Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
We are now approaching our Week of Prayer – Feb. 23-29. I know we can easily overlook prayer, either because we are too busy, or we feel inadequate when it comes to prayer, or we wonder if it is really worth it, or our mind quickly wanders to other things. In different ways, prayer can be a challenge. But we ought to see prayer as a wonderful opportunity, a great gift from our Heavenly Father.
Christian author Kenneth Boa says this regarding prayer: “The concept of communicating with God, of talking directly and openly with Him just as we would talk with an intimate friend, is one of the great truths of Scripture. When prayer is overlooked or appended as an afterthought to service, the power of God is often absent. It is dangerously easy to move away from dependence upon God and to slip into the trap of self-reliance. But prayer and action are complementary, not contradictory, and it is wise to overlap them as much as possible. Christian service is most effective when prayer not only precedes it but also flows together with it.”
Boa mentions two wonderful aspects of prayer. First, prayer is simply communicating with God as we would with an intimate friend. We all enjoy deep conversation with a dear friend, and in prayer we are able to speak with and listen to the One who loves us more deeply than we even love ourselves – our Heavenly Father! What a fantastic gift!
Second, Boa describes the close and necessary relationship between prayer and service. This highlights two well-intentioned but serious mistakes Christians sometimes make. Some Christians are service oriented; they see a need and immediately they want to jump in and get the job done. Others are more reflective; they may pray about a need continuously but never take any steps themselves to meet that need.
Boa rightly states that we need to do both, for prayer and action are complementary. Without prayer, all our well-meaning service lacks the power it needs to accomplish God’s purpose. And without action or service, our prayers are in a sense “held hostage,” because God not only answers prayer but often He answers them through us.
So let me encourage you to set aside a few minutes each day to pray about the specific daily concerns listed below, and as you pray, take some time to silently listen and reflect if perhaps God is leading you to help meet that need or contribute to that ministry.
As we all unite our hearts in prayer, we can confidently expect God’s answers.
Grace and peace,
Sunday, Feb. 23
Since this is the day we gather for corporate worship, let us lift up our worship ministry and services to the Lord. Pray that our songs of praise will both come from our hearts and bring glory to God. Pray that the Word of God will be faithfully proclaimed and received. Pray that all will be attentive to the Lord. Pray for all who lead in the worship services – music team, service leaders, tech team, greeters and ushers, and of course, for the one preaching.
Monday, Feb. 24
Let us pray for our children and youth. Pray that our young people have a deep assurance of God and His love for them. Pray that they will have a solid foundation for their lives based on the Word of God. For those who are in school, pray that they will remain strong in their faith in the midst of so much unbelief. Pray that each one will experience God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. And pray for our Sunday School Teachers and Youth Leaders, that they will have wisdom, compassion, and insight as they teach our children and youth.
Tuesday, Feb. 25
Today let us bring before the Lord our senior adults. We have a number of dear people who have served the Lord for many years. With aging comes various challenges – a decline in health and abilities, being separated from other family members, the death of a spouse or close friends, etc. Let us pray for our senior members, that God will grant them physical strength, spiritual renewal, and refreshing times with family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members.
Wednesday, Feb. 26
Let us join in praying for both our families and our single members. It seems like families come under attack in many ways, so let us pray that marriages remain strong and loving, that families stay together, and that children are nurtured in loving and caring homes. Pray for parents, that they might be godly and loving examples to their children. Pray for those who have experienced brokenness in their family life – divorce, absentee parents, discord, etc., that God will bring healing and strength. And let us pray for those who are single and the special challenges that brings.
Thursday, Feb. 27
Our Home Groups, Women’s Ministry, and Men’s Ministry all play such an important role in our lives as individuals, as well as in our church life. Let us pray that God will guide those who help lead these ministries, and that all who participate will be growing in their faith and in their love for one another. And pray that more will take advantage of being a part of these groups.
Friday, Feb. 28
Today let us pray for our church leaders, as well as the unity of the church. Pray for our Elders, Pastor, Deacons, and various ministry leaders, that they all will be growing in their own faith so that they can provide authentic Christian examples to the congregation. Pray that God will guide them in their work, and that they will serve with love and devotion. And let us pray for the unity of the church, that we will love one another, being united in heart and spirit.
Saturday, Feb. 29 Prayer Breakfast 9:00-11:00
All who can are invited to this special time of prayer and fellowship. Whether we can come or not, let us all remember to pray for our outreach and missions. Pray that IBCZ will have a Kingdom impact on our area. Pray that we will reach others with the Gospel. And let us pray for the missionaries we support: Madagascar Orphanage Ministry, Dayaway, Pastor Milad and Hada with the Lebanon Refugee School, Bruce and Shirley Davie in South Africa, the Open Door Foundation in Romania (victims of human trafficking), Evelyn Speicher Baer with MedAir in Madagascar, and Casa Victoria (ministering to poor children in Ecuador.