Category Archives: Prayers & Poetry

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Friends, our Christian brothers and sisters are being persecuted. Please remember to be in prayer for the saints in Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and other hostile areas around the world.

It’s critical for us to be reminded that there are demonic powers at work behind the political regimes and religious fundamentalists threatening the church. We can’t afford to look only at the surface of these atrocities.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour followers of the Lamb. We need to pray for our spiritual family (1 Pet 5:8-10).

They are counting on us. Tell your local church to pray for the persecuted.

As Jesus said to Saul, a persecutor of Christians, on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me” (Acts 9:4)? It is Jesus in us, the church, that is being mocked, reviled, and struck down.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus, Matthew 5:10

Stay informed and connected to the persecuted church through The Voice of the Martyrs and International Christian Concern at persecution.org.

Watch this video by Open Doors USA and learn more.

Do you feel a connection to the persecuted church around the world? What can you do to be more aware of their sufferings? How can you help? 

D.D. Flowers, 2013.


Give It To Jesus

We’ve all been told at one point or another to give things to Jesus. But what exactly does that mean? Think about it. What does that look like?

In the following video blog, I share what that looks like for me in my practice of imaginative prayer. Don’t let your relationship with Jesus become dull and lifeless for lack of a disciplined imagination.

What are you holding on to that you need to give to Jesus? What do you need to throw in the fire? Throw it in the fire and leave it in the ashes.

D.D. Flowers, 2013.

More on prayer and the deeper Christian life:


Talking to Jesus on the Back Porch

Have you ever struggled with prayer? You may not be quiet as analytical as I have been with prayer, but maybe you have at some point wrestled with the purpose and the practice of it—even doubted its power to make any difference at all.

Let’s be honest. Prayer is a mysterious thing. But even those of us who are willing to embrace mystery often stumble over deterministic theology (everything is already settled), well-meaning sermons on prayer that only brought the ceiling closer to you, and marque slogans like “Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes you.” It’s enough to make you want to become a Buddhist.

About 6 or 7 years ago I entered into a new understanding of my identity in Christ. I had recently come out of vocational ministry and was burdened down with a work-centered faith. In many ways I suppose it was like hitting the reset button on all the things I thought I knew about Jesus, the church, my identity, and prayer. I needed it. Ever felt like that before?

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Jesus, Matthew 11:28

If you want to experience the Lord afresh in intimate fellowship with the Father by way Jesus, then I think it’s necessary to see prayer as a way of resting in the Spirit. It’s amazing how often you can do this throughout the day if you’re intentional about it. Prayer requires intentionality.

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.” Jesus, Matthew 6:6

While we’re told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17), it would be wise to listen to Jesus talk about prayer as a personal retreat. The intimate times with the Lord enable us to pray continually from a renewed identity with sensitivity toward the Spirit.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Ever find yourself saying, “Was that you, Lord?” Maybe you’ve wondered, “Was that my thoughts, or was God speaking?” I’m willing to bet that you’ve been there before. We’ve all been there.

A few years ago I decided to make an intentional effort to move out of the “roaming” mode of prayer—that place where I’m skeptical about hearing from the Lord—like a bad connection. I became convinced that God speaks to us through our thoughts into our spirit.

When I finally let go of this paranoia and unhelpful skepticism, knowing that I certainly wasn’t having a conversation with myself, I then began to experience intimate moments with the Lord, and much more frequently.

I simply trusted that the Lord was listening, and that he always desires to speak to me. He is closer than a brother (Prov 18:24).

Meeting Jesus Around a Campfire

If I have a place to “go away” by myself and “shut the door” (so to speak), it’s my back porch. Over my fence looms a forest of pine trees. I enjoy creation around me as I sit next to my cast iron chimenea (Mexican-styled fire pit) at dusk. A cup of hot tea or coffee aids in relaxation.

I enter into a place of solitude within my soul, opening myself up to the Lord, as I stare into the fire and close my eyes… waiting… expecting.

I imagine the Lord there with me, I see him just as I might see the face of a loved one. The real difference is that I’m not simply visualizing or remembering. I’m creatively imagining for the sake of conversing with a real person. I’m not talking about delusions of grandeur here.

Since I haven’t seen Jesus with my own eyes, not yet anyway, I borrow the face of Christ played by Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ (2004). That may seem strange at first, but it’s perfectly safe and effective.

The first time I did this I imagined myself on a beach at dusk. I saw the Lord’s face through the fire as if he’s sitting across from me. Within myself I said, “Lord.” He looked at me and began speaking with, “My son, I love you.” Those are usually the first words I hear him speak to me in prayer.

While my mind often races and seeks to be interrupted by intruding thoughts or slip into “roaming” mode, I resist the distraction and focus on the Lord—remaining in the moment as long as I can.

If I will stay open to the Lord and allow my imagination to move freely with the Spirit, I have found that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a rush of words from Christ, who is the embodiment of the Father.

Jesus Wants to Get Personal

“Though most believers are comfortable speaking of a ‘personal relationship with Jesus,’ few concepts are so greatly celebrated and little experienced.” Wayne Jacobson

I feel that I’ve only begun to experience Jesus in a fresh way. I’m what you would call an aspiring Christian mystic. What I hope to inspire with this post is a courage to try a method of prayer that treats the Lord as a real person, and a dialogue between two beings. Don’t pray like the hypocrites.

What’s keeping you from a fulfilling prayer life? Where’s your back porch? Does your prayer life suffer because of bad theology? What about your ability to creatively imagine the Lord being present in your life?

Give it a try. Take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and see the Lord there before you in the power of a disciplined imagination.

D.D. Flowers, 2013.

For more on prayer, see the following books:


Top Ten Favorite Books

I have often been asked: “What are your favorite books?”

I’m continually reading books from the softer side of Christian spirituality to the thick analytical works of NT scholarship. I’ll give you a list of my favorite “top ten” books from my entire library.

Furthermore, I’ll rate my favorites according to which books have impacted my thinking the most (i.e. turning points) on my journey. Many great works will be excluded. Perhaps in the future I will make another list.

I will not include the Bible in my list. Undoubtedly, growing up in the church, the Scripture has shaped me in ways I shall never know. So, if it concerns you that the Bible is not on my list, I like to remember that it shouldn’t be placed alongside other popular works of men anyway.

The following books are not in the order in which I read them; they are rated according to their greatest level of influence on my life.

  1. “The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ” by T. Austin-Sparks
  2. “Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church” by N.T. Wright
  3. “Resident Aliens” by Stanley Hauerwas
  4. “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee
  5. “Is God to Blame? Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Suffering” by Gregory Boyd
  6. “Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices” by Frank Viola and George Barna
  7. “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church” by Gregory Boyd
  8. “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  9. “The Secret of the Strength: What Would the Anabaptists Tell This Generation” by Peter Hoover
  10. “Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living” by Stanley Grenz

What books have been most influential in your life?



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