First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1Timothy 2:1-2 ESV
Welcome to our August 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, August 3rd, 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.
Let us pray more heartily in private, and throw our whole souls more into our prayers. There are live prayers and there are dead prayers; prayers that cost us nothing, and prayers which often cost us strong crying and tears. What are yours?
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
ON A CLEAR DAY, YOU CAN SEE FOREVER
Perspective – it's a tricky thing, isn't it. In our pluralistic, inclusive society, we are told that "It all depends on your point of view!" Whatever the subject; political, sociological, theological, or even who will win Lord Stanley's Cup, our opinions are based on how we see it; indeed, from our vantage point.
Now the problem with this is that sometimes circumstances alter how I see things. A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to drive through the mountains of Colorado, reaching the heights of the Continental Divide on a beautifully sunlight afternoon. The view was magnificent beyond words. My attempts to capture the vista with my digital camera were futile. I overheard a local resident exclaiming to a visiting friend, "From up here, on a clear day, you can see forever!" She was almost right. It wasn't the top of Everest, but it was spectacular. Everything below seemed orderly and peaceful: – no wars, no famine, no violence. The next day it was so foggy and rainy I could hardly see two car lengths ahead. A radical shift in my perspective took place.
As intercessors who continue to pray for renewal and reformation in the Anglican Communion, we sometimes have "mountain top" experiences like the one I had in Colorado. We may have attended one or more of the exciting ANiC conferences or synods held in the past few years. Perhaps we emerged from those events with a very clear sense of vision and God's purpose for the Church. We saw things clearly, as they really were, and we were eager to share what we'd seen with fellow parishioners and we redoubled our fervency in prayer.
But since then, things have become perhaps a bit cloudy – struggles with our own parish's growth rate, a sense of loneliness and separation from other ANiC parishes, a deep concern that we all could lose momentum and settle back into "business as usual" rather than passionate mission– all have contributed to us wondering whether we really ever saw things clearly, and, indeed, whether any of this was worth the sacrifice it seems to require.
That, dear friends, is why it is so imperative that we maintain a Godly perspective, that we strive to see circumstances and events as He does, from His eternal point of view, rather than our own. God's viewpoint doesn't change… ever! Whether it's brilliantly clear or like a thick London fog to us, God's perspective is unflinching and inalterable. That's why St. Paul is able to exhort the Corinthian church like this:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 ESV
So how do we maintain an eternal perspective? How do we recapture what we saw from the mountain top when we are in the midst of a blinding snowstorm? Here are a couple of thoughts for you to consider.
1. As Paul exhorts us, look beyond the seen "momentary affliction" to the unseen Jesus. The writer of Hebrews puts it so powerfully:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12: 2-3 NIV
Jesus both sets us an example through the cross and provides Himself as our ultimate point of focus. In Matthew's account of Jesus walking on the water (Matt. 14), he includes Peter's miraculous experience of momentarily doing the same. Jesus called to the apostle who stepped out of the boat and began to walk toward the Master. It was only when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind swirling around him that he began to sink. Maintaining a heavenly perspective requires us to keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, not on the wind and waves.
2. Keep in mind that our struggle is not with people. The true battle in prayer is in the "unseen" spiritual realm, not in the "seen" world. Again we look to Paul's writings for God's perspective:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6: 10-12 ESV
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10: 3-4 ESV
The scope of this little meditation does not allow an extensive discussion on spiritual warfare. Suffice it to say here that, just as Paul realized that his real enemies were not the Judaizers, the Pharisees or the Roman emperor, so we also must recognize that our enemies are not former bishops, clergy or lay people who don't agree with our point of view. Anger and bitterness toward certain individuals will find destructive roots in our hearts if we do not lay hold of this truth.
We can't always be on the mountain top, much as perhaps we'd like to be. Such experiences, whether they be natural or spiritual, are intended to refresh us when we are weary and in need of much encouragement. But, more and more, we can tap into God's eternal perspective, as revealed through Scriptures and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Because from that vantage point, it's always a clear day, and we can see Eternity. Alleluia!
This meditation has been revised from an article that was originally published in the AEC first Friday Call to Prayer June 2006
Garth V. Hunt+
Praise God …
For the "mountain-top" opportunities that our loving Father gives us to be encouraged and re-envisioned, helping us to see things as He sees them.
That we can be totally at rest in His presence, without needing to perform or impress; where there are no awkward silences.
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…
Our loss of Godly perspective when we are hurting or discouraged.
Our allowing bitterness or unforgiveness to creep into our hearts as we have lost track of who our real enemy is.
That each one of us would recognize our ongoing desperate need of the Lord in every aspect of our lives.
That even in times of prosperity and relative peace, we would 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 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 the upcoming electoral synod in Ottawa in November and for God's clear leading in the election of a coadjutor bishop. (The coadjutor will succeed ANiC's moderator Bishop Don Harvey when he retires in July 2014.)
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).
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 out His blessing on them. May they be filled with the joy of the Lord as they seek His guidance for new worship facilities.
For the Anglican Sojourner Fellowship as it seeks to connect and encourage isolated Christians who live where there are no biblically faithful Anglican churches.
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.
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 throughout the Anglican Communion. Pray for the planning of the global gathering next May.
For growing support of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC). Pray especially for the implementation of the projects which help impoverished women in Peru and Myanmar to set up micro-businesses to support themselves and their children.
For the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the process of selecting his successor. May the Lord grant to His church courageous leadership that will stand firmly for the true Gospel of Christ
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 and stability in Egypt in the wake of the recent election results.
For an end to the escalating violence and bloodshed in Syria.
For a lasting peace in Sudan and in South Sudan.
For comfort and healing for those who lost loved ones in the recent horrific shootings in Toronto and Denver.
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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