From Pastor Johnny

How to Pray Like A Woman Day 2

The Passion for a Divine Hearing:                    1Sam. 1:8-9

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons? So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 

             Do you pray just to cover your bases, while relying on a lot of other things?  Or, are you convinced that the only real help you have is in God’s divine hearing?  Too often, we will pray simply to cover the God base while looking for fulfillment in other places that are pragmatic ways of doing it ourselves.

            Suppose I hired someone to paint my office.  I went to a painting professional and said, “I want you to paint my office, because I trust you totally to do a good job. I want you to pick out colors and paint, and I know you will do great. I want you to begin on Monday.”

            Monday comes and the painting professional comes to my office with paint, rollers, brushes, drop cloths, and supplies. Suppose that, when he gets to my office I say, “Good to see you, but you are not going to paint my office that color are you?” He says, “Well, you ask me to pick a color, so I did.”  I say, “Oh yeah, I totally trust you, but I do not want that color.  In fact, I have a color here I have already picked, because I was not sure you would get it right.  But...I totally trust you and your work.”

            The painter begins to set up and I come back and say, “You’re not going to lay the drop cloth like that are you?” He explains, “Yes, in my experience, this has been the best way to do it.”  I say, “Well, I really do not like that way.  Here let me show you the best way to lay it.”  I proceed to change your drop cloth and say, “Now, that’s better.  I trust you totally to do this job, so I’ll get out of your way.” 

            Two hours later I come back in and look at you beginning to paint. I say, “You are not going to paint with the roller like that are you?”  You say, “Yes, this has been the most effective way in my experience.”  I say, “Well, let me show you how I’d rather you do it.  Hold the roller like this, then roll it like this.  Now, I trust your work totally, so go right ahead and do the job.”

            At this point the painter is thinking, “I don’t care how much Pastor Johnny says he trusts me, he really does not trust me at all.”  Why not?  No matter how much I say I trust the painter to paint my office, I keep going back and trying to make it happen myself.

            We can say we trust God to do something all we want, but if we turn around and then try to manufacture circumstances on our own we do not.  When we seek God, is our concern simply a hearing from Him or getting things the way we want them?  Are we going to God with a sales pitch to convince Him, or a humbled heart to trust WHATEVER He wants to do?

in Prayer

How To Pray Like A Woman Day 1


            That is the word to describe the condition of a young, childless woman’s prayer in Old Testament times.  Around her, people had children.  Culturally she had been taught that women who are blessed by God have children.  She was also taught that women, who do not have children, are not in a right place with God. 

            To add to this emotional and spiritual weight, her husband’s other wife was a mean spirited and jealous lady.  This lady not only had children but flaunted the fact in this motherless wife’s face.  The wife with children went by the name of Penninah, which means “jewel.”  The childless wife’s name was Hannah, and her name meant “grace.” 

            Hannah was desperate, discouraged, and emotionally abused by the other wife.  Daily she was reminded of her inadequacy as a woman.  Her husband loved her much, but simply did not understand why she was so sad and discouraged.  In fact, at one point, “He actually told her that he was worth more than ten sons to her.”  This simply made her feel worse.  Not only did her culture teach her that, to be childless made you less than a woman, it taught that childless women were not adequate wives to their husbands.  She wanted to provide this child for her husband.

            And... she saw her marital rival caring for and raising her children, Hannah sunk deeper in despair and desperation.  As low and as miserable as Hannah’s life seemed to be at this point, she had one ace in the hole.  Hannah truly believed in God’s ability to meet her needs and hear her prayers.  Hannah, in all her despair, knew that her only hope was in God Almighty.

            It is this conviction that drove Hannah to a mighty position of prayer that would eventually end up saving Israel. Who knows what the prayers of a praying woman might do to transform God’s people? we are going to look in on a woman who knew how to pray.  We will see how God honors the prayers of women who know how to pray. What approaches might we see in a woman who knows how to pray?

 The Persistence in a Dysfunctional Home:    1Sam. 1:1-7

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.

             A severely dysfunctional home will either compel you to prayer or cause you to quit.  There are only one of two options of moving forward.  Hannah knew that she must pray more. Is that your intent? Or...have you decided to quit?  Will you be a woman who knows how to pray and be persistent, even amid a dysfunctional home?

            Once upon a time there was a young girl named Anna.  In her day, girls were married very young, and she was no different.  She wed her dream man when she was about 16 years old. Her life seemed to lay out before her. She was young, married to a good man, and they both were committed worshipers of God. In fact, this Anna was a prophetess.  She spoke forth truth and even had insight into future events. Life was good and God was blessing them.

            In their seventh year of marriage, just when they began settling into a stable life, tragedy struck. Her man died. Her heart was broken and she grieved, but in the face of brokenness and dysfunction in her family, God continue to equip her as a woman of God and a prophetess.

            As such, she began to pray. She was given an understanding of a coming Messiah. This Messiah would be the spiritual deliverer of Israel. She began to pray for the coming of this great Savior. In the face of her lost marriage, she began to pray daily.  She prayed, and she prayed, and she prayed, and she prayed. Everyone who gathered at the temple knew Anna. The priests knew Anna. The worshipers all knew Anna, and they knew of her prayers for the coming Messiah.

            One day, as she entered the temple for prayers, the power of God came over her as she saw a little baby boy being presented. He was being presented by a poor, young couple.  A man she knew named Simeon stood near them and sang praises. At that moment Anna knew that this was the Savior! This was the Messiah for whom she had prayed. Anna, at that moment, was 84 years old. She had prayed approximately 68 years.

            Ladies, are you prepared to be persistent even among dysfunctions?

in Prayer

National Day of Prayer

            I have officiated scores of funerals of men and women who were former Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. At most of these funerals, there were military honors extended. Part of the military honors at the graveside is the playing of the bugle call “Taps.” I often get a lump in my throat at the playing of this special tribute to national heroes. The song played at the funeral, memorial, or graveside of these heroes should be of the most serious and sacred kind – and so “Taps” is.

            You may possibly know that in1848 a Captain Tidball of West Point began playing "Taps" at military funerals.   You may also know that, in 1862 during the Civil War, a soldier was killed but for military reasons permission was not granted to fire three shots over the man's grave. Tidball instead played "Taps" and it gradually got picked up by others and became a common practice.[1]

What you may not know about “Taps” is that Rukard Hurd, who was a member of the Class of 1878 of the Pennsylvania Military College, added lyrices to the song. Yes…you heard me. The Taps trumpet call contains lyrics.

The lyrics are powerful, poignant, and revealing. Consider the “Taps” lyrics:

 Day is done, Gone the sun, From the hills, From the lake, From the skies. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh

Go to sleep, Peaceful sleep, May the soldier Or sailor, God keep. On the land, Or the deep, Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go, When the day, And the night Need thee so? All is well. Speedeth all To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright, Fare thee well, Day has gone, Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days. 'Neath the sun, 'Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.

             The first and last verses of one of the most familiar bugle calls in United States military are declarations of the presence and keeping of God. Every time you hear “Taps” played at a funeral, a graveside, a memorial, or a remembrance, it is a testimony to the trustworthiness and care of our God.

            There has never been a time in the history of our nation, despite the opposition of many, where the faithfulness of God Almighty has not been acknowledged by a significant portion of our population. I will admit that many in our nation outwardly reject God. And still, many others – a remnant – openly acknowledge and confess the faithfulness of God toward us.

            As Psalm 33.12 explains, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” Many people in the United States still believe this truth, evidenced by the significant participation annually in the National Day of Prayer.

            As we gather this Thursday, May 6 to observe the National Day of Prayer, despite many who are opposed, never forget the great testimony of “Taps” and testify that “God is Nigh.”


[1] Read More: Did You Know There Are Words To "Taps"? |

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