(Matthew 6:9-13)

You want to pray and you want to pray effectively. So, what will you pray about? 

Jesus needed only about 50 words (52 in the English Standard Version) to revolutionize prayer. He gave His disciples a roadmap for personal prayer which we traditionally call “The Lord‘s Prayer”. It’s worth noting that no one in the New Testament ever prayed or repeated the prayer. Even Jesus, in the approximately 20 occasions where His prayers are recorded, never repeated the prayer.  Instead of saying, “Pray this prayer” Jesus said, “Pray like this” (Matthew 6:9).

The Lord’s Prayer, or as some call it, “The Disciple’s Prayer,” therefore, provides a pathway or map for personal prayer. It functions as a prayer guide. Due to the depth and richness of it’s content, there are numerous ways the prayer has been outlined. My friend, fellow Austin pastor, and co-author of our book on prayer, Trey Kent, for instance, has developed a prayer guide based on the Lord’s Prayer with 12 segments. I have seen many other excellent outlines of the prayer as well. No matter how it may be outlined, I agree with Michael Green, the British New Testament scholar, who said,  “The marvellous prayer has depths we shall never plumb.” For the purposes of this devotion, we will analyze the prayer using 6 broad categories. These “categories” of prayer can guide your daily devotion today or for years to come. The Lord’s Prayer, in other words, helps you know what to pray about!


You can begin your daily prayer by praising God.  Jesus started there when He said, 

    “Our Father in heaven,

    hallowed be your name

Starting with praise keeps our prayer “God centered” instead of “me centered.” If I say to my wife, “You look beautiful” I am praising her. If I say to my daughters or my son, “Your work is excellent” I would be praising them. If I say to God, “You are holy, worthy, mighty, merciful, loving”, etc, I am praising Him. 

Praise is a way to express love and our devotion to the Lord in the most personal and intimate ways. For some reason, when we pray like that, it opens up our prayer to greater possibilities, and our faith in God rises. Praise changes the entire dynamic and mood of prayer into a hopeful and faith driven exercise. A friend of mine once said it like this, “It’s amazing what praising can do!” 


The world we live in is fallen and broken. We want to pray- and the times demand an urgency in prayer- for renewal, revival, and the influence of God to move freely in our churches and in our culture. Jesus taught us to pray, 

    “Your kingdom come,

    your will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.”

We can pray for God’s will and justice to prevail in our nation, for souls to be saved, for the church to be revived, for spiritual awakening in America, and anything else that will advance the Kingdom of God on earth. I always pray for people by name I know who need to be saved. I pray  my church and I myself will experience renewal and revival. I pray for the fulfillment of the Great Commission and everything involved with it. Our godless times, the level of spiritual warfare, and the increasing  Satanic attacks around the world demand that Christians know how to pray for the Kingdom of God to come! 


It’s God’s will that we spend time  praying for our own needs. Jesus expects it and encourages it. He taught us to pray,

    “Give us this day our daily bread”

You know what you need to pray about for your own life. Your finances, your health, your job, grades at school, and everything else that touches your life personally is a potential prayer request! The instruction of Jesus was that we would seek our “daily bread” which is a not too subtle reminder that we need to pray for God to meet our needs everyday! Prayer is a daily commitment. 


All of us need to bring our repentance “up to date” on a daily basis. Nothing can disrupt our relationship with God faster than unconfessed sin. Jesus taught us to pray,

    “and forgive us our debts

Be honest with God and yourself about your sin and personal struggles. God wants to forgive you and change you from the inside out. Don’t let sin keep you from prayer- let prayer keep you from sin. 


In the Lord’s Prayer there is only a single reference to other people. Jesus said, 

as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Even though the reference to others relates to those who have treated us unfairly-someone in our debt or who needs our forgiveness- it is still a reminder that no prayer is complete which does not include other people and their needs. For instance, every morning I pray for each member of my family by name. I know what is happening in their lives and I want God’s best for them. Praying for them is a important part of my daily time with God. Then, I usually have many others on my mind who have asked for prayer too. Praying for other people is one of the most selfless and most powerful forms of prayer. We should all seek to excel in the ministry of intercession. 


I once heard Pastor Chuck Smith say, “There’s only one thing worse than not growing in Christ, and that’s going backwards!” I want to keep growing in Christ and I’ve learned at least two things about spiritual growth. First, I never grow by accident. Second, I will face opposition. Jesus challenges us to pray about our own spiritual well being when He says, 

    “And lead us not into temptation,

        but deliver us from evil.”

Every morning I ask the Lord to give me a holy life. Our personal growth in Christ-likeness depends upon the active help of God and our willingness to resist temptation. Pray, therefore, for your own growth, holiness, and victory over temptation. You will constantly face an organized, demonized, and weaponized enemy who wants to “steal, kill, and destroy.” In prayer, we can “beat the devil before we meet the devil.” 


Imagine how your life could change if you started spending time in prayer every day with an organized, deliberate plan. Commit to the time you’ll need. Have a Bible (on your phone or in traditional book form) near. Decide to follow a plan such as the one we’ve reviewed today. Make notes for yourself while you’re praying. Add other areas to your prayer list. God wants to meet with you today!

-J. Kie Bowman, Austin,Texas


-Kie Bowman

Do believers find it hard to pray? A recent national survey confirms what we all suspected. For example, the survey found that less than a third of evangelicals admit to having any meaningful time devoted to daily prayer. Nearly one fifth of us only pray when it’s convenient. Obviously, we could do better. 

When I started walking with God as a teenager, I wanted to pray but I didn’t yet know how or what to pray. Fortunately, I was introduced to some “entry level” prayer plans which helped me begin my life of prayer. For instance, the ACTS prayer plan has been popular because it’s easy to learn and practice. You spend a few minutes in Adoration (praising God for who He is), time in Confession(repenting of your own sins), some time in Thanksgiving (thanking God for all He has already done for you), and finally time in Supplication (these are your prayers of request – asking God to supply your needs). 

Another simple (and very similar) plan I used a lot when I was learning to pray begins with a commitment of only 5 minutes.  I still encourage the “5 Minute Prayer Plan” for anyone who is just getting started. 

Minute One: Confess your sins

Minute Two: Thank God for all He has done for you

Minute Three: Pray for others

Minute Four: Pray for your requests

Minute Five: This is a “bonus minute” which allows you to pray more for one of the first 4 “categories,” or anything else you want to talk to God about. You’ll need the extra minute! 

You may say these plans are “too simple” or “too brief” for significant prayer. Of course, in one sense, you’re correct. Remember, however, these are “entry level” plans. When I started developing my prayer life years ago, for instance, my prayers were inconsistent, scattered, and undisciplined. I’ve heard many people testify that when they pray their minds wander. These plans provide simple structure. In addition, when developing the habit of prayer most people are inconsistent at first, finding it hard to meet with God on a regular basis during the week. Eventually, in the absence of a plan, inconsistency becomes the norm and too many believers continue to struggle in prayer. Our enemy would like nothing better than to face an undisciplined, prayer-less Christian. And yes, these plans encourage only a few moments of daily prayer which surely isn’t enough. That’s also mostly a correct analysis, but before you can swim laps you’ve got to get in the water! 

These plans offer good places to start a habit of prayer, or to start over. Honestly, when I started as a teenager with the five minute plan I found that my daily time with God increased quickly. Most everyone will have the same experience. 


What about a strategy for those ready to move beyond a basic, or entry level prayer plan?  In part 2, we will look at how to use the most famous prayer in history as a guideline for your own prayer life. For now, praise, supplication, intercession, and confession can and should be on everyone’s prayer list. The only thing left to do is to do it!



-by Kie Bowman

A friend of mine, who leads a large ministry in Austin, once said to me, “Everything in the book of Acts happened at a prayer meeting, after a prayer meeting, or on the way to a prayer meeting!” After studying the book of Acts, I have to admit his statement is essentially correct. I’ve come to believe, along with the 20th century prayer leader, Armin Gesswein, “The early church didn’t attend a prayer meeting – the early church was a prayer meeting!” There was something dynamic and miraculous about the prayer meetings in scripture and we must recapture what we’ve lost since then because prayer meetings change the world.


Admittedly all of us have been to some boring, ineffective “prayer meetings” that were more “meeting” than prayer. Forget those! They are criminal ripoffs – man made counterfeits of what we find in Scripture. God is calling us to think differently- and more biblically- about prayer meetings. We must abandon the lifeless so called “prayer meetings” we remember, and immediately move back to a biblical, life giving model for prayer meetings that change the world! Dead “prayer meetings” offend God and nobody wants to attend them anyway. They are indefensible so move on and let’s do it better! The Bible informs us about the importance of dynamic prayer meetings.


One biblical model for a dynamic prayer meeting is found in David’s Tabernacle.  David included worship music with prayer and we should too!

When King David organized the responsibilities of the priests and Levites in the House of God he set aside singers to lead night and day worship. 

Now these, the singers, the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites, were in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night.”

(1 Chronicles 9:33)

The same is true of musical instruments- David made certain the prayer meetings were filled with worship music.  He insisted multiple instruments- specifically designed for prayer meetings- be played consistently. From a total of 24,000 Levites charged with ministering in the house of God, David assigned 4000 of them to provide non-stop worship music to support the night and day prayer meeting. In other words, David assembled praise teams and bands to facilitate night and day prayer. 

4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the LORD with the instruments that I have made for praise.”

(1 Chronicles 23:5)

It’s obvious that worship music and singing is one form or expression of prayer. Our dynamic prayer meetings should be infused with prayer music using instruments and worshipful singing and praise. Worship and singing pumps life into a prayer meeting- it helps us keep our focus on the joy of the Lord and that stirs our faith.


(Acts 1:14) 

Someone has observed that, “Jesus started the church the way He wanted it, now He wants the church the way He started it.” The book of Acts is our blueprint for the life of the New Testament church. At Pentecost in Acts 2 the church was born when the Spirit was poured out after a dynamic 10 day prayer meeting. Big things happen in response to prayer. Fortunately, God has provided a template for prayer for the New Testament church today based on the model originated and practiced in the book of Acts. Simply put, the “Acts model” for prayer was the prayer meeting. From the first few paragraphs of the book we find the entire congregation – the Apostles and many others-in a prayer meeting.

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

(Acts 1:14)

This habit of meeting together for prayer continues throughout the entire book. In fact, the Apostles announced early on that leading prayer would be one of only two ministries they would focus their lives on-along with the all important ministry of the Word. 

But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

(Acts 6:4)

It might be tempting, but it would be shortsighted, to imagine that the Apostles meant they would spend all their time in private prayer. They no doubt spent hours in private prayer- just as Jesus taught them-but that is not the larger message of Acts 6:4. The phrase, “devote ourselves to prayer” in English ignores the definite article, “the,” found in the original Greek New Testament. The Apostles said, “We will devote ourselves to the prayer…” When they said “the” prayer, they were referring to an event- they meant the church’s consistent habit of gathering in the prayer meetings. 

Prayer in the early church was a definite, public practice. Prior to the Apostles stating  their intention to devote themselves to prayer, several instances of prayer had already occurred in the book of Acts and not one of those instances was an example of private devotionals. Only prayer meetings had been mentioned up to that point in the book of Acts. There isn’t a single reference to private prayer so far. New Testament scholars like John R. W. Stott acknowledge, “It is noteworthy that now the Twelve have added prayer to preaching (probably meaning public as well as private intercession).” The Apostles were men of private prayer, of course, but the public leadership of their ministries demanded that they continue leading the dynamic prayer meetings which kept the fires of revival burning hot in the early church. 

We would never interpret the Apostolic focus on “the ministry of the Word” as an expression of their commitment to private Bible reading. Neither should we interpret their ministry of prayer as an expression of their own private devotional exercises. In fact, for the next several chapters of Acts, prayer will be mentioned in every chapter and on nearly every page- but in only a single example do we find one the original 12 Apostles praying alone! The book of Acts is about the power of prayer meetings that changed the world! 


How does this focus on dynamic, life giving, biblical prayer meetings affect your prayer life? For one thing, you should be a part of a prayer meeting like this. The early church exploded in miracles, missions, and ministry as a direct result of the powerhouse that was the prayer meeting. Something tells me the people who experienced a prayer meeting in the book of Acts never wanted to miss the next one! 

Why should you attend a prayer meeting like that? How does it benefit your prayer life to be involved in a congregation of praying people? There may be numerous advantages but allow me suggest two powerful reasons your prayer life will benefit from attending dynamic prayer meetings. 

First, we grow best in the context of community. The Bible says,

“Iron sharpens iron,

        and one man sharpens another.”(Proverbs 27:17). 

Our forefathers of faith, in the Iron Age of Israel’s history, knew their iron weapons could only reach maximum effectiveness if they were sharpened by other iron. The writer of Proverbs brilliantly recognized the comparison immediately that people- like iron weapons needing to be sharpened- improve fastest and best in the context of interaction with other people. That’s one reason we need to attend powerful prayer meetings. Yes, Jesus calls us to secret places for prayer, but He also calls us to grow and thrive in praying groups. 

Not only do we benefit as a direct result of praying with other people, dynamic prayer meetings carry the unique promise of God’s presence. If you want answered prayer on a big scale, prayer meetings are essential. Jesus said,

“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

(Matthew 18:19-20)

Few other promises of Jesus more clearly anticipate the history changing power of the church gathered in faith-filled prayer meetings! When we gather in expectant faith with other like minded believers, ready to pray and cry out to God, we can expect Jesus to meet with us! Amazing things happen at prayer meetings. 


Prayer Moves the Hand that Moves the World

At our Church we always say, “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world!” Most Christians want to be more effective in prayer so here are 4 simple but strategic principles to help you develop a more consistent, satisfying, and powerful prayer life. 


(Luke 11:1)

Even though prayer is powerful and all of us want a better prayer life, it is still a discipline you can learn and you can get better if you make a commitment. We never grow spiritually by accident-it calls for commitment. We grow when we commit to grow. Remember, the original disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They knew commitment was involved and they knew they could get better at prayer. What commitments do you need to make in order to get better in your prayer life? 


(Matthew 6:6)

Jesus taught us about the importance of a designated place for prayer when He said, “when you pray, go into your room and shut the door.” Your “room,” or place of prayer, could be almost anywhere if you can control the schedule and eliminate distractions. That means privacy and and a place for unhurried concentration are essential ingredients for developing your life of prayer. Turn away from your text messages and social media to focus on the Lord. Give quality time to the Lord each day. Your prayer life will grow. 


(Matthew 6:6)

Jesus also encourages privacy in prayer, because He said that once you’re in your place of prayer you should “pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” That means finding a place and time you can be alone each day for your regular meeting with God. Remember, “the secret of prayer is prayer in secret.” We don’t pray in secret because we’re ashamed of prayer, we pray in secret (or solitude) because we want to prioritize prayer above all the  noises and distractions that so dominate 21st century life. You will never regret time alone with God! 


(John 15:7)

Jesus made us an incredible promise when He said, 

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” The words of Jesus- His teachings- are found in Scripture. Jesus taught that daily Bible reading and prayer go together. If we read and study the Bible we should follow it up immediately with sincere prayer. I do this early every morning. It’s the best part of my day. I have my quiet place, and it’s early enough that no one needs anything from me at that time. So I read the Bible and pray to begin each day. Remember to saturate your mind with the Word of God as part of your daily commitment to prayer. It’s a game changer.


Of course there are many more principles to incorporate into your journey of prayer improvement. We will deal in other devotionals with the power of prayer meetings, developing  your prayer lists, how much time to spend in prayer, what to pray, and more. 

For now, begin the journey. Plan ahead because you’ll need to schedule the daily time, gather any resources you may need, and find your private place. You will improve if you keep going. The prayer journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take the step!

Dr. J. Kie Bowman


(A Practical Guide)

“I humbled myself with fasting…” (Psalm 69:10)

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting….” (Joel 2:12)

“Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting….” (Daniel 9:3)

J. Kie Bowman

Prayer and fasting are significant spiritual disciplines any believer can utilize in order to yield our lives more fully to God. In Scripture, prayer is mentioned hundreds of times with no reference to fasting, but the opposite cannot be said. Fasting, in Scripture, is almost never discussed apart from prayer. They go together because fasting belongs with prayer and is, in one sense, an extension of prayer. In fasting we let go of our plans; in prayer we take hold of God’s plans. Prayer connects us to Heaven while fasting disconnects us from earth!


Here are a few simple but powerful reasons why every follower of Christ should incorporate fasting into their plans for spiritual growth.

  • Fasting creates a deep passion for intense prayer
  • Fasting increases our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit
  • Fasting strengthens our resolve to obey God
  • Fasting heightens our desire for His presence
  • Fasting purifies our motives
  • Fasting reminds us to pray without ceasing
  • Fasting humbles us so our focus is on the Lord.

In addition to these thoughts, one of the most convincing incentives for fasting is the gallery of spiritual giants found in Scripture who fasted. We quickly think of Moses, Elijah, Daniel, and many others, but our primary example is Jesus. Jesus was obviously a man of prayer but He also was intensely committed to fasting. Not only did He practice it Himself, Jesus taught on fasting and expects His followers to fast.


The word, or some form of the word, fasting occurs more than seventy-five times in Scripture. Fasting was common in both Old and New Testament practice. Moses, Elijah, Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel, John the Baptist, Paul, and Jesus all fasted. So did many others.

Fasting in scripture is always about denying ourselves food. For some today, fasting has become a metaphor for giving up almost anything for godly reasons. For purposes of developing self-discipline, there may be value in refraining from some practices for a time. The people of the Bible, however, would have never considered merely give up some pleasurable practice.

Consider, for instance, the Hebrew and Greek words we translate into English as “fasting.” The Greek word literally means “no eat.” The Hebrew is even blunter, where the word literally means “shut mouth!” When we discuss fasting, therefore, we mean refraining from food.


Jesus encouraged us to fast when He said: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matt. 6:16-18 ESV)

Notice that twice Jesus said “when” you fast, not “if” you fast. For many centuries devout and sincere followers have fasted for spiritual power and to increase the effectiveness of their prayers. Fasting is an important spiritual discipline for our own generation. Some of the practical points Jesus mentioned are:

  1. Fasting is expected by the Lord (“…when you fast”)
  2. Fasting is for the Lord’s notice not for the approval of others (“…may not be seen by others but by your Father”)
  3. God will bless you when you fast (“…your Father…will reward you”).


One day, some followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus with a challenge about fasting. They wondered why the disciples of Jesus were not fasting. It’s an interesting exchange.

“Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14-15 ESV)

Jesus told them His disciples didn’t need to fast while He was with them but after He would be taken away, “then they will fast” (v15). The time for fasting is now- while Jesus is away in Heaven, awaiting His return.


There are three fasts I recommend for almost anyone. If you have specific health conditions which affect your diet, check with your healthcare provider about the medical aspects of fasting. Some people, it’s true, will face extra challenges with fasts. For most people in reasonable health, one of these simple but powerful fasts, with thoughtful preparation, can be undertaken to increase your sensitivity to God’s Spirit.


In Daniel 10:2-3, the prophet, who was no stranger to fasting, described a “partial fast” in which he denied himself “choice food,” including meat. During a partial fast, you might want to limit your food to only fresh fruits or vegetables in the smallest amounts without sugar, salt, or seasonings. You would not want to drink any beverages other than water or limited amounts of 100% fruit/vegetable juices (avoid concentrates which are loaded with added sugar). For coffee or tea drinkers, it is appropriate to have a cup or glass without sugar or cream.

This might be the perfect fast for those who need to eat a small amount in order to take medication but still want to fast. As always, a fast is self-denial. So the menu isn’t the only important thing but also the small portions that matter. Use common sense, limit your intake of food, talk to your doctor, and trust God.

The spiritual benefits will include a heightened sense of the presence and joy of the Lord, if you spend quality time in Bible study and prayer. It is an excellent way for those fasting for the first time to begin this exciting, refreshing, and rewarding spiritual discipline.


I have discovered the wonderful results of a regular one-day fast in which I only drink water and a little black coffee during a twenty-four hour period. I like to fast on a given day until breakfast the next day. The rewards are tremendous! The Bible always comes alive during these days in a special way, and our prayer life during the one-day fast can be as powerful as we might ever experience.

A variation of the one-day fast covers the twenty-four hours from sundown to sundown. You eat nothing from a late-day meal on one day until the same time the next day.

As with the other fasts mentioned, common sense must be used by those with preexisting medical conditions which require special diets. This guide is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Most adults and older teenagers, however, should be able to do a one-day water fast if He leads them to the fast and they seek God during the day.


For those more experienced with fasting, a three-day or long fast with only 100% fruit/vegetable juices, water, or, for the coffee/tea drinkers, a small amount of unsweetened black coffee, or tea is a great exercise in commitment and sacrifice.

During this fast, no solid foods, including fruits/milk products or soft drinks, are consumed. This is a more difficult fast since the body really begins to “cry” to be fed during the length of the fast. The spiritual benefits, however, outweigh the inconvenience and can be life-changing. Expect to hear from God during the extended juice fast. I do not recommend more than three days until you have checked with your doctor, spiritual leaders, and/or Christian family/friend. I did a 40 day fast several years ago and I’ve done a few 10 day fasts, and multiple 3 day fasts. I recently did a 21 day fast. I’ve never had any ill side effects. I highly recommend the extended fast.

Whenever you fast, remember to spend at least as much time in prayer and Bible study as you would have spent eating and preparing to eat. This isn’t a diet. Fasting is about seeking God for breakthrough in your spiritual life, so read the Word daily and pray and worship as much as possible each day. A lot of prayer and Bible reading are essential elements of a successful season of fasting.


• If you suffer from chronic health concerns (such as diabetes or other ailments) which demand a specific diet or regular medications requiring food, a complete fast of food might not be advisable without consultation from your doctor and careful planning.
• With any fast, drink plenty of water.
• On a long fast, consider supplementing water with a 100% fruit juice for an energy boost (do this in moderation as the sugar spike in fruit juice is not always as healthy as we might think!)
• Spend the time in prayer and Bible study that you would have normally spent in eating, preparing meals, cleaning up, or traveling to meals.
• Most physical activity is acceptable during a one-day fast, but avoid overexertion. If you feel dizzy or light-headed, rest and drink water or a small amount of fruit juice. Pace all activities. All of this depends upon how much control you have over your own schedule. It is important to carefully plan your fast, even a brief one.
• Exercise common sense. Talk to spiritual leaders and medical professionals, and be smart! • Ease into a fast by reducing your food intake slowly over a few days prior to the fast. This helps prepare your body for the lack of food during the fast.
• Remember, fasting is an exercise in self-denial. Always allow yourself the least amount of food (if any) and the most amount of prayer and Bible study.
• Ease out of the fast. For every day you fasted, spend the same number of days coming out of the fast by avoiding large meals.


During a called church-wide fast, or during any season of fasting, you have several options. The fast can last for several weeks, or perhaps you’ll decide to fast at least one day a week or fast for 3 days. Fasting is not a litmus test of your love for God in other’s eyes. Fasting is ultimately about seeking God for spiritual personal growth or spiritual breakthrough. Pray about any fast and proceed as the Lord leads you.

J. Kie Bowman
Senior Pastor
Hyde Park Baptist/The Quarries Church
Austin, Texas Prayer 


J. Kie Bowman


D. L. Moody was a 19th Century pastor and evangelist in Chicago and he remains one of the most well known Christians in American history. One night he walked up to a stranger on the street to share Christ and the man responded, “Mind your own business.” Moody replied, “This is my business!” 

Have you ever thought about the fact that sharing the gospel and winning the lost is our business? The Great Commission of Jesus wasn’t given to anyone else except the Church of Jesus Christ! Evangelism is our “business.” 

Every Christian is called to be a witness but you don’t have to be D. L. Moody, or Billy Graham, or Greg Laurie to be an evangelist. You can pray for the lost, for the backslidden, for the prodigal. Prayer is the power that precedes all effective evangelism. 

Paul said praying for the lost is a priority- look at 1 Timothy 2:1-4. 

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

We have to pray for lost people to be saved! It’s not an option- it’s the will of God. 

Billy Graham once said there are 3 factors to a successful evangelistic crusade- prayer, prayer, and prayer! As you fast and pray, pray for many lost people to be saved. 

J. Kie Bowman 

Senior Pastor

19th Century Evangelist D. L. Moody
Come join the prayer meeting!



(Luke 18:1-8)

If you pray you are making a statement- you’re telling the world, “I believe there’s a God who hears and answers prayer!” Since God hears and answers prayer, we should never stop praying. Regarding His followers, Jesus taught, “…that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1) Greg Laurie, commenting on that verse recently said, “If the Bible gave us no other reason for prayer, that would be reason enough. We should pray because Jesus told us to.” And what did Jesus tell us about prayer? He said to “not lose heart.” In other words, keep praying and don’t give up! Read the passage and notice the number of references to persistence. 

“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?”

(Luke 18:1-7)

This parable is all about one specific and highly important aspect of prayer- persistent prayer!

v.1) – “they ought always to pray”

v.1) “Not lose heart”

v.3) “a widow who kept coming”

v.5) “this widow keeps bothering me

v.5) “Her continual coming

v.6) “cry to Him day and night”

When my brother and I were young we saved loose change for years. We finally had enough to buy US Savings Bonds. Buying bonds as a 10 year old, or a six year old, knowing they wouldn’t mature for years felt like losing the money! It took years for the bonds to mature. Still, we did it. Finally, when we were teenagers the bonds matured and we cashed them in. The key to earning more than we started with was simple- we patiently waited for maturity. There’s a similar principle at work when we pray. We persist in prayer even when we don’t receive the answers on our own timetable because we trust the One we are praying to. We believe He knows what’s best in every circumstance – so we persist patiently waiting on God’s timing. Someday the time will be right! Until then, keep praying- don’t give up! 

J. Kie Bowman

Senior Pastor


J. Kie Bowman


Our friend Shane Pruitt, who works with the North American Mission Board as a Youth Evangelist, wrote in a recent article that half of all 18 year olds in America report they feel a lot of anxiety. 

During the worst of the Pandemic we received an email from a livestream viewer living in Florida. She told us she has experienced a lot of anxiety and discouragement since the pandemic started, and our ministry was helping her cope. Psychologist Dr Fabiana Franco called anxiety, “the epidemic of our age” citing the staggering statistic that diagnosed anxiety disorders have risen 1200% in the last 3 decades!

People are worried, discouraged, and stressed out right now, and it’s more common than we realize. But there is good news! You can experience peace without worry. 

The Bible gives us a great promise about prayer and its result- peace.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

This passage offers us a choice about every situation in life: 

We can worry or we can pray! 

God’s instructions to you are simple:

“Don’t worry about ANYTHING

Pray about EVERYTHING.”

Do you ever worry? 

The word “anxious” in verse 6 literally means, “divided mind” or “distracted thoughts.” Anxiety can leave you exhausted from your racing, confused, worried thoughts. 

We display no faith when we worry. 

Oswald Chambers once called anxiety “unconscious blasphemy” because when we worry we are not trusting God. So, how can you trust God more and worry less? 


•As you fast and pray today, consciously ask God to give you peace. 

•Thank Him for the many blessings He has already blessed you with in your life. 

•Ask Him to meet your every need. 

•Read a lot of Scripture to fill your mind with God’s promises.

•Memorize and repeat Philippians 4:6-7 to yourself all day long!

God bless you as you choose blessing over stressing! 

J. Kie Bowman

Senior Pastor


Nearly 300 million people worldwide are suffering with depression today. That’s almost as many people as the total population of the United States. MD magazine reported last month that since Covid-19 started the number of American adults showing symptoms of depression has jumped from 11% to 33%! Depression is real and it’s a powerful enemy for anyone who desires a quality way of life. Fortunately, God can help us. Today, in this blog, counselors from the Hyde Park Counseling Center offer suggestions to help those struggling with depression so they can find hope! In addition, I’ve included my message on “How God Ministers When We Feel Depressed”, preached at Hyde Park Baptist Church on Sunday February 7, 2021. 
Dealing with Depression
By Jenn Edwards, M.A.
Discussing depression and its presenting symptoms has become a widely considered topic in recent months. This is due in part to an increase in the likelihood that you or someone you know is currently struggling with depression in light of the current global atmosphere during the pandemic and political unrest. According to a screening assessment conducted by Mental Health America, rates of depression in 2020 increased by 62% in comparison to depression rates in 2019 [4]. While minorities and youth seem to be among the most affected, depression knows no boundaries in regard to age or demographics [4]. One of the most concerning aspects from a mental health perspective is the stigmatization of depression as a moral weakness and the presumed etiology as a lack of faith. Alternatively, research suggests “there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems” [2]. Depression can be defined as a “mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest…it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems” [3]. When we consider the reasons one might experience depression, the notion of an underlying traumatic event as the source of an onset symptoms, often comes up as a probable cause. To conceptualize a traumatic event, it is important that we understand that trauma can be loosely thought of as any novel event or circumstance thateffects are outside of our current coping capabilities. It is fair to say that COVID-19 catapulted us into a season where we are collectively navigating trauma. For people who have a predisposition to experience depression for the reasons listed above, it is understandable that we would see an increase in symptoms. 
​As you can imagine the suffering that coincides with depression is difficult, but there is always hope because it is held by Christ and tethered to a good and faithful God. There is no shortage of biblical examples where God shows us that this suffering befalls even the most faithful among us. David cries out to God exclaiming, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” And before David skips a beat he answers the question for himself with a directive and direction, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5). This would be a sufficient example of what we can view as asituational depressive episode. The good news is that depressive symptoms tend to be transient, with studies showing that around 50% of episodes are resolved on their own without treatment in approximately 6 weeks [6]. As with most mental health issues, the severity of symptoms will ebb and flow, and tend to occur in tandem to life’s more stressful seasons. One might ask, but what about the times when your persistent low mood is not manageable and does not improve when life’s circumstances seem to let up? These are good questions and from a clinical standpoint it would be important to assess whether the frequency, duration and severity of your symptoms are affecting your job, your family life, school and/or relationships. If the answer is yes, it’s time to seek professional therapy. Here are some symptomatic red flags to be watching for in the form of a helpful mnemonic device (M SIG E CAPS):

M​mood depressed
​S​sleep disturbance (insomnia or hypersomnia)
​I​interest loss (nothing brings pleasure)
​G​guilt (feelings of worthlessness)
​E​energy depleted (fatigue)
​C​concentration problems (indecisive)
​A​appetite disturbance (weight gain or loss)
​P​psychomotor change
​S​suicide preoccupation (thoughts of death) [1]
It is important to highlight the last symptom, which are suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts this should always be taken seriously and help should be sought immediately. 
​As the church we have an opportunity to co-labor with Christ in our ability to help those who are suffering from mental health issues. This starts with the way we talk aboutit in our church meetings, bible studies and Sunday school classes. God can use us to create an atmosphere laden with empathy and genuine love and concern. The over-spiritualization of mental health issues is detrimental to the healing of those suffering. An example of this is telling someone with clinical anxiety that they just need to trust God more, or an individual who has depression being toldthat they are just discontent and have lost their joy. Another way we can, as the church, partner with those affected by mental illness is to “reinforce the grace of belonging (in Christ) to inspire change vs. spiritual fighting that creates more exhaustion” [5]. The enemy undoubtedly has a hand in the perpetuation of distorted thinking, however subtly relating depression to a lost fight with the enemy takes away from the victorious work that is done and finished on the cross. As we move through this year and the years ahead it is paramount that we extend grace and love like we never have before.  Please do not hesitate to contact Hyde Park Counseling Center if you or a loved one may be facing depression.  You are not alone and we are here to help you. 
[1] Gross, Carey, MD. Creator of M SIG E CAPS mneumonic device
[2] Harvard Medical School. (2019, June 24th). Harvard Health Publishing.https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression
[3] Mayo Clinic (2018, February 3rd). Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
[4] Mental Health America (2021). Retrieved from:https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america
[5] Padilla, Joe. What the Bible Says about Depression & Anxiety. The Grace alliance. Retrieved from: https://mentalhealthgracealliance.org/christian-mental-health-and-mental-illness/battling-anxiety-spiritually
[6] Yarhouse, M., Butman, R., & McRay, B. (2005).Modern psychopathologies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsityPress