Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26 ESV
Welcome to our October 2016 First Friday Call to Prayer. Our aim is to provide you with teaching that we trust will be an encouragement to you. We will also provide you with praise items and prayer requests coming from within ANiC, ACNA and the Anglican Communion.
We encourage you to set aside the first Friday, October 7th, 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.
"There is nothing that tells the truth about us as a Christian people as our prayer life"
Martyn Lloyd-Jones 1899-1981
How You and I Can Pray for ANiC Synod
What goes off in you when you read or hear the word "synod"?
If you are a long-time Anglican or Episcopalian and were part of a parish before the days of ANiC, it may raise a sense of stress, discomfort, and memories perhaps best forgotten. For orthodox Anglicans, synod frequently was a time of feeling marginalized and impotent to stem the tide of increasing liberalism and departure from the transforming Gospel of Jesus. Unfortunately, often synod had to be simply endured rather than enjoyed.
If you have recently become a member of an ANiC church but were not originally from an Anglican background, the word "synod" may not mean anything to you at all. If so, then this article is particularly for you. ANiC's synod is a joy-filled annual gathering of our bishops, clergy,elected lay delegates and observers to worship and pray together, to be instructed in God's Word, to hear the Bishop's "charge" (his state-of-the-union message), to be encouraged by the testimonies and fellowship with other delegates, and to make decisions regarding budgets, bylaws, etc. (the brief but essential "business" part). Although we are "episcopal" in structure, meaning that our diocese is bishop-led, synods are charged with significant decision-making responsibility and play an important role in our governance and direction.
So, from October 25-28, ANiC Synod 2016 will be meeting in Vancouver. Bishop Charlie Masters, our diocesan bishop, has chosen the theme "Praying for an Open Door for the Gospel (Colossians 4:2-4)". Given that over the past year we have been exhorting one another to take seriously the call to pray for revival, and for labourers to be sent into the harvest, this theme of praying for open doors to share the Gospel of Jesus could not be more pertinent. It also fits directly into the bishop's Five Priorities: Bold witnesses; Biblically grounded; Loving children; On mission; and Planting churches.
More than ever, our bishops and ANiC council are committed to the importance of prayer in the active spreading of the Gospel at the parish level. Accordingly, our number one priority is to pray that the Holy Spirit will bring revelation to all delegates and attendees such that they can return to their parishes with fresh vision and commitment to encourage corporate prayer for their specific neighbourhoods and cities.
One of the observations that is inescapable at synod every year is the extraordinarily high quality of leadership the Lord has given us both in our province and diocese. We are deeply grateful that Archbishop Foley Beach, our primate, will be in our midst for part of synod. Of special importance, he will be ministering to our ordained ministers at the Clergy Day on the Tuesday of Synod Week. This is one of the few times in the year where our clergy get to be spiritually fed and ministered to, rather than doing the ministry, and Archbishop Foley is especially gifted in caring for the clergy under his care. If you do not know this gracious man of God – and to help you pray more knowledgably about his important role in our synod – take a moment to learn about him here.
Synod delegates and attendees will also be privileged to hear Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, retired bishop of Rochester, UK, who will be our daily morning Bible teacher leading us through the book of Colossians. Our workshop day presentations will be by Canons Phil Ashey & Stephen Saul on the subject of church revitalization and renewal, and Bishop Bill Atwood will be our Thursday night banquet speaker on the current state of the Anglican Communion and GAFCON. Please pray for all of our speakers who will be coming from a great distance to be with us at synod.
Bishop Charlie will be presiding over all the events of synod and delivering his charge on the Thursday morning. As stated above, the bishop's charge is both an assessment of how we've been doing in the past year and an opportunity for him to impart vision, encouragement and chart the course for the following year. If you know our bishop at all, you will know how seriously and conscientiously Bishop Charlie takes this task and privilege. Please pray for him as he prepares his charge in the weeks that precede synod, and as he delivers it on the Thursday morning.
Our host parish in Vancouver once again is the Church of the Good Shepherd. They are one of only a handful of parishes with facilities large enough to host such an event, and we are so very grateful to Bishop Stephen Leung and his team for their incredible hospitality and service. As you no doubt can imagine, there are a myriad of details to deal with in the logistics of such an event. Please pray for the Good Shepherd team and the ANiC staff as they oversee all the organizational aspects to synod – a tough job and almost always behind the scenes. May the Lord give them great joy in service, efficiency in use of time and energy, and the power of the Holy Spirit in all that they are called to do.
In conclusion, let me just summarize and simplify these prayer requests for synod:
1. Pray that the chosen theme "Praying for an Open Door for the Gospel" will take deep root in our minds and hearts such that we can return to our parishes with fresh vision and commitment to encourage corporate prayer for revival in our specific neighbourhoods and cities.
2. Pray for Bishop Charlie Masters as he prepares and delivers his Bishop's Charge. Ask the Lord to give him great wisdom, boldness and vision as he leads the Anglican Network in Canada.
3. Pray for synod's guest speakers; Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop Bill Atwood, and Canons Phil Ashey & Stephen Saul. May the Lord grant them peace and safety in travel, and the Spirit's blessing on their various ministry presentations. Pray that we in attendance may have "ears to hear".
4. Pray for the synod team from Good Shepherd, Vancouver and our ANiC staff members that God will grant them strength, wisdom, unity and grace. Pray for the practical items like transportation to and from the hotel, the AV equipment, banquet logistics, on-time flight schedules
Canon Garth V. Hunt
A PRAYER FOR ANiC SYNOD 2016
Almighty God, you have demonstrated your favour and covenant faithfulness to your people, both in the accounts of Scripture and in the experience of the Church through the centuries. We thank you for your tender care for ANiC, ACNA and our local congregations over our brief history.
Visit us, we pray, by your Spirit, with Wisdom and Power at our upcoming Diocesan Synod being held in Vancouver. Preside as Lord and King over all that transpires. Grant discernment and unity to all delegates. Protect us from any snares of the evil one, and may all that is decided be in complete accordance with your perfect will for us. This we ask in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
A BOOK RECOMMENDATION FROM CANON GARTH
As has been my practice every summer for many years now, I like to read a new, recently written book on some aspect of prayer. This summer was no exception; in this case, a recommendation of the Gospel Coalition (a very helpful resource begun by people such as Don Carson, Tim Keller and John Piper). You can check out their website here.
The title of the book is "Praying Together" by Megan Hill. The subtitle is "The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in our Home, Communities, and Churches". The book speaks powerfully to the importance of corporate prayer in churches, and building a culture of prayer. I would highly recommend this book to our bishops, clergy, and everyone else. I will encourage any Parish Prayer Coordinators to make it a "must" read.
Here's a brief excerpt:
"When we think God will not hear us or grant our requests unless we have a requisite number of people with a requisite amount of faith – piling enough friends on our end of the seesaw or collecting enough signatures on our petition – prayer together becomes an attempt to manipulate a grudging God. Nothing could be further from the true character of the Father, who repeatedly declares Himself to be full of compassion and mercy, the Giver of all good gifts, attentive to the cry of the weak and forgotten, and eager to grant what his children ask."
Praise God …
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. Especially we praise the Lord for the continuing faithful witness by the GAFCON primates.
For our primate Archbishop Foley Beach (& Allison) - Pray for great wisdom, discernment, courage and strength as he gives leadership to ACNA in the days and months ahead.
For Bishop Charlie Masters (& Judy) – Pray for our diocesan bishop as he returns from a short sabbatical to re-engage the leadership of ANiC. May God grant him renewed courage, wisdom and vision. Pray also for physical protection and good health in the midst of his heavy travel schedule.
For Bishop Don Harvey (& Trudy) – Pray for Bishop Don in his roles as ANiC's episcopal vicar and senior chaplain to the ACNA College of Bishops.
For ANiC's suffragan bishops: Stephen Leung (& Nona) and Trevor Walters (& Dede). Pray for discernment, energy and grace as they care for their clergy and congregations. Also pray for Bishops Ron Ferris (church planting in Langley, BC) and Malcolm Harding (retired in Brandon, MB).
For our Archdeacons: the Venerables Ron Corcoran (Vancouver Island), Dan Gifford (BC), Bruce Chamberlayne (Alberta & BC Interior), 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 a major awakening, a sovereign move of God in our churches and across our nations like has not been seen in our lifetimes. Rise Up, O God we pray. Intervene, O Lord, in the midst of our decaying culture and society! Raise up an army of intercessors who will call out to you for a mighty visitation of your power and presence! Send out labourers into the harvest, O Lord!
For the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) whose current project is raising funds to help subsistence farmers in Burundi escape poverty. Also pray for peace in Burundi
For the US Election early next month. We Canadians in ANiC stand with our sister parishes in New England during this critical time. Americans will elect a president, the entire House of Representatives, one third of the Senate, and 12 state governors. Please pray for Godly wisdom, discernment and courage for voters in this most contentious of elections. Lord, have mercy!
For all ANiC clergy and families, especially those experiencing spiritual and physical attack.
For the Christian doctors in Canada as they seek God's wisdom for their response to the current legislation on assisted suicide. Pray that the voices speaking on behalf of Life rather than death will continue to be heard, voices such as the palliative care doctors. Pray that health care professional across Canada will have conscience rights to not be required to refer patients for euthanasia.
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, MPPs and premiers, and our federal MPs and Prime Minister.
For God's wisdom for world's leaders with regard to the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and European nations reeling from terrorist attacks. Pray for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are seeking safety and asylum in Europe and here in Canada.
Pray for those churches and communities that are welcoming refugees that they may be a witness to God's compassionate care, both by what they say and do.
Pray for protection of innocent civilians – adults and children – who so often are the victims in today's warfare. Pray especially for the many Middle Eastern and African Christians who are brutally persecuted for their refusal to renounce their faith in Jesus.
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