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Archive for the ‘Prayer Requests’ Category

Every other week or so since June of last year I have written a blog posting at the Desiring God blog under the same banner as this blog, The Works of God.

Usually I prepare something new.  But I heard from more people than usual on my blog posting from a couple of weeks ago regarding prayer, so I offered that one, slightly modified, for the DG blog later this week.

I have one main hope for all those postings, even the unpleasant ones about abortion, euthanasia and genocide: that people would see God in disability in all his sovereignty and goodness.

And then, in seeing God this way, they would act to embrace and include and prepare all those, created in his image, who live with disability in this present age for the work he has prepared for them to make him look glorious.

Please pray that God would do more than we could possibly hope or expect!

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Please pray for the 1%

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are 70 million Deaf people in the world.

That’s 1% of the world’s population!

According to The Joshua Project, there are 33 Deaf people groups around the world that are considered unreached, which means less than 2% of that people group are Evangelical and less than 5% are adherents to Christianity.

33!

In a printed report from The Joshua Project, they listed 52 Deaf people groups that are unengaged, which means no full-time workers involved in evangelism or church planting.

52!

Some of those countries were no surprise – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar.

Others were quite a bit more surprising – France, Germany, Italy.

I don’t have an answer for this, but I know that God does.  Please pray he would provide for our Deaf brothers and sisters around the world, and that he would call millions more to him, for his glory and for our collective good.

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At the end of my talk on Wednesday I asked for prayer for three things:

1.  For Bethlehem, that we would recognize all people have gifts and we would welcome all.

2.  That God would bring more helpers for our disability ministry – from sign language interpreters to classroom 1-1 aides to the host of other needs

3.  That God would end abortion, if not through laws, than through changed hearts, and that he would let us be agents of change for his glory.

That very night a young man introduced himself and said he would be volunteering soon – that was encouraging!  And a young man no less (Please don’t misunderstand – I love all the ladies who serve families like ours.  It’s just nice to welcome another man!).

And we need to keep praying.  We can, in one sense, measure our progress on number 2 and 3 – more volunteers, fewer abortions.  Hearts that are truly welcoming also have outward evidences, but that can be harder to see.

In all three cases, it is God who does it!

I will thank you forever, because you have done it. Psalm 52:9 ESV

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Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.
(Psalm 86:6-7 ESV)

A little boy we know is having exploratory surgery today.  He lives with a persistent condition that is as yet undiagnosed.

His parents are wonderful; I’ve known the mom since she was a girl.  The boy’s grandparents are pillars of faith, grace, mercy and hospitality.  What God did through them for us cannot be measured.

All of them grieve over the pain this little boy lives with.

And the thing they wanted on Monday night was prayer.  And we wanted to pray with them.

It really is amazing what God does through praying with other people.  The one constant in every prayer was a cry for help, recognizing weakness in ourselves and clinging to promises.

Tears flowed.  The sorrow is real.

After we finished praying, we talked and laughed and simply enjoyed each other.  What a gift authentic friendship is.

And that friendship is fueled by going hard after God through suffering.

Yes, it is good to experience 2 Corinthians 6:10 with other people and live with gratitude to God for all things:  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

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Our friends, Jan and Mark Lacher, received a new diagnosis for their youngest son recently: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.  It is a catastrophic epilepsy with no cure.

Here is a portion of their email, which I am using with Jan’s permission.  Please read it – especially linger over the last paragraph – and marvel at God’s sustaining power in the midst of extraordinary pain:

This diagnosis was difficult to hear.  Even though it is just a label, there is much sorrow in it.  It is difficult to see Michael with his disabilities in ways that other people see him.  I am much more aware of his disabilities when I am out of my home.  I tend to respond to how others respond to Michael and have a heightened awareness of his weaknesses.  That is one of the reasons leaving the home with him is so difficult.  There has to be a great deal of courage to do so.

Typically, when I look at Michael, I really don’t see a person with disabilities.  With great affection,  I see  “Michael–the Fox”–as a person. He can’t do what others can, but he does have a charm about him that is unique to him.  He can be mischievous as many of you have witnessed when he unexpectedly knocks a cup or plate out of your hand; he experiences pure pleasure when eating chocolate pudding or an ice cream sandwich as exemplified by his “mmmm” with each bite; he displays his affection as he rests his head on my shoulder or taps his foot on my thigh; and he belly-laughs when Mark “wrestles” him on the mat.  He seems to recognize my greeting every morning of “this is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  I am beginning to think that achievement is over-rated!

Every day for us continues to be a walk of faith in our Lord–one that looks to Him for what we need–for the strength, for the courage, for the hope, and for the grace to go forward, one step at a time, one day at a time, and frequently, one minute at a time.  The unrelenting nature of Michael’s situation is daunting, but God promises to work this out for our good–to those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  We know that God’s Word is always, always, always, true.  He never will contradict Himself.  It is not in His nature to do so.   He can be trusted even though we do not understand all that He does.  We rest in that promise.

We welcome any prayers said on our behalf.

Jan L

Please join me in praying for this dear family.

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Since it made the list of upcoming events in the Desiring God National Conference booklet, I’m assuming its ok to make this public!

Lord willing, on November 8, 2012 Desiring God will be hosting a one-day conference on the Bible and disability.

Please be in prayer about all the preparations that must be made.

More than anything, we want this to make much of God – that he is both sovereign AND good over disability, that there is lasting joy in treasuring Jesus above good but tempoary things like health or physical ability, and that we can trust him who made us and who has numbered our days.

More details will be coming over the next several months.

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On Friday we’re welcoming about 3,000 people to the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Desiring God National Conference.

The topic is on missions – this is a massively important conference!

There are hundreds of millions of people around the world who are disabled – when we add in their families and caretakers, the numbers of people impacted by disability easily exceeds a billion people.

Every culture, every ethnicity, every economic strata, every geo-political entity experiences disability.

They need to know about Jesus and the real God of the Bible.  And they need to know that the health, wealth and prosperity ‘gospel’ is a lie – disability is no sign of disfavor from God nor are they ‘lacking’ faith if God calls them to live with it their entire lives.

As Pastor John has said:

There are only three kinds of Christians when it comes to world missions: zealous goers, zealous senders, and disobedient. May God deliver us from disobedience!

Please pray that God would help everyone at this conference to see him more clearly and understand their role in missions, for his glory and for our good.

 

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I spent a wonderful two hours with the first-year students in the Bethlehem Seminary on Wednesday.  Yes, I was talking about disability and some of the hards things associated with it.

And also about God’s word.  I love how the Bible is full of God’s pointing us to his glory through disability!  It was easy to share that part of the story with them.  I hoped to encourage them that people like us, in the pews, can love the word and what it teaches us about our God.

I almost began to cry, somewhere in the middle of my time with them, at the goodness of God in providing these men, most of them young men in their 20’s, who are earnestly seeking God – with head and heart – for the purpose of proclaiming his glory.

These men are preparing to stand in the gap for me and for you – against a culture that prizes comfort and hates those with disabilities, against theologians and ‘teachers’ who seek to strip the word of its meaning and undermine God’s sovereignty, against even the evil in my own heart.

They are preparing themselves to tell the truth about God.  It is God’s sovereignty over all things, including disease and disability, that provides the ultimate hope and access to joy.

It was a privilege to be in their presence and imagine what God might be preparing them to do, for his glory and for our good.  Please pray for Bethlehem College and Seminary students.  The future of the church will be in their hands, and I look forward to watching what God has in store to make his name great through them.

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Sunday schools and other programs are starting up again at Bethlehem in a couple of weeks, which means volunteers are being recruited and trained for all that’s happening.  Brenda Fischer, our disability ministry coordinator, and her site leaders are working with more than 50 volunteers (so far)!

Most are working with individual children as one-to-one aides.  The disabilities range from severe physical disabilities to emotional/behavioral disorders with pretty extreme behaviors associated with them.  Not every child with a disability needs an aide, of course.  The total population of children with disabilities is growing.

It is an exciting time of year, full of hope and excitement about the new year.  It is also full of anxieties and problems and opportunities to disappoint.

The answer – God!  No matter the size or scope of any ministry, from serving a single child with disabilities to coordinating hundreds of volunteers (there are some ministries that large!), we all need God’s help.  Let’s pray for each other and see what God might be pleased to do, for his glory and for our good.

 

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The horrors of 163,000,000 girls being aborted, as Pastor John reported yesterday, are beyond human comprehension.

At least beyond my comprehension – I can’t begin to understand a number that large.

But God does.  He has perfect knowledge of more than 6.9 billion people.  And he knows every one of us more intimately than we even know ourselves.

I had four thoughts immediately after reading Pastor John’s post:

  1. I am very grateful that Pastor John described the destruction of babies with disabilities as ‘monstrous.’  May it be that the killing of female babies truly awakens the entire world to the exceeding evil that is abortion.
  2. God is sovereign over all things, and the blood of Jesus can cover even the destruction of 163,000,000 little girls.
  3. Individually, we cannot begin to put a dent into a number like that.  But we can tell our stories, and maybe God would be pleased to use my story or your story to save one baby, and then another and another.  We don’t need to tell it the same way, but as God leads us to do so.  For example, a couple of weeks ago Justin Taylor pointed to “a letter to a mother thinking about terminating a baby with a genetic disorder.”
  4. I don’t pray nearly enough.

If you would, please also pray for me about a new opportunity to bring attention to disability, the Bible, and the church.

You may have noticed on the Desiring God blog that a new series, The Works of God, is posted on Tuesdays.  I have felt a growing burden to bring more focus and planning around this opportunity, and will be meeting with the web content manager on Monday to discuss some thoughts I have going forward.  Ironically to me, but of course under God’s planning, I had written just last Friday to the web content manager, asking for help in thinking through such ‘hot’ issues as abortion, infanticide and euthanasia for this series.  I’m grateful for your prayers as more than anything I want people to see Jesus as of greater worth than anything – and the very foundation of joy in the midst of every circumstance.

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