ReAwakenWNY is a D.B.A of EquipWNY, Inc.
Future Gatherings to be announced
Picture by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
2021 Breakthrough, a 21-day journey
Welcome to Breakthrough
Like any wise mentor Jesus sends out his disciples to do ministry. They run into a situation that is outlined in Matthew 17 and Mark 9 where the disciples could not cast out a demon. the response of Jesus was “these come out with prayer and fasting.” What Jesus hints at is that there is a certain amount of ministry that can be done with prayer. But there is another level of ministry that is done when we have fasted and prayed. Another way we might think about it is that when we need a Breakthrough…we can take prayer to another level.
Often we think about prayer and fasting in terms of things we have to sacrifice or give up to God. I think it is better to think of prayer and fasting as the way of Breakthrough in our lives. When we are facing a challenge that seems impossible, when we are facing an answer that we have been seeking for a long time, it may be time to come to God in a posture of prayer and fasting that seeks the power of God to bring about Breakthrough.
Many churches and believers over the last few years have been doing a 21-Day focus on prayer and fasting in the month of January. It is a great way to start a new year…and more importantly, a new prayer life launched in our lives. This is a 21-day devotion that will be made available on January 1. If your church has provided a resource, maybe the Lord leads you to do one in the morning for morning prayer and the other for evening prayer. In other words, use this resource in whatever way you would find it helpful.
2021 seems to be a year of Breakthrough. Let’s pray for it, let’s look for it, let’s seek God and His power.
Pastor Christopher Baldwin
Allowing God to set our expectations
One of the greatest impacts of 2020 was on our expectations. Nothing went as we expected! Expectations are important in a lot of areas of our life, but especially as we come to prayer. I think one of the biggest discouragements to prayer is when things don’t go as we expected - when we sense God doing something different than we thought He would do, or when He does not come through as we thought He would. Psalm 62:5 says: “My soul waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”
What if, in our prayer life in 2021, we not only come to God in prayer, but we also let Him set the expectation of our heart. We know we are growing in prayer when we are not only praying to God, but we are content to receive whatever answer He has for us. May we be surrendered enough before God that we receive His will…better yet, making our will His will….our expectation to be His.
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalms 17:6 NIV
Breakthroughs are as much about confident expectation as they are about humbled desperation. To call at its root means to accost someone. In our desperation, we almost attack God with our pleas. The urgency is great. But David the Psalmist knew that God does not need cajoled. He simply proclaimed that he would call to the Lord because God would answer. It was this confident expectation that caused the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. (Luke 8:40-48). It was this expectation that caused the blind beggar to shout all the louder when told to be quiet. (Luke 18:35-43)
I can give testimony that when I have called, Jesus has heard me and answered, and I have experienced breakthroughs. It has happened over and over again, and the calls don’t have to just flow out of desperation. They can simply be the desire for God to show us the “great and unsearchable things we do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Call with confidence today; He will answer!
Pastor Pat Jones
Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church
In an effort to encourage prayer, many have suggested that prayer is simply talking to God. While in a sense this is true, it is so much more than the Ricky Bobby’s prayer from “Talladega Nights.” There is good reason for prayer’s consideration as a spiritual discipline. For me, it is the most difficult of them all. Biblical prayer opens us up and forces deep reflection on our relationship with God, our current condition, and it demands action. One can study theology at its highest levels and still keep God at arm’s length. One can give, serve, love, and fellowship…all while denying a dead or stagnant walk with Christ. Prayer, done honestly, forces communion as it brings us face to face with God himself. The key passages in God’s Word that always scroll through my mind are The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which tells us to “pray without ceasing.” As these two passages are considered together, we are to continually glorify God through recognizing His unending forgiveness for believers, our need for His physical and spiritual provision, and the majestic deity of His name. Since our chief end is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (WSC, 1647), then surely consistent, deep, reflective, and disciplined prayer must be a part of our spiritual walk.
Crawford Media Group
Grace, Grace, God’s Grace,
By definition, "grace" is a favor dispensed by God without expectation of any kind of return benefit. God's grace is not new - in fact, it has always been offered to humanity. But, wow, was it manifested in the person of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul writes;
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age…” (Titus 2:11-12).
Three clear concepts can be seen as a result of the manifestation of God's grace.
First, one of the purposes of God's grace is to instruct us, literally to "train" us.
Second, the manifestation of God's grace teaches us there are several things we should not do.
Third, the manifestation of God's grace instructs that there are certain things we should do.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness never fails. Thank You, that You are interested in every area of my life and that despite my many faults and failings, You have promised to lead and to guide in all things. And thank You Lord, that You have promised to supply the sufficient grace I need in every situation of my life.
May God’s Grace embrace your life this year
Pastor Mark Sterlace – Grace In Community Church
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Matt 6:11 records that one of his instructions included in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13) is to ask God to “Give us today our daily bread.” How interesting! The context is Matt 6:8 where Jesus has just assured his disciples, they do not need to use many words because “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Later in Matthew 6:32 Jesus assures his followers that they don’t need to worry about what to eat or drink because “Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
So why should we ask for bread today, and come to Him tomorrow to ask again? Has God forgotten our needs? No!! He knows that we need to remember daily that He is the source of everything we could possibly ask for or need. Whether we are fasting or eating, he sustains us. (Phil 4:19) Are you hungry to know him better? Come to God in prayer. Let this be a season where we intentionally draw nearer and let Him supply us with the daily bread of His Word and His presence. Get to know God more intimately by pressing in prayer.
Facebook - @PrayWNY
Has the Novelty Worn Off Yet?
If 2020 has indeed been a year of perfect vision, as many have declared it would be, what have we seen? Surely, we have seen that prayer can no longer be considered a novelty by the western church -or any demographic of the church for that matter. While culture wades through the maelstrom of politically correct terminology to help make sense of the impact of the COVID-19 virus, terms like essential and non-essential become more relevant than ever. Imagine Jesus telling Martha that her sister Mary had chosen what was ultimately most essential in life as she sat at His feet.
In a generation that majors on fascination with distraction the scripture exhorts us to live as sober, watchful and hopeful. Jesus uniquely connected these ideas to the place of prayer. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” With multiple, and often contrasting, narratives flooding the cultural, political and religious landscape, the temptation to plug our ears or put off until tomorrow the essentials of watchful prayer are more potent than we would imagine. The rest of ease and comfort will need to be shaken if we are to endure and emerge victorious in this hour.
“For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” -Isaiah 56:7
Rivers of Fire Buffalo-Niagara
If My People
We have mentioned the discussion between Jesus and his disciples as they talk about the breakthrough that comes as a result of prayer and fasting. There is another verse that I believe the Lord has given to us that is key to breakthrough. This breakthrough comes to a nation, and as a result of recent events, I believe concerted efforts of prayer for our nation is not only prudent, but so important.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Interestingly, God puts the onus on His children to humble themselves, pray, and seek the face of God. The result of such time will lead to our confronting the sins in our own lives and turning from them. God says, as a result, I will hear, forgive, and heal. For God to move, to forgive, and to heal, is just what we need.
As we seek personal breakthrough, let’s seek national breakthrough…we need it.
Wait on the Lord
"But those who wait on the Lord SHALL renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
Here, the prophet Isaiah describes a great mystery of prayer and fasting. We often think breakthrough results when we do more for the Lord. We spend ourselves in teaching and helping people and become worn out. The answer is not just to keep going. Burnout, addictions, broken relationships, and even loss of faith can result when we ignore our weariness.
Isaiah reveals to us that stopping our activities to spend time alone with God is what we all need to thrive. Becoming still and listening for His voice, worshiping Him, and surrendering our lives afresh, are all ways that we can “wait on Him”. Being in God’s Presence heals our hearts, lifts our burdens, fills us with joy which is our strength, empowers us with His Spirit, and renews our vision. That kind of prayer is the powerhouse of the Christian life.
If we simply wait upon the Lord, He has promised He will come. Then we will soar in our faith, run with Him in His power, and walk out our Christianity faithfully through every challenging season.
Jessica Collins, Senior Leader
Vanguard Church, North Tonawanda
Breakthrough: It’s been eleven years...
It’s been eleven years since I prayed like this. Don’t get me wrong, I have dedicated significant prayer over major hurdles for our family. I’ve prayed through moves to a different state, transitions to a different ministry, and temporary separations of our family, in order that one of our children get emotionally and physically healthy again.
But not like this…
Eleven years ago, our church plant decided to begin 2010 with 21 days of prayer. It was a pivotal time for the church, hoping to make the leap from portable to permanent. It was also a critical time for our family, hoping to finally see doctors initiate 3 stages of surgeries to re-plumb our 8-month old son’s congenital heart defect. Our Josiah had been born with only three chambers in his heart, and his little life had been confined to a Pediatric ICU, 200 miles away from our home. We began to pray...
But 18 days in, January 24th 2010, Josiah suddenly passed away. 18 days in, after leaving his side only twice in 8 months, Josiah’s life came to an end. 18 days in, while our church prayed, Josiah’s heart stopped beating. 18 days in. But why? How could this be?
In the Gospels, we read John Mark’s account of Jesus and his ministry to those who were hungry, needy, sick and desiring of healing. In Mark 9 we read how his disciples struggled to facilitate a miracle, and how a doubtful father put all the faith he could muster behind Christ’s power to heal. What was the result? A miracle!
Eleven years ago, we prayed desperately that our son would become miraculously strong enough to undergo surgery. What was the result? Answered prayer. Eleven years removed, I can finally look back now and say that God unquestionably answered our prayers for healing. It really was a miracle… completed in God’s timing, not mine.
I trust that my son was eternally healed that fateful day, and that Josiah’s damaged heart was finally made whole. Eleven years later, I’m finally ready to pray like this again… So for the next 21 days I trust that prayer will make my heart whole as well. Lord I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!
Pastor Milo Wilson
Randall Baptist Church
When prayer is the cry of our heart
When I think back on my days as a mom with young children, I remember the times when my boys’ tears would evoke a strong reaction in me. Whether they just fell off a bike and needed a band-aid, tumbled to the ground after what was supposed to be a “super hero” feat, when they had a fever spike, or were just over-tired...to me, their tears were important. Their heart-ache, for whatever reason, made me run to their side, hold them close, and speak words of comfort.
As an adult, there are days when tears have been my form of prayer. The emotions were so heavy, that I had no words. The Bible records many instances of tears being shed, whether it was David, the prophets, Job, or Jesus. Psalm 24:18 says, “God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Sometimes things happen in life that bring us to tears. I believe we have a God who understands the cry of our heart expressed through tears. Romans 8:26-27 says, “ 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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Thank God we have Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf. Trust Him; when we are in a season where we don’t have the words to pray...Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
Tammy Baldwin, Encounter Church
The Scent of Water
“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.”
Job 14:7-9 (NRSV)
Before I begin 2021, I must acknowledge the reshaping that 2020 brought for us all. In our ministry, we work with leaders. No leader—in business, government, education, or church—was fully prepared for the storms of the century that visited our region (and world).
Was God taken by surprise? Of course not. What words of hope and resurrection might God speak as we begin 2021?
A biblical character that no one tries to imitate is Job who lost everything before God restored him. Perhaps your recent story has lived a little closer to Job’s than you planned.
Job 14 contains a “treasure hidden in darkness” (Is. 45:3 NLT). There is HOPE for an old dead stump. Many considered Buffalo an old dead stump. Some might consider your business or church an old dead stump. But our God specializes in resurrection of dead things, even a smelly guy named Lazarus.
Out of ideas and options? Need a breakthrough? God put a new lease on life into a dead stump named Job and He can do it for you. Be a spiritual bloodhound. Pray, then start sniffing for the scent of water. Prepare for Resurrection!!
Rev. Dr. Al Warner, Executive Director
Set Free Inc.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13-14
One day Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray. His response, recorded in Luke 1, reaches for beyond a model prayer. It extends to a soul-searching question. While we petition our Heavenly Father for our daily needs, do we consider that we may ask Him to give us His Spirit? Could there possibly be any human need greater than the Holy Spirit? What longing in this life cannot be met by the Spirit of the Living God?
In our fasting, we abstain from food, so that we might hunger for the Bread of Life. In our praying we seek the presence of our God, so that we might know the satisfaction of His blessing.
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we have been empowered to hear, understand, and respond according to the will of God. One thing is needed, and with shameless audacity, we may run to our Father, interrupt Him in our time of need, and ask Him for the gift of His Spirit.
Together, let us “boldly come before the throne of grace, that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4.16).
Father, give us your Spirit.
In Jesus’ Name,
Laura Lewis, Teacher, Christian Central Academy
“It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:2-4
When the apostles faced complaints over the inequitable feeding of widows, they could have fixed the problem themselves but at a cost. This wise response demonstrates how important it is to intentionally focus our attention on what God has specifically called us to do. It was not a question of whether this needed to be done, but whether they were the ones to do it. As spiritual leaders, they knew that their call was the spreading of the Word of God.
They suggested delegating the work to others so they could give their attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. It is interesting that prayer was not mentioned as something that might be neglected. Perhaps it was unthinkable not to pray. But I believe, to them, prayer was in a different category. Prayer is not unique to the apostles but a foundational practice of all believers. Prayer is how they knew what they were called to do and what enabled them to do it. Those who were selected to wait tables would give their attention to prayer and the feeding of widows.
There are many needs in our world today demanding our attention. Never let the things that need to be done by someone prevent you from doing the things God has called you to do. We cannot solve every problem. But when we begin with prayer, God will make clear what other tasks we can do to make a difference.
Western New York District of The Wesleyan Church
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"” Luke 18:1-8
Prayer. It seems like such a nominal subject in the church today. It can even be at times emotion or crisis driven. Is it just this or is there more to this than what meets the eye? Well, Jesus himself said that His house is to be a House of Prayer for All nations, meaning that as His people, we are a praying people. In these verses, we see that based on a need, someone was so desperate for an answer that they wouldn’t stop requesting. Are we those people today? Do we pray without ceasing as it says in Thessalonians?
It is interesting here that Jesus uses a desperate widow as His illustration. This was someone who wasn’t looking for revenge or an opportunity to “get even,” but rather was looking for someone who was in position to bring justice for her. I love how Jesus describes this judge as unjust. Even an unjust judge can bring proper justice. She represents what God is looking for in His church today. He is looking for a people who are that persistent in prayer that they get answers. If an unjust, reluctant judge can bring a answer to this widow, how much more will a loving and caring God do for a people crying out to Him day and night?!
Jesus’ last statement asks the question, if He would find faith on the earth as this widow had? I believe that God is looking for a people of faith and persistent prayer, who will not give up until they get their answer. This means that our hearts and minds need to be constantly in a posture of prayer. If we stay in this place we can more quickly pray with heaven’s heart towards every situation, including our own! Let’s make a determination today to pursue God, always trusting that He hears us, cares how we feel, and desires to bring His justice to our needs. It’s a totally different perspective and way to live. Be blessed today!
PASTOR JOEL ARCADIPANE
When I was young, I learned to pray by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. As I grew older, my prayers became a conversation between me and the Lord. And now, as I age further, a significant part of my prayer time consists of silence and stillness before God. I like to think of my Father as waiting patiently for me these past years to get through all my words so that I could be still.
There is profound transformative power in silence before God, and he calls us to it time and again. One of my favorite verses on the subject is Habakkuk 2:20: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” I meditate on it regularly.
When we’re silent in the presence of God:
We become receivers of His words, love, mercy, correction
We honor the Lord and submit to his sovereign power over all of creation
We release control of our time, lives, and our world to Him
We become vulnerable, and learn about who we are as much as who He is.
During this time of prayer and fasting, I encourage us all to include more and more silence in our time with the Lord.
Amanda Hartrich, Waymaker Art Ministry
As we enter another new season of our lives, we can be assured that what is not new is our need for prayer. And some would say that because of the season we are in, that we may need it more than ever.
The truth is that Jesus said in Luke 18:1 (GW) “They need to pray all the time and never give up.”
Because life can be over the top difficult at times and Jesus tells us that the only way that you and I will get through, is to pray. Because when we pray, we take our focus off of what we are able to do and put it into His hands, and what He is able to do.
Jesus, the Son of the Living God, when He would get exhausted or burdened the Bible says in Luke 5:16 (ESV) “He would withdraw to desolate place and pray.”
Paul tells the Ephesians,
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
That on every occasion, in every season, to pray. And not with some repetitious prayer, but with all kinds of prayer, for all the Lord's people.
Often times people ask me, or I hear them pray, “Lord Bless us,” which there is nothing wrong with, but when we consider “all kinds of prayers” it entails a greater spectrum than just His blessing upon us.
I urge you today not if, but when you pray, to engage into a dialogue with Him that will take you further than you’ve ever been. To keep praying for ALL the Lord's people so that His Kingdom will come and His will be done.
Pastor Marty Macdonald
The most impactful words are those that are spoken to the most influential people. Sometimes in life we feel as if our voices are not heard. Sometimes we feel as if our words have no impact. It’s at these points in life where I’m reminded of the one who always hears me. 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Prayer is a time where we can communicate with the creator of the universe. With the one who knows our past, and sees our future. With the one with more influence than any human could hope to achieve. That God is the same God who we can talk to at any time in our lives. So next time you feel as if you are not being heard, remember the one who will always lend an ear to the thoughts of our heart. Never doubt in the one who always has, always is, and always will be listening to our cries.
Jared Baldwin, iGenMinistries (youtube channel)
Accessing Answered Prayer
“This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:14-15
Some time ago someone asked me how to pray. My first thought was to tell him just open your heart and speak to The Lord with all sincerity and He will hear you. Then I remembered this passage and began to share with him the assurance and power we have as believers to pray The Word of God back to Him.
If we desire not to pray amiss, then praying The Word of God will increase our faith and give us staying power while we wait. God's Word is His plan and purpose for His redeemed people. Studying and searching for scriptures that provide answers to our situations in life becomes a discipline not solely for ourselves, but also for those we are interceding for.
The next time you find yourself struggling to pray, pull out The Word of God and pray the scriptures. You’ll find peace because you're doing so with the confidence believers have been entitled to, and according to scripture, we know we have the request granted which we asked from Him.
Father, thank you for instructing us how to access answered prayer. Thank you for Your Word that continues to lead and reveal Your plan and purpose for your people. I pray in times of difficulty we’ll remember Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Thank you for the promise of a future and hope as we continue to remain steadfast in all you have purposed for your people. In Jesus Name So Be It!
Pastor Ted Howard, Edison Street Community Church