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Effective prayer calls for..."
February 09, 2021

February 9, 2021 Issue #179

Effective prayer has a surprising result

What is effective prayer? Is it prayer that gets you exactly what you want, exactly when you want it, or is it prayer that accomplishes its real goal?

Let's start with this painful truth: No one, including singles, can manipulate God into giving us what we want, despite the claims of books, formulas, and TV evangelists.

God is not a genie, vending machine, or like Batman answering the Bat Signal to come to our rescue. We insult him when we treat him like any of those things. I learned the hard way that when we turn prayer into a battle of wills, God always wins.

Does that mean we should never ask God for help? Of course not. Jesus clearly encouraged us to come to God with our needs (see The Lord's Prayer for one example).

Effective prayer is not measured by how close the answer is to our desire, but rather how closely we approach God in the attitude he wants. Here are some thoughts on effective prayer.

Rise and shine

Life's pain and disappointment
can make our days seem long.
Sin has stained this weary world
and everything's gone wrong.

But someday God will fix it all
and make our future fine.
'Cause when we hear that trumpet call
it's time to rise and shine.

Time to rise up from the grave
with bodies strong and new.
Time to laugh and dance and sing,
that's what we're gonna do.
We'll glow like stars
so full of joy,
the source of it's divine.
What a day it's gonna be.
It's time to rise and shine.

Some of us have gone ahead;
They're waiting for that day.
You and I will join them there;
We cannot go astray.

God's promises are guaranteed;
We'll cross that finish line.
And we will be at home with Him.
It's time to rise and shine.

Time to rise up from the grave
with bodies strong and new.
Time to laugh and dance and sing;
that's what we're gonna do.
We'll glow like stars
so full of joy,
the source of it's divine.
What a day it's gonna be.
It's time to rise and shine.

~ Jack Zavada,, 2021 ~

Will your 2021 be any…different?

Was your 2020 like your 2019? And like your 2018? Are you stuck in a rut? Do you lack the will and the way to get out of it?

Hope for Hurting Singles can make this year different for you, the year you break free from your past and step into an exciting future. You know why?

Hope for Hurting Singles is not another self-help book. No, it's a God-help book, and that makes all the difference in the world. I learned in my own life that if I wanted to make real, meaningful change, I needed God to help me. I couldn't do it on my own.

The surprising truth is that God's power is available to every Christian, including you. We just don't tap into it the way He wants us to. Trying to change without God is like driving with your parking brake on. Here are some of the "brakes" that hold single people back:

    Low self-esteem

Hope for Hurting Singleshas real world, step-by-step advice on how to overcome these challenges. If it didn't work, I wouldn't tell you it does.

Make 2021 different. Invest the price of a couple fast food combo meals in Hope for Hurting Singles instead. Next New Year's Eve you'll say, "Cowabunga, am I glad I did that!"

$10.99 in paperback; $3.99 for Kindle version.

A Scot named Oswald has our February QOTM

More than 100 years ago a Scottish evangelist and teacher named Oswald Chambers wrote a daily devotional titled My Utmost for His Highest, which remains a bestseller to this day. Here's something he said about prayer:

Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.
    ~ Oswald Chambers (1874 - 1917) ~

Are you starting to get it too? Is it dawning on you that the "holy grail" of life is not wealth, fame, achievement, or even happiness, but an intimate relationship with God?

We can pray for stuff and work for stuff, and we're happy when we get it. For a while. Then we find that like the Material Girl, we always want more. Or different, or new.

It's taken me most of my life to arrive at this conclusion. The things we chase aren't what we want deep in our heart. Jesus put it this way: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

If you had to choose: your cell phone or Jesus?

There's an old saying that we all worship something, and if worship is determined by how much interest we devote to it, then millions of people are worshiping their phones.

The average American spends almost 3 hours a day on their phone, according to, and checks it nearly 100 times a day. By contrast, only 31 percent of Americans pray "several times a day," noted a survey done by LifeWay Research.

Regular Inspire-O-Gram readers know this is one of my pet peeves, but if you're an addicted phone user, have you ever asked yourself "Why?" When you give some deep, serious thought to that question, the answers may cause you to reorder your priorities.

Do you need a steady diet of online "likes" and validation from friends and family? Remember January's Quote of the Month from David Jeremiah? "If you are a Christian, your search for approval should be over."

Single friend, as hard as it may be to accept, there will be no cell phones in heaven. If you find that a terrifying prospect, then you have indeed exchanged your phone for Jesus.

The time Valentine's Day came 466 years early

Valentine's Day. If you live in the United States, it's hard to ignore it. If you're single, you may wish you could.

Historians tell us the first Valentine's Day occurred on February 14, 496 A.D., when a priest named Valentine was executed in Rome and wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart, the jailer's daughter.

But I think the first Valentine's Day came around 30 A.D., on a day we've since named Good Friday. That's the day Jesus Christ loved you and me so much he gave up his life for us on the cross, so we could spend eternity with him in heaven. There's no Valentine you could ever receive better than that.

Fast forward to 2021, and here millions of singles find themselves wishing they had a spouse they could love and who would love them back. That's a natural desire and a healthy one. It continues to be a mystery why everybody can't enjoy that gift. I have studied on it for 50 years and still have no answer.

Is there anything we can do on Valentine's Day and those other occasions when loneliness grabs us and won't let go?

Singles have a couple options. We can be more assertive in trying to find someone, stepping out of our comfort zone. We can distract ourselves with busyness, hobbies, or career—hardly the ideal solution. Or we can focus on Jesus, the Love who never disappoints, never breaks up with us, and will love us for eternity. As I've often said, Jesus is not a consolation prize. He is THE prize.

In some way, at some point, everything except Christ leads to disillusionment. At times we don't understand his ways, but his love is beyond question. He is real.

, you can send your virtual bouquets or brickbats to me via our frustration-venting contact form. and it will land, smack-dab, in my personal inbox, thanks to the miracle we call the Internet!

Thanks for reading the February newsletter. I hope you found something in it to give you a lift. Until March, put a smile on your face; it's good practice for when our masks are no longer needed!

Jack Zavada

PS: Not a Christian? Find out how to become one!

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