Jesus’ Offensive Prayer

(Day 10 in a 28-day series from First Bradenton)

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold. Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” – John 17:9-20

This is a section of the prayer Jesus prays in John 17. It is the longest recorded prayer in the Bible, and Jesus spends it praying for us.

A few of the things Jesus prays over us in this chapter are that we would be protected, united as believers, filled with joy, safe from the evil one, and holy.

When it comes to offensive praying, I think this is among the best examples to follow in our lives. We can pray for the same things as Jesus did here! This can be a guide when we are confused, or do not know what to pray for.

Each one of us greatly need all these things Jesus prayed over us to get through every day. I particularly like how Jesus prayed that we would be safe from the evil one. We need to pray that over each other now as much as ever.

We live in a world filled with so much darkness, and people who have become victims of the evil one. We see far too many people struggling with depression, suicide, violence, drugs, and overall hopelessness.

We should pray that we and the people around us would be safe from satan and his attacks that want to lead us down these evil paths. If anyone is struggling with any of these things, you are not a bad person or a bad Christian.

But I believe that praying for the things Jesus prayed for can allow you to fight against the attacks of the evil one and become victorious over them because of the power of Christ alone!

By Frank Welch

He Is My Guide

(Day 7 in a 28-day series from First Bradenton)

We have entered a season of Trial and Tribulations. The Trials consist of the decisions we made in our lives. The Tribulations that have occurred in this season have made us stronger than before. We start to wonder, “Am I being tested?”

I have to remind myself, “I know who is before, and I know who stands behind me.” I’ve been dealing with loyalty, trust issues, bad habits, back stabbing, identity, loneliness, and losing myself in Christ. I have to decide whether I want to be “The World’s Sheep” or “Jesus’ Sheep.”

I noticed God started to give me what I wanted. He took away my distractions. He took away the people who caused me pain. He calmed my anxiety, mixed with stress and depression. He’s showing me salvation and redemption. I want to receive it.

Do you feel as though God is silent towards you? You need to pray and talk to him. He wants a conversation out of you. Do you feel as though you are being tested? Pray. God will show you the right way. You should not rush, for God knows what you need and when you need it. God might not come when YOU want him, but God is ALWAYS on time! Do you trust God? You should ALWAYS trust God, because we know he is a Good, Good Father!

Trust in God when things don’t look good. He will be your guide. 2 Kings 18-19

By Shanti M. Washington

Through the Thorn

This week I finished a book that a friend gave me entitled Kiss the Wave by Dave Furman. Furman is a pastor in Dubai who suffers from a nerve disease and struggles with disability in both arms. I’ll just go ahead and recommend this book for anyone who is living with or giving support to someone with a lifelong disability.


Chapter 9, “Weakness is Always the Way,” had the most nuggets for me. Furman reminds the reader that God’s ways are not our ways. He talks about the Japanese form of art called Kintsugi, which involves joining together broken pottery pieces with gold or another precious metal, as an example. God uses the brokenness of pain and suffering to create in us images of his power through our weakness. Weakness is the way (a borrowed title from a book of the same name by J.I. Packer).

If we were steel vessels without blemish or weakness, we might be tempted to think we have no need for God. However, God uses weakness to show our need for dependence upon him.

It is a privilege to boast in our weaknesses because they reveal who are Father really is – a great God.

Have you ever considered that your weakness is a part of God’s glorious plan for your life?

We can embrace God in our trials with faith that God is doing a work in us beyond our comprehension. Our scars are not things to run from or to hide from others. Through them we exalt the one who is conforming us more and more into his image.

Furman’s final scriptural example in this chapter is from 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about his weakness of a thorn in the flesh. Paul says he boasted in his weaknesses and was content with them because he was made strong through them. Then Furman wrote this: “We might wonder what Paul could have accomplished if he didn’t have that the thorn. But the reality is, everything Paul accomplished was done by God – not in spite of the thorn but through the thorn.”

Most likely you have a thorn. It could be physical, emotional, mental, even spiritual. Maybe you live with MS, or you battle depression, or you’re trying to overcome the emotional scars of family history. Maybe your thorn is like Thomas’s where you tend to doubt and worry more than trust and believe. What if you studed Paul’s life then followed his example of surrendered contentment? What could God do if you let him work through your thorn? 

Stop Listening to Yourself

I read this quote yesterday from Martin Lloyd-Jones. I’m guessing we all could use this reminder from time to time.

I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing “ourselves” to talk to us!…Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you…The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: “Why are you cast down” -and say to yourself: “Hope in God”-instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged himself to do.

*D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965), 20-21