Week of Prayer

Give and Pray

It is December, time to trim the tree, decorate the house inside and out, and send Christmas cards. Not to mention shop. Shop for family, friends, co-workers, the pastor’s family, the mail carrier, Sunday School teachers, and school teachers. Then there is the entertaining, baking, Christmas parties, Christmas cantatas, and everything else that we are supposed to do in December. Wow! Are you tired yet?

All these things are so fun and make Christmas special and memorable, but they aren’t what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about the incredible Gift that was given to us all, Jesus. We need to make sure that all our activities are about Him and not just about the holiday.

One great way to help keep the season all about Jesus is to promote the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® and the Week of Prayer for International Missions. The more creative you get, the more excited people will get in their giving. Here are a few approaches that really worked for churches in New Mexico:

Missionary Spotlight Update: Brian and Becky Harrell

Former local witch doctor Adelina is still following Christ. Shortly after her conversion, she came to a meeting covered in painful boils. Becky Harrell was teaching about how following Jesus is not always easy. When Becky spotted Adelina sitting in the dirt, covered in boils, she thought she would use Adelina as an example of faithfulness in hard times. So Becky asked Adelina, rhetorically, if following Jesus was easy.

Adelina responded, “Yes. It is easy.” Becky thought she must have misunderstood the question and asked her again. Adelina had the same reply and added, “Before I followed Jesus, I used to live in fear of the spirits, but now I have peace.”

In a village where Adelina shared her testimony, an old woman gave her life to Christ. This woman’s family had hired a witch doctor to build a spirit hut for her to help her through severe sickness. When she came to Christ, she demanded that the spirit hut be torn down despite her family’s threats of not taking care of her and making her pay back the money that had been spent to build the hut.

Does Prayer Really Matter? Really?

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You close your eyes, bow your head, and before a word crosses your lips you start to wonder, “Does this prayer really matter?” I mean, since when have words spoken in private ever changed global catastrophes like the war in Syria or the refugee crisis in Europe? Is prayer even all that important?

Oh, my friend, it is so important. When we pray, we’re really doing two things at the same time. We are (1) cultivating our relationship with God and (2) refining our own hearts in the process.

We pray out of a concern for others and with the faith that the One we pray to can actually hear us and cares about us. It’s an exercise in faith, plain and simple.

By voicing our hearts to God, we also underscore how important our words are. Sometimes we find that all we need is to sit in silence, at peace in the presence of a God beyond words.

Prayer is also the first step toward action. How many examples can we find in Scripture where someone wrestled with God in prayer over something they knew they had do? Honestly, more than I’d prefer to count . . .

Counting on You

Week of Prayer for North American Missions

This week (March 6–13), Southern Baptists all over the country are joining together for the Week of Prayer for North American Missions. During this time, churches commit to pray for the work of our North American missionaries as they share the love of Jesus with others. The children you lead in missions will certainly want to participate in this special week of prayer, too! Consider involving girls and boys in one or more of the following activities.

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