For the next 60 days, each Friday the constituency of the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventist’s is asked to join together in a prayer and fasting.
Each Friday we are going to take internal time to seek God through prayer and fasting. While we are doing this individually, or possibly with our families, know we are a part of something collective that is happening around the Great State of Texas. Thousands of others will be praying and fasting also. We know that the Lord hears us and is in control, but He also instructs us to seek Him in these ways. In Mark 9 the disciples are questioning why this time they were unable to do what they had previously done in casting out demons and Jesus responds to them in verse 29 by saying this, “This kind (demons) can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” He is telling them they needed to rely more on His Father's power and less on their own. They are many things in life that we are unable to handle ourselves and what we are facing in our world currently is one of those things. Let us rely on God in greater ways then we every have.
During this time, what are some things we can join together to pray about?
Those who have contracted Covid-19 — The number of those infected each day is on the rise and experts are saying that we have not seen the worst of it yet. Thousands of people have been infected in our Conference's territory. We can pray specifically for them to have courage and hope while facing this scary virus. We can pray for the recovery rate to increase. We also need to pray for those who have lost loved ones that the Comforter* would draw near to them.
Those suffering with loneliness — During this time many people are isolated to a greater extent than normal. People are experiencing loneliness. Let us uplift them in our prayers and ask God to bring to our minds the names of those we can reach out to. A phone call during these times goes a long way. Let us also pray that God would draw close to people as they seek Him.
Those who have lost jobs — With millions going on unemployment each week, let us lift up those who have been let go from their jobs. Let us ask God to provide for them. Join in praying that God not only meets their financial needs, but also in helping if there is loss in their sense of purpose or identity. Let us also see what we can do to help them.
Healthcare workers — Being an industry that has made a vow to serve humanity during this time is not an easy thing to do. Our healthcare professionals are walking into the frontlines of the battle with this virus. Let us pray that they will be protected while helping othes. Let us also pray for sufficient personal protective equipment during this time of shortage. Let us pray for their families as many are fearful of what they could bring home. Let us pray that they will not only be agents of health and healing, but also agents of encouragement and spiritual fortification.
Spiritual leaders — The burden for our people during this time is heavy. We long to help people who are suffering, physically, emotionally and spiritually. There doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to minister to those we are charged with looking out for. Please pray for spiritual vitality so that we can keep pouring into others. Please pray for extra courage and strength. Pray for increased wisdom for us in knowing how to minister during a pandemic.
The faithfulness of our members — During this time of uncertainty, much is not known about how this all will affect Tithe and Offerings. Our church structure depends entirely on these two things. The local church is funded 100% through offerings and the Conference is funded by a combination of Tithe and offerings. The workforce of the conference, pastors and teachers are funded by tithe money turned in at a local church level. The Conference is a modern day storehouse as referred to in Malachi 3:10;
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, Says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
Over the last 10+ years the Texas Conference has grown at a steady rate. This has enabled them to add more pastors and teachers to accommodate the growth and to be intentional about increased outreach. But during these challenging times, it also means a larger workforce to support.
As Seventh-day Adventist Christians we know that things are going to get harder as we approach nearer to the end of times. People often refer to the apparent collapse of the church as quoted by Ellen White. Even though many times misapplied, there is still truth in regard to needing our members to remain financially faithful. Here is the quote; "Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ."**
This quote isn't speaking to collapse of the administrative structure of the church, rather it is speaking to the individuals in the church who will turn away because of the hard times. Hard times like the ones we are currently experiencing. While there are many ways in which people can fall away, one of the ones I have seen over time, is people who stop trusting that God will provide for them. They think that they have to hold on to what they have and in doing so forget the promises and blessings found in Malachi 3:10 as stated above. They forget all the ways that God has lead them in the past.
So during this time would you join me in praying for an outpouring of generosity in returning tithe and offerings? Would you join me in praying for wisdom for the leaders of the Texas Conference? Would you join me in asking God to provide for pastors and teachers during this difficult time?
There are many others things you can pray about on Fridays, but really what I am asking is that you take time to join us in prayer and fasting?
May God bless all of us during this time of collective prayer and fasting.
* John 14:16 - "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (KJV)
** 2SM 380.2