Breaking down barriers during Ramadan

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Ramadan, the month when Muslims traditionally fast during daylight hours, begins this year from June 6 to July 5. Many Muslims view this month as an opportunity to grow in spiritual dedication and sacrifice. Many hope to experience a revelation of God. The pre-dawn meal and the breaking of the fast in the evening are often focused on family and community.

Followers of Christ are called to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Here are a few suggestions for ways Christ-followers can break down barriers during Ramadan and demonstrate love to our Muslim neighbors:

  1. Each day of Ramadan, ask the Creator to bless Muslims with a greater understanding of Himself and His purposes for their lives. Many Christ-followers around the world join in prayer for Muslims using this prayer guide. You can pray for Muslims you know by name. Perhaps you can pray for various countries with significant Muslim populations.
  2. Consider fasting during Ramadan. This is one way to identify in part with the nearly 1.6 billion people who are likely to be fasting during Ramadan.
  3. Ask Muslims you know about Ramadan and their experiences. See if you can share a meal to break the fast. Ask how you can pray for them.
  4. Find ways you can help Muslims in difficult circumstances during Ramadan. For instance, the meals together become more important. How can we show kindness to Muslims experiencing financial hardship, personal loss, separation from family, fleeing from war-torn homelands, etc.?
  5. Take time to pray for Christ-followers who live in Muslim-majority areas. Life during Ramadan often moves at a different rhythm. Pray that brothers and sisters in Christ around the world would know how to break down barriers so that the love of God might be better displayed.

A Month in Zambia

Please join us in praying for the team from a Borderless church who will be in Zambia for a month-long mission trip. Pastor Davies will be visiting his homeland with a small group from Joy Ministries International to look into several possible opportunities for business as mission ventures and for ministry partnerships.

Please ask the Lord to give the group safe and pleasant travels — in the car, on the many airplanes, on foot, etc. Their flight itineraries have several brief connections; please pray that both they and their baggage will reach the proper destinations in a timely way.

Please ask the Lord to grant them good health throughout the month and, especially for those who have not been to Zambia before, the ability to receive whatever food they are served with joy. Pray that the group will serve together well, united with the heart and mind of Christ.

Pray that the Lord will give them wisdom and insight as they explore possibilities. Pray that the Lord will open the doors that will lead to fruitfulness. Pray that these businesses will make quality products or services available in a God-honoring way, that employees will be disciples in the Lord and that profits will help advance the Kingdom.

Pray for the other members of Joy Ministries International to be encouraged as a group and to grow in faith and spiritual maturity during Pastor Davies’ physical absence.

Please also take a couple minutes to pray along with this prayer video for Zambia.

Hope for Haitians

One of the churches Borderless works with in Chicagoland is Eglise Evangelique Bethel. Most of the congregation members have roots in Haiti. Pastor Franco also helps lead a ministry called Hope for Haitian Youth and Elderly (HOHAYE).

Haiti was already suffering from extreme poverty before the devastating earthquake in 2010. HOHAYE, which is about to celebrate its 15th anniversary, has been bringing Kingdom transformation in Haiti through many different avenues, including health clinics, a trade school, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with words and actions, and training church leaders.

Praise the Lord for the hearts of compassion He has given to many for the people of Haiti and for the leadership which Pastor Franco and other Haitian-Americans can provide in steering ministry efforts. Praise God that the Body of Christ is sharing its resources and skills to offer hope to those in difficult circumstances.

Pray that many families will know the power, provision and compassion of the Lord Jesus through HOHAYE’s ministry. Pray that godly leaders of influence in various spheres of society will be raised up as a result of the education and training offered.

Pray that as people in the States travel to Haiti to work with HOHAYE, they will encounter the Living God in fresh ways and embrace His purposes for their lives. Pray that God will make a way for the anniversary celebration dinner on June 4 to spur on spiritual revival in Haiti.

You can read more about HOHAYE’s upcoming anniversary banquet here.

Making known God’s manifold wisdom

Our director of prayer mobilization was honored to be one of about 50 leaders from around the world who gathered in Cape Town for a global prayer summit. The goals were to seek the Lord to hear from Him corporately, develop stronger relationships between globally focused prayer leaders and ministries, and develop and build into common visionary prayer mobilization for the nations. Here is part of her report:

Original art by Vincent Lee
Original art by Vincent Lee. Photo not the best…

My friend (and Borderless guy) Vincent is an artist. In this piece, he combined beautiful elements from two different art traditions — Chinese calligraphy and European stained glass — to express universal truth, that the Creator has blessed us with righteousness through Christ.

For me, Vincent’s artwork points to what God is doing according to Ephesians 3:10 — “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (ESV). The “manifold wisdom of God” is described by other translations as multi-faceted, having rich variety and in many forms.

God is an artist too and His masterpiece will feature the Church, beautifully bringing together people from all the cultures and traditions around the world into one family to express His manifold wisdom, really Himself, to all of creation, seen and unseen. To see the restored image of God reflected in a rich variety of forms will be utterly amazing.

The prayer summit showed glimpses of the Artist at work, putting His family together  — celebrating Passover with people from various countries, including Egypt; hearing South African brothers and sisters, Rainbow Nation, declare Psalm 24 together; standing to form an arrow from Cape Town to the world and proclaiming John 14:6 as one voice.

The prayer summit also showed through the challenges we faced in Cape Town that this work-in-progress really is something that only God can do. It’s not easy to get such a big, diverse family into the same room, much less to agree to do something together. We have not been made perfect yet and sometimes it is painfully obvious. But — praise the Lord — God’s grace is bigger than us as individuals and even all of us put together.

If we want to see the global Church united in seeking the Father’s face, I think we need to listen together more on a smaller scale. (I’m assuming here that we are already listening to God as individuals and that we have some idea of how to listen to God in groups such as our families and local churches. A huge assumption.) If we don’t, we are both rejecting the wisdom that God displays in others and withholding the wisdom God displays in us.

So find a brother or sister (or a group of brothers and sisters) who is different from you — perhaps by church tradition, prayer tradition, cultural background, geography and/or language. Get to know him or her (or them) better as you pray together from time to time. Ask God what He wants to tell you, plural.

Then we will see more of God’s gorgeous bigger picture. And so will everyone else.

Passover — “What the Lord did for me”

At sundown on Friday, the feast of Passover will begin. The commemoration of the Lord delivering the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt is the most celebrated holiday among Jewish people today. Even non-religious Jewish people will gather with family and friends for the seder.

Pray for Jewish people celebrating Passover to sincerely thank God for His strong hand which rescues people. Pray that as they remember the Exodus story, their hearts will be softened to see Yeshua as the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb.

Pray for Messianic Jews to have many opportunities to share their faith with friends and relatives — while shopping, while preparing homes and during seders — over the next two weeks. Pray that others will see that the Lord God is actively at work in the lives of His people.

Pray for more non-Jewish followers of Yeshua to learn how to build bridges of understanding with Jewish friends, co-workers and classmates.

Please pray for the Messianic Congregation of Chicago to effectively coach more followers of Yeshua on reaching out to Jewish peoples beyond Passover. Pray also for the Lord to show Kingdom Pathway Church His purposes in placing them amid several synagogues as they pray this week.

Hosting NABA-GBC Youth Conference

At the end of April, Calvary International Baptist will be hosting a youth conference for the North American Baptist Association of the Ghana Baptist Convention. Around 80 youth from around the US are expected to participate.

Please pray for Calvary as they make preparations. Pray that the Lord will clearly reveal His plans for the conference to leaders. Ask God to provide for all the logistical needs and to make things run smoothly. Ask God to anoint the words of the speakers.

Please join Calvary in praying for the youth. Pray that during the weekend the youth will have opportunities to serve and reach out to the community that will have positive, lasting impacts for the Kingdom. Pray that the youth will grow in the knowledge of Christ, exercise their faith and experience more of His grace. Pray that they will be eager to serve and determined to join the Lord’s plans for their lives.

Global Prayer Summit 2016

In four weeks, our director of prayer mobilization will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa, to take part in a global prayer summit. The organizers describe three main goals for this small gathering of two or three dozen leaders:

1) Seek the Lord to hear from Him corporately

2) Develop stronger relationships between globally focused prayer leaders and ministries

3) Develop and build into common visionary prayer mobilization for the nations

The summit is being held in Cape Town, the birthplace of the Global Day of Prayer. It is scheduled to coincide with Passover, when God delivered His people by His mighty hand, in anticipation of seeing God do something big!

Please pray that this global prayer summit will meet its goals. Pray that the Spirit will give those who attend unity and that they will hear from the Lord together. Pray that they will be eager to learn from and encourage each other during the summit and afterwards.
Please pray that this summit will lead to the global Church becoming more attuned to God’s plans and more united in prayer for the advancing of God’s kingdom.
Please ask God to meet the needs of all those attending the summit. Pray for financial provision, safe travels, quick adjustments to time zone differences, smooth logistics, etc. Pray for God’s protection over the families of those who attend.

“Smell that God is here”

Malachi 1:11

Last night, (at least) one of the churches we have gotten to know had a special prayer meeting. They devoted almost all the time to praising God and praying for His kingdom to come. They prayed for revival not just for themselves as individuals or for their church but for their community and the world. As the pastor said, they wanted to “smell that God is here.”

Thank God for groups of Christ-followers who gather together to pray for God’s kingdom to advance, as this church did last night. Pray that the Lord will encourage them to keep praying together on a regular basis. Pray that these people will also have a constant attitude of prayer — at home, at work, at school, in the car, at the mall, and so on. Pray that as God’s people lift Him up in each of these places, the community will smell that God is here and nations will experience joy. May the Lord send His people to pray and seek the Lord in the places (homes, buildings, cities) where He is not yet worshiped.

Diaspora Missiology: from the classroom to the world

A group of diaspora missiology leaders are currently gathered in Singapore to discuss how to boost the study of diaspora and mission at Bible colleges, seminaries, ministry training centers and so on. Borderless is honored to be a part of this group.

Please ask God to give the group wisdom and good communication skills as they work on:

  • recommendations for content and syllabi for introductory courses
  • recommendations for core topics in degree programs
  • a model curriculum to train local church members
  • promotion for Scattered and Gathered: a Global Compendium of Diaspora Missiology, which is scheduled to be available this spring
  • development of other methods to advance diaspora missiological studies

Please pray that more Christ-centered learning institutions will offer opportunities to study diaspora missiology. Pray that as more people learn about and study the opportunities and challenges of diaspora for God’s kingdom, the Church will become better equipped to bring the good news to the world today.

Sharing what we have learned

When we see a brother or sister in Christ, we start asking, “What can we share with each other?” Please pray for these two upcoming efforts to share what God has given us.

  1. One of our pastors in the USA will begin a class addressing spiritual conflict issues. Scripture is clear that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” but many American followers of Christ have received little practical teaching on spiritual conflict. We thank God for the wisdom, experience and biblical insight He has given to this pastor and for the opportunity he has to build up the Body. Pray that the pastor and those who attend the class will be mutually encouraged in the Lord. Ask God to protect this class from the forces of evil which would much rather remain hidden and unacknowledged.
  2.  Please pray for R to have wisdom as he starts writing a book. Ask God to give him the words that will help the readers see the Lord Jesus clearly on every page. Pray that all the logistics of writing and publishing a book will go smoothly.