2023 April Prayer Corps

In this season of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is both wise and insightful to pause and consider what was divinely required before we come to this glorious event. In short, both the Cross and the Tomb.

A pastor acquaintance recently wrote these powerful and moving words:
With Easter on the horizon, it is important to affirm once again the place of the Cross in our understanding of redemption. Jesus had to move through the experience of the Cross and Resurrection to get to His throne. The throne was His ultimate destination.

While the Cross and the Resurrection were one-time events, they were required in order for Jesus to take His place on His throne. Without those two prerequisites, He would not be seated in His present place of authority, Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Eph. 1:21). What is both wonderful and powerful about the Lord taking a seat on His throne at the right hand of the Father is what it means for us: For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus (2:6)There are also other implications regarding the Cross in this life for those of us who follow the enthroned One.

Jesus said, If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me (Mk 8:34). The Cross is an experience we are to carry with us each day when sin and unhealthy ways of thinking attempt to rob us of the ability to live a victorious life of faith. When sin and unredeemed thoughts fog our minds with the enticement of deception, and we fall into disobedience, we can call upon the power of the Cross through confession and repentance to put those things to death. This will recalibrate our faith and set us back on the right path.

Paul said the Cross kept his mission focused and helped him not fall prey to fleshly methods of entertaining, or to resort to clever tactics, to present the Gospel. For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power (1Cor 1:17).

The Cross also severs our slavery to the world and its opinions, keeping us aligned to our higher calling: But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal 6:14).

While the Cross revealed the depth of the Lord’s suffering and love, it is so much more. When the importance of the Cross is understood and repositioned on the trail of our faith, it becomes a thing of beauty reminding us of the price He paid as He journeyed toward His ultimate destination – the throne, a place of authority we will share with Him if we choose to die to self and live for Him.    
It is spiritual healthy to, “cling to that old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.” This helps shape a right perspective on this life and the one to come. But let us also remember that both the Cross and the tomb are empty! They are vacant because we serve and worship a risen King and Savior - hallelujah! This is cause for both great celebration and why we must share this great news with others.

We all experience pain, tragedy, betrayal and other challenges in this life. But we need not be halted, discouraged or weighed down. For our Savior Who died in our place has “been made like us in all things and was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Because He has, “tasted death for everyone” He is able to help those who come to His “throne of grace to receive help in time of need” (Heb. 2:10,17; 4:15,16).
To Follow Christ

If we are to fully follow Jesus, we must embrace the “way of the Cross.” Yes, this includes a lifestyle of self-denial, sacrifice, obedience and trust. We do this not to earn our salvation or prove our worth, as in false religions or human efforts; but instead as an act of surrender to His loving lordship and ways. Thus, we must heed His call to follow Him in this life, moving toward eternal life, by fully embracing His Cross and all it represents.

We desperately need His grace and help to live fully for Him and take up our cross daily. So thankfully, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, pouring out His resurrection life to us in body, soul and spirit (Rom 8:11). Ultimately, this reality in which we are called to live is found in His promise: Because I live, you also will live (John 14:19).
A Divine Paradox

This truth is one of those “divine paradoxes” of Scripture, which only make sense when viewed through the lens of God’s power and perspective: We only truly live when we are dying! When we lay down our own lives and fleshly desires to fully embrace Jesus’ life and follow Him wherever He would lead us, it is then that we know and experience the power and eternal nature of Christ’s resurrection life. Paul stated it this way: Always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in us (2Cor 4:10).

Thus, we can glory, even rejoice, in the Cross of Jesus, for through it the life, power and love of God was released to our world. As we continually embrace His Cross in our lives, and keep surrendering to Him, the resurrection power of Jesus will be released in us and through us to a lost and dying world that so desperately needs it.
1. CHINA, RUSSIA – New World Order

In recent meetings, these two communist nations have deepened their economic and military ties. They share a deep dislike of western democratic nations. They are brokering deals with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Now Turkey, UAI and other middle-eastern countries are joining in. Even nations such as Honduras, Brazil and India are beginning to align politically, economically and financially with this Chinese-Russia bloc.

Most of these countries are also among the most brutal places to be a Christ-follower. Persecution in these nations is increasing, as Christians become convenient scapegoats for social problems or targets of the government.

Please pray:
  • For the unstoppable work of the Holy Spirit to be poured out, in the preaching of the Gospel and the winning of souls for Christ.
  • For unbelievers in these nations to be stripped of “spiritual blinders,” that they might see and come to know the only One who can save them.
  • That wicked human alliances or governments intent on evil would quickly become subject to confusion, strife and dissolution.
  • That Churches and Christ-followers would cling to the Lord in persecution, and continue to raise a bold testimony to unbelievers; to not give in to fear, but rise up in the Spirit of the Captain of the Lord of Hosts to do spiritual warfare and Spirit-led intercession (2Cor 10:4).

2. SYRIA/TURKEY Earthquake Zone

Though not seen in recent news, the desperate needs of the survivors in these earthquake zones are still urgent and dire. Shelter, food, medicine, clean water, fuel for heat and cooking are all needed. Many children have been orphaned. Schools, businesses and places of work are closed, increasing the breakdown of infrastructure.

Testimonies are rising of how Christians in these areas are the ones who sacrificially share, help and serve. Please continue to pray for this situation and the people living there – as well as searching out credible agencies to support that are working to meet these overwhelming needs.

SEMINARS – This July, we are greatly anticipating our first international travel in quite some time, as we take a World MAP team to Zambia for Spiritual Renewal and Equipping Seminars for church leaders! Many pastors from Zambia met with us via “Skype-inars” during the lockdowns. But many more who were not able to participate will now be attending these two important in-country seminars.

Thank you for beginning to pray now for our team and for the pastors in Zambia, to be spiritually prepared for all that the Lord would desire to do. Pray for wisdom and protection for all of the travel and seminar arrangements, and for the leadership serving to make these seminars happen.
SHEPHERD’S STAFFS – We are blessed to report the completion of the printing and safe arrival of more than 30,000 Shepherd’s Staffs in multiple Indian languages! These are for pastors who have planted churches in the unreached and most heavily-persecuted areas of India, as well as upcoming leaders soon to be sent out. Thank you for praying for them!

World MAP is also preparing to send multiple thousands of Shepherd’s Staffs to Brazil, West Africa, Central and South America. These are complicated and expensive shipments, so thank you for praying for covering of these much-needed books as they travel, as well as for abundant provision to cover the costs.

He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me, and talks with me, along life’s narrow way… His salvation to impart! The words of this beloved hymn ring as true as ever in this hour. As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, let us join Him freshly in taking up His Cross daily to follow Him into all that He desires and calls us into, for His Kingdom and for His glory!
He is Risen indeed!
Dr. Frank and Wendy Parrish
World MAP
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