Author Archives: Tracy Robbins

What are the benefits of corporate prayer?

What are the benefits of corporate prayer? Is praying with others better than praying alone?

What are the benefits of corporate prayer? Is praying with others better than praying alone?

Not long ago a friend of mine approached me and asked about the benefits of corporate prayer (in other words, praying with one or more people). Previously, she had been having a discussion with some other friends on the topic. They were pondering the power of two or more prayers and why it would be more advantageous than praying alone if the individual praying had great faith. They brought up the point that the bible says that if one person can have faith as small as a mustard seed anything is possible for them. If one person can have faith as small as a mustard seed and get their prayers answered, then what’s the benefit of praying with someone else?

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in Heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT)

“’You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’” Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

It’s a GREAT question! So today I thought we could talk about that.

It’s more about us than God’s power

I pointed out what Matthew 18:19-20 says about the tremendous power available when believers pray together in agreement because God’s presence is right there among them.

Then another good, and very wise 😉 friend in my small group, Michelle, had even better insight. She pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that corporate prayer is more powerful than praying alone but that we feel more empowered ourselves when we pray with others. Michelle said, “It doesn’t have to do with God’s power. It’s more about us. It helps us.” So, the benefit is more for us, not for better chances of the prayer being answered.

Corporate prayer is not a magical power enhancement button that we push. Praying with others does not necessarily mean that these prayers are more powerful than individual prayers. However, they do have their benefits! 

Benefit #1: Corporate prayer helps us to build each other up and strengthens us.

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Tips for Understanding the Bible

Check out some of these tips for understanding the Bible better...

Tips for Understanding the Bible

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post that included a prayer to help understand the Bible better when we read it.  However, even after praying at times there are still things we don’t always understand right away. There are occasions where we may want to do a little further study when we are having trouble understanding.  Today I thought I’d share with you some of my own processes and tips for understanding the Bible based on things that seem to help me, personally.

I’ve been a consistent Bible reader and “student” for many years now, and there are STILL things I don’t understand. It might be a word, a custom, or it might even be when the Bible seems to contradict itself.  We’re not crazy, abnormal, or unintelligent if we read some things that seem a bit confusing or out of whack!  Even pastors who have been studying scripture for decades have questions and don’t always understand everything that they read.  Take heart…we’re in good company! 

A different take on struggles with understanding

Recently, after reading some of his devotions on my Bible app, I started following a guy named Dave Adamson.   He has an Instagram feed with daily photo devotions that are always absolutely amazing!  One of his posts this week fit right in line with how we struggle when we read the Bible at times. Dave had some tips for understanding the bible when we struggle based off of the story of Jacob, who was renamed Isaac.  He posted a picture of his girls wrestling on the lawn at the National Mall in Washington DC.  He compared it to how we wrestle with God and with scripture sometimes…

“See, I used to carry a lot of guilt whenever I questioned a paradox in Scripture or disagreed with something I heard in church. But there’s a story in the Bible of a man named Jacob who one night literally wrestles with God. By morning, God walks away from the fight and changes Jacob’s name to Israel, which in Hebrew means “struggles” or “wrestles with God.” This name is prophetic, signifying that God’s people will always wrestle with Him. The ancient Jews believed God invites you into this wonderful wrestling match with Him. Author Athol Dickson says, “What if God placed these paradoxes within the Scriptures to cause me to struggle for the truth? What if it is the struggle he desires as much as the truth itself?” When you wrestle with God, He’s right there with you, just like my daughters are with each other in this picture. So the next time you struggle with faith, that’s not a time for guilt, but celebration. God is inviting you to wrestle with Him so you can be connected with the Creator of the universe.”[1]

I love how he used this analogy to free us from some of the guilt of having doubts and questions.  You can also see more of Dave’s amazing photo devotions on his reading plans on the Bible app (YouVersion): 7 Hebrew Words Every Believer Should Know and 7 More Hebrew Words Every Believer Should Know.  Dave also has a photo devotional book called Chasing the Light.

God wants us to understand

Nevertheless, like I said before… God wants us to read our Bible and to understand it. He doesn’t want it to be difficult or overwhelming for us. Because God is not a God of confusion, we should be at peace and not in a state of confusion. Scripture is given to us to help us, not to hinder us. It’s meant to be useful for us.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16(NLT)

So on to the tips!

8 Tips for Understanding the Bible:

  1. Try these 8 tips to help you understand the Bible better

    Find a translation that makes it easy to understand the Bible verses and passages

  2. Read a verse or passage in multiple translations
  3. Use a Bible commentary
  4. Read related verses or cross references
  5. Use a concordance
  6. Ask someone else
  7. Look up or research what you don’t understand
  8. Pray more specifically about a particular part that you don’t understand

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Funny Friday: Summer

Funny Friday: Summer

Does this sign ring true for anyone else? 🙂 Summer: The time of year parent realize just how grossly underpaid teachers really are.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” 1 Timothy 5:17 (NIV)

Getting Through a Tough Time and Coming Out Better On the Other Side

Some Tips on Getting Through a Tough Time and Coming Out Better On the Other Side

Getting Through a Tough Time and Coming Out Better On the Other Side

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

A good friend of mine is going through a tough time right now. She’s brokenhearted and grieving tremendously about some of the bad things that are happening to and around her. I’m not at liberty to share the details, but I know all of us can relate to feelings of us loss, grief, betrayal, defeat, loss of hope, despair, confusion…the list could go on and on. Sometimes things happen in our lives that we don’t see coming. Things that knock us off of our feet and take our breath away. Things that feel crushing. It might even feel like we won’t be able to come back from these awful things.

I’m here to tell you today though that WE CAN! We have a wonderful, powerful, amazing God who can do things greater than you could ever possibly imagine! Don’t lose heart during a tough time. We serve a God that can bring things back from the dead. Those situations, circumstances, and even relationships in our lives that appear to have died…He can resurrect them! We serve a resurrection God.

“That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” Romans 4:17 (NLT)

It’s okay to be sad…God gets sad too

First, grieving is perfectly okay during a tough time. It’s okay to be sad. We’re not a “bad Christian” if we’re not happy, positive and hopeful ALL the time. We’re human, and God knows that. In fact, God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27). So guess what that means? We’re a lot like God. Did you know He gets sad and grieves too? Continue reading

Funny Friday: How rednecks get away from the cops

Funny Friday: How rednecks get away from the cops

Here’s a funny video clip that’s been floating around for a little bit.  Now you know what to do if you ever need to get away from someone.

“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5 (ESV)

Prayer to Help Understand the Bible

Say this prayer to help you understand the Bible better...

Prayer to Help Understand the Bible

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the Bible, which can be very frustrating. Often this will tempt us to just stop and give up trying. This is especially true if we’re not in a habit of reading it on a regular basis. However, I will say it gets easier the more consistent we get in our reading habit. Today, I’d like to share some scriptures and a prayer based off of scripture that we can pray to before we begin reading in order to glean the most out of our reading session.

God wants us to read our Bible. He also wants us to understand the Bible. He doesn’t want it to be difficult or overwhelming for us. We should be at peace and not in a state of confusion. God is not a God of confusion. Scripture is given to us to help us, not to hinder us. It’s meant to be useful for us to help us lead a successful, happy, healthy and prosperous life. It is effective and powerful and always relevant to any and every situation we face.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) 

There is simplicity in Christ

Beth Jones explained once that we don’t have to understand all of the complex parts of the Bible to learn about Jesus and have relationship with him. Beth compared it to driving a car. You don’t have to understand all of the inner workings of a car engine to be able to drive the car.

Similarly, you don’t have to be all deep and philosophical and intellectual when reading scripture. He’ll help you out along the way. You’ll grow in knowledge and understanding as you walk with him. In fact, Jesus liked to keep things simple. It was the other religious leaders of the day that tried to make things confusing, complex, and super formal. He’ll meet you where you are and help you to understand little by little.

“But I fear, lest somehow, he serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)

 Scriptures to use when we need to understand the Bible 

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