Tag Archives: prayer

A Christmas Prayer for the World’s Children

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Dec.16, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — In rural Brazil, a group of mothers met for a health class. The missionary was talking about diarrhea. If not treated, the baby loses fluids and the soft spot on the baby’s head sinks in. One mother offered: “That happened to my baby in the morning and she was dead at night.”

Is there anyone hoping to make a child happy this Christmas morning who doesn’t grieve with this mother in Brazil? But what can anyone do about a problem so overwhelming?
empty tomb, inc., thinks Christians need not get overwhelmed. Instead, they can get organized.
The first step, according to empty tomb, inc., is for readers of this press release to say a special Christmas prayer for the children around the world who are facing deathly conditions.
The prayer: May church leaders in the U.S. help millions of children around the world who will die if no one cares enough to get organized.
The answer to this prayer will probably involve at least one church leader calling one other church leader to get things moving.
Fact 1: One of the largest identity groups in the U.S. is “Christian.” Perhaps 150-220 million Americans choose that label, according to different sources.
Fact 2: Church networks and Christian nonprofits are already on the frontlines where the children are dying. No new distribution systems are needed to help the children. These groups already on the frontlines need more money to help more children.
Fact 3: Timely help can make a big difference. For example, Figure 24 of The State of Church Giving through 2011 (23rd edition, 2013) shows before and after photos, 11 days apart, of the difference frontline treatment made for a seven-month old baby (see below for link).
Fact 4: World leaders set the goal in 1990 and again in 2000 to reduce the number of deaths due to preventable poverty conditions in children under age 5. The goal target date is 2015. However, progress was behind schedule as the deadline approaches. As a result, in 2014, the story of the baby in Brazil will be repeated an estimated 2.3 million times around the world. In fact, two of the biggest killers are diarrhea and pneumonia.
Fact 5: According to estimates, an additional $5 billion a year could help close the gap between the number of children dying now and the goal number set by world leaders. $5 billion a year is a lot of money. But power results when each Christian does a little and it’s then put together.
Idea: Church leaders could ask 100 million of the Christians in the U.S. to give $50 a year more, through their own churches or Christian organizations of their choice, to help reach the goal of reducing child deaths.
Question: Who can mobilize 100 million Christians for the common purpose of helping to keep more children from dying? Christians are in many different churches, working through many different distribution systems. Yet, if more Christians could get the big picture, they could unleash power through their oneness. They could help these children in Jesus’ name by each donating $50 a year through their own distribution channels. But who will ask them to do that?
Answer: A movement to keep more children from dying could start with one church leader making a phone call to one other church leader. Church leaders write lots of books and go to many conferences. However, this movement needs to move from the idea stage to the real stage. And things happen because people talk to each other. So, to start, one church leader has to believe Jesus’ promises enough to pick up the phone and talk to one other church leader about this idea.
Who is that church leader who will make the first phone call to get the ball rolling? There are some possible candidates. God may choose someone not on the “dream team” that empty tomb named in The State of Church Giving through 2011. Still, the people on that list have already shown themselves to be national leaders of influence. They include:
Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek, South Barrington, Illinois, sponsor of the annual Global Leadership Summit, and board chair of the Willow Creek Association.
Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and also the Billy Graham Association.
Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, past president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and past chair of the board of Catholic Relief Services.
Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, former general secretary and currently serving as associate for ecumenical relations, of the Reformed Church in America, and a founding energy in Christian Churches Together.
Eileen Lindner, former Associate General Secretary for Christian Unity in the office of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. General Secretary, and NCC Deputy General Secretary and Director of Research and Planning; currently editor of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.
Samuel Rodriquez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA, having written about the “five giants” of global need.
Representatives from two other parts of the body of Christ in the U.S. would be very important in such a movement. Those two parts are:
African-American Protestants. One nationally visible leader is T.D. Jakes. Another possibility would be a representative from the Conference of National Black Churches.
The Orthodox Church. Because of its structure, it may be appropriate to contact His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, for a recommendation, if it is not clear from other ecumenical settings who would be a likely leader located in the U.S.
More background and the church member giving and membership research behind these ideas are available in The State of Church Giving through 2011. Chapter 8 of that book is available for download at www.emptytomb.org/leadershelpchildren.html, including the baby photos.

Franklin Graham Requests Prayer for His Father

Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, has released a statement requesting prayer for his father.

Here is the statement:

BG birthday

My father turned 95 this past November 7, and I am pleased to say that my family was able to be with him as he celebrated another milestone in his long and productive life.   Joined by many colleagues and friends from around the nation and the world at this celebration, he spoke briefly of these friendships and did not fail to point people to the Lord Jesus Christ. This will forever be his legacy which is, as the Bible says, a testimony to the faithfulness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Since that night a few short weeks ago, he has had another bout with a respiratory infection and was hospitalized briefly before returning home to recuperate. He is extremely weak but his vitals are good.  Our family would appreciate your prayers for him that the Lord would strengthen him. He has been so encouraged by the release of his most recent book “The Reason for My Hope—Salvation” that he immediately began work on another book about a subject that he feels that God has laid on his heart. Only the Lord knows what is in store as we move forward in service to Him.

To all who have stood with us—some for sixty years—supporting us financially and undergirding through prayer, thank you for your faithful support.  We are encouraged with how God has blessed the proclamation of the Gospel through My Hope.  This evangelistic outreach will continue for the next five years as the Lord is using it so effectively in people’s hearts. We are thankful that He is touching hearts as tens of thousands have responded to the invitation to confess their sins and receive Christ as Savior.

We value your prayers—in fact, we depend on them. We find words of comfort and praise in the psalms, “Oh, bless our God…and make the voice of His praise to be heard, who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved. Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer” (Psalm 66:8-9, 16, 20 NKJV).

Franklin Graham Signature

Franklin Graham
December 10, 2013

 

Prayer App Now Available for Android in Google Play

oraBELLINGHAM, Wash., Oct. 22, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — ORA NET LLC announces its Ora prayer app is now available for Android smartphones in the Google Play store. Android users can now join the initiative to use a disruptive technology to promote the oldest form of recognized religious expression in the Christian and Jewish faiths — prayer. The ORA system creates a personal mobile experience for the individual and an enterprise-quality community management platform for any organization to invite, connect, share, respond and interact with one another in intercessory prayer.

“ORA’s technology gives us the ability to do so much more to leverage existing social networks and mobile devices to connect individuals in the most meaningful relationship they can have with others and with God. And now that technology is available to an even larger group of smartphone users in a secure, private setting,” said Jeff Bone, Chief Marketing Officer for ORA.

The Bellingham, WA, company introduced what many have called the most revolutionary development for the faith community to be released in decades.

“We all maintain a number of social and spiritual connections within a broad community that includes our favorite people and our favorite places of worship and ministry. ORA collects, organizes, tracks, reminds, connects and securely shares prayer requests and answers with anyone you choose. Android is the largest and fastest growing segment of smartphone users in the world and we are pleased to be able to offer this to the Android community as well,” Stated Dusty Gulleson, ORA Chief Executive Officer.

“We are very excited to use the ORA app in our Life Groups. We think God will use this app to connect people through prayer in a way that hasn’t been done before,” said Jake Schwein, Pastor of Grace Chapel, Wilsonville, Oregon.

Typical social networks are inappropriate “high noise” areas that are not private enough for sensitive postings like prayer requests. ORA creates an environment where prayer is the most important thing and your privacy is mission critical. ORA employs financial-grade security to protect your privacy and keep your intimate postings secure. ORA not only makes prayer available on your smartphone, but it makes comments, reminders and prayer partners always available too and gives immediate feedback to requests, questions and comments from prayer partners and helps to track and remind the user of how prayers are answered immediately or over time. ORA helps you get a glimpse of the eternal that can be missed when we’re caught up in the stress of everyday life.

ORA is a free download for iPhone, AppStore.com/ora, and now for Android at: ora.net/android.html. The ORA smartphone app integrates into the ORA Community system. The ORA Community system is a software as a service (SaaS) solution designed with many more management features that allows an organization to administer community-wide prayer communication and easily integrate with existing email, church management or relationship management software from leading providers. Visit the ORA website for more information: ora.net.

Equality for Everyone? Not quite!

 

Ever read or hear about the book “Men Are From Mars, Woman Are From Venus”? I haven’t actually read it, but I have heard from enough people to have a basic grasp of the premise. It basically lays out the differences between the sexes and how they complement each other. The book explains how to work from within those differences to live a great life together. It talks about the differences in the way each feel value. Men need to feel respected in order to accept the love from his wife and women need to know they are loved to give themselves totally into the relationship. Equal needs expressed in different ways coming together to make for a great relationship.

Pretty simple, equality. So let’s add some sand to this well-oiled machine. The book was written 21 years ago. How times have changed. In order for real equality to be served, we need an updated, “Men Are From Mars and Other Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and, Well, Other Woman Are From Venus”.

The original booked was hailed as a great work that helped millions of couples, but according to today’s “equalists” the book is useless. The premise of the book is how to get the opposite sexes to relate to one another the way nature intended. How not to see the differences as impediments but as catalysts to make the relationship more solid and how you have to have the differences for the relationship to flourish. How does this work in a same sex relationship? The original book falls apart and becomes useless. Is nature confused? Are we confused? I say we are!

Recently, a man was charged with murder for giving his girlfriend a drug that caused her to have an abortion. She didn’t want to have one and told him she would raise the child alone, he didn’t need to be involved financially or physically. He didn’t want a child, nor did he want her to have it. If the tables were turned and she didn’t want it but he did and she had the abortion against his will, no murder charges would have been filed there.
Just to summarize, it’s a life if he objects to it and chooses to abort, but it’s a blob of cells if she objects and chooses to abort. Equality? And the, “it’s her body” argument doesn’t hold up because it’s the baby’s body to! You can’t have it both ways.

Recently, a young man was told he could not pray at the end of the commencement ceremony because one parent complained citing that they were at a public ceremony paid for by tax dollars. He agreed not to pray. However, a few sentences into the speech he started to recite the Lord’s Prayer and, to the surprise of that one parent, an overwhelming majority of the students joined in and recited with him!
The prayer ended to thunderous applause and 99% percent were quite happy. When the voice of one person outweighs the desire of the community as a whole is that Equality? I think not.

A New Hampshire high school graduate and recent boot camp graduate was barred from wearing his Marine Corps uniform in lieu of the traditional cap and gown. The young man had worked hard to make sure he had his credits done in time to leave early to go to boot camp, pass boot camp and get back for graduation. The school board, in my opinion, made a terrible mistake not allowing him to do so. No reward for his hard work. However, if he was a transvestite, would they have allowed him to dress as a woman, wear the female gown, wig, high heels, and so on? I have seen some graduations where the rainbow colors were worn as a scarf or the gown itself. And this is Equality? How?

Finally, based on a report by Britain’s Department for Education and Skills some schools are no longer teaching about the Holocaust in history lessons so as not to offend Muslim students. The report, titled “Teaching Emotive and Controversial History”, also notes that teachers don’t lessons covering The Crusades because it contradicts what is taught in local mosques.

Truth is truth. Why are they altering history? History is not always comfortable. In fact, it’s often ugly.
But it’s also important not to forget it.

The Muslims (like the Christians) went around in The Crusades and massacred people who would not convert. It’s true! It really happened. Millions of Jews were killed in the Holocaust. It’s true, and the fact that you’re offended doesn’t make it any less true. In this case, they don’t want to offend Muslims, but accommodating Muslims, they offend the Jews. Equality? I think not.

It seems that equality is what some people (usually those on the political left) deem it to be
and everyone else can, well, go pound sand!

And so I say, equality for everyone, not quite!

A Time To Mourn – Even During Christmas

All Christmas’ are joyous.
Gods gift to man, celebrated.

Not just a baby in a manger…
But Good Will.

A hand of good will from a Good God, extended toward needy man in the most sacrificial expression this earth will ever know.

Love made tangible.
A quiet miracle birthed in an obscure place, yet celebrated even so, with angelic fanfare to humble shepherds.

Christmas.
It’s Christmastime.

But this year…our nation suffered a devastating blow.
We were not punched in our gut. We were not kicked in our sides.

We were raped savagely of our joy.
Our young ones – our innocent babies – were brutally, cruelly, yanked out of our grasps.

We were powerless to stop the insane mind that attacked them and he ripped into their little sweet bodies with bullets that were crafted with intent to stop evil men, not tear down young ones on the threshold of life.

This year, we will again celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th.
Evil does not stop Good.

But our brothers and sisters of Sandy Hook mourn.
Gifts under trees will remain unopened, just as the eyes that would have sparkled with delight will also remain unopened.

Beds are not slept in.
Breakfast dishes are not left in the sink.
Shoes remain on the floor; there are no little toes to fill them.

Closets full of Christmas splendor that were meant to adorn little spindly frames will now retain their contents.

And mothers and fathers will wake to hearts of stone; no appetite, eyes clouded with pain, and arms aching with emptiness.

No voices at five a.m. to wake them up too early.
No one bounding upon the bed, or down the stairs.
No laughter.

No laughter because there are …
No children.

Celebrations continue all over our nation. Music plays through unseen speakers over our heads while Santas in the mall pose for one more snapshot.
But not for everyone.

A shadow hangs over our land.
This wound is deep.
We bleed still.
Christmas Day will come, and you will be tempted to put the thoughts of their suffering out of your mind so that you can enjoy what is before you.
That is human nature.

I adjure you most urgently: Ignore it.
Ignore that urge and walk to a quiet place, lifting those parents up in prayer as if you were praying for your own shattered heart.

It’s okay to cry on Christmas.
It’s okay to feel sad sometimes.

There is time to mourn.
Do not let them mourn alone.

They need your prayers.
Our prayers.

This Christmas as you celebrate, you will feel a small shadow pass between the brilliant sunlight of your own joy and its source.

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It is the grief of your brothers and sisters of Sandy Hook.
It wafts through the atmosphere of our nation.

When you become aware of it, acknowledge it, and then acknowledge them – in prayer.

Take them to the One who has vowed that He will not leave our souls desolate.
Implore Him to help them recover, and then leave them in his care.

To see one who suffers, and feel sad, is not enough.
Do what you know you can do.
In this way, we love one another.
We are one nation under God.
Their suffering is our own.

Do not be afraid to feel sad on Christmas; rather, channel those emotions into something that will help them heal.

Remember with them…
Stand with them in spirit…
Mourn with them…

It is difficult.
It is painful.
It costs.
It is True Love.
And it is crucial for our nation’s healthy recovery.

Merry Christmas.

Leah

For tangible demonstrations of support:
If you wish to make a donation by check, please send to:

‘My Sandy Hook Family Fund’
c/o Wells Fargo Bank
26 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470

Devon Walker Injured: A Scary Time With An Inspirational Response

Today a very serious and possibly tragic event was witnessed by a stadium full of football fans and countless viewers on television.  Tulane University was playing Tulsa University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  With two seconds left in the first half a seemingly minor head-to-head collision of two Tulane players left Devon Walker unconscious and non-responsive on the field (http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8352006/tulane-safety-devon-walker-hospitalized-suffered-broken-neck-collapsed-lung-hit ).  Medical people rushed to the site to begin administering aid, including CPR and a tracheotomy, to the stricken player.  An ambulance came onto the field, and after several tense minutes of work on Walker, he was loaded into the ambulance and taken to nearby St. Francis Hospital.  The latest report I have is that Walker suffered a broken neck and a collapsed lung.  http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/20107767/tulane-safety-devon-walker-leaves-field-in-ambulance

What made this event extraordinary was the reaction of the members of the Tulsa team and their fans.  Players, coaches, cheerleaders, fans, and anyone else there immediately knelt on the field and sidelines in prayer.  Soon Tulsa University chaplain Jeff Francis was standing on the center logo of the field with a microphone, leading the entire stadium in prayer for the injured player. (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/campusrivalry/post/2012/09/tulane-player-given-cpr/1?csp=34sports&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsatodaycomSports-TopStories+%28Sports+-+Top+Stories%29)

At a time in our nation when any reference to God is taboo, the Democrat Party just had a huge fight over putting a reference to God back in their party platform; and the ACLU and atheist groups pound anyone who dares to speak about God in public it is refreshing to see this public display of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Faith in God is what established our nation and faith in God is what has brought us through wars, economic downturns, and tough times.  To see political correctness thrown out the window to offer public prayers for an injured player is an awesome sight and an inspiration.  My wife was just telling me that Devon Walker is described as a young man of strong faith and character, a walk-on who worked to pay his way to a private college and only began playing football last year.

The same faith this stadium full of people showed today is what sustains us and our nation.  I don’t know what Devon Walker’s future will be like after this injury but I am confident, considering what I have heard of his faith and his character, he will make the most of what he faces in coming days, weeks, months, and years. 

This incident, as tragic as it is, illustrates the true character of Americans.  No one stopped to ask if it was okay to pray in public; they just did it because that is what We the People believe in.  People immediately and unashamedly lifted this young man’s care to God.  There is no better response that can be made than to lift an injury such as this to God immediately.  My best wishes and prayers go out to Devon Walker and his family.  My respect and admiration go out to schools and to their coaches, players, and fans.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

September 8, 2012