Category Archives: Church planting

Organizing Intercessory Prayer

Does God answer prayer? Absolutely, yes, as both the Bible and our experience tells us. We know from history that serious prayer often or possibly always precedes great revivals. In the Old Testament Daniel was even led to pray and fast as he saw the date approaching for the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy–God had promised to bring the people of Israel back to their land after 70 years, and even this promised event was carried out on the prayers of faithful Daniel.

We are longing to see a great work of the Holy Spirit in our ministry and to that end, we believe that prayer is the vital ingredient. Ray and I first committed to praying together each morning back in 2011, when we came to the end of ourselves in the ministry. We saw experientially that we can accomplish nothing apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. But it wasn’t until 2018 that we actually developed a system for our intercessory prayer. Although we prayed with passion each morning, the reality was that some important matters slipped our minds, and other prayers became repetitive. Not only that, many answers to prayer that we received went unnoticed because we had forgotten what we had prayed for and in the process we lost the opportunity to thank God and strengthen our faith.

So we began using a system, and as we’ve used it these past two years, we would not want to go back. Our prayers are more focused and deeper and we love getting to write down the answers to many of them. I am going to describe what we do in this blog post, in hopes that it might inspire you, our reader, in your own prayer life.

Prayer Journal

Throughout the decades of my Christian walk, I have always seen and heard about keeping a prayer journal, but had concerns about it being confusing or unwieldly. We haven’t found that to be the case but it did take some trial and error to figure out how to make it serve our needs. What we have done is taken each day of the week and divided it into a category. Here are our categories: Sunday–revival and holiness; Monday–relatives; Tuesday–our church members and raising up church leadership; Wednesday–our children and grandchild; Thursday–nonbelievers; Friday–friends and missionary co-workers; Saturday–missions. I purchased a blank, lined journal and I found that each of these categories really only need about a page with a few notes to remind us who to pray for.

In addition to the weekly categories, we have a section for immediate needs. This is our longest section. I write in dark blue for petitions and in orange for answers to prayer. It is organized by date. I find sometimes an answer to a prayer comes and I realize I never wrote the prayer request down, as not all of them make it on paper. That is okay, I take my orange pen, write down the date and the thanksgiving to God. In this way I can quickly go back and see what wonderful provisions God has given over the preceding weeks and months, and also to pray afresh for any petitions that are still awaiting an answer. This has been a great blessing, to look back and see how God has been at work. Many times He gives a yes answer, and other times a resounding no. We are thankful we have a heavenly Father who doesn’t always give us what we ask for, because He is so much wiser than we are.

Prayer Calendars

A newer but still beloved part of our system is the prayer calendar. So each day we have our topic based on the day of the week, we have whatever immediate petitions to bring before God’s throne, and then we pray for the day of the month in our prayer calendars. Right now we go through the Belize prayer calendar, the Uruguay prayer calendar, a calendar for the missionaries in our region, and then the Mission to the World prayer calendar. Prayer calendars are a wonderful way to remember to pray for what is important to us! I made a folder, as you can see in the photos, to keep our prayer calendars together in one spot. In the past I have hung a prayer calendar up in the kitchen as well, to focus my prayers during meal preparations. I would highly recommend using prayer calendars for powerful intercessory prayer. You are welcome to follow the links for the three I have provided, or find others as well. If you have a favorite missionary you follow, I would encourage you to ask them to make a prayer calendar for their country. The one I did for Uruguay is in a format that can be used over and over, month in and month out. It is a great way to be focused on praying for a country, or people group, or ministry.

Prayer Cards

The last method is one that I have been using since 2016 as a way to use stray moments in my day for intercessory prayer. I have a group of 3×5 cards that I try to take with me so that if I am out walking or waiting in the car, or if I have a few extra minutes in the day, I can use them productively. I have a card for Ray and each of my children and my grandchild, and a few other cards for things very important to me. I change them out about once a year, so I primarily put longer term prayer requests, and verses that I want to pray for each person. After a while, so many prayers get answered, and there are other newer ones to take their place, so eventually I have to make new ones. I also keep any verses I am memorizing in my card envelope.

Conclusion

I can think of no ministry as important in our world today than that of intercessory prayer. I hope some of these ideas might inspire you as you develop and refine your own system. In this blog post I focused on making a system for personal or family intercessory prayer. Of course, there is an important corporate aspect to intercessory prayer and we should seek to pray also with our brothers and sisters in the church and take part with enthusiasm in the pastor’s prayer during the worship service. There is nothing like hearing our brothers and sisters talk to the Lord to stimulate our own prayers, and when 3 or 5 or 10 or 200 of us are all in agreement in prayer there is even more power.

Saying goodbye to Uruguay

The Call family spent most of the month of July packing up, getting things ready to ship to our new ministry in Belize, selling furniture, saying goodbye to friends, sightseeing, and doing ministry.

The first week was really sad because we will miss this great nation of Uruguay and it is always hard to say goodbye. But we threw ourselves into the work, while seeking the Lord at the same time. As the month went on, we learned how to give thanks to God for our time ministering there and for all the fruit that God produced through the ministry of the Word.

God gave Ray the opportunity to preach at our church plant in Montevideo – Iglesia Presbiteriana Salvos por Gracia. It was a blessing to gather together with God’s people there once again! Michele was able to spend time with friends and leaders not only in the Presbyterian churches, but in the evangelical churches at large – other godly women who love the Lord and are serving Him in various ways.

We were pleased to hear that God is raising up leadership for the church plant as they announced their first elder candidate. He and some other men in the church have begun an online radio program, which carries quality content as well as a radio show where they deal with important passages in the Bible. Ray was interviewed and also gave a short devotional.

Our dog Canela!

This trip was also a temporary reuniting with our dog Canela! She is a Boxer and we have had her since she was a very small puppy about four years ago. It was a sad goodbye as we adopted her to a nice family living on a farm out in the country. We hope to see pictures and videos of her enjoying farm life!

As we said goodbye to friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, we also said goodbye to the city. What a beautiful city it is. We spent a whole day downtown – mostly in Plaza Independencia and the old part of the city called Ciudad Vieja. Aside from visiting a museum, walking the streets, and buying souvenirs, we had a delicious lunch at Mercado del Puerto – plaza with several indoor and outdoor parillas (grilled meat restaurants). Most of the family ordered the Uruguayan national dish: chivito. This is a dish with a cut of filet mignon usually piled with lettuce, tomato, egg, bacon, ham, and possibly other ingredients! The two options are usually on a plate or in sandwich form. Ray opted for the grilled lamb – all meat is grilled over embers from an open wood fire.

May the Lord bless this city and may its inhabitants, as well as all the people of Uruguay! And may they all hear the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!

Uruguay from the air

Baptism and New Membership in a Dry and Parched Land

What is it like to be a Christian missionary in the most secular country in the Americas? Uruguay is unusual in Latin America for its level of secularism, as the Pew Research Center explains here and here. It isn’t just the most secular country in Latin America, it is strikingly more secular than any other country in the region. Many think that is because Uruguay is following in the footsteps of Spain, but in fact as this article in Spanish describes, Uruguay has a much higher percentage of atheists and those who are religiously unaffiliated than Spain or many other European countries. And although Argentina is the close cousin culturally of Uruguay, the religious landscape between the two nations are quite distinct. Continue reading Baptism and New Membership in a Dry and Parched Land