Prayerfully Watching the Signs of the Times

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“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

Did you know that there are 22 signs of the time when Jesus will return to earth? You can find them in Matthew 24-25. Jesus is not wordy in what He tells us, but with precision He carefully picks what He shares. Isn’t it quite amazing that He spent two whole chapters telling us about the end times? It was a monumental teaching.

The last generation won’t pass away until these signs have taken place. Some of them have taken place before, but in the generation when Jesus returns to earth, every one of these signs will be happening. This is biblical information that we must know, study, and observe because God is warning us in advance. We must be aware of the season and take this seriously. Studying the end times will be an anchor in our lives and will help us to know how to maneuver through difficult days. We must be prepared and not let our hearts get discouraged as the days grow darker, but seek to understand what Jesus is saying.

Let’s look at the Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24:32-34, because in his teaching Jesus is shifting to a pastoral exhortation on how to live and respond in the end times. A parable is an illustration or story that sheds light on the spiritual truth so that it is easy to grasp. The word “learn” is in this parable three times and means to be intentional. We must set our heart towards understanding the end times because it takes a determined effort.

We must learn watchfulness. When the branch is tender with leaves you know it is summer. These are time indicators so we can know what is coming. If we think about a thunderstorm, the dark clouds show us that we must be watchful because it is approaching. If we don’t run inside, we will get wet.

My grandfather did not take heed when a thunderstorm approached his Minnesota farm one warm summer evening. He was out on his tractor with his two sons when a terrible thunderstorm hit their land. A bolt of lightning suddenly struck him causing everyone to fly off the tractor. That bolt of lightning took his life when my father was only a young boy at the age of 13. It was sudden and swift. There was no longer time to run inside. Earlier there was the need to take heed and be watchful regarding those dark clouds, but my grandfather continued working and took his chances that all would be ok. But it wasn’t, and my father grew up until the age of 94 without a father.

Mt. 24:5-31, show us through the signs of the times that the day of the Lord is near and that we must take this seriously. We can’t be out in a thunderstorm when things suddenly change. We see in this parable important indicators of His coming, so that we can prepare in advance. Every calamity in biblical history was prophesized ahead of time. Look at the Flood, Egypt, the fall of Israel, and the others.

God is giving us insight into the generation when the Lord returns. He is warning us that the coming of the Lord is near, and is exhorting us to watch because we don’t know the hour. The Father only exclusively knows the day and the hour. He is reasserting the importance of the signs to be a predictor of his coming. We must prayerfully watch for the signs. The increasing of these 22 signs that have been promised for over 2000 years clearly point to the season of His return.

We can compare this with the days of Noah when people are drinking and having a good time. There was rebellion. We must realize two important truths. The world will not recognize these prophetic signs of the times, and they will be apathetic and live as they always lived. But remember Noah and how the flood suddenly came. Judgment was swift. God prophesizes for ages about it, but the fulfillment was sudden. It will happen quickly, just like the strike of lightning was for my grandfather.

Like in Noah’s day, many today are more concerned about the world, but we are not to let our hearts be weighed down by all its’ cares. It’s a snare to catch us by surprise if we are not prepared.

“For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24:38).

How to Apply the Parable of the Fig Tree

God wants us to prepare our hearts. Here are some ways we can prayerfully watch:

  • Learn from the parable of the fig tree and Matthew 24-25 – Know that these 22 signs will take place in the generation the Lord returns.
  • When you see the storm clouds approaching, seek to understand and line up your heart with God’s truth.
  • Watch for the signs of the times in a spirit of prayer and reverence.
  • Take heart and set to diligently study all the Scriptures about the end times.
  • Be careful of the seriousness of deception in the end times.
  • Know that these are times that God has ordained for the fulfillment of His purposes on earth.
  • Know that this will be a special time for God’s people and that the beauty of Jesus will be revealed in a glorious way.
  • Seek to keep your heart at peace.

Let’s realize that in the darkest of hours, those who are prepared will shine brightly. Studying about the end times has helped me to understand, prepare my heart, and live above the storm. Let’s be prepared by carefully studying, prayerfully watching, and radically living for eternity. Let’s set our minds and hearts on things above.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
http://www.intercessorsarise.org

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The Power of Praying God’s Word

“The life of a Christian is all about passion… Nothing is more powerful than when the Holy Spirit reveals the Son of God through the words of Scripture. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, every heart began to burn when God revealed Himself. When He unveils Himself and we have understanding of what He is saying, passion is the result. Seeing the face of God, and then gazing at it, has to begin sometime and someplace. It begins by bringing our whole person before the consuming fire who is God, reciting His words—the Bible—out loud to Him and then letting the Holy Spirit reveal Christ to us. That is why we pray the Bible.”

Jesus was passionate about the Word of God. He used it when He prayed. He knew the power of the Word of God in intercession. When He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He quoted the Word of God. The devil left because of the power of the Word of God. Jesus knew that speaking the Word of God would bring spiritual breakthrough in the most difficult times of spiritual attack.

Praying God’s Word fights the fleshly battles of life using His spiritual weapons. This gives us authority in the supernatural realm to pull down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We no longer are in agreement with darkness but agree with the light of God’s Word.

Praying the Word of God brings freedom, discernment, and protection. God’s Word can bring life in a most amazing way!

In Baghdad, Iraq, a 22-year-old Army Private First Class soldier named Brendan Schweigart was on a critical mission wearing a bullet proof shield for protection. You can only imagine the tension in that situation. Before going out to battle, he carefully tucked his Bible in his pocket beneath his bulletproof shield. While on a dangerous mission, he was shot with a high-powered rifle. The Bible saved his life when it shielded the bullet from his heart. He told his mother that he always carried his Bible into battle. Brendan received a Purple Heart and was soon released from the hospital. The bullet was still in the pages of his Bible, a miraculous reminder of the amazing power and protection of the Word of God.

God’s Word will protect our lives when in spiritual battle. It can bring forth life in the darkest of situations. It can save us from those fiery darts from the enemy. I wonder how many of us carry our Bibles into battle like Army Private Brendan?

The mystery of intercession is actually profoundly simple. We tell God what he says in His Word. Everyone can pray like this—young and old, beginners and the experienced. God knows everything. We don’t have to come up with some intelligent method of praying, but He is deeply touched when we pray the truths in His heart back to Him. God loves it when we agree with Him through His Word. We read His Word and let the Holy Spirit speaks to us through it. Then we pray it back to Him as the Holy Spirit leads us. His Words are Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24; 6:63). When we pray God’s Word, it marks us on the inside, changes us, and builds us up. We unite with God’s heart in a most amazing way.

Our own hearts are transformed as we pray God’s Word.

He will actually withhold His blessing until we stand in faith, agree with His heart, and pray it back to Him (James 4:2). Praying God’s Word gives us sustaining power. The revelation we get from Him through His Word strengthens our emotions. We can change whole cities when we agree with God’s heart in prayer. Power and revival are released when we pray His Word over a city. God runs the universe through prayer.

Haven’t you noticed when you’re discouraged, how different you feel after God speaks to your heart through His Word? It’s as if a light goes on that dispels the darkness. God upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrew 1:3). When we read and pray His Word we can have a living, active dialogue with Him in our heart (Hebrews 4:12). But we must receive it with obedience, faith, and devotion. When we abide in it (John 15:7), everything else seems to falls into place.

Bible prayers are easy to find. There are many types of prayers in the Bible. For example, there are the Psalms, the prayers of wisdom such as the book of Proverbs, the Song of Songs, the prayers of the Prophets, the prayers of Jesus, the apostolic prayers, and the hymns of Revelation.

Praying the Bible can and will have a dramatic effect in our prayer lives and prayer meetings. It is definitely a key to the success of day and night prayer and worship. It’s advantageous in our walk with God. It takes us to such a higher level in our relationship with Him. Our faith increases and rises to a new place in authoritative strength. We pray the will of God and see answers to our prayers (1 John 5:14-15). We become fixed on God with a greater determination to please Jesus in all that we do and say. Praying Scripture helps us to grow in Biblical knowledge. God is able to bring our prayer lives into an entirely new focus.

We are in a serious battle throughout the world over the authority of the Bible. There is a great decline in the belief that you can know absolute truth and right from wrong. This is one reason why we must uphold it as absolute, authoritative truth in our prayers. Jesus prayed from the foundation of absolute truth. We must also. As we pray God’s Word out loud, our faith grows and we are equipped for every good work.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”
(2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We must emphasize the Bible in our prayer meetings and everywhere we go. As we do this, we combat the lies of the enemy and spiritually strengthen our ability to abide in God’s Word. We choose to obey God’s Word as we pray it. We feed our hearts on it. We learn to talk to God about His Word and then we listen. We internalize it, and we say it back to Him.

Praying God’s Word refreshes us internally and enables us to live radically for Him long-term. Let’s learn to cultivate a spirit of radical devotion to God’s Word as our everyday lifestyle. David wrote many of the Psalms in the Bible. He saw himself and others through the eyes of God as he prayed. He understood the love of God even when facing difficulty because His attitude was right. Praying God’s Word is a positive way to live.

“When you pray the Bible, you will understand how God views you and how He views others. In a culture distorted by negative media images, we all need to be founded on what God thinks of us. David’s self-image came through prayer. He saw himself as God’s anointed, as the apple of God’s eye. David knew that God loved him, and that he was favored when the wicked were not. Therefore, we need to pray the Bible until we receive the same attitude that David did.”

By Debbie Przybylski