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  September 2011: Our Desperate Need for Dependency ... pdf version

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4: 6 ESV

Welcome to our September 2011 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, September 2nd, 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 Quotes
In the secret of God's tabernacle no enemy can find us, and no troubles can reach us. The pride of man and the strife of tongues find no entrance into the pavilion of God. The secret of His presence is a more secure refuge than a thousand Gibraltars.
Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911)

Our Desperate Need for Dependency

We don’t like to be too dependent, do we? Everything in our nature and much of our training as children strive to bring us to a state of in-dependence. From getting dressed ourselves, tying our own shoes, making our own lunches for school, getting a paper route or an after school job, or getting our driver’s license as soon as possible, all the way to career and spouse choices – all building us to being able to stand on our own two feet and be dependent on no one. We want to be able to sing with Frank Sinatra “I did it My Way” or Simon and Garfuncle’s song, “I am a Rock, I am an Island”. We don’t want to be “beholdin’” to anyone or receive “charity” when we haven’t done anything to earn it ourselves.

Some of us are growing older and facing the reality that we cannot do all that we once did, and the prospect of having to be cared for more and more is painfully hard for us to accept. Losing our driver’s license or our ability to be mobile means the loss of our independence and makes us more dependent on others who may not always handle the situation with grace. Nobody wants to be a burden!

Sad to say, the same is true in the Church. A brief look at the history of God’s people as recorded in the Old Testament shows plainly that, when they were in a jam, they cried out to the Lord in their need, but once the crisis was over, they drifted back into old patterns and ways that were typically self-serving and independent of the God who had so amazingly provided for their every need. The Book of Deuteronomy is essentially a long exhortation by Moses, pleading with the Israelites to stay focused on God and not allow the natural and subtle drift toward that independence to occur. Look at these few verses as an example: -

“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
Deuteronomy 8:11-18 ESV

But they did forget – often. They forgot God’s fatherly care for them, His provision for their needs, His covenant love that enveloped them. Their actions spoke volumes; “Thanks, God, but we can take it from here!”

God wants us to be desperately dependent on Him. It is in His Father’s heart to care for His children, those who are His through adoption. He calls us to live our lives according to standards that are totally unobtainable in our own strength. What husband, for instance, can truly love his wife as Christ loves the Church or what believer can consistently turn the other cheek when slapped, either actually or metaphorically? The bar is intentionally above that which we can reach relying on our own resources, independent of God. It’s why the Holy Spirit was sent – to help us live supernaturally.

As we pray for ANiC and ACNA in these days that may seem less critical than the recent past, what lessons can we learn from Israel’s experience and Moses’ exhortation? To my mind, the answer is painfully simple – may we not forget the Lord our God and look to our own resources. May we have the same desperate dependency on Him that we had when we took our first steps. It is a dependency that must be based not just on the spiritual adrenalin that came from the sense of adventure we were experiencing, but on the humble, bottom-line recognition that we absolutely cannot do this without His power. We’re not smart enough, strong enough or spiritual enough to not fall into the same traps our predecessors did. May a fresh fervency in prayer across our churches reflect our recognition of our personal and corporate bankruptcy and our desperate need to be dependent on God.

Some of our new churches are struggling: struggling with a lack of finances, with a lack of new leadership emerging, or simply with the limitations of small numbers. We need to stand with them in prayer, asking God to meet their needs. We need to not weary in our commitment to pray for our bishops and other leaders who face the daunting task of leading our movement into uncharted waters. They have said emphatically that just ‘doing church” the way we always did is not good enough, and so our leaders desperately need the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.

We have our annual synod and conference approaching quickly (November 2-4, in Victoria, BC) and we could so easily fall into the temptation of thinking, “O well, another year rolls around, another synod” and miss the strategic necessity of our being together to wait on God in complete and utter dependency on Him for His vision and direction for the future. Church, we need Him as much, if not more, than we did the day each of our parishes held their vote to join ANiC. Remember the prayer that went up during the days preceding that vote and the sense that if God didn’t show up we were utterly lost? We desperately need that sense once again because we are still utterly lost without Him!

Below is a new prayer for our synod that Archdeacon Ron Corcoran, rector of synod’s host parish Christ the King in Victoria, is inviting ANiC churches to use weekly in their Sunday worship after the collect, and to print in their bulletins so that parishioners can take it to use at home. It is also posted on ANiC’s website. May this prayer ignite a fresh wave of dependent prayer across ANiC from coast to coast, in parishes small and large, so that our synod may be a launching pad for deep renewal in our churches and revival in our land. How we desperately need both!

A New Prayer for Synod 2011 in Victoria, BC

”Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13: 8 (our synod theme text)

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, whose only Son, our Lord Jesus, never wavers or changes, but is constant and steadfast in His covenant love and mercy toward the Church, meet with us in power at our upcoming synod we pray. Give wisdom and strength to those who are seeking You for direction and strategy. Endue our bishops with the courage of the Apostles as they seek to lead Your people in the power of the same Spirit that was given at Pentecost. Protect us from making any decision that is not in keeping with Your perfect will for ANiC, and forgive us for the many times in the past year that we have ignored the promptings of the Spirit and relied on our own strength and human wisdom. May our eyes be firmly fixed on Your blessed Son, the author and finisher of our faith – who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. This we fervently ask in the name of that same Son, our Saviour and Coming King, Jesus the Christ. Amen

Garth V. Hunt

Praise God …
That we have an unchanging Saviour in Jesus who is the same, yesterday, today and forever!

That we have a loving Father who desires us to be dependent on Him for our very life itself.

That the Creator and Ruler of the universe loves us unconditionally and walks with us through the hard times – and the happy times.

For the work God is doing in our lives – cleansing, transforming, healing, restoring and equipping.

That He has deemed us worthy to suffer for the Gospel.

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 our churches, for ANiC, and for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). For His blessing on us, for how He has led, and for the future He has planned for us.

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…
The Pride that leads to slipping into a self-dependency rather than a God-dependency.

Not being able to see our circumstances from God’s perspective.

Not having grateful hearts overflowing with thanksgiving to our God.

Not encouraging and regularly praying for our church, pastors, government leaders and all those in positions of authority and influence.

Please pray…
That each one of us in ANiC would recognize our desperate need to be dependent on God for all things.

That even in times of prosperity and plenty we would not forget our Lord God.

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), Desiree Stedman (Ottawa region), 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 parishes involved in legal disputes.
For wisdom for the people and leaders of St Aidan’s Windsor as they seek God’s leading in light of the recent court decision.
For St George’s (Burlington, ON), Good Shepherd (St Catharines, ON) and St Hilda’s (Oakville, ON) in dealings with the Diocese of Niagara.
For a change of heart on the part of the leaders of dioceses pursuing ANiC parishes. May they genuinely seek to work with parishes to reach amicable, mutually beneficial settlements.

For Anglican orphans – Biblically-faithful Anglicans in Canada who feel isolated in liberal churches and dioceses – as well as for those who feel they can no longer remain in the Anglican Church of Canada. May they find Christian fellowship and spiritual nourishment.

For repentance and the recovery of a lively orthodoxy in the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC); for those who believe they are called to remain in the ACoC to pray and work for reformation and a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ and His inspired Word.

For the leaders of the Anglican Communion Alliance (formerly Anglican Essentials Federation), Anglican Essentials Network, and Anglican Essentials Canada as they 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 witness.

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)
For the other ACNA dioceses.

For Anglican1000 and those engaged in church planting in Canada and throughout ACNA.

For orthodox Primates and bishops – especially those in the Global South – who are courageously standing for Truth. Pray for spiritual and physical protection and for discernment, grace and strength as they lead in a torn Communion.

For growing support of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC). For the ARDFC’s new project in the Diocese of Kindu, Congo, focused on peace-building and restoring lives and reestablishing livelihoods devastated by years of war.

For the Covenant process and the realignment underway in the Anglican Communion. May the Lord clearly lead and may His will be done.

For the orthodox Primates in the Anglican Communion – especially the GAFCon primates – as they prepare for upcoming gatherings of orthodox global Anglicans in 2012 and 2013.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury. May he pursue God wholeheartedly and seek the wisdom and discernment he needs to fulfill his responsibilities to the glory of God.

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 those in areas suffering from famine and natural disasters – especially in East Africa.

For God’s protection of Israel as it is surrounded by those who seek its destruction.

For peace in Sudan and in South Sudan.

That God would revive us, our church and, ultimately, our nation.

For those in authority over us and 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. Pray in particular for the newly elected members of Canada’s parliament.
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 their families at home.

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