Monday, April 05, 2010

A Personal Prayer Plan

In regards praying for others, I get overwhelmed. I see the needs and darkness in the world, the missionaries that ask for prayer, the sick wanting healing, the despair and breakdown of relations. And instead of falling to my knees and seeking God on people’s behalf I am paralyzed.

Growing up prayer was a part of living. Everything was prayed about my needs, your needs, and the world’s needs. Then something happened my freshmen year of college, I volunteered with a group of students at a ministry. Before leaving the director had us circle up for the thank yous and farewells. In that time he said something like, "and if you love us and what we are doing remember us in prayer because you only pray for those you really love." I think the statement was supposed to motivate and encourage us but it had the opposite effect on me.

Prayer for others became a challenge, a duty, and a burden I felt guilty about all the time. From that point on I noticed how I prayed for others. A pattern began to form; first, I would forget to include someone or group in my prayers that I loved. The result -guilt. Then, to avoid forgetting I would make long lists of everyone I could pray. Friends, family, classmates, pastors, teachers, leaders, missionaries, and organizations made it onto the list so I wouldn’t forget anyone. Only praying would take forever, I would run out of unique, specific or creative things to say. Prayer became dry because all I was saying was “God bless ___, and bless ___, bless___, and…” The result –more guilt. Leading to the last stage, in my frustration and guilt I would just stop praying for others all together. The result –even more guilt. The cycle has been going on for years. It has patches when things are okay but eventually it starts again.

Because of the cycle and my belief prayer is one of the most important things I can do I went to a 45 minute session at Jesus to the Nations called “Prayer and Missions.” It was one of my best moments at the conference because it practically addressed an area I struggle in. The man who led the group shared different tools he uses to help him pray. One was the YWAM Personal Prayer Diary and Daily Planner. I picked one up at the conference bookstore and have been using it.

What I like about the planner is that at the beginning of the month there is a spotlight on a region or an issue that includes an real persons story, the history, and ways to pray. Then there are daily prayer focuses that connect to the month’s prayer target. My goal is to use this tool for the next forty days (May 15). If you want to pick up your own you can order one here.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hello - Again!

Last weekend was the 11th annual Atlantic Canada Missions Conference “Jesus to the Nations.” It is my favourite time of the year. I love the speakers, encountering the different ministries, buying books. It is a great time but above all I have found the weekend restores my heart’s passion for cross-cultural ministry.

When I returned from Japan almost four years ago I had hoped that this blog would transition from a way to share my adventures to away for me to stay focused on cross-cultural ministry and share my passion for missions with others. Sadly it only lasted for 17 posts in 2007. After each Jesus to the Nations attended (07, 08, and 09) I felt like returning to this blog. Sadly, the idea never bloomed into action –until this year. "And to the Ends of the Earth is back.

For now I’m going to keep it simple. Over the month I am going to share reflections about Jesus to the Nations and make comments about the book I’m reading, Prayer Works by Brother Andrew. If that goes well we’ll see what happens. I hope you join me as I seek and share God’s heart for the world and what is happening in cross-cultural ministries today.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hot Topics

I sat in Dr. Peed’s office yesterday catching up on life over the past few months and just chatting about different thoughts till our discussion turned to some of the issues that are affecting global ministry in general and specifically in our own denomination. Since then I’ve been wondering what are the topics that needs wrestling with by missionaries, nationals, and those "back home". So I bring the question to you. What do you think is a missions related subject the needs to be brought to the table of discussion?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Insights from Taylor

These are two quotes that stood out to me while reading Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secrets:

Come unto me and drink. Not, come and take a hasty draught; not, come and slightly alleviate; not come and slightly alleviate, or for a short time remove one’s thirst. No! "drink" or "be drinking" constantly, habitually. The cause of thirst may be irremediable. One coming, one drinking may refresh and comfort: but we are to be ever coming, ever drinking. No fear of emptying the fountain or exhausting the river!
-Hudson Taylor from a June Letter

One I used to try to think very much and very often about Jesus, but I often forgot Him. Now I trust Jesus to keep my heart remembering Him, and He does so.
-Hudson Taylor

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Sitting in front of my computer typing away makes China and the rest of the world seem so far way. I believe, I know, God is at work around the world but I feel disconnected from what is happening. It's hard to believe that two years ago I was at small rural high school in China’s Sichuan province. The experience was amazing and I was blessed by it. Today I choose to share some pictures and remember where I was:

If you think of it, pray for Fran Strong, the organize of my trip, is currently in China on his fifth visit.

Four Thousand Words

New Friends
My English is horrible, what if I've messed these students up for life?

The Great Wall

Monday, April 02, 2007

Struggle to Pray

Jesus to the Nations was exciting yet discouraging at the same time. There were so many organizations and mission fields represented. Hearing the stories of what God was doing was so good but there was such a sense of need and support. Just the number of groups asking for prayer overwhelmed me. The number of groups, people, countries to pray for fills me with dread of failure. My response to the stress is to avoid praying for things, which is horrible and not logical. Does anyone else have that struggle? I get so upset with myself about it too that I want to hide my head in the sand. I guess I can take encouragement from that kid on the beach with the thousand of starfishes…throwing back what he could.

Talking with a rep from…I don’t even remember what group she was from, the subject of prayer came up. It was good for me to hear her say that in the face of all these noble organizations it is important to prayerfully select the one or two. Shortly after that I was visiting the OMS table and saw a 30-day prayer guide for China. I think I can do 30 days…baby steps, starting today. Today’s focus is:

The Resurrection of the Church*. In 1949 the number of Protestant believers was less then one million. Today there are about 50,000 churches and groups legally meetings as well as countless house churches. The number of registered, adult Protestants is nearing 20 million. Almost everyday a new church opens. Praise God for his hand on the Chinese church and China’s recent history. Praise God for the faithful Chinese believers and for there costly witness. May God continue to pour out blessing on the Chinese.

*From the OMS publication Pray for China by Tony Lambert

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April is Here

I think I slept through most of March, I blinked and it was over. With the new month comes a new book and a new country focus. The book is less about missions and more a focus on Hudson Taylor’s life. I finished it last month after a good friend suggested I read it. I totally agree with her that it is worth reading.

Last weekend made to Halifax’s 8th annual Jesus to the Nations convention. The two speakers were great. Both had a good balance of humor, insight, and challenging. I’ve been reflecting on the services and sessions throughout the week. Once I’ve processed I will share. Only downsize was there was three book tables and I bought more then I should have.