When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit
John 19:30 ESV
Welcome to our April 2012 first Friday Call to Prayer. Our aim is to provide you with teaching that we trust will enhance your prayer experience and will be an encouragement to you. We will also provide you with praise items and prayer requests coming from within ANiC and the Anglican Communion worldwide.
We encourage you to set aside the first Friday, April 6th, as a day of prayer and fasting for the ongoing ministry of ANiC and ACNA. Given that this day is Good Friday, you may already be gathering with other believers in your parish or region.
Let me say it again, for certainly it is no secret: We do God more honor in believing what He has said about Himself and coming boldly to His throne of grace than by hiding in a self-conscious humility!
A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
The Veil Is Still Torn
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
Matthew 27:51 ESV
It was enormous, and in its original design, was made of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen with decorative cherubim embroidered into the fabric. It was to be suspended with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases.
To hundreds of generations of God’s people, this curtain covering the Most Holy Place represented separation from the actual presence of God, caused by sin. Only the High Priest could enter behind this veil, and he only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The sacrificial system contained in the old covenant worship made people ceremonially “clean” but yet access into the very presence of God was withheld. The old system was merely a shadow of what was to come!
On the day that we call Good Friday, cataclysmic events took place and fundamental shifts were made in the spiritual world that are almost too vast to contemplate, yet alone comprehend. To try and describe these events seems almost trite because they are so far beyond my meager skills with language. But, on the basis of His covenantal love for the humanity He had created, Jesus, the only Son of God, allowed Himself to be put to death, an excruciating death, carrying on Himself the immeasurable weight and degradation of the total sum of our sin. The perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, satisfied the demands of the old system in one flawless act, making further ongoing sacrifices for sin obsolete. And the fate of the rebellious Lucifer and his fallen hosts was sealed for eternity.
For those disciples who were present at the scene, the unfolding events of the previous hours must have seemed so horrific that they would scarcely have noticed creation’s reaction to what was occurring. A deep, impenetrable darkness covered the land for three hours, somehow seeking to mask humanity’s darkest deed. There was thunder, lightning, and massive earthquakes, scattering the terrified onlookers. Giant rocks were split in two, tombs opened and numerous “holy” people were raised from the dead and were witnessed in the city streets by many.
And then there was the temple veil, the curtain separating humanity from God’s manifest presence and glory. With a piercing, ripping sound that perhaps no one heard, this giant curtain was torn asunder, from top to bottom, by the mighty hand of God ending forever the requirement of separation that our sin produced and ushering in a new possibility of fellowship and intimacy with God, totally unknown since the expulsion from Eden.
The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV
And yet, sadly to say, some Christians remain in the Holy Place, the outer chamber, never daring to push through the torn veil into the Most Holy place, into intimacy with our God. Shame (remorse and embarrassment over the hidden decay in our lives), or Pride (sifting through the ashes futilely searching for some trace of our own righteousness); these two stumbling blocks prevent us from dashing through the torn veil with a child-like joy and delight into the arms of a waiting, loving Father.
British author and Bible teacher, Roy Hession, writes in his study in Hebrews, “From Shadow To Substance”: -“Although historically the veil has been rent, something very much like it still seems to be there in our experience, excluding us from that more intimate fellowship with God. We had hoped that we would have found in our lives a much nearer place and a more real experience of His presence. Such an experience may have eluded us for so long that we are in danger of “settling for” the Holy Place, assuming that it is all there is in the Christian life. In that case, we might have to admit that the Christian life is hardly worth the enormous sacrifice that Jesus paid for it.”
For those of us who believe in the power of prayer and are interceding on behalf of the Anglican Communion in these challenging days, it is increasingly more imperative that we grasp the significance of the torn veil, and, as the writer of Hebrews exhorts, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith”. If we struggle with grasping this reality, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us, moving it from mere head knowledge to a place of faith in our hearts.
Jesus has opened the way for us into the very presence of God. As we meditate on His sacrifice this Good Friday, let’s choose to not let anything stand in the way of our embracing all that He accomplished for us in His death – indeed, as our Communion liturgy so eloquently states, “that we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits of His passion”. Amen.
Garth V. Hunt+
Praise God …
For the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made upon the cross of Calvary for you and for me.
For the incredible privilege that we can come boldly through the torn veil into the presence of Almighty God where we can delight in the joy of intimacy with Him.
That we can depend fully and unreservedly on our loving Father for every aspect of our lives.
For the work God is doing in the life of our diocese and province: cleansing, restoring, transforming, healing and equipping.
For the reformation God is working out in global Anglicanism – and the entire Christian Church. In the midst of chaos, He is building His Kingdom and refining His bride, the Church.
For the many ANiC “projects” and church plants – the small, but growing congregations of faithful Anglicans that He is adding to our number.
For faithful Anglican Primates, bishops, clergy and laity – throughout the Communion – who are standing for truth even when their stand for Christ and His Word makes them targets of attack.
Confess if needed…
For times where we have taken Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for granted.
For losing sight of the cost of our own sin – the death of the Son of God.
For not fully embracing what access we have to the Father because the veil is torn.
That each of us would recognize our desperate need of forgiveness
That even in times of prosperity and relative peace, we would not forget to be vigilant in prayer
That we would demonstrate our faith in God’s goodness and sovereignty by cultivating thankfulness and expressing praise in the midst of loss, adversity or injustice.
That we would have a passion for souls – for those around us who need our Lord.
For the ministries of our churches; that we would become intentional in reaching our communities.
For Bishops Donald Harvey, Stephen Leung, Charlie Masters, Trevor Walters, Malcolm Harding and Ronald Ferris – and their families. Pray for spiritual and physical protection and renewal, for wisdom, and for a daily closer walk with God.
For our Archdeacons: the Venerables Ron Corcoran (Vancouver Island), Dan Gifford (BC), Paul Charbonneau (Ontario), Paul Crossland (Prairies), Michael McKinnon (New England, USA), and Darrell Critch (Atlantic Region & Quebec).
For ANiC clergy and their families, especially those experiencing spiritual and physical attack. May the joy of the Lord be their strength.
For those suffering under the attack of the enemy in our congregations and families. Pray for victory in Christ and healing where needed.
For new and forming ANiC congregations as they attend to the many details of organizing and launching a parish – and for other congregations considering joining ANiC.
For the ANiC congregations that have lost and are losing their places of worship. May God comfort and pour our His blessing on them. May they be filled with the joy of the Lord.
For the Anglican Sojourner Fellowship as it seeks to connect through various technological means isolated Christians who live where there are no biblically faithful Anglican churches – so that they are no longer “orphans” but “sojourners”, living in the world, but belonging and connected to each other through Jesus Christ.
For the leaders of the Anglican Communion Alliance (formerly Anglican Essentials Federation), as they seek to provide support for orthodox Anglicans still within the Anglican Church of Canada.
For those in the Zacchaeus Fellowship who are giving testimony to the liberation God offers those held captive in sexual sin; for the Anglican Church of Canada to listen to their testimony.
For strength and wisdom for the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Reverend Tito Zavala and for God’s blessing on the Province of the Southern Cone.
That God would continue His work in and through the Anglican Church in North America
||For Archbishop Bob Duncan (and wife, Nara), especially for wisdom as he seeks to give Godly leadership through any growing pains our province may encounter
||For the other ACNA dioceses.
For Anglican1000 and those engaged in church planting in Canada and throughout ACNA. Pray for courage and strength for ANiC’s church planters and for an increase in passionate, trained workers. Pray also for the appointment of a new Vicar/Director as the ministry moves to Pittsburgh.
GAFCon Leadership Conference, April 23 -27 in London, England. Pray for wisdom for the delegation of 15 representing our province, the Anglican Church in North America, including Bishop Don Harvey and the Reverend Ray David Glenn.
For growing support of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC). Pray for people in areas devastated by natural disasters and military conflict.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the as yet unspecified bishop who will be his successor. May they pursue God wholeheartedly and seek the wisdom and discernment they need to fulfill their responsibilities to the glory of God. Pray that the Lord will rule over the selection process.
For suffering Christians around the world in conditions of persecution, war and poverty – especially those in Muslim and communist countries who face injustice and violence.
For God’s protection of Israel as it is surrounded by those who seek its destruction.
For peace in Sudan and in South Sudan.
For those in authority over us and those who serve our country. Pray for wise decisions that honour the Lord and promote the welfare of our nation. Pray specifically:
||For those in government – both for our elected leaders creating laws and for civil servants in positions of responsibility – that they would uphold righteousness.
||For judges in our court system who are charged with interpreting and applying laws;
||For officers of the law & emergency response personnel who risk their lives for us.
||For those who selflessly serve our country in the military as well as for their families at home.
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