The Persecuted Church

Dear Church,

We try to keep you apprised of the persecution of Christians around the world.  The Bible tells us to remember those who are imprisoned as though we ourselves were suffering.  Increasingly reports of the persecution of believers are being reported in mainstream news, which is excellent!  Persecution is getting much more attention.  Just today there was a report with a video on CNN.COM.  I am sending you the link.  It specifically mentions severe persecution in Iraq and in Egypt.  Please take a few minutes to watch this.  The link is below.

Thank you,
Pastor George

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/23/christians-face-rising-persecution-experts-say/?hpt=C1

Pakistan Flooding

“Praying for other people’s needs is a special kind of prayer.  We call it ‘intercession’.  It’s like coming between two sides to help settle differences – what an attorney does.  When you intercede in prayer for someone, you are coming between that person and God, pleading the person’s case with God.  The Bible tells us that only Jesus can bring God and people together (1 Timothy 2:5).  But we can stand with Jesus and ask God to be kind and merciful to people who need Him.”

Today we are reminded about the 20 million people in Pakistan, whose lives have been impacted by devastating monsoon floods.  You will receive a “little bag of rice” this morning.  Put it in a prominent place – as a reminder for you to intercede for the nation of Pakistan.

“Be alert, and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18 NIV

(excerpts taken from PrayKids-Intercession; Navigators)

Prayer for Jobseekers

In your prayers, remember all those in our church who have lost jobs and had work hours lessened.  Pray fervently to our gracious God asking Him to provide for each family that is in distress.  These are trying times, but God is MIGHTY TO DELIVER.

An Invitation to Pray

Another Ramadan season is ending, the time when Muslims world-wide seek God through prayer, fasting, and extra financial giving.  Wednesday night is named the Night of Power and is honored by pleading all-night long for God’s mercy and salvation.  As Muslims gather around the world to seek God and ask for His special revelation, let us also remember to uphold our Muslim friends and neighbors in our prayers, asking for the true Jehovah to reveal Himself in the powerful person of Jesus Christ.

This coming Friday (Sept. 18) at 8:00 p.m., Lakeland Evangelical Free Church (Gurnee) is having their own special all-night prayer vigil to lift up Muslims around the world.  You are invited to join in this special time, coming or leaving as you must.   Those who long for more of God and to have more of His heart also long to gather with His body to pray!

Prayer for our Nation’s Health Care Reform

Prayer for our Nation’s Health Care Reform
(save this page to use in your daily prayer time)

Lord Jesus, You are the Divine Physician, and the source of all life and health.  Guide our nation at this critical moment, as our government seeks health care reforms.  Give our elected officials the humility to know that they are servants, not masters.  Give them the wisdom to realize that every life has equal value.   Give them the strength to resist the idea that some lives can be sacrificed to save others or that killing the unborn is a part of health care.  Give your people the courage to speak up and to hold public officials accountable for their actions.  Save us, Lord Jesus, from a culture of death, and let every reform in our public policy be based on the reform of our hearts and minds, in the light of your Gospel, for You are Lord forever and ever. Amen.

(posted 8/20/09 at www.prayercampaign.org)

Bill & Linda Walters

In case you have not heard, Bill and Linda Walters were involved in a very serious car accident in West Bend, WI this past Thursday (5/14). By God’s grace, they both survived a collision with a tractor trailer as well as a rollover. How we glorify God for His protection and grace upon this family that means so much to all of us. (The hockey game was canceled since Bill was such a “driving force” behind it!)

Prayer for Sudan

Jonathan Hall, Director of Foursquare Missions sends this urgent prayer request to all the churches:

“As a probable result of the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Omar al-Bashir (the president of Sudan, who will likely stand trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes) many aid organizations are being expelled by the Sudanese government from Darfur and other locations in north and east Sudan. This will leave scores of men, women and children without food, medicine and other life-saving programs.  Estimates state that more than one million rely on the aid provided to survive or receive help of some kind from the aid groups (such as Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders and Care International) that have been ejected.  Please pray.  This has the potential to cause an instant genocide by starvation within days.  The text we are praying is from Luke 1:17 (paraphrase): ‘Turn the hearts of the … disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous.’”

Thank you for praying,
Pastor George

10 Ways to Pray for Barack Obama

Lee Grady, Editor of Charisma Magazine, recently suggested ten ways to pray for President-Elect Barack Obama.  You may find these suggestions helpful:

1. Pray for Obama’s protection. We already know that some weird, neo-Nazi fanatics in Tennessee plotted to kill Sen. Obama during his campaign. Let’s pray that racist hatred is not allowed to spread. Let’s cancel every assassin’s bullet in the name of Jesus. May civility triumph over bigotry.
2. Cover his wife and daughters in prayer. It is not easy to live under constant media scrutiny. Pray for Obama’s wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Natasha, as they face invasive cameras, nosy reporters, maniacal fans and dangerous enemies. Obama is not only a politician but also a husband and a father.
3. Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom. God rewarded Solomon because he asked for wisdom instead of wealth, long life or vengeance on his enemies (see 1 Kings 3:11-12). Pray that Obama will order his priorities like that. Despite Solomon’s tragic character flaws, his legacy was wisdom. We can ask God to give our president the same grace.
4. Ask God to keep our president humble. Many great American leaders became corrupt after they moved to Washington. The fatal attraction of fame, wealth and power proved irresistible. The only thing that will guard a man or woman from this pitfall is humility. May God deliver President Obama from the curse of pride.
5. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him. Godly leaders cannot do their job alone. Even the best leaders have failed because they trusted the wrong people. Pray that Obama will not select his counselors based on party, race, pedigree or political cronyism but on godly character and proven wisdom. Pray also that he will not allow secret traitors into his inner circle.
6. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation. Some segments of our deeply divided society want nothing to do with Obama now that he has won the presidency. Even some Christians will be tempted to harbor resentment and nurse political grudges throughout his term in office. Pray that God will grant forgiveness and healing so that leaders on all political levels can have constructive dialogue.
7. Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions. Many politicians have changed their views on key issues while in office. In the 1800s some leaders who favored slavery later denounced it. In the 1950s some who opposed racial integration later became champions of it. Even though Obama won approval from many voters because he sanctions abortion, God could soften and change his heart.
8. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president. The specter of Islamic terrorism looms over the United States, and dark forces are ready to infiltrate. Our only hope lies in prayer to the God who is able to expose and outwit the schemes of the wicked. This is truly a time for spiritual warfare, and intercessors must not come off the wall in this hour! Pray that no foreign government, terrorist organization or demonic principality will use Obama as a tool. We must stand strong against the spirit of antichrist that promotes dictatorship, persecution of Christians and hostility toward Israel.
9. Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to the church. The loudest voices of secular culture—from Bill Maher in Hollywood to atheists in academia—would be happy if religion were removed from public life. Pray that Obama, who claims to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, will unapologetically welcome Christian leaders into his company and seek their counsel. And pray that false religious leaders (who claim to know Christ but deny His power) will not have his ear.
10. Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration. The apostle Paul instructed early believers to pray for all in authority “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim. 2:2, NASB). God’s will is for America to experience peace and prosperity so that we can continue to export the gospel to the nations. This must happen whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. As we cry out for God’s mercy on our wayward nation, pray that He will allow us to be a light to the world as we finance global missions, feed and heal the world’s poor and share Christ’s love at home and abroad.
(NOTE: Referral to Web sites not produced by Family Life Church does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the sites’ content.)

Christians in China

“The enemy of the people is not those who hold guns in their hands, but those who hold the Bible in their hands.”

The above quote is from Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Communist Party (1989-2002) and President of China (1993-2003).  With five days left until the 2008 Summer Olympics begin in Beijing, the situation faced by many unregistered Christians in China has continued to deteriorate.  Despite assurances from China about improvements in their human rights record, these have not been kept.  Instead, we have been witnesses to a pre-Olympic crackdown on unregistered churches and an alarming increase in persecution of unregistered Christians.

WOULD YOU REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS IN CHINA, during the days of August 8-24?  In fact, every time you watch an Olympic event, or see videos on the news, breathe a prayer for our brothers and sisters there.  There will also be thousands of non-Chinese Christians who have come for the purpose of sharing their faith in Christ with others during the games.  Pray that many souls will be saved this month in Beijing, whether or not the Chinese government has given their permission!

–Beth Jones

Myanmar Update

Dear Church,

Thank you for the generous outpouring of financial support that you gave last Sunday to Foursquare Relief for the people affected by the cyclone in Myanmar.  Since we have a Foursquare presence there, Foursquare will be able to insure that the relief funds are well used.  You may still give—if you choose to put something in the offering, make sure you earmark it “Foursquare Relief.”  Naturally, please don’t divert your normal tithes to this, but a special offering that you are generously giving  over and above your tithe.

I am copying and pasting part of Pastor Jack Hayford’s message on the situation there.  Pastor Jack is the president of our Foursquare movement.”

“Over the weekend Cyclone Nargis struck the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar—also known as Burma—with 120 mph winds and caused widespread devastation. The cyclone may have claimed the lives of 100,000 people. More than 70,000 are still missing and 1 million are now homeless. This disaster is already being compared to the 2004 tsunami that hit south Asia. The most recent report received states that 15 churches (some of which are not Foursquare) were destroyed as a result of the cyclone. Many Foursquare family members are among those who are homeless. The urgent needs are for drinking water, food and shelter.

“The Foursquare Church in concert with a few other non governmental organizations (NGOs) has begun a relief effort to help meet the needs of the people. Due to the great difficulty in reaching the areas most affected by the cyclone (because of travel restrictions placed on foreigners by the government of Myanmar) Thailand has been chosen as the staging area for this relief effort. Teams of people are in the process of securing and shipping solar water purifiers and PACP (Personal Assistance Care Packages) units to the team that will soon be in place in Thailand.

“Intercession is requested by the Foursquare family for the relief response action plan to be effective. Please pray along these lines:

  • Ask the God of comfort and peace to minister to victims in the midst of the confusion.
  • Ask God to move on the hearts of the members of the Myanmar government and that in response they will issue visas to our relief team members and other aid workers.
  • Pray that the provision and resources sent will reach the people who are in need. Pray specifically that the government will allow aid from the U.S., U.N. and many other relief organizations that currently have been blocked from assisting in this disaster.
  • Ask the Lord to continue to give our Foursquare leaders wisdom in how to respond and advance His kingdom.”

Pastor George P. Jones