“Semper Vigilanti”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the vigilant heart of a “Watchmen“ [prayer sentry] (Isa 62:7).

Always Vigilant In Prayer

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Those appointed “Watchmen“ [prophets, teachers, ministers] over Israel were not to be silent before the people (v6). Nor were they to be silent before God. But they were to be always vigilant in prayer (1Th 5:16). It was and is the duty and privilege of the “Watchmen“ to pray for the extension and glory of the kingdom of God to come.

Watchmen pray with such persistence as to give Jehovah no rest until the completion of the kingdom of God be established. I liken this vigilance as a watchman in prayer to those sentinel figures who stand watch 24/7 over the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. Lord I take my responsibility and privilege as a “Watchmen“ seriously and with sacred dedication.

For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in this blog:

No Silent Sentries

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Engage openly and mightily with God and men as faithful “watchmen“ (Isa 62:6b). #SpeakToMenForGod #SpeakToGodForMen https://bible.com/bible/114/isa.62.6.NKJV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The watchmen posted by God are to do their job of instructing the people; expressing God’s will in praise, thanksgiving, encouragement and warning. Silence is not an option. One role of the watchmen was to be a continual reminder to the people of the Lord God, so they might not forget God.

The voices of the watchmen, then and today (prophets, teachers and ministers of the most high God), were to be continually engaged with public prayer, praise and instruction. No silent sentries. Lord, this is my job: to speak FOR you into the lives of others and to speak TO you for the same.

For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in my blog:

What’s Yo Name?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be for sure certain your name’s written in the Lamb’s book of forever life (Isa 62:2-4; Rev 2:17; 21:2). #EternalLife #NewNameWrittenDownInGlory #TheLambsBookOfLife

Revelation 2:17

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Isaiah‘s prayer, it is revealed to Israel (and to every other nation) that once she has entered into the light of God‘s righteousness, she will get a “new name.” No longer will she be known as “Forsaken“ and “Desolate.” Her new name will be “God’s Delight, God’s Bride (intimate companion“ (see also Isa 56:5).

As it was and is for Israel, so shall it be for the Church Age. The Apostle John tells us that all who come into the righteousness of Christ will receive a “New Name” (Rev 2:17). That name is written in the Lamb’s book of forever life (Rev 21:27). Lord, how awesome it is for the faithful sentry to know that his/her name, “New Name,” is written down into the records of glory.

This great old gospel hymn says it all.

P.U.S.H.

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come faithfully to God in prayer (Isa 62:1-5). #FaithfulPrayer #PrayWithoutCeasing https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.62.5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

O, how the prophet Isaiah prays over God‘s people. He is concerned with more than just condemning their sin. He faithfully roams the hallowed halls of heaven in petition to his God for Israel‘s righteousness and her salvation. He pleads for her commitment to God.

Not only does Isaiah see Israel‘s future and far into the church age, he prays “God‘s will on earth as it is in heaven.” God has called believers into partnership with him. He reveals his will, then we Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.). Oh Lord, I am renewed in my commitment to intercession. You hear and respond (Psm 145:18,19).

Kenosha, WI – Double Down In Prayer

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be moved to give God no rest; by prayer, seek deliverance of Kenosha, WI from violent unrest (Isaiah 62:6). #RedeemKenosha #GiveGodNoRest #HealANationDivided https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.62.6.NLT

PRAY FOR KENOSHA, WI

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Doubling down on prayer for Kenosha, WI. As a faithful and dutiful watchmen, with Isaiah, I will not rest from prayer in this matter. If it is good to pray for the city of Jerusalem, it is good to pray for Kenosha, good for America.

Hear the Rhyme Of The Watchmen:

“A watchman stands guard on the wall.

If there is trouble he’ll let out a call.

Though none be aware;

Still standth he there;

And his vigil secures one at all.“

Lord, my heart is provoked to stand watch in prayer over the city, over my beloved country.

Finding God’s Presence

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Oh that we might dwell before God in humility and sincerity (Isaiah 56:6,7; 57:13). #HolyMountain #HolyCity #PlaceWhereGodDwells #PlaceOfPerpetualPrayer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.56.6-7.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.57.13.NLT

Mt Siniai

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What is God’s “Holy Mountain“ and how does one enter into that mountain? The “Holy Mountain“ of God is literally Mt Siniai (Mt Zion). It is the place where God spoke to Moses. Spiritually it is the heavenly Jerusalem, the place where the living God dwells. It represents the presence of God.

Who can enter into that holy place (Psm 15:1–5; 24:3)? the answer is, those who set themselves apart for God, who trust in God, who worship God with genuine sincerity and a contrite heart. What will one find in God’s “Holy Mountain”? The answer is, the presence of God, joy and the perpetual listening ear of God, who will hear and answer prayer. Oh, my Lord, may this old sentry be found worthy to daily enter into your “Holy Mountain.“

Carryin’ The Water

I’m a retired minister; past the 3/4 century mark. I’m a member of a great church with a truly missions and discipleship heart. I heard a young minister preach not long ago in our pulpit. He closed his message with a terrific illustration having to do with sports. He said that many sit in the boxed seats and stands and cheer their team on. But they are not in uniform and they are not in the game. 

Waterboys Carry The Water For The Team

For some time now I have been sidelined for reasons I shall not get into here. They are things that have committed me to be at home pretty much 24//7. While I’m happy to fulfill this particular call, I have felt at times like I’m not in uniform, not in the game like I used to be. So, as the young minister was closing the service with his sports illustration, I struggled with what he was saying. I was thinking, “Lord, I’m unable to play the game (carry the ball, run the bases, interact with the players) like I used to do.” I felt conflicted.

Then the Lord reminded me that I have had, for many years, a heart for intercession (this blog speaks to that). The Lord spoke to me and said, “Dude, you’re still in uniform and you’re still on the field, in the game. You’ve been carrying the water in prayer for decades. That desire has intensified in recent years. You’re carrying the water in prayer now more than ever.” I felt affirmed by the Lord.

My final thought in that service was this: Every team has a “Waterboy.” The waterboy is in the game, part of the game and he wears the team jersey. He carries out his role like the rest of his teammates. What the Lord was saying to me was this: I, like the waterboy, am carrying the water (intercession) for my team (God’s team). I’m in uniform and faithfully doing the job I was asked to do.

I walked out of that service thinking, I am on the field, honored to be a waterboy. No box seat for me. I’m still in uniform and in the game. So, “Thank you Lord, for my job. I’m honored to be Carryin’ The Water.”

Core Corrosion Of A Nation*

PRAYER: Humbly look to God for affirmation or conviction of your walk (Isa 47:1–15). #CoreCorrosion #SoulRevival https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.47.4.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What brought down a 40 year old 12 story apartment building in Florida killing over 100 sleeping victims? The “core corrosion” of its foundation.

Isaiah prophesies that a once jeweled nation (Babylon) will be shamed and brought to ruin. Why? Her “core corrosion.” Having been used of God to chastise his people, Babylon was arrogant toward God and his people. She concluded that she was unstoppable, and without shame for her brutality and rejection of God. Any nation or people blessed of God who prostitutes that blessing and tramples on God‘s grace will come to ruin.

There is not a single god, not might, power, fame, wealth or any magic bullet that will save a corrupted nation or person. Like straw in a fire they will be unable to save themselves from God‘s judgment. Every friend and ally will turn a deaf ear to their cries for help. So says the “Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Holy One of Israel.” Lord, press upon me the need to always be casting and eye toward heaven for affirmation of my walk before you.

* How can America do a much needed check on her “core?” She must come one by one, neighbor by neighbor, church by church, leader by leader to a place of humility before God. She must humbly cast an eye towards heaven for affirmation or conviction of her walk before God. She must humbly seek God’s forgiveness for her individual and collective “core corrosion.” It starts with me. May the Lord lay bare the heart, the core, of this old sentry. Start with me Lord. Revive me first, then my neighbors, my church, the leaders of my church, the leaders of my community, state and nation. Revive me Lord. Revive and awaken my beloved nation Lord.

Victory, Defeat; God’s Role

PRAYER: Understand the providence of God in your every pursuit (Isa 45:7). #TheProvidenceOfGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.45.7.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“I [God] create good times and bad times.” Am I to understand here that God is the author of evil in the moral sense of sin? No! No! No! This statement is made in relation to the providences of God. He raises up prosperity, peace, pure religion and the like. He also calls forth adversity, calamity, ignorance, et all…but not evil, in the moral sense of sin. He gives us light. Darkness ensues because the light is withdrawn.*

When God withdraws his hand, bad things happen. But when God puts his hand of blessing on something (as here with Cyrus) good things happen. God’s point here is his complete and absolute superiority over all the things in heaven and on earth. He providentially works in the affairs of men. This is as true today as it was in the days of Cyrus.*

America may not want to hear this, but God says, “[I am he who] builds up nations, and [I am he who] destroys them. [I am he who] expands nations, and [I am he who] abandons them” (Job 12:23 NLT – see vv 13-24 for context https://bible.com/bible/116/job.12.13-24.NLT).

Lord put it into the heart of every prayer sentry to seek truth and learn from you in the good times and in the bad times. May every sentry standing on the wall speak with conviction and with compassion. May your Spirit not be withdrawn from our midst.

* See Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah (pg 149,150)

“Trash Day America!” – Put Out The Trash

PRAYER: Express a surrendered and willing spirit towards God (Isa 43:22-44:5). #SurrenderedHeart #ObedientHeart #PutOutTheTrash #Repentance https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.43.22-25.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Sad to say, though God makes his case for his love and mercy, still Israel rejects his call to return to him. Do the words RECALCITRANT, DELETERIOUS, mean anything? Instead of offering sacrifices of praise to honor God, they offered the best of their sinful trash. They flaunted the worst of their disobedience before God. Shameful. Am I any better Lord?

Yet, still, God offers his absolute mercy and forgiveness for sins committed against him. Why? For his own sake. For the sake of his name, his love. God says repentance (getting rid of the trash) will lead still to the pouring out his Spirit on Israel’s descendants and his blessing on their children. The people of God will once again be proud to claim God’s name over them. Lord, put within this aged sentry a surrendered and willing heart.

Is America The Subject Of God’s Fury?

PRAYER: Listen to God and do what is right in his sight (Isa 43:18–25). #Judgment #GreatAmericanFailure #TurnToGod https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.42.18-25.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

America – can we not see with our own eyes and hear with her own ears what is right? How long shall we refuse righteousness and ignore what is right before our own eyes and ears?

If God did not withhold judgment on his own people, Israel, how will he not withhold judgment on the nations that reject and ignore him? America has turned her back on God. She, like Israel of old, is the target of God’s fury…yet she refuses to understand. She refuses to learn her lessons.

Consider just the past 18 months: COVID pandemic, “George Floyd “– riots, grotesque racial division among us, out of control forest fires, inflation that threatens our economy, earthquakes claiming thousands of lives, inept national leadership foisted upon us and the demise of our national/international honor, pride and global influence.

Father, open the eyes of this great nation to your love, mercy and forgiveness. May she repent while there is still time and turn back to you. Begin by breaking the heart of this old sentry, Lord!

“R&R”

Prayer: Stand Down – take time to Refresh & Renew (R&R). #R&R #StandDown
https://bible.com/bible/114/luk.5.16.NKJV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Lord is calling me to temporarily step away from my post as a prayer sentry.

For many years I have come daily to my Morning Watch post, to read God’s word, to consider His ways and his message. Then to write, to journal my thoughts and to pray in earnest for the many souls in my books of prayer.

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” – Psalms‬ ‭45:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Although I struggle to set aside the duty of my post, the Lord reminds me that he himself had to take times away from the crowds to find refreshment. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”Luke 5:15-16 . This is not the first time the Lord has led me in such a way.

When I served in Vietnam it was required that every soldier take a time of respite. So a short leave from the rigors of battle was not just granted but required. The purpose was to refresh and renew.

So for the next month or so I will take this sabbatical time to seek the Father, to refresh my soul in Him who loves me and to find renewal for my sometimes weary heart.

I will not quit praying for my family, my friends and my country. I’m just temporarily stepping away from the regimens I normally follow.

Biden v. Putin

Prayer: Fear not dear people of America. No oppressor shall have power over you that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies does not allow (2 Kings 6:16-18). #BidenVsPutin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It matters not the weakness or strength of the leader of the free world; if God is for his remnant in America (or any other country), who shall stand against her? Do not be afraid of the enemy from Russia (or any where else). For greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1Jhn 4:4).

Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if the remnant of God in America shall be victorious open the eyes of President Vladimir Putin when he meets with President Joe Biden today, June 16, 2021.

No matter the state of President Biden’s mind, feeble or strong, when they meet, may Putin see what the servant of the Man of God saw as he coward in the face of the Aramean military might. [He saw that the Hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire – 2 Kings 6:16-18]. May Putin see that those who are with us are more and more than those who are with our him.

May the entire camp of Vladimir Putin be thrown into confusion as in the days of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies caused three super powers of the day to turn on and destroy each other (2 Chronicles 20:20-24). So the Lord is able to do today.

World leaders and world super powers come and go. But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will stand forever. May the Lord stand in the gap today as Joe Biden meets with Vladimir Putin. The Lord will stand with truth, justice and righteousness on the world stage. May the world be convinced today of the power of the Lord God.

Following The Christ-Life

Prayer: Be a living expression of Christ-likeness (Phi 1:9-11). #TheChristLife https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.9-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What is the prayer, that “holy hug,” that Paul expresses for his beloved friends in Philippi? He prays that the love of Christ might pour out in abundance from them to others. He prays that they will continue to grow in their knowledge of Christ, that they might live moral upright lives. He prays that they will be filled with the fruit of salvation (the righteous character of Christ). The ultimate goal of all of this is that they will bring much glory, praise, to God.

So, following Paul’s example, I pray for my family, friends and nation that Christ love might abound in them, knowledge of Christ will continue to grow, that Christ-likeness will be revealed in them and that ultimately, God will be glorified in their lives. And Lord, may my love, Christian character and witness also bring glory to the father.

The Holy Hug

Prayer: Learn prayer as a “holy hug;” embracing others in the Spirit of Christ (Phi 1:4,9). #HolyHug #Prayer https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.4,9.nlt

Prayer: The Holy Hug

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul continues his affectionate greeting. He communicates his prayers and encouragement to the Philippian believers. It his way of embracing those far away from him and giving them a spiritual hug, a “holy hug.”

So it has also become my joy to pray for and write to those for whom I pray – my wife, my children, grandchildren and spiritual adopteds; my neighbors, friends, leaders in my church, leaders in our nation, state, county and city; for all others whom the Lord gives a reason for me to pray.

This is the call of the prayer sentry, to search God’s word daily, to hear and receive from him my assignments in prayer. Then to pray for these beloved family, friends, leaders and others.

When Things Are Perfect

(Thoughts from the end of the driveway)

Dare I say that there is a moment, a slice of time in my day, when I come as close to perfection as humanly possible?

It is my Morning Watch, between the hours of 4:30 and 8 AM (or thereabouts). It is that time of day when I bring my broken and fallen self to the table of self-examination.

It is those moments when the Holy enters into my daily dialogue and from Scripture the Lord counsels me, comforts me and challenges me. He speaks perfectly clearly from his Word. His Spirit interprets perfectly clearly (Rhema) to my heart. His Son perfectly clearly calls me to obedience. These are moments unmolested by the trials and the challenges of the day which await me. They are crouching at the threshold just outside the closed door of sweet communion.

For these few unmolested moments I am free of sin (for the most part; I am human). Like a “storm chamber,“ to which one goes for protection and cover from the storm, I am sheltered from the elements outside which batter the humble shack above. I am free in these moments from the demands of the flesh. I am entirely focused upon my Heavenly Trio of Friends: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Ah yes. For these few moments, when things are perfect, I can hear clearly, perfectly. Then, having put on a new self, with a bound, full of grace and truth, I step out from the chamber, my cathedral of personal praise and devotion. Then, standing watch at the end of my driveway, I courageously answer the call to give my all for Christ another day.

Call To Pray

Prayer: Give your heart to the ministry of prayer (Phi 1:3-5). #PrayHard #Intercessor https://bible.com/116/php.1.3-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Prayer is a constant focus of the apostle Paul. He always has someone, some church, some group of people on his mind in prayer. Thanks is another virtue of Paul. He is forever thankful…to God, to partners in ministry and for those who have given their lives to Christ. Paul never takes for granted the work of the gospel nor the partners and fellow workers in ministry.

A sure sign that one may be an intercessor is his/her thankful heart and joy in always being ready to pray for someone or some group. It is his/her delight to pray. That is the intercessor. This is the seminal work of the prayer sentry. Father, I shall never forget those days in which you called me to the ministry of intercession.

Intercessor

PRAYER: Be a ready and earnest prayer warrior, intercessor (Col 1:7; 4:12,13). #PassionatePrayer https://www.bible.com/116/col.4.12-13.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Epaphras (likely founder of the church in Colosse) – Paul opens his letter to the Colossians with a note about Epaphras (1:7). He mentions him again in the closing (4:12,13). Epaphras is noted as a faithful servant and man of earnest prayer. It is said that he “always labors fervently for you in prayer…“ That is, on any and every occasion Epaphras was ready to pray.

Epaphras was not only ready, he prayed “fervently.“ That is, he prayed with painstaking accuracy and knowledge. He was an earnest and sincere intercessor. Epaphras was “moved” by God towards deep heartfelt prayer. This is the goal of the Prayer Sentry. Lord, may this sentry, every prayer sentry, take every opportunity to sincerely pray for the welfare of others, that they might stand mature in the will of God.

Place? Here!; Time? Now!

PRAYER: Serve Christ from where you are (Col 4:7-14). #NoPlaceLikeHereNoTimeLikeNow https://www.bible.com/116/col.4.7,9-12,14.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In the closing lines of Paul’s letter to the Colossians he speaks kindly of eight men who are standing with him in the call to preach the Gospel. Some are in prison with him in Rome. Some are ministering to him in his incarceration for the Gospel. But prison for Paul, rather than a place of doom, gloom and defeat, has become a busy center for flourishing ministry. (“What [men] meant as evil against me, God meant for good, that many people should be kept alive – Gen 50:20)

From prison Paul plans ministry and prays for many. He teaches, disciples, exhorts, sends others out and serves Christ from prison. No matter his circumstances he is “content” (Phi 4:11 – written from prison). For Paul the place is here and the time is now. He finds ways to continue to spread the Gospel message. Prison holds no bars for the man or woman of God. Lord, though limited in my elder years, this duty sentry is determined to be as engaged as ever doing what he can to pray, share the Gospel and to encourage the people of God.

Open Doors!

PRAYER: Diligently pray for the work of missions, the spread of the Gospel (Col 4:3,4). #PrayHardGoHardForJesus https://www.bible.com/116/col.4.3-4.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Aside from the general need to be devoted in prayer, alert to any specific circumstances requiring prayer – pray with a humble and grateful heart. Paul also makes a request for prayer for his own efforts, even as he is in prison.

Paul requests prayer for open doors to share the gospel; that he might speak clearly for Christ and the Gospel message. How mindful am I of many ministries, mission efforts and church planting teams? It should be my goal to spend time praying for these organizations, the men and women who lead these efforts. Lord, give this sentry open doors to share the Gospel and be clear in the message.

Centered

PRAYER: Stay centered on daily prayer and the reading of God’s word (Col 4:2). #PrayHard https://www.bible.com/116/col.4.2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit as he speaks into my life. Each day I come to the Scriptures looking for, listening for, inspiration to pray – how to pray, what to pray, for whom to pray. When I read the prayers and exhortations to pray from Paul, I am inspired, moved, to do as Paul did (as Jesus did – Luke 5:16; as the apostles did – Acts 2: 42). STAY PRAYER CENTERED.

Prayer turns the focus from me and from my self-interests, from my perspective, to God’s perspective. This is how I learn to understand my true purpose and role in this world. Daily Scripture reading and prayer keeps the sentry centered on God‘s point of view and his mission.

“Do Your Job”

Take responsibility for discipling others (Col 2:1–5). #Train #Mobilize #Mentor https://www.bible.com/116/col.2.1-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul must have felt tremendous responsibility for the church in Colosse and Laodicea. He did not found these two churches. Others who had come to Christ through Paul’s ministry (Acts 19:10) found these churches (Epaphras in Colosse – v7). Paul may have thought, “I hope I have adequately discipled these converts and that they may stand strong in the face of adversity and false teaching.”

Paul agonizes for their steadfastness in faith. He encourages them and reminds them of the truth they believed in Christ. He does all he can to continue pointing them to that truth. Lord, I have felt the responsibility of mentoring others in ministry. I have agonized over ministry plants in places near and far. To train and disciple is a joy. It is also a weighty responsibility. Father, may I always take such work seriously.

No Anemic Divinity

Be assured of your endless supply of strength by the infinite power of God (Col 1:9-11). #InterminablePower #EndlessSupply https://www.bible.com/59/col.1.11.esv

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here is the second of three elements in Paul’s prayer for the believers in Colossae. He prays that they would be strengthened by the glorious power of God. To what ends does this second request lead us? Paul explains: that these believers might endure, have patience in their need and be filled with joy.

The nature of this “strength“ from God is it’s durative quality. It is not an initial gift given at regeneration that must last the believer for his/her entire journey. No, it is a continual flow that is new every moment of every day. My resources are not at the mercy of the crisis at hand. They are measured by the only power (κράτος-kratos) in the universe ascribed to God. Lord, the abundant supply of strength that empowers me (those I pray for) lies in the glorious, infinite and interminable power of the One who created the universe.

Pray Knowing = Being-Doing

Expect your prayers for others to result in their growth in the knowledge of God (Col 1:9-13). #PrayHard #PrayExpectantly https://www.bible.com/59/col.1.9-10.esv

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul prays for the believers in Colossae. His prayer is broken up into three parts.

1 of 3 – Paul prays that these believers would have a growing knowledge of God‘s will; spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then Paul explains how that would work itself out. [They did not have the advantage of the complete word of God as we do today] They would walk worthy of their call (honoring/pleasing God), they would produce good fruit in their lives (acts of service and goodness), and they would continue to grow in the knowledge of God (get to know God better and better).

It is important that we read and study God’s word. But not to accumulate or pile up more and more facts (we could pass a test). No, we read/study God‘s word to get to know him better and better. Knowing him, his ways and his will, we will be better able to honor and please him. We will know how to produce gracious acts of service in his name, that achieve good results. Finally, knowledge of him begets more knowledge, more honor, more good fruit…and so it goes.

I may not pray this specific prayer each day. But it is my desire that every prayer I pray over family, friends and country has the effect of their growth in the knowledge of God‘s will; spiritual wisdom and understanding.