This is a very significant event we can all be a part of this coming Sunday. Prayer can move mountains! To be united as believers around the world is powerful. God is seeing us humble ourselves and call out our absolute need of Him.
Join with us this Sunday in your home, and send this link to as many as you can. (https://worldea.org/en/news/wea-calls-for-global-day-of-prayer-fasting-on-sunday-march-29-and-prayer-beyond/)
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
A group representing 600 million evangelicals encourages Christians worldwide to pray and fast on Sunday, March 29. Due to the current pandemic, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) developed the Global Day of Prayer and Fasting initiative based on Psalm 107 and the theme “Lord, help!” Though March 29 is a targeted day of prayer and fasting, the initiative isn’t limited to one day. “We hope to galvanize the prayer efforts and encourage believers to become part of the global prayer movement to intercede daily,” says the Illinois-based group.
On its website, the WEA offers a guidebook and other resources for church leaders. It also created a public Facebook group for global prayer and offers a profile-picture frame that reads “I’m praying! #Covid19.”
WEA: This Crisis ‘calls for humility and prayer’
“We are reminded just how vulnerable man is as a tiny virus…brings the entire world to a halt,” says Bishop Efraim Tendero, WEA’s secretary general. “It is a time that calls for humility and prayer to our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Sustainer of this world.”
Tendero, based in the Philippines, adds: “Prayer is still the greatest help that we can give… Let’s pray especially for all the frontline medical and government workers—for protection, good health, and wisdom in all that they do. Working together with God’s help, we shall overcome Covid-19.”
Other prayer movements are underway, including 24-7 Prayer, which offers a virtual prayer room and several guides. President Trump called for a U.S. national day of prayer on March 15. The following Sunday, Italy and England had similar observances. The Netherlands held a teen-focused prayer day last week, using social media and YouTube.
Louisiana Governor Also Encourages Prayer, Fasting.
March 24 was a day of prayer and fasting in Louisiana, which faces a spike in virus cases. Governor John Bel Edwards, a Catholic, cited the current “Lenten season where we focus on fasting and prayer.” He added, “God will, as He has done before, heal His people and our land.”
On Monday, Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Timothy Dalrymple, CEO of Christianity Today, co-wrote an editorial reminding church leaders that not meeting in person during this crisis isn’t a denial of faith. “It is one thing to risk your own life in order to worship together in person,” they write. “It is quite another to risk the lives of countless others, when so many churches are finding creative and compelling ways to carry on in worship and community from a distance.”
Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 27 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.
This article originally appeared here - https://churchleaders.com/news/373187-save-the-date-global-day-of-prayer-and-fasting-march-29.html
For the last couple of days I’ve been prayerfully pondering what to share with you this week. There are a myriad of directions we could go, but I felt such a quietening of the Holy Spirit …like a hush to my soul.
I think the Lord is sharing that many of us are still processing the shock and ever changing directives as to how we live life since Covid-19 virus started. And be assured that that is ok. We all adjust at different speeds to disruptions, especially to something that has had worldwide impact and is a threat to people’s lives. A natural response is to operate on auto pilot in looking at different ways of doing church and pastoring, etc. Just make sure that in looking to meet the needs of others, you don’t neglect your own. Carve out some still quiet moments with God to contemplate and pray.
Over the last few years ESPS. Ministries have sought to bring you encouragement and spiritual support. This is not changing. Some people are already talking about the new ways we may do church when all this is over. These are good conversations to be had, but I’m not sure we are quite there yet. I think as ‘shepherds’, many need time to grieve the sudden loss of congregational contact and all that it entails. We pray for you all in the transition to this ‘new normal’. May God give you grace for the ‘immediate family only’ funerals you have to conduct, the distant pastoral support, the spiritual comfort for the sick and dying that you cannot visit, etc. God knows.
As the days and weeks go by we will certainly grow in peace and perspective and start to be confident and creative in new ways of doing church and being the church. For now, at the end of this first week of widespread self-isolation and social distancing, know that God has got you, and your family, your congregation, your community, and our world.
The beautiful psalm 91 has been posted everywhere since this pandemic started, and rightly so. Keep reading it and praying it in these days and especially in your quiet place.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD , “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”(Psalm 91v1-2)
**Please check our website (www.espsministries.org) at the start of next week for the new ways of encouragement and support we are putting in place for you. **
What a day we’re living in! None of us could have foreseen the events of recent weeks. What comfort and strength we take from the fact that none of what is happening is a surprise to God. He is Alpha and Omega, He knows the beginning and the end. Be re-assured then that just as He sees all that is unfolding before us, and just as He sees the increasing needs around us, that He knows what you and I need. He wants you and I and His people (our churches) to walk close with Him, that in doing so we will communicate in life and in action that His perfect love casts out all fear.
I see on the Government’s official list of key workers released yesterday is a list of those who need to keep working so the country keeps moving forward. On that list are ‘religious staff!’ That’s you and me! (Key public services –This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.)
Just as the Government is aware of the frontline role we as pastors have to play at this time, then so is God. His promise to us is that ‘Faithful is He who calls, who will also equip!’ (1 Thess 5v18) If even now you feel a bit overwhelmed with the crisis unfolding around us, we need to be reminded of the words of Jesus when in calling His first disciples He gave them His main priority for our lives.
He appointed twelve–designating them apostles –that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. (Mark 3v4-15)
Did you notice it? He called His first disciples and told them your first and main priority is ‘that you might be with me!’ So to encourage and strengthen you today, here’s three thoughts from me as to how we can not just look to survive this current crisis, but how with God’s help we as pastors and our churches can thrive in the midst of the crisis.
The first piece of advice is aligned to the words of Jesus we’re just read. He wants you to self-care. The best way for us to do this is by spending time with Him.
As we spend time with Jesus, as we self-care, we’ll then be more than ready to care for others, beginning with our own families, and then the church family, and then our communities. To self-care is not being selfish, it’s being wise!!
We’re all familiar with the Air Steward’s advice when we get on to a plane. ‘Please fit your own oxygen mask first before assisting anyone else!’ This is sound advice for us. George Mueller (1805-1898) built many orphanages at Ashley Down, England. Without a personal salary, he relied only on God to supply the money and food needed to support the hundreds of homeless children he befriended in the name of Christ. A man of radiant faith, he kept a motto on his desk for many years that brought comfort, strength, and uplifting confidence to his heart. It read, “It matters to Him about you.” Mueller believed that those words captured the meaning of 1 Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’
I wonder do you need to take comfort and strength from the words that blessed Mueller? It matters to God about you!! Take comfort and strength from these words and remember Jesus first priority for us all whom He has called is to ‘be with Him!’
Secondly, with God’s help and through relying on God’s strength, this is a time for us to care for our congregations. We may have a sense of fear or even dread at the unfolding of this crisis. Be assured that such an emotion will be felt even more keenly by others, especially those who are most vulnerable in our churches. Elderly, children, mental health issues, addictions, etc. The list goes on.
The apostle Peter gives us this instruction, To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing (1 Peter 5v2-3)
Let me remind you that as teaching elders we have a responsibility not to look to do all the work of meeting the needs of our congregations, but to mobilise and call others to do the work with us. One example of this for us is that we have a senior lady who is in her 70’s. For years she has been our main contact and rallying point for the seniors in our church. I’ve allocated an elder to work with her in supporting our seniors during this time. Part of this provision is to give every one of them a phone call once a week to see how they’re doing and to ask them if there is anything we can do to help them practically? We’re also offering a shopping and delivery service for any of our over 70’s who need it. Times of crisis provide us with times of opportunity. One positive thing already coming out of this difficult time is our looking to mobilize the whole family of God to look out for and look after the people of God. Praise God this is being seen in church and in community.
Finally, ask for God’s help and direction in how you can care for your community.
The needs around us are vast, and there is no way we can respond to every need that arises. We can however meet some needs and play our part on serving our communities and partnering with other agencies to do the same.
In the familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5000 he sent the disciples out to see what they had that He could work with to help meet the physical needs of the crowd. As we know He took a little boys packed lunch and performed a miracle through it.
In Exodus 4v2 we have God calling and commissioning Moses. As He does He asks Him ‘What is that in your hand?’ The implication being God had already given to Moses what He needed to serve God and bless God’s people. We need to be encouraging our people that we all have something we can contribute to help meet the current needs and serve the community that is round us.
I believe whole-heartedly that this time in the life of our nation, when there is so much fear, uncertainty, and need around us, that this could be the church’s finest hour in recent times. We are to be that light in the darkness. We are to be that city on a hill that God uses to inspire hope and life in others. We are to engage in good deeds, that in doing so, people will see them and be led to worship God as a result. (Matthew 5v14-16)
Last Sunday I shared with my own congregation the challenging yet inspiring words of A.W. Tozer – ‘A frightened world needs a fearless church!’
I pray that God will give us all the grace and courage to be such a people. That in a day when people can’t ‘go to church’, that we’ll ‘be the church’, and in being obedient to Christ’s call on us and command to us that we’ll love Him, love one another, and love our neighbour!
I pray for God’s blessings and peace to be with you and yours
We are all in the same situation this weekend as we get to grips with the sudden shock and knock on effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. As we process what it now means for our family life and work life, we are also knowing the knock on effect of what it means for church life and congregations.
Pastoring a congregation and carrying the weight of the needs of others can be overwhelming as we find ourselves in a complete unknown, both for pastors and leaders and the effect this can have on spouses and home life.
We recognise that those who provide care and support don’t often know where to access such support for themselves. That is often the same spiritually. Although our utter trust and faith is in God, the fact remains that we ourselves are still very human. We may at times feel overwhelmed, anxious or discouraged, etc. ESPS Ministries is mindful of the added pressure on church leaders at this time.
To develop our support, encouragement, and availability to you in these days there are a couple of initiatives we are working on that will come on line at some point next week. As well as prayer requests you can send via our website (www.espsministries.org) you will also be able to have a personal prayer appointment over the phone with one of our prayer team at an arranged time. We are also developing our FB page to include a closed forum so you we can chat and receive encouragement together. There are one or two other things in the pipeline - please keep checking in with our website next week for more details.
Our great comfort lies in the assurance that none of this is a surprise to God. What a great opportunity to get realigned to His plans and purposes for us as individuals and as a church body.
God bless you and yours. We continue to pray the blessing of God over you, your families, ministries, and the church in our land and beyond in these days.
LORD JESUS, we ask you to protect us from the coronavirus. You are powerful and merciful; let this be our prayer – “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psalms 57:1)
JEHOVAH SHALOM, Lord of Peace, we remember those living in coronavirus hotspots and those currently in isolation. May they know your presence in their isolation, your peace in their their turmoil and your patience in their waiting. Prince of Peace, you are powerful and merciful; let this be their prayer - “May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name.” (Psalms 79:8)
GOD OF ALL COMFORT AND COUNSEL, we pray particularly for those who are grieving because of this virus, reeling from the sudden loss of loved-ones. May they somehow know your fellowship in their suffering, your comfort in their loss, and your hope in their despair. We name before you those known to us who are vulnerable and scared - the frail, the sick and the elderly. [pause] We also remember those doctors, pastors and family-members who are caring for all such people right now. God of all Comfort, you are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer - “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:10)
JEHOVAH RAPHA, God who heals, we pray for all medical professionals dealing daily with the intense added pressures of this crisis. Grant them resilience in weariness, discernment in diagnosis, and compassion upon compassion as they care. We thank you for the army of researchers cooperating towards a cure - give them clarity, serendipity and unexpected breakthroughs we pray. Rise Sun of righteousness, above this present darkness with healing in your rays. You are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer - “Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
GOD OF ALL WISDOM, we pray for our leaders - the WHO and national governments, and local leaders too - heads of schools, hospitals and other institutions. Since you have positioned these people in public service for this hour, we ask you to grant them wisdom beyond their own wisdom to contain this virus, faith beyond their own faith to fight this fear, and strength beyond their own strength to sustain vital institutions through this time of turmoil. God of all Wisdom and Counsel, you are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer - “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalms 46:1-2)
“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” (Psalms 91:3-7)
“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” (Psalms 4:1)
May El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty who loves you protect you. May Jesus Christ, His Son who died for you save you. And may the Holy Spirit who broods over the chaos and fills your life with peace, intercede for you and in you for others at this time.
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
Pete Greig - 24/7 Prayer