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Christmas Prayers part 3

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2022 12:00 pm

Christmas Prayers part 3

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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December 17, 2022 12:00 pm

James and Robby continue to discuss the true story of Christmas in this episode.


This is Hans Schile from the Finishing Well Podcast.

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This is the Truth Network. Encouraging Prayer. God offers an open invitation for his people to talk with him at any time about anything. On Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the best-selling Prayers for Prodigals and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James. So James, you were telling me that the other night you went to see Handel's Messiah, and it's been Christmas for you ever since.

James Banks Yeah, that's right, Robbie. The Symphony in Raleigh did an amazing performance, and it's so moving to see Scripture put together with this brilliant music, and to realize Handel composed this late in his life, when he was thought of as a has-been, you know, washed up, basically. But give this gift to the world of the message of Jesus in such a powerful way. And that brings me to what we're going to talk about today. Christmas Prayer number three, I sing others with our prayers.

Dr. James Banks I like it. We've talked about this before, but praying for others is one of the best gifts you can give them, one of the best gifts you can give them, because really, you're loving them with God's strength and not your own. I mean, how cool is that?

And you can make, you can almost do it anytime, anywhere. You know, our prayers are just something that make a profound difference in other people's lives. Robbie Barnes That's exactly it. And I want to jump into this by talking about what happens when Mary sees Elizabeth, her cousin, and they're both pregnant. And as soon as Mary greets her, the baby in Elizabeth's womb, John, leaps for joy. And Elizabeth says in a loud voice, Blessed are you among women. Blessed is the child you will bear. And then she says, But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? And then she finishes with, Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her. You got to love that. Dr. James Banks Oh, yeah.

Talk about an amazing moment. And you know, I hear the word blessed a lot there. Robbie Barnes Yeah, that's where we're going. Elizabeth is so filled with God's love and God's Spirit that she speaks these blessings over Mary in this really cool way. And I think we need to remember this at Christmastime, if we just look at it as a commercial free for all that, you know, it seems to be these days, then, I mean, I hate to say it, but you could think about speaking a lot of blessings over people, and perhaps not the best way, right?

Dr. James Banks You mean like, bless your heart. Robbie Barnes Yeah, that's right. And we need to stop for a moment to get out of the rush and pause and ask ourselves, just how blessed am I because of Jesus? And if we think about that long enough, then we can also realize that he wants us to be his blessing people, if you will, people who speak his goodness and kindness and his message of love to others.

Robbie Barnes Oh, that's so true. And if you think about it, it's not just at Christmastime, but it's really throughout the year that we see a lot of cranky people these days, right? A lot of division. And we're really called to be different. Dr. James Banks Yeah, yeah.

So let's take this a step further. When you do something like Elizabeth was doing, it's really important to notice that Luke tells us that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. And of course, that's a great prayer, to pray every day, Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit. But what this means is that she got what she was saying from God, and God will do that. If we ask him, you know, if we pray like, Lord, show me how I can bless those around me with your love and the good news of Jesus, let me see that, let that be a part of my life. And I think that's a prayer he loves to answer.

Dr. Darrell Bock Oh, yeah. I mean, what you see with Elizabeth is she's saying all these good things to Mary and the baby that she's carrying. And you can tell that Mary never forgot it, right? Because she shared it with Luke and Luke wrote it down.

Dr. James Banks Yeah, that's it. And that's one of the interesting things about the perspective from Mary and women in Scripture that is really special and telling us things from their perspective, which shows us that he sat down with them. And you're so right, you can see what an impact these kind words that Elizabeth said had on Mary. Dr. Darrell Bock Yeah, so what you're talking about is praying in such a way that you ask God for things to say to others to encourage them and build them up. So, you know, let God into your moment with others more.

Dr. James Banks Yeah, and good things come of it. Just think of the impact words have on our lives. I mean, we can all remember negative things that have been said to us by others.

Sometimes we carry them with us for years, but a kind word that seems to like come out of nowhere for someone, a loving word that has God's Spirit in it. Man, that can be life transforming. Again, we want to be people who bless others, just like Elizabeth did for Mary.

Dr. Darrell Bock Yeah, she really was. And it's so true when we think about the difference loving words can make in our lives, right? Man, they can turn everything around for us when God is in them. And so this is just part of the blessing people, right?

This is part of the being good news people. Dr. James Banks Yeah, that's it. And here's the challenge. In order to do this really well, we have to change the way we think sometimes.

Do you ever get stuck in negative ruts in your thinking where it just seems like, you know, there's one complaint after another going through your mind? Dr. Darrell Bock No. I know you've been talking to my wife, haven't you?

What did she tell you? Man, no, no, no, no. I've lived there myself. I find one of the things that helps the most is to challenge myself to go through one 24-hour period without saying something negative, asking God to help break the place, or even just try to do it for one hour, you know? And not only that, then taking my eyes off of myself, putting them on Him makes a difference. Think about it. That's what Elizabeth is doing when she says, Blessed is she who has believed what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished. Ultimately, this is all about God, you know?

She's really looking at Him and praising Him. Dr. James Banks Yeah. And so to be able to bless others, we need to think of how blessed we really are ourselves, and realize that God is the greatest blessing of all. And the more we go there, well, you know, the happier we'll be and the kinder we'll be to others as well.

Dr. Darrell Bock Yeah, I think that sums it up pretty nicely. So, Robbie, would you leave us with a prayer that we can do this? And before we do, I want to say what a blessing it is to work with you.

I mean, you know, we've been doing these broadcasts for a while. You know, your heart is in it, and it's just a joy, because I see how much you love God, and that really comes through in what you do. And just such a great, since grateful for you. Dr. James Banks Wow, I get a blessing before I get a chance.

You're taking this into practice, I see. Well, Jesus, I know that you see amazing things in the people that we see, Lord, and we pray that you would help us to have something, you know, hit our minds so that we can think, to ask you what would be a good thing to say, you know, and you recall into our minds what really did bless us about others. And I thank you so much for James, a chance to work with him as well. How exciting it is to record these and to see where God, where you take us every single week, Lord, take us there and help us to truly be encouraging when we pray. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website,, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-17 15:03:17 / 2022-12-17 15:07:19 / 4

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