Archive for October, 2013

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is a global day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide. Its primary focus is the work of intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted communities of the Christian faith. We also encourage prayer for the souls of the oppressors, the nations that promote persecution, and those who ignore it.

This year IDOP is Sunday, November 3, 2013, or whenever you, your church, family, school or small group can honor this important call to prayer.

When you unite in prayer for the persecuted church, you notice a powerful connection – to Christ, to one another and to our brothers and sisters living under oppression. In the place of prayer, we come to see the spiritual depth to be found in suffering. Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors has said, “Prayer is not preparation for the battle. Prayer is the battle.”

Each year Open Doors releases a “World Watch List,” ranking 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst. The focus is on persecution for their faith, not persecution for political, economic, social, ethnic or accidental reasons. This year’s top 10 on their list are:

North Korea
Saudi Arabia

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In the New Testament, we find several references to praying for a pastor — or for those involved in ministry, which today would include all the “laborers” in the field, all who teach and lead in our churches.

We all need to pray that our influence will be that of Jesus Christ working in us and through us. We can sum up most of the needs in the church and in the ministries assigned to a local pastor in five key words, words that lead us in praying for him.

Consider these five words — Five Prayer Targets for Your Pastor (and Other Ministry Leaders/Missionaries, etc). These also apply in a general way to any leader (in the home, government, education, military, etc. — Romans 13:1-7). Pray these things for yourself too.

First, Pray for CARE — for what he cares about and how he cares. This refers to first things first — loving God, loving people. It means doing God’s will with compassion that comes from Him. It is not just any CARE, but the can’t-live-without kind of caring about what God cares about, what Jesus wants. It is loving God.

Second, pray for COURAGE — for God’s power and provision in the face of weakness and fear. We pray for boldness, for confidence in God — “our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). This has to do with God’s empowering. We go forward on our knees, humbly dependent on God’s Spirit for God’s power and the provision He alone can give.

Third, Pray for CONNECTIONS. Connections refer to open doors and open hearts. Pray that your pastor clearly hears God for his schedule and then follows God, in the open doors He gives and in dealing with the closed doors each of us faces.

Fourth, Pray for COVER for your pastor — for protection at every level within and without. “Cover him (and me), Lord.” Paul prayed in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, “Brethren, pray for us … that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.” Then, he stated confidently, “the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

Fifth, Pray for CLARITY. This refers to precision/wisdom in every communication — to communicate clearly all the will and Word of God. Pray for precision in the words he speaks and writes.

In Ephesians 6:19, Paul asked people to pray “that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel.”

How vital that we pray for those whom God has called to lead in the local church and in ministries across our world (and in our communities and our nation).

How will you respond to the truth of God’s Word about this vital ministry of praying for your pastor — as well as other ministry leaders? The Christian life and one’s prayer life takes trust … from the heart. It takes prayer … with faith. And it takes a walk… with Jesus this day, every day. Pray for your pastor!

This call to prayer was issued by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world during 2013.

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Update: Cyclone Phailin Hits India

Gospel for Asia disaster relief teams are on the ground in India, assessing damage and providing immediate aid as millions are affected in the aftermath of Phailin, one of the largest cyclones ever generated in the Bay of Bengal.

Wind speeds exceeded 125 mph, according to the India Meteorological Department. While searches continue, at least 17 have been reported dead. Millions have been displaced, their homes, livelihoods, crops, livestock and personal possessions destroyed.

For much of Friday night through Saturday afternoon, Phailin reached category 5 “super typhoon” strength. Following the prayers of people worldwide, including response to a special call to prayer Friday from Gospel for Asia, Phailin made landfall in Gopalpur Saturday evening as a category 4 storm.

“We thank God for answering our prayers to lessen the storm’s strength before landfall,” said Dr. K. P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder and president. “Now millions of people need our help to rebuild their lives and to provide hope to those around them.”

Thousands of Christian believers and hundreds of GFA pastors and missionaries are among the approximate one million people currently in relief camps. A total of at least 800,000 houses have been destroyed or severely damaged.

“Homes of thousands of Christian believers and hundreds of churches were destroyed,” said Yohannan. “These brothers and sisters all had to flee for their lives, but within the relief camps they are still ministering to the suffering and needy.”

GFA field leaders report there is no food, drinking water, electricity or medicine. Those who are suffering the most are villagers — poor people and children, according to their reports this weekend.

Following its crippling storm surge that stripped the land and homes and livelihoods on the coastal areas, Phailin continues to be a life-threatening storm as it moves over a huge swath of northeastern India. Mudslides in higher terrains are an imminent danger.

GFA relief teams are working to meet basic needs by distributing clean water, medical supplies, clothing and family food packs of rice, salt, oil, potatoes and matchsticks, while assessing the long-range needs of helping people reconstruct their lives.

To learn more about the effects of Cyclone Phailin, updates and relief efforts, visit http://www.gfa.org/cyclone/phailin.

“Please pray for grace and energy for our missionaries and church workers who are ministering day and night to those in need.” said Yohannan. “We must bring hope to many who will find comfort in Jesus for the first time through this crisis.”

Also GFA is requesting prayer for the following:

  • Protection as heavy winds and rains continue to batter India and Nepal.
  • God’s grace, mercy and provision for the 9 million people affected by Cyclone Phailin so far.
  • Clear paths for residents to return to their villages and relief workers to help them.
  • Good health and safety as evacuees hold close quarters in relief camps.
  • God’s guidance and wisdom for government officials and for our missionaries as they reach out to those affected.

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In all that we do, as God’s children, it’s never “about me,” but always about God and His righteousness – that He might have all the praise, honor, blessing and glory!

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. Psalm 86:12

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:14

So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Luke 11:2

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come! Revelation 4:8

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