hardships (2)

PTAP: February Focus: Yemen

With the evil and hardships in Yemen, workers from Yemen have worked to help create a prayer guide for the country. Leaders in the AP have initiated a focus on prayer for Yemen during the month of February. We trust that many of you will pray and call others to prayer for Yemen during February.
CLICK HERE for a 4 week prayer guide.
Please feel free to edit it, translate it, and send it on to others. PTAP has put this together and give people permission to reuse this information in their own formats.
On the PTAP website, you can also find a word.doc version of this and also a powerful PowerPoint about what is going on in Yemen.
We are seeking the peace of the Lord to come to Yemen! Please pray with us and call others to prayer.
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prayer.jpgRecently we Christians celebrated Easter weekend, the holiday that makes or breaks our faith. Friday, the Savior died. Sunday He rose. Without Christ's death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection Paul says we who claim to be Christ followers are simply fools.

But I find it interesting that while most congregations and even groups of churches hold both Good Friday and Easter services, I don't know of one place that has held an Easter Saturday service. No one wants to come together to give attention to a day when seemingly nothing takes place.

And yet I would suggest that we live a lot of life in the Saturday between the tragedy of Friday and the victory of Sunday. Yes, the actual resurrection has taken place but often ours has not.

Saturday is the day after the bad thing occurred but the day before something good. It's the day after a prayer gets prayed but before it gets answered. It's the day after our soul gets crushed but before it gets lifted up. As Pastor John Ortberg described it in a recent message, it's the in-between day.

It's the day when Heaven appeared silent, the twenty-four hours when God asked the world to wait for an answer. Jesus appeared to be a failure uttering not the 23rd Psalm before His death but rather, Why have you forsaken me?  We now know that He overcame the grave, but often we're still in waiting.

In fact, some of you reading this blog are living your own Saturday right now - a struggling marriage, a wayward child, the loss of a job in a weak economy, an illness that won't go away. Certainly people in your church have their difficult Saturdays as well. And sadly, some of our prayers, though well-intended, do not take into account the Saturday factor, that perhaps God is asking us to wait, to be patient, to listen and to trust Him like never before.

Instead some of us like to claim an answer right now. We pray passionately, loudly and often for God to "take care of this immediately." We tell God that it's time for Saturday to be over and imply, "let's get on with it." And as a result we disappoint or send the message to those who are hurting that they just didn't have enough faith.

Paul spoke of this in II Timothy 2:18 explaining that some people teach that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.

But God had a purpose for Saturday of resurrection weekend. Scripture tells us that Jesus went into Hell and to minister to the spirits there. (I Peter 3:18)  And sometimes today Jesus stays for a time with us in the hell of our experiences. loving and strengthening us while He teaches us to rely on Him. These are at least some of the moments God is referring to when he says, Wait on the Lord.

So when we pray, we sometimes need to acknowledge that possibly we or the person we are praying for is living out a Saturday and God is not ready or willing to instantly turn it into Sunday. There is often more at work in us that God wants to do beyond just fixing our problem or concern.

Yes, pray expectantly. Ask for a Sunday resurrection to take place, but leave the door open for waiting, even until Heaven if need be. But also pray for patience, endurance and perseverance. Pray that eyes will be open to see the greater good God is doing through a particularly challenging time of life.

Finally, pray compassionately. Don't imply that the lack of an immediate answer is the result of minimal faith. Let your prayer be part of a coat of love that you wrap around another person reminding them that the Father has not left them alone, that Jesus will continue to walk with them through the hell of their life and that yes, someday, Sunday will be here.

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