Welcome to the September 2017 Prayer Vigil!
The word of God teaches us to encourage one another so that we may be secure in our faith, to love, to do good deeds and have hope even in the midst of trials. Let us encourage not just by words and deeds but also by God's wonderful gift of prayer. It is the precious act of giving of our time to call upon the Lord and intercede for those who are in need because ultimately God our Father is the greatest encourager.
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 15: 1 - 6)
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Eph. 5: 1 - 2)
Pray - Holy Father thank you for loving me as your child and cleansing me of my sins. I pray that you will give me strength to imitate you and live a life of love. Just as Jesus did not please himself but died on the cross for my sins, help me to have the same attitude, to live my life for others and not to please myself, for the great story of life is all about you and not about me. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who will reveal to me your word, the Scriptures, which is precious, because through it I will receive encouragement and endurance. May all of us who trust in Jesus Christ, the Word that became flesh, glorify you with one mind and one voice because of the hope we have received through him.
"See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." (Heb. 3: 12, 13)
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb. 10: 24, 25)
Pray - Father, thank you for reminding me that we who belong to you are in spiritual warfare each day and we need to encourage each other daily so that none of us will be "hardened by sin's deceitfulness". Please protect us and may your word dwell in our hearts so that we will not fall into sinfulness or unbelief but help us to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Put in our hearts the desire to meet together, to encourage one another, with the time we have before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Father help us to encourage each other in prayer, especially our children and young people as the month of September is the beginning or time of transition for many things.
Pray for the children and the youths of IBC and their family members as they begin a new school year -
• That they will "shine like stars" (Phil 2: 15) and reveal the light of God's glory to their friends and teachers at school.
• May the Holy Spirit enable them to reach out to school friends in a way that they could not do on their own.
• That they will find supportive and true friends, particularly Christian friends, but also non-Christian friends to whom they can show God's love in accordance to His strength and power.
• That our Father will reveal Himself even in situations at school that would strengthen their faith in Him. "Then they will put their trust in God and will not forget His deeds." (Psalm 78:7)
• For protection - our children/youths face real challenges daily over which choice of spirit to follow for there are many spirits in the world. May they not be forced to make compromises on what they believe in and be protected from those who may cause harm. Pray for their spiritual discernment as we are instructed to "….not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4: 1)
• For diligence/discipline - pray that they will think about what is excellent or praiseworthy, and put into practice what they have learned, received or heard from Godly people and God's word so that the God of peace will be with them (Phil. 4: 8, 9). Laziness and procrastination should not be a part of the life of a Christ follower.
• For ourselves as the church family - that we remain faithful in nurturing and supporting the younger members of IBC. "See that you do not look down on these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of our Father in heaven." (Matt. 18: 10)
• For our IBC parents - that they will have quality family time and close relationships with their children; that spouses will be aware the best thing they can do for their children is to love each other in Jesus Christ; may they be encouragers and models of Christ followers for their children.
As the summer comes to an end let us pray for families and individuals who may be relocating -
• That the Lord will guide them in making decisions in the relocation process; may the Lord give peace and smooth the process of transition which can be very stressful for the whole family.
• For parents whose children have left Hong Kong to study abroad as they experience an empty nest for the first time; may the IBC family be a support to them.
• For families who are new to Hong Kong; that they will respond to the Lord's guidance as to which church to join; and if they come to IBC, pray that they will experience the Lord in IBC and find it a caring community where they can grow spiritually and serve the Lord.
• That we will take every opportunity that the Lord presents to reach out to families or individuals who do not know the Lord with the gospel.
Pray for IBC's ministries and those who are serving the Lord in various ways -
• Thank the Lord for those who stepped out in faith, out of their comfort zone or sacrifice their time and resources to serve in the ministries in IBC. Thank the Lord for those people who have been an encouragement to you and also those whom the Lord has guided you to encourage. Ask the Lord what He would like you to do next or what you need to follow up on. Listen to His voice and respond with action.
• Thank the Lord for those who have opened up their homes, or facilitate small gatherings outside, as Small Community Groups each week. Pray that each person who participates will feel cared for and grow spiritually or come to trust in Jesus Christ if they join the group as a non-believer. Pray that the Lord will guide each group to reach out to neighbours, friends, colleagues or family members.
• Pray for Pastor Will as he begins a sermon series on marriage at IBC. Pray for marriages in IBC that each marriage will be a powerful witness of the love of Christ. Pray for those who will soon be getting married this year – Joseph Ariwi and his fiancée in Canada; Matthew Tang and his fiancée Jessica in Hong Kong.
• Pray for IBC to continue in the Lord's strength for existing ministries and partnerships with missionaries and missions organizations; pray for the Lord's guidance and enabling for new ministries - to reach out to the poor in the neighbourhood; to reach out to the office workers in the Southmark Building; or to bring the gospel of hope to the oppressed and enslaved in Hong Kong.
• Pray for individuals in IBC who need healing and strength; pray for those who provide care for loved ones; continue to pray for Beatrice, Y.M. Chen and James Paul. Pray for families or individuals who face difficult decisions or tasks; pray for the Lord's guidance for the Jackson family after the recent loss of Paul's parents to illness in England - may the Lord comfort, and give wisdom and strength for all that needs to be done.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." (Psalm 28: 7)
[This prayer guide was prepared by Charles Ip]