Monday, April 23, 2012

International Prayer: April 23, 2012

 Imagine for a minute giving your son or daughter their breakfast only to watch them suffer a seizure as they attempt to eat. Imagine having to tie your own children up during the day in order to keep them from wandering off and getting lost because they are not aware of what they are doing. Imagine reaching a point where you can only describe your child’s situation as hopeless, as doctors tell you they have no answers. This is what many parents in Uganda face daily as the nation deals with an outbreak of Nodding Disease.

Nodding Disease is seen in children, starting with epileptic type symptoms. The seizures are triggered by food, heat, and cold weather. As the disease progresses growth and development are stunted. Behavior changes and children are often left in need of around the clock care. A number of children with the disease die either because they deteriorate from a lack of nutrition or because of accidents suffered during the seizures.

In some villages the disease has spread like a plague. According to the BBC more than 3,000 cases have been reported in northern Uganda.

For today’s international prayer let us stand in prayer for the children of Uganda and for children in other areas where there have been outbreaks of Nodding Disease. Pray for members of the World Health Organization and of the United States Center for Disease Control who are working to find the cause of the disease. Pray they find a cure. At a time when parents are losing hope let us call upon the One who gives hope to the hopeless, asking God to intervene according to His will.

For more on the Nodding Disease outbreak see:

Monday, April 09, 2012

Risen from the Grave: The Power of Prayer

Monday is normally international prayer night here at Fire and Hammer. Together we call upon God on behalf of our neighbors, trusting world events into His hands. While it is fun to learn about other cultures and to stand with other people in prayer, the real focus should always remain on the One whom we call Lord.

For Christians Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross stands as the point in time when everything changed. Because of sin mankind was separated from God. With His death Jesus paid the penalty due as a result of our sins and the veil that stood between God and man was torn. Now we are able to approach our creator in boldness, enjoying the honor of being the children of God. It was for this reason that Jesus suffered and died, fulfilling the will of the Father whose love for us is manifest in the gift of salvation.

Jesus would remain in the grave for three days. Then in an act which in many ways is hard to understand He rose from the dead, an awesome demonstration of God’s power. The resurrection stands as a physical declaration of Christ’s victory over death, a sign to all of the life available to those who believe in God’s Christ. This is an awesome reminder of how God wants us to live by His power as the empty grave reveals how our Lord did the miraculous on our behalf.

As He raised Christ from the dead God once again proved Himself worthy of our praise. It is in this spirit of worship that we approach God in prayer. In each international prayer post we should ask not for our will but for His will to be done, knowing that the power demonstrated during the resurrection is the same power by which our God will continue to manifest His glory. Prayer is our opportunity to take part as God’s will unfolds in the lives of every person in every nation on earth. It is this opportunity to see God in action that makes prayer an adventure.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and check back next week as we stand with all of our neighbors in prayer, joining with God in the adventure of building His Kingdom.

Monday, April 02, 2012

International Prayer: April 2nd, 2012

So often as Christians we seemed to have an adversarial relationship with our culture. Our belief in the absolute truth of salvation and the established moral law of our God often leaves us standing on the ‘wrong’ side of the debate in the culture war, be it when speaking out in the public square or at times when speaking to teens and other family members in the privacy of our living rooms. Always remember we fight not against flesh and blood. Do not grow bitter but in love and with compassion pray for others, even when we disagree.

Let us join together in prayer for:

Coptic Christians in Egypt – According to the Encyclopedia Coptica, the Coptic Church was established based upon the teachings of the Gospel writer Mark, who brought the Gospel to Egypt in the first century. Today Christians are a minority in Egypt, accounting for only 10% of a country which is 90% Muslim. Tensions between Muslims and Christians have simmered near the surface for quite sometime, with the Coptic’s religious leader working with former president Hosni Mubarak to maintain peace.

Mubarak was driven from power last year. In March of this year Pope Shenouda III, the long time leader of the Coptic Church, died. Now the Coptic Church must move forward under new leadership in a climate where they fear their rights are being eroded by conservative Muslims. Pray for Egypt’s Coptic Christians as they look to a new leader and as they deal with the changes going on in Egypt. Pray also for inroads for preaching the Gospel in Egypt.

Mali – A March 21st coupe resulted in the ouster of Mali’s president. The military revolt that led to the coupe is in part the result of the view of the government being too soft on rebels. Rebel groups have taken the northern part of the country trying to establish that territory as a separate sovereign nation. Pray for the people of Mali during this turmoil.

Sudan and South Sudan – Last year we prayed as the new nation of South Sudan was formed. Today pray as South Sudan seems headed for a war with Sudan. According to ground fighting erupted recently and the Sudan continues to bomb its new neighbor. Pray for the people of Sudan and of South Sudan as the tense relationship between the two continues to deteriorate.

We touch lives when we lift them before the Lord in prayer. But authentic prayer is not about duty. It is about love and compassion, about caring enough for others to seek God for their wellbeing. Let us continue to reach out to our neighbors, lifting them up in prayer.