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.


Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil

January 30, 2009

The Most Rev. Mauricio de Andrade is the primate of Brazil. Brought up an evangelical, Archbishop de Andrade has moved to the progressive wing of the church and has promoted the ministry of gay clergy in his diocese.
For nearly 75 years, the Episcopal Church of Brazil was a mission field of ECUSA. In 1965, it became autonomous. In 1985, it reached financial autonomy. It felt abandoned and lonely and unable to call on the financial and human resources of ECUSA. Therefore, in 1990, Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning established the Bilateral Committee with representatives from both churches. The Bilateral Standing Committee is accountable to the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council of each province.
Following the announcement of the Lambeth boycott, Bishop Andrade wrote:

Our words have been words of division. Yet, in Brazil we sing: “The Word was not made to divide anyone; the Word is the bridge over which love comes and goes. The Word was not made to dominate; the destination of the Word is dialogue.” Who will hear the archbishops/primates, bishops, and priests of the Church? . . .
I believe The Episcopal Church of the United States has been showing all of us an example of the path to unity and reconciliation, because they have met all the requests for visits that were made and answered all the questions that were posed. They have spent time, money, and energy to meet the primates’ requests, always with generosity and openness. I think we need to keep in mind that we are Anglican. We are seeing a disregard of our richness and our ethos, that is, autonomy of the Provinces.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Dear Lord,
We thank You for Your living, active word. As intercessors, we take the sword of the Spirit to our hearts. Pierce our hearts and cut away ungodly thought patterns and habits. We ask the same for Bishop Mauricio Andrade and the primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in Alexandria, for Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil and all of the Communion. Together, may we have the mind of Christ. Amen.


Primate of La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico

January 30, 2009

Religious reform in 1857 secured freedom of religion, separating the Roman Catholic Church from government and politics. Under the leadership of Father Manuel Aguas the “Iglesia de Jesús Militante en la Tierra” (Church of Jesus Militant on Earth) was established; it would be known by the abbreviated name “Iglesia de Jesús” (Church of Jesus) for many years. In 1906 the Synod of the “Mexican Episcopal Church”, formerly the Church of Jesus, received inclusion in the Missionary District of Mexico of the Episcopal Church in the USA.
The Church became an autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion in 1995. At that time, a covenant was drawn up between TEC and the province of Mexico. TEC was to continue its financial support for 25 years, reducing the sum by 4% per annum.
There is a history of malfeasance of former bishops and of serious divisions amongst the five diocesan bishops. There is little, if any, growth.
Bishop Carlos Touche-Porter is patron of the British-based movement Inclusive Church. “The solution is not a compromise but for the Church to remember that its primary mission is to witness the Gospel rather than discuss sexual morals,” he said at a conference hosted by the Inclusive Church in St Matthew’s, Westminster.
According to a Lambeth blogger, he is trying to organize an international Anglican coalition which he refers to as the “Global Centre” (as compared with the “Global South” under the putative leadership of Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola). This coalition incorporates Anglican Provinces such as Brazil, South India, Sri Lanka and Central America.

Dear Heavenly Father,
This church was founded on Jesus. May she look to Him. If she has left, may she return to her first love. Bless Bishop Touche-Porter and La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico. Amen.

Account of Bp Touche-Porter’s handling of a pedophilia case
History of Anglicanism in Mexico
Touche-Porter in Manchester


Primate of Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America (IARCA)

January 29, 2009

Bishop Barahona was an attending, consecrating Bishop for V. Gene Robinson. He also attended the Chicago Consultation to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the Church. Bishop Barahona is strongly invested in TEC (and vice versa).

Our Father in heaven,
Look tenderly upon the people of IARCA and their Primate, Martin. Bless these lands and peoples who suffer a history and consequences of injustices, wars and natural disasters.
But Lord, please bless IARCA with the fullness of your Gospel. Give this province abundance in this life and in the life to come.
Help this Province recognize and separate false teachings from the helpful material resources they receive. As your children in IARCA ask for fish, let none put serpents in their hands. As they reach for eggs, let none hand them scorpions.
Guide Martin as he serves his Province and as he meets with the other Primates. Help the Primates build communities of faith that thrive in peace to the Day of Jesus Christ. In temptations created by material need, keep them strong in the faith more precious than gold. Even now, give the Primates glimpses of Christ’s coming reign, and fill them with praise, glory and honor toward Him. We pray in His Holy Name. Amen.
Luke 11:11-13


Archbishop of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui

January 29, 2009

Formerly a diocese, the Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui has been in place since October 25, 1998. The Anglican Church in Hong Kong has a policy of non-interferance in political affairs and does not participate in pro-democracy activities in this Special Administrative Region of China.
While acknowledging that the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui is opposed to recent developments in the Episcopal Church for ordaining an openly gay bishop and blessing partnerships of same-gender couples, Archbishop Paul Kwong criticized GAFCON and the Lambeth boycott. He urged all Anglican provinces to respect the traditional mechanisms and organizational structures in place for dealing with existing challenges, and to solve their differences through dialogue.
From Anglican Journal during Lambeth Conference:

Alluding to The Episcopal Church in the U.S., which has ordained an openly gay bishop, and the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster, which has permitted same-sex blessings, Archbishop Kwong urged those involved in the conflict to make a “sacrifice” similar to that made by the Church of South China in 1948. The Lambeth Conference of 1948 had ruled that the diocese of South China’s proposal to ordain a deaconess to the priesthood for an experimental period of 20 years would be “against the tradition and order and would gravely affect the internal and external relations of the Anglican Communion.” In 1944, Florence Li Tim Oi had been ordained the first female priest in the Communion by the bishop of Hong Kong; in 1946, to defuse the controversy surrounding her ordination, she surrendered her priest’s licence, but not her Holy Orders.

“We were criticized for that…That was considered a radical move… For the sake of the communion we revoked the ordination of Florence Li Tim Oi,” he said.

“We respect what people are doing, that what they’ve done is correct in their context. We’re not asking them to defend that what they’re doing is right, but what sacrifice can you make for the interest of the Communion, of the church?” he asked.

O Holy One, the Redeemer of Israel,
We thank You that You have written the name of Paul Kwong on Your hands. Keep the Anglican Church in Hong Kong always in Your mind. May they call the walls of their church Salvation and their gates Praise. Grant Archbishop Kwong the promise of the Holy Spirit–a full release of Your Spirit–through his faith in Your Son Jesus Christ. May the Spirit empower him in Hong Kong and in Alexandria. Amen.
Isaiah 49:16, 60:18, Galatians 3:14

Biographical note


TEC Executive Council

January 29, 2009

Convenes today in Stockton, California.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless them.


Mark 6:30-32 and Isaiah 49:15-16a

January 29, 2009

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. (Mark 6:30)
      Holy Spirit, guide us into regular times where we “touch base” with Jesus and have him review our work for him and the kingdom.

And he said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31)
      Jesus, help us hear and respond to your call to have quiet times apart with you.

So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. (Mark 6:32)
      Father, help us actually make the effort to spend time alone with Jesus. Bless the Sisters of St. Mary and the Spiritual Life Center — they provide quiet times and quiet places with Jesus.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
      Jesus, thank you that you never forget us, thank you for continually holding us in prayer and interceding for us.


      Jesus, thank you for bearing the cost of our redemption.

A word received: Rest in me — leave your troubles in my hands.

Thursday: 50; Isaiah 49:13-23; Galatians 3:1-14; Mark 6:30-46
Friday: 40, 54; Isaiah 50:1-11; Galatians 3:15-22; Mark 6:47-56

Albany Intercessor


The industrialized West and the Enlightenment

January 29, 2009

The Enlightenment is a philosophical movement around the 18th century in which reason was advocated as a primary source and legitimacy for authority. The many positive consequences include greater rights and liberties for common people, freedom of religion, and scientific advancement. The US Bill of Rights and the French Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen are products of this movement. The constitutional decentralization in the US was a positive outcome of the movement; the French Revolution a negative one. The post-Enlightenment provinces in the Communion–most notably in North America and Europe–tend to take a more critical approach to scripture, be more individualistic in their worldview, and be wealthier.
Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales:

“Personally, I have absolutely no problem at all with the full acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the church of God because they are made in God’s image. It’s not a matter of choice and therefore if the church of God cannot welcome these people then I don’t think it’s being a ‘church’ at all and it’s not being true to the gospel and the values of Jesus.”

Dr Morgan is alarmed at moves by conservative Anglicans to form a new alliance within the communion.

“I’m horrified at some of the statements… they want to exclude people. The minute you begin to exclude then I don’t think you are being the church of God.”

Katherine Schori of the Episcopal Church:

. . . these decisions were made because we believe that’s where the Gospel has been calling us. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has come to a reasonable conclusion and consensus that gay and lesbian Christians are full members of this church and that our ministry to and with gay and lesbian Christians should be part of the fullness of our life.

Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church:

“It was very obvious at the recent meeting of Anglican Primates that the vast majority wish to stay with an Anglican church that is open and welcoming and prepared to live with difference. This is Anglican mainstream and we have to make it clear that it represents majority opinion among church leaders. Attempts to try to turn the Communion into something that is controlled from the centre, with expulsion the result of disagreement, will fail.”

Alan Harper, Archbishop of Ireland, saying if homosexuality is proven to be biologically predetermined then his church would have to allow gay unions.

“If such comes to be shown, it will be necessary to acknowledge the full implications of that new aspect of the truth.”

Saying it is important to distinguish parts of the Bible that were considered the direct word of God and other elements that were human interpretations of his teachings in the context of the time.

“Rulings that may have applied and been deemed valid at one time and in one specific circumstance need not necessarily retain that applicability and validity at another.”

Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for the justice and liberty that resulted from the Enlightenment. We ask for Your holy enlightenment of those primates in the Anglican Communion whose worldviews use reason as the primary source of authority. We pray that they know the mind and heart of God in Christ and that they know their own hearts in Christ’s light. Bless them at the primates’ meeting in Alexandria and bless their provinces. Amen.


Presiding Bishop of Korea

January 28, 2009

The Most Revd Francis Kyung Jo Park is the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Korea. In 2007, the province of Korea hosted an international peace conference focused on reconciliation of the Korean peninsula (Toward Peace in Korea). The Mothers’ Union choir of Seoul gave a concert “Singing for Peace in our Land” at Lambeth Conference to raise awareness of the need for reconciliation. Also at Lambeth, Bishop Park participated in a Eucharist with the primate of Japan, a gesture that followed 20 years of reconciliation work between the two provinces.
In 2008 he attended the Missions Consultation Roundtable in Bangkok. The focus of the Consultation was clear: to strengthen the work of the gospel and churches in our deaneries, in order ‘that they may know and confess Jesus as Saviour and Lord.’

Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray for Your servant Presiding Bishop Park.
Increase his appetite for Your praise, Lord. As he opens his mouth, inhabit his song.
Increase his appetite for Holy Scripture, Lord. As he opens his Bible and reads, pierce his heart.
Increase his appetite for prayer, Lord. As he opens his heart, invade his mind.
Increase his appetite for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, Lord. As he opens his life, let him press into the kingdom of God. We pray that Your kingdom come, Your will be done in the Anglican province of Korea and throughout the Korean peninsula as it is in heaven. Amen.
Psalm 22:3, Luke 16:16

Account of joint Korean-Japanese service


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