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Day 04

Day 4: There are no coincidences

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So I made my list of 30 names, ready to pray. I was curious to see who I’d end up praying for on Day 4, and I had no pretenses about ordering or gaming the list to get a specific person (my wife used Random.org, which I wish I’d thought of).

No matter, my system worked exactly as it needed to. I got to pray for my brother Bob (not a pseudonym), who shared a couple immediate and timely prayer requests. I was glad to pray for those and am excited to hear about how things went last night and will go this morning.

He and I also talked about doing a devotion for our recreation ministry. He shares about doing devotions quite a bit, but struggles to have people come to do it. I felt God telling me to step up in this area and Bob is going to have me be a part of this ministry.

Day 4 reminded me that we thrive when we are praying for and with our brothers and sisters. I don’t like that it took a 30 day challenge for me to ask to pray for Bob. I’m sorry, Bob. I do like that I’m recognizing the power of being in prayer for each other.

Now it’s time to see who’s next…

Pray for the people you know

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As God continues to move among the refugee community we have become a part of, I have noticed many cultural hang-ups that we have in the U.S. One of them that I now notice is how “guys” interact here. A wave of the hand, a quick nod, these are what we can expect with friends. Even our most intimate male relationships are regulated to a meaningful hand shake or an awkward hug lasting only long enough for three quick back slaps. For me, the “bro-hug” has been the pinnacle symbol of a close relationship with guys for as long as I can remember. My new middle eastern friends do not understand this. A shout of joy when I am seen, two hands on my face, a strong lasting embrace, and even a kiss on the cheek have blown away expectations and forced me to leave my discomfort (and shoes) at the door. I also noticed how quickly I revert to my cultural normal when I leave. So when I called a friend and told him I was praying for him today, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my surprise, it was less weird than I thought it would be. In fact, I would call it welcomed; maybe even needed. We talked a bit, I got to tell him about the challenge and how it was going so far. We talked about what we were struggling with and what we were celebrating. We talked about things that would normally have taken a day out on the boat fishing or at least a fantastic sermon to bring up. We prayed for each other. After I hung up the phone I had to wonder, would this be what it’s like every day? What could happen if I knew my Christian friends this way and we shared our burdens and joys every day?

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 4

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I made my list of 30 and the person on my calendar for today is my friend Carrie. It’s interesting to me because Carrie is the one who began to get me thinking about discipleship 6 months ago. She was the one who challenged me with the questions, “Are you being poured into by someone?” and “Are you pouring into someone else?” Currently, Carrie is in Mississippi being a church camp counselor for the summer. So with her crazy schedule I thought I’d have a better chance of getting a hold of her through text.

I’ve haven’t heard back from her, but when I do I’ll text her my prayer for her. I’ve never had a prayer calendar before, but I really like the idea of having one and praying for my friends who are believers.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

James 5:16

 

Day Four – Praying for Others

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Why do we find it hard to pray for others? Is it that deep-down we’re selfish? If we truly wish to fulfill the Great Commandments: love God and love people; then, won’t we want to lift others up in prayer? In fact, I have a suspision that as we pray to a Heavenly Father we are drawing nearer to a God who is Love. As we draw nearer to the Father, our proximity in prayer for people will also be reduced — thereby, making it as natural as breathing or praying for ourselves. Powered by prayer, the Kingdom cannot be stopped!

Day 4: Bless a Friend Each Day

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When I got this assignment I thought to myself “How am I going to think of 30 people to pray for?”  When I made my list I ended up with close to 60!  So I had to narrow.  I didn’t want to narrow, but knew I needed to.  I started with the guys in my discipleship group, I then chose those who had impacted my life and were impacting others, I then went through family members, people at work, and other close friends of mine.  I started making my list a week back when I was checking the 30 day challenge to see if it would work with my discipleship group.  I numbered everybody 1 to 30 and began to see who was on the day I chose.  So I emailed a prayer to my friend that day.  I thought it would be easiest and most “efficient” to pray this way.  The next day my Dad was on my list.  Just after lunch he walked right into my office and I totally chickened out.  A couple of days later we had discipleship group and I shared my experience with the group about not praying for my dad.  One of my good friends Chris piped up and said “I challenge you to pray for your dad tomorrow.”  The next day came and it was 8pm at night and knew I had to take this challenge on.  I called my dad and asked him how I could pray for him.  He was very thankful and gave me his few requests.  I got to pray with him and just thanked God for how I have seen God work in his life and how well he has loved and served people.  I thanked him for modeling what it looks like to share the blessings God gives.  I almost started crying many times praying how he modeled what a Godly man should be.  When I got done he thanked me.  Then it hit me, I had never prayed for my dad before!  Not in my 34 years of life!  How crazy is that.

 

It truly blessed my dad but it blessed me even more!  

 

We as a discipleship group of 9 guys decided to go through this together.  So today is the first day of the challenge this time and I have been mulling around in my head how I was going to do this.  Texting would be easiest but I feel like we should be praying out loud for each other more.  So I am going to call whoever is on my list on that day and ask them “how can I pray for you?” and then pray for them immediately.  Let’s stop telling people we are going to pray for them!  Let’s pray for them on the spot.  Outloud!  I have been doing this lately with my two boys who are in 6th and 7th grade as I bring them to school as well.  The other morning I prayed they would be filled with the spirit and you know what…it worked.  I want to make this a habit with all kinds of people.  Today I used voxer to ask a good friend of mine who is training people to go to unreached people groups what to pray for.  He responded back a few hours later and I prayed for him. Voxer is the way we communicate because we are both busy and we are rarely available at the same time.  It has worked great for us!  My list of 30 is done now and am going to put each person in my google calendar and have it repeat every 30 days so it becomes automatic.  By the way I am still having a hard time whittling my list of 60 to 30 so I am going to keep a spreadsheet of the other 30 so I can pray for them as well.

Discipleship When Life Is Busy: Day 4

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Day 4: Make a List of 30 People for Whom You’ll Pray.  I chose today to complete this challenge over my lunch break at work.  It was relatively easy for me to come up with 30 Christian friends to pray for: family, small group, girls from work, girls from my high school life group.  I just started with one category and went on to the next when it was exhausted.  I really like this idea of systematic prayer for people in my church.  The second part of the challenge, of course, is to contact the person for today.  Today is April 12 and when I looked at number 12, who would have guessed it was the name of the person that I recruited for the challenge on Day 2! I promise, this wasn’t planned in the least! Apparently, God has some big things in store for her 🙂

So, I contacted Kelly and asked what I could be praying about specifically for her today.  Once she replied, I texted her back an actual prayer so that she could read the exact words that I was lifting up on her behalf.  I think this part is really important.  So often we say “I’ll pray for you” and then quickly forget to do so.  If we pray with someone right then and there, we don’t forget, plus that person is able to feel encouraged by the words that you are praying to the Father for them.  We see this in scripture, particularly in Paul’s letters.  For example, read the words he says to the Ephesians:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3: 14-21

Simple Church

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So “What is a Church?” That’s the question Curtis Sergeant tries to answer in the following video. And on Day #4 in the 30-Day Challenge, we ask that you “Make a List” of 30 people for whom you’ll pray. In reality, we’re beginning to help you think of all the people in your sphere. These are some of your closest associates — and likely, some of the folks with whom you’d like to be closer.

In New Testament times, your sphere of influence might meet in your home for a “house church” or “simple church.” In reality, this might be the most easily reproduced church of all. That’s Curtis’ point: we could multiply these “simple churches,” if we could just focus on them for a while. : )