Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Filipino-Americans plus a new Myanmar update

This past Saturday, a group of San Francisco Bay area Filipinos belonging to different Christian churches gathered for a morning of recollection and prayer. The group is called the San Francisco Bay Area Ecumenical Prayer Group. Read about them here. This year, they reflected on "finding God's face in an empty and troubled world." Today, pray for Philippine-Americans, for the SFBAEPG, and pray that we, too, might seek to find God's face in our world.
Yesterday's Asian Tribune has an update on the prayer protest in Burma. Today,
please continue to pray for the people of Burma (Myanmar), and for the 1988 Generation Students.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Freedom to Pray plus a Myanmar Update

Is it ever permissible for a government official or employee to mention Jesus Christ? For that matter, should anyone be allowed to mention Jesus while on government property, or at a government-affiliated event? That is what the case in which a local government official was barred from using the name of Jesus Christ during a prayer before a Council meeting is all about. Kate Monaghan presents a discussion of the issue in today’s crosswalk.com. Today, pray that we will be able to legally express our faith with integrity anywhere and at anytime.

Also, please continue to pray for the people of Myanmar, and especially for the group called 1988 Generation Students (a human rights activist group), who are leading the prayer protest movement calling peace, freedom, and for the release of the country’s political prisoners. An update to the story can be found in today’s Democratic Voice of Burma.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prayer in Georgia and Myanmar

Macon.com reports that the Crawford, Georgia, school board has decided to continue opening its meetings in prayer despite the protests of two teachers. Today, please pray for the students, teachers and parents in Crawford.
In Myanmar (formerly Burma), students and dissidents kicked off a week long prayer protest against the ruling regime today. Myanmar is currently ruled by a military junta. The story is posted at monstersandcritics.com.
Today, pray for the people of Myanmar, and especially for the group called 1988 Generation Students (a human rights activist group), who are leading the prayer movement.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Answered Prayer in Texas

Ashley Cook in the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News writes about a church that celebrates answered prayer by posting a "Prayer Works" wall with stories of what God has done in people's lives. Today, give thanks anew for Ashley, pray for Pastor David Hunt and the Eastview United Pentecostal Church, that God will hear and answer the prayers they raise, and pray for a prayer revival in your own church, that worshipers might find a way to praise God for answered prayer in a concrete and visible way... whether it be a prayer wall or something else.
Consider where God has answered prayer in your own lives, and give thanks.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Columbia, South Carolina, Prayer Breakfast and Muslim Scouts in England

The Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Columbia, South Carolina will be on Thursday, Nov. 2. The announcement is found in today's The State. Today, pray for the mayor and people of Columbia, South Carolina, and pray that the prayer breakfast will draw them closer to God.
The Herts-Essex News reports that Muslim boy scouts in Waltham, England, have been denied room for a worship center at Gilwell Park Scout Activity Centre. Today, pray for muslims, and pray for Boy and Girl Scouts.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hunger Strike in Belarus

Some 100 members of the New Life Church in Minsk, Belarus, began a hunger strike on Oct. 5 in protest of city authorities taking their church building from them. The news bulletin came across Radio Free Europe today. Belarus is the most repressive against Christianity of all the former Soviet republics. Today, please pray for the members of New Life Church, and pray for Christians and non-Christians in Belarus.
P.S. today, pray for football players, coaches and fans.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lakeview Elementary and a Prayer for our Nation

Last night, an outdoor prayer rally was held in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee for Lakeview Elementary, which is being sued by the ACLU for things including allowing a group called "Praying Parents" to meet at the school. The story is in today's Tennessean. We have prayed about this situation a couple of times before. Today, pray anew for the students, teachers and parents at Lakeview Elementary.
Rebecca Johnson, writing in Monsters and Critics.com, shares with us a prayer for our country today. It is so compelling, that I am printing it in its entirety. Please include it in your prayers today:
Lord, I pray for this world you have made. It is a wonderful world, full of so much beauty, hope, and good. The season is changing, and we revel in the falling leaves and the glorious colors, and the apples, and the pumpkins, and the morning frosts.

Thank you for the rhythm of our years, and for the years themselves. They are gifts we cherish.

Lord, be with those who lack these gifts, who because of war, poverty, environmental destruction, or urbanization lack trees, fruit, food, and water. Comfort them, and remind us of the role we can play in providing clean water, adequate food, and a healthy environment. Through the story of creation you have invited us to serve as stewards of this earth. Through the teaching of Christ you have instructed us love all of creation as we love you. We struggle with both at times, Lord. Help us to better answer your call.

I pray for the people of the world. For those in our immediate lives who bring us such unspeakable joy, and for those who cause us unspeakable pain. Protect them all, and empower us to love them all, not simply with our words, but with our lives.

And God, help the people of the world reconcile to one another. There is so much fear - with Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran - each of these nations is filled with people created by you. And though they are our brothers and sisters, we fear them. They fear us. Hatred grows between us. We are broken. I know you don`t want this for us, but we can`t find a way to change how things are.

It is in trust that I give thanks, because I know that you have a way to change these fearful, dangerous relationships. It is in trust that I ask you to reveal your way to peace for all people. You have guided us in the way of peace with our enemies before, Lord. I ask that you do so again now.

Lord, I pray for those who hurt today, who are suffering from loss, confusion, pain, loneliness, despair. You are the great comforter. Comfort those who mourn and remind us to be the living presence of your love and compassion to all who suffer. Just as we are your presence to them, they are your presence to us. May we not forget.

Amen.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Kade Kotheimer plus Muslim Students at Massey University

Kade Kotheimer has been in a coma since Sept. 15, after a serious accident in Indiana. Students in Boardman, Ohio, held a prayer service for him yesterday afternoon. Read the television news bulletin. Today, please join them in praying for Kade and his family.
Muslim students at Massey University's Auckland campus (in New Zealand) have converted part of a student club room into a prayer room. You can read the story in the Massey News. Today, please pray anew for muslims, and pray for the students at Massey University.

Wayne Hutcheson sent me this, and I thought I would share it with y'all. It is the 23rd Psalm... for work:
The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want. He gives me peace, when
chaos is all around me. He gently reminds me to pray and do all things
without murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that he is my source and not my job. He restores my sanity
everyday and guides my decisions that I might honor him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system crashes, unrealistic
deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping co-workers, discriminating supervisors
and an aging body that doesn't cooperate every morning; I still will not
stop--- for He is with me! His presence, His peace, and His power will see
me through.

He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me. He claims me as His
own, even when the company threatens to let me go. His Faithfulness and
love is better than any bonus check.

His retirement plan beats every 401k there is!
When it's all said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer and
for that, I WILL BLESS HIS HOLY NAME.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tibetan Buddhists plus Centering Prayer

On Sept. 30, Chinese soldiers opened fire on a group of Tibetan refugees trying to flee into India. A 17 year-old Buddhist nun was killed, and another was injured. Thirty-three refugees were arrested, and 43 escaped to Katmandu. A prayer service was held for them yesterday. The story is here. Today, please pray for the people of Tibet and especially for the families of the nuns, for the refugees and their families. Pray for Tibetan Buddhists.
Don Munro has an insightful article about "centering prayer" in today's Monsters and Critics.com. Read it here. He talks about Thomas Keating's book Open Mind, Open Heart (Gee, that sounds kind of Methodist, doesn't it?). Has anyone read it? Today in your prayer time, spend some time in silence, centering yourself in Christ.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Muslims Plus the Abortion Issue

The first story in today's news falls into the "no-brainer" category. Police in Manchester, England, have been instructed not to make pre-planned arrests of muslims during Ramadan. Read about it here and here.

Also, the Bangladesh Association of America will hold its Eid-ul-FITR prayer time in McLean, Virginia on Monday. An announcement is found here. Today, please continue to pray today for muslims, and pray especially for the police and people of Manchester, and the people of Bangladesh.
An anti-abortion prayer service was held in Spring Valley, NY, today. An announcement was here. Today, please pray for people on both sides of the abortion issue.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Austin Peay and the Lord's Prayer

The basketball team at Austin Peay in Tennessee ends each practice by saying the Lord's Prayer together. The story is here. Today, please pray for the Austin Peay team, pray for basketball players, coaches and fans everywhere, and close your own prayer with the Lord's prayer.
Also, please continue to pray today for muslims.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pray for Muslims: Mecca and Jamaica

The giant Jabal Omar real estate project situated close to the Grand Mosque in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) will create prayer space for an additional 202 ,000 worshippers. Read about it here.
Also, in anticipation of the World Cup (soccer), Pakistan's coach has arranged for prayer space at a mosque in Jamaica and has arranged for appropriate food for his team. Read about it here.
Today, please pray for Muslims.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Faith in School: McCauley High (OH) and Olivet College (MI)

McCauley High School (near Cincinnati), like many others, gathered on Sept. 11 to pray in remembrance of the terrorist attacks of 5 years ago. See a picture. Today, give thanks for the faith of High School students, and pray anew for all those affected by the events of Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, a student at Olivet College in Michigan says that he was punished for mentioning prayer in class. Read the story here. Give thanks for students who are bold enough to express their faith even in the face of persecution.

This past Saturday, we prayed for a number of prayer requests shared with us by Ashley Cook, writing for the Lufkin Daily News in Texas. I received the following email from her day before yesterday:
What a blessing to my rainy Monday to come in and find such a
supportive letter. Thank you, and please pass my thanks on to the
team. Thank you also on behalf of the people of Angelina County,
Texas, for lifting their needs up in prayer.

Ashley Cook
Religion writer
The Lufkin Daily News
Today, remember Ashley in your prayers, and revisit the prayer requests she made.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vision Restored by Praying to Saint Theodore Guerin

Praise God for healing!
Phil McCord had been suffering from advanced cataracts in both eyes, myopia and astigmatism. After praying to God and through Mother Theodore Guerin, who founded a convent in Indiana, his vision was healed. Mother Guerin has just been canonized on Sunday by Pope Benedict XVI. Read the story here. Today, give thanks for Phil's healing, pray for someone you know who needs healing in their lives, and pray for healing in your own life.
Being United Methodist, I don't pray through saints. I understand and can appreciate that the prayers of a righteous person are effective. I need all the prayers I can get. At the same time, when Jesus died for me, the veil in the Temple was split from top to bottom, that I might have access to God through him. So, my prayers are to Jesus and to God, who are one and the same.
Nevertheless, God's power of healing awes me, no matter how it is brought about. And I give thanks for that healing wherever it occurs. May we both experience and be agents of God's healing!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Importance of Prayer

Read PS Prakasa Rao's article on the importance of prayer and Leena Jethwani's article on meditation: Although unclear as to what religious background it comes from (they are apparently writing from Bhopal, India), what Rao says works from the Christian perspective. Today, thank God for the role prayer plays in your life.
Yesterday, we prayed for baseball fans, players and coaches. Today, try praying for players, coaches and fans who follow a different sport... rugby.
Begin this week by rededicating yourself to a week of prayer!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Muslim prayer vigil and the World Series

Last night, muslims in the Philippines began a 10-night prayer vigil, chanting the word "peace" at least 80 times. Read about it here. Today, please pray for muslims, and pray for the people of the Philippines.
Baseball is winding down to the World Series, as the Mets and Cardinals struggle to see who will face the Detroit Tigers. (It's sad to think of the Braves just having to watch it all this year). Today, pray for baseball players, coaches and fans.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Prayer Requests from Ashley Cook and Ruth Burrows' Essence of Prayer

Ashley Cook, writing in the Lufkin, Texas, Daily News, has a number of prayer requests to share. Check them out here. Today, pray for Ashley, and for each of the requests in her column
Send an e-prayer to Ashley: acook@coxnews.com
Has anyone else read Ruth Burrows' The Essence of Prayer? Christopher Howse has an article about it in today's Telegraph (UK), "Prayer is what anyone can do." Indeed. Today, Give thanks for Christopher Howse, for Ruth Burrows, and for the power of prayer.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vigil for Missing Vermont Student and Laval City Council Prayer

Michelle Gardner-Quinn disappeared from the University of Vermont last Friday night. A prayer vigil was being held at her church in Arlington, Virginia, and sadly today her body was discovered. The story on Fox News is here. Today, please pray for Michelle's family.
In Laval, Canada, the city council has decided to continue its practice of opening its session in prayer despite the ruling passed down by the Human Rights Commission. The story is here. Today, please pray for the people and government of Laval.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lowell City Council Tries to be Inclusive... and Tower Records Falls

The Lowell, Massachussetts, City Council is considering making its prayer time more inclusive. Traditionally beginning with the Lord's Prayer, they propose to end with prayers from Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish traditions. The story is here. My guess is that the ACLU will say that giving 1/2 the time to Christian tradition is too much, but I wonder what the religious makeup of the community is? Could the prayer schedule be made to match the relative faith makeup of Lowell? Today, pray for the Lowell City Council, and for all people of faith who are sensitive enough to try to be inclusive in their public spirituality.
In Los Angeles, Tower Records announced that it is going out of business after 37 years. Read about it here: Today, pray for the employees at Tower Records.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prayer in School - Mt. Juliet, Tennessee


Lakeview Elementary in Mt. Juliet Tennessee is back in the news over the issue of prayer in school. A protest rally opposing the lawsuit by the ACLU is planned for 6pm, Oct. 24. Read the story here.

Since this is my first post about prayer in school, let me say a few words about my position on prayer in school. As a Christian, my first thought is, "gee, prayer in school is a great idea... we need to be teaching our children a healthy spirituality!" What I'm assuming, however, is that the prayer led by the teacher would be a Christian prayer led by a Christian teacher. Now, living in the South, chances are that might be a good possibility. But what if the teacher is not Christian and is in effect teaching my child to practice another religion that I find really objectionable? What if the school is leading them in a weak, generic prayer that suggests that it doesn't really matter who you are praying to, just that you go through the motions? What if the prayer time is just that, going through the motions with no real heartfelt faith driving it, so my child is learning that prayer is just some empty formality that we do? See the problem? I believe it is essential to teach our children about prayer, and to lead them in praying. That is my job, both as a parent and a pastor.

It is essential that we teach our children to pray, and to guide them into a faith that is both sensitive and authentic. Leaving that to become the job of the public school system is a tragic abdication of my faithful responsibility as a Christian parent.

Today, please pray again for the students, faculty and parents in Mt. Juliet, and pray that our students may grow into an authentic spirituality. Pray also for the students, teachers and parents of a school near you. Pray. Teach your children to pray. Live out your faith.
Blessings,
Brother Ed

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome to PrayerWorld!

Over the past year, I have been hosting an e-mail prayer group that has prayed about situations in the news. Hopefully this Blog will expand the community of those who are willing to take the time and pray for people beyond themselves.

How does it work? ...Each day I will post one or two news stories from the internet and focus prayer requests around those stories. They range from major world events to seemingly trivial items. Where do they come from? They are the top stories relating to prayer that are returned by a search engine when I log on to the computer. In other words, for this group, we don't really "choose" whom to pray for. Part of the idea is to stretch our praying to things we never thought we would pray about. We may also be praying for people that we don't necessarily agree with or approve of, putting into practice Jesus' command to "pray for our enemies." Sometimes I will offer a way to send an e-prayer to the person/church/organization being prayed for. Should you choose to send one, I ask that your prayers be uplifting prayers of blessing; never prayers of judgment or that God would "correct" the person.

Should you decide at any time that this group is not something you want to do, simply email me and I will remove your name from the list. God bless you all for being willing to encircle the world in prayer through our group!

And now, the news:

Redlands, California, based Mastermedia International will hold its annual media prayer breakfast on Novmber 3. The announcement is here. Today, pray for people who work for the American media, and pray that this prayer breakfast will draw them closer to Christ.

Also, please continue to pray today for President Museveni and the people of Uganda. Read about their national prayer breakfast here.

God bless you all,

Brother Ed