RSS

Category Archives: Prayer

9:38

We started the first two days of my Harmony of the Gospels class in Elista at 10:00AM. On the third day, we began at 9:00AM so as to finish by noon and get on the road back to Krasnodar. At 9:38, everyone’s phone started ringing. I was annoyed because they were all to turn off their phones so as not to be distracted during the class. I soon learned that their phones were not ringing but rather sounding an alarm as a reminder to pray.

The church in Kalmykia has taken Matthew 9:38 literally. In that verse, Jesus tells his disciples, “therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” At 9:38 each morning, the Christ followers in Kalmykia pause to pray about their outreach efforts.

I paused my teaching and one of the brothers led the class in prayer.

Perhaps I should learn from their example and encourage the folks in my church to do the same.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 21, 2019 in Evangelism, Prayer, Russia, Scripture

 

Prayer is an intimate conversation with God

In his book, Abba’s Child: The cry of the heart for intimate belonging, author Brennan Manning tells the story of how prayer can be an intimate conversation with God.

Once I related the story of an old man dying of cancer. The old man’s daughter had asked the local priest to come and pray with her father. When the priest arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said.

“No, who are you?”

“I’m the new associate at your parish,” the priest replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the priest shut the door. “I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man,” but all my life I have never known how to pray. At the Sunday Mass, I used to hear to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. Finally I said to him one day in sheer frustration, ‘I get nothing out of your homilies on prayer.’

“Here,’ says my pastor, reaching into the bottom drawer of his desk. ‘Read this book by Hans Urs von Balthasar. He’s a Swiss theologian. It’s the best book on contemplative prayer in the twentieth century.’

“Well, Father,” says the man, “I took the book home and tried to read it. But in the first three pages I had to look up twelve words in the dictionary. I gave the book back to my pastor, thanked him, and under my breath whispered, ‘for nothin.’

“I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” he continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because He promised, “I’ll be with you all days.” Then must speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’

“So, Padre, I tried it, and I’ve like it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the rectory.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the priest that he daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.

“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, Father. In fact, beyond strage—kinda weird. Apparently just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside his bed.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 30, 2019 in Prayer, Quotes

 

A worship prayer

Father, what do you want me to learn today? Not my neighbor, but me? How do you want me to respond? Please open my ears and my heart to your word. Amen.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Prayer, Worship

 

Russia 2019 – April Update

Praying friends,

Thanks to God’s grace and your prayers, my passport and visa to Russia arrived this morning. Considering I leave in 10 days, it arrived none too soon!

On this trip, I will be teaching a three-day course on the Harmony of the Gospels in two locations—Anapa and Elista, Russia. So far, 25 students have registered and the number will probably increase as we get closer to the date. Last year, 43 people from 4 cities attended the classes.

At this point, the preparations are essentially complete. My notes are ready to go. I made copies of my handouts in Russian to take along. I purchased short-term ministry trip insurance. The only thing left to do is get some dental work taken care of and then pack.

Here are some items for your intercessory efforts:

PRAISES

  • Passport and visa to Russia arrived in a timely manner without complications.
  • The trip is fully funded.
  • Carol and I enjoyed a wonderful, refreshing time at the SonScape Retreat in Colorado.
  • I am finally healthy, having gotten over a cold/cough that plagued me for two weeks.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • The students who will attend.
  • Safe travel.
  • Good health.
  • Effective ministry.
  • Dental work—I’m getting a root canal in a tooth on Monday.
  • Good Friday and Easter services this weekend.
  • Pray for Carol as she remains at home.

While you are praying, could you also pray that God will provide the necessary funds for Carol and me to minister in Moscow this fall in October? We will be part of a team teaching a week-long seminar on leadership development—identifying and training young, emerging leaders in the church. So far, $825 has been given towards the $4,200 needed for the trip. My prayer is that God will provide the total amount by June so that we can purchase airfare and make plans. If you would like to support the trip financially, please send a check to First Central Bible Church, 50 Broadway St, Chicopee, MA, 01020. Checks should be made out to FCBC with “Moscow Conference” in the notation line.

Thanks so much for your prayers, encouragement, and support. I’m grateful.

Mark Wheeler

 

Russia 2019 – March update

Dear friends,

I am grateful for your support, encouragement, and prayers for my upcoming trip to Russia. It is only through your intercessory efforts that I am able to do what I do. Thanks so much!

I hope to apply for my Russian visa in the next couple of weeks. The LOI (letter of invitation) from Moscow should arrive next week. Once I receive it, I will head for the Russian visa office in New York City to apply in person for the visa. I will be applying for a humanitarian visa for religious work, in order to be above board on what we are doing and not take a chance in getting in trouble with the authorities. Please pray that the process goes smoothly and without complications.

I completed the third round of editing my notes for the Harmony of the Gospels course. As I mentioned previously, the challenge of teaching through four gospels is deciding what NOT to say. After cutting the material in half through the editing process, I still have a bit too much. Until I teach through it the first time, I won’t know for sure. Please pray that I have wisdom to know what to include and what to leave out.

Please pray for the students who will attend the course. They are currently working on the preclass assignment. They are to read through one of gospels and write down their questions. They are also to answer two questions: (1) What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23)? How do you do that personally? and (2) How did Jesus fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17-20)? Should Christians follow the Law today?

Please pray for Carol and me over the next seven weeks—safe travel, good health, wise use of our time, boldness to share with people, etc. Next week, I will be in Atlanta, GA, for a Walk Thru the Bible faculty conference. When I return, Carol heads for the west coast to visit her parents and sisters and to see two of our children. In early April, we will attend a SonScape pastoral retreat in Colorado. It will be a time of rest, refreshment, encouragement, challenge, and planning for the future. In mid-April, we will be involved in our Easter outreach here at the church. The week after Easter, I leave for Russia. As you can see, the next seven weeks are filled with many opportunities for ministry.

Thanks for your support, encouragement, and prayers. I’m in your debt.

 

Decision America Northeast Tour – Promo video 1

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 7, 2019 in Evangelism, Prayer, Videos

 

Wednesday afternoons will never be the same

On Monday, I lost one of the more encouraging people in my life. Jackie Tisdale was a godly woman who loved Jesus and was not shy in talking about him. Some time that day, she stepped out of this life and into the presence of her Savior. Her departure was sudden and unexpected. She was so very much alive when I chatted with her on Saturday at our Senior Saints luncheon and on Sunday when she was at her post at the Welcome Desk at church.

On February 3, I preached a sermon on “The Three Chairs” which looks at how faith is not always passed on from one generation to the next. Each one of us needs to be a “first chair” follower and to have a firsthand experience of God rather than second hand knowledge. At the conclusion, I challenged the congregation to recommit themselves to following Christ. Jackie told me she recommitted herself to staying in the first chair.

On Wednesday afternoons, Jackie attended our Seniors Alive program. She would always stop by my office to say “Hello” and to chat. On the first Wednesday of the month, she would come into my office, lay hands on me, and pray for me. (Some people say they pray for you, and some people PRAY for you.)

A few weeks ago, Jackie told me that she never had a relationship like this with a pastor. After a previous pastor fell morally, she realized she needed to pray for her pastor. So she decided to adopt my wife and me and to diligently pray for us.

Wednesday afternoons will never be the same. I will miss her presence, her laughter, her joy, her love for Jesus, and her prayer support.

Thank you, Jesus, for Jackie and her godly encouragement. I look forward to seeing her again in heaven.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 20, 2019 in Encouragement, First Central Bible Church, Prayer