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Shepherd Daily Devotional

Suddenly!

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Written By Ben Dankaka

Prayer works. But it doesn’t always work like a clock. While you can easily predict the hands of a clock, you can’t predict how or when a prayer will be answered. You can glance at a clock and immediately know the exact minutes it will take the hands of the clock to reach the next hour. But you can’t say a prayer and then predict the exact way it will be answered. I’m sure you’ve had incidences where God answered your prayers almost immediately. But then, there must have been times when the answers to your prayers were delayed.

After Peter was jailed by Herod, the Church prayed for him. The Bible didn’t mention how long it took God to answer their prayer. But we are told that on the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, an angel suddenly appeared and rescued him. The deliverance took place at an unexpected time and in an unpredictable way. God’s response was so remarkable that even Peter and those who were praying for him were surprised. The miracle happened at the eleventh hour! My prayer for you is that God will suddenly respond to your prayer in an unexpected way.

Prayer/Confession:  Heavenly Father, I know you will answer my prayer at Your own set time. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: Acts 12:1-7

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Ask For Help!

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Psalm 107:6

Written By Ben Dankaka

Shortly after Herod had James, the brother of John killed; he proceeded and arrested Peter. Herod had decided to kill Peter because he figured it would make the Jews happy. This became a big problem to the Church because Peter was their leader. If he is also executed, then there would be a big vacuum. Since the Church knew they couldn’t physically confront King Herod because of his influence, they resorted to prayers. In other words, they decided to use the master key to overcoming crisis.

The scripture says, “The church was earnestly praying to God for him.” I don’t know the sort of crisis you are currently facing. You might be facing a problem that has already overwhelmed you. Or you might be at the brink of giving up. If you are at a point where you feel defeated and have lost the strength to fight back; then do what the disciples did by handing over the matter to God. Like the disciples, pray earnestly. Get down on your knees and ask God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. And if you’ve lost the strength to pray, ask someone to pray for you. Ask for help!

Prayer/Confession:  Heavenly Father, do for me what I cannot do for myself. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: Acts 12:1-5

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Stay there!

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Colossians 3:23-24

Written By Ben Dankaka

After winning the prayer contest against the prophets of Baal, Elijah inspired a revival. When the Israelites saw how God responded to Elijah’s sacrifice they immediately repented. Elijah had seized that moment and ordered the killing of the prophets of Baal. Moments later, just as Elijah had prophesied, Israel had a heavy rain, after over three years of drought. But before he could celebrate the victory, Elijah found himself, once again in the wilderness, when he received a death threat from Jezebel. While he was on exile, Elijah became depressed and even prayed that God would take his own life. But as he rested in a cave, God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Possibly, God asked that question because Elijah wasn’t supposed to run away from his country, even though he was threatened by Jezebel. Maybe, you’ve found yourself in a similar situation. You’ve spent your energy on a cause. But instead of recognition, you’ve been rejected and misunderstood. You are now at a point where you are beginning to doubt and question your convictions. Unless if God tells you to quit, stay there. Oftentimes, God wants us to confront challenges and not to run from it.

Prayer/Confession:  I will not quit by the grace of God. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: 1 Kings 18:38-46; 19:1-9

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Elijah’s Secret

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: 1 John 5:14 

Written By Ben Dankaka

One of the most powerful prayers in the Bible is the one said by Elijah as at the time of his prayer challenge with the prophets of Baal. The prophets had begun the challenge by praying to their god from morning to evening. They shouted and danced as they asked their god to bring fire on their sacrifice. But despite their loud appeals, nothing happened, even after slashing themselves with swords. When it got to Elijah’s turn, the atmosphere suddenly became calm. Possibly, his prayer didn’t take more than five minutes but the response was instant.

We can learn from the way Elijah said his prayer. His prayer was straight to the point. He didn’t try to embellish it with many words. Also, Elijah didn’t try to impress God by screaming and dancing. Instead, he confidently talked to God. Clearly, his confidence was inspired by the fact that his prayer was said according to God’s will. Recall that Elijah had asked God to answer his prayer so that it will be known that He is the God of Israel and that He was willing to turn the people’s hearts back to Him. That was God’s will. Today, pray according to God’s will.

Prayer/Confession:  Heavenly Father, reveal Your perfect will to your servant. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: 1King 18:1-39

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Bad Timing

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Jeremiah 29:11

Written By Ben Dankaka

Oftentimes, we fail to realize that God prioritizes our prayer requests according to His perfect plan. And that is often determined by time. That is, He responds to our requests at the time we need them. Recall that in the book of Genesis, we are told that the earth had no shrub, “for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground” (Genesis 2:5). In other words, because there was no man to till the earth, God didn’t send down rain at a certain time.

Timing is therefore important to God. For instance, you may pray for a car that may not be necessary at a particular time. However, the same car may be a priority at another time. When Solomon asked God for wisdom, God was pleased with his request because that was what he needed at that time. Perhaps, you are praying for the right thing at the wrong time. It could be that the only thing wrong with your prayer is bad timing. You may need all of the things in your prayer list. But God will give you what you need when the time is right.

Prayer/Confession:  Heavenly Father, Your timing is right. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: 1King 3:9; Genesis 2:5

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The Wise King

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Luke 22:42

Written By Ben Dankaka

God doesn’t always give us the things we lack. But He often gives us what we need. While you can survive without the things you lack, the things you need are usually essential. When God told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon said he was a little child who needed wisdom. And because he asked for what he needed; God answered his prayer. God was so pleased with Solomon’s request because he didn’t pray for long life, wealth or the death of his enemies (1 Kings 3:11). In other words, Solomon was more concerned with the gift that would help him fulfill God’s will.

If God isn’t answering your prayers, don’t think He isn’t there. Perhaps, you’ve left out what you need and have been praying for what God knows isn’t necessary at the moment. Maybe, the only thing wrong with your prayer is that it isn’t in line with God’s will. You may currently lack a job, a car or money to settle your debts. However, what you might need at the moment is to align yourself with God’s plan for you. Perhaps, God wants to get your attention so He can equip you for a great assignment.

Prayer/Confession:  Heavenly Father, give me what you would like me to have. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: 1 Kings 3:4-10; 2 Chronicles 1:11

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The Master Key

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Acts 13:22

Written By Ben Dankaka

Prayer is significant because it is one way through which we can build our relationship with God. I got to know more about God and discovered my purpose through prayers. While prayer has many benefits, it is also important to note that not every prayer is effective. You and I know that we’ve said certain prayers that God didn’t answer. There are many reasons why some of our prayers turn out to be ineffective. Let me deal with one of them. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells us to begin our prayers by aligning God’s will with ours.

When we don’t pray according to God’s will for our lives, our prayers become fruitless. Several years ago, I asked God to bless my business plan. Instead, He showed me visions of a different plan. Because I wasn’t comfortable with God’s plan, I ignored it and continued to ask Him to bless my own plan. But nothing changed until I submitted to His own will. When you know what God wants you to do, you will likely pray according to His will. The scriptures say, “If we ask anything according to His will, He listens to and hears us” (1 John 5:14).

Prayer/Confession:  Heavenly Father, let your will for my life prevail over mine. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: Matthew 6:9-13

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Good versus Right

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Psalm 119:133 

When you have two options that are both good, but you have to determine which of them is right, you will have a hard time. While a good thing can be easily detected with our senses, knowing the right thing often requires us to make use of our spiritual antennae. Remember when David got the chance to kill Saul; his associate suggested they should kill Saul. That seemed like a good thing because Saul had been trying to kill David.But David realized that the right thing to do was not to lay a hand on Saul.

But there are times when the right thing may not even cross your mind or it may seem like the wrong decision and in the process, you may erroneously think that the good thing you are about to do is the only right decision. When Joseph discovered that the woman he was about to marry was found to be with child, he had in mind, not to disgrace Mary but to quietly divorce her. That seemed like a good decision, but when he got a revelation from God, he changed his mind and took the right decision. Today, seek God’s guidance as you work on your plans for the year.

Prayer/Confession:  Holy Spirit, let my steps be according to Heaven’s will. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: 1 Samuel 26:8; Matthew 1:18-20; Genesis 11:1-9

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Goal Setting

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: Proverbs 14:12

Over the years, I have learned that setting goals do not guarantee good success. There are times you may set goals and then succeed in realizing them, but just as you are about to celebrate, you may suddenly discover the goals you achieved shouldn’t have been set in the first place. The scripture says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death.” This message is repeated twice in the book of Proverbs. The importance of this message cannot be overemphasized.

Many people fail in life, not because they didn’t set goals but for the reason that they set the wrong goals. They spend their entire lives pursuing the wrong thing. They never realize they are on the wrong path until they get to the end of their lives. To avoid such mistakes, always involve God as you set your goals. The Bible says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purposes that prevails”. God has given us the right and the ability to make plans, but if we want those plans to be on the right path, we ought to seek His guidance.

Prayer/Confession:  Holy Spirit, guide me. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: Proverbs 16:3-21

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Fight till the End

All scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

KEY VERSE: 2 Corinthians 11:24-27

Apostle Paul said to Timothy, his protégé, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul used the letter “I” three times in that statement. That means, he wasn’t referring to a group fight. But the personal struggles he had to go through in life. Clearly, Paul wasn’t the kind of Christian who ran away from his problems. Though he experienced a lot of travails, He fought really hard and eventually won every battle that the enemy brought his way. Isn’t it interesting that even though he was highly talented and anointed, life still hit him hard with challenges?

I don’t know what you are currently going through. Maybe you are battling with an illness. Or perhaps, the crisis in your life has to do with marital issues or a financial crisis. Whatever it is, realize that your personal battles won’t go away until you fight to a standstill. Be strong-minded as you keep fighting with everything you’ve got. You are meant to fight your own battles. So, you must not give up on yourself, even if others give up on you. Remember, battles are won by those who never give up. 

Prayer/Confession/:  Lord Jesus, strengthen me so I can finish the race. Amen.

REFERENCES/FURTHER STUDY: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33; 2 Timothy 4:7