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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Melody Mason

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Melody Mason


John Bradshaw - Conversation with Melody Mason
TOPICS: Conversations

She is a successful author with a global ministry based on prayer and a passion for seeing people live a life connected to Jesus. She's Melody Mason, I'm John Bradshaw, and this is our conversation.


John Bradshaw: Melody, thanks so much for joining me. I'm glad to have you here, thank you.

Melody Mason: Thank you, it's a privilege to be with you.

John Bradshaw: Well, we're gonna talk about a couple of books that you've written. We'll talk about your global prayer ministry. Before we get to that, let's rewind a little bit; talk about you and your origins and your background. So who's Melody Mason? Where ya from?

Melody Mason: Well, I'm a country girl that grew up in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Just very thankful for that. I was actually blessed to be raised in a Christian home, God-fearing home. And I think that that has made a world of difference in my youth and also in my adulthood. I remember growing up with my parents teaching me Scripture songs and my father reading the Bible and making worship just come alive to us and just such a joy and privilege to be with a family that loved the Lord. Of course, I didn't realize when I was young how blessed I was.

John Bradshaw: So your Christian experience, was it always on the up and up and up and up? Was it ideal? What I'm saying is you're an author now; you run with a pretty high-altitude crowd. Were you always that kind of Christian, or was there some real growing pains?

Melody Mason: Yeah, so, kinda to back up and give some background on my spiritual journey, so thankful for the home and all of that, but God really took me through this experience. Of course I was 12 years old when I gave my life to Christ. And so I made decisions pretty early, like I wanna be a missionary; I wanna serve God; I wanna work for Him. But I didn't really understand, of course, and, you know, I was a child still. What does it mean to serve God? What does it mean to pray, to study the Bible really for yourself? So I really feel like, for a while, especially during my teenage years, I was learning what it means to have a walk with God and all of that but still on a very superficial level. And as I went through life and, you know, in my high school years and then even into college, and this is where things are gonna begin to change. So that's why I'm kind of fast forwarding to college. I began to notice, you know, how, you know, people, when they come into the church, you see how joyful they are. I'm talking about new people, you know, they've been in the world, not with Christ, and I would watch people come into the church, tears coming down their faces and praising God for the joy that they've had. And it began to kind of hit me, and, you know, and the fact I'm like, why doesn't it affect me that way? You know, like I know Jesus died for my sins. I know He died to save me, and I've asked Him to forgive my sins, but it wasn't touching my heart. And so I started...praying, maybe a dangerous prayer, but, you know, when you pray, God works in unusual ways. I said, Lord, please show me what it means, what the cross means for me personally.

John Bradshaw: Mm. Okay.

Melody Mason: Why, you know, why did you die for me personally? I know it intellectually, but it's not really, like I said, pierced my heart. And so I started praying that prayer, but God didn't answer that, initially. He actually allowed me to go through some really, really hard times. And I'm talking about the fact where I'm a good Christian, I'm, you know...quote-unquote, people would look at me and say, "Oh yeah, you're the model student, and you do this right, and you do that right, and all these different things". And I actually felt like I was a good Christian too. You know, I'd look around...and I had friends; I actually had a lot of friends in high school, and even in college, that they would come to me for advice. I was a spiritual leader, I was doing this, I was leading Bible study, Scripture-memory programs and things, even when I was in high school and college, and so I was known as, you know, "the good girl" and the spiritual leader. But people would come to me, and I would, you know, kinda think...and it wasn't like I had this arrogant spirit or whatever, but like, oh man, praise the Lord, I don't have issues like they do, you know. And praise the Lord, you know, oh, I haven't done stupid things like that. Or, you know, I would think these things, but God began convicting me, like, "Do you really understand who you are"? Do you really understand the sinner that you are? Do you really understand who I am to you"? And I recognized I didn't. And so that's when I started praying that prayer, "Show me the cross". And God allowed me to go through some really serious... I won't go into details on all of that situation... but some really serious heartbreak and disappointment and come to a point in my life where I felt like God had failed me. "Okay, I'm doing everything right, and I'm seeking to serve you, and I'm praying, and I'm going through the motions, reading my Bible and all those things". But...He failed me. And because of a result of this very difficult situation that I walked through, I lost faith in God. I knew He was still real, I knew He was still alive, I never doubted that, and so it was never like I wanted to run off and, you know, go serve the devil or go into the wild things, but I kind of find myself in between a rock and a hard place because I felt like I can't go serve the enemy, obviously I don't wanna do that, but I can't trust God either.

John Bradshaw: You know very well, you've interacted... I'm assuming this, but it's a safe assumption... you've met a lot of people in that situation. What you're talking about now, there are people saying, "Oh, that's me. Somehow God's not real". Or, "He's real for somebody else, and He's not real for me". Or, "He answers somebody else's prayers. And here I am with this situation that's grinding along". I wanna know how you worked through that.

Melody Mason: Yeah. Well, this was a long process actually, to be honest, because what happened as a result of this crisis of faith, I call it, you know, kind of like... I've heard it called "the dark night of the soul," where you're just going through this wrestling, and, like, is...you know, I've grown up with this, but now I've gotta figure out for myself, is God really who I'm gonna serve? Is He really who I'm gonna give my life to? You know, I'm struggling for myself. Is this really gonna be my faith? And so I'm wrestling with this. And for a while, like I said, I stopped reading the Bible; I stopped praying. And as a result of that, I got into, you know, destructive thought patterns, destructive entertainment patterns, you know, to kind of fill the ache and void in my heart and began to spiral kind of outta control, and about the time this was happening, I was just graduating. I had just actually graduated from university; I became a nurse. That's kind of a long story, how I ended up becoming a nurse because I had some other things I thought I was gonna end up doing. But I had graduated from the university and was just starting to work as a nurse about the time that my spiritual life was really tanking. And so I ended up in about two years of serious depression.

John Bradshaw: Mm.

Melody Mason: And when I say serious depression, I was actually at a point in time where I was wondering, is life even worth living? You know, do I even wanna go on living? And I don't think I could have ever done something, but at the same time you have those thoughts in your mind, like, would there be any way, you know, that I could do something that it wouldn't look like I had done something, you know, and I'd just be over? But of course I knew intellectually, you know, God is real, and I still believe, you know, but I'm trusting. So, in this whole process, I really believe God allowed me to walk through this circumstance so I would kind of come to the end of myself...

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Melody Mason: ...the end of my own self sufficiency, the end of my pride. And I'm not saying I don't still struggle with pride, 'cause I do, we all have those issues with pride, but just recognizing how desperately I needed a Savior, personally, and what He's done for me. And so I just basically... let me share this one story that's so precious to me. I was rock bottom; like, I'm gonna do something stupid if something doesn't happen; I'm just so absolutely low. And a lot of people would probably be surprised to hear this testimony. I haven't actually shared it very much because it's so personal. But I'm at this very low spot in my life, my family was off doing something, I was not in the right mood to be part of it, and so they had gone, so I was home alone and just thinking very dark thoughts and hadn't, like I said, really been praying or reading the Bible or anything like that. It was raining, I took off into the rain, no coat, no jacket, no anything, and I'm just crying. And I remember thinking to myself, Well, at least God's crying with me 'cause it's raining, you know, so nobody can see my tears, 'cause I'm just crying. So I take off walking in the rain, and I just love the fact... and I'm sorry, I'm just gonna get a little teary here as this comes back. I love the fact how personal God is, even when we're not really praying and seeking out to Him, He hears our prayer. He hears our prayer. And so I have not even really been praying or anything, but in my heart I was crying out to God, and I was like, "God, do you... can you still do anything with my life? Have I completely lost it? Do you still have a purpose for me? 'Cause I feel like I've completely lost it". Now, keep in mind, I haven't been praying, I haven't been having this connection with God, so I didn't really feel like God was hearing or answering, he's betrayed me, all these things, I had all these things going on, and so anyway...I didn't know I'd need a Kleenex, but good thing I brought one. So... anyway, I'm out walking in the rain, praying... not praying, crying...but God hears that cry. And right when I kind of said that in my heart, actually, the clouds above me... it's raining, raining, raining...actually parted, and I'm not saying this is like Jesus' baptism experience, but actually the sun came down on me where I was in this big circle, like this 50-foot circle, and just like, you know, the light's above us, and I remember looking up into the sunshine, and tears coming down my face, and it's raining around me, but actually there's sunshine right here where I am. And I was like, "Does that mean yes"? Does that mean you can still do something with my life? Does that mean you still have a purpose for me? And I was just like... it was, like, the first ray, literally, of sunshine, the first ray of light literally that I had felt for months in my life, like God was speaking, like, "Yes, I haven't forgotten you. I still have a purpose for you. I still have a plan for you". And that was the beginning of my healing restoration journey where I just went back, and I was like, "Okay, Lord, you know, we have to start at the beginning here, we're gonna take baby steps, and I'm just gonna start again, reading your word, and you show me from your word who you are and what you are in my life and what you wanna do. And just help me to believe, and I'm gonna believe. Help me". And so, you know, there were many different things that came together, but that was really the beginning of the healing journey.

John Bradshaw: That moment that the sun shone... how convinced were you then, or how did you feel then about God's acceptance? Did you say, "Oh, the switch has been flipped, and I suddenly feel hope"? Or was it more a situation of, "Okay, I feel like I'm going to be able to feel hope"?

Melody Mason: Mmm. Well, there is a Bible verse... I think it's Hebrews 10:35 that says, "Cast not away your confidence". There is a reward; that's what the verse is actually saying. Don't cast away your confidence; there's a reward. And I had memorized it in years past, and as the sunshine was shining on me, that verse popped into my mind. And I hadn't really been thinking these verses, obviously, you know, and so I really did feel like that ray of hope, like God was saying, you know, "Yeah, there's hope. I'm still here". And it kind of hit me in a way, like, He's been here all along, I just haven't been listening, I haven't been accepting, I haven't been, you know, looking for Him, and so of course He hasn't...you know, He's waiting for me to call on Him, but He's still here.

John Bradshaw: So take a moment to talk to the person who right now is where you were, sort of without hope, drifting. You realized then in that moment, God was actually with me. If only people could realize that in the depths of their despair: God is actually with them. What would you say to that person now? What would you say to that Melody...

Melody Mason: Mmm.

John Bradshaw: ...if you had a chance to confront the you then with the benefit of what you know now, what would you have told yourself?

Well, God's ways are not always our ways, and the things that I was actually crying about were actually for my best good...

Melody Mason: There you go. Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ...that God did not allow.

Melody Mason: And I am so grateful looking back, close to 20 years now since that happened, that God did not answer the broken heart that I had at the time in the way that I wanted Him to answer it. Because if He had, it wouldn't have been His story. He knows the best; His ways are perfect. In fact, in my Bible this morning, I think it's ironic you're just bringing this up, and it just clicks with me. I was reading Psalms 18:30, and it says, "As for God, His way is perfect".

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Melody Mason: And that was really...I mean, that's what God has showed me. At the moment it didn't feel perfect. At the moment...it felt betrayal. It felt like, you know, God's abandoned me, and He doesn't love me, and He's forgotten me, and why did He allow such and such to happen to me? That's what it felt like in the moment. But now looking back, I do see more. And, of course, I don't...obviously I'm not God, I don't see the full picture, but I see that God is good. And so what I think I would say to that person that's out there struggling is God is good. And even if we can't see the moment, keep trusting Him. There's a promise in Romans 8, Romans 8:18, that says, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us".

John Bradshaw: Beautiful.

Melody Mason: You know, we're not always gonna see in this life necessarily those answers, but we are in the future. But we can trust God, He is good, and all throughout His word we see that He's good, but the problem is we base our spiritual experience on our emotions and on our feelings. And it doesn't feel like He's good, it doesn't look like He's good, and so He must not be good. When His word tells us He is, and if we will just give Him time, we will see that He's good.

John Bradshaw: And that's faith...

Melody Mason: Amen.

John Bradshaw: ...trusting what the Bible says.

Melody Mason: Amen.

John Bradshaw: Trusting what the Word says. And you've written a book that speaks about living by every word...we're gonna get to the books, 'cause there's two books, and we'll talk about both of them. But somewhere along the way, this young woman who went through this difficult, most like a Gethsemane experience, you know, where you're hanging on desperately, wondering if you can get through, and now you have a global ministry centering on prayer. This is the fast forward part, but how did that open up, that you found yourself in the center of a prayer ministry?

Melody Mason: Yeah, kind of ironic. So, just to back up, as I came out of the situation, I started saying, "Lord, okay, I want a deeper experience with you. I really wanna know the real you, I don't want just a superficial relationship. And so basically God started taking me to His word every day and just opening, I'd just open the Bible every morning with tears coming down my face, and just like, "Lord, make this real to me. Lord, make this real to me. I wanna know you personally. I wanna see you working in my life. I want to know real". And so I really started praying, "I don't want the superficial experience that I've had up till now". I mean, I don't feel like I was insincere as a young adult. I was, you know, in teenage and early adulthood seeking God, but I didn't really grasp for more. And there's a promise of Ephesians 3:20, one of my favorite promises; it says, "Now unto Him that's able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think". And so God started challenging me: "Don't just ask for what you think you want or you think you should be asking for. Ask me for what you should be asking for, you know, and ask me to do more". And so that's when I really started praying and just saying, "Take me deeper; I want more of you". And that is kind of what began to launch me into that whole aspect of Daring to Ask for More, and the prayer ministry, which I'll be delighted to share with you.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, fantastic, well, we must talk about it; we must talk about prayer ministry. I wanna ask you about answers to prayer. I've got some questions about prayer that I know many people have that... But prayer is sort of a messy science; you know, you can get into prayer and wonder why things aren't happening you feel like should be, wonder why things are happening you feel like shouldn't be.

Melody Mason: Right.

John Bradshaw: And none of that represents that God is not at work. It just represents, I think, sometimes our understanding is a little slow at catching up with God. So we're gonna talk about "Daring to Ask for More," for more. We'll talk about praying big prayers and "Daring to Live by Every Word". These are fabulous books, and looking forward to finding out more about them. I am glad you are here for this with Melody Mason. I'm John Bradshaw. This is our conversation, brought to you by It Is Written.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. My very special guest today is Melody Mason. Not only is she a successful author, but she is a prayer ministry leader with a global prayer ministry. Melody, I want to ask you about prayer. Simplest thing in the world: talk to God.

Melody Mason: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Simplest thing in the world, makes me wonder why more people don't do it, because it is that simple. Am I making it too simple, or is there a little more to it than that?

Melody Mason: No, it's extremely simple, just like talking to your best friend, you know, recognizing we serve, you know, the God... I love the concept of the fact He tells us in His word that He numbers the stars, He calls them all by name, and yet He cares about the sparrows, He cares about how many hairs there are on our head, and He cares about what's in our hearts. And we don't have to wait in line to talk to God, like you would if you were speaking to an earthly president or an earthly king. We can come right to Him boldly. And we're told we can come boldly to His presence, and we can come boldly because of the blood of Jesus, who has made an avenue for us to come and approach the throne of the king of the universe.

Now, someone's listening to you and thinking, "Well, she makes it sound so simple, but it's just not that simple for me". Why do you think...and we'd talk all day about this... but why do you think that, maybe one or two reasons, so many people struggle with prayer, like it's a difficulty?

I think...well, one reason is oftentimes because we don't understand God's great love for us. And oftentimes it's been because it's been distorted or perverted by humankind and the abuse, you know, that we live with in the broken and sinful and fallen world. And so it's hard to trust. For example, if you haven't had a loving earthly father, how do you trust a loving heavenly father? So that's one thing. But another thing is we just haven't really understood how personable God is. Yes, He is our king, but He tells us in His word, "Come; reason; talk to me. You know, I'm here. And just seeing Him as a personal friend, the God that wants to be part...I mean, it's like... I say this: You know, if you're married, and I said, you know, "Well, do you tell your wife you love her"? "Well, you know, I told her once. I don't need to keep telling her, you know". No, you know, obviously that husband-wife relationship, you wanna continue to communicate that love, and you wanna continue... "Oh yeah, well, I don't have to tell you what I'm doing or whatever, you know". No, we communicate that because we love each other. And the same as with God, you know, God knows our thoughts, He's our creator and all of those things, but God loves the communion-ship. And He actually is reaching out, drawing us to commune with Him, drawing us to talk with Him. And so just recognizing that personableness of it, it's just made such a difference. And it's not, you know, for me personally, it's not just like waking up in the morning and, oh, I have my prayer time and stuff like this. It's actually, as I go through my day, you know, as I'm driving, as I'm working, I'm in a situation, and someone's asking me a question, I'm like, "Dear Lord, help me". As you're asking me questions...

Sure. Oh yeah.

...I'm like, "Dear Lord, please help me, show me what, you know"... and that is that communion that we can have, is that abiding relationship actually, where you take time in the morning specifically... I don't wanna neglect that...

Right.

...because that is very significant. You know, if we don't go to the Fountain of Living Waters and say, "Fill my cup; you know, my cup is empty. I mean, my cup is leaks. It got holes in it"... and so He fills our cup, but it's continually leaking just because of the flawed, sinful human nature we are. But we continue to go back and fill it, fill it, fill it, and so He gives us what we need, and we go through our day, and He gives us what we need as we continue to turn our eyes heavenward.

Yeah, good. All that's fine. And it is fine. Amen.

Mmm.

But what people wanna know...

Mmm.

...is how do they get their prayers answered. "Grandma's got dementia, and we wanna see that wound back". "My spouse has cancer". "My kid is going off the rails". "How do we get our prayers answered"?

I think there's...a very important part of, for one, coming to God just as we are, not coming trying to make ourselves presentable to Him, coming as a needy, dependent, hungry child. You know, He says that He feeds the poor and the needy. He says, "If you thirst, you'll find me". So I tell people, "Come as you are and just ask the Lord, you know, 'Lord, I'm coming to you. I'm pleading that you would help me. I'm pleading. Is there something possibly that's coming between me and You? Is there something that's getting in the way?'" Oftentimes we feel this wall between us and God. And to be honest, I mean, it's uncomfortable and it steps on toes, but honestly, it's because sometimes we've allowed things to breach that communication or to get in the way. And the Bible tells us if we are holding on to sin, He doesn't hear us. Now, when I share this, I don't want people to, "Oh, I'm a sinner; the, He's not gonna hear me". No, He's there. And even before you call, the Bible says He's there. But if we are holding onto unknown sin and we are holding onto grievances or even unforgiveness, there's that wall springs up. And so, I really...something I talk a lot about in "Daring to Ask for More," I think I have a whole chapter, maybe two chapters on the whole topic of removing breaches. Because we just go through life and thinking, oh yeah, we can whatever...God, why aren't you hearing me? But we're living our life in disobedience. We're living our life in a way that blasphemes His name. We're, you know...and so that's a very, very significant part of it. And another significant part of it is persevering. We know in God's word that it's His will to give us victory over sin. We know it's His will to come to us in time and need. He promises those things. And we actually know that it's His will for us to have health and healing. But let me add this: We don't always know the timing of His will on that. Sometimes that's immediately. I've prayed for people, and I've seen them healed.

Mm-hmm.

Sometimes that's gradually. I've prayed for people, and I've seen it's taken a while. Sometimes it's not going to be until the Second Coming. I've prayed for people, and I've watched them die. So, I'm not God, I don't know necessarily what His timing is on those things, but I do know that we still can seek persistently for those things, for healing, for loved ones you're praying for, for a job, for help, for wisdom, you know. God tells us in His word, "If you lack wisdom, ask". And, y'know, I've had some people even recently just ask me, "Well, what about this? What about this"? I don't have the answer to that. I can't answer your questions on what you should do here or what you should do there. But God says in His word that He will give us wisdom if we ask, and so I would even encourage you with this serious situation to take a few days, you know, maybe three or four, or maybe even a week, and fast and pray and say, "Lord, help me". And when I say "fast and pray," let me clarify: Sometimes that means food. But sometimes that just means we need to turn off the entertainment. We need to turn off the TV. We need to put away our phone and really focus. We are in a culture that is so busy and bombarding us with so many things that we aren't always focused as we should be.

I wonder, too, if sometimes people like me and maybe you and maybe others make a mistake, I mean, when people pray. There's value in the prayer...

Mm-hmm.

...whether grandma gets well or not, the important thing...

Right.

John Bradshaw: ...is that you are connecting with God.

Melody Mason: Amen.

John Bradshaw: Another thing, too, is... I wanna hear what you think about this. You can pray for something obvious, logical... oh, God would certainly want that.

Mm-hmm.

But we're not God, are we?

Right.

When we come to prayer, it's very incomplete.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

As incomplete people. we're talking to this majestic, all-knowing God, who does know what's best. So I think we go back to what you said before; at least I want to. Trust is a really important part of this, isn't it?

Yes, amen.

"I want my child to get well, but I'm gonna trust you anyway, whether she does or not. I trust you anyway".

Mm-hmm.

Sometimes the answer isn't the most important thing.

Right.

The connection and the communion and the conversation with God is the most important thing, and then trusting that He'll work it out His way.

Yeah, there's so many different prayer stories that I could share...and we might talk about some, and we might not today... many of them I have shared and written in the books. But something God has really showed me personally in my life, and, you know, I told you about some dark experiences I went through with heartbreak and just really questioning God, and out of that experience has bloomed such a...I mean, I feel like God took me from a baby Christian, and I'm still a baby Christian, but I mean to growing me to be like, "You can trust my word, even if I don't come through as you think I should".

That's a real big step.

Yeah, and there are things in my life that I've prayed about and I've prayed for that I still haven't seen God answer...

Right.

...even after 20, almost 20 years...

Sure.

...on this journey.

Same.

But God has showed me, "I may not always give you answers, but I give you myself". And that correlates right with what you were just saying.

That's a beautiful thought.

Yeah, that has been so profound for me personally, like that's what I want most of all. And after all, "You know the big picture; you know what's best".

Yeah. Well, let's talk about answered prayer. It's real. God still works miracles. He will give us an answer to prayer, things He otherwise might not have if we hadn't asked. He'll show Himself mighty. So let's talk about what you've seen.

Yeah, so, God led me into prayer ministry kind of in a unique way. I was praying and thinking, you know, after I had become a nurse that I was gonna end up in the mission field in the jungle somewhere, maybe in South America.

Oh yeah?

Like I say, I'm a country girl, and I like the "rough it, tough it," and that was always what I was drawn to. But God led me to get more involved with the church and called me into prayer ministry with the church. And I began going and really was convicted. There's a verse in Exodus 17:12 that talks about a story of a battle that Israel had going on. And Joshua was fighting with Israel against the Amalekites. And Moses was up on the mountain, and his arms were lifted up, and he was praying. And as he's praying, and his arms are up, of course they're advancing, but his arms get weary, and he can't hold them up. And as he, as they drop, the Israelites are actually being defeated. And so Aaron and Hur come along Moses, and they hold up His arms.

Mmm.

And as a result of that, of course, we know Israel won. That story, that little story from the Old Testament has made such a profound difference on me. As God was taking me deeper in my own personal walk with Him, I felt Him challenging me...like, I thought I was, like I said, mission field or this or that... and saying, "Melody, I need you to intercede on behalf of the church". And I'm like, "Oh, whoa, God, what does that mean? 'On behalf of the church and on behalf of leaders,' what does that mean"? And He started impressing me with things, and that is, you know, go to our church headquarters and just intercede with...intercede for our leaders, and I'm not saying to go and pray with them, but go and pray for them. Hold up their arms". You know, so many times...today, well, just the reality is anyone that is in ministry, and especially seeking after God, is being attacked, very viciously, 'cause you're on the front lines of spiritual warfare; you're on the front lines of the battle, and our pastors, especially. And so I ended up, kind of long story short, ended up working with the church and going in; I brought prayer teams in, sometimes eight people, sometimes 10 people. And we would come in for 21 days at a time, and we would come significant...specifically, actually... when there were significant meetings that were happening in the church, you know, decisions about how the mission of the church is gonna be advanced and how things are gonna go forward. So we come in as a prayer team, like 10 days before the meetings would start, and we would start praying, and we got permission; God worked out all the logistics and everything to come in. We would come in at like 3 o'clock in the morning and walk through the building, praying over each department, praying over all of the administrators and leaders by name and just pleading that God would work. And we began to see Him working in many amazing, amazing, beautiful ways. But here's a couple quick examples. I remember it was 3:45 in the morning one morning, and one of my teammates was like, you know, "Dear Lord, you know, we're here lifting up the arms of our leaders, and please take them deeper. And if there's anything maybe that's coming through between you and them, you know, show them; help them to get up right now and repent and make it right". Because we know, as I was just talking about those things, those spiritual breaches can hold back the blessing of God. That very day, someone... and I'm not trying to be specific here... but someone posted on the church website, and they made a personal appeal. And they said, "At 3:45 this morning, I was awakened outta my sleep and convicted with some things that weren't right in my life. And I got on my knees and confessed, and I'm appealing to all of you to do the same". And I was like, "Oh my word, look at this". I mean, we're really not gonna know until eternity how God's answering all our different prayers, but it was just a little sliver that I felt God was showing us..."Lookit, I'm working; I heard that prayer at 3:45 this morning.

Oh yeah. Yeah.

"I'm working".

So we're praying, we're going through praying hours at the morning. We'd actually be in the offices from 3:00 until 7:00 when everyone came in, and then we would leave and go rest and have our own time with God before we'd come back in the afternoon and pray some more. But we were doing this for 21 days at a time. We saw God...yeah, so many miracles, from taking entire...you know, how our church is divided up, there's actually divisions around the world, you know, like 13 different divisions, and some of them have millions and millions of people in them, and the tithe, people aren't paying the tithe. They're bringing in like 23% tithe, and as faithful Christians, we should be bringing in 100%, we should be all tithing.

That's right.

And so leaders, you know, we're praying with leaders who are in some overseas divisions that are only bringing in 23% tithe. The next year they come back, and they've taken this whole emphasis on prayer and revival and reformation, and they've been praying with their leaders and praying, you know, around the division and preaching revival and reformation. They come back with a new report: 103% tithe.

Oh wow.

I remember when they brought that, you know, at the next executive meetings, and everybody's like, "What in the world? How did this happen"? It's because we went back and we were really, really praying. And God began to show me through these things, "You know, Melody, you might not be"... and I'm not claiming this for myself, because many, many people are praying, but the fact we are praying, and we're just lifting up the arms of our leaders... "you might not be able to touch the, you know, however many million people there are out there. But if you will continue holding up the arms of our leaders, I want to do more through them". And I want to be that standard raised up against the enemy that's coming in trying to destroy and trying to discourage, and I have so much more...oh, the story's going on. There was a man as we're going in to pray in the building, like the security guard, and stops us in the morning. And when we first started doing this, we started in 2012, so this has gone on for about 10 years now, and the security guards weren't always excited to be disturbed at 3 o'clock in the morning with this prayer team coming in. But God began to break down the walls as time went on, and we would pray with them as we came in. And a few years ago...I think this is about three years ago now... one of the security guards, who previously didn't want us to pray for him, was like, "I need you to pray for me, and my wife has cancer".

Mmm.

"She has breast cancer, "and it's all over her body. And I don't know what we're gonna do". So we started praying for him. But you know what? Even after all the miracles I've seen... and I'm just talking right now about church ministry, 'cause I've also been part of a Bible conference, and we've seen God work many miracles in their lives as well...after all these miracles I've already seen over the last several years in ministry, my faith is still weak, and I'm like, "Well, Lord, please, if it could be your will, heal this man's wife. But if not, please give them strength to walk through the crisis". So we pray, we pray, we pray. We finish, go through the whole time. The last day we come in a little bit late, and he's like, "Oh, I wasn't sure if you were gonna come in yet. I was afraid I was gonna miss you". He says, "We went back to the doctor, and all the tumors are gone, completely gone".

Wow.

And I said, "God cares even about the doorkeeper".

Yes, He does. Yes, He does. Powerful, powerful. Well, we wanna talk about the books. I wanna ask...look, I'll ask you a long... this requires a long answer, but we've only got a few seconds; you have to keep it short. You got into writing; you've written two books. How have you enjoyed the process of writing two pretty substantial books?

It's been a very, very challenging, challenging process.

Yeah.

It seems like God has brought you through. We'll talk about the books in just a moment. They're worth your time reading: "Daring to Live by Every Word," your second book...correct?

Mm-hmm.

And your first book, "Daring to Ask for More," which is gonna suggest to you maybe you can confidently pray bigger prayers. Back in a moment with more from "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written.

Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. My guest is Melody Mason, who is the author of, among other books, this one: "Daring to Ask for More". Melody, I like what it says on the front cover: "divine keys for answered prayer". So tell me about this book, "Daring to Ask for More".

Yeah, amen. Well, this, of course, blossomed out of my own personal journey and walk with God. As I'm spending time with God personally, I began to make challenges to God and just like, "Lord, I wanna see you working in my life, I wanna see you answering my prayers". I began seeing Him answer my prayers.

Is it fair to ask that of God: "I wanna see you do more for me"?

He says in His word: Prove Him. He says, "Test me".

There we go.

"See if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that you can't receive it". So He does.

So as long as you're receiving it capably, you can always ask for more.

Well, He does say that we do "ask amiss". You know, we ask for our own lustful...so, you know, I tell people, "God wants us to ask for mansions," but I'm not talking necessarily about physical mansions. We'll have the physical mansions in heaven. He wants us to ask for the spiritual, you know, the spiritual mansions, the spiritual experience.

Which calls into question motive in prayer, doesn't it?

It does.

You know, nothing wrong with praying for a million dollars or 10 million or a billion dollars, nothing wrong with that. But what do you want that for?

Right, exactly.

For whose glory?

Right, for whose glory?

Yeah.

It's all about for whose glory.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Melody Mason: And so that's a huge thing. And I have recognized that there's things that I have prayed for that have not been for His glory. And He had to show me that.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And you see in hindsight, but...so, "Daring to Ask" is really about teaching people how to grow their devotional life, grow their walk with God, how to have the personal time with Him, actually taking the time; you know, we have so many different priorities, I mean, so many different things that we're juggling that we have to prioritize. But a big part is just really learning to take God's word... and I'll share something very, very practical...

Yeah, sure.

...that began to make a difference with me, and I just share this for illustration. I began to take my prayers, and I would write them down on these cards, just kind of like these flashcards that I have in my hands. And I would write my prayer on one side of the card. And then I would write a Bible promise on the other side of the card. And I would say, you know, "Lord, this is what I'm asking for". Now, why am I doing this? For one, God tells us His word doesn't return unto Him void. He tells us His word is forever settled in heaven. He says He does not lie. And I praise the Lord that He hears our prayers. Back to the motive, it's not about the eloquence. You know, I meet with people with prayer ministry all the time. And they're like, "I can't pray pretty, flowery prayers," you know, like so-and-so," or whatever. I say, "God is not looking for flowery prayers. He's looking for the heart".

Mm.

So you come to Him as that needy person, that beggar, just like, "Lord, I need you. Help me. I don't even know what to say". You know, I didn't know what to say at one point either, and God heard my cry. So He's looking for the heart, so it's not about that. But this is about personally growing faith and confidence in God's word. And so I began to just put my prayer request down on cards and put the promises with them. And of course there's prayer requests that change every day, but I'm talking about, like, I'm really praying for specific things, whether it's someone's life to be changed or the ministry to go forward, or provision...actually, don't have time to go into this whole story, but I actually went for four years of my life... I was working as a nurse. God called me into prayer ministry, He called me to walk away from my income. And so for four years, before I was picked up as an official employee with the church, I actually had no set income, and I would just be taking God's promises, and I would take my bills and lay them literally across my Bible. And I'm like, "Lord, you said here that you would provide for my needs, and here's my bill. I don't know how to pay". And God would pay it.

He provided.

He provided just time and time and time again, so I saw personally in my life for those years. And even now, He keeps...amazing, you know, how things come through, and you pray and you're like, "Oh, Lord, I don't know how we're gonna get through this". And He provides. Back to this, so significant, I just wanna encourage people. I actually put together 100 cards, prayer and promise cards, just to get people started. So this is what this is, and you can download these online and print them up. I don't sell them. It's a little bit of work to print them up. But just taking the promises, and they're promises to do with, you know, growing your spiritual life and putting away breaches... you know, those things in our lives that we need to remove from...praying for the ministry or for the Holy Spirit. Now, praying for your children, that's a big one, you know, like...

Sure.

...'cause we have children we're praying for that aren't walking with God or don't love the Lord, praying for things in your marriage, praying for times of trouble, for physical healing, for spiritual healing.

You've hit a really important point, and that is the promises of God that you... it's like cashing a check with God.

That's right.

You said you would provide for me. Here it is in Philippians 4:19.

That's right.

Can you read this?

Exactly.

Can you read this?

Exactly.

If that's the case, I'm believing, and then you've taken it to God, you've taken it to God, and you expect them to do what He says. What other things have worked for you in your own devotional life, your own prayer life?

Yeah. Another big thing for me, I think this is so foundational to our devotional life, is praise. We come to God so quickly with our requests, our needs, our complaints...

Shopping list. Yeah.

Our shopping list. And how do you as a parent feel like if that's all your kids come to you for, or all your spouse comes to you for? It, you know, it's like, "Do you still love me? Or is it just because of what I can give you that you love me"? And... God, just as He instilled in us the desire to be loved, also loves to be loved. And there are so many things in Scripture about worshiping His name and giving glory to His name. So, practical, is just opening the Psalms and praying through the Psalms in a personal way, like giving this praise to God and learning to not just pray the Psalms or pray the Word. You know, in praise, "And, Lord, thank you for...you've done this in my life. And, Lord, I praise you, not just for what you do, but for who you are". You know, I say... praise and worship and adoration is vertical. In other words, it has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with what is happening to me or what God is giving for me or blessing me. It has to do with who He is...

Mm-hmm.

...His character. We all love to be praised for, you know, "You're a kind person; you're a thoughtful person; you're a generous person; you're"...you know, whatever. This is worship and adoration to God. And He alone is worthy of our worship and adoration. Thanksgiving has to do more with what He's done for me: He's provided this, and He's done that. And so that's appropriate as well. But taking those times to worship God, to praise God, and even to sing...and, you know, I'm not a person that likes to sing a solo or anything, even though my name is Melody. I actually sing better harmony than melody. But in my worship time, even this morning, I was singing...quietly, just in my room where I was staying. And just, "Lord, I give myself to you, and I love you. Oh, how I love Jesus. Oh, how I love you". It's just beautiful.

Prayer is the soundtrack of a relationship with God.

Amen.

It's not that God is the tooth fairy... or Santa Claus...

No.

...we sit on his knee and ask him for a shiny red bicycle. It's the outflowing of a... it's the communion that takes place within a very important relationship.

Right.

Daring to Ask for More...more what?

More of Him.

More of Him.

Amen.

Okay, now, the second book, "Daring to Live by Every Word". How did it come about? Why'd you write it?

I really feel like we're living in a culture that's disconnected, and I'm not just talking about the worldly culture. I'm talking about Christians, Christianity. We are professors of followers of Jesus. But when you talk about daily life and God's word, there's a disconnect; you know, there's conflicts going on. And God's word says to relate to conflict in one way. But when we relate to conflict, we go off this way and that way. God's word says, you know, when it comes to how we relate with our money and the gifts that He's given us, we, you know, and we go off this way, and we're so self-centered; there's such a disconnect. You know, you walk into some Christians' homes, and it doesn't even... you wonder if they really are a believer; you can't really tell, you know. There was somebody a little while back, one of my colleagues in ministry I was working with, and she says, "I talked to this person the entire day, and it was not till the end of the day they told me they were a believer, and I was witnessing 'em and sharing with 'em, and I never realized that they were a believer, and they finally admitted, kind of shyly, 'Yeah, well, I'm a believer too,'" and blah, blah. And you're like, "And you didn't know that"? "No". You know, there's a disconnect in society, and I've... you know, God, as He's been challenging me in my own life... "Melody, what do I say in my Word? How are you living your life"?... I want to challenge people to really go back to the Word, and how is the Word affecting my life? So, real quick illustration, a couple years ago, my family built me a little cabin on the property. That was another huge miracle godsend from God. But as we were putting that cabin together, I just really had a big burden that I want my home to be founded on the Word of God. And I'm not just saying this spiritually; I want it to be practical. And how can I make it practical? So, symbolically, as the cabin was going up and the rafters and studs and everything were going up, I put strategic Scripture around the house, built within the walls of the house to remind me. You know, for example, you know, we know in Revelation 3, Jesus says he's knocking at the door, waiting to come into our heart, waiting to come into our home. So when He comes into our home, it's, you know, as a Christian believer, "Oh yeah, come and make yourself at home; sit down here; be comfortable". But then we go back into our rooms, you know, whether it's our kitchen, our bedroom, our closet, whatever. And Jesus comes knocking, and our initial... "Oh, wait, wait, Jesus, you don't wanna come in here, it's a little messy, and wait, wait, you're gonna come in my kitchen? You're gonna get into my refrigerator? Why don't you leave that with me, and you go back to the living room"? I'm just sharing an illustration. It's a little bit funny, but...

Sure.

...but this is often how we relate to Jesus. And when Jesus is knocking at our door and wanting to come into our heart and life, He's wanting aspect, He's wanting entrance into every aspect of our life. That includes what happens in the kitchen, what happens in the dinner table. I think it's 1 Corinthians 10:31 that says, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God". So does it really matter what I eat and drink? Does this bring glory to God? You know, we could talk about other situations in the Bible where, you know, eating and drinking didn't bring glory to God.

Because, you know, Christians have this hierarchy... many Christians have this hierarchy... this is clearly important to God. I should not kill someone. But it was okay for me to yell at the UPS guy for being late.

Right.

It wasn't okay that you're living by some of the Word, not by every word. You're forgetting all that part that speaks of loving your fellow man and treating people with kindness and compassion and so forth. We shouldn't have any kind of hierarchy; it's all important.

It's all important.

We had a pastor and...you know, I just love these questions: "Well, is this salvational"? I just loved what the pastor said: "It's all salvational".

Mm-hmm.

And he's not getting nitpicky and saying everything is life and death. But he is, and as much as if it's an outflow of your relationship with God, it matters. So it impacts your relationship with God, and your relationship with God, that's salvational, salvational. So I really like the emphasis, encouraging a person to bring their entire life...

Yes.

...which is, which is what Christianity is.

Yes. It's very interesting that Jesus tells us in His word, when He comes back... I wanna bring this focus to this...you know, there's gonna be, you know, when He comes back, people saying, "Why aren't you, you know, why aren't you taking me to heaven"? You know, basically.

Yeah.

And He's like, you know, well, "As you've done it unto the least of these, you've done it unto me". You know, our works matter, but there's something that's even more significant.

What's that?

He's gonna come back, and there's gonna be people saying, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, why aren't you taking me to heaven? I was doing all the right things, I was paying my tithe. And I was doing this and going to church on this... I was doing the right things". And He says, "But I didn't know you.

"Didn't know you".

"I didn't know you". And so I like to bring this whole "Daring to Live by Every Word" back to the fact of the relationship. And as we live by God's word, living by God's word is really a way of worshiping God. It is how we worship God; it's not the way we worship God. How we live God's word is how we worship Him. It's not just about going to church. It's not just about getting down on your knees and praying in the morning or the evening. It's about how we honor His word: "Be doers of the word, not just hearers only".

Amen. Let me ask you this. Someone who's going through a difficult, difficult time... You've spoken about the refiner's fire.

Mm-hmm.

We don't have long, but if we take that time to talk about this, I think it'll be really, really helpful. Tell me.

So significant. I had a very transformational experience that did happen a few years ago, and that had to do with a loved one, a family member that had been diagnosed with what we thought was gonna be terminal. And at the time, you know, just crying out to God, you know, like, "Lord, you can't take her from us. Lord, please don't let...I mean, I know it happens to other people, but don't let it happen to us". And so I'm wrestling, wrestling, wrestling and weeping and crying, and I just feel like the whole world's crashing in on me. And God let me cry for a little bit of time. But then as I began listening to Him, He began speaking to my heart, and He says, "You remember Daniel's three friends that faced the fiery furnace"? You know, in Daniel 3, verses 17 and 18, you know, we read the story. And they had a crisis that they were faced. And basically the king, Nebuchadnezzar, told them, "If you do not bow down and worship me"... not worship me..."worship the golden image, you're gonna be thrown into the fiery furnace". Well, Daniel's three friends had a very profound answer. They said, "Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace".

That's right.

"And He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He doesn't"...

Even if He doesn't...

..."even if He doesn't, we will not bow down". And so that really impacted me at that moment. God said, "Melody, I'm able to deliver. Do you believe that? Do you trust me? But will you trust me even if I don't deliver"? And I was just like waving my white hanky, and I'm just like, "Yes, Lord, I trust you. I will believe you". And this whole thing, I'll close with this. I have a hanky here. And it says, "The truth that sets us free: Yes, Lord".

Amen.

"Yes, Lord". Okay? I carry this in my Bible, and I obviously used it today, but the truth that sets us free: Will I trust God no matter what? Yes, Lord.

Yeah, amen. Okay, how do we get your books? "Daring to Live by Every Word" and "Daring to Ask for More," where do we get 'em? How do we get 'em?

Amazon...probably would be the best place.

Okay. Amazon, if you go to Amazon, you can get anything in the world there, including these two books by Melody Mason: "Daring to Live by Every Word" and "Daring to Ask for More". We've got 60 seconds. Last thoughts, prayer, prayer ministry, what's that last thought you'd like to leave with somebody?

John 6:37 has a beautiful promise. We often feel like we're not worthy to come to God: "I'm not good enough; I'm not this"... Jesus says in His Word, "Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out". So anyone that is longing, anyone that's thirsty, anyone that's hungry for more, you go to Him. He will not turn you away.

Even a sinful, wicked person?

He came to save sinners. If you're not a sinner, you don't qualify.

Amen. Fantastic, Melody, this has been a joy. I'm grateful. What's next for you? What are you busy with right now?

Well, all kinds of things, preparing for some big prayer initiatives coming up and just going forward as God leads.

Yeah, well, I'm grateful.

Journey of faith.

Thank God for you. I want to remind you again about the books: "Daring to Live by Every Word," that'll challenge ya, but it'll grow you as well, and probably speak to some parts of your life that maybe you need to have spoken to, and "Daring to Ask for More". Let's pray big prayers. Remember who God is. God is God. "The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him".

Amen.

He can and is willing to answer your prayers. She is Melody Mason. I am John Bradshaw. This has been "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written.
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