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  June 2014: Standing With Our Leaders In Prayer ... pdf version

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people . . . This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2: 1-4 ESV

Welcome to our June 2014 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, June 6th, as a day of prayer and fasting for the Church in these critical days, ideally gathering with other believers in your parish or region for corporate prayer at some point in the day.

Prayer Quote
Pray for revival? Yes, go on, but do not try to create it, do not attempt to produce it; it is only given by Christ himself. The last church to be visited by a revival is the church trying to make it.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones 1899 - 1981

Dear Intercessors, whereas it is absolutely vital that we maintain a focus of praying for revival as we have discussed over the past two months, we must also be praying about other important matters. For instance, at the end of this month, two major events will take place concerning our leadership; the election of the new ACNA primate to replace the retiring Archbishop Bob Duncan, and the beginning of the tenure as diocesan bishop of Bishop Charlie Masters as Bishop Don Harvey retires. Both of these events are highly significant to the future of our Anglican reformation movement in North America. Strong, consistent prayer for our new leaders must be offered if they are to succeed in fulfilling God’s specific call on their lives. In order to exhort and envision us to pray for these men of God, I have reprinted an article originally published in February 2010. Please read it thoroughly and allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen your resolve to uphold our leaders in prayer.

Garth V. Hunt+

Standing With Our Leaders In Prayer

The Reverend Moses was the rector and pastor of an enormous parish, several million strong. They were a hurting and wounded people, suffering from the results of many generations of harsh servitude to a cruel taskmaster. They distrusted authority of any kind, and were persistently suspicious and critical of the Reverend Moses’ leadership style and decision-making. Many wanted to return to the known hell from whence they had come rather than face the future uncertainty of trusting their leader.

Moses’ seminary had been the pasture fields of Midian where for forty years he had protected and cared for the needs of a flock of sheep – the four legged variety. But now, in response to a dramatic call of God upon his life, he was seeking to provide godly leadership to this vast and most difficult “flock” of men, women and children. The task was daunting to say the least! Despite having seen many miraculous manifestations of the power of God that secured their release from captivity, the people complained at every turn in the road, about lack of food and water, and any incident that seemed to call into question the validity of the decision to leave in the first place.

And now, for the first time, unprovoked warfare is upon them and seems inevitable. This congregation of straw brick-makers must learn the reality of combat if they are to survive, to say nothing of actually possessing the land of promise.

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Exodus 17: 8-13 ESV

As those who are committed to interceding on behalf of our own bishops, clergy and lay leaders within ANiC, we will find some helpful insights on standing with our leadership in prayer in this incident in the ministry of the Reverend Moses.

1. Warfare is inevitable. Whereas we will not likely need to learn how to wield a sword or fire arrows from a longbow, the reality of spiritual warfare must be taken seriously. The enemy of our souls, whom Jesus calls Satan, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Peter 5: 8 ESV). He is furious about the stand for the Gospel message that we have taken, and he is desperate to inhibit the growth of this movement. His weapons include accusation, deception, and seduction, often appearing religious, well-meaning and innocent enough “for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (I Cor 11:14 ESV).

2. Like any good military tactician, the target he chooses is leadership because if one can paralyze, displace or discredit godly leadership, the “flock” is ripe for the picking – “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9: 36 ESV). You may think this radical, but I believe that there are demonic forces arrayed specifically against each of our rectors, pastoral leaders, and our national bishops and provincial primate whose sole purpose is to discourage, immobilize, and bring into disrepute those who are willing to lay aside everything they are and have for the sake of the Gospel. The attack may occur against our clergy, their spouses, their children or their material possessions. Whatever it is, the attack will be relentless, insidious, and completely without mercy.

3. There are specific roles detailed in this story. Joshua, not Moses, leads Israel in the actual battle. He is the military general, making decisions on strategy, tactics and deployment. Moses, on the other hand, climbs a hill where Joshua and all his inexperienced recruits can see him. His focus is pastoral and he raises his arms in intercession, crying out to the Lord on behalf of his people. We see that, as long as his arms and staff are raised heavenward, Joshua’s troops in the valley prevail.

4. Now comes, perhaps, the most important aspect in this account for us who are called to come along side our leaders and uphold them in prayer. The arm of the strongest and most courageous leader cannot hold out forever. Moses’ arms began to droop, and the momentum of the battle in the valley below immediately shifted to the enemy. But Moses is not alone; two others have accompanied him up that hill - Aaron and Hur. While Moses focuses on the welfare of his people in the greatest jeopardy since they left Egypt, Aaron and Hur rivet their attention on their pastor and leader, enabling him to complete his vigil by holding up his arms, one on one side, and one on the other.

Our role as intercessors must be like that of Aaron and Hur, supporting our leaders in prayer as they focus on the needs and welfare of their parishes, diocese and province. Our intercessions on their behalf must not be perfunctory or anemic; neither can we allow complacency or lack of vigilance to set in. If we do, the tide of the battle will shift against us.
Church, let us ask ourselves this question: If our rector does things with which we may disagree, or our bishops shape policy that is contrary to our personal experience of Anglicanism, do we begin to grumble and to cease praying for them? Does our criticism overcome our willingness to intercede? Do we give the enemy access to our leaders by allowing their arms to droop? I cannot imagine Aaron and Hur having a dialogue about the relative quality of the Reverend Moses’ last sermon and allowing his arms to fall in the heat of the battle while they criticized.

Moses was not a perfect leader. None except King Jesus is. However, we have been charged with both the privilege and responsibility of undergirding our leaders in prayer whether every decision they make pleases us personally or not. I fervently believe that our movement will ultimately die if we fail to embrace this charge with vigor and with great joy. Yes, our arms too may tire, and others may need to step into our place. But if the arms of our leaders are held “steady until the going down of the sun”, victory over the enemy will be ours. Alleluia!

Garth V. Hunt+

Thoughts on Revival Prayer

In this new feature, we will share thoughts on how we might be praying for revival in our church and in our nation. Do feel free to send me via email any insights you may have on how we might learn to grow in this type of prayer.

As we have wrestled with the challenge of praying for revival, I have become more aware that, for me at least, it has to begin with a change in my heart. Revival needs to start with me. Accordingly, I have been praying that the Lord would give me a greater compassion for the lost. I have also seen my reaction to TV news items that seem to depict evil as good and good as evil – they make me angry and cynical! Not very helpful!

Last Sunday, as I was asking the Lord about this, I immediately saw in my mind a scene from the HBO series, Band of Brothers. The show follows the exploits of a company of paratroopers during World War II, and in this scene, the soldiers discover a concentration camp, abandoned by the fleeing German troops. The few remaining inhabitants have been left to starve to death. For me, it is one of the most poignant scenes ever captured on film. As I remembered their emaciated bodies, some barely able even to walk, I felt the Lord say to me, “Garth, can you get angry at these? For the culture and society around you is as starving and thirsty as these, even if they don’t know it yet.” I heard what the Spirit was saying; it was a paradigm shift for me. See them as God sees them, as they really are, and pray for the spiritually thirsty and starving to come to Jesus!

Praise God …
For the incredible gift that God has given us in prayer – immediate access to our Father at any time of day or night. Thank Him for the incredible privilege of participating with him through prayer in his grand redemption plan.

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 …
Our complacency in praying for our Primate, Bishops and Clergy. May the Lord refresh our commitment to pray for our leaders as He gives us vision to see how strategically important each prayer offered can be, by whoever or wherever we are.

Please pray …
For a new visitation of the Holy Spirit upon our bishops and clergy, our parishes and our diocese. Pray that the fresh wind of the Spirit will bring renewal, healing and revival across our land.

For Archbishop Bob Duncan (and wife, Nara), especially in the remaining weeks before he steps down as primate. Pray also for the ACNA House of Bishops and the Provincial Assembly June 25-28 that the Lord’s purpose will prevail in the election of our new Primate.

For Bishops Donald Harvey and Charlie Masters, as Bishop Don passes on the leadership of ANiC to Bishop Charlie on June 30th. Thank the Lord for Bishop Don’s faithful service as ANiC’s first diocesan bishop. Pray that Bishop Charlie will have a clear vision for the future, and the grace and courage to carry it out.

Pray for Bishops Stephen Leung, Trevor Walters, Ronald Ferris and Malcolm Harding (retired) – 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), Tim Parent (Ottawa Valley), Paul Crossland (Prairies), Michael McKinnon (New England, USA), and Darrell Critch (Atlantic Region & Quebec) – and our Dean of Multicultural Ministries, the Very Rev Dr Archie Pell.

For all of our ANiC clergy and families, especially those experiencing spiritual and physical attack.

For the ANiC congregations that have lost their places of worship and are meeting in rented facilities. May God comfort and pour out His blessing on them. May they be filled with the joy of the Lord as they seek His guidance for more permanent worship facilities.

That God would continue His work in & through the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

GAFCon Primates and Fellowship of Confessing Anglican (FCA) leaders – Pray for the Lord’s courage and wisdom as they seek to guide the orthodox reformation and realignment that is taking place in the Anglican Communion.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Pray that the Lord will grace him with wisdom, courage and the faithfulness to follow the teachings of Scripture in his decision-making.

For the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) as it raises funds for a pediatric ward for a busy clinic in
South Sudan. Pray also for peace in that troubled country.

For Christians in the Middle East, Asia & Africa who face growing pressure and persecution as countries embrace extreme forms of Islam and Islamic terrorists groups advance their agendas.

For those who serve us and are in authority over us – our police forces, our armed forces, our emergency responders, our municipal elected officials, our provincial MLAs and premiers, and our federal MPs and Prime Minister.

For God’s wisdom for the world’s leaders with regard to the escalating situation in the Ukraine, and as the Korean and Malaysian governments seek to help their citizens still grieving over their lost loved ones in recent disasters. Pray also for the safe deliverance of the 230 Nigerian school girls still being held captive by Muslim extremists.

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