Do me a favor- look to the right hand side of this blog. "Project IS." Anybody remember what that is? It was God calling to me, saying, "If you want to make a difference against the radical Islamic violence in the world, PRAY FOR THEM. " I invited you all to join me, and we soon saw stories how God has reached not only into the hearts of Muslims- even terrorists- but into people who might otherwise join the ever-growing parade of those who decide to mark their passing into the next life by taking as many as they can with them.
And then, we lost interest. The stories faded; the deaths continued. Even I stopped thinking about it.
Tonight, and last night as well, I have been reading Franklin Graham's Decision magazine. And I realized it is the time again. IS stands for, "I Stand." What do I stand for? I stand for bringing to God in prayer the people who desperately need Him- whether they think so or not.
I read the story by Joan Mack, about how, just weeks before his groundbreaking LA crusade, Billy Graham had hit a low point in a crusade in Altoona. "In his memoirs, he considered his 1949 Campaign in Altoona his biggest flop, a time of testing. But for my family, it was a great success. It was at this campaign that...my parents went forward and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior."
Her parents went on to found several ministries- amongst businessmen, the prisons, foster care. The led her uncle to Jesus, and he started a foster care ministry. Every one of her five siblings, along with her husband and herself- and many of the next generation- have done the same.
PRAY FOR PEOPLE. It doesn't take much to make a difference.
I read Frank Hinklemann's article about the state of faith in Europe. "While the % of evangelical Christians remains low, we see that many people today long for some sort of spirituality. Especially the younger generation...are very open to an authentic and relevant expression of faith.
"Let me close by briefly touching on the recent inflow of refugees... while many are from Muslim backgrounds, many of them are totally disillusioned with Islam, and they are reaching out to Christians to hear about their God."
PRAY FOR PEOPLE. You never know what need, what spark, might be flickering under that hijab, or that jean jacket.
I read Bob Paulson's article on Norway, the supposed "happiest nation on earth. "Ali Yosefi, originally from Iran, has lived in Norway for 17 years... 'People need God here,' he said. 'Many work five days a week, party 3 nights a week, and on Monday they are miserable again... he also sees people sleeping in the streets... even though the government provides them with money and a place to live, they would rather sleep in the streets, where it is easier to continue their hopeless routine of drug abuse.'
"Henriette Wroldsen... put it succinctly: 'We've been rated as the happiest country, but there are lots of people who are lonely as well.' "
PRAY FOR PEOPLE. You never know what hides behind the polite smile... or what demon has led to their condition.
I read elsewhere about a pastor of a church in India. After months of death threats, intimidation, and other attacks against him, his family, and his congregation, he was found hung in his own living room. Not long ago, it struck me that I had been very mouthy about the violence, the disrespect for life, in India, but I had never really brought THEM to God in prayer. PRAY FOR PEOPLE. If you have a group you harbor anger against, because of their evil, or their different ways, odds are pretty good they NEED your prayers.
I read many other stories, and I am just overwhelmed how some people are so sold-out to Christ that they can move the world in amazing ways. And sometimes, it makes me look at my "filthy rags." I ask what I have done. And yes, I have made some changes, and I am not going to brag on them here because I know very well that they are from God, and God is doing them in me and through me. And I know very well Doc Martin's Rule #5- The greater the victory, the easier the fall. More on that one Sunday.
I used to think of myself as a prayer warrior. Even against what I am doing right now, I find myself ashamed for ever thinking that. And the ultimate sign of that shame is the dust up there on top of that Project IS logo.
So I am asking you to join me. Have a concern on your heart? Write it down, pray on it every day. A group you would really just like to beat about the head until they get common sense? Write it down, pray for them every day. A place in the world where the suffering is so bad you'd just rather push it out of your mind? Write it down, pray on it every day. Neighbor's pissing you off, boss is impossible, paper didn't get delivered? Pray for them every day.
Someone you love with all your heart? Pray for them every day.
And I tell you what. Place the prayers to God with a cc to Project IS. I will add "Project IS prayers" to my daily list, and join you in those prayers. I don't need to know what they are, God knows.
Let's make a difference again.