The Circle of Prayer comes full Circle
By Elizabeth Fresse
A couple of years ago, a lady in our congregation asked for prayer for her daughter, specifically for her safety and life choices. She also asked for prayer for her grandchildren who were being affected by their mother's lack of wisdom. I love prayer and prayer ministry; as a pastor's wife, I always try to pray for the needs brought to my attention. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the many requests! One thing that I’ve tried to practice is offering to say a quick prayer right then, when the need is expressed, rather than walking away with the platitude of "I'll pray for you." However, I’ve also been convicted, for my own growth as well as those around me, that at times it’s good to "adopt" a person with a specific prayer need and continue praying with them until we see God answer those prayers.
I felt compelled to take this lady’s prayer burden on as a special mission. I told this woman that I wanted to pray with her for her daughter for the long haul - with full understanding that this would most likely mean years. She was so touched! We began praying together every Saturday evening after our vespers program. At some point, we transitioned to a weekday morning phone call. We have seen many signs that God is working, however, the exciting part for me has been watching the change that has taken place in my friend. We transitioned gradually and naturally from solely praying for a daughter in need, to praying for each other and encouraging each other. It has been such a blessing for us both. Also, my friend has been making personal life changes towards health and wholeness that have resulted in her feeling better physically! I can't help but think it's because of a more intentional focus on a relationship with Jesus, since typically health has not been a topic of prayer.
What’s exciting for me though, is how I’ve seen our prayer circle come full circle. What do I mean, you may ask?
Recently my husband accepted the call to a new church in another state, so we have been preparing to move. My friendship and prayer time with my friend will continue, but so will something else. At a recent vespers, another member asked for prayer for her family - it was with that same desperate urgency that my friend had initially asked for prayer for her daughter. I was occupied with something else afterwards but noticed from across the room that my prayer partner and this new woman were in a quiet space talking and praying together. It was such a huge blessing to see the cycle of prayer ministry come full circle and start over again. I know this won't be an isolated incident. God wants to answer our requests, but more than answering our prayers, He wants to change us, to grow us, and to use us to impact our world. It is a happy way for me to leave a church – seeing those I love put into practice the practical things that will keep them at the feet of Jesus.
So, I challenge you: Would you pray with someone today? And if you're really up for an adventure, ask God who He wants you to "adopt" and enter into a longer praying relationship with. It will change your life! It has mine.
Elizabeth Fresse, pastor’s wife and mom to five, writes from her new community of Portland, Oregon.
Euro-Asia Division - Prayer Focus
Sept 3-10, 2017
BRIEF FACTS ABOUT THE ESD: The Euro-Asia Division (ESD) is a vast territory comprised of 13 countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Our membership of 113,000 is small when compared to the combined population of over 320 million in this region.
95% of converts joined the church as a result of big evangelistic campaigns in 1990. Their dedication to the Lord is evident, and they need more training on personal evangelism and outreach, as opposed to public meetings. Large-scale mission efforts are becoming more difficult.
PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for Division leaders Mikhail F. Kaminskiy, president; Viktor V. Alyeksyeyenko, secretary; and Brent B. Burdick, treasurer. Pray for Union and Conference leaders, as well as the local pastors of the ESD.
PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for the church members of this region to have courage to find new ways to reach out and share the gospel with their neighbors, friends, co-workers and communities.
PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for new places of worship, as this is a great need. The biggest congregations in the cities often worship in rented facilities. New laws have put a restriction on such practices.
PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for good church schools for our members. There are only 30 church schools in the entire division, and many children are leaving the church.
PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for the newly baptized members from the Total Member Involvement events that took place in Moldova, the Ukraine, and Georgia in February. Continue to pray that the gospel can be spread among non-Christians who live in the 10-40 window of this region.