After so much talk about North Korea and America, let’s bring the concept of strategic prayer closer to home! The truth is that the Lord adds to, and even multiplies, whatever we give Him. We frequently do not know what we are sowing, or how He will use our efforts to reach out to people, but He has wonderful ways of making tiny seeds spring up for His glory! However, just as the farmer must consider the steps, stages and sequences he needs to take to prepare good soil, so we too must, rather than just hoping for the best. Continue reading
“I believe that prayer can move the hand of God,” says “Sarah”, a young woman in her 20s from Aleppo.
Living in a warzone, where being a Christian means she runs the extra risk of attack by Islamic extremists, Sarah truly understands how important prayer is. She says: “Of course prayer is important to me. I always expect the protection of the Lord and His care because of prayers… When I face a difficult or dangerous situation I text a prayer request to some of my friends to have them pray for me.”
A few years ago, Sarah felt that God was prompting her to start an interdenominational prayer meeting in Aleppo, but at first she wasn’t sure how it could be done. “I remember how I objected: ‘Lord, I am just a woman in my twenties. I know no bishops, I have no funding.’ After meeting with someone of Open Doors, the organisation turned out to be willing to fund the prayer meetings, but they wanted the meetings to have the support of a local church as well. I spoke to some priests and they agreed on the idea.
“First there were just two denominations, but the third meeting was with all denominations. It was the first time in Aleppo that a meeting was held with all denominations. We had a time of worship and of free prayer. For several participants this was something new; they were not used to praying out loud in a church. Some 500 to 600 persons came to the meetings.”
Our brothers and sisters in Syria are greatly encouraged to hear that their church family around the world is standing with them in prayer. Pastor Edward from Damascus says: “I want to express my deep appreciation for the people in the West who keep us Christians in Syria in their prayers . . . Your prayers encourage us. Through that we can encourage others.”
Brothers and sisters like Pastor Edward are in need of encouragement, as the civil war rages on with no sign of a peaceful solution. “Nowadays, it’s hard to find a safe place. Grenade shells fall every day and every other day we hear of people being injured or killed,” says Pastor Edward.
Another of our local partners, Pastor “Samuel” from Aleppo, says: “The prayer of many Christians around the world gives the people in Aleppo the feeling they are not alone. I always mention it in church when I hear of people praying for us. It is an encouragement to know that we have brothers and sisters praying for us. Sometimes these people make their support even tangible by giving support for food packages.
By the way, we also pray for you. We pray for those who pray for us and for those who support us in other ways.”
Here are three things you can do to stand with your Syrian church family in prayer and action:
- Organise a prayer vigil. This could be with your church or small group, or perhaps you could follow Sarah’s example and organise a prayer meeting in your town. We’ve created a PowerPoint presentation to help you use the Lord’s Prayer to pray for the church in the Middle East – download it here or order one as part of our church appeal pack.
- Sign our letter. Join us in asking our nation’s leaders to act on behalf of our church family in the Middle East.
- Send a gift. Why not hold a bake sale, do a sponsored run, or give up your cappuccinos for a month – every £71 can help us feed a family of five for a month. Open Doors is supporting almost 10,000 families in Syria every month with emergency food parcels and hygiene kits, alongside long-term projects such as trauma care and training.
The Lord comes behind prison bars – an encouragement to remember those who are suffering for their faith.
Our aim in presenting these Patmos tracks is to encourage us to go on praying into the issues raised after the words and music come to and end. Take time to let people and situations come to mind around the world where the people of God are suffering for their faith. May their faithfulness bring about a great harvest of souls!
Wikipedia says “Psalm 126 is a song of joy and of thanks to God. The thanks is reflected in its third verse, “The LORD has done great things for us”. But this is overshadowed by the joyousness of the author. The author is gleeful to return to Zion. In many areas the people who are going out to sow, however, are starving. The only food they could possibly have is the seeds they kept for sowing. The people literally cry when they place their only food in the ground because they know they will receive the harvest. Vs. 5 and 6 are stating that when we give sacrificially to the point of the last portion, God will be faithful to bring in the bountiful harvest. It also shows that those who plan for the future, will be rewarded.”
Some months ago I adapted the words of Emily Bronte’s poem The Prisoner. Let these words, and the moving music we recorded wash over you, and take time once again to pray on behalf of those who find themselves deprived of liberty, or who are struggling to retain hope.
There have been specific prophetic warnings a year and more ago that the Lord would change our weather patterns as part of the whole way in which we have allowed a flood of unrighteousness to prevail in our society. That is of no comfort to those directly affected by the encroaching waters, but it is something for us to bear in mind behind the scenes. There is every reason why the Lord’s patience should be running very thin with us. References in the secular press this week to floods of biblical proportions refer purely to their size – not to the reasons behind it. Continue reading
Praying for the Philippines
Please see below for the prayer poem that Ros and I have composed: a prayer of yearning from a woman on her knees in the province of Leyte on behalf of her storm struck nation.
At extremely short notice, Sally brilliantly scoured for royalty free illustrations and turned our words into a work of art. With Colin’s help we have set it to Grieg’s beautiful Solveigh’s Song from the Peer Gynt Suite, which we recorded last March, with Andrew Whettam on the marimba, his wife Rebecca playing the cello part and Grace Lee the violin. Please do make good use of this presentation in your homes churches and fellowships.