Welcome to Prayer University! Whatever your discovery level in the power and practice of prayer, the teachings offered are here to help.
PRAYER 101 - Teaches the basic that prayer is more than the necessary daily conversation with God – it is the recognition of His very presence with you in every circumstance. As your prayer life expands, you discover prayer is worship, getting our lives aligned with His will, making us aware of His provision and adding to our personal development.
EMPOWERED THROUGH PRAYER - Go further and deeper than ever in your practice of effective, persistent prayer through Prayer University, with lessons created especially to empower you to pray for America and her leaders during this vital time in the nation’s history.
Written exclusively for you by your prayer team writers, we are pleased to offer this continuing prayer education to you – and look forward to receiving your comments.
Freedom Lives In Forgiveness
Honoring a true Christ follower: Louis Zamperini
By Carol Hatcher
In June of 1943, the family of Louis Zamperini received a message signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt telling how their son was killed in action (KIA) during World War II. The message read: “In grateful memory of First Lieutenant Louis S. Zamperini, A.S. No. 0-663341, who died in the service of his country in the Central Pacific Area, May 28, 1944. He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.”
However in 1945, Zamperini returned home a surprise, as well as a hero. On Wednesday, July 2 of this year, one of this country’s greatest passed away – for real this time. At age 97, Louis Zamperini, peacefully passed surrounded by his family. His life was chronicled in Laura Hillenbrand’s book, “Unbroken,” which became a New York Times best seller. His biography read like a movie script. So much so, actor and director Angelina Jolie is producing his story into a feature film to be released later this year.
As a teenager, Zamperini, a known troublemaker, focused his energy into running track at the suggestion of his brother. The young Zamperini poured his life into the sport and ran his way to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. In 1941, America entered World War II, and he enlisted in the United States Air Force and headed to the South Pacific as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator bomber.
In May of 1943, Zamperini, with a crew of ten others, crashed their B-24 into the ocean while on a search and rescue mission. Only three survived, Zamperini being one of them. The men floated 47 days, surviving on rainwater, tiny raw fish and a couple of albatrosses. They fended off sharks and weathered storms until being discovered by the Japanese Navy, who made them prisoners of war.
For the next few years Zamperini was beaten, tortured, starved and interrogated. Hidden in a secret interrogation facility, the former Olympian was not registered as a prisoner of war. Therefore, the military declared Zamperini KIA. His family mourned his death until his surprise return after liberation from the POW camp in September of 1945.
Life changed for the rescued bombardier. He was plunged into instant fame. But neither fame nor fortune nor marriage to a beautiful woman was a match for Zamperini’s nightmares from his imprisonment. He found temporary solace in alcohol and thoughts of revenge. Once he dreamed of strangling one of his captors and woke with his hands around the neck of his wife.
Looking for answers, his wife found herself in a tent revival of an up and coming preacher named Billy Graham. The Los Angeles Crusade was said to be one of the greatest revivals America has ever seen. Zamperini’s wife, Cynthia, begged her husband to hear Graham preach. What he heard changed his life. The Olympian turned Air Force hero gave his life to Christ and did something no one expected: He prayed for those who tortured him to know God.
Zamperini was soon on speaking tours telling his story with the overall message of forgiveness. In 1950, he returned to Japan to spread the gospel. He searched out his captors and told them the good news of Christ, surprising many with his hugs and mercy. In 1998, the once famous runner carried the Olympic torch through Nagano past many of the camps where he spent time. The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance named him the 1999 Hero of Forgiveness.
Why does this hero rise above the rest? Biblical principles. Americans can understand why Zamperini might be bitter, but can’t comprehend his offer of pardon. The apostle Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22) If anyone had a right to stay angry, it was Zamperini. Instead, he offered his torturers a priceless gift – forgiveness. “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
What can Christ followers take away from the life of Louis Zamperini? Living your life in accordance to God’s Word makes others take notice. Because Christ forgave Zamperini, he in turn could forgive his Japanese captors. Who will receive forgiveness today because Jesus pardoned you?
Carol Hatcher is a former elementary school teacher turned writer, and is a regular contributor to the Vantage Point devotional series. This southern belle lives with her husband and three children in Buford, GA.
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PRAYER 101 LESSONS
Motivate Yourself to Pray
Four things you need to know to motivate yourself to pray:
Lesson 1 – Prayer is loving communication with God
Lesson 2 – You Speak; He Speaks
Lesson 3 – God listens and responds
Lesson 4 – Lack of prayer causes problems
Sovereignty of God in Prayers
Five-part series examining the sovereignty of God and how it relates to your prayers for the nation and its leaders.
Lesson 1 – The Sovereignty of God defined
Lesson 2 – How Prayer connects Earth and Heaven
Lesson 3 – Your Prayer help wage the battle
Lesson 4 – Praying for the lost
Lesson 5 – Praying for the salvation of others
Understanding Who God Is:
Four Characteristics of God Related to Prayer
Lesson 1 – His omnipotence – He is all-powerful
Lesson 2 - His omniscience – He is all-knowing
Lesson 3 – His omnipresence – He is all-present
Lesson 4 – He is love – all the time
The ACTS Model of Prayer
Helpful tool of the ACTS model of prayer (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication):
Lesson 1 – Adoration
Lesson 2 – Confession
Lesson 3 – Thanksgiving
Lesson 4 – Supplication
What Jesus Revealed Concerning Prayer
Five important concepts Jesus’ actions and teachings reveal concerning prayer and the Christian’s relationship with God:
Lesson 1 – What Christ says about prayer
Lesson 2 – How the Holy Spirit guides and comforts you
Lesson 3 – Why and How Jesus Prayed
Lesson 4 – The power of confession and forgiveness
Lesson 5 – Lessons and benefits of the Lord’s prayer
Creative Ways to Pray as a Family
Lesson 1 - Kids Included
Lesson 2 - Dynamic Duo
Worship in Prayer
Lesson 1 - Worship defined – and how it motivates prayer
Lesson 2 - Meeting With Your Creator – Prayer changes you more than you know