Prayer Calendar: Repetitious Prayer

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Dave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.

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A good story bears repeating, but not over and over and over again. As I grow older I worry about boring people with my favorite stories, and it doesn’t have to be dementia-driven for that to happen! Many prayers should be repeated over and over again. I pray for my grandchildren like that and for my friends in Turkey and Australia claiming them for Jesus.

In preparing to write this article I looked back over a piece I wrote last year at this time as a prayer for Christmas and 2016. I think it’s worth repeating, so here goes:

“Most of us have moved a long way from being starry-eyed children ripping open presents on either Christmas eve or morn to get at what’s inside. Whatever it is, they think it’s going to make them happy. No, now I’m the grandfather watching the starry-eyed kids hoping that what they find inside WILL make them happy.

Stars have always been associated with hope and promise. Remember this? ‘When you wish upon a star; makes no difference who you are; when you wish upon a star your dreams come true.’ Or what about this one? ‘Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might….’

If I were preaching a Christmas sermon this year I would retell the story of the wise men in Matthew 2:1-12 but turn it on its ear a bit. Normally the focus is on the magi with the application urging us to be like them, always seeking Jesus. ‘Wise men still seek him,’ right? Of course that’s true but I need something more than that this Christmas and throughout 2017. And so does the EFCC.

We need to be like the star pointing and leading people to Jesus.

‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold forth the word of life.’ (Philippians 2:14-16, NIV 2011)

‘Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.’ (Ephesians 6:19, NIV 2011)

‘And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ . . . . Pray that I may proclaim it clearly.’ (Colossians 4:3-4, NIV 2011)

‘Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ (Luke 10:2, NIV 2011)

I am praying and will continue to pray throughout 2017 that you and your church and the EFCC and all of its churches, ministries and leaders will be like stars holding forth the word of life, pointing and leading people to Jesus.

If you can, will you pray that for me also and join me in praying that for the EFCC?”

Prayer Calendar: Harvest Prayer

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LDCatDave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.

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It’s harvest time in southern Alberta. Now I’m a city boy who knows little about farms and harvest. I’ve learned a bit from people in churches I have served but not enough to speak with authority. I know it’s hard work and weather dependent and a tense time if little is going the way it needs to go, but I know it can also be rewarding once the crop is in and it’s a good one.

When we think spiritually, prayer and harvest go together; and it’s not just about being thankful to God for the harvest. We should be thankful, but there’s more to it than that.

A couple of biblical pictures come to mind.

The first is from John 4:35 and Luke 10:2. They refer in actual terms to grain harvest but in spiritual terms to soul harvest.

“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest . . . . The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

So the first harvest prayer is for a large crop of workers to harvest souls!

The second is from John 15:1-2, 5 and Galatians 5:22-23. They refer in actual terms to fruit harvest but in spiritual terms to character harvest. The Trinity is involved in this harvest and together cause us to live like we really are followers of Jesus Christ.

“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful . . . . I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing . . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

So the second harvest prayer is for the Father to cultivate us, the Son to give us life and the Spirit to fill us and cause his fruit to ripen in our lives!

So this harvest season, be more than just thankful.

Ask the Lord for harvesters and be willing to be one of them; ask the Trinity for fruit so that others will see Jesus in us.

World of Hope 2016-17

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DONATIONS FOR 2016-2017 CLOSED! LOOK FORWARD TO 2017-2018 COMING SOON!!

The booklet is here (~15MB)

wohrunnerThe donation form is here (89KB).

wohrunnerWe are still working on the online donation component of World of Hope. We will go live with that as soon as we can!

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Message from Dave (our EFCCM Director):

When we think of the hope that we as followers of Jesus profess, we often think in terms of the promise of eternal life.  But Peter tells us it is a LIVING HOPE.  This is not just something we look forward to in the future – but something we can experience in the everyday circumstances of life.

The world we live in is broken by sin, where many suffer pain and hardship, and live without hope.  Life is a daily struggle. We have an obligation to share the hope that is ours and the reason for that hope. The victory won through the resurrection of Christ brings the hope of restoration to our broken world.  One day, all that is wrong will be made right.

In the meanwhile, we can share the LIVING HOPE that is ours.

 

Prayer Calendar: Prayer as a Weapon of War

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Dave Acree is the EFCC’s Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This regular column on prayer is designed to accompany the Prayer Calendar.


We “peaceful” Canadians sometimes find it awkward to look at life through the lens of warfare. We see ourselves more as peacekeepers than warmongers. Yet when speaking of prayer, scripture injects it into two theatres of war. Perhaps we should embrace rather than shun the metaphor.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God . . . . And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (see Ephesians 6:10-18)

War Theatre #1 puts prayer into perspective. In prayer we enter the battle between God and the forces of evil. This unseen reality can drive us in many directions, from fearful to skeptical to watchful, but ignoring it should not be an option.

The armor we are encouraged to “put on” suggests some of the areas for this type of warfare praying: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation. The hard part is moving from abstract ideas to real life specifics in our lives and churches.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (see James 4:1-4)

War Theatre #2 makes prayer personal. While the first battle is unseen, this one is internal. It is between wanting God’s things or ours, between asking with God and others in mind or just us, between selfishness and generosity.

All warfare is tough and painful. How bloody are your knees?!

Prayer: From BHAGs to BHARs

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Dave Acree is the EFCC’s Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This regular column on prayer is designed to accompany the Prayer Calendar.


Those who are familiar with the writings of Jim Collins on leadership and business know what a BHAG is. In his book, Built to Last, he introduces a BHAG as a powerful mechanism to stimulate progress in a company or corporation. BHAGs (pronounced bee-hags) are “Big Hairy Audacious Goals.”

If I were currently writing a book on prayer, I would entitle the book Built to Ask and change the “G” to “R” turning BHAGs into BHARs (pronounced bee-hars): Big Hairy Audacious Requests.

Even in my 70th year of life I’m still learning about prayer. Margaret Feinberg in her book The Sacred Echo, writes:

“If his son asks for bread, what I am asking God for? In all honesty, a lot of crumby prayers. I’d like to think it’s because I’m maturing in my prayer life. I’m offering God more reasonable requests . . . . Or am I just praying it safe?” (page 81)

I have to admit that the phrase “praying it safe” struck home. That’s me, the safe prayer. But there’s even more to it than that. My belief in the sovereignty of God limits my asking. God is going to do what he is going to do no matter what I ask him to do. I don’t really believe that but I pray like I do. I realized that I am hardly asking at all.

So I’m learning to ask. Here are some guiding principles I’m working from.

You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3, NIV 2011)

After a parable on shameless audacity Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you.” (Luke 11:9, NIV 2011)

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV 2011)

I have two BHARs going right now. I am praying for two recently met individuals God has laid on my heart, one in Turkey and one in Australia, that God will reveal himself to them and that they will come to know him personally. These BHARs seem to be impossible to me. So I am undergirding them with this incident from the life of Jesus (Mark 10:17-27) and in particular this verse:

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. “ (Mark 10:27)

I challenge you to a BHAR!!

Now for a shameless commercial. Come to Ft. Langley in August to the EFCC National Conference and attend my seminar on “Praying It Risky” to delve more deeply into BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS REQUESTS.