Devotions | World Challenge


Jesus, Our Role Model in Prayer

Gary Wilkerson
July 16, 2018

“Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation’” (Luke 22:39-46).

We all know that Jesus gave his life to prayer. Likewise, we can be certain, as his followers, that it is his desire to bring each of us into this same passion for prayer.

The event recorded in Luke 22 occurred just before the last day of Jesus’ life. He could have been addressing a thousand issues, teaching in vital places, or meeting with the future leaders of the church, but he wasn’t. Instead, Jesus was giving his time, passion and energy to prayer.

We tend to think prayer is an attachment to our many demands and agendas — but to Jesus prayer was his agenda. Nothing drew his heart like communion with the Father and he wanted his disciples to follow his lead.

Jesus knew his time was short and he wanted to model prayer one last time to a few of his disciples. He wanted to show them how to pray earnestly, not just casually. He wanted them to know how to really seek the kingdom of God, how to intercede, and how to walk earnestly with him.

If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, you will want to make him your role model in prayer.

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Avoiding a Life of Regrets

Jim Cymbala
July 14, 2018

Spiritual courage is the great need for so many of us today. We may have heard excellent teaching and read multiple translations of the Bible. But what we need to do is to “stir up” the work of the Spirit within us. We must give ourselves afresh to God in prayer, Bible reading, and a new yielding to the Holy Spirit. We must also separate ourselves from thoughts, words, and actions that hinder the Spirit’s flow. Scripture says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).

If we humbly draw near for a new intimacy with God, will he turn us away? If he gave us Jesus while we were yet sinners, will he now as our heavenly Father reject our petition for more of the Spirit’s boldness and courage? That would deny everything we know about him from Scripture!

How many believers come to the end of their lives and feel as if they somehow missed the fullness of God’s plan for their lives? They think that perhaps God had something planned, but it eluded them. This is a sad thought. But if we allow the Spirit to move through us, we will see his plans and purposes accomplished. We won’t come to the end of our lives regretting so many missed opportunities to do more for Christ.

Our future will be determined by how we allow God the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. We can live our days out in fearful hesitation and second-guessing, or we can “let go and let God.” God’s plan for us is not about who we are and what talents we bring to the table. It is about the resources and grace God has promised us. 

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6, emphasis added).

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.

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The Family Altar

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
July 13, 2018

A complaint among Christians all over the world is, “I can’t find a good church anywhere! I need a place where my family can be ministered to and where my children can grow up knowing true righteousness.”

Too many pastors are constantly trying out new things in church — new methods of evangelism, new music, new “revival” movements. There is so much hype and foolishness — all kinds of distractions from the gospel.

What are you looking for in a church? True fellowship? A place for your children to thrive? Good praise and worship? A place where deep needs in your life can be met? If any of these concerns apply to you, I have a very hard question for you: In order to meet these needs, have you searched your heart about being a priest to your family? You claim you can’t find a good church — one that stirs and provokes you and ministers to your children. But have you done the priestly work of mediating for your loved ones before the Lord?

I grew up in a family that observed what used to be called “family altar.” My father believed that the verse in Hebrews commanding Christians not to forsake corporate assembly was meant for families as well (see Hebrews 10:25). When time came for family altar in our home, my siblings and I came in from our activities and gathered around our parents for prayer. My father happily took on the role of priest and shepherd in our home.

What about you? Have you searched your heart about being a priest to your family? When your home becomes a church, all your deepest needs will be met by your Father in heaven. Then you can go to any church, no matter how dead it may seem. Why? Because God will meet you there — and he can even connect you with others seekers who are hungry to know Jesus better.

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Changed into His Image

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
July 12, 2018

Scripture makes it clear that it is possible for every true follower of Jesus to see and understand the glory of God. Indeed, our Lord reveals his glory to all who ask and seek for it diligently. I believe the revelation of God’s glory will equip his people to endure the perilous days ahead.

The glory of God is not a physical manifestation or an ecstatic feeling that overcomes you. Nor is it a kind of supernatural aura or angelic light that bursts forth. Simply put, God’s glory is a revelation of his nature and attributes!

When we pray, “Lord, show me your glory,” we are actually praying, “Father, reveal to me who you are.” The Lord wants to reveal to us how he wants to be known. The Lord sent Moses to deliver Israel without giving him a full revelation of who the God of Israel was. The Lord merely told him, “Go, and say I AM sent you.” But he gave no explanation of who “I AM” was.

I believe this is why Moses cried, “[Lord], please, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18). Moses had a gnawing hunger to know who the great I AM was — to know his nature and character. And the Lord answered his prayer. First, he instructed Moses to hide himself in the cleft of a rock where God came to him in a simple revelation — no thunder, lightning, or shaking of the earth.

“The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).

God allowed Moses to see his glory so that he might be changed by the sight of it. And the same is true for us today. God reveals his glory to us so that, by seeing it, we might be changed into his very own image.

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Are You Wanting to Change Direction?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)
July 11, 2018

Whatever happened to repentance? We rarely hear the word mentioned in most churches these days. Pastors seldom call for their congregation to grieve over wounding Christ by their wickedness. Instead, the message we hear from many pulpits today is, “Just believe. Accept Christ and you’ll be saved.” The text used to justify this message is found in Acts 16:30-31: “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.’”

The first message Jesus delivered after he emerged from the temptation in the wilderness was the message of repentance: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17).

Jesus says of his mission, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). And he said to the Galileans, “I tell you … unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Jesus’ gospel was all about repentance!

John the Baptist also preached repentance. His message to the Jews was simple and straightforward: “[He] came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2).

People came from everywhere to hear John preach and he told them in no uncertain words, “The messiah is soon to appear in your midst so you’d better get ready to meet him! You may feel excited that he is coming, but I’m telling you, your hearts are not prepared because you are still holding on to your sins!” 

John was warning the people that they had to deal with their sin before they could follow the Savior. The full, literal meaning of the word “repent” in the New Testament is “to feel remorse and self-reproach for one’s sins against God; to be contrite; to want to change direction.”

“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). True sorrow leads to repentance — and this will cause you to want to change!

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