Prayer

One of the most powerful things we can do is pray.  We have the privilege to plead with God and talk with Him.  The God of the universe listens to His people. When we read the scriptures we see that prayer is powerful. 

  • In prayer, we seek God’s will to be done, his good and perfect will. 
  • In prayer, we seek to align our desires to His. 
  • In prayer, we plead for the lost around us. 
  • In prayer, we talk to God about our desires, fears, hopes, dreams, and concerns. 

He listens to us; He also allows us to influence His choices.  Yes, God already knows the outcome because He is outside of time and space, but He hears our prayers, receives them and He responds.  I am not saying God is not all knowing, he is all knowing.  I am not saying that He is caught off guard, God is never caught off guard.  But for some reason, he listens to us and responds. 

Please pray!   Portugal is such a spiritually dark place.  I’ll easily say we feel more spiritual oppression here than we did in other ministry locations.  Below I have posted lots of pictures of the street names and neighborhoods where we are ministering. Please use these pictures to pray for these areas!  I have included some ideas on how to pray.  After the photos and ideas of how to pray you will find Scriptures that show the power of prayer and how it changed things in the past.  

Photos and ideas of how to pray:

Ask God to bring about a harvest – to continue to work in these areas.  (Mat. 9:36-38)

Ask God to help us meet people who are peaceful and trustworthy (Mat. 10:11)

Ask God to “speak to people” through various means (other believers, guiding their hearts and minds, dreams about Jesus) and pray people would not harden their hearts to Him.  (John 16:8 and Heb.4:7)

Ask God to help us meet people who are seeking Him but do not yet have faith in Jesus.  (Acts 10)

Ask God to guide people who are seeking him to us and our teammates. (Acts 10)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”     1 John 5:14-15 NIV

“…… pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”     James 5:16 NIV

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”       Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

Biblical stories of prayer and how God responded: 

“Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year……..In her deep anguish, Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’ As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.’ ‘Not so, my lord,’ Hannah replied, ‘I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord…….’  Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time, Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.’ ” 1 Samuel 1:6-20 NIV

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“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, ‘Put on your clothes and sandals.’ And Peter did so. ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,’ the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.’ When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ”     Acts 12:5-14 NIV

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“In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, ‘I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.’ Then the astrologers answered the king, ‘May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.’ The king replied to the astrologers, ‘This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.’ Once more they replied, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.’ Then the king answered, ‘I am certain that you are trying to gain time because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.’ The astrologers answered the king, ‘There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.’ This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, ‘Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?’ Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him. Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: ‘Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.’ Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, ‘Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.’ ”       Daniel 2:1-24 NIV

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“So he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.”       Psalm 106:23 NIV

 

The Harvest is Plentiful

If you have not heard of “30 Days In The Harvest” let me tell you about it quickly.

In Luke 10:2  “He (Jesus) told them (the disciples), “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

The idea is that many people are searching for something – some purpose, something more than themselves.  Many are open and seeking God, whether they realize that’s who they’re seeking or not.  We, as Christians, need to be on the lookout – seeking those open to knowing more.  We need to be in the harvest so that we can share Truth with those searching.   

One could argue that we are always in the harvest.  And while yes, Christians should try to shine light and be ready to give an answer for our Faith at all times, the truth is we don’t / aren’t always focused on that.

While in Poland at a European church planting conference last April I heard two people talk about “30 Days in the Harvest” and how they had the opportunity to share the gospel and pray with people. 

The concept is this: During a 30 day period people clear their schedule as much as possible and then dedicate a certain amount of time per day to purposefully interact with people in the community with the goal of identifying those open to knowing more about Jesus.

I did not think much of the idea at first (ie. this won’t work well in my context) but God spoke to my heart and challenged me to dedicate “30 Days in the Harvest.”

I returned to Portugal and talked with Robin about the challenge God gave me.  I also talked with our team and three other ministers/missionaries with whom I have been praying and with whom I have doing prayer walks. 

Everyone I talked with was excited to try to participate in the “30 days” idea.  Each of us made various time commitments but are concentrating our efforts in the areas where each of us are trying to plant new churches.  Remember that since there is less than 0.6% of the population connected to an evangelical church it is important to associate with credible churches/ministers/missionaries to create unity in the body so that Portuguese can come to know Jesus.    

Since we have started.  We have interacted with 169 people. The gospel was shared with 82 of those approached and 46 of that 82 said they were interested in knowing more about Jesus.  Several of those 82 have given us (or the other ministers) their contact information.  Some were uncomfortable giving us their information but willingly received our phone numbers.  

I have also done several prayer walks and participated in a youth outreach.

Pray for the seeds that have been planted.  Please pray for the remaining two and a half weeks.  Pray for those interested – that they will follow up with us or meet with us to learn more about Jesus.  Praise God that so many people are hearing about God’s plan of salvation and ask Him to “water” the seeds we are sowing.  Pray for an abundant harvest.

Below are pictures of areas where we have been working and praying.

 

2nd Worship service in São Marcos

Just a quick update to let you know that our second worship service in São Marcoswas March 10th.  We were so thankful to have a total 30 people (adults and youth).  However several people were unable to come.  Had they come to worship with us we would have been short a few seats.  Again we were asked if instead of one worship service a month if we could go ahead and have a service each week!  We will see….but for now please prais God for this victory.  Pray that we would reach São Marcos with the Good News!  Enjoy the photos:

 

 

While prayer walking a few months ago

Back in October of 2017 I, Dan, was prayer walking with a group from Redemption Christian Church. As we were walking and praying silently an older gentleman came out of a barber shop and started talking to us. We sat down on nearby benches and it was obvious he just needed to interact with people and spend time talking. Often in our busy lives we forget to take the time to just be human and interact with people in a meaningfully way. Here is picture of Antonio…

AntonioJesusNunez

First Worship Service in São Marcos

There are several families that attend our host church in Carcavelos but live in São Marcos (yet another suburb of Lisbon).    The fact is that in this community of 17,000 people there is no church.  These families drive (when not working) to Carcavelos but it is not feasible for them to be able to invite their friends and neighbors and give rides.  About a year and a half ago we started a small group in São Marcos with these core families.  Having a small group Bible study in São Marcos creates a venue where these families can invite friends.  As Tatiana and Orlando make contacts through the salon it allows them to invite those who show interest to attend one of the two groups (we’ve recently added a group) which meet during the week.

These weekly groups will continue to meet but we wanted to bring the groups together for a combined worship service.  Our plan is to do this once a month for several months and over time we can increase the frequency.

Today was our first worship service.   There were 14 adultos and 12 children/youth that participated.  It is exciting to see what God is doing.

Afterwards several came up to Dan to ask if it we could have a weekly worship service instead of just once a month!  Great news!  People were talking about what friends/neighbors they could invite.

Praise God, keep praying and enjoy the slide show of pictures…

 

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God is at work…

Prior to several weeks ago it had been a long while since I blogged. That does not mean that nothing was/is happening. It just means I am a bad blogger….LOL. I often tell people that they need to write down what God has done in their lives. That way they don’t lose heart or faith when they don’t see God at work.

Well, over the last several weeks here is how God has been working. The Sunday School class I help lead has been going very well.  After a particular lesson one participant said that my lesson that day really impacted them and changed their life. WOW…God be praised and to God be the glory.

Our Saturday night group has had a great group of people and a visitor. God be praised.

In addition to two new families which  began participating in our Monday night Group at the end of November, another couple started coming in January.  They all are speaking honestly about their struggles with trusting and believing that Jesus was more than a good teacher. Praise God!

So much of this is God answering prayer….3 1/2 year of prayer and answers are coming…..