By Fred Comella
It seems as though God continues guiding my hand in the mission of writing about our modern world and all the evil in it. Time and again I’ve written articles and editorials concerning the moral decline of our state, nation and planet as well as what I’ve been able to discern of the causes. Let’s face it, I think we can all figure it out to some degree, and the level to which we choose to acknowledge it, (or not acknowledge it). We can also see that even as we see signs of recovery here at home, the need for spiritual revival is ever-present.
The Good Lord has worked mightily through my fingers these past years and I’ve been both complimented and scorned for my efforts on His behalf. Those reactions have reshaped my approach to this life however, and brought me closer to God as the ultimate and only solution to the things that vex and ail us as human kind. But my time with Jesus always seems to end with questions, the kinds of questions I know must have answers. But what are those answers? What is the most powerful weapon we may wield which is given unto us by the Holy Spirit that will “advance the Gospel” as we are instructed? What is it that we may do or say which may affect change in our world that truly makes a difference for the one and for the many? And what powerful, physical and spiritual action may we undertake as Christians which will be part of the solution and not the problem?
Well, when I listened to my Pastor this past Sunday, he reiterated a common theme I hear from him every week. Prayer is powerful, REAL POWERFUL, and if we pray with faith, God will indeed answer those prayers, whether they be for our own needs or the needs of others in our lives, if they line up with His will. I would add, this has been the case for me, only now as a saved man, I understand why some prayers were answered and others not.
So, if we as God’s children can gain His ear through our fervent and faithful prayers, what could possibly be more powerful than that? What could be better than my prayers offered in humility to the God that made me? Think about that for a minute, and I think you’re answering me by mouthing the words I am as I write this… That’s right!! Ten’s, hundred’s, thousand’s, millions, billions of those same prayers as one, echoing in every corner of our communities, country and around the globe, rising up to the Heavens and to a “God who so loved the world that He gave his only Son” so that no man who accepted that selfless gift would perish but have everlasting life. Moreover, if we choose to fulfil our God given mission of loving one another as God loves all of us, then the direction of those interactions and prayers toward those we mean to steer to the faith can only be augmented through a coordinated and focused effort. Curious? Me too…
“TOGETHER We Pray” is “an organized movement of churches in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts devoted to actively loving their communities and the individuals in them and sharing the message of Jesus Christ. They’re committed to praying collectively so that southeastern New England churches, individually, congregationally, and cooperatively, may practice a lifestyle of praying, caring, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with one another” and ultimately I suppose, with our nation and the world. To my earlier point, they are putting into action the power of prayer, joined together with the Holy Spirit in battle if you will, exploiting the old adage that there is power in numbers.
Their mission is a simple and effective one, that being to “promote and facilitate continuous united prayer by the Church in the greater Rhode Island area for the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. Their vision is to see a prayer movement in the RI-area in which believing members of every RI-area congregation are engaged in coordinated monthly intercessory prayer filling each hour of each day every month of the year. These intercessors are led by a designated prayer coordinator in each church. They are resourced with regularly updated prayer guides which provide guidance in praying strategically for every sector of community life and for timely initiatives being taken by various churches in this network”. The prayer coordinators are trained, supported, and encouraged as they work with their pastors to bring about a renewal of intercessory prayer throughout their congregations. Members of every age, ethnicity, & demographic from Rhode Island-area Christian congregations & networks join forces to make a voice so spiritually loud that no evil could overcome it. My gosh, filling every hour of every day, every week of the year, what glorious music that would be to the ears of God. How much love would that transmit to Him as well as those for whom those prayers are offered and directed?
To that end, “TOGETHER We Pray” has an event upcoming that is sure to inspire folks. It’s called “40 Days of Love”, a collective and united effort to harness the power of prayer to its most effective level, and at a time when it’s so sorely needed. Essentially, the event has four main components, those being 10 days of collective prayer WITH others, 10 days of collective prayer FOR others, 10 days of CARE for others, and 10 days SHARING the Gospel. These evening and daytime gatherings are open all across denominational lines. New life in our churches and new open doors for the gospel are the goals of the 40 Days of Love taking place from September 9 – October 18. Participants in 40 Days of Love will be praying daily for specific people who need Jesus, asking God for ways to show love to these friends and for open doors to begin spiritual conversations with them.
Using the model of TOGETHER, the “40 Days of Love” event will coordinate and provide support for participants.
Listed below are some facts direct from their brochure which will help you understand the effort.
What will we need to do?
- Distribute 40 Days of Love brochures in a service and invite members to pray daily for forty days. • Inform your members about prayer gatherings available from 9/9-9/19 and encourage some level of participation • Provide copies or a link for a daily devotional guide for use during the first ten days
What ELSE can we do?
- During or after the 40 Days, offer participants FREE copies (provided) of the Jesus film DVD as a gift to those they have been praying for. • Consider some kind of financial donation to the 40 Days of Love expenses (church gift, love offering, or other). No amount is required, but some contribution is encouraged.
What will TOGETHER provide?
- Enough brochures for each worshiper. • First love “Experience God’s Love” ten-day devotional for distribution • A list of all of the unity prayer gatherings in the area for your publication and invitation • Free Jesus film DVDs for the friends of your participants • Information about an optional 40 Days of Love devotional book available for use during the forty days.
Who else is involved in doing this?
- Various other churches throughout New England • Church partnerships in cities across America • The Mission America Coalition • International church groups
Why those dates?
- Dates have been selected to align the first ten days with the ten days between the Biblical feasts of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur • The first ten days replicate the early church experience of ten days of prayer preceding Pentecost.
Is this just for this year?
- The TOGETHER leadership is committed to a multi-year strategy. 40 Days of Love is the most foundational step in helping all of our churches to become more outwardly focused, and all believers to become intentional and prayerful about personally advancing the gospel in their spheres of life. 2018 is “year one” of this strategy.
- Go to www.togetheratg.org and register your church to participate.
Dr. David Gadoury, formerly Lead Pastor at Cranston Christian Fellowship in Cranston is the Executive Director of “TOGETHER” We Pray, formally known as “Love RI”. I spoke with Pastor Gadoury in the lead up to the 40 Days event and he was anxious to get the word out. He gave me a bit of history as to the inspiration for the event and told me of how Southern New England area Pastors have been meeting in the vein of “Together” for more than a decade and that out of those efforts was born the model of the 40 Days event. Dave spoke of how those pastors saw the need to go beyond the scope of just intercessory prayer on behalf of those who are in need, to develop strategies for discipleship and retention. Establish and maintain a line of communication with the new believer so they may grow in their faith and weather the storms. For if we can overcome the natural hurdles many throw up to Christ, what then is our focus on the long term. Dave spoke of coordinated quarterly meetings so pastors could develop these approaches and bring them to their churches. He also spoke about how the actual model for “40 Days” came from Florida and a similar grass roots project that has since been piloted around the globe. He also told me that while transplanting “40 Days” is an admirable and desirable outcome, he and local pastors are focused on Rhode Island and the surrounding New England area for the time being. Finally, Dave spoke in the most articulate and faithful way about supporting the “40 Days of Love” event. He emphasized the tenets of the “organic effort” as he described it, those being, praying with others in need of salvation, for them, truly caring for them and the ultimate goal, finally spreading the healing and inspirational words of the Gospel to all who would hear them.
So, my friends it’s time to step it up a notch. For if we truly desire better communities, which will ultimately make for a better state, nation and world for our children, then a unified effort, with an emphasis on focused prayer with results, is most certainly the way forward. We know that God hears our prayers. He knows our every want and need. Therefore, it’s only logical that if we come together in those prayers and fine tune them into a chorus of spiritual power, amazing and miraculous things will be the fruit of that labor.
While Dr. Gadoury put no emphasis on fund raising during our talk, any support of their efforts is always appreciated. Find out how you may be part of “40 Days of Love” as well as “Together” We Pray at www.togetheradvancethegospel.com/together-we-pray as well as www.togetheradvancethegospel.com/40-days-of-love
Don’t forget to look for the informative brochure this weekend in church. Oh, and there will also be a Pastor’s Prayer Breakfast in advance of the event as I mentioned earlier. Pastors from all over Rhode Island and adjacent Massachusetts are meeting for breakfast and prayer on Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. This quarter’s FREE breakfast will be hosted once again at Iglesia Vision Evangelica, a Providence Latino congregation.
Dave tells us, “Last January 66 men and women from Anglo and Latino churches, from Attleboro to Newport, from West Greenwich to Swansea, had a glorious encounter with God. Please join us as we fellowship together, pray for one another and our ministries, and pray for the advance of the gospel across our region.”
God bless you all, and let the Lord hear your prayer…