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Prayer Guide

A guide to facilitate the Sunday evening prayer service and to help the church pray together throughout the week.

Sunday, 12 May 2024

Prayers of Praise

Prayer Item:

Members of the Week

Johan and Brenda Swanepoel

Johan grew up on a Zimbabwean farm and became a maths and science teacher and HR Manager. His first wife, Maureen, was killed in a drunk driver accident in 1978, and he married Brenda in May 1980. They have six children (three from Johan’s first marriage; two from Brenda’s first marriage; and one together) and thirteen grandchildren, with their first great-grandchild on the way. Johan always says that if he knew how great grandkids are, he would have skipped the children stage. (Those who know Chris will understand!) Since their conversions they have been very active in several church plants: Brenda as chief caterer and Sunday school teacher, and Johan as Sunday school teacher, deacon, elder and church planter. Johan has been involved in the family Leadership Development Business called Five Arenas, which he started in 1996. With thirty thousand other small South African businesses, this was hard hit by COVID-19. At that stage, Brenda rolled up her sleeves to start making and selling jam to augment the family income.

Joshua and Emma Swanepoel

Josh grew up in a God-fearing home and was saved as a young boy. Emma grew up in an unsaved home and was saved as a young teenager. Josh attended ACTS family church in Vereeniging as a boy and he and Emma have been attending BBC with Josh’s family since 2019. They have been married for just over a year and their first child is due in November. They both work in Emma’s dad’s wholesale flower nursery business: Emma in marketing and Josh parttime in IT. Josh is also a student of theology at the Bible Institute of South Africa and graduates with a B.Th in November, with the aspiration to one day enter the pastorate. They are thankful to the Lord for his protection and provision, and especially for his gift of new life.

Prayer Requests

Prayer Item: Johan & Brenda Swanepoel
Details: Pray for Johan’s business ventures, which, after pivoting to a more online delivery system, have in the last two weeks begun to be marketed globally. Pray that God will provide opportunities for meaningful income. Pray that Johan and Brenda will run the race of faith strong until the end.

Prayer Item: Josh & Emma Swanepoel
Details: Pray for God to protect and sustain the Swanepoel baby. Pray that God will bless Emma as she carries this life and as she transitions from working fulltime to becoming a fulltime mom. Pray for Josh as he wraps up his studies and transitions to providing for his household in a fulltime capacity. Pray for unsaved family.

Prayer Item: Pillar Edinburgh conference
Details: This coming week (15–17 May), representatives of Pillar churches (including Doug) will gather in Edinburgh for a conference. The network’s leadership has asked for prayer in some specific ways. Pray that the conference will be a time of encouragement for the pastors in attendance and that they will be able to encourage their churches in return. Pray that meaningful connections will be established that will lead to fruitful inter-church gospel partnerships. Pray for wisdom and discernment for some non-member representatives attending whose churches are, at this stage, considering whether to partner with Pillar. Pray that God will grow the Pillar Network for further gospel advance.

Prayer Item: Austin Van Meter
Details: Pray for, Austin, Doug’s 29-year-old nephew (married with three children) who was diagnosed this week with Parkinson’s Disease. He is asking for prayer for him and the family to persevere if the Lord does not heal him and for treatment that will slow the effects of the disease.

Prayer Item: Response to morning sermon (1 Corinthians 14:26–40)
Details: Pray that our congregation will increase in our appreciation and practice of God-centred and others-serving corporate worship. Pray that we will experience and express the love of God as we regularly gather each Lord’s Day.

Prayer Item: Response to evening sermon (Luke 6:12–13)
Details: Pray that we will grow in deliberate and intense prayer—both privately and corporately—and that our prayers will move us to faith-filled obedience to God.

Prayer Item: The fear of the Lord
Details: “To fear the LORD is to hate evil, to hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13). Pray that we will hear wisdom’s call and that we will therefore hate what the Lord hates and love what he loves.

Prayer Item: Gaza and the gospel
Details: Pray for the intensifying conflict in Gaza. Pray that the gospel light will shine in this dark situation. Pray for protection of believers and for effective gospel witness.

Prayer Item: Daily devotion
Details: Pray for a consistent daily devotional life, by which we will grow in our relationship with the Lord, maturing towards Christlikeness. Pray that, throughout the day, we will make use of the privilege of prayer to strengthen our relationship with our God.

Prayer Item: God, our refuge
Details: Pray that we will increasingly take refuge in God, who is our rock and our salvation, and that in him we will not be shaken by things in this life (Psalm 62:2,6). Pray that we will learn to wait on the Lord and for our souls to be renewed in him (Psalm 62:1, 5).

Prayer Item: Increasing faith
Details: Pray that we will take hold of the promises of God that are ours in Christ Jesus and that, like Abraham, we will be convinced that God is able to do what he has promised (Romans 4:21).

Prayer Item: Humility in trials
Details: Pray that we will avoid prideful self-sufficiency. Pray that we will be childlike in our faith, depending on our heavenly Father to sustain us through the events of life he ordains for us.

Prayer Item: Gospel-driven parenting
Details: Pray that parents will be diligent to discipline their children, teaching them to submit themselves to the Lord in faith (Proverbs 13:24).

Prayer Item: Jessa & Baby Oommen
Details: Pray for Jessa and her daughter as she gives birth tomorrow. Pay for peace and for a safe and healthy delivery.

Prayer Item: Visas
Details: Pray for the three pastors from the Ivory Coast who will be applying for visas to come to the BBC/Imprint Weekender in August.

Member Applicant Introductions

None this week

Member Applicants in Process

  1. Jenovic Ilunga—Jodi Howard
  2. Jesse Visser—Joel Oommen
  3. Dylan Steytler—Stephen Scholtz
  4. Fortune Peterside—Kate Smith
  5. Samantha Garcia-Barba—Therina Mol
  6. Armand Willemse—Edwin Steytler
  7. Qiniso & Khanyi Sukazi—Craig & Abby Adams
  8. Velaphi Radebe—Banele Ndlovu
  9. Emma Cable—Jessica Oommen
  10. Mpfumelo Shirindi—Nathan MacKaiser
  11. Ian Johnson—Jadyn van den Heuvel
  12. Abella Grainger—Sunila Savage-Reid

Lord’s Day Sermons

Corporate Worship and the Character of God (Part 2) (1 Corinthians 14:26–40)

Paul knew that our view of God (theology) shapes our corporate worship and that our corporate worship shapes our view of God (theology). This is at the heart of his concern about this church’s obsession with the spectacular gift of speaking in tongues. Previously, we considered vv. 20–25 under the broad theme of mindful worship. In this study, we will consider, from vv. 26–40, that rightly understanding the character of God results in:

1. Meaningful Worship (vv. 26–33)
2. Mundane Worship (vv. 34–40)

The Prayer that Turned the World Upside Down (Luke 6:12–13)

Prayer is a privilege Jesus purchased for his people. In Luke 6:12–13, Jesus spent all night in prayer prior to appointing his apostles. We will take a brief look at what Dr Luke records for us about this prayer and see what lessons we can learn to apply to our own times of prayer. We see here that:

1. Jesus’ prayer was deliberate (v. 12a)
2. Jesus’ prayer was intense (v. 12b)
3. Jesus’ prayer was followed by action (v. 13)

Prayer Psalm Devotional

Sin, the Teacher (Psalm 78)

Recently, a discussion arose in a particular Facebook Group over the history and validity of slavery in the United States. Some were arguing for its utter perversity. Others were claiming that it was not as bad as it is made out to be. In the midst of this debate, one individual dropped a startling comment: “Calvinists will defend [slavery]. They have to.”

As a Calvinist, I have never felt the desire or the compulsion to defend slavery. When I sought clarity on the statement, the commenter told me that Calvinists have to defend slavery because Jonathan Edwards, “their idol,” owned slaves. His reasoning was simple, if deeply flawed. Premise A: Calvinists hold Jonathan Edwards in high regard. Premise B: Jonathan Edwards owned slaves. Conclusion: Calvinists must approve of Jonathan Edwards’s attitude toward slavery and “have to” therefore defend it.

In this commenter’s mind, holding a religious forebear in high regard is to idolise that person, and since we surely only worship those who do not struggle with sin, we cannot speak disapprovingly of the sins of those we respect. We must defend them. The writer of Psalm 78 would have something to say about that.

Psalm 78 is the longest in the Psalter next to Psalm 119. It recounts the history of God’s people and exhorts its readers to “give ear … to my teaching” (v. 1). It was important to hear and heed the historical events of this psalm so that readers “will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done” (v. 4). We might expect the writer to begin telling of the grand victories that Israel won as a means to encourage his readers that they can, likewise, go forth and conquer. But that is not what he does. He highlights, instead, the way in which and the frequency with which God’s people disobeyed and mistrusted him. He wants his readers to learn from Israel’s past sins.

Unlike the Facebook commenter, the writer of Psalm 78 did not assume that faithful Israelites would somehow idolise leaders from the past and gloss over or defend their sin. He assumed that his readers would recognise Israel’s failings and use those failures as a teaching opportunity for coming generations. It would be foolish to hide, ignore, or defend the sins of previous generations. He wanted his readers to remember that they had as much to learn from the failings of previous generations as from their successes.Sin was to be their teacher.

As Christians, we have a tendency to paper over our failings. We think that our churches should be sanitised settings in which not a hint of moral failure can be detected. Out in the world—and deep in our hearts—we know our failures, but we are somehow afraid to admit those failures in the context of the church. Interestingly, this psalm was designed, it seems, as all the other psalms, to be used in the context of corporate worship. “Give ear” and “incline your ears” (v. 1) suggests that this psalm was read in the context of corporate worship. Confession was a crucial aspect of corporate worship and remembering the sins of the past was a helpful element in instructing coming generations.

Hiding or ignoring our sins, and the sins of God’s people at large (whether contemporary or historical) is no aid to growth in godliness. If we do not learn from our own failures, and from the failures of those who went before us, we are doomed to repeat the cycle. If we do not teach our children what they should learn from our sins, and the sins of others, we may well teach them to emulate rather than avoid those sins.

As you reflect on this psalm, allow it to remind you that sin can be an effective teacher. As God expects us to follow the godly example of those who follow him, so he wants us to learn from the failures of those who fall. Allow sin to be your teacher today.