My husband and I with our 14-month-old son drove about 800 miles so that I could attend a conference in my medical specialty. I had prayerfully reserved an economical hotel room well in advance at our favorite hotel chain. I had also asked for a room on street level because of a wrist fracture I had experienced.

As we drove to the conference, I talked on the phone with my long-time friend Ruth, who planned to join us at our destination for a day or two. I was hoping her family would have a room near ours…

We are moving “United in Prayer” to the Revival and Reformation website. Click here to read the rest of the story.  All further posts will be at the newt address.

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Helen Johnston abruptly realized as she walked down a street in Battle Creek, in the U.S. state of Michigan, that she had not prayed. So the student literature evangelist paused to seek God’s guidance. It was summer 2015, and she was raising money for school.

As Helen headed to the next door, she heard a voice say, “A man will open the door, and he needs ‘The Great Controversy.’”

Moments later, the house door opened. A man stood there.

Helen, following the practice of seeking to make friends first, offered a health book. Then she pulled out a copy of Ellen G. White’s “The Great Controversy.”

The man was intrigued by the book. He wanted his own copy, but he couldn’t afford it.

Helen felt certain that God wanted him to have the book, so she offered it for free. The man shook his head. Helen asked whether he had any spare change lying around the house. The man came back with a handful of coins, but it was still not enough. He gave Helen the money but still refused to take the book.

Disappointed, Helen turned to leave. She took a few steps and tripped. The coins scattered on the ground.

Helen quickly asked the man to hold the book. After collecting the coins, she began to walk away.

The man called out after her. “Your book,” he said. “You forgot your book.”

Helen looked back and smiled. “It’s yours to keep,” she said.

He returned her smile. “You win,” he said.

An hour later, Helen found herself going door to door in a more affluent neighborhood. As she introduced herself and was about to say her name, the woman at the door interrupted her. “It’s Helen, right?” she said.

Helen was startled. She had never seen the woman before.

“I am a Seventh-day Adventist,” the woman said. “This morning as I was reading my Bible I was impressed by God that Helen would come to my door. I was also impressed that I needed to write a check for $20 because Helen would meet a man who needs ‘The Great Controversy’ but would not have the money to buy it.”

The woman pulled out a signed check made out to the sum of $20. She only needed to add the name of the recipient. “Who do I make this check out to?” she said.

Kamil Metz is international coordinator for the GLOW tracts ministry. This testimony was originally published online at Adventist Mission. Click here to view the original article. To read many more inspiring testimonies, visit: www.adventistmission.org

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Leaving the airport parking lot, I was about to pay the parking fee when the man behind the gate’s window look at me and asked, “Are you from India?”

I said no. Then he looked at me again and said, “But you look like one.” I thought it was a very nice compliment due to my love for India. India is one of the places you will never forget—the colors, the food, the beautiful dresses, the jasmine flowers on the streets, the smell of curry and chapatti, the languages, the music and the amazing architecture.

As I talked to the man behind the window, all these images and senses came to mind. I thanked him for the compliment, saying that part of me is in India. He smiled and offered to share his last chapatti with me.

As I drove home that day, his words stayed in my mind: “You look like one.” Every day, many times a day, we look like something to someone. Every day we make an impression. The word impression means to stamp or form, or figure by impressing…imprint… So the question today is what impression are we leaving on the hearts and minds of those we come in contact with.

The Bible says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). They recognized them as followers of Jesus. They saw Jesus in them.

There are many—in cities, in small towns, on your street, in your place of work—looking for someone who has been with Jesus. Have you been with Jesus? Do you “look like one” who knows Him? How can you “look like one”? Here are three ways we can look more like Him: by loving to spend time with Him, by copying Him in everything we say and do, and by relying upon Him. In this way we will be transformed into His likeness.

Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection, of His character. Christ in His self-denial, Christ in His humiliation, Christ in His purity and holiness, Christ in His matchless love–this is the subject for the soul’s contemplation. It is by loving Him, copying Him, depending wholly upon Him, that you are to be transformed into His likeness. {AG 293.4}

My prayer is to be like Jesus. This must be our ultimate goal. I do not know whether I will have an encounter today, a moment when someone will look at me and say that I “look like one” —Indian, Brazilian, Turkish. I don’t know. But one thing I do know, I want to walk with Jesus so that when people look at me they will recognize that I “look like one,” act like one, speak like one who has been with Him.

Raquel Arrais is associate director of Women’s Ministries for the General Conference.

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Like most Adventist schools, we’ve always had prayer meeting at Zaoksky. However, God knew something was missing from our weekly meeting and that we needed a spiritual revival on our campus. So last fall God sent Pastor Don McLafferty, from Clovis California, to lead us in a special week of prayer. Not only did Pastor Don share many inspiring messages about prayer, but every day he lead a early morning prayer time, which many of our staff, faculty and students attended.

As a result of this beautiful morning prayer meeting, the Holy Spirit was poured out in rich measure and many of us experienced a personal revival in our relationship with Jesus, as well as a desire to witness more, and go deeper in our walk with God.

When the time came for Pastor Don to leave Zaoksky, the Lord convicted us of the need to continue the prayer gatherings every morning at 6 a.m. Opening the church in the early mornings for the members to come and pray has been such a blessing. Already more than three months have passed, and these prayer meetings have continued daily.

In the past, it was rare to see church members gathering together to pray in the morning. Now our church members and students tell us that they could not get by a day without this morning prayer time for it is like fresh water for the thirsty soul. Because of these morning prayers, we’ve already seen God working in many ways.

One member of our church at Zaoksky is a sister by the name of Praskovia.  Praskovia has a very generous heart and has helped many people from orphans to the elderly who are disabled.

Not long ago, she reached out with love to an older woman who was wheel-chair bound. This woman was also struggling financially. Sensing the needs in the family, Praskovia told the older wheel-chair bound woman that she would be praying for her every morning with our church family. Not long after Praskovia started praying, the woman in the wheel-chair came to the prayer meeting and asked us to pray for a friend who was having a birthday. We decided not only to pray, but to take music and go sing and meet her friend. As it turned out, her friend was an Orthodox Christian, and she and her family happily welcomed us into their home. During our visit, we shared with them about the beauty of a personal relationship with Jesus. They listened intently. After each testimony, we sang a song and praised the Lord together.

Finally, as we were preparing to leave, the Orthodox family stopped us at the door. “Wait, we want to share something with you,” they said as they pressed $150 into the hands of our friend in the wheel-chair. “We believe you serve a great God,” they said. ”We want to share our blessings because you have blessed us so much today.”

The Bible says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

Not only was the sweet woman in the wheel chair blessed financially in her time of great need, but her faith was strengthened knowing that God had used her to bless others.

Boris G. Protasevich, President of Zaoksky Theological Seminary, Russia.

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DSC_0680This February many church members, along with myself and others from the General Conference, had the privilege of taking part in the Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative that is occuring across Europe this year. My assignment was the Cuza Voda Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bucharest, Romania. Here I saw first hand the power of a praying church.

The Cuza Voda Seventh-day Adventist church has been around for nearly twenty years. However, about two years ago, members recognized that God’s blessing was desperately needed if the church was going to grow. Not only was Cuza Voda one of the smaller churches in Bucharest at the time, but the members who did come were mostly elderly, with not many young people in attendance.

Eager to see God work, a group of about fifteen individuals began meeting every morning at 5 a.m. to pray for their own spiritual growth, for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon the Cuza Voda church, and for all the seats in the church to become filled. Within two months of starting these early morning prayer meetings, they had the first baptism they’d had for awhile. It was for ten individuals, all young adults in their early twenties, who made the decision to follow Christ.

The group continued praying each morning for nearly a year, and God continued to bless. Now, a year and a half later, the church is bursting at the seams with attendance of 200+ each weekend. In fact, on Sabbath the church is often so packed that if you come late, you might just be standing in the back. Every seat is taken. And who makes up the majority of the congregation now? It is young adults—students and young professionals that are passionate about serving Christ. I praise the Lord that even more made the decision to be baptized during our February meetings.

However, this church is not the only church who has been praying. I could share about the Floresti church, on the outskirts of Bucharest, which saw 55 people come forward in the call to baptism, given by Elder Ted N.C. Wilson during our time there. This was an answer to prayer!

I could also share about the special miracle that happened with Gina Wahlen, another General Conference teammate, was speaking at the Bucharest Adventist Theological Institute, a high school of about 400 students in Bucharest. Initially students didn’t seem that receptive, and our team members prayed earnestly together with Gina that God would work mightily. And work He did. At the end of Gina’s series, 41 teens responded to her call to baptism.

While numbers have not been released yet, estimates indicate that thousands of people will be baptized all over Romania from the many different evangelism meetings that have taken place.

It was exciting to be part of this Total Member Involvement initiative, but I have to say that the biggest blessing for me has been seeing how God is working all over Romania in answer to many fervent prayers that have been prayed…not just this month, but for years. It’s because many people have already taken the call to Total Member Involvement seriously that we are now seeing a revival taking place across Romania. Truly God hears the prayers of His church!

Melody Mason is coordinator of United Prayer for the World Church. To read a more full report on God’s blessing in Romania, click here: https://www.adventistmission.org/inspired-by-romania-church-leaders-to-take-tmi-evangelism-across-europe

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Green, Yellow and Red Traffic Light in the London city..My pastor friend, Virgil Covel, always prays for divine providences as he seeks to be a witness for the Lord. Sometimes God answers in very unique and unexpected ways.

A few weeks ago, he was headed to the office one morning when he was broadsided by a truck. The crash totaled his car. Then the truck drove off. Victim of a hit-and-run collision, and now sitting in a car that wouldn’t run, Virgil wondered what to do next. As he was gathering his thoughts he was surprised to look up and see the same truck come back and then pull up behind him.

Surprisingly, the young driver came over and apologized to Victor, then added, “I’m really in trouble; I’ll never be forgiven for this.”

“Is it your dad?” Virgil queried.

“No, I mean God. I wrecked a man’s car, I could have killed him, and I don’t even have a driver’s license.”

After pushing the car to a safe place the two headed for town in the man’s truck. Virgil sensed that he was talking to a young man who had some empty spiritual spaces in his life so he suggested they stop and have breakfast. Before the morning was over Virgil led the young driver to the cross where he found forgiveness. Later, when they got the paper work taken care of the young driver dropped Virgil off at his office. As he turned to leave, he put out his hand and said, “I hope you don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say, but I’m glad I hit you today.”

“Me, too,” Virgil replied. Truly God does have a story shop of divine providences. And as the Bible tells us, “What the enemy means for evil, God can turn to good” (paraphrase of Gen. 50:20).

By Don Jacobsen, prayer ministries with North American Division

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IMG_1504My service as a church officer in a South American field went well until I fell to the temptation of pornography. The problem had started during my youth, but God had helped me overcome for some time. But then the problem started again, especially during work trips, when staying alone at night in hotel rooms. It was very awkward to fall asleep during the sessions of the division executive committee the next day knowing that I had stayed up late the previous night watching pornography on the TV or computer. I felt horrible knowing I was living in hypocrisy, and I desperately wanted deliverance.

Day after day, I cried to God for victory. And yet, I kept falling. I shared my struggle with my wife. For some months the victory would be won, but then I would fall again. Knowing I was trapped by the same addiction that many around the world face (51 percent of Christians admit pornography is a temptation, and 37 percent say it’s a current struggle) made me very discouraged. Here I was encouraging other pastors and church leaders to live holy lives, but I was unable to live this life myself.

As my family and I moved to another continent to work as missionaries, I prayed more earnestly for God to act powerfully in my life. With no work trips, the temptations were reduced to times after disagreements with my wife. Then with no TV and a heavy Internet control on computers, temptations were reduced to the cell phone, but still falling short of full victory and freedom. While I was trying earnestly, my heart was not yet fully yielded to the power of God, that is, until one evening, during a Wednesday night prayer meeting.

During this particular week, I heard two individuals talking about the devastating consequences of pornography. Then they began sharing ways to help one overcome sexual addiction, followed by a call for those in the audience to commit themselves to sexual purity and self-discipline, by signing a promise to do all in our power to keep ourselves morally and sexually pure. As I signed, I poured my heart out to God and asked Him, once and for all, to help me resist all pornography temptations. As I prayed I felt that God was touching my shoulder and telling me: “I will help you.” And help me, He did!

Almost five years have passed and I praise the Lord that I have not fallen a single time. Truly God is faithful to keep His promises when we cry to Him for help!

If you are among the 4 out of 10 Christians who view pornography daily, don’t give up, because Jesus has not given up on you. Pray earnestly and He will deliver you.

Santiago Dominguez is a missionary who is writing under a pseudonym.

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lightstock_114182_small_bhpIt was 6:30 a.m., and already I felt exhausted. It had been long week, a long month, even a long year. With all three of my adult children making choices that concerned me, I had spent many hours in prayer, trying to give my worry, which seemed looming around every corner, over to God. And now one of my children had just done that “one more thing.” It felt like too much to bear. As I drove to work, tears streamed down my cheeks.

“I just can’t do it, God!  It’s too much!  I really need a hug. If you were like a mom, you’d give me a hug!” I cried.

My mother had passed away several years earlier, but I still missed her everyday, especially her hugs. Driving on to work, and still fighting feelings of anger, resentment, fear, and stress, I tried desperately to think faith and hope. Still, I kept wishing I could have a great big hug from someone who really cared.

About 30 minutes after arriving at work, I got a call from my husband. I was immediately concerned because we generally did not call each other during the workday. I answered the phone right away with worry in my voice.

“Hey, honey!” came his cheerful voice. “I just wanted you to know I’m praying for you. I know things are super stressful right now and I wanted you to know that I love you. In fact, I wish I could just reach through the phone right now and give you a great big hug!”

The tears started to flow as I heard those words. Surely, God had been listening to me that morning.

A little while later, as I was going about my business, one of my coworkers started asking how I was doing. I shared that things were a bit stressful with my children right then, but mostly I was fine. However, she immediately proceeded to give me a huge hug. It was so unexpected, and unusual for my colleagues. Yet, not an hour or so later, it happened again with another coworker.  At last I turned to God, embarrassed that I had doubted His love.

“Lord, forgive me. I know You heard me, I know You care. You are like a mother, and a father, and everything and anything else I will ever need You to be. Thank You for showing me today in such a tangible and real way that You do love me. Thank You that You’re listening to my every word and will supply my every need. Thank you for hearing my prayer for a hug! I love you!”

Shelly Thomas lives in northwest Arkansas, where she works as an electric coordinator for Walmart’s home office. Thanks to Elizabeth Fresse for transcribing this testimony.

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DSC_3417Our Hope Channel administrative team was facing a major challenge. We had just received word that the service contract for our master control system would be $180,000 for 2017, $200,000 for 2018, and $220,000 for 2019. This seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.

Like Nehemiah, when he received troubling news from his homeland (Neh. 1:4), we devoted ourselves to earnest prayer: “We don’t know what to do Lord, but our eyes are upon You, Lord,” we prayed.

One important lesson I’m learning about prayer is this: When we pray in Jesus’ name, standing under His authority and surrendered to His will, miracles happen. But those miraculous answers to prayer may not occur in the way we expect.

Today my heart is filled with praise and thanksgiving to God, not just because someone sent us a check for $500,000 to pay for our service contract for the next three years, but also because God did something even more remarkable.

Thanks to the diligent work of our General Conference chief information officer, Nancy Lamoreaux, and our General Conference chief information security officer, Mabio Coelho, along with strong support from the General Conference administration, and in conjunction with our colleagues at Adventist World Radio UK, we are negotiating a global contract for the entire Seventh-day Adventist Church that will save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year!

We will not only save money, but this new agreement will add many technological upgrades like multi-language closed-captioning capabilities and enhanced security.

Not only will Hope Channel and all of our global affiliates be blessed, but our entire church family will be blessed as well!

The apostle Paul was right. When we sacrifice for the cause of Christ, when we step out in faith to do all things through Christ who strengthens us, our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

Derek Morris, president of Hope Channel

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lightstock_140581_small_bhpThe 10 Days of Prayer this year, for Templeton Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Templeton California, was an incredible blessing. Not only did members participate and grow closer during our daily prayer times, but almost every night, friends from other denominations joined our prayer fellowship. The Holy Spirit was at work. However, amidst the blessings, there was a sad note as one of our members, Zedina, was forced to spend the majority of these 10 Days of Prayer in the hospital.

Not long after she was admitted, some of our church members, as well as my wife and I, went in to the hospital to see her and pray for her. While there seemed to be no immediate answer to our prayers at that time, as a result of that visit and prayer with Zedina, we got to meet and pray with other patients that were there. One of those ladies, Josie, was her roommate. As a result of seeing Zedina’s faith and the love of her church family, Josie actually came to one night of 10 Days of Prayer and then to church the following Sabbath.

However, Zedina’s case seemed to be worsening. A few days later, upon Zedina’s request, we returned to the hospital to do an anointing. It was Wednesday evening and she was in a lot of pain.

As we came into Zedina’s room that evening, she shared how she’d been convicted during her hospital stay that she needed to surrender all to God and really put everything before Him. While the pain was not gone, relief flooded her soul.

Surrounding Zedina, we opened our Bible’s to James 5 then we knelt and began to earnestly pray. As we prayed, Zedina began to feel something happening inside her body. By the time we finished our time of prayer, she sat up, got out of bed and told us, “I will be right back.”

Within a few minutes we knew a miracle had happen. She had been in the hospital for 10 days. The doctors had been doing everything that they knew to do, but nothing was working. They were preparing to do surgery. However, instead of going to surgery, she was able to go home the next day.

Sometimes God heals our physical maladies immediately, but other times it may take time, or, if He wills, that healing may not happen until the second coming. But one thing we know, there is one prayer that He will always answer—and that’s the prayer for deliverance from sin.

In Desire of Ages we are told, “In some instances of healing, Jesus did not at once grant the blessing sought. But in the case of leprosy, no sooner was the appeal made than it was granted. When we pray for earthly blessings, the answer to our prayer may be delayed, or God may give us something other than we ask, but not so when we ask for deliverance from sin.” (p. 266).

Zedina may continue to experience trials, even challenges with her health, until Jesus’ returns but there can be no doubt that the greatest miracle which happened as a result of our prayers was her deliverance from sin as she surrendered her all to Jesus.

Zac Page, pastor of the Templeton Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church, Templeton, California.

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The mother paused from gathering firewood in a forest in southern India when she saw an anthill.

She poured some milk on the anthill, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and began murmuring something. As she spoke, a king cobra slithered out of the anthill and headed directly for her.

The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, with a length up to 19 feet, or 6 meters.

Hissing, the snake climbed her left leg and buried its fangs into her skin.

Only then did the astonished woman cry out for help.

“Mother never expected that,” her daughter, Lakshmi, told me. “To her, the snake was her god. She screamed for help.”

No one heard her except Lakshmi, who remembered that teachers at her Seventh-day Adventist boarding school often prayed to Jesus for help.

“Mommy, you don’t worry,” she said. “Just say, ‘Jesus save me.’”

With the snake still clinging to her leg, the scared mother repeated over and over: “Jesus save me. Jesus save me. Jesus save me.”

The snake slowly slid down her leg and disappeared back in the anthill.

Relieved, the mother tore a strip of cloth off her sari, the traditional dress worn by Indian women, and tied a tourniquet on her leg in an attempt to prevent the venom from spreading. Then the mother and daughter hurried home.

“When we reached home, she asked many questions about God,” Lakshmi said.

Lakshmi spoke about the God who created the universe.

“I told her, ‘It is nice to worship our God, the Creator, and not created things,’” she said.

The girl also shared all the things she had heard about Jesus during morning and evening devotions and Sabbath School at James Memorial Higher Secondary School.

The mother never suffered any ill effects from the snakebite. It was a real miracle.

“Mother soon shed her unhappy life as a widow and started to rely on God fully,” said Lakshmi, now 18 and in the 12th grade. “Every Sabbath, she now gathers other villagers together to attend her Adventist church.”

Andrew McChesney is editor of Mission Quarterly at Adventist Mission (adventistmission.org).

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Cape HatterasI prayed for one of my daughters for several years, pleading with God to guide and direct her.

Through prayer and fasting, God led me to Isaiah 42:16, which says, “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. … These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”

I claimed this promise for my daughter again and again. But I saw no change in her heart.

One morning before sunrise, I woke up feeling utterly abandoned by God. I questioned whether He was hearing my prayers. I opened the porch door and walked a few steps to my usual devotional spot, a scenic location that faces the Atlantic Ocean and has a beautiful view of a lighthouse.

But on this morning I could not see the lighthouse or the ocean. As I started to pray, I noticed that the morning fog was so thick that I could not see beyond the place where I was sitting.

As I prayed for my daughter, the sun began to rise and its rays shone through the fog. Slowly, I began to see the outline of the lighthouse on the horizon. In just a short period of time I was able to see everything around me clearly.

At that moment, it struck me that I had just witnessed a metaphor for prayer. The lighthouse and ocean had always been there, but I couldn’t see them because of the fog. Yet the moment the sun came out, I was able to see beyond my immediate vicinity.

The same is true of prayer. When we don’t see a change in the person whom we are praying for, it does not mean that God is not at work. Psalms 77:19 says, “Your way was in the sea, Your path was in the great waters, but your footsteps were not known.”

Little did I know that God had already begun answering my prayer. Even though I could not see His hand, the supplications that I was making in silence would one day be answered before my eyes.

Fourteen years have passed since I prayed on that foggy morning. Today, my daughter is a married woman who is seeking God’s will and has a passion for helping others. I praise God for encouraging me to keep praying through the fog.

Esther Zaiback, a mother and grandmother, lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she enjoys her grandchildren, gardening, and journaling.

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  1. With God’s help, make a commitment to do it! The 10 Days of Prayer materials are accessible online at tendaysofprayer.org. Whether you go through them alone or with your church or friends, you can download them and read and pray through them daily. When you do this, know that you are joining thousands of others around the world doing the same.
  2. Ask others to join you! If you don’t have a church to do the 10 Days of Prayer with, consider asking family members, or a few close friends to join you in a special daily time of prayer during the next 10 days. Write down spiritual burdens you have and lift them up in unison, claiming God’s promises.
  3. Start a prayer call! While meeting in person is always best, this isn’t always possible. Consider joining with others via a daily prayer call via the phone or Skype. For those in the United States, free conference call lines are available. Just type “free conference call” into your favorite search engine for more information. An Adventist video service called flocktoc.com is also a great way to video chat and pray with friends and small groups.
  4. Go door to door! To share the blessing of prayer with others, consider going door to door in your neighborhood and asking your neighbors how you can pray for them. Some may turn you away, but you will find many receptive.
  5. Get creative in sharing prayer with others! In the past, some have put up prayer tents at health fairs and public areas. Others have opened their church doors at 5 a.m. for personal meditation and prayer and then at 6 a.m. conducted morning prayer meetings.
  6. Send balloons up! In some churches, prayer requests were made and placed inside balloons. The balloons were inflated and exchanged between the members to pray for each other’s requests, then sent upward.
  7. End with an agape feast! On the last day of the 10 Days of Prayer, some churches have chosen to hold a spiritual retreat or an agape feast sharing time.
  8. Keep the prayers going! Pray for the 10 days of outreach that is to follow the 10 Days of Prayer. Also, many churches will be starting a 30-day intercessory prayer program where members are encouraged to pray for 30 days for three people who are not part of the congregation. During this time pastors and members will go on visitation, sharing Christ, and making friends and giving Bible studies.
  9. Pray God’s Word! Whether alone or with a participating church, remember to claim the promises of God’s Word as you pray. God delights in honoring our faith.
  10. Share the blessings! Don’t keep to yourself what God does. Share your testimony with others. By so doing, you will inspire more people to pray and seek after a closer walk with God. And blessings shared are blessings multiplied.

What people said last year about the 10 Days of Prayer:

“We have never experienced so much spiritual growth and so many answers to prayer in any past event. The daily leader and participant instructions have been WONDERFUL guides to experiencing a revival. The drops of rain are beginning to fall.”

—Bill, Rhode Island, USA 

“This was our first time participating in the Ten Days of Prayer. During the ten days, we had a 24-hour prayer chain. Basically, one person prays for an hour and at the end of the hour calls the next prayer warrior to pray. I am in awe of what God did. Chains of anger, unforgiveness, and many more were broken. We are enjoying unity in our church. The twenty-four prayer team members have asked me to keep the team. To God be the glory!”

—Monica, London

Remember that the 10 Days of Prayer is not just about praying for our own churches, but about praying for the upcoming evangelistic endeavors of our worldwide church. Over 113,000 evangelistic campaigns will be held this coming year, so join us in praying for these meetings! (To learn more, click here!)

The United in Prayer Editors

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Imagine a revival in your church.

Or a church attendee overcoming alcoholism.

Or a miraculous surgery.

Or seeing loved ones come back to the Lord.

These are just a few of the many stories that have emerged during Ten Days of Prayer, an annual initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that starts this coming Jan. 11.

Church members worldwide will greet the New Year by praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit during hour-long prayer meetings modeled after the biblical account of Pentecost.

“I believe that God is calling us to pray boldly. We should also be praising Him in faith for what He is going to do,” said Raluca Ril, who with her husband, Roman, wrote materials for Ten Days of Prayer. “Prayer is what has changed our lives! That’s why my husband and I would like to encourage you to be part of this upcoming Ten Days of Prayer, as we take an exciting journey through the sanctuary.”

(To download materials, go to TenDaysofPrayer.org and scroll down to “2017 Prayer Materials.”)

Church members worldwide have experienced many blessings, as a result of the Ten Days of Prayer over the last six years.

“Ten Days of Prayer has revived Southend SDA Church and its Friday prayer meetings, which no longer existed,” Tafadzwa Katsota, of the Southend church in Zimbabwe, wrote by e-mail in 2015. “This 10-day session has taught us that power rests in prayer and brings unity amongst church members.”

Daniel Miruka Mosobeti, who attends a church of 95 members in Kenya, said his church’s prayers prompted a relatively new church attendee, a middle-aged man, to stop drinking alcohol. He said church members then turned their prayers on another drinker who had showed up at church during the Ten Days of Prayer.

In Tanzania, church member Yoel Asaph Mwanza said prayer helped his 10-year-old brother recover from an emergency heart operation in just a few days.

“The doctors were estimating that he would recover after two weeks,” he said.

Still others have seen loved ones and friends returning to church in answer to their prayers.

All can participate! Church members can use the Ten Days of Prayer materials in large and small groups.

Even if your church is not involved, don’t despair. You can still take part in the blessing, even if alone or with just a couple friends or family members. The most important thing is that you don’t miss what God wants to do in your life this coming year.

If you are spiritually hungry, we want to encourage you to start the year right. Be part of the upcoming Ten Days of Prayer. We promise your life will never be the same. The Bible tells us, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalms 81:10). He’s just waiting to fill our hearts, lives, and churches, with many blessings from the throne room of heaven.

By the United in Prayer Editors

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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15531816362_65a751f23d_zFor several years now I’ve suffered excruciating pain without thinking for a moment that God would want to heal me. After all, thousands of people all over the world suffer much worse pain every day than my relatively small problem. Pain, I thought, is just part of living in this sinful world.

My condition caused unbearable pain to shoot down my left leg to my toes without notice while I was preaching or presenting a workshop in my role as director of Family Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist world church. I also felt the pain while doing my 2 mile (3 kilometer) power-walk every morning. I needed to sit to get relief or to call on Jesus for help to complete a presentation without interruption.

My physician put me on over-the-counter pain medication to manage the pain. An MRI showed I had two compressed vertebrae that would require pretty invasive surgery to correct. The specialist who ordered the MRI suggested that I continue to manage my pain though medication until I decided to go forward with the surgery.

Then something happened.

I read Heidi Kamal’s story about her husband, Raafat, president of the Adventist world church’s Trans-European Division on the United in Prayer blog on Nov. 11. Heidi wrote that Raafat’s months of intolerable neck and arm pain had been healed miraculously through prayer.

Now I have always believed in prayer. As the son of an Adventist pastor and Adventist schoolteacher, daily family worship and prayer have been an integral part of my life. Educated in Adventist schools and trained as an Adventist minister, prayer for me is like breathing.

So, I wondered, why hadn’t I prayed about my condition?

I was moved by Heidi Kamal’s testimony. I believed that if God could heal Raafat, He could heal me, too. So that Sunday morning after reading the testimony, I asked God to cure my pain as I power-walked my regular two miles. I also immediately gave up my painkillers in faith. For the remainder of that week and ever since, I have continued doing my 2 miles each morning — and without pain.

Read Heidi Kamal’s testimony

I am grateful to God for His amazing goodness to me. I know without a doubt that if He could do this for me, He can do anything for you, too, if it is His will and you believe. Trust Him today.


Willie Oliver is director of Family Ministries at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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pixabay-treatment-finger-keep-hand-161477Nikolai, a 20-year-old Seventh-day Adventist and my friend, received a frantic phone call soon after he returned to his Muslim home country from a month-long training course on massage therapy organized by the Adventist Church.

A mother had seen an advertisement for massage therapy on Nikolai’s Facebook page, and she wanted him to treat her disabled son.

Nikolai hesitated when he learned about the boy’s condition.

“I don’t have that much experience,” he said. “I’m only at an elementary level.”

But the mother insisted.

“Please, come,” she said. “No one else wants to help my son.”

When Nikolai arrived at the home and saw the boy’s situation, he realized that the case was more serious than he had thought. He told the mother that he was a Christian and reminded her that he didn’t have much experience. But he said he would do the massage therapy if she allowed him to pray to God for wisdom before each session.

The mother agreed.

The boy’s father happened to be at home when Nikolai came for the third session. The father, a senior government official, plied Nikolai with questions about his work and faith. Nikolai’s answers seemed to satisfy him, and he told the young man to go ahead with his work.

One day during the massage therapy, the father received an urgent phone call about an emergency. He quickly got dressed, and Nikolai could see that he was deeply worried. Nikolai stopped him at the door.

“Let’s pray about this situation,” he said.

The two prayed together, and the father left. Nikolai later learned that the emergency had been resolved satisfactorily.

As the massage therapy progressed, the parents saw a change in their son. The boy was not cured, but he began to be able to do things that he couldn’t do before. The father was delighted, and he recommended Nikolai’s message therapy to other senior government officials. As a result, Nikolai has become a message therapist to a number of well-placed government officials.

The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

Like Nikolai, you may not have much experience. But when you pray, God opens the door to opportunities to serve others and to provide for them spiritually.

This story was originally published Dec. 13th, 2016, by Andrew McChesney, editor of Adventist Mission Stories at: www.adventistmission.org

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girls-914823_640A pastor friend dolefully reflected on the slow growth of his church. The only thing he could find regularly in the church baptistry was dust bunnies.

As he pleaded with God to help him understand what needed to change, he seemed to hear the Lord say: “Your people eat each other alive. I can’t trust you with new members. Your people have become carnivores” — he was sure that was the word the Lord used — “and it’s cold in here. You have to be strong just to survive as a member.”

“But Lord, what can I do to change that atmosphere?” the pastor asked.

“Well, it permeates the whole church,” he seemed to hear back. “Let the church board attack it.”

And they did. At its next meeting the board members confronted the sinful ambience that had developed in their congregation and threw themselves in repentance on the mercy of God. He did not disappoint them.

After a significant period of deep heart-searching, it became plain that the issue was serious enough to bring to the congregation. The church members resolved to no longer counter any word of criticism. If anyone spoke negatively of a member, pastor, guest, or church leader, the person hearing the criticism was authorized to simply turn and walk away. They declared a church-wide moratorium on criticism.

And it worked. Not overnight, for sure, but within a few months the climate changed. The Son began to shine. The grumble factor faded, and joy replaced it.

Not long after, a woman who had not previously attended appeared at the door on a Sabbath morning. Friendly greeters asked her if she was new to the area. No, she had just been reading her Bible and had come across some questions she couldn’t answer. When she had told her pastor that she wondered whether she had been attending church on the wrong day, he had suggested that she contact the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

A few weeks later, the church scheduled a date for her baptism.

She was not the only one. Members saw that their church was a safe place to bring friends, and more and more people began entering the sanctuary.

Meanwhile, that new woman? Today she is an assistant Sabbath School teacher. And the baptistry? You will have a difficult time finding any dust bunnies in there now.

Don Jacobsen works with prayer ministries for the North American Division.

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lightstock_77203_xsmall_bhpAt 25 years old, I was a cheerful and industrious college student living in Queens, New York. I was thankful for what God was doing in my life. However, I also felt the tension of long nights of studying and a hectic work schedule trying to make ends meet.

Winter was approaching, and I often had difficulty staying warm in my rented basement apartment. Finally I managed to save enough to purchase a used space heater. The heater looked like it had seen better days, but at least it took the chill off the room and made life bearable. Also, with the heater, I could study in the apartment rather than at the library and then trudge home late at night.

You can imagine my disappointment and frustration when I came home one evening and discovered that the electric space heater would not work. I flipped the switch and even plugged the heater into a different wall socket. But to no avail.

Discouragement filled me as I prepared for bed. I was tired of it all: tired of the struggles, tired of trying to stay warm, and tired of trying to survive on so little. That night I poured out my heart to God with many tears.

A day passed. Then two. The heater refused to turn back on despite my pleading with God for a miracle. As if things couldn’t get worse, on the second day it began to rain. Now it was not only cold but also damp.

That night, I read my devotional and prayed, kneeling at my bedside to ask for God’s sustaining grace above all else.

In the middle of the night, I awoke. It was still raining. Sleepily I crawled out of bed to use the restroom. With eyes still closed, I swung my legs off the bed and was shocked to find cold water up to my ankles!

Shrieking, I jumped back into bed. Suddenly it was not just the cold water that made my heart race as I realized that the heater was still plugged in. With tears of relief I sank back on my pillow as I realized what God had just done. I should have been electrocuted. Truly, even in my grief, God had been looking out for me. He had heard and answered my prayers.

“Before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24).

Joy Alexander works for the office of the president at the General Conference.

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Oxygen Volume 14A Muslim mother and daughter were surprised to discover during a telephone conversation that they had seen the same man in dreams at night.

Neither recognized the man. But they spoke about him during their weekly evening calls that often stretched into the early morning.

Then the daughter, Esme, announced one Saturday evening to her mother that she believed she had learned the identity of the unknown man. She said he was Jesus.

Esme, 21, had recently accepted Jesus through a Seventh-day Adventist friend whom she met inadvertently at her university campus in a Middle Eastern country. She was calling her mother, Ada, after attending Sabbath worship services with her new Adventist friends.

The announcement about Jesus stunned Esme’s mother. But something even more surprising was unfolding at the same time.

Both Esme and her mother had struggled for years with an unknown sickness. Esme had started showing symptoms at the age of 13, and her mother had fallen ill even earlier. After numerous health checks, the two had learned that their sickness was linked to radiation-poisoned food that the mother had eaten some years earlier. The food had been harvested in a region affected by the 1983 Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in then-Soviet Ukraine.

For eight years, Esme’s mother Ada had been praying daily for her daughter’s health. Doctors said no medicine was available for a complete cure, only to ease the symptoms. The medicine stimulated Esme’s nerves, made her lose her concentration and sometimes caused her to turn violent.

After Esme accepted Jesus, her mother noticed that she never stopped speaking about Him. On the evening that Esme identified Jesus as the unknown man in their dreams, she also revealed that she had been healed completely of her illness without medicine.

It was an unbelievable answer to Ada’s years of prayers.

Several weeks passed. Esme wanted to have Sabbath worship with her family when she went back to her hometown for vacation. So all her Adventist friends took the public bus and went to Esme’s home, where her mother with three of Esme’s siblings and her grandmother welcomed them for a special weekend.

As they shared Sabbath worship together with Esme’s family, Ada’s eyes filled with tears of joy. She couldn’t believe that her daughter was free of illness.

Five months later, Esme’s mother Ada asked to be baptized.

“Now my mother and I believe that the man in our dreams was Jesus,” Esme said.

By Chanmin Chung, communication coordinator, Middle East and North Africa Union

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Adventist Review on Sept. 27, 2016.

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Several of my students neared decisions for baptism at the end of my third year of teaching English at a camp of 50,000 refugees in Thailand.

I was a college student from the U.S. state of Nebraska, and my students were learning about Jesus through Bible classes offered as a bonus to the English classes.

But then the pastor who taught the Bible classes told me that the students who wished to be baptized were hesitating. They were afraid of becoming Christians and seeing the missionaries leave before they understood Christianity enough to live real Christian lives.

When the pastor shared this with me, I didn’t know what to do. I had been planning to go home after three years as a student missionary. My mother was looking forward to seeing me. But my main goal was the salvation of souls. So I began to pray, “Lord, what shall I do?”

Then I read during my morning devotions: “The cause of God is to hold the first place in our plans and affections” (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 220).

I thought, “This passage is pointing right at me.” I wanted to finish school, have a profession, and start a family. But it was like God was saying, “Terri, here is the guidance that you have been waiting for. God needs to be first in your plans and affections.”

I decided that my first responsibility was to my family. But my family already knew God. So I decided to call my mother and heed her advice.

I traveled 35 kilometers (22 miles) to find the nearest post office with a public telephone. I called collect because I didn’t have any money. I knew it was expensive.

I asked my mother, “What would you think if I decided to stay another year or indefinitely?”

Her response was immediate. “Terri,” she said, “I will never tell you to come home. If I told you to come home and even one soul failed to hear the gospel, I would regret it for eternity. But if by staying you can help even one soul to know God and to be in the kingdom, it would be worth it even if I never saw you again.”

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I sat in post office. I praised God for a mother who loved so much. My mother wanted to see me, but she had already made the sacrifice in her heart. The salvation of souls was so important to her that she would give up seeing me again.

Terri Saelee did eventually come home to see her family as she is now the director of Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries for the North American Division. A total of 140 new churches comprised of refugees has opened across North America since she became the ministry’s founding director in 2009.

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My husband, Raafat Kamal, started to suffer neck pain for no obvious reason last year.

The neck pain increased to an intolerable level, and he also began to experience constant arm pain, numbness, and tingling in his fingertips. Our physician referred him to a specialist who found that several herniated discs were pressing on nerves in his neck.

Returning home, my husband decided to take the prescribed painkillers and see whether the problem would solve itself gradually, canceling the need for surgery. We prayed fervently about his neck for the next few weeks.

Thankfully, the pain gradually became more tolerable. On most days my husband could manage without painkillers if he was careful not to make any quick movements or carry anything too heavy.

However, a few months later, Raafat suffered another injury. It seemed he had pulled a ligament in his upper arm. With this injury it became impossible for my husband to lift his arms above his head, further restricting his ability to move freely.

Then, as if things couldn’t get worse, this past September, my husband traveled to attend a union session in his division. During this trip, one evening in his hotel room, he accidentally tripped and fell, landing on his injured arm. As he fell on the floor he heard a cracking sound from his neck, followed by the most excruciating pain. Raafat was immensely relieved and thankful to God that he was able to get up from the floor because he was worried he had fractured his neck. By God’s grace, and numbed by strong painkillers, he managed to get through his appointments abroad.

Returning home to England, but in intense neck pain and with the General Conference Annual Council starting only a couple of weeks later, Raafat and I pleaded earnestly for God’s intervention for his health and for him to be able to cope with his upcoming trip to the United States.

The Lord intervened and heard our prayers. Amazingly, Raafat suffered no pain whatsoever during our trans-Atlantic flight and on the first morning after his arrival woke up realizing that his neck pain was completely gone. And not only that. For the first time in a year and a half he was able to lift both of his arms above his head with no restrictions or pain!

We believe that God provided nothing less than a miracle. I share this story to give thanks, praise, and glory to God, and to encourage others that we serve a God who still loves to hear and answer our prayers.

Heidi Kamal and her husband Raafat, who is the president of the Trans-European Division, live in England.

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deaster[Editors note: To read the first part of this testimony posted last week, click here!]

While the Brown family received significant assistance physically as they learned to follow God’s health laws, the real miracle came as God transformed their hearts.

For morning devotions, Mr. and Mrs. Brown began reading the book “The Ministry of Healing” by Ellen G. White. In the evenings, Bible studies were led out by young missionaries Ezra and Racquel. The couple, especially Mr. Brown, loved devotional time and wanted everyone he knew to share in his experience. He began inviting family members, neighbors, and friends to learn simple Bible truths.

Then came the day that Mr. and Mrs. Brown celebrated their first Sabbath together. Family and friends who accepted the Browns’ invitation to worship together were so impressed that they asked to meet again the following Sabbath.

The next Sabbath, the group doubled in size. The participants, all non-Adventists, spoke about how they had never heard the Scriptures being explained in such a clear way before. They readily accepted Bible doctrines and wanted to learn more. Some even expressed a desire to organize a new Seventh-day Adventist church on the spot.

When it came time for Racquel and Ezra to fly home, Mr. and Mrs. Brown thanked them for following God’s will. The couple said their lives had changed for the better and would never be the same again.

What a miracle and answer to prayer. Not only did God answer Ezra and Racquel’s prayer for physical restoration for the Browns, but He also answered above and beyond what they had asked for by bringing spiritual healing. We are never too young or old to point souls to Jesus. The Adventist health message, along with much prayer, truly is a powerful entering wedge.

Monet St. Juste, writes from New York, where he serves as coordinator of the family ministry called Eden Lifestyle.

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img_2431Last fall I received an unexpected phone call. It was a Mr. Brown calling from San Diego, California. He was wondering if we could help his 63-year-old wife, who was suffering dementia and had high blood pressure. He explained that his wife had less than a year left to live and he desperately needed help.

Not long after, Ezra, 20, and Racquel, 22, who live in New York and work with me, agreed to fly to San Diego.

Ezra and Racquel went through an entire lifestyle assessment program with Mr. Brown. Soon they realized that this case was far more serious than anticipated. It was then that they got down on their knees and began pleading with God for the wisdom on how to proceed.

God was already working. Mr. Brown, after hearing about the benefits of the new program for his wife and all the lifestyle changes she would be making, decided that he, too, would make the changes. Although he’d eaten the same way for over 64 years, he quickly emptied his refrigerator of all meat and unhealthy products. He also cleaned out his cupboards. Then Ezra and Racquel helped him restock with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains.

Immediately, as instructed, the couple started implementing simple NEWSTART lifestyle practices into their lives.

By the fourth day into the program, Mrs. Brown’s blood pressure levels returned to normal. Significant improvements in her brain function were also noted as time progressed. She was able to hold longer thoughts and conversations, her depth perception also improved, and she was able to walk for greater periods of time. She even started running!

Mr. Brown also experienced changes. He was overweight and suffered with high cholesterol. About eight days into the program, he had already lost 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms). At the end of the four-week program, his cholesterol levels had returned to normal, resulting in his physician taking him off all medication.

While the health principles worked as God intended, we know the real miracle came in answer to Ezra and Racquel’s prayer. Amazingly, these health benefits are only the beginning of this powerful testimony that came as a result of an answer to prayer. (This testimony will be continued next week!)

Monet St. Juste, writes from New York, where he serves as coordinator of the family ministry called Eden Lifestyle.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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img_1503-2This past weekend while returning from a conference in South Carolina, the tire blew out on my van. This was not just a normal flat tire. This was a massive explosion where the tire was shredded all the way around. It’s really a miracle that we did not have a wreck as we were traveling 70 mph down the Interstate when it blew.

While still four hours away from home, my friends and I pulled off the road and set to work to change the tire. The problem is, none of us knew how to change the tire. “Dear Lord,” we prayed. “Please help us know how to do this. And if you think we need help, please send someone to help us.” Not long after, when we had done all that we knew to do, a stranger stopped to help us. With new tire in place, we praised the Lord as we went on our way, thanking the Lord for sending us a human angel to help us.

However, two days later, I was in for an even greater miracle.

A friend and I were on the way back to work after a dinner together with a co-worker when we were approaching a busy intersection. However, we weren’t planning to turn at this intersection but at a second intersection another 100 feet up the road. The problem was, as we discussed our turn at the second light, we didn’t see that the light for the intersection we were approaching had just turned red. That is, not until we were driving into the intersection and a mass of cars were suddenly headed across our path.

It all happened so fast, I couldn’t even scream. We both saw it coming. There was no way that a crash could be avoided. Instantly, my friend slammed on the brakes and smoke went up from the tires as we slid into the traffic that was beginning to cross in front of us. However, what happened next is so surreal, it’s actually like a dream.

We went into the edge of this car, which never swerved or reacted. But then we bounced back. We both were waiting for that crunching sound of metal….but the sound never came. It was as if there was a supernatural cushion between us and that car. And the car that we had seemed to hit drove on with no signs of any impact and with no recognition that they had almost been crashed into.

Immediately my friend backed up a good 8-10 feet, as we were so far into the lane of traffic that we had to get out of the way of the rest of the oncoming cars. Finally when the light turned green, we drove on.

As you can imagine we prayed most of the way back to work as we praised God for answering a prayer of protection that we didn’t even have time to call out. Over and over I repeated, “Praise the Lord! We should have hit that car. Praise the Lord! Thank you God for protecting us!”

As we reflected on what happened there is no explanation except that God sent His angels to stand between us and that other car. So this week I’m praising the Lord for His angels, both the ones who assist us through the kindness of fellow human beings, and those that are unsceen who fly immediately to our rescue. Truly “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Ps. 34:7).

Melody Mason coordinates United in Prayer for the World Church.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

aoy

Over 24 million people live in Peninsular Malaysia, and currently only a little over 5,000 are Seventh-day Adventist. Recognizing the vast need for more laborers for the harvest, and earnestly longing for the youth to be awakened to the joy of service, about four years ago a group of lay members, with the consent of the Peninsular Malaysia Mission, started a youth conference to help bring revival to this territory. This was the beginning of the Army of Youth Conference for Peninsular Malaysia.

The growth over the last four years has been slow, however this year hundreds were in attendance at our summer conference. In fact, we received so many blessings this year that it’s difficult to describe. From Holy Spirit filled meetings, to special musical selections and messages, the blessings just went on and on.

A highlight of the conference was Sabbath when many enthusiastic young people went out to share Christ. As a result of this outreach, we obtained contact details of 320 people interested in Bible and health education from the community. This was a record for us! Seeing the joy on the faces of those who served was so rewarding. But this joy could not have come without first experiencing personal revival and changed hearts.

Every night, I saw person after person, standing for appeals made to consecrate their lives to God. Every night, I saw many youth making decisions to attend additional training on how to study the Bible more deeply. And every night, I saw many tears shed as young people entered the prayer room for personal prayer with the speakers and local church pastors. All around me, I watched as lives were being changed.

Of course, my favorite time of all was the earnest Spirit filled prayer sessions each day. In fact, I believe that United prayer, which we experienced for the first time this year, was the backbone to all the blessings and miracles we received.

The prayer times were truly a taste of heaven. I have never heard such heartfelt words spoken as each person poured out their heart to Jesus, pleading for His soon return. No instruments were playing. There was no grand ensemble, but the united voices, lifted up to God in praise brought tears to many eyes. As we prayed, I began to realize that if this was even a small glimpse of how heaven would feel, it would indeed be a glorious place to be.

Truly God has heard the cries of His children! We had prayed for more youth to be revived, and we had prayed for more of the Holy Spirit. God has heard and answered every prayer. With my own eyes, I’m seeing miracles happening in the hearts of my fellow young people. Through the power of prayer, an Army of Youth is growing in Malaysia. And it’s a testimony for the glory of God. Jesus is coming soon!

By Evelyn Chua, AOY officer

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As the Sabbath of Oct. 8 approached, the weather forecast was looking increasingly grim for Silver Spring, Maryland. While we prayed for good weather earnestly, Hurricane Matthew pushed up the U.S. eastern coastline, making it look like there was no way that we were going to miss the deluge of rain headed our way.

a-storm-1-1Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but Oct. 8 was to be an extra special Sabbath. It was special because Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders would be gathered in Silver Spring for the yearly Annual Council business meetings, and a Total Member Involvement outreach was planned for Sabbath afternoon. Dozens of leaders were going to be boarding 13 buses and heading out into the neighborhood to knock on doors and pass out the special missionary book of the year — The Story of Hope — as well as GLOW tracks. They would also be offering prayers and Bible studies for those interested.

This was no small undertaking. Extensive work had gone into organizing the outreach, and more than 70 young people had traveled to the church headquarters to assist the leaders with this special activity. While everyone hoped for good weather, umbrellas were collected just in case.

img_5042-1Sabbath morning we woke up to complete cloud cover. Soon it began to rain. Anxiously I watched the forecast for the afternoon. It was 80 percent to 90 percent rain. However, we kept praying. That’s when I began to notice an interesting split happening in the storm over the Silver Spring area. By the time the buses arrived at the destinations to drop off the delegates and young people, the rain had completely stopped. In fact, no umbrellas were even opened. Just when the work started, God said, “Peace be still,” to the storm.

Later that night we listened with rapt attention and joyful hearts as many young people shared testimonies of what God had done during the afternoon outreach. Some shared how they’d met people who had prayed God would send someone to their door. Others they met shared how they were looking for a church to attend. Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson’s first contact asked for follow-up Bible studies. Some people wept in gratitude. One woman even came to the bus to get more books to share with friends.

Not only did God open many hearts this day, in answer to prayer, but He showed us that when we go forward in faith — even when things don’t look promising, He is still able to part the storms! The leaders went forward by faith to do outreach, and God parted the storms. And all we can say is, praise the Lord!

Melody Mason, coordinates United in Prayer for the Adventist world church.

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Photo credit Nick KnechtWe talk a lot about Pentecost when 3,000 people were converted in one day. We pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to repeat this miracle today. But have you considered carefully what happened before that great day?

Consider what Ellen White writes about the 10 days leading up to Pentecost.

“As the disciples waited [in the upper room] for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death they understood more fully their meaning. Truths which had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds, and these they repeated to one another. They reproached themselves for their misapprehension of the Saviour. Like a procession, scene after scene of His wonderful life passed before them. As they meditated upon His pure, holy life they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christ’s character. Oh, if they could but have the past three years to live over, they thought, how differently they would act! If they could only see the Master again, how earnestly they would strive to show Him how deeply they loved Him, and how sincerely they sorrowed for having ever grieved Him by a word or an act of unbelief! But they were comforted by the thought that they were forgiven. And they determined that, so far as possible, they would atone for their unbelief by bravely confessing Him before the world.”

“These days of preparation were days of deep heart searching. The disciples felt their spiritual need and cried to the Lord for the holy unction that was to fit them for the work of soul saving. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely. They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls. They realized that the gospel was to be carried to the world, and they claimed the power that Christ had promised” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 35-37).

And what was the result of these days of deep heart searching, surrender, and prayer? Let’s read on:

“The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fullness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour out upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s grace. And under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven…Lost in wonder, the apostles exclaimed, ‘Herein is love.’ They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? … Thousands were converted in a day” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 38).

What a marvelous sight that must have been, to see all the miracles, the conversions, and the changed hearts, as the revival fire swept through Jerusalem and then into all the land!

It will happen again when we too, follow the steps of the disciples in that upper room!

Compiled by the United in Prayer team

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We always had a strong Christ-centered marriage. We prayed together, had devotions together, and worked together closely in ministry. Then we made the decision to adopt a group of siblings. As to be expected, our couple time was drastically reduced.

For awhile, after so many strong years of marriage, we were on auto-pilot and things seemed to be okay. Gradually, however, with little time to pray together, small things, which would have never been a problem before, began to eat away at our marriage. When I tried to talk about this, my husband would get defensive. As a result I began to feel more and more isolated and discouraged.

Finally, after praying about our relationship for a time, I realized I needed to stop asking God to change my husband, and I just needed to let God have full control of me. At this time I began that God would touch him, be with him, lead him, and perhaps most importantly, that God would make me into the wife I needed to be.

After a few weeks of praying like this, we went to a marriage seminar that our church was hosting. Interestingly, one of the things they shared was that to have a happy marriage spouses should pray together.

The next morning as I was having my quiet time, my husband came up and we started talking and he suggested that we start praying together again as a couple.  I couldn’t believe it as this was what I’d been praying for.

From that moment on, things began to improve. We are now parenting better, our relationship is better, and life is better because we are communicating better. And I know this is all because of our praying together.  I just have to keep asking God to change me daily, and I leave my husband up to God.

Recently we were having a moment with one of our kids and my husband was getting frustrated. Normally, I would have glared at him or said something trying to diffuse the situation, but this time I just turned around and started praying.  And just like that the tension was over. My husband calmed down, made things right, and next thing you know we are all in tears and loving on each other. Truly God hears and answers our prayers!

Sarah Lynn is a pastor’s wife who writes anonymously under a pseudonym.

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The theme for our camp meeting in Bermuda this summer was “On Higher Ground.” On Sabbath I began praying: “Lord, please take me to higher ground. I want a deeper experience with You and in service.”

When I arrived home after 10 p.m., I turned the television on to 3ABN. There I saw a woman calling for volunteers to go to the U.S. state of West Virginia to assist with a mega-clinic called Your Best Pathway to Health.

Impressed with the initiative, I completed the volunteer application online and submitted it. Within two hours I received a response of acceptance. Immediately I booked one of the recommended hotels in Beckley, the town where the free clinic would be held.

I wavered between feelings of excitement, inadequacy, and doubt. Had I just been presumptuous to immediately sign up for such an event being held in the United States? How would I ever afford the flight and other expenses?

A couple days later, the money was miraculously placed in my hand for the ticket and other expenses. I felt that God was telling me to keep moving forward by faith.

I landed in Charleston, West Virginia at night last July. Not wanting to travel to Beckley alone late at night, I booked a room in a nearby hotel with the little money that I had for extra expenses.

While waiting for the shuttle to the hotel, a couple came up, and we began talking. I shared about my mission trip and where I was going. They tried to help me find transportation to Beckley, but we had no success. Everything cost too much. Finally as we were both checking into our hotel a bit later, the wife came up to me. “We have decided that we will take you tomorrow to Beckley,” she said. “Just give us the address.”

The next morning, this sweet couple rented a car and drove me straight to my hotel in Beckley. We had wonderful conversation the entire way and exchanged hugs before they drove on. It was a divine appointment.

My Beckley experience was life changing. Truly when I prayed this summer that God would take me to higher ground, He began doing that. My life will never be the same.

Joni Wainwright writes from Bermuda.

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A precious little girl named Anna gave me a most thoughtful gift.

One day she asked why I didn’t own a car, and I told her that I didn’t have enough money. She thought for a moment. Then she went to her room and returned with paper, a cup full of markers, and some other mysterious items.

She drew a picture, folded the paper, and handed it to me saying, “I want to give this to you.”

I went home and opened it up. Inside was 26 cents. My heart melted. She believed the money would be enough to buy a car.

I was so touched with her gesture that I posted the story on Facebook. Another friend read the story on Facebook and immediately felt impressed to give me her old red 2003 Chevy Cavalier for free, with no strings attached. The car worked wonderfully for me for the two years that I drove it.

However, last summer God convicted me to give the red Cavalier to someone who was in greater need than me. I wrestled initially, since I would be without a car once again, but I believed that God would provide for me.

After I gave away the Cavalier, I considered buying a car, but was still not able to afford it. Once again, I asked Anna to pray. A few months later, the red Cavalier was returned as my friend-in-need had their own transportation miracle occur. However, I couldn’t keep the car as I had yet another friend who was in desperate need of more reliable transportation. So once again, I gave the car away, even though my own needs were still not supplied. Both Anna and I continued to pray.

Finally this summer, God opened the door for me to get an incredible vehicle, at a great price, and the dealership let me pay with the 26 cents that I received from my little friend Anna. Other friends provided $2,000 for a down payment, and still others offered to pay over half of my car payment every month until the car is paid off. I’m still in awe at God’s goodness!

My friend Anna and I have both learned that you can’t out-give God, and that childlike faith moves the hand of God. Anna is almost 10 now, but she cried when I sent her the picture of the key fob with her money on top of the check for the car. I had the privilege of bringing the car over to her house recently to show what God has done (see photos). God is far better than any of us could imagine. He provides for His workers.

Dee Casper is the evangelism director for UnScene Media Group in Illinois.

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FireFor months I watched Edgar walk around campus looking downcast, sometimes mad, and lost. When he would see me he would greet me with, “Hi Miss Taylor” and the best smile he could force. At the time I knew nothing about his past or the spiritual battle going on in his life.

This last Spring we took as many students as wanted to go to an ARME Bible Camp being held in Texas. While most of the students just soaked up the times of Bible Study and prayer, Edgar became more and more agitated. At one point he left the meetings.

Concerned about him I went looking for him and found him in a corner crying. As I sat down, Edgar exclaimed, “I don’t want to be here! I don’t want to know who God is! I can’t see Him and I can’t feel Him, so I don’t believe He is real!”

Edgar then began to tell me his story. He had always hung with the rough kids. He’d already been kicked out of three high schools before coming to the United States. He’d also stolen cars, set things on fires and created lots of problems. “My life is just a failure!” he sobbed. “I’ve even tried to kill myself three times, and I even failed doing that! I just don’t want to live any longer.”

After listening for a bit, I asked if I could gather a group to pray for him. Much to my surprise, he said yes.

We spent a long time praying for Edgar that night. We cried together as we prayed that God would help Edgar see that He was real and that He truly cares.

Suddenly during the prayer time, Edgar remembered a car accident that he’d been in previously. He hadn’t been wearing a seat belt and the car had flipped. A hand had grabbed his arm to help him out of the wreckage to safety. The hand had always been a mystery. But that night as we prayed, Edgar realized he had felt God. God had worked, via an angel, to help rescue him from that wreck. Happiness flooded Edgar’s soul as he recounted the miracle that he had forgotten.

As we parted that evening, I praised God for the breakthrough we’d experienced.

The next morning, I found myself being greeted by a young man with a huge smile and a completely different face…a face filled with joy and peace.

After returning to school Edgar had more challenges and trials but he has continued to grow in faith, to study the Bible and beam with excitement as he learns new things from God’s Word. He now wants to share his love for God with his family so they too may have the same joy and peace that he has found.

At the end of the school year, Edgar made his commitment to God public and was baptized. Once again we wept together, only this time they were tears of joy instead of pain.

This young man who once set things on fire for fun has now been set on fire for God.

Kat Taylor writes from Oklahoma where she serves as the girl’s dean of Oklahoma Academy. Edgar is now attending the University of Montemorelos in Mexico and has given permission for his testimony to be shared.

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Shelley was raised Adventist, enjoyed church, sang in the choir, and did all the right things in church growing up.

However, in her 30s she decided to move in with her boyfriend. Despite making this decision, there was one area in her life that she would not compromise on: keeping the Sabbath. Shelly and her boyfriend held different convictions. Shelly would never work on Sabbath, so great financial strain and tension emerged in their relationship.

Finally, after living with her boyfriend for 10 years, Shelly was convicted through much prayer to go back to living single. She knew this decision would bring even greater financial hardship, but she was determined to move forward.

However, just at this turning point in her life, Shelley discovered that she was pregnant. So instead of moving out, Shelley and her boyfriend decided to get married. A few months later, they had their baby daughter, Emma.

The marriage was not easy. Shelley observed the Sabbath and determined to raise Emma as an Adventist. Some days her husband would not give her any money for food or expenses. On many occasions he would not even come home or participate in helping to raise Emma.

When Emma turned 5, Shelley began to pray earnestly that her daughter Emma would be able to attend the local Adventist school. She wanted Emma to study in a Christian environment where she wouldn’t have to compromise about the Sabbath and where she would learn more about Jesus daily. This was the same small school Shelley had attended through high school. Many parents wanted to place their children in this school, so Shelly knew that only prayer would help Emma get accepted.

While Shelly’s life has been scarred by mistakes, she has learned that God still cares and hears her prayers. The Lord has answered her prayer. Emma will attend the Adventist school this fall. Just as God has taken care of Shelly, Shelly knows He will care for Emma.

Joy Alexander, Office of the President, General Conference

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Every evening after providing free medical treatment to hundreds of people at a free clinic organized by Your Best Pathway to Health, the volunteers have gathered together to worship and share miracle stories from the day.

But we did something different at our most recent free clinic in Beckley, West Virginia. We invited the patients to join us.

The idea came to me one morning during my prayer time with God.

Sensing the need to more quickly connect people to “whole person care” — the secrets to physical, mental, and spiritual health, and to find better ways to invite them to visit health information centers set up at local Seventh-day Adventist churches after the free clinics ended, I prayed earnestly.

As a result, I felt impressed to change the focus of the evening meetings toward the patients while still maintaining an exciting time for the volunteers.

In subsequent discussions with the programming team, and again with much prayer, we decided to invite the patients to a free dinner followed immediately with a whole person health program that included the day’s miracle stories, music, and more.

The result proved very successful in Beckley. Each night, patients and volunteers sat at round tables, eating and mingling. It was beautiful! Then the guests stayed for the evening meeting. About 50 to 75 guests came each night during the three-day free clinic, and many attended the Sabbath School and church meetings on the day after the event ended.

“You people are my family now,” Tiffany, a mother with two small daughters, told me, her eyes shining with joy. “First you ministered to my health needs. Then you fed me and provided for my spiritual needs.”

Tiffany and her family have visited the health information center at the local Adventist church and plan to attend spiritual health courses led by Ron Halvorsen Jr., president of the Ohio Conference, in a few weeks.

Other patients have similar stories.

These precious souls are learning about whole person care because of prayer. And it wasn’t only my prayers. A group of us prayed throughout the week surrounding the Beckley free clinic. We continuously sought God’s counsel on how to accomplish what we were seeking to do. God answered our prayers more than we ever imagined. Our evening meetings were even mentioned on television and in local newspapers, providing free advertising that we never could have afforded to buy. Many people in Beckley now have a positive view of Seventh-day Adventists and, most importantly, of God.

This is the miracle of prayer.

Dr. Lela Lewis is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the president of Your Best Pathway to Health, which in partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ASI, and many supporters has provided more than $83 million in free services to more than 22,000 patients in six U.S. cities since 2014.

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My daughter Elise faced a major struggle this spring.

She wanted to take a couple summer classes to lighten her first fall semester of pre-nursing classes at Weimar College in the U.S. state of California. But she also wanted to participate in a 10-week literature evangelism program. She couldn’t do both.

We had many long talks and prayed a lot together as Elise finished high school classes at Weimar Academy. Elise would lean toward staying for summer school, but then a canvassing recruiter would visit the campus and unpack the longing in her heart to work as a literature evangelist. I encouraged her to praise God as she sought His will.

Finally one evening Elise resubmitted her summer plans to God with this prayer: “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 481).

The next day the canvassing leader told Elise that she would be allowed to canvass until she needed to start her summer classes — a rare exception that few students are given.

The look that came over Elise’s face that day will be forever engraved on my heart. It was acknowledgment of God’s provision in a magnificent way. It was excitement to serve. It was delight and wonder that God had done this just for her!

That day the prayers and training of many years came together as I saw my torch of faith being passed to the next generation, my daughter. My faith had become her faith in one magnificent swoop.

I received the greatest gift that a parent could ever want: seeing my precious child walking on wobbly legs of faith in the beginning and then growing more sure, strong, and confident in the Lord as she waited, watched, praised, and prayed. Today Elise is more in love with God and more in awe of His love for her than ever before.

Teri Salvador writes from Weimar, California, where she works as director of student services for Weimar College.

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I experienced a special miracle during the annual ASI Convention last week in the U.S. state of Arizona.

A prayer session was held at 6:15 a.m. before the daily morning devotional during the four-day event organized by ASI, or Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries, in Phoenix. Most of my friends know that I am more of a night owl than a morning person, especially at an event like ASI, when we are up late visiting at night in the exhibition hall. However, I felt impressed that I needed to make it to the morning prayer sessions.

Unfortunately, I missed the first morning. But as I went to bed that night, even though it was already a bit after midnight, I asked God to help me to get up in a few hours if He wanted me to attend the morning prayer time the next day. As I prayed, I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m.

The alarm rang, and I turned it off. Exhausted, I lay in bed for a moment or two, thinking about how nice a few extra minutes of sleep would be. Then I asked God if I should get more rest or get up. I asked for a sign. Then I chided myself because what kind of sign could He possibly give?

I became drowsy and was starting to drift off to sleep when suddenly the alarm went off again. What? I picked up my phone to turn it off, and the display showed 5:45 a.m. Huh? That was strange. Why did it go off the first time?

I checked the phone, and only one alarm was set for 5:45. Was I dreaming? Was the first alarm actually my roommate’s?

Later I learned that my roommate had also heard my alarm go off twice.

Realizing that this must be the sign I had prayed for, I got in the shower and dashed off to the convention center. My hair was completely undone and still wet, but I was determined to be part of the prayer time.

At the prayer time, I found out why God had given me the extra nudge to attend. I was so incredibly blessed as I listened to expressions of praise and repentance of sin. We also prayed for one another and asked God to help us to surrender to His will. I needed that prayer time so much.

I praise the Lord that He showed me once again how much He wants me to spend time talking with Him. What amazes me is He knew I would ask for a sign and prompted the early alarm, even before I asked for confirmation that He truly wanted me to get up.

The Bible says, “I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find me” (Prov. 8:17). Let’s ask the Lord to help us wake up and spend time with Him each morning.

Esther Doss, a native of the U.S. state of Arkansas, works with Three Angel’s Deaf Ministries.

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Stethoscope and AppleAs I was finishing my medical training, the specialty board exams were scheduled for Friday. However, the practical exams were scheduled for Saturday.

As a Seventh-day Adventist who sincerely wants to honor the Lord, I began praying that the day for the practical exams would be moved. I asked God to keep me faithful if it was not moved.

After graduation, I applied to take the practical exam on any day other than Saturday. My request was denied. One of my mentors told me to just write an excuse letter to my pastor. (I don’t understand why she would need to write an excuse letter to her pastor. She wants to explain to him why she is taking the exam on Sabbath?) But I knew I could not do this.

As the Friday for the written exam approached, I meditated on Psalms 34:4, which says, “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” I arrived at the venue in peace. The Lord truly heard and helped me pass the written exam.

However, I did not take the practical exam. I didn’t want to break the Sabbath.

Back in my hometown, a couple hospitals initially rejected my application because I had no subspecialty certificate. But God eventually made a way for me to practice my profession.

The next exam year, I sent a letter early to the new chair of the examining board. Friends and family prayed that the exam day would be moved from Saturday. The Lord answered in His time. The practical exam was scheduled for Friday.

As the exam neared, I planned to take a leave from work to concentrate on reviewing. I sought the Lord’s guidance because I had patients to look after. God impressed me to care for my patients instead of preparing for the exam. Amazingly, the patients who showed up had rare illnesses. Caring for these patients prepared me for the test.

With God’s blessing, I passed the practical exam and even got the highest scores in several sections. Later, the mentor who asked me to write an excuse letter to the pastor, said to me, “Indeed, this is a miracle.”

Yes, despite the impossibilities from a human perspective, I found out that God’s grace is indeed sufficient and His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). To Him be all the glory and honor for this accomplishment!

Berith Bermejo writes from the Philippines where she is practicing as a pediatrician and also involved with FAST Missions, calling God’s people back to the Bible.

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Many of us struggle to wait on God’s timing. We struggle not to run ahead of God and not to take over the controls when God doesn’t seem to be working fast enough for our liking.

Recently I was really struggling in this area and praying that God would help me trust His timing. That very day He gently reminded me that when He works, He may not be early, but neither is He a second late. He is always right on time.

I was on a one-day driving marathon from Silver Spring Maryland, back to my parents’ place in northwest Arkansas to attend my brother’s wedding. I was covering more than 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) in one day. It was a long drive to make alone, and I stopped twice in the morning to take a 20-minute nap. Both times, I wanted to nap longer, but I pushed on.

Sometime in the afternoon, between Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, I stopped briefly at a gas station. A waiting line greeted me when I entered the restroom. Just then a woman stepped out of a stall right in front of me. She looked at me, and I looked at her. Recognition spread across our faces. We knew each other.

“Are you Melody Mason?” she asked incredulously.

I remembered her name as well. We hugged and began to talk excitedly as people pushed around us. It was a reunion of two old friends. Penny and I had been part of a young adult discipleship retreat in Colorado nine years earlier. We had not seen each other since, although we were friends on Facebook.

The amazing thing is that Penny and her family don’t live anywhere near that gas station. They were actually traveling more than 1,000 miles themselves from Texas to eastern Tennessee for a family vacation. So while I had been driving west, she had been driving east on the same highway. We both happened to stop at the same gas station and visit the same restroom at the exact same time. If there had been even a 10-second delay, we would have never known the other was there.

As it happened, Penny wanted my book “Daring to Ask for More” to read on the family vacation but hadn’t been able to order it in time. I had a few extra copies in my car and happily gave one to her. Penny said this was a divine providence. At the same time, I felt blessed because I had been praying that day about trusting God’s timing in my life.

That day, both of us grew in faith. We could not have planned the timing of our meeting more perfectly if we had tried. God is rarely early, but neither is He a second late! He is always right on time!

Melody Mason, is author of Daring to Ask for More: Divine Keys to Answered Prayer, and helps coordinate United in Prayer for the World church in Silver Spring, MD.

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IMG_1632When God’s people unite for the sake of sharing the love of Christ with others, special miracles happen — and that’s just what we saw this month as about 700 volunteers converged at the Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center in Beckley, West Virginia for a free clinic organized by Your Best Pathway to Health.

The goal was to minister to the physical needs of those we met, and with God’s help we accomplished our goal. More than 1,700 people received treatment for medical, dental, and vision needs, as well as a sundry other services such as haircuts, massages, and counseling. Some $6 million in health care was given, $50,000 in medication was given away, and many hearts and lives were changed.

As a pastor in the Mountain View Conference, whose territory includes Beckley, I was privileged to be part of the clinic’s chaplaincy department. The first day we opened I was walking the long lines outside when a woman asked me, “What are you guys doing?”

I explained that I was one of the chaplains on the team, and I shared with her about the process of Pathway to Health.

She then asked if I could pray with her. She mentioned that she was in the process of adopting a little girl whom she and her husband had cared for from the age of one week. But the girl’s biological mother now wanted the girl back and had delayed the adoption.

Together, while standing in line, we prayed and claimed the promise of Matthew18:19 that if we agree in prayer, it will be granted us. We also prayed that the situation could be resolved quickly for the sake of the child.

A couple hours later, I was walking in the waiting area of the dental department and saw the mother seated there with a big smile. She happily told me that the lawyer assisting her with the adoption had called shortly after we prayed and announced that he had secured a meeting to finalize the adoption the very next week.

“Hallelujah!” I exclaimed.

Immediately we had a prayer of thanksgiving to our Father in heaven.

The mother then told me that while we had prayed earlier, another chaplain at the free clinic had been praying with her husband in the parking lot.

God truly orchestrated this blessing to fall upon this family that day. It was a privilege that we could be part of their miracle story.

James Volpe serves as a pastor in the Mountain View Conference in the Clarksburg Fairmont Grafton district.

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lightstock_63251_small_bhpWhile serving as a missionary in Yap, Micronesia in 2002, I had the privilege of teaching Bible to high school students.

However, one day, the school principal asked me if I would be willing to teach an elective class for the second semester on law, given my background as an attorney.  I was very enthusiastic about the idea but wondered what I would use for a curriculum and textbook.  I had a couple of mock trial problems we could use, but they were not anything that would do justice to the subject (no pun intended). Much more would be needed to give an adequate introduction to law and it’s general facets if I was to keep the students busy for five classes a week for a whole semester.

I prayed about finding a textbook and then looked in the school library for something. Maybe they’d at least have something like “The Law for Dummies.” However, there was nothing there.

I had already forgotten about my prayer when later that same day the principal asked me if I could go with a couple of other teachers to the airport to pick up a shipment of used textbooks that were being donated to our Yap Seventh-day Adventist School.

At the airport, we found a large U.S. Coastguard helicopter from Guam.  Box after box was unloaded containing many used textbooks on elective subjects such as French and Spanish.

Imagine my amazement when I discovered several boxes containing a textbook titled “Street Law: A Course in Practical Law 5th Edition.”  Wow! I could hardly believe it. What an incredible answer to prayer!

As it turned out, it was a great book, well written and with a great overview of the various aspects of the law.  It came complete with great case studies such as “The Case of the Missing Peanut Butter,” and more. Although a lawyer, I had no idea such excellent resources even existed for high school students. Also, even if I had known about the book, we did not have a budget to buy such textbooks or pay for the very high cost of shipping. But God took care of everything.

Not only did God send me the exact books that I needed, but He delivered them straight to our tiny island in the middle of nowhere in the vast Pacific Ocean via a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. And beyond that, He sent so many books, that the principle would not even let us keep them all, but shipped the extras to the outer islands so others could have the resources as well.

While it’s been almost 14 years since this miracle, it’s something I’ve never forgotten, for it showed me that God cares about the little details of our lives and needs. He is a big God, yet He still cares about our little prayers! What an amazing God we serve.

David Steward, a prosecuting attorney for 15 years, is an evangelist with Amazing Facts. Now instead of putting people in jail, he’s setting the captives free as he teaches the everlasting gospel and the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14.

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We all have things that are very dear and precious to us. Things that we can’t imagine living without. My most precious possession is my Bible.

I’ve had this Bible for almost 15 years, and it travels with me everywhere I go. It is filled with highlights as well as dates by special promises that we’ve prayed as a family or that I’ve prayed individually. Various passages have come alive in times of distress and have brought comfort and courage. Nothing could replace this precious Bible!

With this in mind, you can imagine my distress when last October 2015, I accidently left my Bible in a rental car.  We prayed earnestly as we contacted the rental company, asking them if they could find it. But our efforts to locate my precious Bible were to no avail. All appeared hopeless. How I missed my Bible! It felt as if there was a hole in my heart. How could I be SO careless? I continued praying and pleading that miraculously God would bring my Bible back to me.

Finally, several months later, in early in December, I got a message on Facebook from a complete stranger. It was a lady sending me pictures of my Bible. She told me excitedly, “I can’t believe this, but I found your Bible in my rental car and it’s just what I need. Can I just keep it for a few days so I can read more in it?”

I was thrilled! God had finally answered my prayer. Since I happened to be in South Africa at the time, traveling for Hope Channel, I wrote her back that it would be no problem for her to keep my Bible a few days as I wouldn’t be home right away. However, I sent her my address and fully expected that it would be in my mailbox when I returned. But when I got home, still, there was no Bible.

Urgently I contacted her again, telling her how precious my Bible was to me and that I’d really like to have it back. She shared with me some of the challenges in her life and promised to return it. Finally she responded. “I’m so sorry. I feel really bad. But I have a busy house with small children and I have no idea where it has gone to.”

My heart sank. Meanwhile every day, it seemed every time I turned around I continuing missing my precious Bible!

We kept in contact every few weeks, and I continued to pray “Oh Lord, you know where my Bible is. Can you please bring it back to me?” At one point she even told me that she’d had a dream that she had found my Bible. I just prayed harder!

A couple more months went by, then one day I received an e-mail message from another stranger. This time it was a man. He was sending me a picture of the front of my Bible. He wrote, “I found your Bible in my rental car!” Ironically it was the same rental vehicle I too had rented!

I called him on the phone right away. As it turned out, he was only one-hour drive away from where we lived. My husband and I looked at each other, and then told him, “We’re coming right now!” So we hopped in our vehicle and went to reclaim the precious Bible.

Where my Bible traveled on it’s mysterious journey and how God used it during our almost 6+ months apart, I may never know during this life. However, I’m looking forward to hearing the full story from my angel when I get to heaven. I’m so thankful to have it back. One thing I know for sure, is that my Bible means more to me than I ever realized!

Truly God does care and He does answer our prayers!

Kandus Thorp is director for international development at Hope Channel. This story was initially shared on the live program “Let’s Pray,” which she co-hosts weekly on the Hope Channel. To tune in or learn more, visit: www.letspray.hopetv.org

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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I sat alone in a gathering of pastors as the topic of our evening meeting turned to the subject of prayer.

This was not an uncommon occurrence, but this time something touched me. One of my colleagues began to share a story of how he gathered his elders early in the morning once a week to intercede for a soul in need. Usually the situation was desperate. As a result of their pleading, God had been intervening in a miraculous way.

As I listened to his testimony, I sensed God calling me to take action.

Our congregation had recently purchased a new building, but this building was not yet paid for. Our former church sat on a postage-stamp parcel on a busy street adjacent to the city firehouse. While the quaint white church was a landmark in town, the cramped facilities, lack of parking, and occasional wailing fire truck were more than an inconvenience.

However our spacious new church had a dated interior, sat on two acres, had an accommodating parking lot, and included the parsonage next door. Originally listed for $785,000 just three years prior, we purchased the facility for $185,000 — a discount of $600,000!

Our first Sabbath was Mother’s Day weekend. By September, we realized we had a problem when our old church building still hadn’t sold. Utilities and maintenance costs on two churches, combined with mortgage payments to the Lake Union, were beginning to challenge our church budget. With winter looming, we knew that something had to give, and soon.

When I heard the emphasis on sacrificial, united prayer, I sent letters to the entire congregation inviting them to do something crazy. I asked our membership to join me twice each week — at 5:30 in the morning — and pray for about an hour. We followed the united prayer model that we’d been using for the Ten Days of Prayer emphasis that we had participated in the past two years.

At first 15 people attended. Then it dwindled to 10. When the snow started to fly, we settled on five. But we persisted. And shortly after the dawn of the New Year, our old church sold — for the exact price that we purchased the new building: $185,000.

I’ll never forget having our last business meeting in that old, unheated building. The small crowd gathered in their heavy coats, sang a song, and thanked God for what He had done to sell the old church.

But that was not the end of the story. We have continued to pray, and since we have seen souls baptized that had formerly struggled to make a decision. And in the congregation’s sister church, a small group of men began gathering to pray for our ministry in the community. That little country church is now seeing the largest attendance to a prophecy seminar that it has seen in many years.

The past few years have taught me many things about united prayer. Numbers aren’t everything, but consistency is. And when God’s people set aside time to pray — especially when it accompanies a personal sacrifice — God’s people have His attention, and He moves on His own behalf to glorify Himself.

Jarod Thomas has been serving as a pastor in Michigan but is currently in the process of moving to Silver Spring Maryland, to work as communications manager for the General Conference Ministerial Association.

By the way, if you have a powerful answered prayer testimony that you want us to consider for publication with United in Prayer, please  e-mail us at: UnitedinPrayer@ministerialassociation.org (Submissions must be 400 words or less.)  

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Sometimes God gives us a glimpse of the fruit we have sown to encourage us.

One day, a letter was sent to my church from the minimum security section of a nearby prison. Sensing a plea for help, I went to visit the inmate. Upon meeting Tom, I learned that he had written many churches in our town, and I was the first person who had responded or come to see him. He began to ask many questions about what I believed. We started Bible studies together.

As we studied, he asked about the references mentioned at the bottom of the quotes in the Bible studies. These references were for books like The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, and Patriarchs and Prophets. I told him that the books belonged to a special collection called the Conflict of the Ages series.

“I want to get them all,” he exclaimed. “How much do they cost?”

I told him that I would find out.

However, the next time I came to visit him, I found out he had been transferred to another prison. The sergeant at the gate did not know which prison he’d gone to, and would not answer any questions.

Since I was new at prison ministry, I didn’t know where to go to find the answers. I started praying because I was worried he might end up in a prison where he would have no contact with Seventh-day Adventists and he might lose interest.

Three years later, after a conference meeting, a woman stopped me as I left church.

“I heard you say that you were in prison ministry. What is your name?” she inquired.

When I gave her my name, her face lit up. “Oh!” she responded excitedly. “I do prison ministry, too, and Tom said that he studied with you!”

Yes, it was the same young man. As it turned out, Tom had been transferred to a prison where she was doing prison ministry, and when he had told her about the books he wanted, she had gotten them for him. As a result of the studies, he had been baptized and was now a strong believer.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6 it says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

I praise the Lord for this miracle! Even when we don’t see the answers to our prayers immediately, we must remember that God is still at work. Truly He works all things together for our good.

Glen W. Ballard writes from Dana, Illinois.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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I’ve been a pastor’s wife for almost 20 years.

I’ve been a Seventh-day Adventist Christian much longer.

However, over the past few years, God has been taking me on an incredible journey — a journey into a deeper walk with Him,.

Somewhat hesitantly, I told God a few months back, during my prayer time, that I would be willing to share what He’s been doing in my life if He gave me the opportunity. At the time, I had no idea what that would look like. I was just seeking to be surrendered to Him.

It wasn’t long before I received a request to share my testimony at a nearby church for its divine service. With trembling hands and a churning stomach, I gulped as I agreed. I was terrified. Usually my husband pastor does all the speaking. For years he has been the one who God uses on the public front. Could God also use me?

I worried as the day to speak grew nearer. I don’t know what I had had in mind when I prayed to share my story, but it wasn’t speaking for the church service. Surely God could have started with an easier assignment. But seeking to trust God, I prayed like crazy as I moved forward despite my feelings.

Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Promises like this were my strength!

God blessed abundantly. He heard my prayers, and hearts were touched. But most of all, God touched me.

And the blessings didn’t stop that Sabbath. Not long after, I was asked to share my testimony again at a local correctional facility for women. For a long time I had been finding excuses to not get involved in our church’s local prison ministry, but God broke hrough my stubborn heart. I’m so glad He did. The blessings that were poured out during this day are indescribable.

Now I’m slightly afraid of what God will ask me to do next. But I’m also eager to follow His lead.

Be careful what you tell God you are willing to do. Chances are, He will take you up on your offer. But let me assure you, the journey will be amazing.

Melony Coleman is a pastor’s wife in Alaska and the mother of three children.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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There is something truly wonderful about being the answer to someone’s prayer. I recently had such an experience, and it was deeply faith affirming. Here’s what happened.

One of the members at my church had been going through a difficult challenge in her life — one of those situations that makes you question whether God is real. I had heard from others that she was struggling, but not knowing her too well, I wasn’t sure what to do except pray for her.

I remembered E.M. Bounds’ much-quoted adage: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.” So I was by no means discounting the power of prayer when that is all that can be done. It literally sets the table for everything else that God wants to do in a given situation. So I prayed.

To my great surprise, the member for whom I was concerned approached me at church one Sabbath morning. We exchanged pleasantries and wished each other “Happy Sabbath!” She then paused, looked at me quizzically, smiled, and walked away.

I thought nothing of it at the time, but a few weeks later we bumped into each other again at church. This time she asked if we could talk sometime. I agreed, and we later met at church to study the Bible in an attempt to find God’s will for her life. That’s when she told me the “rest of the story,” as the late Paul Harvey would say.

She had been asking God to show her who to speak with about her situation. She felt impressed to share with me, but she was hesitant.

“If Dwain is the person to speak to,” she prayed, “let me see him at church this Sabbath.”

I was the first person to greet her at church that day, and that’s why she gave me the quizzical look.

Sometimes God allows us to be the answer to someone’s prayer. May we always be ready to serve others in their hour of need.

Dwain Esmond is associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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Green, Yellow and Red Traffic Light in the London city..Mr. D joined our house church services in early 2014.

It was an exciting time. We had 16 people attending the church, and one was preparing to be baptized.

Mr. D wanted to keep the Sabbath and worship with us every week, so he asked his company if he could take off from Friday sunset to Sabbath sunset. However, his company would not allow him to stop working on Sabbath. In fact, his boss told him he had to resign from his job if he wanted to keep the Sabbath.

Mr. D struggled over this issue, and we prayed for him for a whole year. Finally this last New Year, he made his decision to quit his job so he could keep the Sabbath.

But his boss rejected his resignation, and his colleagues laughed at him. They could not understand why he would give up a good career to keep his religious beliefs. They reasoned that if he wanted to go to church, he could go on Sunday because the offices were closed on Sunday.

We prayed with Mr. D for another month. Finally he submitted his letter of resignation again. Not wanting to lose Mr. D, his boss finally gave him the green light to keep the Sabbath. He could have the day off.

We all praised the Lord!

But his colleagues were not supportive. They kept intentionally asking him to come into the office on Sabbath for unusual or unnecessary tasks. Understandably, this upset Mr. D. We comforted him and prayed for his colleagues for eight weeks.

Mr. D clung to Matthew 5:16, which says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” So when his colleagues were unfriendly, he would share health principles and healthy food with them instead of getting angry. He also began praying for each colleague every day.

Slowly the attitude of his colleagues began to change. They apologized for their behavior. Some have even attended health seminars that we offer.

Mr. D will be baptized in a few weeks. His story is an answer to prayer.

Editor’s note: This story is written by a pioneer worker in an area of Asia where sharing Christ is difficult and sometimes risky. For this reason, we are not publishing the names of people involved in the story. Please pray for the workers, the new believers, and especially for Mr. D, and his colleagues.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Is there something in your life that God has asked you to stand for but you are struggling making the decision to follow through? Pray and ask that God will give you strength! He is faithful. He doesn’t ask us to do something without giving us the ability to do it.

“Obedience is the test of discipleship. It is the keeping of the commandments that proves the sincerity of our professions of love. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, are manifest in our lives; when the joy of right doing is in our hearts; when we exalt Christ, and not self, we may know that our faith is of the right order. “Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:3. Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 146

Dear Heavenly Father, Please help us know how to honor You by the decisions we make. We sense You calling us to a closer walk with You, to a life of surrender and greater consecration. But often the decisions You call us to make are not easy. And others just don’t understand. Please give us strength to keep moving forward. Give us strength to keep our eyes on You and to remember that it doesn’t matter what others think as long as we are honoring You. Thank You for hearing this prayer and giving us strength to obey. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: 1 Sam. 15:22, James 1:22, Phil. 4:13

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

I experienced a fulfillment of this promise just a few weeks ago. When the search committee for the Hope Channel Board asked me if I would be willing to serve as President of Hope Channel, my first response was surprise. I had happily served as a volunteer for the past ten years, helping to create programs like The Life and Teachings of Jesus and Hope Sabbath School. But this was a new frontier. How should I respond? I was scheduled to film new episodes of Ministry in Motion all that day and the committee was requesting an answer by mid-afternoon.

Without a doubt, I needed to claim the promise of the LORD recorded by the psalmist 3,000 years ago in Psalm 32:8. I was also reminded of the words of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV).

As I was walking to the Hope Channel studio to begin a day of filming, I noticed the multiple screens on the lobby wall showing current programs on various Hope Channel affiliates. On one screen I was teaching Hope Sabbath School. On another screen someone was interviewing one of my favorite preachers, Dwight Nelson, on Ministry in Motion. When the camera shot changed, I discovered I was the interviewer. Suddenly it dawned on me—God had been preparing me for this day for the past decade. His promise was already being fulfilled: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

My wife and I had lunch together and spent some special time in prayer. I also called my spiritual mentor, Dr. Jack Blanco, and asked him to intercede on our behalf. God was giving us peace as we moved through the day, but He was about to give us two other remarkable indications of His leading.

Later that same afternoon, one of the vice presidents of the General Conference came to me with tears in his eyes. He told me he had spent significant time in prayer for me that day and exclaimed, “The committee is not calling you; God is calling you.” I was startled by his words, but not shocked by his counsel. About the same time, I received a phone call from Dr. Blanco. “I was praying for you, Derek. I didn’t know what you should do, but then the strong conviction came to me: ‘Call Derek and tell him to take the assignment.’ ”

I’m so thankful for the privilege of prayer, for praying friends, praying mentors, and a prayer-answering God! His invitation is offered to each one of us: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Derek Morris, President of Hope Channel, and former editor of Ministry Magazine.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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Practical Application: 

Are you facing a change in career or a difficult decision and not sure what you should do? Consider the following counsel from the book Education.

“We need to follow more closely God’s plan of life. To do our best in the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for the indications of His providence—these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation.” Education, p. 267

Dear Heavenly Father, Many of us are facing important decisions. But we don’t want to make our decisions based on our own thoughts or desires. We want You to lead us. We want You to show us the way, for we want to stay in the center of Your will. Thank You that You have promised to guide and direct our steps when we seek You! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Isa. 30:21, Prov. 3:5,6, Ps. 32:8, Ps. 119:105

Pink spring backgroundSpring is a great time for new beginnings. In the spring of 1845, young Ellen Harmon got to see a wonderful new beginning for her friend Frances.

Eighteen-year-old Ellen was visiting her friend in the little town of Topsham, Maine. Frances Howland was sick with rheumatic fever, which is very painful. Her hands were so badly swollen that you couldn’t see the joints of her fingers. The doctor didn’t seem to be able to do much to help poor Frances.

Ellen, along with some friends and the Howland family, held a special prayer meeting for Frances. “We all knelt in earnest prayer to God in her behalf. We claimed the promise, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’ John 16:24. The blessing of God attended our prayers, and we had the assurance that God was willing to heal the afflicted one,” Ellen wrote.

Frances was lying in an upstairs room, and as soon as the prayer session ended, Sister Curtis dashed up the stairs. Ellen wrote that “she entered the sickroom with the Spirit of God upon her, and taking the invalid by the hand, said, ‘Sister Frances, in the name of the Lord, arise, and be whole.’ New life shot through the veins of the sick girl, a holy faith took possession of her, and obeying its impulses, she rose from her bed, stood upon her feet, and walked the room, praising God for her recovery. She was soon dressed, and came down into the room where we were assembled, her countenance lighted up with unspeakable joy and gratitude.”

The next morning Frances was feeling so well that she came down to breakfast. For family worship someone decided to read James 5. While he was reading, the doctor came in and without disturbing anyone went upstairs to visit his patient. Not finding her there, he came down into the kitchen where everyone, including Frances, was sitting. He stared at her completely amazed and blurted out, “So Frances is better!”

“The Lord has healed her,” said Mr. Howland. The group continued reading James 5 about the prayer of faith and God healing the sick. The doctor listened with an expression of amazement and disbelief upon his face. After the reading, the doctor made a hurried exit.

For Ellen Harmon, this springtime miracle helped her remember that with God all things are possible!

Chantal Klingbeil is associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate. This story was originally published in the April 2016 issue of the Adventist Review’s KidsView magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

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Practical Application: 

Let’s not forget the great God that we serve. He is still able!

“The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is ‘dead in trespasses.’ Ephesians 2:1. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.” Desire of Ages, p. 203

Dear Heavenly Father, We know it is Your will to heal Your people physically. What we don’t know is the timing. Would it be most for Your glory and honor to heal immediately, gradually over time, or not until the second coming? Whatever Your will is, please help us to accept it. However, we thank You that when we pray for spiritual healing, this is a gift that we can claim confidently NOW! Please grow our faith in You and Your Word. In Jesus Name, amen!

Bible Passages to claim: Ps. 30, Ps. 103

lightstock_157734_small_bhpI have often heard people say, “God is rarely early, never late, but He is always on time.”

One unforgettable journey started as I drove home from my shift at a surgical center. As I prayed, I felt impressed to turn my car around and go to a nursing home to see an old friend and former co-worker, Cassie.

Cassie was beautiful, petite, and smart. Her family was well known and wealthy. She seemed to have it all.

One day I noticed that she was becoming rather friendly with one of the physicians. Then they began to date. However, as weeks turned into months, my friend didn’t seem the same. I inquired how things were going with her new relationship. She said everything was great, but her eyes shared something quite the opposite.

I soon learned that Cassie had become addicted to prescription pain pills prescribed by her new-found romantic interest. She was calling in sick and making mistakes in the days she showed up at work. Eventually, she quit her job, knowing she would be fired soon anyway.

Unfortunately, a horrible storm was brewing as Cassie and the doctor became full-fledged drug users. Moreover, a baby was on the way; Two beautiful, intelligent people ravaged by the destruction of drugs.

I lost complete contact with Cassie for seven years.

Then while driving home from work, I wondered what had happened to her. I started my search at the nursing home, where she had been kept for some time. I was told she had been discharged and had possibly died.

I knocked on her parents’ door, only to get turned away. They wanted nothing to do with her and told me they were ashamed.

I kept praying and asking the Lord to help me find her.

Two weeks later, my dad underwent surgery in a nearby city. I walked into the hospital’s main entrance and there she was, smiling at me!

I drove Cassie home that day to the drug ghetto where she lived. I noticed she was very short of breath. She informed me she was scheduled for a heart valve replacement in several weeks. I poured my life into her, bringing her to church, reading Scripture, and praying with her.

The night before her surgery, she asked how she could have eternal life and “right” all the “wrongs” in her life. I led her in prayer as she accepted Jesus.

Cassie died the next day on the operating room table. Later I stood at her casket and shared with those present at her funeral that she had found out that God is never late, rarely early, but always right on time.

 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

Cindy Mercer is a pastor’s wife in North Carolina. She also saw her own marriage salvaged through the power of prayer. To read that amazing story, click here.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Are there people God has impressed you to reach out to and pray for that you’ve been procrastinating reaching out to? Don’t procrastinate any longer. If God is giving you the impression, it is for a reason, and you never know when the opportunity to touch a life for eternity may be past.

Consider the following words from Inspiration:

“By all that has given us advantage over another,—be it education and refinement, nobility of character, Christian training, religious experience,—we are in debt to those less favored; and, so far as lies in our power, we are to minister unto them. If we are strong, we are to stay up the hands of the weak.” Desire of Ages, p. 440

Dear Heavenly Father, Help us not to procrastinate in reaching out to those that You lay on our hearts. Help us not to pray, but to seek practical ways to show Your love and care. It’s so easy to get consumed in our lives, that we forget there are many discouraged despairing souls around us that are dying without hope. Help us to be Your hands and feet! Help us to be Your example of love. In Jesus’ precious Name! Amen!

Promise to Claim: 1 Pet. 3:15, Luke 21:15

I’d fallen into the same trap as many Christians before me.

At one time I had experienced a vibrant relationship with God — after He saved me from the life of a drug dealer, alcoholic, and thief. I loved my time with God in prayer and study. But as the cares of the world pressed upon me, I studied my Bible less and spent far less time talking with Jesus. The result was to be expected — although I had not planned on it happening to me.

I refused the call on my life to serve God full-time and rapidly found myself neck deep in the world of real estate. Soon I was making huge amounts of money as I rose to the top 4 percent of Coldwell Banker agents across the United States.

My wife found her way into the same world of success, enjoying houses and money that supposedly offered happiness. I had a radio talk show and lobbied for various causes on Washington’s Capitol Hill, rubbing shoulders with senators and other members of Congress. Oh yes, I was a player, as they say, and enjoying every minute of it.

But one day, sitting in church (yes, I was still going to church. I looked and acted the part very well—I even paid a faithful tithe. I was the perfect Adventist), I heard God speaking to my heart.

“Jim, the Holy Spirit may be poured out all around you, but you will not recognize it or receive it.”

I knew it was the voice of God. I hadn’t heard that voice speaking to me in years. Truth be told, I actually hadn’t been listening. But now I was. Here I was sitting in church — lost. Praise God that He did not give up on me.

I began studying my Bible again as my prayer life grew rapidly. I found myself praying this prayer over and over: “Lord, I want to reach the world for you. I don’t know how, but help me reach the world.”

I can’t believe what God has done in answer to that prayer. I have traveled to more than 70 countries. I’ve served at Amazing Facts, Adventist World Radio at the General Conference, and now Hope Channel, the largest denominationally owned television network in the world. And I could tell you more.

Yes, God answers prayer!

We are told that, “Prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence” (Steps to Christ, p. 94-95).

Let’s not forget the importance of this key, or of spending regular daily time with Him. Let’s not miss the outpouring of the Holy Spirit when it comes.

Jim Ayer is assistant to the president for advancement at Hope Channel. He also served as the producer of the 2015 film “What Might Have Been” — and is still praying that Ellen White’s vision of “What Might Have Been” will be realized in our day. Click here to view this film!

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Let’s once again remember these words from Inspiration:

“An intensity such as never before was seen is taking possession of the world. In amusement, in moneymaking, in the contest for power, in the very struggle for existence, there is a terrible force that engrosses body and mind and soul. In the midst of this maddening rush, God is speaking. He bids us come apart and commune with Him. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. With hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ’s loving presence, pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher. With their burdens they return to their work.

These workers can never attain the highest success until they learn the secret of strength. They must give themselves time to think, to pray, to wait upon God for a renewal of physical, mental, and spiritual power. They need the uplifting influence of His Spirit. Receiving this, they will be quickened by fresh life. The wearied frame and tired brain will be refreshed, the burdened heart will be lightened.

Not a pause for a moment in His presence, but personal contact with Christ, to sit down in companionship with Him—this is our need.” Education, p. 260

Dear Heavenly Father, Help us to stop and take time to connect with You daily. Help us realize that apart from You, we can do nothing! Show us our need. Wake us up before its too late. We don’t want to miss the Latter Rain when it falls! Thus, help us always to stay connected to you! In Jesus’ precious Name! Amen!

lightstock_146108_small_bhp (1)“I need someone to pray for me and advise me on how to fast and pray,” a woman named Laura wrote.

Her e-mail continued: “My marriage has serious problems that are leaving me emotionally broken. Because of that, I am struggling spiritually. I can’t pray, I can’t read the Bible no matter how much I want to. I don’t know who I am anymore, and my life is falling apart.”

I didn’t know Laura, but I e-mailed her back, promising that I would pray. I also sent her some information on fasting and prayer.

A month later, she e-mailed again. I had no idea what to expect as I opened the message. Would she be asking for more prayer?

The following are excerpts from Laura’s e-mail, which she has given permission to publish:

Dear Raluca,

For six years my husband and I have been struggling with many issues in our marriage. We tried getting counseling from our pastor. It didn’t work. We went for marital counseling. It didn’t work. Marriage seminars didn’t work. Nothing was working.

From outside our marriage looked perfect. People would tell us how wonderful we are. But inside we both knew that we were not connected. Our love had faded away. Knowing that I was not loved by my husband made me feel empty, sad, very confused and very lost, to the point were I could not pray, and I had become very depressed.

To give you some background, my husband is more spiritual than me. He has been my spiritual mentor since we met. Many things I know about God are from him. When I told him about your blog regarding 21 days of prayer and fasting, he was very skeptical. He gave me all the reasons why I should not do it. But I was not convinced. I knew for sure I needed to do it right away, even if it meant I would do it alone. However, the morning I started the 21 days of prayer and fasting, my husband told me, “I am doing it with you!” This was the first miracle.

And so we began. During the 21 days of prayer my greatest request was, “Lord change my life, I want to fall in love with Jesus again.” I knew very well if I don’t have the love of Jesus in my heart, the love of my husband that I was looking for could never fill my heart.

Dear Raluca, God is so good and so merciful. His love endures forever. I can testify to it. God has healed my marriage and brought peace and happiness into our marriage again. My husband is crazy in love with me more than you can imagine.

But the greatest miracle God did is the work He did in my spiritual life. I fell in love with the Word of God again, and I love being in His presence.

If I wrote everything that has happened, it would take forever. Just know that I am not the same woman who wrote you that first message a little over a month ago! Jesus came to my heart and this time He has come to stay.

Much love, Laura

Editor’s note: This story was featured in the Adventist Review last year during 100 Days of Prayer, but we thought we’d share it again to inspire and help rekindle faith in the hearts of those struggling in their marriages. Laura’s name is a pseudonym to protect privacy, however today she and her husband are active in the prayer ministry of their local church.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

464836779Practical Application: 

It’s easy for the love to fade in marriage, especially when we get consumed with the busyness of life and when we aren’t being intentional to stay connected. If you fall into this category, where you are just going through the motions, but you long for more in your marital relationship, we encourage you to consider doing a period of prayer and fasting together. Maybe for a week or ten days, or maybe even for 21 days.

Choose together what you will fast from: Maybe a dessert you both indulge in much too often, or maybe some type of media or entertainment that often consumes your time. Or maybe you will choose together to eat more simply during a specific period of time.

Next commit to praying together both morning and evening. Share your burdens and pray for them together claiming the promises of God’s Word. Pray that God would give you a fresh picture of who He is as well as a deeper love for your spouse. Pray that He will give you ideas on how you can draw closer to one another!

And last but not least, instead of nagging or complaining, start looking for the things you like about your spouse. Make it a goal to compliment your spouse at least once a day, if not more, on things that you genuinely love or appreciate about them. The more you practice doing this, the easier it will get. Affirmation builds respect and love. Practice it freely! And hold your tongue on the complaints.

Be intentional! God will work! He will answer your prayers!

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s easy to get so busy with life, even with ministry, that we stop praying with and for one another as we should. This week we want to pray for our marriages—whether our own, or those that we know. Teach us how to be intentional in our love, in our appreciation, and in lifting up each other’s burdens in prayer. We know you can revive our hearts again! Thanks for hearing this prayer! In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Ps. 85:6

phonto-2My Adventist teammate and I know that prayer is powerful. Because of this, we always pray before going out on the street to share the gospel in the restrictive Asian country where we live. In fact, because we believe in the power of prayer, we really have spent lots of time praying.

But for a long time nothing seemed to happen despite all the prayers. We saw no breakthrough in our work on the streets.

As a result, we got a little discouraged and began to lose our way. How could we continue the pioneer work and church-planting plan when we saw no spiritual breakthrough?

However we did not have any other way to keep the work going other than prayer. So we continued praying, even though we saw no results.

One day as we were praying before leaving for the streets, a church member rushed into our house church to say her husband was very sick and had requested prayer. Her eyes filled with tears. We understood that the need was critical, so we changed our plan from trying to witness on the streets and instead went to her home.

Mr. C was very ill and weak. Our hearts were broken when we saw him. We prayed for him and sang some Christian songs. Despite his weakness, he smiled at us. In fact, he looked better after our prayer.

After praying with him daily for a week, he had improved enough to speak with us. We were praising the Lord!

Mr. C was not a believer when we met him. But today he has accepted Jesus, the God of his wife, as real and powerful. He is beginning to study the Bible to learn more about Jesus.

Seeing God’s hand in Mr. C’s life has reminded us that God hears our prayers after all. But perhaps He wants us to focus on the people who are closest to us first. While we will continue praying for a breakthrough in sharing the gospel on the streets, we have decided that the best place to start is with our church members and their families. We believe that another Mr. C or Mrs. C is waiting for our visit. They need to hear about Jesus and His everlasting gospel.

In Acts 16:31, we are promised: “Have faith in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will have salvation.”

We must continue the work to bring more non-Christian family members to Jesus.

Editor’s Note: This is the testimony of a pioneer worker in an area of Asia where sharing about Christ is difficult and sometimes risky. While we cannot share names, please pray for the workers and new believers there, for God knows their names.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

Perhaps you have loved ones that don’t know about Jesus or don’t accept Jesus as their personal Savior. Maybe you’ve tried to share the truth and they’ve been resistant to your sharing.

May we suggest that in addition to praying for them, you ask God to show you ways that you can practically reach out to meet some need they have. Often we are encouraged to share bread or some special treat with our neighbors trying to build bridges and win their hearts, but what about our family, or backslidden members in the church. Instead of visiting them with an agenda to convert them to some doctrine or truth, why don’t you consider visiting them with a special gift, and telling them you just stopped to see how they are and ask what you can pray about for them. Listen and look for ways to reach out and meet a need, and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Dear Heavenly Father, how our hearts ache for our loved ones to come to know You as we do. Sometimes we try and try to share the truth, and they still aren’t interested. Maybe we’ve been going about things all wrong. Instead of preparing a sermon to share next time we meet, help us to spend more time on our knees praying for them. Show us how we can love them, encourage them, and meet needs that they may have, and dear Lord, please give us patience as Your Spirit works on their hearts. We know at the right time and in the right way, You can open the doors for them to receive the truth. Thanks for hearing this prayer! In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen!

Promises to Claim: 1 John 3:18, Ex. 4:12

phonto-2While serving as a missionary in Bangkok, Thailand, I met Mr. Somchai and his wife. They were the owners of a little shop next to the Prakhanong Train Station. We met after my Thai language teacher had told me, “You must practice what you are learning every day with a Thai person!”

After praying, I stopped by their little hawker shop to buy some cookies and practice the Thai that I had learned that day.

They were patient as I tried to enunciate clearly my new vocabulary using the five tones of the Thai language. Each word is like a note in a song. If you use the wrong tone for a specific word, then you have a different word.

After each short exchange I headed back to my office at the Thailand Adventist Mission to resume my church-planting duties.

As my Thai vocabulary grew, so did our friendship. I started to learn about their family, their history, and their joys and daily struggles. I longed for the day that my Thai vocabulary would grow large enough to communicate the hope that Christ gives and the incredible power of prayer.

That day finally came. What a joy it was to share with my friends the blessed hope of Christ’s soon return and the promise of the resurrection. What a joy it was to share the powerful promises from God’s Word. I left gospel tracts and DVDs with Thai people’s testimonies of answered prayers. Later I was able to pray in Thai, asking God’s blessing upon their family, their health, and their family business.

My family has since moved back to the United States, but I continue to pray for Mr. Somchai and his wife and daughters. Will you join me in praying for their salvation?

In Psalm 2:8 we are told, “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

It’s easy to always pray for our own personal requests and those in our own circle of influence, but there are nations that God is waiting to reach with the gospel. Will you join me in claiming Psalm 2:8 for the nations that have never heard the blessed hope of the everlasting gospel? Will you join the worldwide church in the Mission to the Cities initiatives to reach the masses for Jesus?

Let’s be more proactive. Let’s ask God for nations!

Doug Venn is the new director of the General Conference Global Mission Urban Center. He also coordinates the Mission to the Cities and Urban Centers of Influence initiatives, which are part of our General Conference’s “Reach the World” strategic plan.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

Naturally we tend to focus our prayers on those nearest and dearest, or on our personal needs, but God wants us to have a bigger vision. He wants us to see the world in need!

Of course, praying for the nations and for those we don’t know means we must have an unselfish heart and Christ centered goals. This cannot come but by the grace of God.

For some practical resources and tools to help you learn how to love, reach out to, and pray for those of other faiths and cultures, visit: http://reachtheworldnextdoor.com/

Let’s start praying that God would truly give us a heart for the nations! Let’s start praying that He would give us a heart for our neighbors next door, for the world next door, and for those who do not yet know Christ.

Dear Heavenly Father, All around us are precious souls that do not yet know you! Sometimes we can’t speak their language, and other times we simply do not know how to connect. We want to ask today that You would give us Your heart for the nations. We want to ask that You would give us Your eyes, and Your vision to see and reach out to those in need. And give us faith Lord, that we can claim this promise. We want the nations as our inheritance! In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Ps. 2:8

16-04-10 God said No

It happened many years ago, but I remember it as clearly as yesterday.

I did not receive the desire of my heart, and I pleaded with God for a reversal. For hours I cried, cajoled, and promised in prayer. Indeed, I wept without ceasing. What I did not do was read Scripture with an honest heart to see whether God might have had a reason to say no to my prayer.

Perhaps the Lord wearied of my insistent clamoring for my own way. Perhaps He saw that I was too focused on what I wanted to hear His still small voice of reason. In hindsight, I see Him sadly moving out of the way to allow circumstances to give me what I demanded. Like a stone tossed into a pond, the tragic results of that demand rippled out to negatively impact every aspect of my life.

In the years since that life-altering day, I have learned so much about prayer, about God, and about myself. I’m still studying the “science of prayer.” The following are three things that Jesus has taught me as I’ve sought a relationship with Him in His Word, through prayer and, yes, even through obedience to His will.

  1. If it’s for something that harmonizes with Scripture, don’t hesitate to pray and to pray boldly. “It is part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask” (The Great Controversy, p. 525). God longs to communicate with us, so “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
  2. God knows more than we do. God knows the end from the beginning. God knows whether a choice that seems spiritually benign to us may actually become a tool of Satan to hinder our walk with Him. Therefore, give Him sovereignty. Trust His judgment and allow Him to say no. Unless it’s for your salvation, or the salvation of others, don’t insist God answer your prayers your way. There’s a reason Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
  3. Believe that God can give you a new heart, a clean heart, regardless of your choices that have caused Him pain (Psalm 51:10, Ezekiel 36:26). Have confidence in God as a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God. There is nothing God wants more than to transform you to be like Him. Even when we deviate from His path, He can still turn circumstances for His glory. Jesus can still give fresh life and hope to a heart burdened by sin.

So keep praying! But remember that for our best good, God sometimes must say no.

Cindy Tutsch formerly was associate director for the Ellen G. White Estate. She has retired but now coordinates the Believe His Prophets daily reading program, and speaks and preaches worldwide.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

It’s not easy when God fails to answer our prayers in the way we hope, however Inspiration tells us the following:

“In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.” Ministry of Healing, p. 474

In another place we are told:

“When we do not receive the very things we asked for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers. We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good—that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Then do not fear to trust Him, even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” Steps to Christ, p. 96

Let’s seek to trust God, and have faith even when He doesn’t work as quickly as we hope. Let’s also trust Him even when the answer is “No.”

Dear Heavenly Father, You see the end from the beginning. You know better than we what we most need. If we are to persevere in prayer and not give up, help us to have faith. However, if You are trying to tell us that what we are asking is not for our best good, please open our eyes to see and to accept Your will. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Rom. 8:28, Prov. 3:5,6

12476874_10209147316738925_825719190_oThroughout our nearly fifty years of ministry, my wife Teenie and I have seen God answer our prayers repeatedly. Recently we’ve experienced God answering our prayers in a major way as our new Living Hope Seventh-day Adventist Community Church nears completion: this is a faith project that has cost around $4.5 million dollars, and has been funded largely by generous donors in answer to many prayers.

Now we are at the stage of getting our occupancy permit, and soon we can officially open our doors.

Our new church facility and school of evangelism is located in Haymarket, Virginia in a quaint shopping center with lovely shops and restaurants. A few weeks ago, we had a dilemma. Up and down the street next to our new church there are a number of elegant tall lamp poles to provide light in the evenings for the community. The dilemma occurred when someone ran into one of these lamp poles with their car and destroyed it. Naturally we expected the shopping center owners would fix the pole and because of this, we didn’t think much about it. But not long after the accident we were notified that it was our church’s responsibility to replace the lamp pole. We also discovered to our surprise that we would not be given our occupancy permit until we replaced the lamp pole and had each of the street lights functioning. The problem was, where would we find a replacement lamp pole? After all, these poles may be typical for affluent neighborhoods, but it’s not like you can just go down to Lowe’s and pick up a replacement.

Immediately I began to pray. “Heavenly Father, I have no idea where to find such a lamp pole, but You do. And so I’m asking you to help me! We need to get the permits for our church so we can move forward and now this is holding us back. We don’t know what to do, please give us wisdom on how to proceed?”

Not long after, I had the idea to contact the manager of the shopping center that sits just a few hundred yards away from our church. The manager and I have become friends and I figured maybe she could point me in the right direction. When I shared my dilemma with her, she responded, “Pastor Mark, we have a vacant store in our shopping center that we have used to store different supplies. This building has one of those exact lamp poles lying on the floor. It’s brand new! We’ve been needing to get rid of that pole so we can use the room. We’d be happy if you would take it. No charge!” She then gave me the lock combination to go retrieve the pole.

Reminded once again that God cares about my life and about our needs, my heart overflowed with gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord. Truly we serve an amazing God. Nothing is beneath Him; not even the task of helping me find a needed lamp pole for our street!

Mark Finley, Assistant to the President, General Conference

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

The Bible tells us, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). It also tells us, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isa. 30:21).

No matter what obstacle you are facing; the obstacle of needing to locate a difficult lamp pole, the obstacle of lack of finances for a big project, the obstacle of disease, of despair in face of great loss, or some other impossible mountain, God has a solution. He may not show us what is around the corner, but He promises to be the Light to our path today. Let’s cast our cares upon Him and trust in His Word. And the help that we need will come just when we need it most.

Dear Heavenly Father, Not only can You help us find a difficult lamp pole, like You did for Pastor Mark Finley, but You are the Lamp for our feet and the Light to our path. Show us how to cling to You, how to trust in You, and how to stand upon Your Word. The devil has hurled a thousand obstacles and many trials across our path, but You are greater than any obstacle we could ever face. We look to You for hope, for help, for strength! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Ps. 51:15

We all long to make a lasting difference! We all hope to leave a lasting legacy. However, often our lives become incredibly busy as we try to accomplish as much as possible. As a result, what then becomes of our legacy?

J.N. Andrews, an Adventist Pioneer, was an incredibly busy man, but he left an amazing legacy. A major part of this was his book “History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week.” Because Elder Andrews slept in a bed in the Review office while writing this book, he found it difficult to find a private place to pray during the day.

M.S. Boyd, a firsthand observer, recounts the story:

“Elder Andrews said he must find a place where he could pray for divine help and clarity of thought. He searched through the building, but could find no place for retirement except in an attic, where back numbers of the periodicals were stored. This he converted into his sanctum, and frequently we would see him winding his way through the composing room to an almost perpendicular ladder which led to that dimly lighted, ill-ventilated place, where he would spend hours pleading for wisdom to present correctly the truths that have since enlightened the world regarding the history of the Sabbath”(M.S. Boyd, “The First Italian Tract,” Review and Herald, September 18, 1924, p. 61).

What an incredible example of prioritizing much time in prayer! Should we be surprised at the eternal impact of J. N. Andrew’s work? Ellen White clearly states: “Only the work accomplished with much prayer, and sanctified by the merit of Christ, will in the end prove to have been efficient for good” (The Desire of Ages, p. 362).

Now, to be honest, when things get busy, when we are behind at work, when we wonder how we are going to accomplish everything we need to do — How often do we take time out during the day to pray? When a committee or board meeting is going frustratingly long, the last thing many want to hear is: “Let’s spend some time praying together.” But scripture is clear, “…effective, fervent prayer… avails much” (James 5:16).

Clearly, we’ve got to change our priorities!

“None need feel that they are too busy to pray, too full of business cares to spend an occasional fifteen minutes to seek counsel from God. My brethren, make God your entire dependence. When you do otherwise, then it is time for a halt to be called. Stop right where you are, and change the order of things” (Manuscript 24, 1891).

Zac Page is pastor of Templeton Hills Seventh-day Adventist church in Central California. He and his wife Leah are passionate about prayer and about helping people develop a genuine authentic walk with God.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

It’s easy to miss important things in life because of busyness or lack of prioritizing as our lives are consumed with minor or worldly matters.

We want to encourage you to take a few moments to write out some spiritual goals that you’d like to accomplish in the coming months or this next year. Then write out some intentional ways that you could help make those goals come to fruition. Maybe it’s getting up earlier so you can have more quality time with God, or cutting out an unnecessary activity or hobby. Ask God to show you how He wants you move forward, and then claim His promises as you obey what He asks of you.

Inspiration tells us:

“Whenever minor matters occupy the attention, the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in infinite plenitude…For the daily baptism of the Spirit every worker should offer his petition to God. Companies of Christian workers should gather to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely. The presence of the Spirit with God’s workers will give the proclamation of truth a power that not all the honor or glory of the world could give” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 50).

“To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of the truth” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 59).

Dear Heavenly Father, Help us learn what it means to make You our first priority. Help us learn to dig deeply into Your Word that our roots will run deep and we will be able to leave a lasting legacy for Your glory. In Psalm 1:1-3 You tell us, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” This is what we pray for. We want our lives to prosper and bear fruit for Your Kingdom. Please help us to put away the minor matters that consume our time and keep us away from You. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Ps. 27:4

There was a time that I wondered if God really cared about the little details in my life—that is, until I stepped out in faith and gave Him the chance to prove it.

Prove it is just what He did!

For the past year or so, my heart has been longing to leave my secular career and serve in full time ministry. But where? And if I went into full time ministry, how would I afford to pay my bills or buy the car I desperately needed?

Well, God knew my needs and His plans for my life long before I ever had a clue what He was up to. The Bible says, “Before they call, I will answer” (Isa. 65:24).

Knowing that I needed reliable transportation, and that He would be moving me from my job with the federal government to the position of girl’s dean at a private boarding academy, God provided a car for me months in advance. He also provided the funds needed to do maintenance and repairs. Besides my personal prayer partners, no one knew my desires or needs. It was just between us and God. And God proved Himself faithful.

In Matthew 6:31-33 it says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

As my faith grew, I decided to prove God even more. A couple months later, I decided that I was going to tell my employer that I would not be returning to work in the New Year. I knew God had a better plan for me; A plan for ministry. I still didn’t know what or where!

Just a few days later, through a series of divine appointments, I met the right people at the right place at the right time, and the position of girl’s dean for this private boarding academy was offered to me. It was a perfect fit for my heart’s desire to serve, and I couldn’t believe how everything was falling into place. Then I realized that God had been working and bringing all these details together for His glory, long before I’d even asked. And that’s just what God likes to do.

In Malachi 3:10, God says “prove me.” In other words, “test me, try me,” He encourages us. When we choose to put Him first, not only with our tithes and offerings, but with our life. He will be faithful!

Join me in proving God’s faithfulness!

Kat Taylor enjoys being girl’s dean at Oklahoma Academy and continues to work in prayer ministry as well as assisting with the Revival and Reformation’s social media.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

4543060842_e4fdb33047_bPractical Application: 

We all have real needs and need real money to pay real bills! However, instead of stressing over how you are going to make ends meet, why not write out a list of your needs and write Bible promises besides each need. For example, God promises to never let His children go hungry (Isa. 33:16). God promises to supply our needs (Ps. 37:25). Claim these promises as you give God your needs, and allow Him to prove His faithfulness.

Inspiration tells us:

“We need greater faith in the progress of the cause of God. When the Lord gives us a work to do, let us not stop to inquire into the reasonableness of the command or the probable result of our effort to obey. Workers for Christ are never to think, much less to speak, of failure in their work. Though the outward appearance may be unpromising, energy and trust in God will develop resources… Be strong, and talk hope. Press your way through obstacles. God’s word is your assurance. Approach your Saviour with the full confidence of living faith, joining your hands with his. Go where he leads the way. Whatsoever he says to you, do. He will teach you just as willingly as he will teach some one else… “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Have we not proved this in the past? As we moved out, trusting God’s promises, things unseen, except by the eye of faith, have become things seen. As we have walked and worked by faith, God has fulfilled to us every word he has spoken. The evidence we have of the faithfulness of his promise should check every thought of unbelief.” Review and Herald, May 20, 1902, par. 14,16,17

Dear Heavenly Father, As we continue to journey toward our heavenly home, we pray that our faith and trust in You would continue to grow. Help us to prove Your Word, and to trust You, knowing that You are faithful, and Your word does not return unto You void. Thanks for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Mal. 3:8, Phil. 4:19

Does your church pray?

I don’t mean a polite “invocation” at the beginning of the service. I want to know if your church corporately participates in intense, eternity-changing intercession when it gathers?

What is an “invocation” anyway? It is when we invoke, or invite God to enter our worship service. We are actually inviting Him into His house? What kind of double-speak is that? It’s His day, and He invites His people to worship in His house. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” the Lord urges through the apostle Paul in Hebrews 10:25.

A more appropriate request then might be that God would make us attentive so we can hear His voice. We might ask Him to “tune our hearts to sing Thy praise,” as the song says. We want Him to help us make the songs we sing true worship gifts to Him. We entreat Him to shut out the distractions and draw us into His presence. We ask that He will lay on our hearts the same burdens that are on His. Repentance and praise must be consistent ingredients.

While it’s true that “prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend” (Steps to Christ, p. 93), that doesn’t mean it is casual or impromptu or shallow. We would not come to speak to the people for God without preparation. Neither should we come to speak to God for the people without preparation. If it’s true as Jesus said that His house should be a house of prayer, then there is no more important part of the worship service than praying, and no more important preparation than preparing to pray.

I attended a service recently when the worship leader drew us up short with a simple question: Does our church spend more time in the announcements or in praying? Now I’m not suggesting that we worship with a stopwatch, but we should take seriously the management of spiritual priorities.

If our meetings are bland and predictable, if miracles are few, if our emphasis is on raising church expense rather than on raising the dead, maybe it’s because we see praying as supplemental rather than central, as a casual saying of grace at the beginning of the meal rather than as the joyous savoring of the meal itself.

Don’t you think this might be something to pray about?

Ruthie Jacobsen is Prayer Ministries coordinator for the North American Division.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

If prayer is not a major part of everything you do at your church, now is the time to start praying that God would change this. It may not be easy at first to learn how to incorporate more prayer into the routine activities of the church, but if you and several others catch the vision, God will bring more and more on board.

Remember though, that Satan doesn’t mind how much time we spend talking and strategizing about prayer, just as long as we don’t take time to pray! Let’s break this habit and make his host tremble. Inspiration tells us, “More prayer and less talk is what God desires, and it would make his people a tower of strength” (Review and Herald, June 15, 1897, par. 13).

[NOTE: For more IDEAS on how to make prayer a bigger part of your church, please click the “download and print this blog” link above!]

Dear Heavenly Father, We talk a lot about prayer, but we really don’t pray in our churches or homes as we should. Please help this to change. Help us to make prayer a true priority. Help us to get past the distractions that the enemy throws across our path, and truly fall on our knees in fervent prayer for our churches, our children, backslidden members, and the lost around us. Thanks for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Mark 11:17

About 10 years ago, my heart was really breaking for my brother.

He had been in the church but drifted away. Here I was preaching the gospel to thousands of people and seeing many won to the Lord, and yet I realized that without a miracle my own brother would not spend eternity with me.

As a result, I began interceding on behalf of my brother.

“God, please bring my brother back to you. Please work a miracle,” I prayed.

From August to December I prayed passionately every day for my brother’s salvation.

In December, I had to visit one of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s unions in the area where my brother lived, so I sent him a message.

“I’m coming to Madagascar during these dates for some meetings,” I wrote. “I want to see you. Can you meet me here?”

My brother didn’t respond, and I continued to pray.

At the designated time I traveled to the city in Madagascar where the meetings were to be held. To my great joy, I found my brother waiting to meet me. I had to rush to my meetings, but I told him that we would get together and talk in the evening.

I continued to pray and in my mind began preparing the heartfelt appeal that I planned to give him, calling him back to the Lord and to God’s church. Finally the meetings ended, and I rushed back to the motel to see my brother.

As we sat down to talk, I was just ready to launch into my appeal when my brother interrupted me.

“Paul, something amazing happened to me 15 days ago,” he told me excitedly. “I just felt this compelling urge to rededicate my life to God. It’s been a struggle the last few years, but now I am walking with Him again, and I am at peace. I am so happy!”

I sat speechless with amazement, praising God. I hadn’t even gotten to give the little speech I’d prepared. God had done the work in answer to prayer, and He’d even done it without my help. What a great God we serve!

Many of us have loved ones who are not walking with God, and this burden weighs heavily on our hearts. Some of us have been praying for years and have seen no visible answers. But we must not give up.

George Mueller, the 19th-century Christian evangelist and orphanage director in Britain, prayed for five specific people in his life who he wanted to see converted and brought into God’s Kingdom. One person was converted within a few months, and three took years to come to Christ. The fifth person didn’t give his heart to Christ until after Mueller had died. But all were won to Christ.

Let’s persevere in prayer for our loved ones.

Paul S. Ratsara is president of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Many of his testimonies and answers to prayer are found in the book Kidnapped by Greg Budd.

Note: To view some exciting praise reports as well as this week’s prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

When we long to see someone come to Jesus, it’s hard to contain ourselves. We just want to tell them the truth and pull them over the line. However, as Pastor Ratsara’s story illustrates, sometimes the very best thing we can do is to keep praying. After all, as Inspiration tells us, “God can do more in one moment to convict people than we can do in a lifetime” (Signs of the Times, Nov. 7, 1900, par. 11).

So let this be our first work, last work, and work everywhere between. Brothers and sisters! Even if you don’t see answers, keep praying! God is working in ways we cannot see. His Spirit is working on hearts.

When we pray, we are moving the arm that moves the world! So let’s keep claiming His promises, for His Word is faithful and true.

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise You that You are a God that hears and answers prayer. We praise You that You are faithful, and You are working even behind the scenes when we do not see. Help us to be faithful and to keep holding on to You until the victory is accomplished in the hearts of our loved ones. We are desperate to see You work! And You alone can do this work. So we cling to You. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen.

Promises to Claim: Gen. 32:26, Isa. 45:2

We rejoice when God blesses, even though we know we are not worthy. But do we also rejoice when problems are coming our way? Our experience has been that the greater the miracles and blessings, the more angry Satan becomes, and the more he tries to hinder God’s work. But his attacks are just blessings in disguise. Let me explain.

This past January, my husband and I once again began the year with 21 days of prayer and fasting (Daniel’s fast) as we dedicated our new year to Him. We do this each year because we recognize that the work that lies before us is too big for us to accomplish in our own strength. We must have the Holy Spirit’s power.

As we started the 21 days of prayer and fasting this year, our spirits were high. In fact, as we went along, we were being refreshed and rejuvenated. It was wonderful. However, a week into our fast, as I was walking to school one day, I thought to myself: “God has blessed us so much in the past 3 years. It still feels like a beautiful dream that we are married, that we have our medical missionary training and that we are now starting a lifestyle center. We’ve seen so many miracles and answers to prayer. It’s interesting though, that we haven’t seen very serious attacks of the enemy recently. I wonder if we are still on the right path, or if we will be ready when he throws his darts of discouragement at us again?”

Well, in less than three hours I began to find the answers to these questions, for that very day, disaster struck. And, over the next 10 days, problems increased one after another; From flood, to car accident, to broken computer, to destruction of physical property, to loss of some precious possessions—like my wedding dress, the list goes on.

As the days went by, we literally began to wonder, “What is going to happen next?” We couldn’t remember a time that we’d experienced so many trials and spiritual attacks all at once.

As you can imagine, it hasn’t been easy and comfortable for us, however, we have been learning to “glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3). We are also claiming the promise that, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).

Knowing that God is for us is what sustains us! This is what helps us to go forward. If we lose temporal possessions here on earth in order that God can be more fully glorified in our lives, than so be it. Really, with eternity in view, Satan’s attacks are just blessings in disguise.

Oswald Chambers writes, “If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.”

Today we rejoice in the Lord who is our strength and peace both in trial and in blessings!

Raluca Ril, and her husband Roman are working as missionaries in Germany. They are the authors of the Ten Days of Prayer materials (2015-2016) for the world church, and are passionate both about prayer and about health ministry.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

We are told in the book Gospel Workers that “God calls for cheerful co-workers, who refuse to become discouraged and disheartened by opposing agencies. The Lord is leading us, and we may go forward courageously, assured that He will be with us…” (p. 266).

If you are encountering difficulties in your personal life or in your ministry, if there seems to be roadblocks in your path and you don’t know how to go on, we encourage you to hold on to the Lord.

The Devil is angry because he does not have much time left. However, we know the end from the beginning. We know that the Lamb wins the battle. We have hope!

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

So let’s trust in God and His wisdom and go forward, knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He promised that, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28) and He will keep His Word!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being a trustworthy God. Thank You that You won’t allow anything in our lives that is not for our best good. Thank you that even though we encounter difficulties and trials, we can know that You are right here with us to see us through. Help us to trust in You and Your leading. And help us not to get discouraged when Satan is angry. Help us to have an unshakable faith in You and Your promises, for You are our hope and future. We rest in You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promises to Claim: Rom. 8:28, Luke 18:27, Rom. 8:31, Jeremiah 29:11-13

Robert owned a construction business in Italy and was very successful. However, deep in his heart was a hunger for a closer walk with God, and the desire to serve God in full time ministry. Finally, one day, he left his work behind, and started serving the poor and needy, trusting that God would provide and lead.

One day, while still in Italy, he was convicted to gather supplies to help the poor in Ukraine. With the help of friends, he loaded up four semi trucks with clothes and supplies.

However, when they got to the Ukrainian border, the guards would not let them through. In fact, they were told that all they were allowed to carry across the border was two suitcases at a time. Any more than that, and they would be charged by the kilogram.

Robert and the other drivers prayed and prayed. Still the guards would not let them bring the trucks through. Finally, discouraged, they gave up and unloaded the clothes in a rental storage place. Then they contacted the pastor at the nearest SDA church on the Ukraine side of the border and told him that they’d brought supplies, but couldn’t get them across the border. They gave the pastor the combination and lock codes and then they returned to Italy.

The local Ukrainian pastor, along with six men and two suitcases apiece, went to the storage unit. Slowly, day-by-day they moved the contents from the storage unit across the border to distribute to those in need.

It wasn’t long until the head guard at the border began asking what they were doing. They told him that they were taking clothes to help the poor. “No one does this kind of thing for the poor. You can’t be serious!” the guard mocked them. But they insisted that this was indeed what they were doing.

Next he challenged them, “If you’re Christians, can you prove that there is a god?”

Right then and there, the Pastor and his friends sat down and gave the guard a Bible study on God and the trinity. The next day they gave him another Bible study, and the same after that. Almost every day for a whole month they gave this guard a Bible study on their way across the border.

Finally at the end of the month, he was so convicted that he called the other guards together (there were eleven of them) and he asked the Pastor to give the same study to his comrades. As a result, almost all the guards were so convicted of the truth that they decided to be baptized.

At this point, the head guard of customs told the Pastor, “You don’t have to take this luggage through in suitcases anymore. You can just drive the supplies through and you can take everything, and we wont charge you.

It had taken a few months for Robert’s prayer to be answered, but God had opened the door, not just for the Ukrainian Pastor and the people in need, but more importantly, for those at the border gate.

Pavel Goia is a pastor in Lexington Kentucky, who is known for his faith-building testimonies. Many of his stories have been shared in the book, One Miracle after Another, by Greg Budd, published by Pacific Press.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Often as we seek to serve God, we will face impossible obstacles. It’s easy during these times to give up in despair. However, maybe, if we’d keep praying, God will work miracles even during the time of delay, just like He did for the Ukrainian pastor at the border. Maybe prayer will open doors that we would have never thought about praying for.

The Bible tells us, “Call unto me and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3).

In Steps to Christ, Ellen White writes, “Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence?” (Steps to Christ, p. 94).

Whatever roadblock you’re facing in your life and ministry, don’t give up! Jesus will make a way. Keep praying and talking faith!

Dear heavenly Father, We just praise You for Your faithfulness. We praise You that You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We praise You that You will make a way through the wilderness, across the border, and across any obstacles that Satan throws across our path because this is Your work, not ours. And You will be glorified. We give ourselves to You again today. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Promises to Claim: Isa. 45:2, Ps. 18:30

I’ve been a hopeless and incurable romantic for as long as I can remember. In fact, I started dreaming about romance and about my knight in shining armor when I was only five years old.

It’s been many years now since I had those first childhood dreams, and I still have yet to see those dreams come true. However, as the years have gone by, I’ve discovered a love beyond any earthly romance.

Let me tell you about my prayers all these years and about the Knight in shining armor that has captured my heart.

I prayed for a man committed to God.

Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

I prayed for a man who would be a spiritual leader.

Jesus unashamedly declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6).

I prayed for a man of high standards and integrity.

Others testified, “[He] did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).

I prayed for a man of the Word.

Jesus opened up His arms with love as He whispered, “I am the living Word, and I came to live with you” (John 1:14).

I prayed for a man who knew how to be a servant.

Then I heard others whisper with amazement, “Jesus made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7).

I prayed for a man who was full of spiritual life.

He smiled again: “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

I prayed for a man of faith and prayer.

Then I watched with amazement as He went out and spent all night in prayer—for me (Luke 6:12).

“I know this may be frivolous, God, and it’s a small thing, but could you also send me someone romantic?” I had prayed. “Someone who will do whatever it takes to win my heart?”

Jesus said nothing as He lay down His heavenly honor to come to earth to win my love. Although I doubted His love and resisted His advances at first, He slowly, sweetly, tenderly won my heart. Then He led me to His great banqueting house, and the banner He put over me was love (Song of Sol. 2:4).

Last, but not least, I prayed for a man who would not be afraid of pain or trials.

I realized then that it was He, Jesus, who was carrying my cross and making the ultimate sacrifice of love, not for just anyone, but for me (Matt. 16:24, Heb. 2:9). Tears rolled down my cheeks as I stood in awe. And my heart melted.

Of course, Jesus is not just any man. He is my All in All and so much more! He is the True Love I have yet to fully understand. But I’m looking forward to an eternity of getting to know Him better, for He is the Knight in Shining Armor who has captured my heart.

Melody Mason is coordinator of United in Prayer for the world church.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

464836779Practical Application: 

For those that are single, marriage is often sought after and prayed for as the ultimate solution to one’s desire and need. However, those that are married will testify to the fact that, even when married to an amazing spouse, that person still cannot meet or fill all one’s desires or needs. The only way to be truly satisfied is to be filled and satisfied with Jesus.

Today we want to encourage you to take some time to write out some of the many ways that Jesus satisfies your heart and needs, for the list above is only the beginning. Whether single, married, divorced or widowed, let’s ask Jesus to be our True Love today.

Dear heavenly Father, forgive us for the times that we have put unrealistic expectations on others. Forgive us for looking to human companionship, friends, family members, or a spouse, to meet our needs. You alone can satisfy. You alone can provide all that we need. Today we look to You again, and ask You to fill our hearts with love, and to satisfy the deepest needs of our soul. We ask You to be our All in All. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Promises to claim: Phil. 4:11,19, Ps. 37:4,5, Ps. 144:15

Oxygen Volume 18Have you ever wondered what it might be like to sit in a planning session that Satan and the enemy forces hold to discuss how to overcome Christians? One author felt inspired to write the following, and he’s probably not too far off the mark. Let’s listen in:

“One day Satan called a worldwide meeting to discuss how to keep Christians from having a deep and powerful walk with Christ. The huge crowd hushed as he stepped up to speak.

“We can’t keep Christians from going to church,” he began. “We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t keep them from conservative values, but we can do something.” He paused, as everyone listened. “We can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Him, our power over them is broken. So let them go to church, let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that deep experience in Jesus.”

“How shall we do this?” shouted his angels.

“Simple!” he replied. “Keep them busy, busy, busy in the nonessentials of life and invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their time and attention. Tempt them to spend and spend, then borrow and borrow. Keep them from their children. Convince them to work until they are so exhausted they have no time for their families. As their home life falls apart, they will work all the harder.” Then Satan paused.

“But this is the most important thing. Over stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear the still, small voice of God any longer. Entice them to keep the T.V., radio, or music playing at all times. Pound their minds with the news twenty-four hours a day. This nonstop noise and activity will clutter their minds and break their union with Christ.”

“Fill their homes with magazines and newspapers. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, mail-order catalogues, every kind of newsletter and promotional offering, free products, services, and false hopes. Keep them distracted with continuous e-mails, text messages, social network alerts, and phone calls from the time they first wake up until they fall exhausted into their beds at night.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Don’t let them go out to enjoy the simple joys of nature. Instead, send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, and movies. When they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Don’t let them encourage or uplift each other. Keep those who are the gifted encouragers especially busy and worn out!”

“Last but not least,” Satan said, pausing for effect, “when they get together, keep them from praying for one another. If they must, let them be involved in ministry for God. But crowd their lives with so many good causes that they have no time to seek power from Christ. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family unity for the good of the cause. And we will be victorious!”

It was quite a convention in the end. And the evil angels went eagerly to their assignments trying to cause Christians everywhere to get busy, busy, busy, and to rush here and there.

Have they been successful?

This devotional was taken from the chapter “Overcoming the Distraction Dilemma,” in the book Daring to Ask for More, p. 100-102 (Published by Pacific Press 2014).

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Ellen White writes, “Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. With hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ’s loving presence, pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher. With their burdens they return to their work. These workers can never attain the highest success until they learn the secret of strength. They must give themselves time to think, to pray, to wait upon God for a renewal of physical, mental, and spiritual power. They need the uplifting influence of His Spirit. Receiving this, they will be quickened by fresh life. The wearied frame and tired brain will be refreshed; the burdened heart will be lightened” (Education, p. 260-261)

The truth is, we are always going to be busy. There’s always going to be more things to do than we have hours for in a day. However, if we make it a priority to daily connect to God, through quality time in prayer and time in the Word, Satan’s plans can be thwarted. Ellen Whites encourages, “Do not leave your closet until you feel strong in God” (Messages to Young People, p. 131). Let’s seek this goal!

Dear heavenly Father, Many times it is difficult to keep our spiritual focus with the constant busyness of life and with all the things we have to do. However, You are the Vine and we are the branches. Apart from You, we can do nothing. Please forgive us for all the times we fall for Satan’s battle tactic of “stay too busy to connect with God.” Also, please forgive us for the times we have been “breach makers” by gossiping about one another, rather then being “repairers of the breach” (Isa. 58) as You intended. Forgive us for the times we’ve made other things, even ministry, a priority over quality time with You. We recommit our hearts to You again today, and ask for Your strength to overcome as we go forward. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Promise to Claim: John 15:5

IMG_9096Matthew 8:5-13 tells the story of a centurion who came to Christ seeking healing for his servant. Upon hearing the man’s plea for healing, Jesus responded, “I will come to your home and heal him.”

Most would have been delighted at this offer, but the centurion said: “Oh Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just speak the word only and my servant will be healed.”

As a result of his great faith, Christ healed his servant “in that very hour.”

Did you know God still works the same miracles today?

I met pastor Khin Mg Tin at one of our ASAP training events in Southeast Asia. In addition to the special training for pastors and Bible workers that we were doing, our team led participants in united prayer every day. This was a first-time experience for many of the attendees.

One day we had a time of special intercessory prayer to raise the specific needs of the attendees to God. Here’s what happened in pastor Tin’s own words:

“During this time of prayer, many workers came to the middle, one after another, requesting prayer. Some were in need of healing, and others were requesting prayer for family members back home.

“Finally I got up the courage to go forward. Two requests lay heavy on my heart. I asked for prayer for my son, Thoo Thoo, who had been suffering from a disease for 12 years. Then I requested prayer for my dear wife, Ruth, who had been suffering with arthritis pain for five years. After I had shared my burdens, everyone laid their hands on me and prayed. I could sense the presence of the Lord with us.

Pastor Tin with his wife Ruth and son Thoo Thoo.

Pastor Tin with his wife Ruth and son Thoo Thoo.

“Later I found out that in the very hour those prayers were being said, my wife, Ruth, suddenly felt free from pain. Immediately she said to our son: ‘What has happened to me? Now I can stretch my hands freely without hurting.’ She didn’t know that people were praying for her and Thoo Thoo at that exact time.

“When I returned home, I discovered the good news. In addition, our son, Thoo Thoo, also experienced healing. The disease completely left him, and he has not had any problems since that day.”

Don’t we serve a great God? Ellen White writes, “A few converted souls, uniting for one grand purpose under one head, will achieve victories in every encounter” (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 139). Truly there is power when we are willing to unite in prayer!

Julia O’Carey is director of ASAP Ministries which stands for “Advocates for Southeast Asians and the Persecuted.” ASAP is a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that works primarily with training and equipping Southeast Asian national missionaries.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

We need faith like the centurion’s, faith that can stand on God’s Word alone. This is why we need to spend much more time in the Word and why we need to cultivate the habit of talking about our faith. If we give more expression to our faith, we will actually develop more faith.

This week we encourage you to take time to reflect on your thoughts and words. Are you thinking or speaking with doubt when you could be speaking and thinking the truths of God’s Word?

Ellen White emphasizes time and time again: “Talk and act as if your faith was invincible. The Lord is rich in resources; He owns the world. Look heavenward in faith” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 146).

In another place she writes, “Never give place to a thought of discouragement in the work of God. Never utter a word of doubt” (Evangelism, p. 633).

Imagine how different our life would be if we put a guard over our mouth and made “talking faith” and “thinking faith” the habit of our daily life.

Dear heavenly Father, You have given all of us a measure of faith. Help us to grow that measure and learn to think and speak faith no matter what is happening around us. Help us to trust Your Word. You are faithful. You will never fail us. We cling to You! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Promise to Claim: Matthew 9:29

It is Passover time in Jerusalem (Act 12:1). Peter is arrested and thrown into jail. As can be expected, the Christian community is in shock. They are still trying to come to terms with the execution of James, and now what will happen to Peter?

The clock is ticking. What are the Christians doing? They are doing exactly what we expect believers to do. They are praying.

A group has come together at the house of Mary for an all night prayer vigil. Their prayers are focused and intense. They are praying for Peter, praying for the survival of this fledgling movement, praying for their own survival. They are doing exactly what we would expect them to do.

And then God does the unexpected.

Peter wakes up to find an angel shaking him by the shoulder. For Peter, it’s all so unexpected and surreal that he comes to the conclusion that it must be a dream or a vision that he is having. So the angel must prompt Peter to put on his shoes and coat.

Once Peter is dressed, the angel swings the locked cell door open. Peter quietly follows the angel. Then suddenly the angel vanishes. Angels do that — that can be expected. Peter finds himself alone on a side street in the middle of the night. He is free!

Peter sets of for the house of Mary. He has to tell them that God has done the unexpected. He knocks as loudly as he dares on the outer door. Silence. Then a frightened female voice whispers, “Who is there?”

“It’s Peter! Is that you Rhoda? Let me in.”

Silence.

“Who?” she asks again?

“Peter!”

Peter presses his ear against the door in time to hear someone running away. Rhoda the servant girl does something very unexpected. She interrupts the prayer meeting with the announcement that their prayers have been answered. Peter is outside.

People prayed and God answered — and surprised them by answering in a way quite unexpected.

God still likes to do the unexpected today. The problem is, often we like to tell Him how He should answer and when. Let’s keep praying! But instead of giving God directions, let’s wait for the unexpected as God answers in His own time and way.

Chantal Klingbeil is Associate Director of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Are you praying that God will do something unexpected in your life? Are you praying for Him to remove some difficult mountain, or make a way through a cold dark wilderness? God specializes in the impossible and unexpected. But He’s asking that we look to Him in faith.

Considering the following thought from Inspiration:

“Throughout the history of God’s people great mountains of difficulty, apparently insurmountable, have loomed up before those who were trying to carry out the purposes of Heaven. Such obstacles are permitted by the Lord as a test of faith. When we are hedged about on every side, this is the time above all others to trust in God and in the power of His Spirit. The exercise of a living faith means an increase of spiritual strength and the development of an unfaltering trust. It is thus that the soul becomes a conquering power. Before the demand of faith, the obstacles placed by Satan across the pathway of the Christian will disappear; for the powers of heaven will come to his aid. “Nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20.”  (Prophets and Kings, p. 594)

Dear Heavenly Father, we cling to You in faith. We don’t have the strength, but we cling to You, because You do have the strength. You do have the power. Please work in our lives for Your glory. Please deliver us from Satan’s power and help us to be victorious in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promise to Claim: Mark 10:27

 

 

100 Days testimonials

Do you have a testimony from this past 10 Days of Prayer? We’d love you to share it with our prayer community. Please write it out here in the comments below, or e-mail us at: UnitedinPrayer@ministerialassociation.org

If you are looking for this next week’s United in Prayer blog post by Derek Morris, titled Healing Prayer, please click here!

DSC_3417Janet had come to prayer services many times before. But this time would be different—life-changing. Janet didn’t realize it, but this was the night she would be healed.

“I was really in the depths of despair,” she recounted later. “I felt that I had used up all of my resources.” For 18 years she had been hounded and harassed by Satan. Now she was desperate.

Janet made her way, battered and bruised, into the Chapel and found a seat in the back pew. As the group knelt together for prayer, they invited her to come forward and join the circle. During the season of prayer several students gave spontaneous testimonies of praise for healing that they had received from God at an anointing service two weeks before. Janet told us later that as she listened to those testimonies of healing, she saw a glimmer of hope.

After the last person had left the Chapel, I turned out the lights, and made my way to the outside door. As I turned the corner in the hallway, there was Janet. She startled me! She looked very intense. Deliberate. “I can’t live with this anger anymore,” she exclaimed, “but I saw a glimmer of hope tonight.”

There was only one appropriate response at a moment like this. Sensing that we were on holy ground, we fell to our knees in prayer. As we prayed, we became very aware of the presence of the Lord. Something inside of Janet broke loose.

“Everything was gone in an instant,” she testified later. She began to laugh and cry at the same time as a waterfall of emotion cascaded over her soul. Then she stood to her feet she exclaimed, “I can breathe, and I can smile!” The darkness was banished. The oppression was gone. Janet’s eyes were bright and her countenance was transformed. Her heart was filled with rejoicing as she began to praise and glorify God. There was no place for doubt. Janet had just experienced the healing power of God.

Derek Morris, is editor of Ministry Magazine, and host of the popular Hope Sabbath School program.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

If you or a loved one are in need of healing (physically, spiritually, or otherwise) than you’ve come to the right place. Our God is mighty and able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we ask or think. While we don’t always know God’s timing and how He will choose to heal his children physically (whether instantly, gradually, or at the second coming), we do know that it is His will that they be healed, and we should pray in faith for He promises to work all things together for our good and for His glory (Rom. 8:28).

Ellen White once encouraged the people to pray this prayer for healing, “I would come before the Lord with this petition: ‘Lord, we cannot read the heart of this sick one, but thou knowest whether it is for the good of his soul and for the glory of thy name to raise him to health. In thy great goodness, compassionate this case, and let healthy action take place in the system. The work must be entirely thine own”(Healthful Living, p. 239)

She went on to say that if more prayers were offered for healing, “The mighty power of the Healer would be seen. Many more would be strengthened and blessed, and many more acute sicknesses would be healed” (3rd Selected Messages, p. 295).

Let’s ask God to search our hearts that we may be healed: first spiritually, and secondarily, if it would be for His glory and honor, physically.

Dear Heavenly Father, we cry out to you for healing today. We are spiritually diseased because of sin. We need You to deliver us and set us free and make us new creatures in You. However, many of us, or those we love, are also suffering under physical diseases of all kinds. We know that You can heal today, just like You did in the Bible times. Show us how to pray, how to put away all sin, all hindrances so that You can be free to work in our lives. We cling to You and to the promises of Your Word. If You choose not to heal instantly, or if You allow those that we love to go to their rest, help us still to trust You, knowing that You are in. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TESTIMONIES from 10 Days of Prayer? Please share by clicking HERE or write to us at: UnitedinPrayer@ministerialassociation.org

IMG_3604Daniel and his friends undoubtedly had been living peacefully in Jerusalem when suddenly their world forever changed.

The year was 605 B.C. and the forces of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had invaded Judah. As a result, Daniel and his friends were taken captive together with other strong talented youth from Jerusalem. Surprisingly, rather than being cast into prison or assigned to some forced labor camp, Daniel and his friends found themselves placed among the favored of Nebuchadnezzar, with even the king’s own food and drink placed before them.

However the Bible tells us: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).

At Daniel’s insistence, he and his friends were given a 10-day test on vegetables and water to see how they would do. We can imagine that they prayed earnestly during those 10 days, and God heard their cries.

The Bible tells us, “And at the end of 10 days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies” (Daniel 1:15).

Later, when brought before the King, they were found to be 10 times wiser than all the king’s worldly astrologers and wise men (see Daniel 1:17-20).

Just like Daniel, we too have been taken captive. We actually live in a world that has been under Babylonian siege — that of Satan — for more than 60 centuries. As a result, we are dealing with ravages of war on all sides, even in the church: failed marriages, broken homes, lost children, declining health, spiritual compromise, and much more. Yet our case is not hopeless for we serve a mighty God who is even now able to take what the enemy has meant for evil and turn it to good for His glory (Genesis 50:20).

Imagine if we, like Daniel and his friends, stood up and said: “I don’t want to compromise under this wicked kingdom. I want to prove God. I want to test His Word. I want to be faithful so that He can use me for His glory.”

For the last few years, I’ve made it a habit to start my New Year with what I call the “Daniel Challenge.” It’s a 10-21 day fast where I seek to put away all spiritual distractions (including regular food, media activities, etc) as I seek to refocus on going deeper in my walk with God. My life is richer as a result.

Join me in taking the “Daniel Challenge” today!

Melody Mason, is coordinator of United in Prayer

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: IMG_5986

We are currently in the midst of the 10 Days of Prayer for the world church which runs from January 6-16, 2016. If you aren’t already involved, it’s not too late to jump on board. In fact, even if your church isn’t following the 10 Days of Prayer, you can, like many others, still do 10 days of prayer on your own by incorporating the principles below. The timing for the 10 Days of Prayer is not so important as the fact that you make time do it.

Here’s 10 Tips to Help you get the Most out of the 10 Days of Prayer:

  1. Go on a Daniel’s fast – take the Daniel’s challenge: That means just simple fruits and vegetables. Some prefer to do natural juices during this time. Don’t be too legalistic about how you fast. Just simplify the best you can, keeping in mind that the less stimulants and refined products you ingest, the more clearly you can think and focus on God.
  2. Also it’s important to cut out all media. Turn off the Radio, TV, and all forms of electronic media and entertainment. Many will stay away from their social networks during this time, just to cut out unnecessary distractions.
  3. It’s very important that we dedicate extra time for prayer and Bible study during these 10 days. If you have certain burdens on your heart, give them to God and pray for them fervently, claiming His promises.
  4. If you aren’t involved in a church that’s participating in the 10 days of prayer, considering asking a friend or some family members to join you in special prayer each day. You can also call up random friends on the phone, and ask how you can pray for them.
  5. While meeting in person is always best, this isn’t always possible. Consider joining with others via a daily prayer call via the phone or Skype. For those in the United States, free conference call lines are available. Just type “free conference call” into your favorite search engine for more information. A new Adventist video service called flocktoc.com is also a great way to video chat and pray with friends and small groups.
  6. Another way to share prayer with your community is to take a friend and go door-to-door asking how you can pray for people. Some may turn you down, but many will be open to your prayers.
  7. Another creative way to bless others would be to write cards or notes of prayer and encouragement to different fellow church members or friends. With Internet and e-mail at our fingertips, we don’t write many regular letters or cards these days. Your words of courage and prayer could be just what someone needs to help them through.
  8. On the last day of the 10 Days of Prayer, some churches have chosen to hold a spiritual retreat or an agape feast sharing time and consecration service. If not participating with a church, you could do this on your own or with your family—just taking time for a special meal and sharing how God has been working in your life over the years. As we reflect on His blessings in the past, we can have hope for how He will continue to lead in the future. Be sure to seal the evening with a prayer of personal re-dedication.
  9. Other churches, on the final day of prayer, have started a 30-day intercessory prayer program where members were encouraged to pray for 30 days for three people who are not part of the congregation. You can do this on your own as well. As you pray for backslidden members or non-saved friends, make an extra effort to reach out to them, and let them know you care, maybe even invite them to your home or church for fellowship.
  10.  When you pray, even if alone, know that you are not alone, for you are joining thousands around the world also lifting up their hearts to God. And He promises to answer every sincere prayer. And if you want even greater blessings, don’t stop at 10 days. Go for 21, based on Daniel Chapter 10.

Dear Heavenly Father, as we take the 10-day Daniel Challenge, we pray that You would take us deeper in our walk with You. We don’t fast and pray just so that You will bless us. You aren’t a Genie in the sky just merely up in heaven waiting to cater to our wishes. We pray because we love You and we desperately need You to take control of our lives. In fact, we’d be lost without You. Forgive us when we get so distracted that we lose our hold on You. Forgive us for getting so occupied with superficial activities and pleasures that our minds become dull and we don’t hear Your still small voice. As we are in the first couple weeks of this New Year, we want to dedicate ourselves to You once again. We need Your Holy Spirit. Most of all, we need You! Thank You for hearing our prayers. Thank You for filling us with Your Spirit! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Click here to DOWNLOAD Special Bible Promises for prayer!

 

Years ago, while we were conducting evangelistic meetings in the west of England, I came across an account of the great Welsh Revival of 1904. As I read, a deep longing grew in my heart that has never gone away.

One story told how a truck driver approached a church with a delivery. However, the Holy Spirit’s presence was so strong that by the time he could see the church, he had tears rolling down his cheeks. He later explained, “I couldn’t help it; the Spirit of God was all around.”

How long has it been since I was in a prayer meeting where I was moved to tears by the Holy Spirit’s convicting presence? I’m not pleading here for an emotional experience. I am simply describing a heart cry that when I come together with God’s people, His presence be so real, so vivid, and so palpable that I am in awe before Him. Do truckers who rumble past our church on Wednesday evening sense that something of eternal consequence is happening inside? Do it again, Lord.

Another report from Wales in 1908 says, “The role of the police has changed from hauling drunks into the jail to helping get cars into and out of the church parking lots.” Oh Lord, let it be so again, in my church.

The effect on the children was overwhelming: “A bus arrived one evening and it was discovered that the youngsters had been singing, but before they arrived at the church a spirit of repentance had already broken out.”

In 1855 Ellen White described an event in Topsham, Maine: “Twenty-eight were present; all took part in the meeting. Sunday the power of God came upon us like a mighty, rushing wind. All arose and praised God with a loud voice. … It was a triumphal time. All were strengthened and refreshed. I never witnessed such a powerful time before” (Manuscript Releases, Vol. 5, p. 226)

Four years later, in Kalamazoo, she would enter in her diary: “In the eve the church followed the example of their Lord and washed one another’s feet, and then partook of the Lord’s Supper. There was rejoicing and weeping in that house. The place was awful, and yet glorious, on account of the presence of the Lord” (Selected Messages, book 3, p. 261).

Glorious on account of the presence of the Lord? Do it again, Lord. Please, do it again.

Ruthie Jacobsen is director of North American Division prayer ministries.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: IMG_5986

We’re just a few days away from the 10 Days of Prayer which starts January 6th.  We encourage you to gather your friends and fellow church members and make plans to be part of this great time of prayer.  Whether you meet in your church, in your home, or as a family, expect God to do great things for you as you unite in prayer.

Consider the following quote from Inspiration:

“It is when we are engaged in earnest work, working according to our several abilities, that God manifests Himself to us, and gives us grace for grace. A working church in travail for souls will be a praying church, a believing church, and a receiving church. A church whose members are found upon their knees before God, supplicating His mercy, seeking Him daily, is a church that is feeding upon the bread of life, and drinking of the waters of life. The promise, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you,” will be verified to them” (Testimonies to Ministries, p. 205).

Dear Heavenly Father, as we prepare for the coming 10 days of prayer, we ask that You would do great things for us. We want Pentecost to be repeated in our midst. We need Holy Spirit blessing and power. Help us to stay on our knees until this blessing comes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Promise to Claim: Zech. 10:1, Acts 1:8, Heb. 2:2

Usually when we pray it’s like we give God a huge sheet of paper with all our requests, wishes, wants, desires, needs, and dreams written on it. We hand this sheet up to God, and say, “Dear God, here are the things I need and hope for. Can you please give me Your signature of approval and blessing on these requests?”

It’s not wrong to ask God for what we desire and need. The Bible tells us to do this. But perhaps there is also more that God is waiting for us to do.

What if we gave God a blank sheet of paper with our signature at the bottom and said, “Dear God, I give You the pen! Whatever You want to write on this paper, whatever it is that You think I need or that would be best for my life, I gladly accept. Not my will but Thy will be done!”

Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

It was back in 2007 when I started praying this prayer, giving God the pen to write upon my life paper whatever He thought best. Since then, radical things have happened in my life and ministry. Not only have I gone so much deeper in my own personal relationship with God, but I’ve also seen God do amazing things I never imagined possible.

Many of my closest friends have similar experiences. One walked away from a lucrative career as a lawyer. He was making $144,000 a year at the time he left it all to become an evangelist. “Now,” he says with a smile, “my greatest goal is to become part of the 144,000.” He travels the world doing ministry and has seen God work many miracles in answer to his prayers. There are countless other stories just like his.

I heard it once said that surrender may seem difficult, but refusing to let go of the pen of our life is like a little seashell by the ocean refusing to give up its precious supply of water for fear that the ocean will not have enough with which to replenish it.

As we start this near year, I challenge you to give God the pen. He can do far more than you can dream or imagine with your life.

Melody Mason is the coordinator of United in Prayer.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

Often as we face the start of a New Year, we start making different “New Years resolutions” to do this or that. Sometimes it’s to eat better, or exercise more, or to do some long put-off project. While these resolutions may be good, often they center around something that will make us happy or more successful.

This year, why don’t we ask God what HE would have us to do? While physical goals and improvement may be good, let’s ask Him what kind of spiritual improvement goals He has. Then, keeping our eyes on Him, let’s move forward. If He asks us to do something, He will give us the strength to carry through.

Just know that when we “Give God the Pen,” He may at times ask us to walk some roads that are difficult or uncomfortable, because He’s seeking to refine our characters. However, if we STAY SURRENDERED, He will work amazing things in our lives. So we must trust Him, when we like it, and when we don’t, because He loves us and knows what is for our best good!

“Faith is trusting God—believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles” (Education, p. 253).

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s hard to believe that another year has already come and gone. As we approach this New Year, we want to once again give You the pen to write in our lives what You see best. We want You to be in control. Please help us to trust You and to let go of our agenda for Yours. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen. 

With the commemoration of Jesus’ birth now just a few days away, here’s a gift exchange you can enjoy with God like no other holiday present.

Here’s how the exchange begins: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). It’s one of those beautiful quid pro quo’s (you do this, He will do that). So tomorrow morning (or right now) give God the gift of your presence. I.e., draw near to Him. Seem too awkward? Actually it can be as simple as praying through a psalm. Someone once taught me to read a psalm a day as part of morning worship, and you too will discover that simply praying through a psalm can truly open your heart and draw you near to God.

But remember, God is offering a gift exchange—which means that for the gift of your presence with Him, He has a gift for you. Actually according to the promise you’re about to read, He offers a stunning trio of gifts! Count them: “If we draw near to God, He will [1] put a word in our mouth to speak for Him, even praise unto His name. He will [2] teach us a strain from the song of the angels, even thanksgiving to our heavenly Father. In every act of life, [3] the light and love of an indwelling Saviour will be revealed” (Prayer, p. 158).

Three precious gifts from Him to you every morning! First, you won’t have to worry ever again about having a testimony to give for Jesus—draw near to Him, and He will tuck that word into your heart each new day. Second, you’ll go through the day humming the words that the angels sing—what a duet, you and your angel make! And third, Jesus’ personal light and love will shine into you and through you to all you meet all day long.

No wonder Ellen White ends this triad of promises with this assurance: “Outward troubles cannot reach the life that is lived by faith in the Son of God.” Good news—no matter what the New Year will bring, you can live unreached by trouble, as you prayer-walk with Jesus—which beats any holiday gift, wouldn’t you agree?

Dwight Nelson is Senior Pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church, Andrews University

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

What are some other “gift exchanges” that Christ might want to make with you this Holiday season? Take some time during your devotional time with God and ask Him? As you read your Bible, He will show you many wonderful gifts that He wants to give you! Let’s open our hearts to receive these gifts, but more than that, to receive Him!

Inspiration tells us:

“The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift. The Savior’s life and death and intercession, the ministry of angels, the pleading of the Spirit, the Father working above and through all, the unceasing interest of heavenly beings, all are enlisted in behalf of man’s redemption” (Steps to Christ, p. 21). He did not give just any gift, “He gave the choicest gift of Heaven, and [as a result] the treasures of Heaven are at our command” (1st Selected Messages, p. 324).

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the amazing gift of Your Son! Thank You for the treasures of Heaven that come with this gift. May we not take You or Your Son for granted. Draw us close to You we pray. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen. 

We all love reading about amazing answers to prayer. But what if God is waiting to give you, your family, your church, and your community one of those amazing answered prayer testimonies in January?

Thousands of people have participated in the 10 Days of Prayer program over the past five years, and many have spoken of strengthened faith, physical and spiritual healing, and renewed unity within their congregations. Their testimony could be yours. Listen to what 10 Days of Prayer participants have shared.

“Miracles happened, healings took place, many long-time unanswered prayers were answered,” said Buhire Elie Brown, a missionary to the Guaduloupe islands in the Caribbean Sea. “A lady who was invited by a colleague’s sister was healed of lung cancer and traveled to France for a checkup, and it was confirmed by a doctor over there. I believe no church can afford to miss the next 10 Days of Prayer.”

“Unity was like before the day of Pentecost in the upper room,” said Emmanuel Amey Azameti of Dunkwa Central, Ghana. “Our church members were so inspired with the experience that they repeated the same January program in July.”

Adventist World Radio even appealed for listeners to go to Adventist churches to pray during the 10 Days of Prayer one year. At one church, 85 people were baptized on the final day.

The testimonies go on and on. Nothing is more powerful than a church on its knees!

“On the last night of the 10 Days of Prayer, we decided to do the optional all-night prayer,” said Liz Chacon, from Salinas California. “We were intimidated since none of us had ever done this before. We started at 7 p.m.. We sang songs and prayed.”

She said a strong scent of flowers, perhaps roses, filled the room around 12:30 a.m. The group walked out to the hallway trying to figure out where the smell was coming from, but the scent was not there. It was only present in the room where everyone was praying.

“The scent remained until we ended our prayer session,” she said. “It was an amazing experience and reminded us of the sweet fragrance of Christ’s intercessory prayers that are mingled in heaven with our own. We are continuing to have all-night prayer sessions as a vital part of church life. Thank you for putting this out there for us to partake of.”

Yes, Jesus is standing in the Most Holy Place, and He’s longing to mix the sweet fragrance of His offering with our prayers. He’s longing to pour the Holy Spirit upon us, just as He did for His disciples during Pentecost. The biggest evidence we have of this blessing is when He changes our hearts!

Join the Adventist world church in praying for that blessing during January 6-16, 2016. For more info visit: tendaysofprayer.org

Forward on our knees!

Jerry and Janet Page, Ministerial Association, Adventist world church

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

In the upcoming weeks to the 10 Days of Prayer this coming January, we encourage you to gather your friends and fellow church members and make plans to be part of this great time of prayer. Above and beyond that though, we encourage you to prepare your own heart for the blessing God wants to give you.

Let us recognize afresh the sacrifice that Christ has made for us on Calvary! Let us appreciate anew the price that He paid so that we could have eternal life. Remember, we have nothing to commend ourselves to God, but our great need! The Bible tells us, all our righteousness is as filthy rages (Isa. 64:6). But He is just waiting to cover us with His righteousness. He is just waiting to mingle His prayers with our own that they will be acceptable to the Father.

“The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned” (1 Selected Messages, p. 344)

Dear Heavenly Father, as we prepare for the coming 10 days of prayer, we ask that You would search our hearts and show us what hindrances are shutting back the outpouring of Your Spirit in our lives. We desperately need You to do a deeper work within us! We have nothing good of ourselves to give, accept surrender, but even that we cannot give apart from Your strength. So we cling to You today! And we are expectant of the coming blessings You will send. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

Promise to Claim: Zech. 10:1, Acts 1:8, Ezek. 36:26

Have you ever wondered about the promise from Isaiah 65:24 that says, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear”?

If God knows our prayer before we speak it, why then should we pray? He already knows what we are going to ask for anyway, right?

Watching my three teenage daughters grow up has helped me better understand this concept. Let me explain.

I remember different moments over the years when my daughters have struggled to make certain decisions. As a parent, I knew what should be done. But instead of jumping in and telling them what to do, I have sought to wait for them to learn something as they work through different issues.

As a result, I’ve watched them grow, and I’ve learned that often the process is even more important than the issue at stake.

Could it be that God looks at our prayers in a similar way?

As the Omniscient Creator, He knows everything. I don’t need to keep Him posted on what’s happening or what my needs are. He runs the universe and even knows the very number of hairs on my head. He is intimately acquainted with my thinking, my wishes, and my dreams.

Yet every time I come to Him in prayer, something changes. I realize that I need outside help. I understand that my efforts will come to nothing. I acknowledge that I need Holy Spirit power and wisdom — and this is something only God can bring.

The process of prayer is transformative in my soul — regardless of the outcome. And God’s faithfulness is always assured, even when things don’t turn out as I originally hope. Once I recognize His faithfulness, I can begin to imagine my world, His world, from His perspective. I can begin to look away from my needs to the needs of others. I can become an intercessor because I know His trustworthiness in our lives.

“Before they call, I will answer” is a powerful promise. And most of all, it is an invitation to rejoice in God’s character.

Gerald Klingbeil is an associate editor with the Adventist Review.

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests for special needs countries, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

“Before you call, I will answer” is a promise for us today. And God has already answered in a thousand ways, if we just look within His Word. His Word is life! His Word is Hope! His Word has the answers, even before we need them!

Consider the following of many answers God has waiting for you:

Fearful? God has an answer: “Be not afraid, I am with you.” (Josh. 1:9)

Corrupt heart? God has an answer: “A new heart will I give you.” (Ezek. 36:26)

Need forgiveness? God has an answer: “If you confess your sins, I will forgive you and cleanse you.” (1 John 1:9)

Need acceptance? God has an answer: “Whoever comes to me, I will not cast out.” (John 6:37)

Feeling alone? God has an answer: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Don’t know what to say? God has an answer: “I will be with your mouth and teach you what to say.” (Ex. 4:12)

Hungry or thirsty? God has an answer: “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” (Ps. 81:10)

Don’t have what you need? God has an answer: “I will supply your need.” (Phil. 4:19)

Facing troubles? God has an answer: “Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver.” (Ps. 50:15)

Don’t know how to handle temptation? God has an answer: “I will make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)

Needing answer to prayer? God has an answer: “If you abide in me and I in you, I will do what you request.” (1 John 5:14)

Needing peace? God has an answer: “My peace I give unto you.” John 14:27

Up against something impossible? God has an answer: “The things that are impossible with man are possible with me.” (Mark 10:27)

Need the Holy Spirit? God has an answer: “I’m more willing to give you the Holy Spirit than you are to give good gives to your children.” (Luke 11:13)

Needing spiritual revival? God has an answer: “If you seek me with all your heart you will find me,” (Jer. 29:13).

Don’t know what to ask for? God has an answer: “Call upon me and I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3)

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for thinking that our problems or situations are something new that You could not possibly understand or have an answer for. Help us to cling to Your Word and recognize that You truly do have all that we need and all that pertains to life and godliness. Your Word is faithful! Although we cannot always see You working in our lives, we trust that You are, and we praise You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL PROMISE that God has given you in times of need? Share below in the comments!*

Not long ago a friend from Washington shared a story about his 4-year-old son, Caleb, that has a profound spiritual lesson for all of us.

As is usual with most 4-year-olds, little Caleb had gotten into trouble for disobeying and as a result had been punished.

The next day, out of the blue, he asked his father, “Daddy, am I going to disobey today?”

His father responded with a smile: “I don’t know buddy. That is up to you. I hope you don’t.”

With childlike determination, Caleb spoke decidedly, “I don’t want to disobey.”

Not long after it was time for Caleb to take his nap, so his father asked him to put away his toys. Immediately Caleb responded in a whiny voice, “But I don’t want to.”

His father then reminded him of his statement earlier about not wanting to disobey. With out missing a beat, little Caleb asked, “Daddy, can we pray?”

“Of course we can pray,” his father said.

So father and son knelt down right there, and without any prompting, Caleb asked Jesus for a new heart to help him obey. Then he got up and immediately, without complaining, put his toys away and went down for a nap.

Imagine how much better our lives would turn out if, every time we face the temptation to compromise our faith or disobey, we pray, “Dear God, please give me a new heart and help me to obey You.” It is a simple, childlike prayer, but that’s all that is required. If we pray this with sincerity of heart just like Caleb, God will answer. He will give us strength to do what is right.

Matthew 18:3, 4 says, “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

May we learn from Caleb’s sweet example!

Melody Mason is coordinator of United in Prayer.

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests, written by Elder Ted Wilson, click here!

Practical Application: 

Surrender doesn’t have to be complicated. It just involves responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit upon your heart. If you don’t know where to start, try this prayer:

“Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unChristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 159).

Here’s another powerful thought from Inspiration:

“If we would but learn the wonderful lessons which Jesus sought to teach His disciples from a little child, how many things that now seem insurmountable difficulties would wholly disappear! When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? … Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven'”  (Adventist Home, p. 279).

Dear Heavenly Father, Help us to learn to humble ourselves as little children. Teach us how to pray and how to obey. Teach us how to give you our will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: James 4:10, Ezek. 36:26

 

Every day we thank God for answered prayers: for life, for health, for safety. We are especially grateful for God’s protection on our many missionary journeys each year, as part of our ministry responsibilities for the church. It is easy to take for granted, that when we get on a plane, we’ll be getting off the plane at the right place and time. So, we intentionally thank God each time our plane arrives safely.

Ellen White states that: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend…Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him” (Steps to Christ, p. 93).

We see God’s promises in the Bible as talking back to us, even before we begin to speak to Him. It is as if God were anticipating our prayers and having an answer before we call.

The following are some of our favorite promises:

The last part of Matthew 28:20 states: “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In short, God promises never to leave us. What an amazing assurance in a world that is often filled with transient and disposable relationships. We will never be alone.

In John 14:27 God tells us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” This is incredibly good news in a world filled with fear of every kind. The word for peace in the Hebrew Bible is shalom, which means a sense of harmony, wellbeing, and prosperity. This notion suggests much more than simply the absence of aggression, but indicates unity and inclusiveness. In the New Testament, the word for peace is eirēnē, which is not just the absence of antagonism, trouble, and chaos, but also the reality of being safe and secure. We are always secure with Christ!

Last but not least, the promise in Philippians 4:19 assures us, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” What a powerful promise in our unpredictable and volatile world! Whether our need is for friendship, security, transportation, food, warmth, or a great marriage relationship, our God has promised to supply.

Yes, God’s promises talk to us daily! Our prayer this week is for each of you is to see your faith grow stronger as you trust God daily to keep His Word. Remember, His promises are there for you!

By Willie & Elaine Oliver, directors of Family Ministries for the world church.

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests, written by the Olivers, click here!

Practical Application: 

Are you in the midst of some family crisis or trial? Ministering to our family members, unfortunately, is often the most difficult and challenging work we will ever undertake. However, no matter the circumstances you face, nothing is hopeless, for we serve a great God.

This week, as you seek to allow God’s promises to speak to you, consider the following secret to family unity written in the book Adventist Home.

Ellen White writes, “The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ. Picture a large circle, from the edge of which are many lines all running to the center. The nearer these lines approach the center, the nearer they are to one another. Thus it is in the Christian life. The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another” (Adventist Home, p. 179).

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s all too easy to rest upon our own wisdom instead of Yours, to look to our strength, instead of Yours. Today we ask again that you’d help us stand upon Your Word and to claim the promises You’ve given us in Your Word. Most of all, we ask that You’d help us turn our focus on You rather than our problems, for we know that the closer we come to You, the closer we will come to each other, and as a result, we will experience greater unity in our family. Forgive us for drifting away! Help us to love You More. Help us to love our family members with Your unselfish Christlike love as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: I Cor. 13, Phil 4:19, Ps. 68:6, Duet. 30:6

 

 

I think one of the biggest challenges we have regarding prayer is the question, “Where is God in my trial?”

So many women tell me that they pray and pray, but they don’t feel God’s presence in their trials. They don’t see Him at work in their situation, or they don’t feel He has heard their prayers. Like so many, I too have felt the same way many times in my Christian walk. Then one day, awhile back, I was reading Mark 4:35-41. It’s a familiar story about Jesus sleeping in the boat during the storm and then waking up and speaking peace to the wind and waves.

I’ve read this story many, many times, but this time one point jumped out at me. Jesus was in the boat – silent, but not absent. What a revelation! How many times had I questioned God in prayer, “Do you really care about me?” “Why can’t I hear from you?” “How long Lord, will this trial last?” “Are you really near?” And so many more questions. But this one point in this much-read story answered my questions.

Yes, God was with me in the storm. Even though I could not feel Him, or see Him, or hear Him, He was there all along. Of course His presence in my storm is predicated on one action that I must take. The story says that Jesus said, “…Let us cross over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). The disciples response was, “…[and] they took Him along in the boat…” (vs. 36).

You see, Jesus invites us on this journey, but we must take Him along with us. And that is what makes the difference when we pray.

We must have Jesus in our “boat.” When we pray we must believe He hears and, even if we do not sense or feel Him, we must believe He is with us still. God’s silence does not mean He is absent from our lives. Oh, how I wish I had learned this lesson many years ago!

As we pray through the storms of life, we must ensure that not only have we accepted Jesus’ invitation to be with us through life’s storms, but we must also remember to take Him with us each day as we prayerfully invite Him into our lives and hearts.

Is Christ in your boat?

By Heather-Dawn Small, Women’s Ministries Director, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Note: Heather-Dawn Small wrote this week’s prayer requests. To view, please click here!

Practical Application: 

Do you feel forsaken or forgotten by the Lord as you go through some deep dark trial? Know that you are not alone. Even if you don’t feel His presence, rest in the assurance that He is near for the Bible tells us, He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

In Steps to Christ, we are told, “Through sincere prayer we are brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite. We may have no remarkable evidence at the time that the face of our Redeemer is bending over us in compassion and love, but this is even so. We may not feel His visible touch, but His hand is upon us in love and pitying tenderness” (p. 96).

In another place we are told, “Despondency may shake the most heroic faith and weaken the most steadfast will. But God understands, and He still pities and loves. He reads the motives and the purposes of the heart. To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark, is the lesson that the leaders in God’s work need to learn. Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on God” (Prophets and Kings, p. 174).

So no matter what you are facing right now, whether you feel God’s presence near or not, know that God is with you! Hang on to Him and don’t let go.

Dear Heavenly Father, sometimes in the midst of our trials, we lose sight of You. In fact, sometimes we wonder if You are even near. Help us to hold on to You, knowing that You will never leave us or forsake us. Help us to cling to Your Word even when we cannot see Your face. Help us to be faithful through every trial and every storm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: Job 23:10, Rom. 8:18, John 16:33

Recently I have had two experiences that were direct answers to prayer. There is no other logical way to explain them. Some might call them mere coincidences or happenstance. But for me they revealed the direct hand of God in my life.

The first experience took place in Dublin, Ireland.

Historically Ireland has been a very difficult place for the growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In the last fifty years approximately forty-five Irish people have been baptized. However, in the last 15 years the Adventist church has shown remarkable growth due to the influx of ethnic groups of various nationalities.

Recently my wife and I have spent considerable time in a variety of multifaceted evangelistic outreach programs in Dublin. We are extremely thankful for the success God has given us in these endeavors.

One Sabbath, as I was walking to church, I specifically prayed that God would providentially bring me in contact with honest hearted Irish people who were interested in Jesus’ last day message. Little did I know that within an hour my prayer would be answered.

While I was sitting in Sabbath School preparing to teach the visitors class that day, two Irish women walked into church. I invited them to class and later discovered that they were searching for the true church. They knew a little about the Adventist church and wanted to know more. God miraculously led them in answer to prayer that Sabbath to the very church where I was teaching Sabbath School and preaching. Eventually they attended our evangelistic meetings, continued attending church, received Bible Studies from the pastor and now have been baptized. For me this was a direct answer to prayer.

The second experience is quite different.

My wife and I along with a small congregation in Warrenton, Virginia are building a new worship facility, school of evangelism and community health outreach center in Haymarket, Virginia. The total cost of the facility is over four million dollars. This past August it appeared that our fund raising had come to a halt. Very little was happening and I was troubled. Each month our contractor’s bills were coming due. While we were attending the ASI Convention in Spokane, I prayed that God would give me some indication that He would see this project through. I personally needed some assurance of His continued blessing. As a result I decided to spend some time alone praying as I walked along the river. As I prayed, I specifically asked God to lead me to someone who could help financially.

Within an hour I providentially met a man I had never met before who has now helped our project significantly. Mere coincidence? I certainly do not think so. I am convinced that in both of these instances God was at work.

Does God always answer my prayers so dramatically? No, but He does it enough to give me the assurance of His presence and the certainty of His love.

Answered prayer is much more than God responding to our specific needs. It is His revelation of love for us. It is His letting us know in concrete specific ways that He has not forgotten us in the joys and sorrows of life and that’s enough for me.

By Mark Finley, World Evangelist

Note: Mark Finley wrote this week’s prayer requests. To view, please click here!

Practical Application: 

If you are seeking to work for God, to see more souls brought into the Kingdom, or to further the spread of the gospel, don’t waste time trying to work in your own strength. Remember God has promised to do what we cannot do. Cling to His mighty arm! Plead for His Holy Spirit power.

Ellen White writes, “When we give ourselves wholly to God and in our work follow His directions, He makes Himself responsible for its accomplishment. He would not have us to conjecture as to the success of our honest endeavors. Not once should we even think of failure. We are to cooperate with the One who knows no failure” (Christ Object Lessons, p 363).

Don’t know how you are going to pay the bills to push God’s work forward?

In another place, she writes: “Let none waste time in deploring the scantiness of their visible resources. The outward appearance may be unpromising, but energy and trust in God will develop resources” (Prophets and Kings, p. 243).

Dear Heavenly Father, as we are seeking to be effective laborers for You, help us not to grow self-confident in our own resources or strength. Help us to remember that this is Your work, and it can only be accomplished in Your strength and power. Like Mark Finley shared in his testimony, may our eyes ever be upon You in humble confidence, for You have promised to provide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: Phil. 4:13, 19, Isa. 45:2, 1 John 5:14,15

Believing that God has called us to serve as medical missionaries, my husband and I started praying more than a year ago that He would open the doors for us to start a lifestyle center in our community in southern Germany.

This seemed like an impossible request to us because we have limited funds. But God says the things that are impossible with men are possible with Him (Mark 10:27), so we kept praying in faith.

This spring God miraculously provided the funds for us to get the medical missionary training we needed, however, after praying for more than a year, we still saw no doors opening for us to have property to start a lifestyle center.

Finally, we came to a crossroads this fall. With no provision in sight for us to start work in southern Germany, we decided that maybe we should move east and work with a friend who was already starting a lifestyle center there. Our friend agreed to have us join him but said not to come until late October. We were disappointed with more delays but tried to be patient, believing that God knew best.

Only a few days before our planned move, God completely surprised us.

It was the second to last Sabbath before our move from southern Germany. My husband, Roman, had been invited to speak in two churches. Honestly, he hadn’t really wanted to accept either speaking invitation, but God had impressed his heart to say yes. So he did.

At the end of one Sabbath program, Roman and I spoke for 30 minutes with a friend who happened to be visiting the church that day. This friend abruptly offered us a piece of property to start a lifestyle center here in southern Germany.

We were in shock. The property fulfilled all the requirements that we had studied about in the Spirit of Prophecy: buildings already stood on the property and it had a good water source, a nice country setting, and no direct neighbors — a feature that is difficult to find in Germany.

Our friend had planned to use the property for another purpose but said he felt impressed to dedicate it to our work.

It may seem that God’s answer came at the last minute. But we know He was right on time. Jeremiah 32:27 tells us, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” No, nothing is too hard for God!

Let’s dare to ask for the impossible because God delights to do the impossible for His children. We know because we have just received an impossible gift from Him.

Raluca Ril, together with her husband Roman, have authored the 10 Days of Prayer materials for 2015-16. They are medical missionaries in Southern Germany.

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests for the world church, please click here!

Practical Application: 

It is easy to become discouraged when we pray for something for a long time and God does not seem to answer. At times like this, it is easy to start trying to help God. Abraham sought to help God. So did Rachel and Jacob. But the result was disappointment and heartache.

Is God asking you to do something that seems impossible? Have you been praying for something for a long time? Keep praying and trusting in God’s power. Invite a friend to pray with you. Wait on God. If it is God’s will, then it is His bill. If He has sent you, He will provide for you. God wants what is best for you more than you want it for yourself. Learn to trust Him even when it seems that He is running late.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have called us to be co-workers with You. We are grateful that You can provide in the most miraculous ways. Thank You for Your love that does not withhold anything good. Help us, Lord, to wait on You. Help us not to lose our hope and peace when Your answer seems delayed. Keep us from trying to help You. We thank You that You can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Promises to claim: Mark 10:27, Jer. 33:3, Eph. 3:20, Isa. 45:2

 

178464464Carol was 14 when I was born. She had the “privilege” as my older sister to help raise me.

When I think of what God can do for our loved ones as we pray unitedly, I always think of her. You see, during my rebellious years of drug use, Carol joined my parents and many others in praying earnestly for me. I finally became miserable enough to recognize my desperate need of Jesus. This was an answer to prayer for Carol.

However, Carol’s spiritual life was more a cultural habit than a real living experience.

While she usually attended church, she never got very involved. As time went on, her life filled up with big problems. Her first husband left her for the neighbor woman. She was devastated. Then she married Bob. While Bob was a good husband and helped her raise her two sons, he was not a Christian.

Then her husband, Bob, was diagnosed with liver cancer and the doctors said he had only about six months to live. Once again she began to plead with God, this time to heal her husband.

“God I am begging you to heal Bob! I really need you to save him for the boys and me,” she would earnestly pray.

Bob accepted Jesus on his deathbed. While God healed him spiritually, Bob passed away a few days later. As a result, the “why God” questions turned to bitterness in Carol’s heart. Why hadn’t God allowed Bob to live?

As time went on, Carol quit attending church because of her anger and confusion. This time it was my turn to pray, earnestly pray, for my sister, Carol. Many others joined me.

I felt impressed to claim the promise in 1 John 5:16, which says, “If anyone sees his brother (loved one) sinning a sin which does not lead to death (the unpardonable sin), he will ask, and He (God) will give him life.”

As I prayed, I was thinking God might send Carol a very spiritual new husband.

After some time Marlene, a longtime friend, began to mail Carol an encouraging note from her daily devotional time every day. This went on every day for two years. Carol slowly came back to life in Jesus as she realized that Jesus could meet her personal needs in beautiful ways. Praise, prayer, and the Word of God became a part of her life once again!

Carol had a number of providences happen soon after that, leading her to minister at an Adventists college. She was able to touch the lives of many students before she passed away suddenly a few years ago. She was walking with Jesus until her death and one day will be reunited with Bob, who God has healed for eternity.

Remember, united prayer unleashes God’s power to do amazing things in our loved ones’ lives. Don’t get discouraged praying for those you love. He has promised to open blind eyes and set the captives free. He did it for Bob, He did it for Carol, and He did it for me!

By Jerry Page, Ministerial Association secretary

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests for the world church, please click here!

Practical Application: 

We know that it is God’s will to heal His children, but we don’t always know the timing of the healing. It may be immediate, it may be gradual, or it may not come until the resurrection.

However, there is one thing that God promises to do right now if we ask, and that is to heal us from the leprosy of sin. Considering the following thought from Inspiration:

“The work of Christ in cleansing the leper from his terrible disease is an illustration of His work in cleansing the soul from sin…In some instances of healing, Jesus did not at once grant the blessing sought. But in the case of leprosy, no sooner was the appeal made than it was granted. When we pray for earthly blessings, the answer to our prayer may be delayed, or God may give us something other than we ask, but NOT SO WHEN WE ASK FOR DELIVERANCE FROM SIN. (Emphasis added.) It is His will to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. And “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” 1 John 5:14, 15.  {From Desire of Ages, p. 266}

Dear Heavenly Father, we all need to be healed, some of us physically, but all of us spiritually. Please heal us from the leprosy of sin. Also, help us not give up praying for our loved ones that need this special healing. We know you have promised to set us free. Thank you for hearing this prayer, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: Ezek. 36:26, 1 John 1:9, Ps. 103:3

I know that God can save to the uttermost because it wasn’t that long ago that my wife, Cindy, cried out to God in pain, “Save my husband! Save my marriage!”

I can almost feel the pain as she asked God to free me from the addictions that were ripping our marriage apart and killing me. Drugs, alcohol, lust, and tobacco had taken over my life. Everyone told her to give up … he will never change.

I praise God that she didn’t give up on God or me. She made the decision to pray until God gave her a miracle, and God did work a miracle! I am an ordained pastor in God’s last-day church because of those relentless prayers.

Of course there are lots of other miracles that took place for that to happen, but one thing I know for sure. It all happened because of my wife’s relentless prayers.

The past several months God has impressed me to pray for my brothers and sisters around the world who are bringing their prayer requests to the “We Pray” personal online prayer room.

I feel the pain in their hearts as they pray for their spouses to join them in worship with our wonderful, loving God. I sense their desperation as they pray for children who have strayed far away from God and His remnant church. I can sense the fear they have for family and friends who are under the bondage of Satan and held tight by addictions. I can almost hear them shaking heaven as they pray, “Dear Lord, save them! Please save them!”

Then my heart leaps for joy because I know He can and I know He will answer their prayers! Hebrews 7:25 tells us, “Wherefore He is able to save to the uttermost.”   There is no problem too big for Him.

Right now, He is waiting on you to send up those prayers for your marriage, for your children, and for your humanly impossible situations. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. You might be one prayer away from a miracle.

By Rick Mercer, Pastor, Morganton, North Carolina

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests for the world church, please click here!

IMG_0207Practical Application: 

Maybe there is a loved one in your life who does not know God. Maybe you’ve prayed for years and still there seems to be no answers. Maybe things look so discouraging you are wondering if you should give up praying altogether! DO NOT! Persevere! Keep praying!

The Bible tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). In Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, Ellen White writes, “Jesus sees His true church on the earth, whose greatest ambition is to cooperate with Him in the grand work of saving souls. He hears their prayers, presented in contrition and power, and Omnipotence cannot resist their plea for the salvation of any tried, tempted member of Christ’s body” (p. 19). Also, in another place we are told, “There is no danger that the Lord will neglect the prayers of His people. The danger is that in temptation and trial they will fail to persevere in prayer” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 175).

You may not see answers yet, but whatever the case, no matter how discouraging, don’t stop praying. Your relentless prayers  are being heard. You may be one prayer away from a miracle.

Dear Heavenly Father, how we long for our loved ones to know  You as we do. How we long for them to see the light and experience the peace and joy of serving You. Please strengthen us to hold on and not give up praying, even if it is to our dying breath. We know it is Your will to save, and when we pray, You are able to do what You otherwise could not do (GC, p. 525). Please help us to endure until we see these loved ones brought into the Kingdom. Please help us to keep praying until we see the answers to our prayers. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: 2 Pet. 3:9, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:7, Matt. 7:7-8

 

About five years ago, I was called by Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership to bring a prayer team to the General Conference headquarters to pray during a major church business meeting that takes place every October. Church leaders from all over the world congregate at the General Conference headquarters in Maryland to share division reports and make important decisions for the coming year at the meeting, the Annual Council.

Since our first invitation to pray, a group of us have come back each year to pray specifically for our church leaders during this event. Sometimes we’ve even arrived several weeks in advance to fast and pray when we knew difficult issues were being discussed and addressed. Hundreds of people have also joined us in prayer from their homes.

Why do we do this?

In Exodus 17, we see the story of Joshua leading the children of Israel in battle against the Amalakites. During the battle, Moses was up on a hill overlooking the battle with his arms raised toward heaven, interceding for his people. However, as the Bible tells us, his arms grew heavy and he could not keep holding them up.

Interestingly, when his arms dropped, the Amalakites began to win the battle, but when his arms were raised the Israelites prevailed over the Amalakites. Since he couldn’t keep holding up his arms alone, God sent him two supportive intercessors by the name of Aaron and Hur to help hold up his arms. As a result, Joshua and the Israelites won this battle!

Because of this simple story, I have been inspired that we need to do more of the same. Instead of criticizing and complaining, it’s time we hold up the arms of our leaders in prayer. Whether we agree or not with the decisions they make, these men and women who lead our church are in need of prayer. They face a spiritual battle daily (see Ephesians 6), and the outcome could affect the destiny of thousands if not millions of people.

Ezekiel 22:30 says God is looking for intercessors to stand in the gap on behalf of His people so He will not destroy the land. Will you be one of His intercessors? Will you stand in the gap on behalf of your fellow church members, on behalf of your pastor, on behalf of your church? Join me and many others as we pray for our church leaders.

Melody Mason, United in Prayer coordinator

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests for the world church, please click here!

IMG_2637Practical Application: 

It’s easy to pray for our own needs, but what if God is calling us to pray more actively on behalf of others, especially on behalf of those in offices of leadership? What difference might YOUR prayers make in the spiritual battles that our leaders face?

The Bible tells us, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

Of course, you might not be able to come to the General Conference headquarters in Maryland, but what about taking 10 days with several of your friends to pray specifically for your pastor, your conference leadership, or even for your own fellow church members? Just imagine what God might do! Whatever the case, ask God how you can more effectively hold up the arms of others, especially those seeking to lead God’s church. Your prayers will make a difference for eternity.

Dear Heavenly Father, sometimes we get stuck in our own little world and dealing with our own issues and problems. But we want You to enlarge our vision. Enlarge our prayers. Help us learn what it means to stand in the gap for others. Help us learn to be intercessors for our church, just as Jesus is an Intercessor for us. Thank You for hearing this prayer, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Promises to claim: Eph. 3:20, Gal. 2:2, Ex. 17:12

The year was 1888, and God was doing something extraordinary for His church.

“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones,” Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White wrote in Testimonies to Ministers p. 91. She further described this message of Christ’s righteousness as “the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.”

The year is now 2015. We are still here. The loud cry still needs to go out. The latter rain still needs to fall.

What are we missing? What am I missing? Could it be that what perpetuated the misunderstanding of this “most precious message” is still preventing us from experiencing the power God is longing to unleash?

White later lamented that the ministers at the 1888 General Conference session were not willing to spend more time in united prayer in order to resolve the misunderstanding.

“We tried most earnestly to have all our ministering brethren rooming in the house meet in an unoccupied room and unite our prayers together, but did not succeed in this but two or three times,” she said in Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 173. “They chose to go to their rooms and have their conversation and prayers by themselves. There did not seem to be any opportunity to break down the prejudice that was so firm and determined, no chance to remove the misunderstanding in regard to myself, my son, and E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones.”

Prayer is powerful. United prayer is more powerful. Although I usually feel too busy, I’m recognizing that I can never complete the work God has placed before me without quality time spent humbly uniting in prayer with my family and my church. This is absolutely critical for our work in these last days.

“We are living in that time of this earth’s history when we must meet to pray for the special blessing upon us individually, and then we shall be in Christ, and through Christ victorious,” White said. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, p. 24). “We are too easily satisfied with limited, special, far-between blessings.”

Now is the time to meet to pray. Will we do it? Will I?

Zac Page, pastor, Templeton Hills, California

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests submitted by Rafaat Kamal, Trans-European Division president, please click here!

IMG_6230Practical Application: 

If you haven’t thought about starting a small prayer group, maybe it’s time to begin. While having our own private prayer time is crucial to our maintaining spiritual life, as Ellen White has shared above, there is added blessings and power when we pray together, especially when we are praying fervently for the same purpose.

To start, ask a family member or friend if they’d be willing to pray with you, maybe once or twice a week. Or consider starting your own prayer group in your home, or asking your pastor if you can have a special designated time for group prayer at church. There’s really no right or wrong way to pray, as long as we are praying in alignment with God’s Word, however if you’d like some tips to get you going with a special time of united prayer, you can download our booklet Praying for Rain: A Mini-Handbook for United Prayer available on our featured resources page by clicking here.

If we want Pentecost to be repeated, we need to learn to pray like the disciples! God is longing to pour out His blessing upon us, but He’s waiting for us to seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, As we begin a new week, we ask that You would continue to draw us closer together as a people. Teach us how to pray! Teach us how to cling to Your strong arm as we plead for our churches, our leaders, our children, and for the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. We need Your blessing as never before. Thank You for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen! 

Promise to claim: Matt. 7:7, John 16:24

A few days ago I was on a prayer call with several prayer leaders from one of our conferences.

As is often the case, the conference president was on the call with us.

It was an intense time of intercession, but an instant lump rose in our throats when the president began to pray. With a passion I don’t think I’d ever heard from him, he cried out, “Oh, God, please show us how to make every church in our field a house of prayer!”

Jesus Himself declared that this should be our name, our identity. As important as preaching is, He never called His church “a house of preaching.” As essential as music is, He never called His church “a house of music.” Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13).

The president’s words hung in the air as we prayed. We could sense a rise in the intensity of our prayer time. We perceived that God wanted to say something of importance, that a dream was birthing, a vision was coming to light. Every church a house of prayer.

What if …

What if, as people drove by our church building on a Wednesday evening, they had the distinct sense that something of eternal significance was happening inside?

What if, when a neighbor was facing a crisis, one of us knocked on her door and asked if we could come in and pray?

What if, when a new school term was beginning, we invited parents from our community — and their teachers — to a special time of prayer for our public schools?

What if, when the church board met, they decided to spend as much time praying as they did in discussion of the business agenda?

What if the mid-week service became prayer meeting night again, and such a strong awareness of God’s presence filled the community that you had trouble finding a place to sit?

What if there were victories and healings, marriages repaired, children reclaimed, and sinners turned heavenward?

What if …

We believe God would be honored. That’s why, as we move toward the new year, you will begin to see the appeal, HOPE heals. HOPE is an acronym for Houses Of Prayer Everywhere. We urge you to begin to ask God to show you what that would look like where you live.

Ruthie Jacobsen, prayer coordinator, North American Division

Note: To view this week’s prayer requests for the church, please click here!

Practical Application: 

If prayer is not a major part of everything you do at your church, now is the time to start praying that God would change this. It may not be easy at first to learn how to incorporate more prayer into the routine activities of the church, but if you and several others catch the vision for “HOPE Heals” and keep praying, God will bring more and more on board.

There are many things you can do to get the ball rolling. Invite a special prayer speaker and host a prayer weekend to help your church members see the vital importances of prayer. Plan a day of prayer and fasting for backslidden members or for your children. Plan a special agape banquet and take turns sharing prayer testimonies. Take a Sabbath afternoon just to spend a couple hours taking turns surrounding each other (and your burdens) in prayer. This will bring great healing and unity to your fellow church members as you carry one another’s burdens and lift up each other’s needs in prayer. Start a weekly (or more) prayer meeting where you don’t just talk, you PRAY for specific spiritual goals! Satan doesn’t mind how much time we spend talking and strategizing about prayer, just as long as we don’t take time to pray! Let’s break this habit and make his host tremble.

As your prayer activities in your church grow, you will begin to see revival among members, backslidden members will return to church, your young people will begin to sense that God is at work and start asking questions and more and more amazing things will happen.

God is just waiting to work! He’s waiting for us to pray! He truly wants to make our churches houses of prayer, but even more, He wants us to be houses of prayer! Let’s pray that He would do just this!

Dear Heavenly Father, We talk a lot about prayer, but we really don’t pray in our churches or homes as we should. Please help this to change. Help us to make prayer a true priority. Help us to get past the distractions that the enemy throws across our path, and truly fall on our knees in fervent prayer for our churches, our children, backslidden members, and the lost around us. We know You want to do so much more with us, but our faith and small belief in the power of prayer has limited us. May these things limit us no longer. Help us to become the houses of prayer that You’ve designed us to be. May Your work in answer to prayer be seen in such a powerful way that people will begin flocking to see what is happening in our church. This is a miracle we are praying for! But YOU are the God of miracles. Thanks for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Promises to claim: Mark 11:17, Jer. 33:3, Eph. 3:20

Photo: David B. Sherwin, Review

What a privilege to talk to God directly without any barrier.

I am so glad for prayer — constant prayer. I’m not sure how people cope without prayer and this wonderful discussion with God. Many times during the day I simply talk to God, asking for guidance, wisdom, direction, or protection. What an assurance that we have a Creator and Redeemer who never sleeps and is always ready to hear our praise, thanks, and pleas. What a privilege for the worldwide church to be United in Prayer.

Let us pray for our personal growth in Christ, our families, our churches, and our communities. Let us pray for the great need of Revival and Reformation — for you, your family, your church, and your community.

As we enter a new five-year period of evangelistic outreach, let us remember that prayer is the key to revival and reformation. Let us always give God the glory for any success we may have. God will open to us His storehouse of heavenly power and direction as we submit to Him each day in Bible study, study of the Spirit of Prophecy, and earnest prayer.

Let us prayerfully continue to lift up Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world, and His soon second coming.

Through the power of prayer, let us plead for the falling of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit to help us focus on the three angels’ messages going to the big cities through the Adventist world church’s Mission to the Cities program. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit as we show the love of Christ through Comprehensive Health Ministry, where we meet the physical and spiritual needs of people in our communities. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit as each of us participates in the new Total Member Involvement initiative, where every church member finds a way to share Jesus with friends and neighbors.

Let prayer be the key that unlocks heaven’s storehouse for the final loud cry announcing the Lord’s soon return. What a privilege to pray together as we look to the Source of goodness and our future eternal happiness.

Ted N. C. Wilson, president, Seventh-day Adventist Church

Note: To view Elder Wilson’s prayer request for the church, please click here and then go to the PRESIDENT’S tab!

Practical Application: 

If you aren’t familiar with the new Revival and Reformation initiatives, please visit: www.revivalandreformation.org to learn how you can become involved and also how you can more effectively share your faith with others. As Elder Wilson wrote above, one of the new initiatives of the world church for these next five years is to see total member involvement, where we all take part in sharing Jesus. This could be as simple as learning how to show Jesus to your next door neighbor, to passing out glow tracts, or to preaching an evangelistic series. We are told that angels are waiting to assist us if we are willing, all we have to do is ask God to help us!

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s easy to get so busy in our day to day lives that we don’t take the time to witness to others about Your love as we should. Please help us to recognize the beautiful calling that You’ve given us–to share Christ with the world. We may not know where to begin, but You promise to help us if we ask, so today we are asking! Please help us learn how to be Your hands and feet of love to those around us. Help us to know how to share the gospel and tell others of Your soon coming! Thank You for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Promises to claim: Matt. 24:14, Isa. 30:21, Ex. 4:12

When we speak of united prayer, what often comes to mind is praying in one accord with other Christians.  We think of the disciples who “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14).  Such united prayer was vitally important in the early Christian church.

Christians down through the ages have continued in earnest united prayer. Ellen White shares the following testimony of her experience in 1844: “We united, as a people, in earnest prayer for a true experience and the unmistakable evidence of our acceptance with God” (Christian Experience and Teachings, p. 51).  On one occasion, she became very ill: “My parents, husband, and sisters united in prayer for me…”(Christian Experience and Teachings, p. 89).]

In reference to the counsel in James 5:20, Ellen White writes, “Let the members of the church, as representatives of Christ, unite in prayer and loving entreaty that the offender may be restored” (Desire of Ages, p. 441).

Even when we are alone in prayer, we can still experience united prayer—with Jesus.  We have a Great High Priest who “always lives to make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25).  My friend Philip Samaan describes the trickle of our prayers joining with the Niagara Falls of the prayers of Jesus.

During His time of anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His disciples to watch and pray. It was His earnest desire “that they might unite with Him in prayer” (Desire of Ages, p. 419).  But they fell asleep.  Jesus still makes the same appeal to each one of us today: watch and pray.  Now is the time to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). Whether we are alone, or in small groups, let’s unite in prayer with Jesus.

Derek Morris, Coordinator Believe His Prophets

Note: To view this weeks prayer request for the church, please click here!

UntitledPractical Application: 

If you don’t have a prayer partner, it may seem very lonely when facing huge mountains or difficulties in prayer. However, as Pastor Morris shared above, remember that we have the best prayer partner that we could ever hope to have, and that is Jesus!

This coming week, why don’t you take some time to write down a few of the big issues in your life that you are praying about. Then take your Bible and ask God to show you the promises that He has in His Word regarding situations just like yours. Once you have God’s Word, begin to pray these promises every time you think about that situation or issue. Also, share your promises with your prayer partners, and encourage them to pray God’s Word as well, over every need and situation.

God’s Word is power, and as Jesus stands beside you as your Advocate, God hears and will honor your prayers. In fact, we are told, “The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word to us” (Christ Object Lessons, p. 148). Yes, there’s power when we pray God’s Word!

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s hard to keep walking when we feel all alone in our struggles, however we want to thank You for reminding us that Jesus is our Advocate and Intercessor and He promises to never leave us or forsake us. Teach us how to cling to Him. Give us faith and courage to keep walking each day, knowing He holds our hand.  Help us to stand upon His  Word knowing that His Word does not return unto Him void! We cling to You in faith. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.

Promises to claim: 1 Pet. 5:7, Heb. 13:5, Isa. 41:13, Mark 10:27, Isa. 55:11

“If two of you shall agree as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt. 18:19, 20


Have you every wondered why united prayer is so important? Consider the following thoughts from the pen of Inspiration.

“We are encouraged to pray for success, with the divine assurance that our prayers will be answered… The promise [referring to Matt. 18:19] is made on the condition that the united prayers of the church are offered, and in answer to these prayers, there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another.” From 9th Manuscript Releases (no. 748), p. 303. (Letter 32, 1903, p. 5)

“Precious promise! Do we believe it? What marvelous results would appear if the united prayers of this company were to ascend to God in living faith!” From Evangelism, p. 414

What was Jesus’ desire for united prayer?

“Our Saviour follows His lessons of instruction with a promise that if two or three should be united in asking anything of God it should be given them. Christ here shows that there must be union with others, even in our desires for a given object. Great importance is attached to the united prayer, the union of purpose. God hears the prayers of individuals, but on this occasion Jesus was giving especial and important lessons that were to have a special bearing upon His newly organized church on the earth. There must be an agreement in the things which they desire and for which they pray. It was not merely the thoughts and exercises of one mind, liable to deception; but the petition was to be the earnest desire of several minds centered on the same point.” From Counsels to the Church, p. 241

Ellen White, co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Note: To view this week’s prayer focus for our newly elected GC officers, click here!

IMG_6230Practical Application: 

If you haven’t thought about starting a small prayer group, maybe it’s time to begin. While having our own private prayer time is crucial to our maintaining spiritual life, as Ellen White has shared above, there is added blessings and power when we pray together, especially when we are praying fervently for the same purpose.

To start, ask a family member or friend if they’d be willing to pray with you, maybe once or twice a week. Or consider starting your own prayer group in your home, or asking your pastor if you can have a special designated time for group prayer at church. There’s really no right or wrong way to pray, as long as we are praying in alignment with God’s Word, however if you’d like some tips to get you going with a special time of united prayer, you can download our booklet Praying for Rain: A Mini-Handbook for United Prayer available on our featured resources page by clicking here.

If we want Pentecost to be repeated, we need to learn to pray like the disciples! God is longing to pour out His blessing upon us, but He’s waiting for us to seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, As we begin a new week, we ask that You would continue to draw us closer together as a people. Teach us how to pray! Teach us how to cling to Your strong arm as we plead for our churches, our leaders, our children, and for the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. We need Your blessing as never before. Thank You for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen! 

Promise to claim: Matt. 7:7, John 16:24

I’ve always prayed before I study the Bible.

Indeed, I usually pray for quite some time before I even open the Bible in the morning. God always blesses. But recently the Scriptures have been coming to life in a whole new way.

So let me share what happened.

This summer a close friend and I decided to follow the new Believe His Prophets daily Bible reading together. While it’s been a blessing from the start, things began to change this past month when my friend found some beautiful parallels pointing to Christ in one chapter of Genesis.

After that, we challenged each other to look for Jesus in every chapter. After all, Jesus was able to find Himself throughout the Scriptures while traveling the road to Emmaus with two disciples: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

To be honest though, sometimes Jesus isn’t visible even after we’ve read and reread a chapter several times. This can be discouraging! After all, what do you do with a story like Judah and his affair with Tamar in Genesis 38? Or what about Jacob’s genealogy in Genesis 46?

But when it seems like we face a spiritual roadblock, we start praying, and as we do, the Holy Spirit begins opening our eyes to see glimpses of Jesus again.

In Genesis 38, we realized that a repentant Judah, forgiven by God, is found together with Tamara in the family tree of Jesus in Matthew 1.

Jacob’s genealogy in Genesis 46 lists 12 sons. Jesus had 12 disciples. Jacob’s 12 sons were to populate the world. Jesus’ 12 disciples were to help win the world. Moreover, we are spiritual descendants of those 12 disciples.

Also in Genesis 46, Joseph’s family is described as shepherds who tend flocks. We are to be shepherds who help tend God’s flock. Jesus is our Shepherd.

The parallels just go on and on. Day after day my friend and I have been discovering that truly Christ is in all the Scriptures, just as He said on the road to Emmaus.

I’ve been a Seventh-day Adventist Christian my whole life. I’ve loved God’s Word from the time I was a child. But I can unashamedly say I’m falling in love with God’s Word all over again. What has been the key to unlocking the Scriptures and catching new glimpses of Christ? Prayer! Much prayer!

Melody Mason, United in Prayer Coordinator

NOTE:  View this week’s prayer focus on Mission to the Cities by clicking here! 

OXYGENPractical Application: 

Throughout Scripture we are encouraged by word and example to study to show ourselves approved unto God, as workers who do not need to be ashamed, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). However, successful Bible study is not merely an intellectual process, for even Satan is an excellent Bible student.

Beyond mental understanding and “right dividing,” we need heart transformation. We need to see Jesus! This only comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We should make the psalmist’s petition our own: “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” (Psalm 119:18).

If you aren’t already part of our Believe His Prophets Bible reading program, we encourage you to join by clicking here. And as you do, start looking for Christ in the Scriptures. It may not always be easy, but as you pray, God’s Word will come alive before your very eyes, just as it has for Melody and her friend.

Also, for more tips on how to study the Bible study, please visit our featured resource page and download Revived by God’s Word: A Mini-handbook for Bible Study.

Dear Heavenly Father, We’ve read Your Word many times, but today we need a fresh glimpse of Jesus. Please open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of Your law. Open our eyes that we may truly see Christ in every page. And as we do, change our hearts! Thank You for how You will answer this prayer. This we pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Promise to claim: Jer. 29:13

I hung up the phone in shock.

My younger son, Zac, had just been suspended from school. I couldn’t believe it.

How could my son do such a thing? He knew better. We had taught him not to do things like that. Why?

I knelt down and asked God why Zac had done this.

Don’t ask God that question if you don’t want to know! As I read my Bible, God showed me that it was my fault. God impressed me that a certain behavior my son had seen in my life through the years had made him think it was OK to do what he did.

I was devastated. I repented, confessed my sin, and thanked God for forgiveness.

I am so grateful that God’s Word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).

I’m sure my son expected a scolding when he arrived home. Instead, I shared with him what God had shown me.

“Zac”, I said, “I have confessed it as sin, and I know God forgives me, but will you forgive me for being a bad example to you?”

I will never forget the look on his face or the tears in his eyes. That day I saw my rebellious young teenager soften before my eyes.

Zac is all grown up now. He is a pastor who is very in love with Jesus. He is passionate about seeing souls won to God’s kingdom.

There is much more to his story and how God led me, as his mom, to change my behavior. But one thing I know without a doubt: If we will spend quality time with God, reading His Word, asking Him to lead, and listening to Him, Jesus will guide us in our family relationships.

So many times God has impressed me while I am reading the Bible to do something or stop doing something. I’ve not always wanted to hear it and have sometimes refused to do it. How I regret those times! Looking back, I’m so thankful that this time I listened and obeyed.

Humbling ourselves and admitting our mistakes to others, whether family or anyone else, is eternally priceless. Over the years I have learned that all powerful prayer begins with a teachable spirit.

Janet Page, General Conference prayer ministries coordinator

NOTE: In case you missed last week’s Prayer Focus & Note from Erton Köhler, President, South America Division, you can view those by clicking HERE! We also have one new additional request for this upcoming week.

Practical Application: 

When things go wrong with loved ones, especially our children, it’s easy to cast blame on them, and to be harsh and judgmental. But what if, as a parent, we did just as Janet did, and asked God to show us where we have gone wrong in our own life and example, and how to make that right to our children. Even if the damage was done years ago, a few sincere words of love and apology could go a long ways towards mending broken bridges and helping someone turn and walk a new direction. Whatever the case, when problems arise, rather than reacting from our own feelings, anger or frustration, let’s learn to spend extra time in prayer and act based on God’s word, His love and His Spirit. 

Dear Heavenly Father, When things go wrong, it’s so easy to point the finger and be harsh and critical. And indeed there is a time to reprove. But please teach us how to love and act based on Your word, rather than reacting in anger. Teach us how to walk a higher road as parents and truly love as you love and forgive as you forgive, and try to do the best to make sure there is nothing between us and you, or us and our loved ones. It’s not easy, especially with family, but this is where we need your grace the most: In our home and in our hearts. Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Promise to claim: Eph. 4:32

One of my staff members was at it again.He was spreading false rumors about another couple on our conference team.I’d warned him before about his tendency to gossip. Extremely annoyed, I set an appointment for Tuesday. I would go over a list of his wrong doings, watch him squirm, and then make it clear his behavior needed to change.Tuesday came and I took my time with the Lord that morning. I asked Him to speak clearly to me from His word — whatever I needed to understand. The appointment with Jim was not on my mind, but it was on God’s mind!

I had been reading through Proverbs and verses from chapter 12 began to practically jump off the page. “A fool shows his annoyance at once. … Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. … A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of a fool blurt out folly” (verses 16, 18 and 23).

“I hear you, Lord,” I prayed.

I was right about the facts but so wrong in spirit. I asked Jesus to make me like Him in my meeting. Galatians 6:1 came to mind: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”

I began our meeting with Galatians 6:1 and asked Jim to pray for me to be like Jesus in all my dealings with people. I admitted that I sometimes talked about people behind their backs. Then I gently shared my concerns with him. We ended up on our knees, tears in our eyes, praying for each other.

Later that evening a pastor called me. Angry over false gossip members were spreading about him, he planned to straighten them out! Isn’t God good? He had worked me over that morning so I could have a good meeting with Jim and also be ready to help a hurting pastor that evening.

It seems there is never enough time. The temptation is to cut short or skip time with my Lord and move on to “getting something practical done.” More and more I am realizing that if I prioritize connecting with God through prayer and the Word, He can accomplish much more of the right things! That is just what He promised in John 15!

Let’s make sure we take time in God’s word and talk often with Him. It makes a difference for eternity!

Your brother in Christ,

Jerry N. Page, General Conference ministerial secretary

NOTE: Don’t miss this week’s Prayer Focus & Note from Erton Köhler, President, South America Division. You can view those by clicking HERE! 

Practical Application: 

When problems arise, it’s always easiest to try to work out the solutions in our own strength. Maybe you have been doing just this, and you are wondering why aren’t things getting any better! You may be thinking, why am I not finding the solutions I need? Inspiration tells us, “Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish” (Ministry of Healing, p. 519). Instead of continuing to do things your way, or following your natural inclinations to work problems out with others, why don’t you spend some extra time in God’s Word and in prayer, until He gives you the wisdom and clarity you need. He has promised, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (Jam. 1:5). That’s not just an offer, it’s His promise! But we must ask, and wait until the answer comes.

Dear Heavenly Father, When things don’t go as they should, it’s so easy for self to rise up. But the solution that self brings is not from You. Please forgive us for reacting from our feelings and selfishness and pride rather than following the counsels from Your Word. Forgive us for doing things our way instead of Your way. Change our hearts, Lord! Help us to learn to look to You and Your Word for wisdom and strength in every problem and trial we face. You tell us that the things that are impossible with men are possible with You. So we need You to work! Thank You for hearing this prayer. Thank You for what You will do as we learn to trust more and more in You! In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen!  

Promises to claim: Rom. 12:21, Eph. 4:29, James 1:5, Mark 10:27

William Miller, an old farmer in the U.S. Northeast in the 1830’s, loved to pray and study God’s Word. Yet for nine years he refused to follow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to walk away from his plow and preach about Christ’s soon return. Miller trembled at the thought of public speaking, and he felt burdened by his unfitness for the work. But when he finally obeyed, God worked marvelously. Miller’s first presentation converted 30 entire families, with the exception of two people. Immediately, he was urged to speak elsewhere. Protestant churches of nearly all denominations opened their doors to him.

In some large cities Miller’s work was so effective that liquor dealers transformed their shops into meeting rooms for the revival. Gambling halls lost all their customers. A Boston newspaper reported about an open-air baptism of new believers attended by at least 10,000 people.

Across the country, various denominations held prayer meetings where at almost every hour businessmen could be found assembled for prayer and praise, Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White wrote in The Great Controversy (p. 332).

“There was no extravagant excitement, but an almost universal solemnity on the minds of the people,” she said. Miller’s “work, like that of the early reformers, tended rather to convince the understanding and arouse the conscience than merely to excite the emotions.”

In 12 years, Miller went from being an ordinary farmer to a well-known revivalist. He gave more than 4,500 presentations to more than half a million people during that time. His work gave birth to the Adventist Church, now one of the fasting growing Protestant denominations.

Reflecting on these early years of the Advent movement, White wrote: “When the message of truth was first proclaimed, how much we prayed. How often was the voice of intercession heard in the chamber, in the barn, in the orchard, or the grove? Frequently we spent hours in earnest prayer, two or three coming together claiming the promise; often the sound of weeping was heard and then the voice of thanksgiving and the song of praise” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 161).

We can learn much from the lives of Adventist pioneers. The Advent movement went forward with such power because of Miller and many of other pioneers’ spirit of prayer and dedication. Let’s pray for this same spirit of prayer and dedication today.

Dear Heavenly Father, We aren’t qualified to do what You’re calling us to do. But help us to not resist the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives any longer. Give us strength to keep moving forward by faith and using what You’ve given us for Your glory. We want what happened in the upper room to happen again today. We want to be Your hands and feet to spread the gospel to a world in need. Please help us Father! We long to finish the work so we can go home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Melody Mason, United in Prayer Coordinator

13957160963_1d821be0fc_zPractical Application: 

Is God calling you out of your comfort zone to do something for Him, but just like William Miller, you keep stalling? Are you being held back by feelings of inadequacy or insecurity or is there some other roadblock that is keeping you from moving forward for the Lord? Over this next week, we want to challenge you to think and pray about what God might be asking you to do, or what steps you should be taking to more fully follow His call on your life. 

Promise to claim: Ex. 4:12 & Isa. 30:21 

Just Imagine . . .

Millions of Seventh-day Adventists
…around the world
…all praying
…together
…in one accord
…for the same thing

 

Praying until something happens, just like the disciples prayed in that upper room before Pentecost!

We are living in exciting times in Earth’s history! And God’s work is going forward in ways never before thought imaginable. Yet we face many challenges as a church. We also face many challenges personally. Many doors will never be opened to the gospel and many mountains will never be conquered in our own lives except through the power of the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer.

Have you ever wondered how the early believers in the book of Acts became united in one accord? Have you ever wondered what led to such miracles and amazing progress, allowing them to take the gospel to the whole world in such a short amount of time? As we read the stories again, it is clear that the answer is prayer … not just individual prayer, but united prayer!

Time after time we find that the early believers put away wrongs and differences between themselves and prayed and called on the Lord together! They were united in prayer from the upper room to times of persecution, to times of business, to times of disagreements or when facing impossible difficulties, to praying for the spread of the gospel. As a result, God worked marvelously. The Holy Spirit was continuously poured out, the Word of God was preached powerfully, the gospel of Jesus went forward effectively, and the church grew dramatically!

We need the same movement again in these last days before Jesus returns!

After much prayer and work behind the scenes, we want to officially introduce United in Prayer: a movement of intercession for God’s last day people. The goal of this movement is to pray for the mission of the church, for our leaders, for difficult needs around the world, and also for our personal needs. We’re going to pray together until something happens!

Many of you have already been receiving the Believe His Prophets daily Bible reading and weekly Spirit of Prophecy passages that are part of the Revival and Reformation initiatives. We’d like to officially invite you to also participate in United in Prayer, which will go hand in hand with your daily Bible readings.

What is this website, UNITED in PRAYER all about?

The goal is simple yet vitally important: to encourage members worldwide to be part of a community of prayer through your own personal time with God, personal prayer groups, and in a broader sense as a church via prayer partners, prayer chains, united prayer phone lines, 777 on the hour, texting groups, weekly prayer meetings, and any other way that God leads.

First the goal will be to pray for the advancement of the mission of the worldwide church and for our leaders. Specific church needs and prayer requests will be updated weekly on our website, along with helpful resources and inspiration for your prayer journey. Our church president, Elder Wilson, has even shared his own personal list of requests for our world church, which you can view by clicking here.

WEPRAY-Website-ADDWe also have a separate online prayer room called “We Pray ~ Together” where you can sign up to safely and securely share your personal prayer requests, praise reports, or pray with other church members from around the world.

Job 42:10 tells us, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.”

As we learn to pray more for each other, as well as for the mission of our church, we can expect that God will work in ways we never imagined possible! Already we have testimonies from around the world on how God has restored marriages, brought lost children back to the church, given healing, and increased the effectiveness of evangelistic endeavors as people have committed to pray together for the church and for each other. It is clear, the more we pray together, the more God’s Spirit is poured out.

In the coming weeks we will be continuing to develop our website and to add new prayer resources and inspiration. If you have ideas of how our website could be improved or for features that you’d like to see, please feel free to let us know.

In the meantime, join us and encourage your friends and loved ones to join as well. Let’s all be part of a mighty global prayer movement of God, United in Prayer, as we prepare for the glorious return of Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, As we begin United in Prayer as a worldwide church, we ask for wisdom. Show us how to press together for each other. Show us how to pray more effectively for our church. We know You are coming soon, but there are still many trials ahead of us. We need You to strengthen us, and build us strong for Your service. More than anything we need that Pentecostal outpouring like occurred in the upper room. Please show us how to prepared to receive it! Thank you for hearing this prayer, and thank you for the hundreds of thousands around the world that are already praying for Your church! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Signed on behalf of the worldwide church and the Revival and Reformation Committee,

Your Prayer Partners in Christ,

Jerry Page, General Conference Revival and Reformation Coordinator
Janet Page, General Conference Prayer Ministries Coordinator
Derek Morris, General Conference Believe His Prophets Coordinator
Melody Mason, General Conference 100 Days of Prayer Coordinator

FirePractical Prayer Application: 

In this coming week, as we reflect on what it must have been like to be in that upper room at Pentecost, we want to encourage you to ask yourself what actually took place in the lives of the disciples for that latter rain outpouring to fall? What would be needed in our own lives for the same to occur in our day? With that in mind, what are some practical steps that we could take in our own homes, with our own families, and with fellow church members that would help us to be more receptive to the Holy Spirit?  

We encourage you to read and meditate upon: Acts of the Apostles, chapter 5 to help you answer these questions. Just imagine what God could do, and will do, if we are truly surrendered and seeking Him just as the disciples in that upper room! 

 

Dear Praying Friends and teammates from around the world!

Welcome to United in Prayer. During this new initiative we will share inspirational prayer thoughts as well as specific prayer requests for our world church. We are also working on many other features that will be coming to the website soon. We want to begin to make this a community of prayer. In other words, we want YOU to share your prayer requests as well, and as you do, we want you to encourage one another as you lift up each other’s prayer requests to the Lord. (Soon, we will launch an online prayer room where you can do this as well.)

The Bible tells us, “…Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

SEE COMMENT SECTION BELOW to leave a prayer request or encourage someone else by YOUR PRAYER! 

For the devotional focus for this first week post-GC Session, we want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on the powerful challenge that our church president, Elder Ted Wilson, gave us during the final Sabbath at the General Conference Session in San Antonio. (You can read the full transcript of his message by clicking here.)

Wilson’s challenge to our church: “Cross the Jordan…Don’t Retreat!”

How timely of a message.

So many of us today have gotten stuck in lukewarm wilderness Christianity. Yes, we may have left Egypt. We may have left the world behind as we’ve been raised in the church or accepted the messages of the church. And often we are quite proud about this fact, about the fact that we don’t do the same bad things that many in the world do. But the problem is, we haven’t kept advancing spiritually in our walk with God as we should. We have settled. Unfortunately, many of us are still doing circles in the desert. Yes, we may be doing good things in the desert. We may have built amazing sand castles, we may have cleaned out dirty valleys, and we may be making headway in ways never before seen in the wilderness, but still…we are living in a dry and barren land. Our spiritual lives are still stunted and dry, far too dry. We still haven’t really grasped what it means to live by faith and to experience “life more abundant” (John 10:10).

However, God doesn’t want to leave us in the wilderness. It was never His intent for us to get stuck here. It is God’s desire for us to go forward…to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land.

Inspiration tells us, “Just as long as the church is satisfied with small things, it is disqualified to receive the great things of God” (Home Missionary, November 1, 1893 par. 25). However, in another place we are told, “[God] is well pleased when they (That’s us! That’s our church) make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises” (Desire of Ages, p. 668).

So although we’ve experienced many spiritual blessings in our lives up to this point, let’s be careful that we don’t settle! Let’s be careful that we don’t ever become content with a superficial or shallow Christian experience. Let’s keep moving forward! Let’s keep daring to ask for more. Let’s keep moving toward the promised land!

Kneeling together for God’s glory!

Practical Application: 
  • Over this next week, we want to challenge you to look at your life up to this point and to pray and ask God how you may have been settling in your life spiritually.
  • Then we want to encourage you to ask Him as you pray how He wants you to move forward. In other words, what kind of lifestyle changes, attitude changes, and spiritual changes do you need to make to move forward by faith and cross the Jordan?
  • Also ask yourself, are there any hindrances or things that may be getting in the way or holding you back from experiencing all that God has for you?

Prayer Request: 

  • Pray for traveling safety for delegates and church leaders as they return to their homes!
  • Pray for continued personal revival in all of our hearts!
  • Pray that this movement of prayer can continue to grow in our own lives, in our family circle, in our churches, and in communities! May we unite in prayer as we move forward in mission!
  • Please share your personal prayer request on our webpage by clicking here. (Be careful about personal details you share as this page is viewable by anyone, so be discreet and to the point.)
  • And when you see prayer request, we invite you to comment and encourage one another, so we can create a community of prayer!

Let’s pray together and personally about these things. You can leave your prayer request below in the comments section! Let’s not settle! Let’s move forward by faith until Jesus comes in the clouds of glory to take us home!

United in Prayer
Forward on our Knees!

Praise Reports for July 11th

  1. Happy Sabbath from San Antonio!!! Truly it has been a HAPPY Sabbath! 😉
  2. It is estimated that 60,000+ joined us for Sabbath Services in the Alamodome here in San Antonio today, where we experienced a powerful worship service together. (Imagine what it will be like when we can all worship together in heaven!)
  3. God blessed Elder Wilson this morning as he delivered a convicting message for the Divine service titled, “Cross the Jordan…Don’t Retreat!” (To read this message, click here.)
  4. Something else really special about today is all the amazing testimonies we have heard. The following are a few of our favorite stories that we are praising God for today:
  5. This morning, Dr. Moskala, a dentist serving in Bangladesh, testified about a young boy being raised from the dead. Praise the Lord, we serve a God that is still ALIVE today!
  6. A former Muslim shared how he became a converted Seventh-day Adventist Christian. His wife prayed for seven years that he’d become a Christian. Prayer works! We must not give up!
  7. In the afternoon “Church in Mission” program, a woman from China shared how she has planted 10 churches and 500 have been baptized as a result.
  8. Also another man from China, who pastors 40 churches with a total of 4,300 members, shared how he was not raised Christian. In fact, his father was a persecutor of Christians and for years would take Christians to prison when he caught them worshipping God. However, his father was so impacted by the sweet manner of the Christians who he had imprisoned, that after 12 years of watching these Christians, he gave his life to Christ and led his children to the foot of the cross. The pastor that shared this testimony is one of those children. Now he not only pastors 40 churches, but he’s also overseen the building of a major health center that has ministered to over 5,000 people over the past 15 years. Of those 5,000 who have come through their health center doors, 1,200 have been baptized. This is another amazing testimony of the powerful entering wedge of the health arm of the gospel.
  9. Many more testimonies have been shared today, from a street-side trumpet and preaching ministry with a family in the Congo, to Youth in Mission, Global Youth Day, and pathfinder testimonies from all around the world! We praise God for seeing so many young people on fire for Christ. As Elder Wilson shared today, “We are so proud of our young people!” AMEN, Praise the Lord!
  10. Another praise report this afternoon is that Hope Channel shared how 8 new channels will be opened up around the world. Elder Wilson cut the ribbon and gave a prayer of dedication.
  11. In the prayer room this morning, we had more blessings! Bursting at the seams again, because of too much traffic, the Alamodome Fire Marshall threatened to close our doors. However, we were able to move a divider wall and make the room twice as big. What a blessing! (As it turns out, we’ve had over 8,000 prayer request cards turned in, and many more people visited the prayer room that did not write out their prayer request. So we praise God!)
  12. On an interesting note, Elder Wilson reported that San Antonio authorities say this is one of city’s largest conferences they have ever hosted, and they have had no problems with us. We praise God for this testimony.
  13. Thousands continue to signing up for the new Bible reading Believe His Prophets and United in Prayer initiative which starts tomorrow. We praise God for this, and we encourage you to continue to share with your family and friends that many more can be part of this journey with us!
  14. Our final Sabbath evening ended with a grand finale featuring “Mission on the Move,” formerly known as the “Parade of Nations.” Many people shared with us that they are going back inspired and revived! We praise the Lord!
  15. “Arise! Shine! Jesus is coming! Let’s get ready to meet Him!”

Dear Prayer Partners,

THANKS for BEING PART of 100 Days of Prayer! While we have received many blessings, there are many blessings that we are still waiting for…especially that mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon our church. But not one prayer has been wasted.

Consider the following thought from Inspiration.

“When the Third Angel’s Message shall go forth with a loud voice, the whole earth shall be lightened with His glory, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon His people. The revenue of glory has been accumulating for this closing work of the Third Angel’s Message. The prayers that have been ascending for the fulfillment of the promise, the descent of the Holy Spirit, not one has been lost. Each prayer has been accumulating, ready to overflow and pour forth a healing flood of heavenly influence and accumulated light all over the world.” Letter 96a 1899, p. 2.

Here’s one more promise:

“There is no danger that the Lord will neglect the prayers of His people. The danger is that in temptation and trial they will fail to persevere in prayer.” Christ Object Lessons, p. 175

So let’s keep praying!

The first United in Prayer e-mail will be sent sometime later tomorrow. It will also be viewable on www.100daysofprayer.org.  Thanks for your patience as we finish up GC Session details and modifying and updating the website for this new initiative. While we have many exciting plans, it will still take some time to evolve.

In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for our church leaders and delegates as they return to their homes! We are also praying for all of you! Stay strong in the Lord, and thanks to so many of you that came by the prayer room to pray with us. It was such an honor to get to meet so many of you.

FORWARD ON OUR KNEES!

Melody
100 Days of Prayer Coordinator

Praise Reports for July 10th

  1. Today’s morning worship was given by Ron Smith, president of the Southern Union in the North American Division. His message was: “Home at Last: The Joy and Fullness of His Return.” Thanks for praying for him. God spoke through him!
  2. Thousands of people are signing up for the new Bible reading Believe His Prophets and United in Prayer initiative. We praise God for this, and we encourage you to continue to share with your family and friends that many more can be part of this journey with us!
  3. The GC business session ended early today. From GC Session twitter reports, it looks like the spirit among everyone has been good even through difficult discussions from time to time.
  4. We’ve had many answers to prayer in the prayer room, which we will share in more detail at a later date. However, in short, we’ve seen people who have come in be convicted to re-surrender their lives to God. We’ve seen supernatural provision in answer to prayer for the needs of different GC attendees. We’ve seen physical relief from pain for different individuals. We’ve also had people in the room who cannot speak English report that they could understand everything that was being said during the prayer sessions. (This is just too amazing!)
  5. We praise God that many church leaders and laity have shared with us that they’ve been inspired to go back to their churches around the world and raise up more prayer ministries and activities. May God continue to build a mighty movement of prayer around the world.
  6. The convention food has been healthy and tasty!
  7. The weather has been warm (sometimes much warmer), but not overly humid or miserable. We praise God for this, for bad weather could have made life much more difficult.
  8. The musical selections have been amazing on so many counts. It’s also been amazing to see the different cultures and their talent. God is working among His people!
  9. We praise the Lord for His hedge of safety and protection around this whole Session.
  10. Now we praise the Lord for the soon coming Sabbath!

Prayer Request for July 11th

  1. Pray for safety of all those that will be coming in for Sabbath! This will probably be the largest group! Pray that they will also receive the inspiration they need to have a closer walk with God!
  2. Pray for the special mission offering which will be collected during Sabbath worship services to fund thousands of youth-driven mission projects around the world.
  3. Pray for Elder Wilson as he gives the Sabbath morning message at 11 a.m.
  4. Pray that many will be inspired and convicted and blessed by the Sabbath afternoon program titled, “The Church in Mission.” Pray that individuals will be inspired to become personally involved in our worldwide mission.
  5. Pray for the closing Sabbath evening program which will be “Mission on the Move,” formerly known as the “Parade of Nations.”
  6. Pray for each of the GC delegates and attendees as they return to their homes, churches and countries around the world that they be equipped and empowered to work even more effectively for God.
  7. Pray that after Session is over, attendees and leaders would be inspired to go back to their home Divisions, Unions, and conferences and pray with the same fervency and passion for their leaders and churches, and that this movement of intercessory prayer (holding up the arms of those in office – Ex. 17:12) would encircle the world helping usher in that full outpouring that we’ve been waiting for. (It still hasn’t happened. We are still waiting! But we must keep praying, for God promises it will come!)
  8. Pray that we can all keep our eyes on the goal and realize that Jesus is coming soon!
  9. Pray that WE as a church will continue to prepare our hearts and focus on that goal, being ready for Jesus soon return.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here

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Praise Reports for July 9th

  1. Today’s morning worship was given by Taj Pacleb, an evangelist for Central California Conference. His message was, “Into All the World: The Proclamation of the Gospel and His Return” and was a powerful testimony of how God can work in our lives when we fully commit ourselves to Him.
  2. Nominating committee work is over. This afternoon divisions separated to caucus to select department leaders. Agenda items are fast coming to a close. It hasn’t always been easy, but God has been working, none the less! Delegates continue to testify to this.
  3. We’ve had several reports of non-SDA workers who have been really impacted by what they’ve observed in the meetings and in the interaction with the delegates and attendees. Some have even joined us in the prayer room. Praise God! We’ve even heard that one of the security guards has requested baptism. This is another amazing answer to prayer!
  4. The morning after the big vote, the GC prayer room was packed once again. Standing room only for awhile! Many people are seeking God’s will and wisdom for the future. Sweet spirit reigns!
  5. Powerful and inspiring TED and WAD Division reports tonight. WAD pictured above with, “Jesus is coming again!”
  6. God has also been blessing in the women’s ministry meetings and the prayer seminars. Good attendance and lots of positive reports.
  7. Administration and leadership continue to share with us that they feel God’s sustaining hand and strength! We praise the Lord for this! He will carry us through. Only 2 more days to go, and Session will be over.

IMG_9270

Prayer Request for July 10th

  1. Pray for Ron Smith, president of the Southern Union in the North American Division, as he gives the final morning devotional message. His message will be: “Home at Last: The Joy and Fullness of His Return.”
  2. Pray as the business items for GC Session are brought to a close.
  3. Pray that the meeting will finish early and that there will be time for an extra prayer and praise session for the whole group of GC delegates.
  4. Pray for the additional Adventist that will be traveling here for the final GC weekend, that God will use this weekend to inspire and bless them in a powerful way.
  5. Many have been struggling with health issues during GC Session. Please pray that God will give healing and people will be able to travel safely back to their homes.
  6. Pray that despite differences, our leaders and delegates will work together to promote unity and move forward in mission.
  7. Pray for Mark Finley and the things he will be sharing with the world church tomorrow night. Pray that many will be inspired and convicted to go deeper in their walk with God.
  8. Pray that we can all keep our eyes on the goal and realize that Jesus is coming soon!

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here. 

Praise Reports for July 8th

  1. Today’s morning worship message: “Through Trials to Triumph: The Advent Movement and His Return” was given by Alain Coralie, associate executive secretary of the East-Central Africa Division. Thank you for praying for him. His final challenge to us, “Arise, Shine, Jesus is coming!”
  2. We had a powerful praise report this morning from 100 Days of Prayer from Professor and Mrs. Rono from Eldoret Kenya. They shared how their 100 Days of Prayer group grew from a small group to over 400, and then how non-SDA pastors eventually joined the group and asked for studies. Of the 30 pastors that they studied with, 16 of those have recently been baptized to become Seventh-day Adventist. What an amazing testimony! (See picture to right of Mrs. Rono with Melody, 100 Days of Prayer Coordinator.)
  3. Today’s business session was dedicated to the question of whether divisions should make provision for the ordination of women in their respective territories. After lengthy discussions, the world church voted: Yes 977; No 1381. (There were 2,363 votes total!) While the day was challenging, and at times grew a little tense, God’s Spirit was manifested in the proceedings. The Chair, Michael Ryan, as well as Elder Wilson, expressed thanksgiving for this. (To read more in depth report by the Adventist Review, click here!)
  4. Throughout the day, many people came and went from the prayer room. There was a sweet sweet spirit here as well, as we sought to avoid praying agenda prayers, but just prayed for God to work and His will to be done. When the vote was announced, there was no applause in the prayer room, but just a time for group prayer and then everyone joined hands as they sang “Bind us together.” Some cried, but there was a spirit of unity present in the room and we thank God for that.
  5. Powerful division reports tonight given by SID and SPD. God is working in His church!
  6. Although it’s been a long day (and a long last 7 days), we praise God that He is continuing to sustain us as well as our leaders!

Prayer Request for July 9th

  1. Pray for Taj Pacleb, as he gives the morning devotional entitled: “Into All the World: The Proclamation of the Gospel and His Return.” He is an evangelist for the Central California Conference.
  2. The General Conference session is expected to start wrapping up on Thursday. Any unresolved agenda items will be discussed at the morning and afternoon business sessions. Pray for wisdom and efficiency!
  3. Pray for a sweet spirit to remain throughout the meetings.
  4. Pray that the weather remains tolerable!
  5. In the evening, reports will be delivered by the Southern Asia Division (SUD), Trans-European (TED), and the West-Central Africa Division (WAD). Pray that we will be convicted and inspired by these reports.
  6. Pray for continued strength for the GC staff, prayer team, and others. Three more days to go! We are tired, but God promises that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule

Praise Reports for July 7th

  1. Today’s morning worship was a real blessing. In the words of Pastor Derek Morris, “Mathilde Frey shared the Good News at the morning devotional in the Alamodome. We are never alone (Jn 14:18).” Praise the Lord!
  2. Nominating committee members, as well as administrative leadership, have shared that they can tell that prayers are making a difference. (Praise the Lord! We still have a few more days of Session, so keep praying!)
  3. God blessed in the discussion on Fundamental beliefs today. Closing remarks by Dr. Stele, General VP, said: “I am proud of my church which is really committed to the Word of God.”
  4. Continuing to hear inspiring reports from the Divisions around the world. Last night it was shared how a former prison inmate, who served 17 years in prison, has now led 1200 former gang members to Jesus. (This came in the Inter-American Division report.)
  5. We’ve also had a number of inspiring testimonies of God’s blessing in the prayer room, from burdens being lifted, to even a young boy that has decided after visiting the prayer room that he wants to learn how to have a relationship with Jesus.
  6. Also many have shared testimonies of how God convicted them to come here to GC to pray, and how God then provided for them to come. Praise the Lord for all these reports. We can’t keep up with them all!
  7. So we continue to praise God for the many showers of blessings and answers to prayer in the prayer room!

Prayer Request for July 8th

  1. Please pray for morning worship message: “Through Trials to Triumph: The Advent Movement and His Return” which Alain Coralie, associate executive secretary of the East-Central Africa Division, will be giving.
  2. The entire day’s business session for July 8th will be dedicated to the question of whether divisions should make provision for the ordination of women in their respective territories. (Please pray for a sweet spirit to be manifested throughout the day and the discussion.)
  3. The question that delegates will be asked to vote on is: “After your prayerful study on ordination from the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, and the reports of the study commissions, and; after your careful consideration of what is best for the church and the fulfillment of its mission, is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No.” (Please pray that God will give divine wisdom to the delegates as they answer this question. Pray that God’s will be done!)
  4. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill the dome and when people walk into the building tomorrow morning, instead of anticipating problems or coming in complaining, pray that they will come to the meetings with hearts of praise for the great and mighty God that we serve. He is still on the throne, and this is HIS church!
  5. Pray for the reports which will be delivered by the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID), South Pacific Division (SPD), and the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD).
  6. Pray for God’s strength, patience, and endurance for all!
  7. Pray that Jesus prayer from John 17 may be fulfilled, that we may be ONE!

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule

Praise Reports for July 5th

  1. Morning worship titled “Faithful End-time Living: Preparation for His Return” by Shian W. O’Connor, president of Cayman Islands in the IAD, was a powerful reminder of the importance of our priorities.
  2. According to O’Connor, the big question that we all should be thinking about at GC Session is: “What do I still lack?” (In other words, examining our heart condition to see if there’s anything between us and God as we prepare for His soon coming!)
  3. The day started with a sweet prayerful spirit.
  4. All GC officers, General VPS’s, Division presidents, and many of the departmental leader elections have been announced.
  5. Serving as new General Vice Presidents for the world church will be: Ella Simmons, Artur Stele, Geoffrey Mbwana, Guillermo Biaggi, Abner De Los Santos, and Tom Lemon. (Pictured above with spouses in photo by James Bokovoy/NAD Communication.)
  6. One observer tweeted, “Much better spirit today among the delegates. Progress being made…” (So we praise God for this!)
  7. The GC Prayer Room during the morning hours continues to burst at the seams. There is almost not enough room for everyone. We praise God for many showers of blessings and answers to prayer in the prayer room!

Prayer Request for July 7th

  1. Pray for God’s will to be carried out in the nominating committee as remaining positions continue to be filled.
  2. Continue to pray for a sweet spirit and for wisdom for delegates as they deal with sensitive issues.
  3. Pray for morning worship speaker Mathilde Frey, former professor of Old Testament exegesis and biblical languages at the seminary at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) in the Philippines. Her devotional talk is titled: “Never Alone: The Promised Comforter Who Precedes His Return.”
  4. Pray for the reports which will be delivered by the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) and the South American Division (SAD).
  5. As we get closer to the big “O” discussion, Pastor Derek Morris tweeted: “Instead of praying for our desired outcome at #GCSA2015, let’s unite in prayer for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Yes indeed!)
  6. Pray that God’s Spirit will continue to be poured out in the prayer room and upon our leaders.
  7. Pray that our lives will be a testimony and witness to the many workers here.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule

Praise Reports for July 5th

  1. God has been blessing in the booth area in the convention center here at GC with many connections and opportunities to grow mission and service.
  2. Exhibitors have shared how the spirit has been wonderful, such as they’ve never experienced at previous GC’s.
  3. The food has been wonderful and lots of healthy options!
  4. The prayer room has continued to be packed, especially in the mornings.
  5. We’ve had some AMAZING testimonies from the 100 Days of Prayer that we will share in more detail soon.
  6. Inspiring Division reports: “Euro-Asia Division’s report is that Jesus is coming soon!” – Guillermo Biaggi

Prayer Request for July 6th

  1. Pray for God’s will to be carried out in the nominating committee as positions continue to be filled.
  2. Pray for a sweet spirit and for wisdom for delegates as they deal with sensitive issues.
  3. Pray for morning worship titled “Faithful End-time Living: Preparation for His Return” by Shian W. O’Connor, president of Cayman Islands in the IAD.
  4. Pray for wisdom over proposed wording changes to strengthen 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
  5. Pray for the discussion over how to strengthen the statement on Creation.
  6. In the evening, reports will be delivered by the Inter-European Division (EUD) and the Inter-American Division (IAD). Pray that these reports will convict and inspire many.
  7. Pray that God’s Spirit will continue to be poured out in the prayer room and upon our leaders.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule

Praise Reports for July 4th

  1. Beautiful Sabbath here in San Antonio. Even though the weather is warm, it’s not been unbearably hot so far. This is a huge answer to prayer.
  2. Thousands of delegates joined us for Sabbath services.
  3. Heard news during Sabbath school that church is launching Hope Channel for the deaf in the Fall. Many other initiatives for those with physical limitations. What a blessing!
  4. The recently elected executive officers (Wilson, Ng, and Prestol, along with wives) were on platform for this morning’s worship service. Loud amens in prayer of dedication for trio of GC officers when speaker asks that this be last GC session before Jesus comes.
  5. The church announced new strategic plan called “Reach the World” for 2015-2020. The emphasis on mission is growing! PTL!
  6. The Alamodome was filled with attendees from 168 countries. You can feel the Spirit of the Lord here! God is at work.
  7. Powerful worship service, including convicting message by G.T. Ng.
  8. Lots of blessings happening in the prayer room! God is continuing to bless.

Prayer Request for July 5th

  1. Pray for God’s will to be carried out in the nominating committee as positions continue to be filled.
  2. Pray for July 5th morning worship, “The Amazing Event: The Manner of His Return” by Neale Schofield, CEO of Adventist Media Network in Australia.
  3. Pray that God will be glorified in every detail of business session as it resumes tomorrow. Discussion may include editorial changes to the Church Manual, and more!
  4. Pray for the evening report to be given by East-Central Africa Division (ECD) and Euro-Asia Division (ESD).
  5. Pray that God would continue to flood the dome with His presence and that wisdom would be granted to all the leadership.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule

Also we continue to invite you to JOIN US in a SPECIAL TIME of PRAYER and FASTING during these days: June 28th – July 11th, our GC Prayer team is fasting (some on raw food, some on Daniel’s fast etc, and some in other ways, like media fast). We invite you to join us as we pray for God to work in a powerful way in the coming days! Click here to learn more about Daniel’s Fasting.

Praise Reports for July 3rd

  1. The BIG NEWS and PRAISE REPORT of today is that of the re-election of Elder Ted Wilson as General Conference president of the Seventh-day Adventist world Church. It was obvious by votes today (with yellow voting cards raised high and standing ovation and clapping) that he has overwhelming support in his leadership and is very loved by this church.
  2. Wilson shared three goals in his short speech as he accepted the vote for re-election. They were: One, “I hope that all of us will completely and fully lift up Christ’s righteousness in all things.” Two, “I want to ask all of us by God’s grace to be faithful to God’s Word, to His message, and to His calling.” Three, “I want to see total member involvement in evangelism and witnessing. God intends for His people to stand faithfully, but we have got to do it together.” His closing remarks were: “It is Nancy’s and my humble privilege to work with you. I am so proud of this woman who stands at my side. She is a godly humble woman… I pledge to you today, by God’s grace, to look to Him every morning, every moment. I commit myself to God and promise to ask Him every day for His guidance.”
  3. Today’s morning worship devotional was titled: “Tomorrow’s Headlines Today: The Signs of His Return” by Sikhu Hlatshwayo, a Zimbabwean missionary in the United States, went powerfully. Praise the Lord!
  4. Sikhu talked abut the need for better connection between our profession and our life. She shared, “If I’m waiting for Jesus coming, then my life will reflect it.” Later she said, “It’s not about the SECOND COMING of Jesus. It’s about the second coming of JESUS!” (Important where the emphasis is!)
  5. G.T. Ng gave inspiring report and shared four milestones for Adventist church. First milestone: Ng shares that SDA church, now at 18.5 million members, is now the 5th largest church in the world. Second milestone: 1.16 million baptisms in 2014, highest number of baptisms in one year on record. That equals 2.2 baptisms every minute. Third milestone: Four divisions are outstanding in growth areas: ECD, IAD, SAD & SID. We praise the Lord for how HE is blessing and bringing in so many new members to the church. Fourth milestone: Church planting. 2010-2014, 78,810 churches were planted, in 2014: 2,446 new churches were formed. That’s 6.7 churches per day. 215 out of 237 countries/territories that are part of UN have Adventist presence.
  6. Ng shared about mission and that it is not just something we talk about, but it’s the reason we exist as a church. G.T.
  7. G.T. Ng was re-elected as General Conference Secretary, another praise report!
  8. Juan Prestol, a godly spiritual man, was elected as new GC treasurer to replace Robert Lemon, who is retiring. We praise God and are hopeful for what God will do through these three top leaders in the coming years.
  9. The GC prayer room was packed this morning as people interceded for the church. (See picture below). There was standing room only for quite some time. Truly God is at work and His Spirit is moving at GC Session as many many people are praying!
  10. Finally, we praise the Lord for the soon approaching Sabbath and for the many more praise reports to come!

Prayer Request for July 4th

  1. Pray the thousands that will be joining us for Sabbath Services tomorrow, that God will pour out showers of blessings upon them!
  2. Pray that God will speak through the sermon by G.T. Ng tomorrow.
  3.  Pray for the participants and God’s blessing on the afternoon Sabbath Session which focuses on “Church in Mission.” Pray that many more are inspired to be involved in the mission of the church!
  4.  Pray that God will bless the evening reports to be given by the NAD and MENA.
  5. Pray for God’s continued blessing in the prayer room here at Session, that it will be a place of healing as well as inspiration as we hold on to the promises of God.
  6. Pray that it will weather stay moderate and tolerable for GC attendees as they have a LOOOONG ways to walk between Alamodome and hotels and convention center.
  7. Pray for the health and strength of GC Staff and delegates. Many of them have been putting in long hours and are very tired and exhausted.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule

Praise Reports

  • Morning Worship devotional titled: “History’s Glorious Climax” was given by secretary of the Trans-European Division, Janos Kovacs-Biro. God blessed powerfully!
  • After getting business session officially started, session opened on a spiritual note with the showing of the video “What Might Have Been, Can Be.” There was time for prayer and reflection afterwards.
  • Sweet Spirit present!
  • A vote was taken to approve 35 new Unions that have been organized since the 2010 GC Session. PRAISE TO GOD!
  • Leaders of breakaway Adventist church in Hungary were welcomed on stage this morning. Members rejoined Adventist Church after 40 years. More praises!
  • 18 special guests attending from China. These are first official Chinese guests at a GC session.
    Nominating committee was chosen! We believe that God is going to bless through these men and women!!
  • Elder Wilson gave an inspiring presidential report on how God has been working over the last 5 years. Truly God has been leading our church.
  • We’ve had powerful times of prayer in the Prayer Room throughout the day!
  • One Russian lady shared how she’d prayed for her son in the prayer room at a previous GC Session and how God had answered her prayer. Powerful testimony!
  • Many shared how 100 Days of Prayer has changed their lives and how they came to GC Session just to pray. God is working!

Prayer Requests for July 3rd!

  • Pray that God will lead tomorrow’s morning worship titled: “Tomorrow’s Headlines Today: The Signs of His Return” by Sikhu Hlatshwayo, a Zimbabwean missionary in the United States who helps lead public campus ministry.
  • Pray that God will bless G.T. Ng as he gives his “Secretary’s Report” summarizing his office for past 5 years.
  • Pray for Robert E. Lemon as he gives an overview of the churches’ financial state with his Treasurer’s report.
  • Pray for the nominating committee and that God’s will would be done in who should be the General Conference President for the next five years. That decision will be made tomorrow! Executive Secretary and Treasurer positions may also be decided.
  • Pray for the prayer seminars that will be given tomorrow by Esther Knott (12:15-1:45) and Dan Augsberger (5:15-6:45) in the Convention Center, Room 102B.
  • Pray that more people will come and pray together in the prayer room in the Alamodome Meeting Room F.

To watch the GC Session on HOPE Channel via LIVESTREAM, click here for the airing schedule.