Welcome to the Jan 2022 Prayer Vigil!
While going through the Advent devotional by Stuart and Jill Briscoe before Christmas of 2021, I was struck even more than before by the fact that the Almighty God who created this universe, and who crafted each of us in our mother’s womb, came down to earth to live among us as a man, Jesus Christ his son, so that he can rescue us from our sins. Rescue us from lives that have gone wrong and without meaning, lives that may look good or even great from the outside from a worldly perspective. If a country’s president or king or queen were to come for a visit, most of us would immediately put on our best outfits, clean and tidy up our house or humble abode to receive him or her. But no not with Jesus, he wouldn’t mind coming into our shabby, broken lives, because he has come to help us tidy up and transform our lives by bringing us real hope, joy, peace and love, and eternal life with God the Father through our repentance of our sins and acceptance of him as our Lord and Saviour. After all, as Briscoe pointed out in one of the devotionals, Jesus started life on earth as a homeless person having had to sleep in a manger, in a place for cattle and other animals; a place that was smelly, dirty and untidy. And God used it as a unique sign to identify his son. There were many babies born at that time, but there was only one lying in a manger, in Bethlehem. Jesus, the Son of God knows and understands our hearts; all our struggles, temptations and fears (Hebrews 4:15, Mark 2:8, Luke 5:22) and he will give us rest if we go to him (Matt. 11: 28,29).
As we come to the beginning of a new year, let us look back at the previous year and ask ourselves –
- Have I been mindful of Jesus’ love for me and that he suffered and died on the cross for me?
- Have I been mindful of Christ’s sovereignty over my life and lived accordingly?
- Have I been attracted more by the things of this world than by the things of God?
- Did I experience God’s guidance, his power and work in my life or have I been struggling through life under my own strength?
- Did I have the hope, joy, peace and love from God in spite of dire and stressful circumstances?
- Was there bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, disappointment, fear or negative emotions that I couldn’t rid myself of.
- Have I been more self-centred or selfish rather than other-people-centred.
- Have I been obedient to the Lord’s commands?
If we are anxious over this review of our lives, and even the most mature Christians can be, we need to go to God in prayer and ask for help (Phil. 4: 6,7; Heb. 4:16). We need to humbly pray for one another as the Apostle Paul encouraged us (Eph. 6:18) because we have a powerful and dangerous enemy, the devil (1 Pet. 5:8) whose desire it is to lead us away from God and the truth, with his weapons of deception and discouragement. We are in a spiritual war (Eph. 6:10 – 12). Let us therefore have God at the centre of our lives in the coming year and abide in (remain in) God’s word i.e. Jesus Christ our Lord (John 1:14; 15:5 – 8).
Pray that as a church and as individuals we find great delight in seeking God and his guidance for life in his law (Psalm 1:1 – 2) rather than in the desires and deliberations of the world. Pray that we enjoy studying the Bible together, listening to the preaching of his word and meditating on it day and night. Pray that our lives will be like trees planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:2 – 3) that our lives may be attractive to those who do not yet know Jesus who is the source of living water (John 4:10 – 14).
Let us continue in prayer to our Father in heaven –
We thank you for our young people – Jimmy Brown, Hope Tan, Josh Pritchard, Aaron Lai, Aidan Jackson, Justin Leung and Jerry, and ask that you guide them as they make arrangements for their university education. We pray that your wisdom and discernment be with them and their parents, as they seek to follow your good and perfect plan for them. We also pray for Veronica and Raymond Tso for wisdom and discernment in deciding whether Timmy and Joshua Tso should return to the UK in January for school; we pray also for other parents with children who may have to travel abroad or are already abroad and ask that your presence be with them.
We thank you that Lena Lam has shown improvement day by day, being able to stand and walk a bit better; We continue to lift her up to you in prayer for you to heal, guide and watch over her each step. We pray for your peace and comfort for Uncle Thomas, Veronica, Samuel and the rest of the family.
We continue to lift up James and Latika Paul in India and ask that you continue to sustain James’ health and grant strength and wisdom to Latika as she takes care of him.
We thank you that Iris’ friend Diana had a successful surgery in late November to remove the bone cancer in her shoulder and that no prosthesis would be required. We continue to pray for her recovery and healing by your power and ask that the cancer will not recur.
We continue to pray for Michelle, who participated in IBC’s Alpha Course and who is suffering with a rare blood cancer. We pray that your presence will alleviate her anxiety and help her in deciding on the next step of treatment. We pray that she and her husband Andy will find peace, comfort and wisdom by trusting in you during this time of uncertainty. As Andy is not a believer may you grant faith to Andy, their daughter Amber and the family.
We pray and ask for wisdom, strength and patience for Edward who is in Toronto providing care for his mother who is suffering from health issues such as dementia, diabetes, hearing and kidney problems. May you guide Edward and his family members to agree on how best to care for his mother in the future. We also pray for Maldes who has to stay in Hong Kong and ask for your presence with her.
We thank you that Maria Tanielu safely gave birth to a baby boy in December and we pray that you give Maria and Tavita energy and wisdom to bring up the child with knowledge of your word and love for Jesus.
We pray for Patty Lo, our church assistant who has just left us to concentrate on taking care of her elderly parents. We ask that you give her healing for her own ailments and grant energy and wisdom for the care she needs to provide for her family.
We lift up the new believers among us – Terry Preece, Herald Lau, Charis Yip, Jackson Jeor, James Hall, Matthew Lam, Aaron Lam, Diana Ng’s friends from the Mainland – Yang Zi, and Xiu Li and her daughter Paris; we ask that you protect them and your Spirit guide them and help them grow in the knowledge of your word.
We lift up to you the prisoners in Pik Uk Prison, the street sleepers in Shamshuipo, the elderly in Wah Fu Estate and the inmates at the Ling Oi Drug Rehab Centre; we ask that your light shine in those places and that you provide opportunities for us to minister to them in spite of the COVID restrictions.
We pray for your guidance for the Youth Leader Advisory Team as they support Carlos and Henson and members of the search team in seeking a new Associate Youth Minister, to enable Carlos to further his theological study, and a new part-time Youth Intern as Henson plans to leave Hong Kong to join his family in the Philippines.
We continue to pray for Diana Ng as she co-ordinate the activities of the Young Adult Group and pray for your provision of a co-host for the Group. May your Spirit motivate those from 19 to 35 years of age to join in learning from your words and to support each other in their Christian walk.
We pray for Pastor Will, the church staff, the deacons, the small community group leaders and the ministry leaders that you protect them from our enemy, the devil; may you guide them in your plans for IBC in the New Year and give them wisdom in bringing people to Jesus for salvation.
We pray for our non-believing spouse, children, parents and other family members as you do not want anyone to perish but to have eternal life in heaven rather than in darkness and suffering. We pray that your Holy Spirit open their hearts, minds, eyes and ears to the gospel so that they can eventually decide to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
We pray for the nations around the world where COVID continues to rage or where people are suffering from oppression or natural disasters; we pray that the people will turn to you for your mercy and help and acknowledge you as God and Saviour.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13) Amen!
[This prayer guide was prepared by Charles Ip]