Welcome to the April 2017 Prayer Vigil!
Thank you for participating in this prayer vigil together with others in IBC. Let us meditate on the verses in Chapter 2 of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, as we did with Chapter 1 in March, and pray as God’s word and His Spirit guide us. Listen to what the Father has to say to you and respond in prayer.
“I (Paul) want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”
Holy Father we pray that we have the compassion and strength to agonize and pray for people we know and also people we do not know, both near and far, for the sake of Christ. We pray that our goal is also for us at IBC, and other believers, to be encouraged in heart and united in love in order to be able to come to a complete knowledge of Christ, “the mystery of God”, through whom we can have “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom”. Protect us, with this knowledge and wisdom, from those whose intention is to deceive with fine sounding arguments and guide us that we may be disciplined and firm in our faith in Christ.
“6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
Father we pray that all of us at IBC have received Jesus as Lord. May we be rooted and connected to Jesus Christ, growing in faith and obedience to your will through his teachings, and filled with gratitude and thankfulness for all that he has done in our lives. We ask that you give us perceptiveness and discernment so that we will not become captives to “hollow and deceptive philosophy” based on human thinking and tradition and from the elemental spirits or evil powers of this world.
“9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Father, we thank you for what Christ has done for us. Help us to focus on Christ because in him dwells the fullness of God, being head over every power and authority, and only through Christ can we be complete and fulfilled. Through his death on the cross, the debt that we owe to you because of our sins have been fully paid for and we will no longer be condemned! Because of his resurrection we have also been raised, through our faith in the power and “working of God” which raised him from the dead. We are now alive with Christ and death no longer has power over us! This is the triumph of the cross! In our baptism we have been buried with Christ and have died to our old self and then raised to new life with Christ. We are no longer ruled by the flesh which has been cut off as if through circumcision.
“16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ…. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
Help us Father to no longer conform or submit to the legalistic rules and requirements of this world, created by man but without eternal significance. Let us to always be mindful that such things cannot change hearts or lives, or have any value in “restraining sensual indulgence”. Help us to tell others that Christ is the reality and lives can only be changed through him.
Let us continue in prayer –
• for the Lord’s protection for IBC, other churches in Hong Kong and throughout the world.
• with thanks to the Lord for the church AGM on 19th March; may we continue as a church to focus on the purpose that God has created us for and to be good stewards of the resources he has given us to do his kingdom work for his glory in Hong Kong and wherever he may direct us.
• for Pastor Will and Val and their children, Josh and Zach.
• for the deacons and their families – John Ariwi, James Paul, Frederick Chan and Samuel Lam.
• for the ministry team leaders and team members, especially for the Missions Team as they prepare plans and budget for the coming year to encourage, facilitate and equip IBC members to participate in missions.
• for Perry and Mavis and their daughter, Lydie, as they move back to Canada, with Perry going for further studies; may the Lord guide them in their work for his kingdom in Canada.
• that the Holy Spirit will fill us with eagerness to tell others about the meaning of Easter and the hope that is in us. Pray also for our Easter celebration at IBC and especially for our team who will be visiting the prisoners at Pik Uk prison and sharing Christ with them on the 14th April.
• for our youths and children as they grow up under our care for they are precious to us and to the Lord.
• for our young people who need to make decisions about further studies or career choices; may the Lord provide counsel and guidance through the body of IBC.
• for any families which may be facing conflicts of any kind and ask that Jesus reigns in the hearts of those involved so that his love, forgiveness and peace will remove anger and hurt. May the community of IBC provide needed support, and God’s word of truth give guidance and light.
• for the Lord’s healing power to be upon Beatrice, Y.M. Chen, James Paul and others who are struggling with health issues.
• for this caring community of disciples at IBC that it will continue effectively in the work of Christ as God intends for his glory.
[This prayer guide was prepared by Charles Ip]