Excerpt from “The Place of Prayer,” by R.C. Sproul
“Prayer has a vital place in the life of the Christian. First, it is an absolute prerequisite for salvation. Some people cannot hear; yet though deaf, they can be saved. Some may not be able to see; yet though blind, they can be saved. Knowledge of the Good News—salvation through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—will come from one source or another, but in the final analysis, a person must humbly ask God for salvation. The prayer of salvation is the one prayer of the wicked God has said He will hear.
What do those in heaven have in common? Several things. They have all been justified, having put their faith in the atonement of Christ. They are all praising God. And they have all prayed for salvation. To be without prayer is to be without God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the hope and reality of heaven.
Second, one of the surest marks of the Christian is his prayer life. One might pray and not be a Christian, but one could not possibly be a Christian and not pray. Romans 8:15 tells us that the spiritual adoption that has made us sons of God causes us to cry out in verbal expressions: “Abba! Father.” Prayer is to the Christian what breath is to life, yet no duty of the Christian is so neglected.
Prayers for the week…
- As neighbors and citizens: Pray for Christian “food bank” ministries in your local community. This is a great season to show support to them through donations. Give them a call and see if they have any specific needs that you or a group of your Christian friends can band together to meet. Jump in there and help with your checkbook, your time, and certainly … your prayers. In harsh economic times, folks who are on the receiving end of practical help with their pantry may have a greater openness to the Gospel.
- Pray pro-life prayers. Whenever you heard news stories about abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, etc. — take it to the Father in prayer. The Evil One wants us to both fret and be inactive. Instead, take your worries to the Father … and then make small movements in support of local ministry.
- Pray for the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) ministry taking place at Trinity University (San Antonio) — led by Michael Novak:
Michael serves as the RUF Campus Minister at Trinity University. Michael and his wife, Rachel, are both originally from Memphis, Tenn. Michael attended the University of Tennessee – the other UT. While Rachel attended Covenant College in Chattanooga, Tenn. Before moving to Texas, Michael attended Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv ’10) where he studied the Bible, theology and counseling.
Michael and Rachel have two children, Caleb (born in 2008) and Abigail (born in 2010). They enjoy being outdoors, taking visits to the zoo, watching movies and finding unique restaurants to enjoy a good meal. Michael also enjoys running, golf and college football. Michael and Rachel would love to meet and get to know you.
Using the new 2013 “watchlist” produced by Open Doors, we pray for the persecuted Christians of a different country each week.
Teachers/parents, consider this a great way to introduce geography into the weekly lessons. Show students where the nation is, then pray for Christians in that place.
This week we pray for the Christians of Kenya, which ranks No. 40 on the watchlist.
Kenya is said to be a majority Christian country, but in the Muslim-majority areas there are high levels of intolerance and hostility towards Christians. As with Tanzania and Uganda, there is a real Islamist drive to get Kenya under the African ‘House of Islam’, with pressure to enshrine this in the constitution. Al-Shabaab and similarly inspired extremist groups were last year responsible for a high level of violence against Christians; 22 were killed and more than 10 churches were burnt, looted or destroyed.
- For Muslims who convert to Christianity, and Christians who marry Muslims, being pressurized to revert to Islam
- That recent grenade attacks on churches won’t deter people from attending or instill fear in persecuted Christians
- That Open Doors’ leadership and discipleship training courses will strengthen the church to stand firm.
- Prayer for the nation – focusing this week on the state of Oregon.
- In 2013, we are praying together by name for Christians in 50 nations, Christians in all 50 states and all the presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the emerging new Reformed body, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. You are encouraged to add specific pastors, lay leaders, congregations, missionaries, new church developments and other ministries to the list by posting a comment to the blog. (Please do not publicly post the names of missionaries serving in contexts where exposing their identity would cause them harm or bring harm to those they serve in Christ’s name.) Let us kneel before the Father and ask His will be done.
- Prayers for the PCUSA: Pray for the presbyteries of the Synod of the Sun: Arkansas, Cimarron, Eastern Oklahoma, Grace, Indian Nations, Mission, New Covenant, Palo Duro, Pines, South Louisiana and Tres Rios.
- Prayers for Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC): Florida (Bob Garment, stated clerk).
- Prayers for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA): the churches of the Eastern Canada Presbytery.
- Prayers for ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.
- Prayers for The Fellowship of Presbyterians.