Posts Tagged Prayer

Small Church, Big Future

4 March 2012

Today, Dad and I drove about 30 miles to a church in Crane, MO. As a full-time missionary, Dad is on his year of “itineration” where he gets to travel from church to church, sharing reports of what God is doing around the world and especially in French-speaking countries.

And, exceptionally, I had the privilege of traveling with him.

The small town of Crane calls itself the “neatest town in Missouri” but in my opinion the neatest thing about the town is the church we attended and its pastors, George and Margaret Burnash.

The Burnashes are friends from my college days. Both are incredibly smart and have huge, welcoming smiles. God brought them to this struggling church several months ago and has given them an intense burden for their community.

Walking into the church, the first things I noticed were the missions posters all around the sanctuary with the “red and yellow, black and white” faces from all over the world: Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America … It made us feel instantly welcomed.

Pastor George, Margaret & son Joseph

The church and its pastors have a pioneering spirit. The church itself looks like the epitome of a little country church, with its white facade and sturdy wooden pews, but the congregation has thinned out over the years through a variety of events. But though the church may be small, it has a big heart and a big vision.

We had a wonderful time of praise, worship and prayer (as well as great donuts and coffee, I’ve got to admit it!), Dad’s sermon was good and he didn’t require that I sing, like he did when I was a little kid (I’m very happy about that).  We all sense that God is getting ready to move in a big way in Crane.

As I read in a devotional book yesterday, “When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!” If you are facing a challenge that looks pretty scary from where you’re standing, know that if God has called you, He will equip you. He’ll also send friends and companions along at the right time to stand beside you and help you in your work. Just be faithful to that call!

Please take a moment to pray for George and Margaret and their two children:

  • For protection over their lives and their work
  • For strong Christians to come alongside them to help in the ministry
  • For financial provision for the Burnashes and their church
  • For courage in the midst of adversity and joy in the midst of discouragement
  • For God’s intervention in the lives of the people of Crane, esp. in the area of deliverance from unhealthy habits and addictions

“When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!”

Prayerwalking: How to Pray

25 November 2011

These suggestions for prayer will apply whether you are prayerwalking in your own neighborhood or cities around the world. The following prayer points are excerpts from Prayerwalking by Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick (Creation House 1993)

1. Concerning Christ

 Proclaim him to be the one Mediator and the ransom for all. Name him Lord of the neighborhood and of the lives you see.

2. Concerning leaders

Pray for people in positions of authority — for teachers, police, administrators and parents.

3. Concerning peace

Cry out for the godliness and holiness of God’s people to increase into substantial peace. Pray for new churches to be established.

4. Concerning truth

Declare openly the bedrock reality that there is one God.

Pray that minds would cease to be blinded by Satan so that they could come to a knowledge of the truth.

5. Concerning the gospel

Praise God for his heart’s desire that all people be saved.

Ask that heaven would designate this year as a “proper time” for the testimony of Christ to be given afresh with simple power (I Tim 2:6)

6. Concerning the blessing of God

Give God the thanks he deserves for the goodness he constantly bestows on the homes you pass by.

Ask to see the city with his eyes, that you might sense what is good and pleasing in his sight as well as what things grieve him deeply.

Ask God to bring forth an enduring spiritual awakening.

7. Concerning the Church

Ask for healing in relationships, that there be no wrath or dissension among God’s people.

Ask that God would make his people, men and women alike, expressive in worship with the substance of radiant, relational holiness.

Message in a Mantle

1 November 2011

Mother has been talking for months about getting something to fill the empty space above our mantle. She didn’t want just anything: she had a particular concept in mind where we would take letters and form a scripture or inspirational saying. Dad and I nodded when she would tell us about this, but I think perhaps we both had our doubts about how it would turn out.

We finally found an appropriate scripture: “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). Dad went to work, painstakingly planning, preparing, cutting and adhering each letter from an appliqué to the wall. In the end, it looked like it was meant for that space.

It’s exactly what Mom wanted it to be: a silent testimony to God’s miraculous intervention in human lives. It’s also a constant reminder of how God is touching Mom and healing her body from this rare blood disease she has. (For an update on her health, click here)

We are so thankful for the love and prayers of all our friends!

PrayerWalk Paris — Walk 1 (Sneak Peek)

7 September 2011

Notre Dame, ParisThe Historic Heart of Paris

Ile de la Cité & Ile St. Louis

Summary of Area

It is thought that Paris began around 250 BC as a primitive Celtic fishing village on Ile de la Cité, a little island in the middle of the Seine. Ile St. Louis, the other island in the Seine, is tree-lined and picturesque these days but was a swampy pastureland prior to development efforts in the 17th century. Today, Ile St. Louis houses one of the most exclusive residential neighborhoods of Paris. Enjoy centuries of natural and man-made history as you walk from the Gothic masterpiece of Notre-Dame to King Louis IX’s intimate royal chapel, Sainte-Chapelle.

Key Facts

      • Starting Point: Point Zéro (metro: St. Michel; Cité)
      • Finishing Point: Palais de Justice (metro: Cité)
      • Days to Avoid: None
      • Length of Walk: 1 mile 1/2
      • Time Needed: 3 hours

1. Point Zéro

Point Zéro (also Kilomètre Zéro) is a circular bronze plaque on the ground about 30 yards from the central doorway of Notre-Dame that marks the geographical center of Paris. It is also the spot from which all highway distances in France are measured. The equestrian statue to the right as you face the church is of Charlemagne (“Charles the Great”), known as the first Holy Roman Emperor. Catholicism was the “politically correct” religion of the French people until the Revolution in 1789.

 

2. Notre-Dame

Visitor Information – Free admission; church open daily; hours vary depending on day of the week: 8:00 am-6:45 pm weekdays, 8:00 am-7:45 pm weekends. Free English tours available. Visit early in the morning when the cathedral is at its brightest and least crowded. Free organ concert on Sunday afternoons. Website: www.notredamedeparis.fr

It took 170 years to create the Gothic masterpiece of Notre-Dame de Paris, with its flying buttresses, rose windows of stained glass, 295-ft spire, two massive towers and host of gargoyles. The colorful windows were designed to tell Bible stories in pictorial form to an illiterate populace.

Kings and emperors were crowned and blessed in Notre-Dame. It was here in December 1804 that Napoleon took the imperial crown out of the hands of Pope Pius VII and laid it on his own head, as depicted by Jacques-Louis David in his painting Coronation of Napoleon, which now hangs in the Louvre.

Notre-Dame is designed in the shape of a Christian cross, with the altar where the crossbeam intersects. The cathedral can hold up to 10,000 people and often does so when hosting classical music concerts. The South Rose Window depicts Christ in the center, surrounded by virgins, saints, and his twelve apostles while the North Rose Window pictures the Virgin encircled by figures from the Old Testament.

Prayer Points:

  • For the warmth of the Gospel to envelop Parisians who have only known the coldness of an impersonal religion.
  • That a genuine, transforming encounter with Christ would replace ritual and religiosity.
  • That the complete story of Christ would be preached: that the hope of his resurrection might replace the sadness of his death.
  • That the spiritual walls of stone and gates of iron that have separated a “religious” people from their Savior since the Middle Ages would be broken down.

Point to Ponder: Sitting in one of the hundreds of wooden chairs in the nave, feel the coldness of the stone and how far away God seems among the gilt and statuary. This is the god of millions of Parisians: a distant, cold and impersonal deity.

Take a Break: The café directly to your right as you exit the cathedral is a wonderful place to sit and reflect on what you’ve just seen. It’s called Aux Tours de Notre-Dame and though pricey – as are all cafés in Paris – you can enjoy a good cup of coffee and a sweet snack that will help you through the rest of your sightseeing. And you’ll need energy, especially if you plan on climbing to the top of the towers. This side street is a great place to buy postcards, too.

Tip: Candles in Churches. In visiting the many churches of Paris, you may be tempted to buy some candles to burn. Before you do, consider that – though they look pretty – Catholics consider candles an integral part of their sacred ritual of praying to saints and to Mary.

3. Towers of Notre-Dame

Visitor Information – Admission: €8 adults, €5 ages 18-26 (must meet certain conditions) and seniors, children under 18 are free. Tower entrance covered by museum pass but no bypass line for pass holders. Open daily 9:30 am-7:30 pm, with seasonal variations. To avoid crowds, arrive before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm.

To get to the top of the towers of Notre-Dame, you must climb 387 spiral stone steps that get narrower as you get closer to the top. The reward for such painful labor is a breathtaking view of Paris. The towers are 246 feet high and the main bell, called the “Emmanuel” was last rung in 1944 to celebrate the liberation of France.

Gargoyle Fact: As you look out over Paris, notice the eerie stone creatures that are also gazing down on the city and have been doing so for centuries. These gargoyles are meant to represent souls caught between heaven and earth. Their main practical function, however, is as rain spouts.

Take a Break: Square Jean XXIII, behind the cathedral, is a delightful place to eat a picnic lunch, to read, or to watch people.

4. Ile St. Louis

Charming, enchanting, and picturesque, Ile St. Louis is quintessential Paris. Among the attractions of this quaint little island are the 17th century hôtels, cafés, chic restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques that line its main street, St.-Louis-en-l’Ile. The wealthy and the famous have resided here for centuries. The best way to view this tiny island may be to wander through the streets without any specific trajectory.

Lines at Berthillon can stretch around the block

Tip: There’s a post office here that may be a convenient place to buy stamps for your postcards. Ask for stamps for the United States:“Des timbres pour les Etats-Unis, s’il vous plait”. Show them your postcards so they know what the stamps are for. Try your French but they will probably respond to you in English.

Take a Break: Berthillon, an ice cream parlor on Ile St. Louis, is famous for having the best ice cream in Paris. Their selection includes over 70 varieties. Order a single-scoop (“Un cornet seul”) or a double (“Un cornet double”). Note that eating ice cream in-house is usually more expensive than ordering to go. Berthillon, 29-31 rue St-Louis-en-l’Ile, 75004; Open Wed-Sun 10:00 am-8:00 pm; Closed Mon, Tue, and August.

Encouragement for Moms (& Caregivers)

5 September 2011

Here’s an encouraging thought for moms, or other full-time caregivers, who never seem able to devote adequate time to prayer. This is from Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard J. Foster, an author for whom I have great respect:

“We must be careful [not] to lay impossible burdens upon people … Over this matter I want to give some counsel for parents of infants. The demands that your baby makes are immense–more than you realize right now — especially if you are a single parent. The interruptions never end. Also, your sleep is seldom deep because you always have one ear open for your baby. It is important to recognize this fact and be easy with yourself. This time will pass — sooner than you think. Rather than trying to pray in some fanciful isolation that you will never find, discover God in your times with your baby. God will become real to you through your baby. The times of play with your baby are your prayer. You may be able to pray during feeding time — this is especially true for nursing mothers — so sing your prayers to the Lord. In a few short months you will be able to return to a more regular pattern of prayer.”

Update: Prayer for Colombia

15 April 2011

On the eve of the team’s mission trip to Colombia, Francisco writes:

“The time has come. Tomorrow is the time to depart after months of expectation and planning. The whole team is anxious to meet Bogota–the city and the people–and see what God will do this Holy Week.

God is faithful. He has provided more than needed. He has refined the schedule and plans by opening amazing doors of opportunity.

I appreciate your love and passion for Colombia, and your prayers and support for this adventure. Please keep your prayers up the coming days. Tomorrow we will board a bus to Reagan International Airport in DC where we will fly out to Houston. By midnight Saturday April 16 we will take off to Bogota where breakfast should be waiting for us around 5:00 am. Take a shower and go.

The week will start at church that same Sunday with preaching, teaching Sunday School and having a good Colombian lunch with the congregation. Some of the other ministries that will keep us busy until Friday are ESL classes, afternoon programs and teen mothers’ ministry, street evangelism and prayer walk, community breakfast, and orphanage visit outside of Bogota. 

Pray for the Spirit to move in might ways, pray for the families who stay in the US. Would you lift the team in you quiet time?

Please enjoy some photos of Bogota, visiting this link. We will be working in many of the places you will see.

With much appreciation,

Francisco”

Prayer Focus: China & the One Child Policy

10 April 2011

China is the world’s most populous nation with 1.3 billion people. To stem the country’s birth rate and conserve natural resources, Chinese government officials instituted a drastic family planning policy in the late 1970s that restricted the number of births in each family to only one child. This policy, generally known as the “one child policy,” is still in place today.

By all accounts, the one child policy has been effective: China’s fertility rate (the number of births per woman) is 1.7, much lower than in the U.S. where it is 2.1. The U.S. State Department has said that the law has had “extremely negative social, economic, and human rights consequences” for China.

“The Chinese government estimates that since 1979 it has prevented the birth of 400 million babies”

The extent of the Chinese government’s control and interference in family life and family planning also worries many human rights advocates. But the Chinese government and others in the international community see conservation of natural resources as a higher priority. The Chinese government estimates that since 1979 it has prevented the birth of 400 million babies and says the family planning policy has aided the nation’s rapid economic development.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that couples would respect the inherent worth and dignity of each child, regardless of gender, from conception to adulthood.
  • Pray that families who live in fear of government sanctions for having extra children will find peace in Jesus Christ.
  • Pray that Christian couples who see no other option but to obey the government’s family planning orders or become social pariah will find the courage and wisdom to do what is right.
  • Pray that despite the lack of churches, Christian training, and even Bibles, Christian couples will have an understanding of the biblical position concerning abortion.
  • Pray for the emotional and physical healing of women who have been coerced into having abortions.
  • Pray that those in desperate need of counsel in a country where seeking emotional counseling is not culturally acceptable will receive words of encouragement and wisdom from godly men and women.
  • Pray for healing for couples dealing with the effects of forced sterilization.
  • Pray that abortion and infanticide will stop.
  • Pray that abandoned baby girls will be adopted into Christian homes where they can learn about Jesus and be discipled by godly parents.

For more information on the one child policy and government-imposed sanctions for parents with more than one child, see PrayerWalk Beijing.

PrayerWalk London: The London Central Mosque

9 April 2011

The last excerpt of PrayerWalk London took us from Park Crescent, south of the Regent’s Park, through Harley Street to St. Marylebone Parish Church. This part of the route takes us clockwise around the park to London’s Central Mosque.

London Central Mosque

Visitor information. The Islamic Cultural Centre & The London Central Mosque. 146 Park Road, London, NW8 7RG. Tel. 0207 725 2213; 0207 725 2152. Email: info@iccuk.org. Website: www.iccuk.org. Guided tours by appointment only.

London Mosque from Regent's Park

The idea of building a mosque in London was originally put forth by Lord Headley, an English convert to Islam. After several decades of advocacy, a prime building site on the edge of Regent’s Park was presented to the Muslim community by the British Government as an “unconditional gift.” Construction of the mosque began in 1974 and was completed in 1977.  

The main hall can hold 5,000 men, with women praying separately on a balcony overlooking the hall. The mosque includes six important features: 

  1. The mirhab, a special room where the imam (spiritual leader) stands to lead the congregation in prayer. It also helps indicate the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
  2. The minbar, or pulpit, where the imam stands to deliver sermons on Fridays, the Muslim holy day. Every Muslim man is required to attend jumu’ah (congregational) prayer on Fridays.
  3. The minaret, perhaps the most visible part of the mosque as it reaches to the sky and can be seen from miles around. A muezzin stands in the minaret to deliver the call to prayer.
  4.  The dome, a common architectural feature of mosques. The London dome is crowned with a crescent. The dome serves the practical purpose of helping with the acoustics and air circulation within the main prayer hall.
  5. The facilities for wudu, or ritual washing, which are crucial in a mosque as they provide a place to wash and purify parts of the body before prayer. The washing areas are separate for men and women. 
  6. The library, an integral part of a mosque, because the Prophet Muhammad taught his followers that seeking knowledge was obligatory to their faith. 

Point to Ponder: Pray continually 

Muslims pray five obligatory prayers per day, and are encouraged to do so in congregation with other Muslims. This encourages a discipline and builds a sense of fraternity and community among those who pray, and an opportunity for them to exchange thoughts and help each other with problems. Can you imagine the wonderful things that could happen if Christians prayed fervently five times a day, every day? Consider putting this theory into practice and setting an alarm on your phone or other device to go off at five preset times during the day as a reminder to drop everything and focus on what’s most important: God and prayer.

If Time Permits: Prayer Hall

A visit to the mosque, while perhaps controversial for some Christians, can be an excellent way of gaining insight into the Islamic faith and of praying for Muslims “on location.” Check in at the security gate at the Park Road entrance. Out of cultural respect, women should consider covering their heads with a scarf before entering. If positions were reversed and a Muslim were visiting a Christian church, wouldn’t we be grateful for his consideration in not removing his shoes?

Prayer Points

  • Pray against any religion and any creed that hinders or prevents knowledge, sets itself against the knowledge of Christ and that does not acknowledge Christ for who He is – The one and only Savior of the world, the Way, the Truth, the Life.
  • Pray that God might continue revealing His Son to Muslims through dreams and visions of Jesus Christ, as is happening throughout the Middle East.
  • Pray that Christians might lead lives so blameless through the help of God that their Muslim neighbors have nothing to hold against them.
  • Pray that true friendships might be forged between Muslims and Christians and that without ignoring our fundamental differences we might realize and respect what we have in common: sincerity in our search for God and for the Truth, zeal in our worship and proselytizing, and a deep faith and conviction that God is real and governs the lives of men.
  • Pray that God might move on the heart of Christians and grow both their desire to pray and their discipline to make prayer a priority.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Pray For London Summit On Libya — Tomorrow, March 29, 2011

28 March 2011

According to Reuters, an international summit on Libya will take place in London tomorrow, March 29. The goals are to discuss the status of the UN-sanctioned military intervention in Libya and to establish a contact group to provide political leadership in the situation.

Pray:

  • For protection and safe travels for the 35+ foreign ministers who are making their way to London, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Chairman of the African Union Jean Ping, British Secretary of State William Hague, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitries Droutsas, Canadian Foreign Minister Morris Rosenberg.
  • That summit participants will realize and acknowledge their limitations and appeal to God for wisdom and direction.
  • That participants will experience unity in their goal to protect Libyan civilians and in supporting their aspirations for a better future.
  • For wisdom in deciding who to nominate to the contact group.
  • For clear insight and understanding of the situation and the real needs in Libya.
  • That the leaders will act clearly and decisively in the interest of the Libyan people, putting aside thoughts of constituencies and popularity back home.
  • For productive and definite results as opposed to bitter infighting and squabbles among participants over minor details.
  • For open doors for humanitarian, especially faith-based, ministries to get into Libya and meet physical and spiritual needs.
  • That like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:34-35,  Gaddafi might have a dramatic and life-changing encounter with God that would bring him to repentance and alter the course of his life and that of his people.

Thank you for praying! You can make a difference!

Prayer for Colombia 2011

19 March 2011

My friend Francisco is leaving for his native Colombia in less than a month with a group of 14 people from his church. He says the plan came into being during last year’s mission trip to Buenos Aires, over a fine cut of world-famous Argentinian beef. Oh, the power of food to inspire! 

Their work will be framed by a holiday called Semana Santa (Holy Week), a major Catholic holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ. They’ll arrive on Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday, April 17) to departure on Sábado Santo (Holy Saturday, April 23).

Most of the opportunities will be related to ministries such as:

  • English as a Second Language
  • Tutoring and mentoring children at risk and their families
  • Adolescent single mothers
  • Prayerwalking in downtown Bogota
  • Visiting and serving indigenous displaced people
  • Street evangelism
  • Reaching out to recyclers and their families

Please join this team in prayer. Consider choosing a moment, an hour, a day, or a week to pray for their trip (before, during, even after!). These are some of the prayer needs that Francisco lists:

– The planning. Still working on logistics and coordination of multiple plans.

– Safety for the trip, safety for the families who stay. His wife and 3 children will not be able to come.

– For the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in each team member

– For open hearts and ears

– For God’s provision and wisdom

Francisco will keep us posted on how things are going during the trip. Thank you for praying!

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