The Lord’s Resistance Army

January 31, 2009

Wow! On December 31, Lent & Beyond received a request for prayers of protection for Bishop Justin Badi of Maridi, Sudan because the LRA was advancing on them. Even after the LRA had moved past Maridi, we felt called to continue praying for the defeat of this vile group. All you wonderful intercessors have participated in two simultaneous prayer campaigns–for the defeat of the LRA and for the upcoming primates meeting–without complaint. If this report turns out to be indeed true . . .

Ugandan news reports that Okot Odhiambo, second-in-command of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), contacted the International Organization for Migration to announce his defection. The Ugandan army said military pressure from the three armies had started yielding results and that the surrender would weaken the LRA military command and its scattered forces.
One hundred people have been found dead in northeast Congo. Also reported is the rescue of 90 Congolese abductees tied to each other on ropes like the old slave traders used to do.

The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
Psalm 18:4-6

How gracious You are, dear Father. Precious Savior. Sweet, sweet Spirit. Holy is Your name. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.

Anglican Communion

January 31, 2009

Dear Heavenly Father,
We cry out for the Anglican Communion, caught in a cycle of conflict.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Your Holy Word promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Lord, pour the spirit of confession on this church in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

Your Holy Word promises, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Lord, pour the spirit of forgiveness on this church in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

In the Communion, evil has been unleashed. God, only You can break the curse on the Anglican Communion. We cry out for Your blessings. Only the blood of Jesus can cover these sins. We pray for the healing power of His love to flow throughout the Communion.

Break the power of curses with Blessings.
Break the power of hate with Love.
Break the power of fear with Hope.
Break the power of darkness with Light. Amen.

Archbishop of Burundi

January 31, 2009

Burundi has been ravaged by a series of conflicts since its independence in 1962. The cycle of conflicts has repeated itself periodically between 1965 and 1996. The conflicts always involved an ethnic dimension as Hutu and Tutsi communities were pitted against each other. The Province has existed through hard times of war, poverty and immense human suffering.
Inevitably the years of conflict have affected the Church. Church buildings have been damaged and destroyed. Clergy, other leaders, and members of congregations have been injured or killed, while some are internally displaced or refugees in camps in Tanzania.
In some places insecurity and attacks have frequently disrupted the life and work of the Church. Clergy have been unable to travel easily to visit those in need and have often risked death to do so. Clergy have also been unable to get the necessary levels of education and training.
The Church now has opportunities to make a crucial contribution during a time of rapid political, economic and social change. In January, 2008, an ecumenical solidarity visit to Burundi led by the former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, under the Eminent Persons Ecumenical Programme for Peace in Africa (EPEPPA), came at the invitation of Burundi church leaders. They were meeting with top government officials in order to reinforce the Burundian peace process. The hope of the church leaders is to end a current cycle of violence and bring conflicting parties to the negotiation table. Otherwise, they believe, Burundi will slip into another war.
In April, 2008, rebels shelled the capital. The Archbishop of Burundi led a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) to Berlin in July, to press the German government to curtail its shipments of weapons to the developing world.
Recently, the All Africa Conference of Churches commissioned Archbishop Ntahoturi and others to intercede with government leaders regarding the “silent genocide” unfolding in Central Africa as soldiers loyal to rebel General Laurent Nkunda march upon government troops holding the eastern Congo.

The Rt. Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi is the third archbishop and primate of this East African province. Archbishop Ntahoturi trained in theology in Britain; later he attended a one-year program for diplomats. From 1979 to 1986, Archbishop Ntahoturi served in the Burundian government, rising to chief of staff to the country’s president, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. When a military coup de etat in 1987 overthrew Col. Bagaza, political opponents, including Archbishop Ntahoturi, were jailed. He was released from prison in 1991.
In response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflection “The Challenge and Hope of Being Anglican Today,” the Anglican Church of Burundi remains committed to the Anglican Communion, to the Gospel imperative to maintain unity that is rooted in truth and love, and to Holy Scripture as our guide in all matters of doctrine, ethics and decision-making. They support the idea of an Anglican Covenant. Finally, they believe that hope for the Anglican Communion is dependent on the Church worldwide earnestly seeking a deep work of the Holy Spirit that will lead to repentance, forgiveness, revival, and healing.
From Archbishop Ntahoturi’s Lambeth Conference reflection:

We should not let our hearts be troubled, because in our Father’s house there is a room for everyone who trusts and obeys. During the situations when doubts prevail, when there is confusion and no focus or spirit of discernment, when there is no common vision for walking together towards the Father, the only hope left to the believers and disciples is to trust and obey. We trust and obey because we rely on the Father, the owner of the mansion, and on the love of Jesus, the one who is preparing the rooms. Jesus reassures his disciples that they do not need to worry, because he is the Way, the Truth and The Life. It is through him that we come to the Father.

Our Father,
Jesus taught us that the peacemakers are blessed for they shall be called the children of God. We pray for Archbishop Ntahoturi in Alexandria, Egypt and in Burundi. Anoint him with a spirit of peacemaking. Send Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to stand with him.
We pray for repentance, forgiveness, revival, and healing throughout the Anglican Communion. We are helpless on our own. Commission Your Holy Spirit to do a deep work in the hearts of the primates. Amen.

Isaiah 51:1-7

January 31, 2009

“Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.” (Isaiah 51:1)
      Jesus, help us daily look to you — you are our rock and the quarry from which we were dug.

“Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him.” (Isaiah 51:2)
      Father, by faith in Jesus you have made us heirs to your promises to Abraham. Help us daily look to you and answer your call as Abraham did.

For the LORD will comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. (Isaiah 51:3)
      Holy Spirit, we look to you — you are our comforter.

A word received: Look to me in the times of desolation.
Look to me for water in the desert places.
Look to me for hope that does not disappoint.
Look to me for strength to endure.
Look to me; seek my face.

“Listen to me, my people; and give ear to me, O my nation: for law will proceed from me, and I will make my justice rest as a light of the peoples. My righteousness is near, my salvation has gone forth, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands will wait upon me, and on my arm they will trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will not be abolished.” (Isaiah 51:4-6)
      Jesus, give us hearts that respond to your word and assurances.

“Listen to me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is my law: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults.” (Isaiah 51:7)
      Father, you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Thank you. (From 2 Timothy 1:7)

Saturday: 55; Isaiah 51:1-8; Galatians 3:23-29; Mark 7:1-23
Sunday: 24, 29; Isaiah 51:9-16; Hebrews 11:8-16; John 7:14-31

Albany Intercessor

O Spirit of Life, O Spirit of God: Fill the Primates with Common Prayer

January 30, 2009

O Spirit of Life, O Spirit of God,

“We bless you for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life.”

enlighten us by thy blest word;

Help our Primates to find a common language in Holy Scripture, “the pure Word of God.”

teach us to know the Father’s love,

Help them to return from any worldly, fruitless wanderings and return to their Heavenly Father’s embrace.

and his dear Son, who reigns above:

Holy Spirit, fill their spirits with the same intercession that Christ is offering in Heaven.  Give them His prayer and His mind for the church.

O Spirit of Life, O Spirit of God.

“Bless our meetings, Lord; root out idolatry altogether from the world; tread down Satan and all his work and wickedness under our feet.  Humble now as always, Lord, the enemies of your Church; strip them of their arrogance; show them quickly how weak they are; render harmless their plots and devices and schemings which they contrive against us.  Arise, Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and all who hate your holy name flee backwards; but bless your faithful and orthodox people who do your holy will, to thousands of thousands and myriads of myriads.”*


Words: Johann Niedling, 1651;
trans. John Caspar Mattes, 1913



* The Liturgy of St. Mark, Alexandria, 13th century

Isaiah 50:4-5a

January 30, 2009

The Lord GOD has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord GOD has opened my ears. (Isaiah 50:4-5a)

A word received: Pray for my people to return to me. Pray for hearts that are purified by my word. Pray for my people to place their hope and trust in me. Pray for new life in my Spirit for my people.

Friday: 40, 54; Isaiah 50:1-11; Galatians 3:15-22; Mark 6:47-56
Saturday: 55; Isaiah 51:1-8; Galatians 3:23-29; Mark 7:1-23

Albany Intercessor

The Archbishop of York

January 30, 2009

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu is the 97th Archbishop of York. He was originally a judge in the High Court of Uganda. In 1974 when he refused to bow to pressure to deliver a ‘not guilty’ verdict to one of Idi Amin’s cousins, he was forced to go into exile to the United Kingdom. He read theology in Cambridge, and sequentially became a chaplain, a parish priest, Bishop for Stepney, Bishop for Birmingham, and Archbishop of York. He has a passion for the poor and downtrodden.

On his appointment to York: “As the chief pastor of the province and Diocese of York, I will be a committed representative and a ‘watchman’ for the North. I will commit myself, above all, to seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness in York and other parts of England.”

From his inauguration sermon: My immediate response to that prophetic vision is simply a prayer that God will grant me an ever-increasing measure of discernment, so that like the Apostle Paul, I may fight for the truth of the gospel of salvation by grace alone, but also like him, make concessions to cultural scruples (the Anglican Communion, in my case). As Martin Luther said: St Paul was strong in faith, soft and more flexible in love and ready to yield into everything. May God give me faith and love in equal measure.

Speaking to GC2006 committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion regarding a response to the Windsor Report: You need to ask, do these resolutions show us Christ. Do they show the marks of our own affliction as part of the body. Do they show us to be those whose tears are wiped away when Christ returns. Friends we follow a crucified savior. In Anglicanism truth and unity are not separate. I am not sure that your resolutions will create the space necessary for communion. If they do not you must strenghthen them.

Homosexuality is not a “dividing issue” for him. He defended the Church of England against accusations that it had been too tolerant, saying: “We are Christians first and foremost by our common purpose in Christ and our life in the spirit. I want to treat every human personality as loved by God. He who has never sinned, said Jesus, let him cast the first stone. My mother was right when she said: ‘Don’t point a finger at anyone because you’ll find three fingers pointing back at you.'”

Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray that Your servant John will be a watchman for the Anglican Communion, seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness at the primates’ meeting in Alexandria. Anoint him to seek unity in Your truth and bless him with faith and love in equal measure. Amen.

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