"Helping Together By Prayer For Us"

September 6, 2013

tims blogOn Saturday, September 7, I will be leaving for a three-week mission to Uganda, my first visit to that country since 2008. Reverend Jay Pearson and my sister Kei Sullivan will be joining me on their second trip to Africa this year. This event has been organized by Mugisha Tom Goodman, the founder and pastor of Christ the Answer Church in Kampala. I met Mugisha ten years ago on my very first trip to Uganda and consider him a good friend.

I will be teaching my Ministers' Training Series to an audience of pastors and church workers representing (at last count) ten different churches. This will be the second time I have presented my five courses as a unit. After my initial presentation last May in Tanzania, I made some adjustments to the lessons that I think will help the class run better. I simplified the lessons even further, and I made a syllabus for each student that contains all the scriptures I will be using – not the reference only, but the entire verse. I use a LOT of verses in my presentations and it always takes time for people to find them in their Bibles. Often by the time they get there I am ready to move on. Hopefully this will make it easier for the students, and allow me to keep things moving at a better pace.

This class is being held at the Church of God in Kireka Town, in Kampala. It will be presented in Luganda, the major language of Uganda. I was happy to find an online Bible in that language to use as my source as I prepared the syllabus, and Mugisha helped me with the lesson titles. Once class begins Joshua Walama will serve as the chief interpreter.

In order for this mission to have its best opportunity for success, I have a request to make of you. I am asking you to be “helpers together by prayer for us.”

2 Corinthians 1:11:
Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

But even as I request your prayers, I want to remind you of the NON-power of prayer. There is no power in praying, whether our prayers are short or long, standing or kneeling. The power belongs to the one who ANSWERS prayer. God is our ever-present help in time of need. He does not need to be awoken from slumber, or wound up like an old clock. He knows our needs even before we ask.

Matthew 6:7-8:
7: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 
8: Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

But this does not mean we should have a passive relationship with the Almighty. The Lord seeks our active involvement in his undertakings. Through our prayers we simultaneously take a holy burden upon ourselves, and relieve ourselves of that burden by casting our cares upon the one who cares for us.

Of course, it helps to know whenever possible what we should pray for. Today I am asking for prayers for the workers on this mission, and for our families.

1 Thessalonians 5:25:
Brethren, pray for us.

A successful mission requires more than the faith of those who brings the word. It requires the mutual faith of those who speak and those who hear.

Romans 1:12:
That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

That is why I also ask you to pray for the people who will attend my seminar.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2:
1: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 
2: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

There is only one thing that has the power to hinder the free course of the Word of the Lord, and that is unbelief. Not all men have faith in God, and an unreasonable man is as much a hindrance as a wicked man. In order for the word of the Lord to have free course, it must be received by humble hearts. Of course, humility is not easily achieved. Our ego shuns the word of the Lord because it pierces our very being. It comforts but it also chastises; it heals but it also wounds. That is why, like the Israelites of old, we sometimes prefer “smooth" deceptions to the wounds of truth.

Isaiah 30:9-10:
9: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
10: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

Proverbs 27:6:
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Paul’s question challenges our sensitivities to this very day:

Galatians 4:16:
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

I believe this is why Paul prayed for those who would hear his word. He prayed that God would enlighten their eyes and give them understanding.

Ephesians 1:18-19:
18: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 
19: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

And he prayed that the name of the Lord would be glorified.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12:
11: Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 
12: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul did more than hope for these results; he did more than work towards this end. He prayed for these results. That is why I am asking you to be a helper together with us in prayer. Please pray for all the people who will be laboring to make this class possible, for our families, and for all who be in attendance. Pray that God blesses us with a greater understanding than we have previously known. Pray that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified during these three weeks in Uganda.

Prayer requires only a few moments of our day and so we can be tempted to think such a small thing cannot be so important or necessary. But think of it this way: You wouldn’t want to drive your car without those small lug nuts holding the wheels to the axle. God is not a proponent of wasted effort. If it made no difference, he would not ask us to pray.

I look forward to sending you my report once we are home. Thank you for your support, and for sharing this burden with me.

In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,

Please take the time to read and digest a new sermon by Reverend Dimitris Pelidis, "Fair Havens." It is a word of surety and stability for these troubled times!



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