again! I hope the below Bible Quotes About Love bring a smile to your face today!

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Luke 6:27-28
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

John 15:12
“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails..”

1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

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Meet the Christian Tech Executive Who Wants to Save Silicon Valley’s Soul

Of all the rituals of modern life that Silicon Valley technologists have burrowed their way into — eating, exercising, communicating, doing the laundry — one ritual that’s stayed largely undisrupted is religion. Despite its other advances, Silicon Valley remains one of the least religious parts of the country.

Vincent “Skip” Vaccarello is trying to change that. A 30-year veteran of the tech industry, Vaccarello was an executive at VisiCorp, an early PC-software-maker, and has been the CEO of Applied Weather Technology and Communications Solutions Inc., as well as a division manager for 3Com. He’s also a Christian, and has spent the last two decades trying to spread the gospel to Silicon Valley’s masses. He’s the chair of the Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast, and the author of “Finding God in Silicon Valley,” a blog containing interviews with prominent Silicon Valley Christians that he is hoping to turn into a book.

I spoke to Vaccarello about his blog, his efforts to evangelize Silicon Valley, and what makes it hard to convert the tech-savvy. Here’s a condensed and edited version of our conversation.

Tech workers in Silicon Valley tend to be young, progressive, and very secular. Is this the hardest community in America to convert?

It is. George Barna [the evangelical pollster] did a survey and indicated that on any given Sunday, less than 5 percent of the people in Silicon Valley go to church. Silicon Valley people are smart skeptics. They also tend to live isolated lives. There are many transplants from other countries and states. Many of those people have not developed deep relationships. They desire to be successful. They want to change the world.

But at the same time, people are very skeptical of Christianity. Among the more successful, there’s a complacency. They think, Life seems great, I’ve got my stock options.

The guiding principle of Silicon Valley seems to be that the world can be perfected through technology. That hope seems to substitute for religious purpose in a lot of the tech people I know. Is that something you’ve seen?

I’d agree with that. I have a friend who did a book called Soul in Silicon, and his conclusion was that Silicon Valley is actually a very spiritual place, but that some of it is what you mentioned — people are, in a way, worshiping technology and success.

What I’ve found is that God is at work in Silicon Valley in the lives of many people. There really is a very committed group of people who have the desire to help others in their faith, who are committed to charity, who want to make the world a better place.

For a lot of people in Silicon Valley, though, the attitude seems to be that doing the work of technological advancement itself is a form of charity — that the world is better because they’re succeeding.

I’ve had many people say that. But people go through setbacks. It might be a divorce. It might be that stock options that were worth millions are now worth nothing. Or maybe they get fired from a job. When that happens, there are opportunities to talk about something that’s more important.

You’re saying there’s a counter-cyclical thing going on? When the tech bubble bursts and things are really bad for Silicon Valley companies, it will be good for Silicon Valley churches?

I do think there are absolutely those opportunities. I remember back in 1989, when the earthquake happened, Silicon Valley churches were packed with people. People were shaken up by it. People were saying, “There has to be something else.”

Skip, what made you decide to take up this cause?

I grew up in the Boston area – loving family, attended a Catholic church. But I was also a child of the late sixties and early seventies. And during college at Harvard, I kind of walked away from faith. Then, about twenty years later, a few people came into my life, and I began to think about faith. During that time, I was mostly building a career and a family. But the birth of our first child, I felt, was a miracle. And then our neighbors invited my wife to church. I was in Paris on business at the time, but she dragged me along when I got back. That was in the mid-eighties.

So I listened to what the pastor had to say, and over the next several months, I investigated the evidence for Christianity and really came to faith. And from that point forward, I really had a desire to live out my faith. So I got together a group of Silicon Valley executives, to say, “Well, how do we live out our faith day-to-day?”

And when did the blog come into play?

I went back to a Harvard reunion in 2008. There was a group of Christians who got together for a discussion, and right after that meeting, we got a book called Finding God at Harvard by Kelly Monroe. That planted a seed in my own mind to do something similar for Silicon Valley. One of [Monroe’s] purposes in writing that book was to show that you can be intelligent and still have faith. In Silicon Valley, a lot of people put material things and their career first, but I found it was really only God who could fill that space.

As a Christian in tech, what do you make of this issue, which seems to be a very contentious one, about start-ups and the homeless? Some tech workers have been publicly disparaging the homeless, saying that they need to get out of the “respectable” communities of Silicon Valley and go somewhere else.

I would hope that someone who is a follower of Christ would approach it differently. We’re to take care of the poor and the homeless.

Say you have a 22-year-old Google employee who is not religious, who is making a lot of money and living in Silicon Valley. How would you approach them and convince them to find Jesus?

There’s probably nothing I could do to convince such a person. It may sound odd, but it’s up to God. My hope is that some of the things I’m doing here will help. Service is one of the important ways to do it. Young people, whether they’re a Christian or not, have a desire to serve other people. That person might have his or her eyes opened if they were to go to a homeless shelter, to CityTeam or Freedom House, and in the process, they say, “Why are you doing this?” And we say, “Well, I’m a follower of Christ, and this is what I’m supposed to do.”

We also live in a little bit of a celebrity culture. I’m hoping that people might see someone like Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of VMWare, and a very committed follower of Christ, that someone might look at him and say, “Well, he’s different.” But if you’re talking about someone that’s happy, with lot of stock options and a cushy job at Google, it’s going to be difficult.

Who would be the ultimate convert? Mark Zuckerberg? Jack Dorsey?

Well, yeah, those are the current heroes. If any of those people were to say, “Okay, I’ve found the key to life,” that’d be great.

But some of it is going to come through service. The deficit that many Christians face is that people look at followers of Christ more for what they’re against than what they’re for.

That’s a big thing, I think. If you ask people in Silicon Valley why they’re not evangelicals, a lot would say, “Because I support gay marriage,” or “Because I support a woman’s right to choose.” How do you get around that?

There are people on the right and the left that are followers of Christ. But it’s unfortunate in some ways that Christianity has been identified exclusively as a right-wing group. When I have discussions with people, I don’t get into politics. To me, it’s not about politics. If someone’s gay, they’re gay, and that’s their lifestyle. I would talk more about the person of Christ.

Part of what’s interesting to me, about all of this, is that Silicon Valley is actually a place with a ton of faith. It’s just not faith in God. It’s faith in technology, in the future, in the power of innovation to shape society. Is there any way in which Silicon Valley might actually be well-suited to a religious revival?

People here live isolated lives. Christianity is about relationships and community. Yesterday, I was interviewing a guy, he’s a biotech guy, he’s brilliant. God has given him the mission in life of helping make the world a better place through biotechnology. He’s been doing stuff that is saving millions of lives with the product his company made.

Other people feel they’re on a mission to change the world in other ways. And maybe they make a billion dollars. But my hope is that when people go through a tough time, they’ll look at the site or read the book, find out more about what it is, and say, “Maybe these people aren’t as crazy as I thought they were.”