The Sovereignty of God

Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The Lord is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:2

A good place to begin a powerful and effective prayer life is in realizing that we are, in every way, completely dependent upon God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego understood that their lives were under the control of a sovereign God. Consider their response to the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, before he had them thrown into the fiery furnace:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:16-18).

Think on these verses which highlight the sovereignty of God:

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it (Psalm 24:1).

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps (Psalm 135:6).

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9, 10).

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

Once we acknowledge that God is sovereign we must place our trust in Him as it says in Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

The Importance of Communication

As in any relationship, trust is established through communication – the exact essence of what prayer is all about.

A friend of my family went through a very difficult divorce. From all appearances, it seemed everything was fine in his marriage. He and his wife were active in their church and home schooled their children. He was very vocal about his faith and was very intentional in sharing the Gospel at work. When I received news that he and his wife had divorced, I gave him a call. As we talked he said, “BJ, at some point in my marriage I became a stranger to my wife. I felt like a single parent raising my kids.” This man’s marriage was destroyed when he and his wife stopped communicating.

Our human relationship with God will never grow unless we spend time communicating with Him. It is during those moments on our knees when faith develops. I foster trust in God by utilizing a prayer journal to record prayer requests and write down spiritual lessons God has taught me. This journal has proven a great resource to remind me of God’s faithfulness. It is encouraging to reflect on past requests and see how God has responded to them. Sometimes God did not answer the request in the way I thought He would, nor in the time I wanted, but in each case I am reminded that I serve a God who listens and responds to the needs of His children (Psalm 34:17; Matthew 7:7; John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 5:14-15).

Some of the spiritual lessons God has taught me have come through times of trials and tribulation, others during times of prayer and fasting. Regardless of the situation, in each case it has been valuable to reflect upon what God has taught me through the years. I also jot down key verses that have given me strength, encouragement and direction through various times in my life. What a faithful God we serve!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7).

So then, the first principle in having a powerful and effective prayer life is trusting in the sovereignty of God. We are merely the vehicles which God uses to accomplish His sovereign will. Even in the uncertainties of life, we must realize, like Job, that we are dependent upon Him (Job 42:2-6).

The preceding was excerpted from BJ’s new E-book Powerful and Effective Prayer.

Prayer Accomplishes Great Things

by Bill Rudge

Doors of opportunity open and victories are realized when you pray for us. Effective ministry happens through lives saturated with prayer. In fact, virtually every miracle we have seen through this ministry has occurred during or right after a time of prayer and often including fasting.

Obstacles have been overcome, the impossible made possible, victories won, strongholds broken, and lives changed as the Lord does amazing things through earnest and persistent prayer.

PRAYER is the privilege we have to enter boldly into the presence of the Master of the Universe. PRAYER is acknowledging our dependence on and surrendering our will to the King of kings and Lord of lords. PRAYER is crying out to our Creator for His help, protection and empowerment. PRAYER is entreating the only One who can meet all our needs and fulfill the pure desires of our hearts. PRAYER is sometimes saying, “Lord, I don’t know what You are doing, but I trust You.” PRAYER releases our faith in God, who has ultimate power and authority. PRAYER is a catalyst in deploying heaven’s resources to assist God’s saints. The PRAYERS of believers in Jesus Christ have tremendous power.

Principles for Dynamic Prayer

Bill Rudge compiled the following nine biblical principles which have been extremely beneficial in his prayer and fasting, as well as for countless others who have read his book, Fasting for Sensitivity and Power. The following verses will help you develop an effective prayer life.

Right Motives  James 4:3

According to His Will  1 John 5:14

Persistence  Luke 11:5-10

Do Not Doubt  James 1:6, 7; Hebrews 11:1, 6

Mountain-Moving Faith Mark 9:23; Mark 11:23

Thankfulness  Philippians 4:6, 7; Colossians 4:2

Obedience  John 14:14, 15; John 15:7; 1 John 3:21-24

Clean Heart  Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15-17; James 5:16-18

Delighting in the Lord Psalm 37:4; Psalm 84:11; Matthew 6:33

Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

PrayerBookCoverDraftRev_1Do you desire to be a man or woman of great faith? Do you want God to use your life so as to leave a lasting legacy? I recently read a book entitled 50 People Every Christian Should Know. This book presents the biographies of 50 men and women who have left a lasting impression upon the Christian faith. As I read about their lives, I discovered several common traits which defined how they lived. One of these traits was that they were people of prayer. They all understood that their effectiveness in serving God was directly connected to the time they spent on their knees. Just like these individuals of the past, God wants to take ordinary people today and raise up another generation of spiritual giants whose lives are marked by powerful and effective prayer.

After calling his readers to pray in times of trouble and sickness, and to confess their sins one to another, James asserts that, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). To illustrate, James refers to the prophet Elijah as an example of a person who had an effective prayer life. James tells us that Elijah’s prayers both began and ended a three-and-a-half year drought on the nation of Israel (see 1 Kings 17 and 18). James also reminds us that Elijah was a man with a nature just like us (James 5:17). In other words, according to Donald W. Burdick, “He [Elijah] had no superhuman powers; he was by nature a human being and nothing more. However, when he prayed ‘that it would not rain … it did not rain’…so James assures his readers that such answers to prayer are within the reach of any believer.”

If it is true that we can have a powerful prayer life like the prophet Elijah, then the obvious question is, “How?” Many writers propose answers to this question by suggesting we do things such as recite a verse or a word repeatedly, sit in silence (an altered state of consciousness), or walk a prayer circle. Prayer, however, is not some magical incantation or manipulative tool we can use to control God. As Jesus Himself taught,

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetitions as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew 6:7).

Instead, prayer is communicating with God through means by which He has revealed in His word. Recognizing that we are dependent upon the Bible to understand prayer, in upcoming newsletters I will be sharing biblical principles that can enable any believer to have a powerful and effective prayer life just like Elijah.

Memory Verses for 2018

by Bill Rudge

While walking together, my wife Karen and I often quote Scripture and pray. I say the first part of the verse; then Karen says the rest. The following are some of the verses we use. We hope they will bless you as they have us. Use this list as an aid to commit these verses to memory.

• “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

• “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

• “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper…” (Isaiah 54:17).

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

• “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

•  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble, for the LORD your God goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

• “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2).

• “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you…” (Isaiah 41:10).

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

• “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

“Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).

• “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

• “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

• “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

“No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).

• “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).


by Bill Rudge

Giants and obstacles are like exercise. Exercise works because of resistance. The greater the resistance, the bigger and stronger your muscles become. The more giants we face, the more character and spiritual muscles we develop.

Often, what I have wanted God to deliver me from was what He used to make me stronger. Something happens in the wilderness, the valley, and the desert that does not happen on the mountaintop; God builds character, strength, faith and determination as He molds our lives to accomplish His will.

On the way home from seeing a specialist after my son tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) for the second time while playing soccer, with no alternative but extensive knee surgery, I told him that, “Trials, obstacles, and difficulties put iron in our blood and make us strong as nails.”

For about 10 years during our early Christian lives and ministry, Karen and I lived in extreme poverty. It looked as though we would never have anything. Over the years we faced many hard times, difficulties, obstacles, impossible circumstances and giants. But the Lord somehow always intervened in His time and way to enable us to overcome them.

I often wondered why, throughout my Christian life and in our ministry, God permitted so many difficulties. We seemed to do everything the hard way. Yet, God has taught me the reality that all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I have walked with the Lord more than 45 years, and I can honestly testify to the truth of this Scriptural promise.

I am glad we have persevered through our impoverished beginnings and many hard times. Since the Lord has greatly blessed my life and ministry, no one can say that I only serve Him for all the blessings He has given me. I served the Lord when we had nothing; with no hope of ever having anything, and I serve the Lord when He blesses. I will serve Him if He takes away everything He has given to me.

The WHYS of Adversities

by Bill Rudge

Bringing Difficulties On Ourselves

We make choices all the time: what we eat, where we go and what we do. Sometimes we suffer the consequences of those choices, such as the young man who called in despair because choices he made require him to appear before a judge who will determine jail time or probation.

Natural Consequences

If I get too close to the edge of a cliff, I am going to fall off. I did not fall because Satan pushed me over or God is punishing me. I violated the law of gravity and suffered the natural consequences.

Spiritual Warfare

There is a real enemy who seeks to defeat and destroy every person committed to Jesus Christ. When we face spiritual warfare, it can become intense. Bizarre things can happen with little or no explanation. At these times we must know the authority we have as believers in Jesus Christ and how to use the armor of God and the sword of the Spirit.

Refining and Molding

Scripture is clear that God purifies and prepares His people. Anyone used by God will go through wilderness experiences to be trained to stand in the midst of life’s challenges and temptations. Just like a soldier is prepared for battle, believers are trained through difficulties to face any circumstance. It has been accurately stated that there is no testimony without a test.

Discerning the Difference

When adverse circumstances rise up and I go through the “flames” of life, I get on my knees and ask, “Lord, is there sin in my life? Am I reaping the consequences of some attitude or choice I made in disobedience to Your Word and Spirit? If so, I repent. Otherwise, I evaluate whether this is “the rain that falls on the just and the unjust” or am I in the midst of spiritual warfare. Has the enemy targeted me and designed a scenario to discourage and defeat me and thwart God’s plan for my life? If this is not the case, I realize that God is doing a work in me and I am going through a season of refining. Therefore, I submit to the process and ask Him to strengthen my trust in Him as He fulfills His purpose to use me as a testimony for His glory.