Greatest Gift: A Collection Devoted to Prayer

Greatest Gift: A Collection Devoted to Prayer




Ask and Learn from the Best

If you were to ask America ’s leading Christian authors and speakers to “teach us how to pray,” who would you ask? Try Bruce Wilkinson , Oliver North, Ruth Myers, Greg Laurie, and Shirley Dobson. And just what would they say? “It’s simple, really! Just come, ask, wait, and extol.” Here, in one handsome volume, are some of the most poignant, compelling, and God-honoring devotions ever penned. Your life of prayer will be refreshed, your hope in God inspired, and your reach of faith extended as you walk this well-laid path into the secret place of the Most High.

Here, some of the most poignant, compelling, and God-honoring reflections are unveiled in one handsome volume. Your life of prayer will be refreshed, your hope in God inspired, and your reach of faith extended as you walk the well-laid path into the secret place of the Most High.

“I know of no greater preacher in America today than Greg Laurie.”
—Reverend Billy Graham

“In these uncertain times, those who keep in close touch with God will make it safely through the storm.”
—Jim Cymbala

“Otis Ledbetter introduces us to a place utterly alone with God, where no power of darkness can come.”
—Ann Kiemel Anderson, bestselling author of I Gave God Time

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590527375
Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.08(w) x 7.33(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Contributing to The Greatest Gift are well-known Christian speakers and leaders including David Jeremiah, Ruth Myers, Ron Mehl, Bruce Wilkinson, J. Otis Ledbetter, Greg Laurie, Shirley Dobson, and Oliver North.

Read an Excerpt

THE Greatest GIFT

A Collection Devoted to Prayer

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2006 Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-737-2

Chapter One

Out of the Chaos, Into the Calm J. Otis Ledbetter

* * *

For those who trust in You ... You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence. Psalm 31:19-20

Especially when danger swirled around him, David-the man after God's own heart-learned to cherish his own secret place in the Lord's presence. Look at how he sings about it in the twenty-seventh Psalm:

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me. (v. 5)

In the secret place, David becomes totally aware of being completely protected-and that same experience can also be yours.

In the secret place you can find full assurance of personal victory in the Lord, just as David does: "He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me" (vv. 5-6).

Are you facing any threat or hardship at this time that makes you anxious or fearful? In the secret place you can recover the same fresh awareness of God and the same ability to cast off fear that David sings about in this psalm. Just listento his God-given confidence:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? ... Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident. (vv. 1, 3)

The One Thing We Desire

For David-and for you and me-the secret place is more than a place of protection and confidence building. It's the environment for resting in the very dwelling place of God, the very presence of God.

David describes his secret place as an entry into God's "pavilion" and "tabernacle" (Psalm 27:5); it ushers him into "the house of the Lord" and "His temple" (v. 4). In David's lifetime, the glorious and beautiful temple that would rise on Mount Zion in Jerusalem had not yet been constructed; David's eyes at this moment are on a place even more glorious and beautiful, the temple in heaven where he communes with God by way of the secret place. Your eyes can look there too.

Your own secret place is where you, like David, can "behold the beauty of the Lord" (v. 4)-enjoying your unique individual experience of God as He reveals Himself to you with an intimacy that brings more inner satisfaction than anything else possibly could. In such intimacy you can "inquire in His temple," just as David does (v. 4), laying before Him your every need, your every concern, your every question, and finding God's help and answers.

No wonder David joyfully concludes that being with God in the secret place is the "one thing" he desires of the Lord, the ultimate experience he seeks (v. 4). This will be your lasting desire as well, as you continue to meet with God in the secret place.

Prescription for Peace

In the Bible, my favorite look inside the secret place comes in Psalm 91, a passage I strongly urge you to turn to as soon as possible as you explore and get acquainted with your secret place. Allow God to personalize the message of this psalm for you, engraving it into your soul as a vision and a guarantee of the blessedness He has in store for you there.

The unnamed author of this psalm gives us a guided tour of a restful, safe place that's like a veritable oasis for the longing or fearful spirit. In this place, chaos is absent, calmness is in abundance. It's a prescription for peace from the Great Physician.

Rest ... safety ... calmness ... peace.... For most of us, those words don't exactly describe life as usual. Why is that?

Have you ever thought about how much of our lives is influenced by potentially negative forces outside our control? Listen to how the worst of such harmful uncertainties are vividly depicted in Psalm 91:

The snare ...

The terror by night ...

The arrow that flies by day ...

The pestilence that walks in darkness ...

The destruction that lays waste at noonday. (vv. 3-6)

Chilling terms-yet fully on the mark in describing how we can sometimes feel about the unexpected battles and challenges that flare up against us in life and corner our attention.

Trapped by the Uncontrollable

When you think about it, isn't our anxiety over such uncontrollable factors and circumstances the very thing that often keeps us from accomplishing great things for God? Doesn't it hinder us from realizing our potential in Christ and pull us back from giving our best effort in whatever He calls us to?

We get trapped: "Like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them" (Ecclesiastes 9:12).

Psalm 91 goes on to give another frightful image you may identify with: "A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand" (v. 7). Have you noticed how the failures of others around you-spiritual failures, moral failures, relational failures, career failures, ministry failures-can dampen and wither your own motivation for success and accomplishment and your sense of security about the future? So many lives around us are littered with disappointments and breakdowns, causing us to shy away ourselves from indulging in big dreams, from reaching for the stars and risking any part of life to accomplish big things. Our personal goals that once shone so brightly now seem too lofty and unrealistic.

The Shadow That Protects

So many discouraging obstacles in life, so many potential adversities! But you're responding properly to them when you let those fears and concerns drive you to the secret place, to reinforce its deepest lesson:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (91:1)

The secret place is where you deepen your capacity to abide calmly in Christ, to live constantly within His shadow.

By dwelling in the secret place, your faith in God will be energized. From the depths of your being, you'll sing along with the author of this psalm, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust" (v. 2).

And what about those uncontrollable adversities, all that danger by day and danger by night? "Surely He shall deliver you.... You shall not be afraid" (vv. 3, 5).

Resting in the secret place, you'll find the bold conviction and confidence to hold on to the following words as your personal promise from God:

No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. (v. 10)

And what about all the failure that strikes down so many others all around you? "It shall not come near you" (v. 7)!

With the eyes of your heart, this is how you'll see yourself in the enfolding protection of your loving God:

He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. (v. 4)

Through the time you spend in the secret place, you'll also come to believe firmly in the reality and presence of God's guardian angels and their power in your own life and experience:

For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. (91:11-12)

Glimpsing Your Future

What's more, in the secret place your God-nurtured plans and His calling for your future will spring to life in your spiritual vision, and you'll be assured of vanquishing spiritual foes as you move forward in God's kingdom work and in spiritual warfare:

You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. (v. 13)

Abiding in the secret place, you'll hear the words of Jesus as never before: "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). The secret place is where your innermost spirit will get reconnected to the truth that if God is for you, no one can be against you (Romans 8:31).

These are the soaring promises and solid provisions for the man or woman who will abide with God in the secret place.

So go to the secret place, and let your loving Father personally deliver those promises to your heart!


Excerpted from THE Greatest GIFT by BRUCE WILKINSON OLIVER NORTH RUTH MYERS SHIRLEY DOBSON OTIS LEDBETTER RON MEHL DAVID JEREMIAH GREG LAURIE Copyright © 2006 by Multnomah Publishers, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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