Each of us experience 'special days' in our lives. Today, Friday, 2 September 2016 is one for us, our 65th Wedding Anniversary! An added special blessing today is that Deborah Pelzmann, our oldest daughter, is with us from Salzburg, Austria.
The words 'special' and 'special blessing' are applicable in today's communication with you. These truths are best explained when you reflect on Bill's last letter - July 18. Bill painted a word picture of his expectation to soon be on the journey to his heavenly home.
God continues to give one more day after another until today, we 'who became one' 65 years ago, are still physically together. With Bill's medical diagnosis of congestive heart failure plus adenocarcinoma of the prostate with metastasis, we are being prepared "in His strength" for that last journey.
To each of you as friends, family and fellow labourers in God's vineyard, we wish to express our continued appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness for all that you have been to us across the years. Bill is weak, 20 lbs. lighter, diminished appetite, yet very lucid, in the best of spirits, maintains his sense of humour and is still "in His grip."
Lovingly in Him,
"Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests . . . Be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
"God gives us the Spirit as our teacher in prayer, to tell us what is right and to temper our emotions. We should seek such aid of the Spirit."
"Prayer is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach us. He is the giver of all prayer."
"There is no man, nor church in the world, that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit."
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.”
For centuries the prayer meeting was a central part of church life, an indispensable part of the weekly programme. Yet today few Western churches have a prayer meeting.
What was once a major emphasis of church activities has either been relegated to the sidelines and ignored by most members, or it has been dispensed with altogether. Furthermore many prayer meetings today involve little prayer. Even in meetings set aside for prayer, other activities typically crowd in and leave little time for adoration, confession, intercession and thanksgiving to the Lord. We need to ask ourselves: Why is that?
“We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general until the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians.” wrote Charles Spurgeon in “Only A Prayer Meeting.”
The regular meeting of members of a congregation for the express purpose of uniting in earnest prayer is becoming rare in the average church. Many churches no longer even schedule prayer meetings, and in those churches that do, typically less than 10% of the members would participate.
In all too many churches, prayer meetings have become dull, cold and lifeless, lacking in Biblical focus and missionary purpose.
"This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, Who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord , Who has made all things."
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes."
The German Reformer, Martin Luther, taught that prayer should be living, powerful, strong, mighty, earnest, serious, troubled, passionate, vehement, fervent and ardent.
Luther described prayer as:
“The hardest work of all – a labour above all labours, since he who prays must wage almighty warfare against the doubt and murmuring excited by the faint-heartedness and unworthiness we feel within us…that unutterable and powerful groaning with which the godly rouse themselves against despair, the struggle in which they call mightily upon their faith.”
“Audacious prayer, which perseveres unflinchingly and ceases not through fear, is well pleasing unto God,” wrote Luther. “As a shoe maker makes a shoe, or a tailor makes a coat, so ought a Christian to pray. Prayer is the daily business of a Christian.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17
" If we're too busy to pray then we're busier than God wants us to be.
" No man is greater than his prayer life.
" Nothing is beyond the reach of prayer - except that which is beyond the will of God.
" A prayerful life is a powerful life.
" A prayerless life is a powerless life.
" Prayer is the foundation for ministry.
"Ask and it will be given to you"
Pray the Psalms
"If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you."
In the daily battles of life one can be tempted to give in to depression or fatigue as we see sin and compromise increasing. Yet there is hope. God is sovereign. Nothing is inevitable except what God has decreed. And there is power in prayer.
Christians are not doomed to defeat but called to victory. If God can change us then He can use us to change some part of this world. Christians can change the course of human history by prayer and obedience to God. The Bible is full of examples of believers
"who through faith conquered kingdoms."
And recent history confirms the power of prayer.
Shortly after I was converted to Christ early in 1977, I remember an OMF missionary urging us to pray for God to open the doors to Red CHINA. Evan as we prayed my heart was filled with unbelief - how could a communist country like China ever be open to the Gospel again? Yet we have seen how Mao Tse Tung died, how his little "Red Book" became discredited and how the doors to china have been gradually opening since.
1. That they be God-fearing and recognise that they are accountable to God for each decision and act (Prov 9:10)
2. That they be granted wisdom, knowledge and understanding (James 1:5)
3. That they be presented with the Gospel and consistent Christian witness (Romans 10:14)
4. That they be drawn, if unsaved, to surrender to Christ; if born again, that they be strengthened and encouraged in the Faith
(1 Tim 2:4 Eph 1:17-23)
5. That they see their own inadequacy, pray and seek the will of God (Prov 3:5-8 Luke 11:9-13)
6. That they be convicted of sin, transgression and iniquity (Psalm 51:17 John 8:9)
7. That they heed their conscience, confess their sins, repent and do restitution (Prov 28:13 James 4:8)
It is said that Zimbabwe doesn’t really have power failures, they occasionally have electricity! The state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) schedules programmes of rolling black outs which have seen households going without electricity for many hours, sometimes days. A Harare newspaper, The Daily News, reports that ZESA narrowly escaped being cut off from its key power supplier in Mozambique over non-payment of a £47million bill. The Daily News also revealed that ZANU-PF cabinet ministers have accumulated over £650,000 in unpaid bills.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has warned that Zimbabwe is facing another major crisis after a third of the country’s maize crops were declared a "write-off". The Agricultural minister has reported that the country faces a serious grain deficit. The country is once again unable to feed itself without Foreign Aid. The President of the CFU has declared: "We cannot continue to blame drought. It's quite absurd that this is still used as an excuse." The reason for the grain deficit is that "agriculture continues to be undermined" by the ZANU-PF government and its farm invasions.