church (49)

February Prayer Campaign - Pray for the church in the AP (Arabian Peninsula)
God created us to live in community with one another. In His great design of humanity, God knew we would need each other. God grows His church as believers gather together in His name to worship Him and demonstrate His love to one another. Challenges including isolation, mistrust, Covid-19, and a high risk of persecution can inhibit MBBs (Muslim Background Believers) of the AP from gathering together. Yet, in the face of such challenges, many MBBs are gathering and finding ways to connect as the body of Christ.
  • Pray for MBBs of the AP to connect together regularly, both in person and virtually, to worship the Lord, grow in wisdom and knowledge of His Word, and to encourage one another.
  • Pray for unity among the groups of MBBs who are gathering together across the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Pray for isolated MBBs who believe they are the only ones in their country who follows Christ. Ask God to connect them with another BMB or another Jesus follower who can walk with them on their journey with Christ.
  • Pray for whole tribes and families to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. When families and friends accept Christ as their Savior together, then a community of Christ followers is formed.
  • Many new MBBs vigorously search media sources via television, internet and social media platforms to learn about their new faith in Christ. While media can be a useful tool as one grows in Christ, it can also cause confusion rather than clarity due to differing denominational doctrines and conflicting interpretations of God’s Word. Pray for new believers to connect with biblically grounded media sources and godly individuals online that will further strengthen them with God’s truth. Pray for MBBs to filter all they hear, watch, and read through the truth found in the Bible.
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PTAP: UAE - Ras Al-Khaimah

For this week (week of November 22):
 
Pray that every Emirati would have access to a local church.
Pray for God to save many Emiratis in the little emirate of Umm Al Quwain
Pray for Christians in UAE to proclaim the Gospel boldly and clearly.
Pray for God to graciously save Emiratis from Ras Al Khaimah, by faith in Jesus Christ.
Thank God for faithful witness in UAE over multiple generations.
Pray for Gospel witness among the Shuhooh tribe.
Pray for conversion and new life among the Emirati people.
Pray for Emiratis to seek and find news about Jesus through social media.
Pray for Emiratis to place their trust in the hope God provides through Jesus Christ.
 
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As I sat with the Lord in prayer last week, He gave me a picture of three doorsWith the exception of our quiet times, these three doors are meant to remain open, the Presence of God accompanying us as we pass through each door into different spheres of influence. 

The first door was the door to our hearts, or our "innermost room." Jesus called believers to go into this innermost place and close the door so that we could commune with the Father in secret. The Passion Translation describes this place as the "resting place of His love" (Ephesians 3:17), the source and root of all that we do.

It is like the "Holy of Holies" - a sacred space where there is a divine exchange of our sin for His righteousness, our unworthiness for His love, and our humanness for His supernatural Spirit.
 It is the only place in Scripture I know of where we are told to close the door, seal ourselves off, and be alone. We "cap" our well, so to speak, for the sake of replenishing and purifying what He has placed within us. 

The second door opened to those closest to us: family and friends with whom we live our daily lives. This represented our secondary ministry, second only to God. 

The third door opened to the world of our communities, churches, and nations; our "metron" or expanded sphere of ministry. While many believers place this sphere first, that is not the biblical pattern. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.)

What exactly is this ministry? It is the ministry of 
reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

The beautiful truth of the New Testament is that God's "door" is always open. The veil that separated us from intimacy with Him was torn at Christ's death, and we are now able to boldly approach His throne through Jesus's righteousness! Hallelujah! 

Paul said he "resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) The message of Christ is our ministry! For our message to be authentic and powerful, we must ourselves be ministered to by the Lord. 

2 Corinthians 3, 4, and 5 describe a new perspective on ministry. Ministry at its best is not an "office" or a title, but a position of servanthood. Here is what one of the most qualified Jewish leaders of Bible times thought about Christian ministry once he was converted: 

The lives of the people you minister to are your "letters of recommendation."

As you minister to people, Christ writes "living letters" on the tablets of their hearts by the Holy Spirit, His "pen."

Any competence or skill you have (think of Paul's amazing qualifications, all of which he counted loss!) is the direct result of Christ's empowering Presence. HE makes you an adequate minister, not your works. 

You are sent forth by God with pure motives, speaking out of your union with Christ. You are an Ambassador for Christ, yet everything you say and do is heard and seen by your governing King! 

You are a mirror which brightly reflects the glory of God. If your gaze is not directed towards His brilliance you will reflect only darkness. 

It is because of God's mercy alone that you are entrusted with New Covenant ministry!

You preach Jesus crucified, not yourself glorified. You give yourself as a servant to those you desire to lead. 

At times you won't know what to do, but quitting is not an option. Failure is not an option, either, when you are listening to the Lord and following His strategies. 

You may be persecuted by people, but God does not forsake you.

Your body may be wasting away but your inner man is renewed day by day.

You don't live a self-absorbed life but a generous and poured-out life, because you follow Christ's example. 

You no longer evaluate or judge people by their external appearances. Your new perspective in the Spirit enables you to discern the heart. 


In short, God has entrusted you with the ministry of OPENING DOORS to Him, however you do it. The flavors of ministry are as varied as the people God calls! You might paint a picture, write a word, grow a garden, cook a meal, counsel the hurting, teach the ignorant, fight for justice, build for the homeless or give to the poor.

Yet no matter how you reach out, you are opening the door to what you have seen and understood about Jesus in your relationship with the Word. You are lifting the veil for someone else. Through you, God is pleading with the world to be reconciled to Him. This is ministry!

I pray that you will take time this week to reflect on why you do what you do as a believer and a leader. I pray that your ministry will always be authentic, borne out of a love for Jesus that is cultivated in the secret place of the closed door. I pray that you will emerge from your "Holy of Holies" full of the Presence of the Lord, flinging wide every other door that might be a barrier to someone else who needs Him. May you have a ministry of opening doors for those around you, so that all may be reconciled to God! 

Picture: Pastor/Shepherd Download Link
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Weekly Prayer - May 6, 2020
 
Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and has faced decades of instability. Civil war has gripped the country and left the people in desperate need of humanitarian aid. More than 9,000 Yemenis have been killed, over 50,000 injured and 3 million people have fled their homes. Millions of people face shortages of food and water, and less than half the country's health facilities are operational. Approximately 16.4 million people currently have no access to healthcare.

Cities are continuing to be bombed and the infrastructure is collapsing. There is severe famine in parts of the country. Its few oil fields are not producing. Cholera is epidemic, the currency is collapsing, prices are soaring, and many in the public sector haven't been paid in over a year. There is also fear that school age boys will be recruited to fight for the Houthis who control large areas of the country. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is severe as many are starving or on the verge of having nothing to eat. Malnutrition and infant mortality is becoming normal.
 
Prayer Request
Pray that the UN and the Saudi-led coalition will work together to reopen ports and resume the delivery of food, medicine and humanitarian aid 
 
Pray that God will protect the Yemeni people, bring an end to the conflict, and establish His peace in their land 
 
Pray that Christian brothers and sisters in Yemen will stay firm and make strong ties with other believers to bring many to Christ 
 
(praying with Window International Network)

PTAP's Vision
"To see the global church praying for the Arabian Peninsula so that the gospel and churches will be planted for every indigenous people in the Arabian Peninsula"
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PTAP: COVID Ceasefire in Yemen

Weekly Prayer - April 2, 2020
 
On Monday 30 March, all fighting groups in Yemen agreed to a nationwide ceasefire due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen carried out several air strikes on Monday on the capital Sanaa, in retaliation for two ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh on Saturday, which were intercepted. More than five years of conflict have devastated the lives of tens of millions of Yemenis - with an estimated 100,000 people killed, including 12,000 civilians; and as many as 85,000 deaths from war-induced famine. According to the WHO, a coronavirus outbreak would break the country's collapsing healthcare infrastructure - an already catastrophic humanitarian disaster will get worse. Millions of Yemenis, especially children, are seriously malnourished and very vulnerable.

As more and more people come under lockdown with governments trying to curtail the spread of coronavirus, many have become entirely consumed by their, and their family's needs, and very little thought, let alone action, is given to other peoples' suffering elsewhere in the world. Many have expressed tremendous sympathy and solidarity with countries such as Italy and Spain, which has been heavily impacted by the virus. However, few give a nation like Yemen a second thought. The Church in Yemen is small. It cannot fight this battle alone. It needs the larger Body of Christ--now more than ever.

Pray for the following:
  • For the coronavirus crisis to be a catalyst towards a lasting ceasefire
  • For the international body of Christ to find effective ways to help all Yemenis
  • For the Church in Yemen to be encouraged by the actions and prayers of their brothers and sisters around the world
Source: INcontext
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PTAP: Pray for Yemen.

Prayer Requests - November 19, 2019
 
Below is an overview of the situation in Yemen. This is not a Christian report. But it is a good overview of the problems in Yemen. This video is 7 mins. Please take time today to pray for Yemen.  
 
Prayer Points: 
1. Pray for an end to the war in Yemen. There have been small steps in the south to end fighting there, but that is only a small part of the overall picture. 

2. Pray for 24 million people of the total population of 27 million who need food aid and other aid. There is great suffering and this suffering is all man-made. 

3. Pray for families that have lost so much--homes, livelihoods, family members, loved ones...Some reports have stated that over 100,000 people have died in Yemen. 

4. Pray for the gospel to spread in Yemen. Despite all the suffering and pain, more Yemeni are walking with the Lord Jesus today than since Islam took control of this country. Pray that more people will come to know Jesus and find hope in Him. 
on Facebook, you may visit Pray4Yemen for more information on the land.

PTAP's Vision
"To see the global church praying for the Arabian Peninsula so that the gospel and churches will be planted for every indigenous people in the Arabian Peninsula"
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PTAP: COVID Ceasefire in Yemen

Weekly Prayer - April 2, 2020
 
On Monday 30 March, all fighting groups in Yemen agreed to a nationwide ceasefire due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen carried out several air strikes on Monday on the capital Sanaa, in retaliation for two ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh on Saturday, which were intercepted. More than five years of conflict have devastated the lives of tens of millions of Yemenis - with an estimated 100,000 people killed, including 12,000 civilians; and as many as 85,000 deaths from war-induced famine. According to the WHO, a coronavirus outbreak would break the country's collapsing healthcare infrastructure - an already catastrophic humanitarian disaster will get worse. Millions of Yemenis, especially children, are seriously malnourished and very vulnerable.

As more and more people come under lockdown with governments trying to curtail the spread of coronavirus, many have become entirely consumed by their, and their family's needs, and very little thought, let alone action, is given to other peoples' suffering elsewhere in the world. Many have expressed tremendous sympathy and solidarity with countries such as Italy and Spain, which has been heavily impacted by the virus. However, few give a nation like Yemen a second thought. The Church in Yemen is small. It cannot fight this battle alone. It needs the larger Body of Christ--now more than ever.

Pray for the following:
  • For the coronavirus crisis to be a catalyst towards a lasting ceasefire
  • For the international body of Christ to find effective ways to help all Yemenis
  • For the Church in Yemen to be encouraged by the actions and prayers of their brothers and sisters around the world
Source: INcontext
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"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints." Colossians 1:24 - 26
Fatima Al-Mutairi was a woman from Saudi Arabia who was killed by her brother in 2008 for being a follower of Christ. Her case was widely publicized at the time. Although death is the exception and not the rule, the cost of turning away from Islam to Christ is enormous. Many have lost their families, friends, communities, jobs, reputations, and freedom. They have been imprisoned and killed in honor killings as in the case of Fatima. Jesus even predicted this (Matthew 10:21-22). Since the Arabian Peninsula is the very heartland of Islam, persecution is a reality.
Fatima's Story (See the Video at the end)
Writings by Fatima Al-Mutairi before her execution: Read Here
Watch the testimony of a believer from Bahrain. She persecuted Christians and later became the persecuted.
Arabian Dawn
I persecuted people - Bahrain
Prayer:
O God of all comfort, we pray for our dear brothers and sisters who are currently being persecuted in the AP because of their faith in you. Comfort them in all of their afflictions. May they abundantly share in your comfort as they share in your sufferings (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). O Father of mercies, have mercy upon them and cause them to rejoice in their sufferings and fill up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of the church in the AP. And we pray specifically for the family of Fatima Al-Mutairi, that you would convict them of their sins, that they would repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15). Bring them into your kingdom. Do not let them go until they surrender their lives to you. Make the word of God fully known to them, O Lord. They have done great evil, but you are a God of forgiveness. Forgive them and reconcile them to yourself through Christ your Son! Amen.
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PTAP's Vision
"To see the global church praying for the Arabian Peninsula so that the gospel and churches will be planted for every indigenous people in the Arabian Peninsula"
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PTAP: New Believer & Yemen

About a year ago, after trying other religions and philosophies, Anthony (pseudonym)
found that there was none other like the message of the gospel, and he
trusted Christ for his salvation. Although he knows there is the need for cautious wisdom in a Muslim context, he feels that he must share the truth of the gospel with others. In fact, Anthony is in college and has done so with many of his classmates.  Pray that he will continue to grow in faith, love, and hope in the Kingdom.
 
Prayer for Yemen
 
Psalm 88: 1-4 O  Lord, God of my salvation. I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you;  incline your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draw nears to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength. (ESV)
 
The people of Yemen continue to suffer from the effects of war. It is in times of suffering that many realize their own helplessness and acknowledge their need for God. Pray that the people will turn to Him. Pray that He will lead them to someone who follows the Savior or that He will speaks words of comfort and hope to them, through visions and dreams. Continue to pray for peace in Yemen.
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MEASURING THE CHURCH

How do you measure the church? Do you measure it by the beauty and size of the building? Do you measure it by the number of programs and activities? Do you measure it by the number of people who attend or the size of the offerings gathered?

In Revelation 11 John was told to do some measuring. And I think his measurements tell us something about measuring the church.

“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there.’”

YOU MEASURE A CHURCH BY THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

I do not believe that the temple which John was told to measure was just the temple of God in heaven. I believe it is also the temple of God where he dwells in His church. Ephesians 2:21 says we are being built together as a dwelling for God. You measure the church partly by how its members are bonded together like bricks in a wall. This comes from fellowship, from working together, from facing trials together, from believing together, and most of all from praying together. God’s presence blesses a church whose members are bound together in Him. Is your’s a gathering where God dwells? You can sense the presence of God in a church.

YOU MEASURE A CHURCH BY ITS WORSHIP.

The altar is the place of worship. How important is worship to your church? Do people worship sacrificially, giving everything in their lives to God? Does your church worship joyfully, praising God with all of your hearts? Does service and sacrifice spring up out of love for God?

YOU MEASURE A CHURCH BY THE GROWTH OF ITS MEMBERS.

I think it is telling that John was told to measure the temple and the altar and those who worship there. You do not measure a church simply by the number of people who attend. A church must be measured by the spiritual growth in the lives that God has trusted to it. Are people becoming more Christ-like. Are people becoming more and more faithful, more and more devoted, more and more loving from the ministry of your church?

http://theanchorofthesoul.blogspot.com/

httphinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/

http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/

http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

Website

http://daveswatch.com/

YouTube

https://goo.gl/PyzUz7

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PTAP: Prayer for Saudi Arabia

PTAP is partnering with Saudi Advocacy Network (SAN) to encourage people to pray for Saudi Arabia during Saudi Prayer Week (March 29 - April 6, 2018).
 
Watch the video below of our Saudi brother in Christ who is leading this week of prayer and fasting. More information on why they chose March 29 - April 6 as a week of prayer and fasting for Saudi Arabia is in the video, so don't miss it!
 
You can also click HERE for the video script.
 
Let's continue to pray as the global church for the Lord to keep visiting Saudi Arabia with his saving grace and steadfast love in Christ alone.
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Jizan is a port city located in the Southwest corner of Saudi Arabia. Surrounded by rich planes, forests and mountains, Jizan is one of the Kingdom's richest agricultural regions. Coffee, grains and many varieties of tropical fruits are locally grown.
 
Off the coast of Jizan, clusters of scattered islands bear the silent traces of the ancient church. The crumbling ruins of old churches are still visible on some of the islands.
 
The economic downturn in Saudi Arabia has greatly affected the region, and has set back many large scale development projects previously planned by the city. 
 
Prayer Points
  • Pray a blessing for the Jizani people, that they would have their physical needs met and that they would have a spiritual hunger to know God through Jesus Christ.
  • Pray that a new generation of Jesus followers will rise up out of the foundations of the ancient church to bring Him unique worship from this land.
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Prayer Requests - October 25, 2017
PTAP is joining WIN1040 (win1040.com) this month in praying for unreached countries of the world. October 25 is the day to pray for Oman. Let's continue to lift up Oman with thousands of people around the world that God would build the local church there.

Praise Report
Praise God that the government of Oman wants to see more Omanis join the work force and is trying to help educate and employ them to be successful (The Bible, Psalm 111:6). ...

Prayer Request
Pray for more Omanis to be willing to work in the low and mid-level job positions. These are not as attractive but are key to the countries growth (The Bible, Proverbs 14:23).

Transformational Prayer
Pray for the Omani people to be transformed from a proud people blessed by oil wealth to those humbly seeking to find Jesus (The Bible, Matthew 19:26).

Call to Salvation
Pray that the very few believers in the Lord Jesus will not be ashamed of the Gospel but will tell their families and friends about His saving power. (The Bible, Romans 1:16).

Source: More expats than Omanis hired last year: Central Bank of Oman

Continue to Pray for Sohar
In fact, earlier this month, you received prayer points about Sohar--a city in Oman. Please continue to pray for Sohar as you watch the following video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRZhgGVEL3E&index=14&list=PLiujm0LZ5YjY1ViRWDKB_dOv_wAuTqcFL

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PTAP: City Focus - Sohar, Oman

Sohar is the largest city in the north of Oman.

History records that the Bishop of Sohar was one of the delegates at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325.  At this council, the deity of Jesus Christ was affirmed.
 
In the past, Sohar served as a port and the capital of Oman. With one of the largest ports in the country now, the Omani government is investing in this area to strengthen the economy by looking to other industries besides oil.  Copper has been mined here for years and there is a growing steel and aluminum industry.  Any development brings jobs, expatriates, larger malls, hospitals and universities. This is all part of Sohar's growth.
 
Many Omanis love to claim that Sinbad the Sailor was born here.  But other cities claim him as well.
 
Prayer points:
 
- Pray that as Sohar grows in importance, the gospel would also grow and spread throughout the whole city (Col 1:6).
 
- Pray that God would build his church in Sohar among the Omani people and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matt 16:18).  Pray that there would be a church just like in the days of the Bishop of Sohar. 
 
- Pray that with more expats coming to Sohar, pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send more workers.  
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A religious leader who is becoming more and more uncomfortable with his own religion is asking questions to a believer and reading the Book. Ask that he will be given clear understanding and will find the peace that he is seeking. May many others who are under his care join him in his journey.
A new believer struggles with depression. Please pray that she will find much joy in her new relationship with Jesus, that this joy will be noticed by her friends and family so that it brings much glory to the Father and draws others into relationship with Him.
Pray that individual local believers will find each other and become His church in a way that will multiply in their cultural context. Agree that no plan of the enemy will hinder the progress of His Kingdom.
Give praise for the Father's work in the lives of those He is drawing to Himself, and for His faithful patience and sovereign timing. Ask that believers will also have faithfulness and patience in sharing, sensitivity and responsiveness to opportunities, and bear fruit as they abide in Him.
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New Season

As Ramadan has come to a close, pray for freedom from a religious spirit that keeps people in bondage to faith in their own works. Pray that believers will live out their faith in front of their neighbors and co-workers in a way that will attract them to Jesus Christ. Continue to pray that locals will have dreams and visions of Jesus Christ. Pray that they will hunger to know Him for who is truly is and connect with believers who can help disciple them.

Be in prayer for university students who are seeking Jesus Christ and reading the Word. Pray that they will read with hunger and understanding and that they will come to be saved by faith in Him. 

Pray for a new believer who is standing alone. Pray for strength, sweet time in the Word, opportunities for discipleship, rapid growth in intimacy with the Lord, and a deep and enduring faith that will carry through no matter the circumstances.

Please pray for a small neighborhood where much Good Seed has been sown, and there has been a lot of interest and response. After some years of friendship and spiritual discussion, local families were interrogated about their western Christian friends. About the same time, there were several accidental deaths in the same small neighborhood. Although the western Christians stopped visiting for the sake of their friends, some local believers remain. Please pray for them and for the growth of the Church in that place.
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A 300 year old church in Massachusetts faced a major challenge. Its ‘young people’ were in their ‘60’s. Their annual budget was $15,000. Most neighbors who passed the drab building with a drive-in congregation thought the church was closed. The neighborhood was now an Italian and Jewish enclave unlike the congregation of forty people with no Jews and one Italian. The church had no bridge to the community and no presence in its neighborhood. It was seen as having no value by the community, despite its rich heritage. It was on the verge of death.

A new pastor spruced up the church – a sign of life to the neighbors. Then he surveyed community needs attempting to determine a pathway for the church to serve the city. Of all the community needs, the one that seemed to fit what they could offer was a day-care for single, working moms. The goal was not a money-making enterprise, but a ministry, targeted to the children of the poor. The center opened with one teacher and two students. In a year, they were caring for thirty-seven children, and twenty-four of those were on government subsidies. Three children were assigned to the day-care by the courts, having been abused or neglected. By the end of the first year, the day-care budget was larger than that of the church. The staff was Christian, but all the kids came from non-Christian homes. Daily, they sang hymns and choruses. They heard Bible stories. They were taught moral principles, wrapped with love and grace. There was music, art, cooking, and medical services. It was ‘total’ child care, with parental interaction as well.

Day-care is not the most reasonable route to church growth, the pastor acknowledged, but it was the route God used to reconnect them to a missional purpose and begin to reconcile lost people to Christ. The pastor recalled, “One mother came into my office, and the first thing she said to me was, ‘Tell me more about Jesus. My daughter has never been the same since she started coming to your day-care center.’ That woman and her daughter are now in church every Sunday.” According to the pastor, “Nine Jews have become members of the church. One of them was formerly the director of the Jewish Community Center, and her daughter works for the day-care center.”

One thing is clear, the community no longer thinks the church is closed, and they have found other ways to serve their city. There is a food pantry and care for homeless street people. They have a weekly television show run by members. They teach English to city-residents. They were given a nine-room, six bedroom house to use as a refugee center. Hundreds have been served through that ministry.

A Cambodian church has now been launched. To reach youth, they opened a coffeehouse, and now the median age in the church has gone from the ‘60’s to the ‘30’s’. Home Bible studies, evangelistic in nature, have also served as a bridge. Some forty-five percent of new members came through the Bible Study door. They woke up the sleeping missional dimension in their congregational life,[1] and a dying church was revived. Revivals that focus on the renewal of its members are not revivals at all. Revivals must have a missional dimension. They must resurrect a collective burden for the lost. With a fresh missional consciousness, the congregation asked, “What can we do together to touch this city?” It must re-center members, not in a new experiential spectrum, but in the middle of compassionate ministry.

If your church closed its doors today, would anyone but its own members notice? Would the community be saddened because such a great community transformation partner was gone?

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.

[1]       Robert Greenway and Timothy Monsma, 112-113.

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The Case for Corporate Prayer - Part 1

In a culture where the individual is everything, a congregational prayer meeting is perceived simply, as a lot of individuals in the same room praying. Sadly, we are blind to the critical importance of corporate prayer. We fail to see the difference between the individual’s right and privilege of prayer, not to diminish its value or power, and corporate prayer, from the office of the church.

Eugene Peterson lamented,

The single most widespread American misunderstanding of prayer is that it is private. Strictly and biblically speaking, there is no private prayer. Private in its root meaning refers to theft. It is stealing. When we privatize prayer we embezzle the common currency that belongs to all. When we engage in prayer without any desire for or awareness of the comprehensive, inclusive life of the kingdom that is ‘at hand’ in both space and time, we impoverish the social reality that God is bringing to completion.[1]

Peterson concedes that prayer involves the individual, but he asserts,

…it never begins with the individual and it never ends with the individual. We are born into community, we are sustained in community; our words and actions, our being and becoming, either diminish or enhance the community, just as the community either diminishes or enhances us.[2]

In the gospels, we find the model of individual prayer – Jesus, portrayed in prayer, constantly. In the early hours of the day and late at night. Before and after ministry events. Prayer marks His life. He ministers out of these private times of prayer, after being alone with His Father. This is the premier model – Jesus, a man, living in and out of divine collaboration, a God-man partnership, a heaven-earth tandem; a man tuned to heaven who speaks and acts out heaven’s word and will.

In Acts, we meet the church gathered in prayer, corporate prayer. Though there are moments of individual prayer – that is, the personal prayer life of the believer never goes away – the corporate prayer expressions dominate. Corporate prayer provides another dimension. Here is the church gathered, many members, one body with Christ, the Head, now in heaven. This heaven-earth tandem is corporate. It is the reformation of the Old Testament tabernacle community; people who lived under the fire and moved following the cloud. Who camped around the ‘Presence’ of God.

In ancient times, the church sponsored daily corporate prayer called Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer). When people lived in small villages with the church at the center of the town, daily corporate prayer gatherings drew the villagers inside for moments to consider God in the midst of their daily lives. These two go together. They complement each the other. Neither is complete without the other; the personal and the corporate. This individual intimacy with God and corporate humility and unity is prayer with the goal of personal transformation and the collective prayer of a people who by such prayerful assemblies, declare their deep dependence on God as His visible community.  Through prayer, we are a part of His body on the earth, carrying on His business, engaging in kingdom transactions in His behalf. You can never have a praying church without praying people; and you will never have a prayerless church with praying people.

Scotland pastor, William Still (1911-1997) asserted that the church-wide prayer gathering should be “the tip of the iceberg.”[3] Prayer should be pervasive throughout the life of the church. Without a church-wide prayer meeting, however, the so-called tip of the iceberg, one can almost certainly guarantee that there is little prayer throughout the various organizational layers and operations of the church – a house of prayer.

  • This blog is an excerpt for The Praying Church Handbook – Volume III – The Pastor and the Congregation.
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P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.



[1]       Eugene Peterson, Earth and Altar, 15-16.

[2]       Ibid, 22.

[3]       Philip Graham Ryken, When You Pray: Making the Lord’s Prayer Your Own (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, 2000), 15.

 

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PTAP: Prayer for Yemen amid War

We pray for grace and strength for those in the community who have lost love ones in the civil war in Yemen, for strength for all the mothers as they continue with their responsibilities even in the middle of war times, for them to nurture and teach their children in the community in the ways of the Lord, being an example of strength and grace to their children.
We pray for those who teach, mentor and disciple regularly with the new believers, to seek the Lord as they prepare their lessons as they meet regularly. We pray for the Holy Spirit to speak to their hearts as they discover the Word of God.
Also, pray for those organizing retreats to hear the voice of the Lord, study, and prepare for the different activities, lessons and fellowships, that they will be building trust, and strengthening each other.
Pray for the leadership team as they make difficult decisions. Pray for the peace of God to be their guide as they make those decisions. Pray for them to discern the true followers, from those who may want to harm them. Pray against the plans of the enemy against the lives of the community families. Pray to send help to the leaders to support them, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Pray for the situation to improve, for those who have the power to stop the war to come to a peace term. Pray for the different villages where the conflict has increased. Pray for the protection of their families.
Pray for provision of food and water where the help has not arrived. Pray that the Lord would remove any obstacles from the roads for supplies to be able to reach their community, for them to have their needs met. Pray for the different AID projects, water, food, electricity, communication, education, transportation, media, and we pray for those who are providing, giving, organizing, leading, and working in the different projects. May the Lord multiply resources, for each and every project.
Pray for people not to lose hope but to put their eyes on the Lord, the only one that can solve conflicts, hunger, and any lack. Instead, pray that they would use that energy to work, to study, to help and encourage one another.
We pray for those who are seeking the Lord, to meet regularly with those who speak Truth and to open their spiritual eyes to understand, believe and make decisions to follow Him.
Pray for those who fear as their faith weakens, to focus on the Lord and nothing else. Pray that the Presence of God will be more real than the reality the community is experiencing through the war.
Pray Psalm 27:3-4 - "Though an army besiege me my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask form the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple"
Pray that the different believers will be able to meet once again, to strengthen each other, and encourage each other and most important to pray for one another, and to pray for the community of believers.
Pray 1 Corinthians 12 for the church--that there may not be divisions in the body of Christ, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Pray for a country that continues to be plagued by war. Starvation is a reality to many who live there. Pray especially for those who don't know where their next meal will come from. Ask that embargos will be lifted and that food will be brought to those who need it. Pray for crops to grow well and for farmers to be able to get food to market. Ask for God's mercy on this country.
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My Problem with Prayer (as it's Performed)

2016 has been a year where I've prayed for extraordinary prayer within my life, within the Church, and also throughout the entire world.  I've been encouraged as God has shown me people and places where He's answering that prayer.  Yet, I witness many times where prayer is offered quickly, and in a perfunctory manner, that is anything but extraordinary.  In fact, I sometimes find myself deeply desiring to see a new "ordinary" established within the Church, within the lives of many other Christ-followers, and even within my own life.  Here's what I mean...

"Let's say a quick prayer before we..." 

It's a phrase I've been guilty of using, and it's one I frequently hear prior to church meetings, meals, and other activities.  But let's think about what we're really communicating.

1. It gives a "tip of the hat" to God's presence, but nothing more.  We acknowledge God's presence by offering the brief prayer, but it typically goes no further than that. God isn't invited to participate in the time (which, if we're honest, is His to begin with), nor is there any desire for Him to lead or control the time (we want to dictate that ourselves).  Is there any wonder why church often appears to many as a glorified country club?

2. It says, "this is a tradition."  Going along with number 1, the quick prayer often seems to serve as a place holder.  It's something that's done before meals, meetings, or events, that continues a tradition that's gone on for months, meetings, or years past.  Again, God is acknowledged (sometimes barely), but the real desire is to get on to the fellowship, the meeting details, or the meal that we're gathered for.  Should God be dryly acknowledged as a guest, and then promptly forgotten about?  Let's consider our ways!

3. It says, "there's a greater agenda at hand, and we best not waste much time before the 'main event.'"  This is the point that most troubles me.  The short prayer, or at least the way it's presented as such ahead of time (as quoted above), insinuates that God is not to be the center of attention or focus.  Instead, the meeting agenda, the fellowship, or meal is the REAL desire of the gathering, not God Himself.  We turn our hearts towards lesser things, and we think we're better off for doing so. Yikes!  Should God take second or third place to our bellies or our desire to gab?  Should the "fear" of food cooling on our plates really be a consideration or motivation to pray briefly?  Again, let's consider our ways!

Let's me propose some extraordinary ideas.

What would happen if the church business meeting turned into a prayer service among the church leaders?  What if God dictated the meeting agenda?  If the church meeting is yielded to God, and it happens to open with 45+ minutes of prayer, and then concludes with only 10 minutes of meeting details and discussion, could not immeasurably more be accomplished in heaven and on earth, than with a 30 second prayer, 59 1/2 minutes of discussion, arm twisting, and a man-driven agenda?  Let's not fear yielding to God.  He IS a God of order!

What would happen if, during a pre-meal prayer, God was worshiped and sincerely invited into the meal and fellowship time.  What would you say if, during the course of the meal and fellowship, God leads one or more attendees into a place of repentance for their sins?  What would you say if God guides conversations to a point where one or more unsaved family members or guests repent and give their lives to Christ?  The fear of a few tummies growling due to a prayer that extends for more than 15 seconds suddenly seems frivolous as God and His Spirit are invited to lead and take over the fellowship time.

These things sound extraordinary, however I'm not certain that they should.  For a long time, we've treated prayer, and connecting with God's heart, as something for special church gatherings, and not as purposeful, powerful, daily opportunities to witness God work in and through our lives.

To change the quick prayer mindset, we must first seek God to make that change within our hearts and attitudes.  One way is to ask Him to grow our love for others to a place where it's greater than our love for ourselves.  Also, we can ask Him to grow our love for Him to a place where it's greater than our desire to be accepted, liked, seen, or known in front of others.  Lastly, (and there are certainly many more ways to pray about this matter) we can worship God privately, or where two or more are gathered in His name.  God inhabits the praises of His people.  Worshiping God in prayer opens your heart, and the hearts of others, to experience God in deeper and in life-changing ways.  That's where extraordinary begins!

Let's consider our ways, and invest time in prayer. 

God first.  All others follow after Him.

In His grip,

Rob Griepentrog
This blog post is also posted at Pray OnSite

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