Welcome to the December 2022 Prayer Vigil!
IBC embarked on a season of sermons by “expositional preaching” delivered by the deacons and other brothers in our body of Christ after Pastor Will left for his sabbatical in July. Expositional or expository preaching is where the preacher takes a passage of the Bible or God’s word to “expose” the true meaning and purpose of the whole passage within the context of the book or the whole Bible. It is different from the other types of preaching i.e., textual or topical, where the preacher chooses a part of the text to illustrate a point he wants to make, or in the latter where he chooses a topic and uses relevant parts of the Bible to support the topic.
In his book “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church”, Dr. Mark Dever, Senior Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington D.C., has this to say - “The first mark of a healthy church is expositional preaching. It is not only the first mark; it is by far the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all of the others should follow……My main role, and the main role of any pastor, is expositional preaching.”
Expositional preaching is important because throughout the Bible we see that God used His word to create a people who belonged to Him. God spoke to Abram (renamed Abraham in Gen. 17: 5) in the Old Testament. Abram believed and trusted in God’s word and became the father of God’s chosen people. Today, you and I and others heard the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We trusted in God’s word, His promises, and our faith changed our lives and made us God’s children, acquiring for us the hope of salvation and the in-dwelling Holy Spirit. It is of the utmost importance that the servant of God who is called to preach do so by exposing the whole truth of the word of God to those who are hearing because God uses His word to transform people, give life (Jn. 6: 63, 68; Phil. 2: 16; Ez. 37) and built His church. The apostles knew from Jesus Christ (Mark 1: 38, 39) that their main task for God’s kingdom is preaching the word and they made sure their focus was on “prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6: 2 – 4). Preaching should always have God’s word at its centre. The preacher must make sure that his preaching is serving the word of God and not vice versa! Unless the true meaning of God’s word is revealed by the Holy Spirit through the preacher and not restricted by the preacher’s own thinking, the church’s spiritual growth will be hampered as Dr. Mark Dever warned in his book. We can see why the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to - “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2: 15)
Another reason for clearly knowing what God is saying to us through expositional preaching is that we are being sanctified by His word. God uses His word to strengthen our faith and to make us grow to become holy, conforming to the image of Jesus Christ (Jn. 17: 17; Eph. 5: 25 – 27; Rom. 8: 29).
Let us pray –
- Holy Father, we pray that at IBC and in all the other churches in Hong Kong the truths in your word will be preached correctly and clearly so that hearts will be transformed, and churches will grow by the power of your word and not just by human wisdom. We are thankful for this season of expositional preaching at IBC, and we pray for those who are given this honorable task, that your Holy Spirit will grant them the gift of preaching so that your word will go out with power and not return empty. As we are seeking a pastor to shepherd our church in the future, we pray that you will guide us to your servant you have appointed who will help IBC to be a healthy church through the powerful and correct preaching of your word.
Let us continue in prayer –
- Heavenly Father we ask that your presence be with all who are in ministry in our church family as we continue in worship and the work of your kingdom during Pastor Will’s absence; bind us together as one body with your love so that we work together in harmony for your glory.
- We pray for protection and guidance for Pastor Will and Val and their sons, Joshua and Zac, that they may see and follow your plans for them.
- We thank you Father that you have protected our church community during the COVID pandemic; we pray for complete healing for those who have been afflicted.
- We continue to lift Lena Lam up to you in prayer for restoration of her health that she may continue to reflect your glory; we ask also for healing for her husband Thomas Lam’s eyes and your care for the rest of the Lam family; we pray that Stephanie’s mother is completely clear of cancer after her chemotherapy, and we pray that you open her eyes to see your love and mercy.
- We continue to pray for Michelle Niem and ask for effective treatment for her sarcoma and that she look to you for her healing and hope; may your presence give peace and comfort to her and her family; We pray for Iris Leung’s two sisters and ask that their cancer remissions and conditions will remain stable; We continue to lift up Iris’s friend Diana and ask for your mercy and healing for her as the doctors can only give her palliative care, may you comfort her and her family members and grant them hope and peace; We pray that your healing hand be upon Alice, sibling of Jackson’s sister-in-law, who underwent cancer surgery; We also ask for your mercy and healing for Quina’s friend Paula in California who is also suffering from cancer, please grant peace to her husband and young children; We pray also for Anna Chen’s niece MeiMei in the U.S. that she is receiving appropriate care for her terminal illness; please grant peace to her and her family.
- We also lift up Beatrice, Y.M. Chen, Herald Lau and also Cliff Tan’s parents in the U.S.; may your presence give them peace, strength, comfort and healing; We ask that you refresh and sustain those who provide care for them.
- We remember families and individuals who are struggling with relationship problems and other challenges; we pray that you will protect them from darkness, help them out of their struggles and guide them with your light so that they will find resolution for their problems and healing for their hurts.
- We pray for non-believing friends, spouses, children, parents and other family members (name those who come to mind); we pray that your Holy Spirit will work in their lives so that they will eventually accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour; We lift up in particular Angela’s sister and brother-in-law Menchie and Mike; Kenneth Lee’s mother and siblings; Michelle Niem’s husband and daughter; Frank’s brother Jan and family members, and that Jan will be touched by your word as he attends church; Pansy’s husband; Stephanie’s parents; Frederick’s mother; Mona’s colleague and neighbour Lily; Cliff Tan’s father in the U.S.; Ivy’s son and family.
- We pray that all who come to IBC and our small community groups will experience God’s presence, holiness, love, peace, cleansing and healing; May your Spirit be with the Ladies’ Fellowship as they study the Bible and minister to non-believers; We continue to pray for Diana Ng’s mandarin home Bible study group, for growth in faith and witness, that their family members may also come to know Jesus.
- We pray for those who will be baptized on December 4 and ask that you prepare their hearts and their testimonies for a joyful celebration of their witness.
- We pray as we prepare for our worship and celebration for Christmas that our focus is on the good news of the birth of Jesus our Saviour and not on the world’s ways.
- We pray for our children, especially Young Adults to grow in their faith and knowledge of the word of God; we ask for your protection and guidance as our young people embark on their work life in the community.
- We continue in prayer for Hope, Josh, Aaron, Aidan, Jerry, Justin, Roshan and Jimmy and ask for your presence and protection in their time in university or gap year.
- We lift up Kaushic and Dang Biswas in the Philippines and are thankful that they are sending missionaries to other places; we pray for your presence and power as they reach out to those in the Hindu community; we ask for your protection for them, their children and the other missionaries working with them.
- We lift up to you the prisoners in Pik Uk Prison, the street sleepers in Shamshuipo, the elderly in Wah Fu Estate and Mui Wo, the inmates at the Ling Oi Drug Rehab Centre and those in the Care and Share Homely Shelter, thanking you for the report of those who have accepted Christ through the work of the Shelter; we ask that your light continue to shine in those places to bring about transformed lives in Jesus Christ.
In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen!
[This prayer guide was prepared by Charles Ip]