Category: Prayer

Looking for 300 Prayer Warriors

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Dear friends, hope you are all doing well and starting to get in the mood for Christmas. We certainly are! Anyway, this is just a very simple email with a super simple request.

A few days ago I was chatting with an older, wiser Christian brother who has preached more sermons, planted more churches and learned way more lessons about life and ministry than I have! As I was sharing with him about the new gospel adventure that we have recently embarked on here in Cardiff, he laid down a challenge. It went something like this:

“Dai, what God has called you to do is going to be HARD! You need to get some serious prayer behind you. Why don’t you try to find 100 faithful saints who will commit to praying for you, Michelle, the kids and the mission every day?”

Well, as he was speaking I felt (a) compelled to respond to this wise and compassionate challenge; and (b) that I needed more than 100. In fact, as I thought and prayed about it further I have concluded that I should look for 300 brothers and sisters to commit to stand with us in prayer as we embark on this new mission.

Could you be one of them?

If so, we will commit to sending you regular news and prayer updates by email, as well as a simple prayer guide to help you to pray for different aspects of our ministry on a daily basis. We will also gladly commit to praying for you!

If you would be willing to stand with us as one of our 300 we would be so honoured, humbled and grateful. To ‘sign-up’ all you need to do is email “Count me in!” to daihankey@gmail.com and we’ll hook you up from there!

Thanks so much for you love and support. There are some crazy exciting adventures ahead and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Blessinz

Dai and Michelle and family.

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How should we pray for Iraq?

iraqui-christiansRecent events in Iraq have affected me very, very deeply.

The brutality being unleashed by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) in northern Iraq is unlike anything I have ever heard of or comprehended. Children decapitated and cut in half. Women raped and sold into slavery. Entire families being buried alive in mass graves. Christians crucified. Property seized. Churches burned. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing into the deserts and hills to escape, many dying of thirst and exposure before ever finding safety.

It is sheer evil.

There is no other way to describe it.

Admittedly, not all who are suffering are Christians, as it seems that anyone who doesn’t hold to the same twisted ideology as IS is likely to be annihilated by the merciless Jihadists. However, many hundreds of thousands are Christians. They may look different, dress different, speak in a language I can’t understand and observe customs and traditions that are foreign to me, but they worship the same Jesus – and that makes them family.

Furthermore, the Bible tells us that when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer, compelling us to remember those who are suffering for the sake of Christ.

I have to confess that I have been struggling over recent days to know how to ‘remember’ them. I have had no problem remembering their suffering as it’s pretty much all that I can think about. The problem that I have is knowing how to remember them in prayer! Sometimes I am stunned into silence. Other times tears are all that I can muster! However, when I can bring myself to pray, here are some of the things I have found helpful to focus on:

1. Remember who God is
A phrase that I live by and that I have used to encourage others over many years is this: “God is good and He is in control.” I have to confess that when I look at Iraq right now I find it harder to believe those truths. But they are nonetheless true! God is good. And He is sovereign. The Bible proclaims these truths over and over again. The horrors of Iraq tell us more about the depravity of the human heart and the inability of mankind to make sense of, let alone a difference to, the chaos of this fractured world, than they do about the nature and character of God. So as you pray, do so secure in the knowledge that God is forever love and that He still sits on the throne. Nothing that is happening today is happening outside of His control or outside of His care. Remember also that we pray to the Father through Jesus – a Great High Priest who understands suffering, sorrow and slaughter from first-hand experience:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4 v 15-16)

2. Pray for our brothers and sisters:

The saints of Iraq need our prayers. Here are some important things that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters:

  • Pray that they would receive the protection and provision that they so desperately need.* (Psalm 18 v 1-6)
  • Pray that they would know the comforting presence of the Prince of Peace. (2 Corinthians 1 v 3-7)
  • Pray that they would be filled with inexpressible joy in the midst of unimaginable pain. (James 1 v 2-3)
  • Pray that God would fill them with supernatural love for their enemies. (Matthew 5 v 43-48)

3. Pray for the terrorists
The story of the Apostle Paul reminds us that God CAN transform the heart of a terrorist:

“I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15 v 9-10)

However, the Psalms also give us words to pray for God to deliver swift and decisive justice to perpetrators of evil:

“O God, break the teeth [of the wicked] in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!”
(Psalm 58 v 6)

Therefore our prayer should be “Lord, Save them or stop them. Redeem them or remove them!”

4. Pray for the gospel to advance

We are currently studying the book of Acts in church and it is striking how the Lord so often used times of extreme persecution to spread the gospel further afield:

“And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8 v 1 + 4)

As we hear about thousands upon thousands of Christians being displaced by persecution, let’s be praying that the legacy would be the gospel preached more widely and more churches planted across the region.

5. Pray for global leaders

We really need to be praying for global leaders right now. Politicians both in Iraq, in surrounding nations and the western nations that are also involved in this mess. Pray that God would grant them both wisdom and courage:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1Timothy 2 v 2)

Pray also for the pastors and other Christian leaders on the ground in Iraq. Pray that they would shepherd God’s people well, that they would know epic grace as they seek to lead their small, suffering flocks through turbulent times, and that they would model King Jesus with their words and actions.

6. Pray with eternal perspective

This is so vital! We forget in the comfortable west that persecution and death aren’t the worst thing that can happen to Christians. While we should certainly not be happy to see our brothers and sisters suffering as they are, and should be crying out to God for mercy on their behalf, we need to remember that they are blessed.

Yes, BLESSED!!!

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5 v 10)

Those who are paying for their faith with their lives are being sent home to Jesus. As we pray, let’s remember that heaven is the blissful reality that awaits all true followers of Christ. In heaven there is no more sorrow, pain, death, tears or terrorism. That’s why Paul could write:

“to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1 v 21)

7. Pray without ceasing

Finally, let’s not stop praying about this. Prayer is hard and unglamorous. But let’s not jack it in. Rather, let’s take a leaf out of a persistent widow’s book and keep asking, seeking and knocking until our God responds:

“And [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luke 18 v 1-8)

OK, that’s enough from me.

Let’s pray…

* If you want to become an answer to your own prayers and contribute financially to the persecuted saints in Iraq you can do so through Open Doors here. Alternatively you can sponsor me as I raise funds for Open Doors this coming weekend here.

PrayerMate

PrayerMateSplashOne of the things that concerns me about the impact of technology and social media for Christians today is that despite its promise to simplify our lives it actually complicates them. Oftentimes what that means for our devotional lives is that we are all too easily distracted rather than getting deeply connected with God. Certainly my own experience is that countless times I’ve found myself gazing at the screen of my smartphone for the umpteenth time that day and then catching myself thinking “when was the last time I prayed today?” I even have moments of resenting that little screen for constantly snatching my attention away from my God.

Can you relate to that?

If so then hopefully, like me, you’ll be buzzin about a new smartphone app that I got hold of last week. PrayerMate is a fantastic app that has turned the technology in my pocket into a device that now encourages me to pray. Essentially it provides a simple and easy to use structure that with a few swipes of my finger gives me stuff to be praying about. So my categories include:

  • Find 3 reasons to worship (not the same 3 as yesterday)
  • Family members
  • The various Hill City gospel communities (by name)
  • Unsaved friends
  • Human Trafficking minitries
  • The persecuted church

The beauty of PrayerMate, however, is that each category is totally customisable so you can essentially pray for whatever you want. Furthermore, you can subscribe to news feeds from a whole host of churches, ministries and mission agencies to get up-to-date prayer fodder! (I pray for the persecuted church by subscribing to the feed of one of my favourite ministries – Open Doors). Similarly, you can also access model prayers straight out of the Bible. I don’t often post shameless plugs like this, but I really am impressed and grateful to the developers of this app. Oh, it’s free as well!

So for what it’s worth – I reckon you should go grab the PrayerMate app and get plugged into a new way of praying.

You can find out more about PrayerMate here, as well as watch the video below.

Blessinz.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYu8RsVXcCE

Answered Prayers and Varied Grace

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After my previous post at the start of the week requesting prayer for some of the challenges that we’ve been facing recently, I feel it’s only appropriate to let you know how things have played out by the end of the week.

It’s been kinda crazy – there have been some wonderful answered prayers that have come in the form of varied and much valued grace.

1. The tooth

My tooth doesn’t hurt anymore – the pain is gone! What happened? Was I miraculously healed? Did an angel rock up and whack a gold filling in my mush? Nope! My wonderful wife managed to persuade me to go and see a private dentist for a second opinion. She’s the only person on planet earth who could have got me to do that (I’m not a big fan of private health care) but, frankly, he was a legend! He managed to work on the tooth, stop the pain and get me set for a root canal in a couple of weeks. Don’t much fancy the root canal, but right now I can eat, drink coffee and not want to smash my face into walls – so I’ll take it!

Thank you God for my wise wife and for a private dentist who knows what he’s doing!

2. The car

We have found a new car, paid a deposit and sorted insurance out. We collect it on Saturday morning, which means that tomorrow is the last day of bump-starting Betsy! She’s been a faithful old girl and we’ve had many adventures in her, but all good things come to an end. There is absolutely no way we’d have be in possession of a new car if generous saints hadn’t graciously provided us with a gift to buy it. They gave us the exact amount that we needed for a car that is perfect for us! We are STOKED!

Thank you God for the gift of gospel-hearted friends who are glad to be a means of grace to others!

3. The toilet

Finally, ever since I posted that last blog, Ezra (yeah, I named him!) has not had a SINGLE accident!!! He’s been clean and dry for the last 3 days and, as things stand, the twins will be back in nursery next week! It truly is a miracle. Literally overnight he just started taking himself to the bog. We’re SO blown away!

Thank you God for the simple yet significant grace of sovereignly intervening in the life of our toddler and helping him to get the hang of depositing turds in the right place!!

So there we have it! Yes, I’ve been smashed by flu this week. Yes, it’s been painful and frustrating. No, it hasn’t gone as planned. No, I haven’t enjoyed it. But I have to confess that as I reflect back I am deeply grateful to those of you have prayed, encouraged and stood with us in so many ways. I hope you have been blessed to know that you have been used by God in this way and that God has indeed answered your prayers on our behalf. I have truly been struck again by the varied grace of God that doesn’t always come to us in the form of supernatural signs and wonders, but often comes to us by the hands of ordinary followers of Jesus with extraordinary faith and love. Finally, I am most grateful to my God who has once again proved Himself to be faithful, merciful and kind to His children.

I’m so humbled and thankful.

All glory to God.

Reflection Sessions Pt.4 – the call to persevere

DONT QUIT

OK, so we’ve considered the need to be confronted by hard truth, the significance of networking and the power of prayer. Today I want to speak about the toughest yet the most character-shaping issue I’ve had to work through at Red Sessions – the call to persevere.

4. the call to persevere

Ours is a generation that wants everything NOW, that gets bored easily and moves on very quickly.

You hate your job?
Get a new one!

Church not meeting your expectations?
Find another one!

Marriage lost its spark?
Move on and try someone else!

Washing machine broken?
Don’t bother getting it fixed, just scrap it and buy a new one!

Need more convincing? Look no further than your mobile phone! How long have you had it? I’d be gob-smacked if it was more than 2 years old. Ours is a superficial and shallow culture that, to varying degrees, we are all influenced by.

With all that in mind, please allow me to share an observation with you:

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Reflection Sessions Pt.1 – The need to be confronted by uncomfortable truth

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OK, the first Red Session lesson is this:

1. We need to be regularly confronted by uncomfortable truth.

On Friday evening Jade informed the gathering that “Dai told me not to hold back” regarding the information that she was about to relay. And she didn’t! She gave us the full, gritty, heart-rending picture of the situation she’s ministering into. People were moved to the core and many wept. And for what it’s worth I’m really glad that Jade didn’t hold back because you can’t sugar-coat this stuff! At Red Sessions we have sought each month to pray informed prayers. Not just prayers off the back of a news letter or email (though there’s nothing wrong with those things), but prayer requests coming from the lips of a host of stirring guest speakers who have come and shared about their first hand experiences of trafficking.

So whether it’s been the trafficking and tortures of terrified Eritrean refugees, the selling of Nepalese girls into Indian brothels by their relatives, the grotesque industry of child sex tourism in Cambodia or the exploitation of prostitutes working locally in the streets and parlours of Cardiff – each month it has been painful to hear. But HOW ELSE are we going to pray into these situations and circumstances? Scaled down, sanitised reports of this global epidemic will only serve to inspire half-hearted, lethargic prayer. Perhaps it’s just me, but every time I hear of another woman being exploited, another child being raped, another man bullied into a life of servitude, I can’t be half-hearted! I can’t be complacent. Rather, my heart gets smashed to bits, my soul cries out for justice, and faith rises as I am compelled to cry out to the God of justice, mercy and grace.

To that end, I’m grateful that Red Sessions have been brutal, because human trafficking is brutal.

I’m pleased that I’ve been made uncomfortable because slavery is uncomfortable.

They say that ignorance is bliss. Well that may be true for us, but while we twiddle our thumbs in ‘blissful’ ignorance, the vulnerable are still being brutally exploited in the shadows. I’m not willing to settle for that! William Wilberforce in seeking to bring about the abolition of the slave trade in the nineteenth century was a firm believer in confronting the public and his parliamentary peers with uncomfortable truths about trafficking. Indeed he is famously quoted as saying:

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

I love that! Well in the true spirit of Wilberforce we have regularly been exposed to the savage truth of slavery. In doing so have had our eyes opened to an issue that breaks the heart of God, and we can no longer say that we never knew!

Redemption Sessions has taught us to pray with our eyes open.

 

REDEMPTION SESSIONS CANCELLED

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to cancel the Redemption Sessions prayer night scheduled for tomorrow evening (20th September).

Please spread and we’ll hopefully see you at the next one which is taking place on Friday 18th October.

God bless

Dai