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An American Way to Pray!

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Like two confluent streams, information provided through modern technology and prayer from the hearts of the people of Clear Fork Alliance Church in Bellville, Ohio, formed a river of intercession that flowed across America. This 30-day emphasis, which we observed last fall, was inspired by a program produced by Spire Resources called Praying4America. Publicity, commitment cards and prayer maps of America were provided. The maps guided participants in praying alphabetically for two states per day and also offered general prayer requests for the U.S. church.

Family Prayer

As an innovative way to make the program more personal and relevant, I was led by the Lord to pick up the Official Directory and Prayer Guide of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. I randomly, but prayerfully, dialed numbers I found in the book until someone picked up the phone. This began a month-long journey that allowed us to make contacts in every state. From Alaska to Hawaii, from Minnesota to Texas, from Maine to Florida and from California to North Carolina, the hearts of our church members and contacts were bound in the love of the Spirit through the miracle of prayer.

Fifty persons from our church participated, and more than half provided e-mail addresses from which I made a contact list. As I talked to individuals from Alliance churches in various states, I wrote down at least two requests—one for the state or area in which the church was located and one for the church itself. After recording these responses, I forwarded them through the e-mail contact list along with the names of the governors from each state.

It was evident that God’s hand was upon this incredible prayer journey. We were able to weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice as we heard stories of victory and struggle, personal pain and eager anticipation and even testimonies affirming the timeliness of my communication.

Varied Requests

Requests ranged from very specific needs like the pastor’s wife from West Virginia who was battling cancer to broad ministry initiatives like “Missional Journey,” a joint denominational effort spear-headed by the Midwest District to personally present the gospel to the 19 million inhabitants of Illinois and Indiana. My phone calls allowed us to come along side a discouraged pastor in Utah and to pray for clarity of vision for a growing church in Wyoming. We celebrated the recent baptism of 15 new members of a Chinese church in California and prayed for perseverance for a church plant in an unresponsive area of Nevada.

We became partners with pastors in Hartford, Connecticut, who were praying that their city, known as the “Gateway to New England,” would become the “Gateway for Revival.” A Montana church asked for prayer support for a vision of presenting Marriage Encounters throughout the Big Sky state. Our “Praying4America” overflowed into other parts of the world as we prayed with brothers and sisters in Mississippi for a mission’s team headed for hurricane clean up in Cuba. A dynamic church in Burlington, Vermont, invited us to intercede for U.S. troops overseas through their monthly “Prayer Partners for Troops” ministry, which also sends care packages. A church in Omaha, Nebraska, welcomed our prayers that some “unique connections in China” would flourish.

Shared Vision

Common themes were found. Churches saw the economic downturn as an opportunity to minister the grace of God, the opposite approach of secular state governments that all too often sought solutions in casinos, lotteries, slot machines and other gambling initiatives. We prayed for the Pond Street ministry outreach to an impoverished community in Georgia, a Teen Challenge chapter in Rhode Island and for assimilation of refugees in Kentucky.

A pastor in Tennessee asked for prayer for reaching the growing Hispanic population in his city. We praised God for a church in New Mexico that shares its facilities with a Spanish-speaking church. “Pray that Christians will not become bitter but will find ways to reach illegal immigrants with the love of Christ,” requested a brother in Texas. Political polarization was another dominant concern. Pastors asked for prayer that Christians would remain engaged yet not preoccupied with politics and social issues. Almost everywhere, prayer against apathy and for revival was requested, and most agreed that the American evangelical church was in danger of leaving its first love.

When I phoned a pastor in Kansas, he said he had just left a meeting which involved designs for a new building because they had outgrown their present facility. He had returned to his study and was reading about the seven churches in Revelation. It dawned on him that it was possible for Christians to do many things right and yet forget our first love. He asked us to pray that their church would not only NOT forget their first love but would GROW in their love for Christ. He stated that the scripture in Revelation and the timeliness of my call had not been just coincidental. “Thank you for your positive obedience that has helped me reference where I need to be,” he acknowledged.

Again and again pastors, staff and lay persons thanked me for obeying the Lord’s prompting to call them. Several asked me how they could pray for our church. Sometimes we ended up praying for one another over the phone. Two persons have continued to keep in touch with me as we periodically exchange prayer requests.

The Clear Fork Alliance Church was greatly blessed by Praying4America. Perhaps you will want to seek the Lord about a prayer emphasis similar to ours. Prompted by the Spirit and armed with a plan, people willing to pray, a telephone and a computer you can unleash a torrent of intercession that could flood the world with prayer!

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