Sunday, January 18, 2009

Millions of Christians Pray to Become One

[By Anne Thomas - Christian Today]

Millions of Christians worldwide will unite over the next eight days in praying for reconciliation within the broken body of Christ.

The resources and guides for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been developed by representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea. The production of the material is being supported jointly by the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission and the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Reflecting the division of their own nation into north and south, the Korean team has based this year’s prayer material on the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel that depicts two pieces of wood, symbolizing the two kingdoms into which Israel had been divided.

The prayer for the week draws specifically from Ezekiel 37.15 – 28 when God spoke to Ezekiel and said "they shall be one in my hand...They will be my people and I shall be their God."

The annual week of prayer is a highlight of the ecumenical calendar and is traditionally celebrated between January 18 and 25 in the northern hemisphere or at Pentecost in the southern hemisphere.

Among the ecumenical events taking place during the week is a service marking the retirement of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as one of the four presidents of the ecumenical body Churches Together in England.

The service on Thursday will be attended by co-presidents Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Commissioner Elizabeth Matear, Free Churches Moderator, and Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Great Britain. The sermon will be delivered by Williams.

The prayer for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity states:

We pray to you for the unity of all Christians, According to your will. According to your means. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division. To see our sin and to hope beyond all hope.God, you alone are our hope.
You alone are our hope.

Day 18 of a 21-Day Fast

God Is Your Rock

God doesn’t want you to worry. He wants to be in control of your life and guide you through your daily challenges. As you are fasting, and giving God your body, give Him your spirit, too.

On your eighteenth day of fasting, remember:
- Lean on your group and your partner for support
- Keep water and juice with you
- Use your prayer time and prayer place
- Worship and find strength with music
- Journal your experience
- Meditate on what this experience means to you
- Keep sugar free mints or gum on hand

Physical Effects:
- Continued weight loss
- Bad breath is apparent
- Your awareness of God’s power is heightened
- Cravings are evident, but avoid temptation

Today’s Quote: “This frightening hour calls aloud for men with the gift of prophetic insight. I am talking about His coming and possessing the full body and mind and life and heart, taking the whole personality over, gently but directly and bluntly, making it His, so that we may become a habitation of God through the Spirit.” (A.W. Tozer -- Gems from Tozer)

Thoughts for your Journal:
- Examine any areas of un-forgiveness and bitterness that the Lord is asking you to surrender to Him.

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

I praise you and thank you for who you are.

Please guide me and help me when I face conflict and disagreement with others. Help me to follow biblical principles. Sometimes I'm just "hard-headed" and do not want to give in to compromise, even when either view, decision, desire is biblical. Help me to carefully consider the other person's perspective and situation.

And if someone has wronged me, give me courage to confront them in a spirit of love and reconciliation. If they will not hear me, show me who should go with me to talk with the person. When necessary, help me to continue on and take steps based on Your Word. I want to do what is right, and as much as possible, to live peaceably with all people.

Please forgive me where I have failed, and give me the grace and wisdom to do better; to do what is right.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen.