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On August 5, I was taken to the hospital with severe abdominable pain.  A CT scan revealed an enlarged and infected cecum.  The doctors talked to me about a possible surgical proceedure to remove the cecum which would result in a reroute of the bowel.  It didn’t sound good.  Because I had just returned from Africa, the doctors were willing to wait on surgery in the event this could be a bacterial infection.  I was put on IV antibiotics and admitted into the hospital.  I was to be given 24 hours for improvement before surgery.  An urgent prayer request went out over several intercessory prayer teams.  I found out later, people all over the world were praying for me, including many I didn’t know.  If you were one of those praying people, thank you so much.  You gave me a treasured gift. 

At the conclusion of the 24 hours, I pleaded with the doctors to give me more time.  I felt certain I would see improvement and avoid the knife.  The second night, in the midst of my pain, I cried out to God repeatedly.  I knew people across the oceans were interceding at the same time.  By the morning, I was better.  Later that day, I was able to go home. 

The next three weeks were filled with much pain and I had trouble sleeping.  On several nights, I sat in my favorite chair into the early morning hours and communed with my heavenly Father.  These were precious times.  God spoke to my heart over the hours each night.  There is something special about night time listening to the Lord.  I find I can hear the voice of my Father so much clearer when the noise and distractions are taken away.  The night was Jesus’ favorite time to be alone with His Father as well.  Luke 6:12 says, “Now in those days it occurred that He went up into a mountain to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God.”

The bacterial infection is still having residual effects that I am told will continue for weeks and months.  There are still occasional nights of pain.  But with those come nights of solitude with my Father. 

God has shown me some special and intimate moments in my night time prayers.  I’ve learned it’s a great time to listen to the still small voice of His Holy Spirit and commune in a special way with my Lord.

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“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Mark 11:23-24  NIV

Can prayer move the mountains of resentment and unforgiveness in Burundi?  Esther and I had the privilege of traveling to Burundi last June to teach on prayer, reconciliation, and evangelism.  We discovered a prayer movement in progress.  Many Christians in Burundi have a passion for the Lord I have seen only rarely.  This is amazing, especially when one considers their civil war of 20 years ended only last year.  This is a people who have very little in the way of material possessions.  Burundi is rated as one of the 10 most poorest nations in the world.  The number of orphans and widows following the civil war is staggering.  However, they possess a deep faith rooted in prayer and the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Grace Extended Ministries has been asked by a large church in Burundi to mentor, train, and equip their leaders in prayer, reconciliation, and evangelism so that they might further the gospel in Burundi and neighboring countries.  They know the hope of the future of Burundi lies in Jesus Christ.   Our plans are to return to Bujumbura, Burundi in April and then again in August to begin this process.

Please pray for Burundi and for us as we come alongside the Christian leaders of this nation in an effort to reach Burundi for Christ.

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One Voice Conference

This past year, Michael met with the then executive director of More Than Gold and shared a vision for prayer and evangelism for the 2010 Winter Olympics that would have major impact on Vancouver, B.C. and beyond. 

 The intertwine of prayer and evangelism has been lacking in much of our evangelistic efforts worldwide.  We have come up with wonderful evangelistic ideas over the years and ask the Lord for His blessings.  In many cases, little time is spent before the throne of God seeking His will and agenda.  The result is prayer efforts to ask God to bless our efforts.  We wonder why so many do not meet our expectations. 

 Evangelism is a battle field.  The enemy does not want people coming to saving grace in Jesus Christ.  As such, we must keep in mind at all times that the battle is fought in the heavenly realms.  (Eph 6:12) 

 For effective evangelism to occur, we must yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He is the general, and ultimately it is He who brings people to saving faith in Christ. 

 Training and equipping for an evangelistic endeavor such as the Olympics must necessitate the coming together of prayer and evangelism.  As a result, Michael proposed a major two day conference in one location that would bring the laity of the church together in training and equipping on the intertwine of prayer and evangelism. 

 After Michael and Esther met with the More Than Gold prayer working group in Vancouver in December of 2008, the blessing was given to go forward with such a conference.

 By January, 2009, the Lord had raised up Karen Braun, the national director for Breakthrough Ministries of Canada www.breakthroughprayer.com to head up the team.  Grace Extended Ministries has remained in place as a key part of the core planning and mentoring team.  Michael works closely with Karen and other team members in preparing for this unique conference.

 The “One Voice” prayer and evangelism conference will be held at Glad Tidings Church in downtown Vancouver, B.C. on October 23-24.  It will feature 35 workshops and 4 plenary sessions.  It will be for all generations.  Information can be found at www.onevoiceconference.org

 For this conference to come together this late is a miracle.  Obviously, God’s hand is in it.  Each week a group of intercessors from throughout Canada and the US gather by conference call to seek the Lord for His direction and leading with One Voice.  Obviously this conference is His and we want to keep it that way.

 Prayer and Evangelism is at the core of Grace Extended Ministries International.  Mountains are moved through prayer.  People come to Christ as more and more Christians truly understand the Great Command and the Great Commission.

 Seven members representing Grace Extended Ministries will be leading workshops and Michael will be speaking at one of the plenary sessions. 

 Grace Extended Ministries is blessed to be able to work alongside such a great Canadian team. 

 

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As I prepare to go to Rwanda in June to speak on prayer at a prayer, healing, and worship conference, I have sensed a deep intertwine between prayer and forgiveness.  Rwanda is a war torn nation following the genocide of 1994.  For many, after 15 years, the wounds are still fresh and the memories of horrific acts of terror (often by people they knew) are replayed in 3-D in their minds.  For some, the depth of bitterness still clings like the toughest velcro.  Deep emotional pain eats at the mind and heart. 

How is healing to occur?  Only in the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, do we find the answer.  Only through prayer do we find the vessel to approach the throne of God on behalf of others.  The Holy Sprit can open the hardest of hearts. 

Forgiveness is catching.  For a country that needs reconciling, the healing of one life can touch another.  As Christians, we need to pray for those in nations such as Rwanda.  Despite the horrific tragedy, healing must take place.  It can only take place through the movement of God’s Holy Spirit.  The burden of prayer for our neighbor whom we don’t know, must precede any claim to the second part of the Great Command, to love our neighbor as ourselves.  If we truly love our neighbor, we will pray for God’s intervention and healing in their lives.  Only then will true evangelisim take root in places like Rwanda.

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Got Prayer?

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Thoughts on Prayer

inida-esther-july-2008_3551“Now in those days it occurred that

He went up into a mountain to pray,

and spent the whole night in prayer

to God.” Luke 6:12 Amplified

Bible

 

Evangelism and prayer go hand in

hand. Many evangelists have tried

to separate the two or forget the

latter. But the Bible says the

spiritual battles are fought in the

heavenly realms. They are fought

when we go to the mountain as

Jesus did, on our knees.

 

Jesus is telling us in this passage not

to be hasty with our prayers (He

spent the whole night in prayer).

Much of His time I believe was in

listening. He needed direction from

the Father. I believe Jesus is also

giving us a message in this passage

of what we need to do when we

face major decisions or challenges.

It was on the next day that He

chose His twelve apostles (Lk

6:13).

 

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