National Day of Prayer 2018

Alliance News Feed – National Day of Prayer 2018

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

The theme of the 2018 National Day of Prayer is Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3, which challenges us to mobilize unified public prayer for America, Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

The following requests are from the National Day of Prayer Web site. Following these requests is a list of prayer points specifically developed to intercede for the U.S. Alliance church family.

PRAY FOR UNITY

  1. PRAY FOR UNITY IN AMERICA
    Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).

    • The present spiritual crisis in America is calling us to pray for and take all necessary actions to come together as a nation.
    • God is the only One who can bring unity, harmony, and oneness in America; therefore, we look only to Him in prayer.
    • Call upon God to empower us to make every effort to live in unity, call for unity, and forward unity in America continually.
  2. PRAY FOR UNITY IN THE CHURCH OF AMERICA
    Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction (1 Corinthians 1:10).

    • God is calling His church in America to unify upon the authority of the Bible and the centrality of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world.
    • Ask God for thousands of local churches to unify as one body of Christ, agreeing together that God is our greatest need in America.
    • Call upon God for Jesus’ Church in America walks in unity, harmony, and oneness, so His Church personifies, calls, and leads America to unity.
  3. PRAY FOR UNITY IN THE FAMILIES, WORKPLACES, COMMUNITIES, AND CITIES IN AMERICA
    Also, the power of God was at work in Judah to unite them to carry out the command of the king and his officials by the word of the Lord (2 Chronicles 30:12).

    • God’s power upon us is the only source to unite our families, workplaces, communities, and cities in America.
    • Call families, workplaces, communities, and cities to look to our only King, Jesus Christ, who is not only the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but also the Prince of Peace who can unify us.
    • Pray for America’s families, workplaces, communities, and cities. It is the spiritual energy that leads to forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, and unity.
  4. PRAY FOR UNITY AMONG ALL ETHNICITIES AND PEOPLE IN AMERICA
    For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).

    • Since each of us is made in the image of God, we each bear His image regardless of the color of our skin or the uniqueness of our ethnicity.
    • Through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, He has torn down the wall of division among all ethnicities and people.
    • In God alone, we unify and live in peace with one another; standing as one people against all racial and ethnic division, denouncing it as sin and not God’s will for us.
  5. PRAY FOR UNITY THAT WE AGREE CLEARLY, UNITE VISIBLY, AND PRAY EXTRAORDINARILY FOR THE NEXT GREAT SPIRITUAL AWAKENING IN AMERICA
    They all were continually united in prayer (Acts 1:14).

    • Preceding the epic movement of God on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, Jesus’ people were continually united in prayer together.
    • Convict the church in America to wake up spiritually, agree clearly, unite visibly, and pray extraordinarily for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America to occur in our generation.
    • Call upon God to bring spiritual awakening now in America shaping the future of America, just as the Great Spiritual Awakenings in our history have shaped our spiritual heritage as a nation.

PRAY FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY

Compiled by Gary Bergel, former president of Intercessors for America. Courtesy of GetAmericaPraying.com

Scripture instructs us to pray for all in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2), but how do we do that, exactly? Here are 30 ways to pray for our leaders—our judges, educators, police chiefs, school board members, military officers, elected officials, and others who serve our country by leading.

  1. That they be God-fearing and recognize that they are accountable to Him for each decision and act (Proverbs 9:10).
  2. That they be granted wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (James 1:5).
  3. That they be presented with the gospel and a loving Christian witness (Romans 10:14).
  4. That, if unsaved, they be drawn to a saving encounter with Christ; if born-again, that they be strengthened and encouraged in their faith (1 Timothy 2:4, Ephesians 1:17–23).
  5. That they recognize their own inadequacy and pray and seek the will of God (Proverbs 3:5–8, Luke 11:9–13).
  6. That they be convicted of sin, transgression, and iniquity (Psalm 51:17, John 8:9).
  7. That they heed their conscience, confess their sins and repent (Proverbs 28:13, James 4:8).
  8. That they read the Bible and attend prayer meetings and Bible studies (Psalms 119:11, Colossians 3:2).
  9. That they value and regard the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Christ (Psalm 19:7–11, John 8:31–32).
  10. That they respect and honor their own parents if living (Ephesians 6:2–3).
  11. That they respect authority and practice accountability (Romans 13:1–7).
  12. That they be given godly counsel and God-fearing advisors (Proverbs 24:6).
  13. That they be honest and faithful to spouses and children (Malachi 2:15–16).
  14. That they be practicing members of local congregations (Hebrews 10:25).
  15. That they desire purity and avoid debauchery, pornography, perversion and drunkenness (1 Corinthians 6:9–20, Titus 2:12).
  16. That they be timely, reliable and dependable (Matthew 21:28–31).
  17. That they be honest in financial, tax and ethical matters (1 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:6–10).
  18. That they seek pastoral care and counsel when needed (Hebrews 13:7).
  19. That they seek out and nurture godly friendships (Psalms 1:1–3).
  20. That they have thankful and teachable spirits (Romans 1:21).
  21. That they be generous and have compassionate hearts for the poor and needy (Psalm 112:9, Luke 10:33–37).
  22. That they redeem their time and know priorities (Ephesians 5:15–17).
  23. That they desire honesty, integrity, and loyalty (Psalm 26, Proverbs 11:3).
  24. That they have courage to resist manipulation, pressure and the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25, 2 Timothy 1:7).
  25. That they be shielded from occultism, New Age cults, false religions, and secret societies (Isaiah 1:29, 2:6).
  26. That they be presented with biblical worldviews and principles (Ephesians 3:10).
  27. That they endeavor to restore the sanctity of life, families, divine order and morality in our nation (Ephesians 5:22–6:4).
  28. That they would work to reverse the trends of humanism in our nation (1 Chronicles 12:32, Isaiah 59:19).
  29. That they desire humility and meekness and be willing to serve and cooperate (John 13:14, Titus 3:1–2).
  30. That they be prepared to give an account to Almighty God (Hebrews 9:27).

PRAY FOR THE U.S. ALLIANCE

As we join together to observe the National Day of Prayer, let’s remember to pray for the U.S. Alliance family—that we would earnestly seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment to make Jesus’ love known to lost, overlooked, and hurting people in our own country and throughout the world.

Pray for Your Local ALLIANCE Church

God intends every local church to be a world-impacting congregation. This does not depend on the size of the congregation but on the size of our God.

  • Heart for Missions (Matthew 28:18–20)
    Pray that God will give your church a heart for the nations—that the members of your church will be involved in missions by praying, giving, going, and sending.
  • Evangelistic Impact (Acts 2:46–47)
    Pray that God will ignite an evangelistic fervor within your church and that Christians will be personal witnesses of Jesus Christ, carrying out the Great Commission.
  • Spirit of Unity (Psalm 133:1)
    Pray that God will strengthen the bonds between believers in your church as they see Him at work in their midst.
  • Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23)
    Pray that God will make the fruit of the Spirit evident in your church Body, yielding spiritual growth.
  • Thanksgiving (Psalm 100:4)
    Pray that God will create a spirit of thanksgiving in your church—that an attitude of gratitude will be actively demonstrated to the church staff, those who work with children and youth, volunteers, and lay leaders.
  • Ministries (James 1:27)
    Pray that God will continue to infuse His Spirit into the ministries of your church—outreach, women’s and men’s ministries, youth and children’s programs, care for the hurting and needy, worship, and missions.
  • Leadership (Proverbs 9:10)
    Pray that God will grant wisdom and direction to your pastor, elders, governing board, and church staff, that they will have a clear vision of God’s will for your church.

Pray for THE GREATER U.S. Alliance Church FAMILY

Local churches consist of Christians who share a belief in Jesus, His message, and His call on their lives. They care for each other as a community of believers. The Holy Spirit calls some to go as missionaries, some as church planters, and some as workers where missionaries can’t go.

A church with a vision for a lost world is close to the heart of God. And the followers of Jesus, living in community, can’t help but tell others about Him. This is part of making “disciples of all nations.” It begins with reaching out with the love of Christ to our community of neighbors and extending our reach into the world. It is through the Church that the gospel will be proclaimed in our communities and around the world.

  • Clear Witness (John 14:6)
    Pray that our churches will maintain a clear witness to the uniqueness of Christ in the midst of religious pluralism, urbanization, postmodernism,
    and relativism.
  • Centrality of Scripture (Psalm 119:11)
    Pray that our churches will remain true to the centrality of Scripture and not be influenced by prevailing culture, philosophies, and religions.
  • Involved Congregations (Romans 12:4–6)
    Pray that our church families will actively use their gifts for effective ministry and the building-up of the church Body.
  • Christlike Leadership (1 Timothy 3:1–7)
    Pray that our pastors, elders, and lay leaders will model holy living, evangelism, and a heart for the lost.
  • Spiritual Depth (1 Peter 5:1–3)
    Pray that church leaders will motivate their congregations to pursue a deeper life in Christ. Spiritual maturity is essential to being an effective witness for Christ.
  • Victorious Optimism (Romans 8:37)
    Pray that Alliance believers will not be timid in response to Satan’s attacks, but that they will continue to proclaim the gospel message with boldness and passion.
  • Engaged Youth (Luke 18:16)
    Today’s young people are often lost to the Church and turn their backs on their Christian upbringing because of a growing generation gap and the pressures of society. Pray that our youth will be evangelized afresh and will be on fire for Christ.
  • Revival (Acts 2:1–4)
    Pray that God will bring authentic, life-changing revival to our churches.
  • Missionary Vision (Matthew 24:14)
    Pray for the awakening and growth of a missions heart among our churches. Pray that they will adopt an Acts 1:8 mindset in response to God’s Great Commission.

Pray for U.S. Alliance Pastors and Workers

Those who are called to shepherd God’s flock are commissioned to be servants of the Church. Through the surges and strains of church life, pastors need to know they are supported by the prayers of God’s people. Consistent intercessory prayer releases the Lord’s empowerment in the life of the pastor, strengthening and enabling him to persevere in the ministry to which God has called him.

  • Families
    Pray that pastors will invest in their families, setting aside intentional times of meaningful interaction and recreation. Pray that God will guard and strengthen their marriages.
  • Prayer Life
    Pray that God will give pastors an ongoing desire to pray with faith and discernment. Pray that God will provide many opportunities for pastors to enter into praying relationships with other pastors, church leaders, and laypeople.
  • Holy Living
    Pray that pastors will pursue holiness in all aspects of life and ministry. Pray that they will not give in to temptation. Pray for purity of body and mind.
  • Priorities
    Pray that God will give pastors wisdom as they prioritize the precious minutes in the day, discern what is most important, and guard against the tyranny of the urgent.
  • Confidence in the Lord
    Pray that God will bind the fear of failure and the desire for approval from others. Pray that confidence in the Lord will increase through study of Scriptures.
  • Overcoming Stress and Conflict
    Pray that criticisms and inordinate expectations will be cast aside; that stress and fatigue will be overcome; and that rumors and gossip will be dispelled.
  • Boldness
    Pray that God will give pastors the boldness to confront sin and disunity in the church.
  • Focus on the Cross
    Pray that pride will not enter into a pastor’s ministry. Pray that pastors will glory only in the cross.
  • Spirit-filled Preaching
    Pray that pastors will preach God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray that their sermon-preparation time will be rich and anointed.
  • Reproducing Fruit
    Pray that God will bless pastors with lasting, reproducing fruit—that converts will become disciples who in turn disciple others.

PRAY FOR ALLIANCE DISTRICT AND ASSOCIATION LEADERS

These leaders are “pastors to the pastors,” shepherding encouraging church leaders through challenging situations and the twists and turns of church ministry.

  • Vision
    Pray that leaders will seek and receive a clear vision from God for the churches, communities, and leaders entrusted to their care.
  • Discernment and Judgement
    Pray that the Holy Spirit would provide wise counsel as leaders seek his ongoing infilling and empowerment.
  • Church Health and Growth
    Pray for the development of effective, Spirit-inspired strategies that will grow healthy churches that will bear great fruit for Christ’s Kingdom.
  • Spiritual Vitality
    Pray that district and association leaders remain spiritually vibrant and inspire churches and church leaders to live and serve with spiritual vitality.
  • Pastoral Counsel
    Pray the district and association leaders will seek and receive continual discernment in shepherding those under their care through transition, crisis, and other adversity.
  • Crisis Management/Conflict Resolution
    Pray for God’s guidance when disasters and crises arise that impact churches and communities or when conflicts arise within churches.


Source: Alliance News Feed – National Day of Prayer 2018

Pressing into the Dark

Alliance News Feed – Pressing into the Dark

Valleyview Alliance Church in Vestal, New York, was searching for a way to expand its ministry to the least reached in their community. At about the same time, Johnson City Alliance Church was in danger of shutting down.

Without this congregation, the majority religion of the Middle East would have been the only influence in Johnson City. In addition, 43 percent of the large population of children in this area live below the poverty line, and most fathers are absentee.

“God impressed upon the hearts of the members of both congregations that He did not want to lose the light of the gospel within this already poor urban community,” says Pastor Arnie Buehler, associate pastor at Valleyview Alliance Church.

Answering the Call

A volunteer helps children at The Bridge perform a science experiment. (Photo courtesy of the author)

In 2014, after many conversations and prayers, the two churches merged to form The Bridge Community Center. They began with a prayer walk to ask God how He wanted them to serve. Sensing God was calling them to reach out to the children, they started a free four-week summer camp. By the end of those four weeks, 60 children were in attendance.

Since then, the community center has held this camp annually, and past campers have become some of the counselors.

The Bridge has also held an after-school program since fall 2014. An average of 60 children on Tuesday and Thursday nights receive homework help, food, and a safe place to be after school. Many of the kids have started coming to church with some of the leaders, which has led their families to attend as well.

It Takes a Village

Children at The Bridge celebrate being drama-free for 15 days with pizza and ice cream. (Photo courtesy of the author)

To establish this ministry, the volunteers from Valleyview Alliance have had to persevere. They gave up their evenings and Saturdays to love children who verbally attack, threaten, and mock them while doing the same to their peers. In the beginning, Arnie felt like he was breaking up fights every day.

Fortunately, the volunteers have not had to do this alone. The local school received a community grant and used some of it to donate $3,000 for snacks, $1,000 for board games, and five laptops for the community center’s new computer lab. When the children went 15 days without any fights, the local pizza place donated pizzas for the students to celebrate achieving this goal.

Often, a police officer stops by at The Bridge in uniform to play with the children and show them that law enforcement is on their side. The police station also recently used a $500 grant to purchase basketballs for the kids. “It’s been a community effort for the ministry to become what it is today,” Arnie says.

Developing a Servant’s Heart

The Bridge’s Wednesday night youth group (Photo courtesy of the author)

The same has been true for the salvation and discipleship of one young man named Shakeam. Arnie met Shakeam in 2015 when he would drop off his younger siblings and cousins at the annual summer camp. A few months later he started attending the youth group hosted at The Bridge Wednesday nights, and volunteers picked him up for church on Sunday mornings.

In summer 2016, Valleyview Alliance Church paid for Shakeam and seven other students from the community center to attend the local district camp. On the last night, during a bonfire, Shakeam surrendered his life to Christ. Since that day, he has been active in the church and volunteers at The Bridge.

“Shakeam has one of the best servant hearts I have ever seen, as there is nothing he will not help you do,” Arnie says. “He is always looking for opportunities to serve in our ministry.”

Shakeam regularly talks with Arnie about spiritual matters, but many other church members also invest in his spiritual journey. “Shakeam still has a long way to go in his discipleship, but it has become a church-wide endeavor to help him on his journey,” Arnie says. Shakeam attends an adult Sunday school class, and an elder and his wife take Shakeam to dinner every Thursday night to go through a discipleship book with him.

“Valleyview Alliance has chosen to stand in faith with God and be instrumental in shining the light of Christ,” Arnie says. “It is our responsibility to help push back the darkness in a community where no other church is pressing into the dark at all.”


Source: Alliance News Feed – Pressing into the Dark

The Enemy Lost Another

Alliance News Feed – The Enemy Lost Another

by an Alliance international worker serving in Uruguay

The hill where Alejandro lives

In late March, my teammate Michael* and I visited Alejandro, a terminal cancer patient—according to the doctors. We have seen him on his death bed several times over the past few years only to see God’s people rally in prayer and plead for Alejandro’s body and soul.

Every time, he has come through enough to be out of immediate danger. And each time, we have shared Jesus with him. Alejandro always declined and said his general belief in God was all he needed.

The Sunday before Michael and I visited, there were torrential downpours, and Alejandro’s home was hit hard. He wrote to me asking for help, so we gathered some clothes, sheets, and food to bring him. When we arrived, we noticed Alejandro had lost a lot of weight and looked more frail.

We sat for several hours in his house, which is more like a tin shack. He talked, and we listened. It felt like we were talking to Job, but a Job with no real faith.

I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that in the midst of the rain, our Sunday morning gathering had been about Job. I retold the story to Alejandro as best I could. Then I turned the attention to Jesus and His gospel. I asked the question I had asked so many times: would he accept Jesus as his Savior? Alejandro replied with the same answer he always gave us.

Holy-Spirit Boldness

The author with Alejandro, his friend and now brother in Christ

In that moment a boldness from the Holy Spirit came over me. I told him that a general belief isn’t enough. Even the demons believe in God, and they won’t spend eternity with Him. I told him there is only one way—one door through which all men must pass to have eternal life. That door is Jesus.

I asked again if Alejandro would accept this gift of salvation. He looked at me and said with full sincerity that he would. We prayed together, and Alejandro called on Christ to be his Savior.

When we left, Michael and I were filled with wonder, and tears streamed down our faces. As we drove home, we remembered God’s faithfulness, the multitude of prayers, the hours spent loving Alejandro and his family. So much had happened in these past few years. A man whose heart was hardened against the gospel was softened, and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

Thank you for rejoicing with us and with the angels in heaven. Pray for Alejandro and his family—that his faith decision will transform their lives. Pray also for many more in Uruguay who have yet to hear the life-giving message of Jesus. Give us more, Jesus, for Your glory.

*Names changed


Source: Alliance News Feed – The Enemy Lost Another

Steps Toward Surrender

Alliance News Feed – Steps Toward Surrender

by a CAMA Services worker serving in Eastern Europe

When I first started serving in Eastern Europe, I lived in Sunjen’s* home for a few months, and we became good friends. Not long after my arrival, I began offering occupational therapy (OT) services. I invited Sunjen to help me, since all of my clients were children and I needed the extra pair of hands. We worked side by side.

Several years into our working relationship, Sunjen shared with me that she wanted to become an occupational therapist. She was eager to learn and wanted to understand everything I did, but I didn’t have the time to train her. We started seeking formal training for her.

By cultural standards, Sunjen was too old to enroll in the state-funded university, so her options were limited. She had no vision for her future, outside of being a good caregiver for her family.

A view of the city where this international worker serves (Photo courtesy of the author)

The closest OT program we could find was almost 12 hours away in another country. She knew the language, but because she was her family’s primary caregiver, she didn’t want to live that far from them. We prayed that God would help us find a more viable alternative.

Shortly after, we learned that a private college was starting an OT program in Sunjen’s language. It was only 50 minutes from her home. I started working for the school, and Sunjen joined the 12 students who applied for the first year.

In February 2018, Sunjen received her OT license from the Ministry of Health. She is currently working in the OT department at my clinic and is preparing to open her own.

Sunjen hasn’t committed to follow the Messiah. She is afraid to break away from her mother’s faith. She reads the Bible story at our women’s discipleship group and asks questions—she even believes that He is the Son of God. But she still identifies with the majority religion of the Middle East.

Sunjen’s life has been changed, and she recognizes that the Lord has been at the center of the whole process. Pray that she will continue to see God’s faithfulness in her life and make the final step in her surrender to her Savior.

*Name changed


Source: Alliance News Feed – Steps Toward Surrender

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