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Spring 2011: Lent

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

Lent is the special time of year when we have opportunity to be refreshed and, if needed, redirected. It's this time of year when many look at their spiritual walk and wonder, what happened?

It is more encouraging to us to walk with others on the journey. Hearing others' stories also builds us up in confidence of being on the journey. We don't feel like we stick out so much from the crowd.

This issue of HOPE Prayerline focuses on Lent--our mindset, our heartbeat, and our soul search.

January 2011: A Season of New Beginnings

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

Dear Intercessors,

Here it is, the season of new beginnings! January always seems to be full of the spirit of trying new things and not giving up on dreams. If you stepped on the scale and it’s not where you would like it to be—keep working on it. If you began to write a book, but it’s not finished yet—keep writing. If you want to pick up a craft like knitting, but have a fear of trying—try it anyway. You may be really surprised.

Prayer can be one of those things that we have intended to build on in our life and in our church’s life, but we just haven’t done it yet. Keep praying. Please do not get discouraged when your prayer life seems to go up and down. Consistency is waiting for you on the horizon. God is cheering you on toward victory. He loves to hear your voice call out to him.

December 2010: Gifts of Prayer during Advent

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

Dear Intercessors,

Here we are at the end of another year. It truly does go fast. Because there is so much to each day, prayer is crucial to praise God for all the goodness he has given, pray for all our needs, and just walk closer to God. Each year brings us closer to the return of Jesus—what a glorious day that will be! But if you’re reading this newsletter, obviously there is more kingdom work to be done. Praying into that kingdom work is very important, as you well know.

What can we do to help you and your church in your individual and corporate prayer journeys? This month's newsletter consists of a survey that we hope you will take a few minutes to fill out and return to us. It's important to us to know that we are helping you and your church. We truly do appreciate any feedback and suggestions you give.

November 2010: Prayer for the Persecuted/Thanksgiving

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

I wish we could be focused on thankfulness throughout the year like we are in November. Imagine the praises lifted up to the kingdom in response to God’s goodness. Perhaps this Thanksgiving could be the starting point of a year full of thanksgiving to God. Try writing down the things you are thankful for each day. By the end of the year you will have quite a collection of praise to God!

November 14 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We need to lift up our brothers and sisters who suffer because of their faith in Jesus. My article this month offers resources available to help you pray for persecuted Christians.

October 2010: Harvest Prayer

(From the HOPE Prayer Team)

There's a pretty good chance that you know someone who doesn't have a saving relationship with Jesus. They are lost. Thinking about their possible future, apart from God for eternity, is difficult. It breaks your heart. It breaks God's heart, too. Is there hope?

I believe there is--it comes through prayer. Through prayer you engage God in working a miracle of salvation that only God can do. This issue of HOPE Prayerline is focused on how you can get involved with praying for the lost. I pray that what is shared will make a difference to you and to those who need to be found...amazing grace!

September 2010: Laboring in Prayer

(From the HOPE Prayer Team)

Dear Intercessors,

Prayer can be laboring at times, but it has a wonderful purpose. It is not simply speaking to the air and hoping God hears one of your prayers, but knowing that God hears and answers our every prayer that spurs us on in prayer. As you know, sometimes God's answers are quickly apparent, while other times it takes years--or even a lifetime--to receive the answer. Prayer is crucial, for God invites us to join in the mission.

God commands us to pray. Can you imagine what life would be like without prayer--if we couldn't communicate with the God who loves to fellowship with us? Prayer is our most powerful weapon in spiritual battle. Satan will do what he can to distract us from praying. Don't allow him any foothold in your prayer life. Continue in the wonderful labor of communing with God in prayer. Let the articles in this issue of the HOPE Prayerline newsletter inspire you in your prayer life.

August 2010: Praying for Missionaries

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

Dear Intercessors,

Many missionaries have a special call on their lives to leave what is known and comfortable and go to an unfamiliar place. However, missionaries don't have to travel to exotic lands--they can be local, too. The important thing is that we remember to keep them in prayer as they share the good news of Jesus. Sometimes when we don't see someone on a regular basis, we forget to pray for them. We need to make a conscious effort to continually cover our missionaries in prayer. This month's issue shares ways that we can pray effectively for missionaries.

July 2010: Learning Dependence on God Through Prayer

Fireworks are always fun to watch--even though we may jump at bit at the noise. There is a feeling of awe when those beautiful lights fill the sky in different designs, sometimes even multilayered. We can't help but feel the exuberance of the celebration.

The exhilaration we feel watching fireworks is a lot like what we should feel when we see God working through our prayers. The Lord works in different designs and layers, and sometimes his work is accompanied by a "boom" that makes us jump. We are so dependent on God--and we need to be!

June 2010: Prayer for Fathers and Church Leaders

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

The Bible makes it clear that we are to pray for our leaders. Leaders come in many forms: presidents, prime ministers, government officials, teachers, bosses, pastors, and many others. The main task of a leader is being responsible for other people. This wasn't easy back in the days of Moses, and it's still not easy today. Leaders need our prayers for discernment, for protection, and for their spiritual health.

We also think of our fathers this month and how much they mean to us. Fathers also have a large responsibility in the caring of their family. Let us remember our fathers in prayer as they journey through life.

May 2010: Prayer for Mothers, Soldiers and Global Day of Prayer

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)
Ahhhhh... spring! Breathe in the freshness of the season and put away all your winter clothes. It is invigorating to stand in the sun and feel the warmth cover you.

This is a lot like prayer. Breathe in God's love, mercy, and grace as you pray, and then take off the old clothes of burdens, worries, bitterness, and anything else that is weighing you down. Be invigorated by prayer.

This month's issue focuses on praying for our mothers, a creative way to pray for soldiers who are serving in the military, and some ideas for involvement in the Global Day of Prayer on May 23. What a wonderful opportunity to gather together as brothers and sisters in the Lord around the world.

April 2010: New Life in Prayer

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)
The season of the resurrection of Jesus is a time of spiritual newness. In prayer, there are always new ways to relate to God. Our prayer time doesn't need to be stale and routine; it can be vibrant and alive. God loves to share these times with us. His Spirit will take whatever we offer God in quiet time or corporate prayer time and bring it to a new level where we will be changed as we are brought closer to the throne of grace.

The articles in this issue of HOPE Prayerline will give you just a glimpse of ways to make prayer new for you and for your church. Listen carefully to the Spirit as you are being led to those special times with God.


March 2010: Intercessory Prayer

(from the HOPE Prayer Team)

Opportunities arise every day for us to stand in the gap for people, events, governments, and more. There is never a shortage of prayer needs, but we need not be overwhelmed with this need. Rather, we can be encouraged and strengthened.

The Lord lays on each of our hearts a call to intercede in one area or another. God's plan for prayer intercession is a perfect plan--we just need to follow and obey. The amount of prayer will be perfect because God's leading abilities are perfect. All needs will be covered if we follow God's leading.

There is strength in prayer; when we pray, we strengthen our intercessory abilities. Don't miss out on the powerful grace that we can shower on others and be showered with as we flex our "prayer muscles" for the kingdom!

February 2010: Beginning Lent in Prayer

The time of Lent is quickly approaching, and it brings an opportunity for us to deepen our relationship with God through prayer and intentional closeness with the Savior. This issue offers some prompts on how to deepen the experience of the cross in your life as you live more for Christ.

The color of Lent is purple. The color purple represents both royalty and a time of waiting. Waiting is hard for me, but I want to learn to wait on God to deepen in me the changes that need to happen. I don't want to run ahead and think I have to do it all by myself. Join me in taking the time to dig deeper in this waiting time for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It will be time well spent.

January 2010: Renewing Our Commitment to Prayer

Here we are--it's 2010! Happy New Year!

Along with the beginning of a new year come desires for new beginnings or for achieving goals that we have set for ourselves. Perhaps you met and celebrated last year's goals--or maybe you didn't do so well. Does that mean you should stop trying or that you should modify the goals to something attainable?

God has a perfect goal for 2010 in mind for each of us. This goal is attainable because God has set it into motion, even if it is just in your heart and mind. Pray that you will discover what God has planned for you in 2010. Does God want you to take baby steps or one huge step of faith? Whatever size step it is, be confident that as long as God is at the center of the goal, the Spirit's power will enable you to complete it. "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

December 2009: The Gift of Prayer

The lights of the season are beautiful, aren't they? When we drive around the neighborhood while it is very dark outside, an illuminated house, tree, bush, or even reindeer can catch our eye. We can't help but look at the light breaking through the darkness.

When the light of Jesus shines, it breaks through all the darkness of this world. Gaze into the Light and feel the gaiety of the love, peace, and joy promised in Jesus. Jesus is the one who made it all possible. We can enter the throne room with confidence knowing that God hears and responds to what's on our hearts.

In this issue, we discuss ways to share the valuable gift of prayer. This gift fits all sizes, there's no wrapping, and receiving and opening the gift will bring everlasting joy to the recipient.

November 2009: Giving Thanks

This month's newsletter focuses on giving thanks. As followers of Christ, how can we be continually thankful--especially when we are going through difficult times in our lives?

I can't help but be thankful for the ways you have all blessed me with your prayers and encouraging words throughout my journey with cancer. I know without a doubt that God has worked through your prayers in so many ways. I am not alone; my brothers and sisters in Christ surround me. You are beautiful to me, and I am so thankful to God for each of you.

Look for the praise moments throughout your day and give thanks to God, who supplied them. When you gather for worship, share in thanksgiving, offering praise and celebration to God. Sing the hymn "Give Thanks" with gusto, knowing the truth of the words.

October 2009: Praying Through Difficult Issues and Choices

Dear Intercessors,

God's timing always amazes me. It shows me that God is truly in control of all things at all times. Perhaps you have a difficult issue or choice that you have to pray through. Look back on how God has prepared you for this time. Do you see God's fingerprints on your life as it has led up to this moment? I do.

On September 11, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I heard this news after the theme of this newsletter was chosen; after I decided to lead a Bible study on Max Lucado's new book, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear; after I received a phone call from a prayer warrior who told me God put me on his heart with the message to stand strong and lean into the Lord; and after I was notified that I was matched with a coach (who is truly a godsend). I am going to have some tough decisions to make in the upcoming weeks, but even when it feels like chaos, I know that things are in order and in control by God who loves me truly.

September 2009: Praying for Emotional Needs

Dear Intercessors,

Each one of us suffers from bouts of anxiety or sadness at one time or another, but there are many who struggle continuously with the debilitating prisons of depression or anxiety. God desires to free us from these struggles. I don't have all the answers on how to become free from emotional stress, but I do know that prayer is the key to healing and freedom.

So how do we pray for those who suffer emotionally? This issue of HOPE Prayerline will be focused on that topic. I pray that perhaps a nugget of this newsletter will bless you as you pray for yourself and others who suffer.

Encouraging you through prayer,
Kathy Bruins, editor

In This Issue:

August 2009: Prayer Retreats

Dear Intercessors,

Retreating from the routine has always been a gift for me. Even the simple act of going out for a cup of coffee with a friend--maybe even Jesus--takes me away on an adventure of sorts. The getaway helps me refuel and refocus.

Retreating can be done in a myriad of ways, usually for the purpose of reconnecting and centering our relationship with God. Distractions can unbalance our lives quickly. We may wonder if we have kept God at the center of our lives. Have we been listening to God's voice for guidance and encouragement?

July 2009: Praying for the Economy, Finances, and Unemployed

Everyone is affected by the downturn in the economy in some way. How can we as Christians keep one another encouraged through prayer?

God is still in control, and he tells us to pray about the things that trouble us, but we still need to remember to praise God through this economic storm. God is the one who calms the storm. Unfortunately, we don't hear very much in the media about how God is calming the economic storm in peoples' lives, but it is happening.

I am sure you know of someone--perhaps many people--who are affected by the economy. How can we as individuals or as a church be praying for them? This issue will give you some ideas on how to pray people through these tough economic times. 

June 2009: Repentent Prayer

Prayers of repentance are some of the hardest prayers to pray, but they are also some of the most powerful. When a person realizes that he or she has committed a sin, he or she has a choice to make. "Will I turn away from this sin, or will I continue in it?" Repentance is the decision to turn away from the sin and not go back to it.

Prayers of repentance are necessary because without them there will be no change in the life of the person who is sinning. Of course, there are times that people do fall back into sin after repenting, but it's the identification and recognition of the sin in that person's life that makes a difference. The person knows without a doubt that what he or she has done is sin. Often we find ourselves in what we think of as gray areas. We think, "This may or may not be sin. Everyone's doing it. Nobody cares." That's not true. Someone does care--his name is Jesus. The price he paid for our sin was his life. His life is worth our repentance.

May 2009: Spiritual Battles

Have you ever experienced battle? Perhaps it was a fight at school when
you were young, fighting in a war for your country, or a strong
disagreement with a family member. Battle is not fun--it hurts--but
there are times when fighting seems to be the only option available.

At times we may feel that there is too much tragedy,
devastation, and evil in the world for our prayers to make a
difference. But they do.

April 2009: Praying for Our Countries and Communities

What a great opportunity we have as intercessors to join in God's work
as we pray for our countries and our communities. We live in a broken
world, but not a world without hope.

With all the needs there are to pray for, it's sometimes difficult to
know where to start. I suggest that you start where God leads you. Look
for the prayer prompts that you can see, hear, smell, or touch, and
then let the Spirit lead you from there. This is your call to prayer,
made just for you to intercede. As we join together to cover our world
in prayer, let's give praise to the one who made it all possible.

March 2009: Praying for Leaders

I am committed to praying for President Obama every day. I truly believe that my prayers are making a difference.

Then I think about the other leaders in our countries, our communities, our churches, and more. They also need our prayers, for they are all in important positions that affect the daily lives of the people they lead.

How can we build up our prayer muscles to persevere in praying for our leaders? The articles in this issue of the HOPE Prayerline will explore ways to do that.

February 2009: Prayer Rooms

Being alone with God to talk is a precious and empowering time.
Although you don't have to go to a certain place to pray in order to
have a rich experience, sometimes being in a place designated for the
purpose of prayer can be beneficial by helping to keep focus on
communication with God.

Many churches have a special area designated as a prayer room. This
month's articles will be talking about how to most effectively use that
area, as well as other ideas about prayer rooms.

January 2009: Happy New Year!

Are there areas in which you would like to see change in your life? If
one of those areas is your prayer life, we are here to help you. The
many writers and prayer people who contribute to this newsletter are
ready to share their thoughts and experiences with you. Perhaps you
will have something to share with us in 2009!

December 2008: Praying in Preparation for Christmas

The long-awaited Savior came about 2,000 years ago. There wasn't any
snow, no Christmas trees or eggnog in Bethlehem; however, there was
anticipation in the hearts of those who were waiting for a great king
to come. The wise men and the prophets were watching and waiting and,
after the annunciation of the angels, the watching turned to actively
searching for the king.

Now that Jesus has come, what should we be looking for with
anticipation? Knowing the purpose of Jesus' arrival that first
Christmas night helps us look forward with anticipation to his return.
He is coming again!

November 2008: Thanksgiving and Praise in Prayer

As we anticipate the Thanksgiving season, we think of vast amounts of
food spread elegantly over a table, gatherings with friends and family,
and remembering the blessings of God. Our list of blessings is endless.
But what about after Thanksgiving?

We need to
transform our minds to focus not only on our needs, but also on all the
great things God is doing, has done, and will do. Join me in
encouraging our churches to offer praise in celebration of God's
greatness along with requests for his mercy.

October 2008: Prayer Meetings

The fall season makes me think about all the prayer opportunities we've been
given and wonder if we have harvested good things from them. Prayer
meetings are great places to brainstorm and harvest prayer

This month's issue is focused on prayer meetings. May you be blessed when you gather with others to pray. Reap the harvest!

September 2008: Praying for and with Children

It is of the utmost importance to surround children
with prayer and lift them up to the Lord, who so graciously gave them
to us as a responsibility. Teaching children to pray
involves them in the process and gives them insight on growing in a
relationship with God--the most important relationship they'll ever

This issue is focused on praying for our children and
teaching them to pray. May you and your church be blessed by praying
for and with children.

August 2008: Community Prayer

When I walk my dog down the streets of my neighborhood, I have the
opportunity to greet fellow neighbors, some of whom are also walking
their dogs, and I take notice of the people that God has placed around
me. These lives are all very important. What better way to love my
neighbors than to pray for them? Prayer walking is very good exercise
for both the body and the spirit.

But are the people on my
street the only ones who are my neighbors? According to Jesus' parable
of the Good Samaritan, the answer is no. A community can be as small as
a street, a church, or a neighborhood or it can be as large as the
community of saints. There are as many ways to pray for your
communities as there are different types of communities. Read the
articles in this issue to find out how you can bless your community
with your prayers.

July 2008: Healing Prayer

have been interested in healing prayer since biblical times. Healing can come in many
forms--physical, relational, financial, spiritual, and others. While
reading the articles in this newsletter, consider what others have
learned and experienced.

J. David Muyskens shares his experiences with
healing prayer in "The Gift of Praying for Healing." In "Traveling Back
to Matthew 4," Tim Vink shares scriptural insights on healing prayer.
Ted Kallman, in his article, "What Is in Your River?", describes an
article he read in an issue of Pray! magazine that showed the healing that comes through repentance. Finally, read a review of the book Healing Prayer,
written by a doctor who has seen the value of prayer in connection with
healing firsthand. Don't forget to check out the Prayer Events page for
information on upcoming prayer events.

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