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What Pastor Saeed's Release Taught Me About Prayer & Interview Link



Hi friends,

Today's blog post will be a little different from my usual weekly installment.  I guess you could say this is a special "Tuesday Thoughts" edition on a Monday where I will be sharing a lesson learned and a very special link.

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In a recent blog post, I shared about prayer renewal in my own life born out of the recognition that I was not fully living for Christ in this most important spiritual discipline.  I was allowing activities of my day to take precedent over prayer, even those for the Kingdom, yet missing out on the power that fuels Kingdom work.

The Lord prompted me to focus on the word "PRAY" for 2016.  So on January 1, 2016, I set out to make prayer a priority.  And not just for the sake of praying, but intentional, unrushed, sincere prayers to my God and Father.  Prayers for my spiritual walk, my family, our nation, and most especially prayers for those people and situations outside of my immediate circles.

And then the answers started coming...  Prayers that were answered with such specificity.  I felt like Sarah, laughing out loud, as I watched God rewarding my obedience.  After having come out of a dry season of prayer, the Lord was spurring my faith on through these great and wonderful answers to prayer.

As I shared before, I was not very consistent about praying for situations or people outside of my sphere of family and friends.  So many times, I would see on my Facebook newsfeed calls to pray for Pastor Saeed, who had been imprisoned for his Christian faith since 2012; many times enduring harsh conditions, his health suffering terribly.  I would scroll by quickly, thinking how terrible his story was, but I confess and am ashamed to admit, I don't think I ever once stopped to pray for him...

In recent months, I personally hadn't heard or read anything about Pastor Saeed.  Yet, while reading in Exodus about the harsh treatment of the Israelites during their enslavement by Pharaoh, I was prompted to pray earnestly for Pastor Saeed's freedom.   This being the first time I had ever prayed for him...

You can imagine my amazement, when just a few days after praying for Pastor Saeed and his freedom, I heard the news that he had been released and was coming home!

But my feelings about this answered prayer were conflicted...

Of course, I was overjoyed for Pastor Saeed and his family; the nightmare of the past three years finally over.  The Lord showed me His power in prayer, even for someone in such dire, seemingly hopeless circumstances, clear across the world,  now set free!

Yet I was also overcome with deep conviction...  All those lost opportunities that I scrolled past to pray for him, but never did...  What if I had been obedient, and prayed right then and there upon seeing the story many months ago?  What if I had consistently lifted he and his family up to the Lord when I would see updates about him?  Would those prayers have changed the course of his freedom sooner than later?...

I don't mean to imply that because I prayed two weeks ago that I was responsible for Pastor Saeed's release from imprisonment.   I know faithful prayer warriors have been pleading for years before the Throne of Grace for Pastor Saeed's freedom, and at the Heavenly Father's appointed time, he was freed for God's Great Glory and the advancement of His Kingdom.

O, there is great "power in the name of Jesus to break every chain".

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.
Acts 16:25-26

Pastor Saeed's freedom has taught me not to scroll past opportunities to pray, but to pray right in the moment; to pray for the lost with urgency; to pray for the oppressed with compassion; to pray for the sick or lonely with tenderness, to pray for the needs of others with the love of Christ, and most especially to pray without ceasing.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, 
and thanksgivings be made for all people
1 Timothy 2:1

But what Pastor Saeed's release most especially taught me is that EVERY person's prayers are integral to God's big picture.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:19-20

You never know, God may be waiting for YOUR prayer to usher in His power to do great and mighty things!

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31


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One of the biggest blessings I have received in this past year of blogging was meeting Cheryl Smith from Homespun Devotions.  She is one of the sweetest, kindest Christ-followers I know.  Her love for the Lord Jesus and passion for His people exude from every word that she writes.  Her blog posts are incredibly edifying and encouraging.  You will be abundantly blessed by every post that she writes.

Recently, she began a blog series called Inner Views where she shares about the lives of believers in Christ - believers she has met along the way. Cheryl's thoughtfully chosen questions have Jesus at their center, whose purpose is to bring Glory to God.

I was incredibly humbled and honored when Cheryl asked to do an interview of me.  As I began answering her questions, I was actually learning new things about myself and God's work in my life, then I had ever realized before.

I am so grateful to Cheryl for the blessing of participating in her "Inner View" series.   If you would like to read more about how God has worked in my life from childhood to the present, you can read Cheryl's interview here.  

All Glory and Honor to my Lord and Savior.



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday,Dance with Jesus, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith

Comments

  1. Dear Karen!! Your precious words have brought me to tears. I am so humbled by them and so very grateful to you. May the dear Lord abundantly bless you! I LOVED the thoughts you shared here about prayer...oh, there could be SO much riding on our obedience! God help us to always mind the checks and prompts of the precious Holy Spirit! I love and appreciate you, sweet sister!

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    1. Cheryl, Thank you for your precious words here. They have touched me deeply.

      You are such a dear blessing.

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  2. The power of prayer is something that baffles me a bit, to be honest. I have experienced such amazing answers to prayer and have been completely disappointed in God's answer, at other times. We have to remember, I think, that God doesn't need our prayer (He didn't NEED your prayer for the pastor to be freed) but WE need our prayers! :) I love the verses you chose for this post! Thank you!

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    1. Carol, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on prayer here and joining in the conversation. :-)

      Thank you for your words of encouragement.

      Blessings.

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  3. I think your statement to "pray right in the moment" is key here. I, too, often find myself "scrolling" past opportunities to pray. It doesn't take that much time. It doesn't take that much effort. Doing it, though, is being obedient and it's powerful!
    Thanks for sharing about your experience and challenging the rest of us!

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    1. Shannon, I liked your insight where you said, "doing it, though, is being obedient and it's powerful". Obedience is always powerful, isn't it? Thank you so much for sharing that! It spurs me on even more to pray!

      You are very welcome! Blessings.

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  4. Karen, this post about prayer impacts me greatly. Sadly, it has never been my strongest discipline. I can get distracted in prayer and too often would forget to pray for someone. The latter has been helped greatly by my praying with or for them as soon as they ask. My journal of conversations with the Lord have also helped. Thanks for your transparency and encouragement.

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    1. Pam, Thank you so much for sharing your heart about prayer and what has worked for you. It is so good when kindred Believers share with each other; Iron sharpening iron.

      Your kind words have blessed me.

      Thanks for stopping by! :-)

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  5. I've had an experience like this in the past, too, but in the waiting room before a surgical procedure. I was at peace but another woman in the room was not. I missed the opportunity to show her God's love and peace. I missed out on that. The Holy Spirit convicted me of that and I have tried to be more aware of these opportunities...I still miss sometimes, but I am also more aware. Thank you for sharing this story.

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    1. Aimee, Thank you so much for sharing your own experience and how the Lord used that instance to help grow your prayer life.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I greatly appreciated it!

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  6. great reminder, karen- also a weakness in me unless in crisis - meeting w/ a new group of friends this quarter to do just that - pray. thanks for stopping by my blog today. blessings, sue

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    1. Sue, Prayer partners and prayer meetings truly draw us closer to each other and to the Lord while bringing Glory to God as we intercede for others. You will be so blessed! :-)

      You are very welcome!

      Thank you for visiting!

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  7. Thank you for sharing these scriptures about prayer and your insight as well! I've been wanting to do a bible study on prayer.

    Thank you, also, for your kind encouragement on my blog. It's greatly appreciated! (((hugs)))

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    1. Lil, You are very welcome! On both counts! :-)

      And thank you for visiting me here and commenting. I very much appreciate it!

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  8. Karen - Thank you for this beautiful encouragement to pray and your story through it! Blessings to you in 2016!

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    1. Sandra, You are very welcome!

      You have blessed me with your kind words. :-)

      Thanks for visiting and blessings to you too!

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  9. I rejoiced when Pastor Saeed was released. What a victory! Yes, so many people have been praying for him. According to Franklin Graham, his family needs our prayers now that he is home. I just can't imagine the obstacles to overcome through such an ordeal but I do know God is faithful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

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    1. Yes, I have been praying for the "re-entry" phase for him and his family. I know how hard it is seeing a loved one after a long deployment trying to become reacclimated to home and marriage, I can't imagine what it would be like after all the Pastor Saeed endured. I have been praying for protection of those family relationships and for healing both physically and mentally.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and for your encouragement to us all to continue to pray for Pastor Saeed and his family.

      Blessings.

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  10. I think the discipline of stopping to actually pray versus passing on a request is huge. I also know that sometimes God burdens my heart for a while for someone and then removes the burden. I wonder if your burden to pray came at a time of intense spiritual warfare on Pastor Saeed's behalf. Whenever I've experienced that burden I know the Spirit is moving even if I can't see the results.

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    1. Debbie, Thank you for sharing your insights on prayer and how the Lord may have prompted me. You might very well be right!

      Thanks so much for visiting! :-)

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  11. This is such a powerful lesson about prayer, Karen. What a wonderful word for 2016. I must admit my prayer time gets very rushed and seems to be more squeezed in rather than thought out lately. I can completely relate to scrolling through news articles and not stopping to pray for the struggling people in these stories. Thank you for this reminder to slow down and be more aware, stopping to pray for situations as they are brought before me. Blessings to you and your beautiful prayer focus this year.

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    1. Candace, Praising God for His lessons.

      Thank you for sharing your own prayer story. I really think prayer is probably the most difficult spiritual discipline.

      You are very welcome.

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

      Blessings to you too!

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  12. I think sometimes I want to wait until the moment is right, the place is right, or until I believe my own heart is right before lifting others up in prayer. But it's so important that as soon as we hear of a need that we feel is prompting us to pray that we take the time right then to pray. Thank you for sharing at Weekend Whispers.

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    1. Barbie, Oh I am right there with you! A Pastor once said that we needed to confess our sins, before God would answer our prayers. Unfortunately, this has stuck with me and I can hold back on praying because I have lots of confessing to do. But prayer is a conversation with the Lord. Although I believe it is good to confess before praying, I don't think it has to be the rule.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on prayer and taking the time to comment. I greatly appreciate it!

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  13. Prayer is indeed powerful, and The Lord answers in His timing. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Carrie, Amen!

      You are very welcome! :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. I think we often don't realize the power of prayer, but we need to remember and to pray diligently. I know it's easy to forget to pray when someone asks us, so I do try to pray at least a short prayer right then. That way if I do forget I will at least have prayed for them. I don't think that takes the place of longer prayers, but there is a place for all kinds of prayers. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience. Blessings to you!

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    1. You are so right.

      I have done that too often. Someone has asked me to pray and then I've forgotten. I feel terrible. Your words are wise to pray right when the person makes a request of us to pray.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on prayer here today.

      You are very welcome!

      Blessings to you too!

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  15. I was so excited to hear of Pastor Saeed's release. Such good news!

    Like you, I want to have a heart that is in tune with the Spirit and prompted to pray. May God give me eyes to see those needs and a burden to pray for them.

    Blessings

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