Prayer

People Matter

By AFBC

People matter. Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church focuses on people through six core values that guide us. These core values are the driving force behind our Kingdom work, holding our church family to a high biblical standard. They support our focus to reach people, plant seeds for spiritual growth, and provide the ability to experience true worship. They describe the culture we desire to create at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church.

OUR CORE VALUES:

Provide Impacting Worship (Romans 12:1-2; John 4:20-24)

Develop Greater Depth and Obedience in God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:22)

Understand that All People Matter to God (Romans 1:16-18)

Nurture Spiritual Development Through Serving Others   (1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:11-16)

Demonstrate Authentic Biblical Community (Acts 4:32-37; John 13:34-35)

Strive for Excellence in All We Do (Colossians 3:17, 23; Philippians 4:8)

We are a church rich in history. Those who have come before us built a legacy that is today’s foundation. There have been seasons of joy and seasons of struggle. God’s love and mercy have brought us to where we are today. As we enter a new season in our journey, we can impact His Kingdom through the HOPE effort.

What is the HOPE effort?

HOPE reminds us that God has brought us through days of great challenge…years of indebtedness, contamination, fires and delays. HOPE brings encouragement to each household in our church family. The potential to add additional space for our children and consolidate our campuses will provide additional funds for the ministry budget. These tangibles represent much more than a project; these are all signs of a broader HOPE, of restoration and positive things to come.  Why? Because people matter.

The impact of the HOPE effort will allow potential growth for Sunday morning programs, Vacation Bible School and new week-day ministry opportunities. This space will provide and exceptional environment for children and affirm our commitment to nurture the spiritual development of young lives.

Our core values hold us accountable to Him as we minister to people.

Prayer is vital to the success of the HOPE effort. Pastor Michael Cook challenged us to pray diligently for God’s direction. We are challenged to pray earnestly for God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s presence and God’s provision.

Please join us to pray for our church as we start this new journey.

True – The Collapse

By Karen Polich

Being true matters. It matters regardless of circumstances. When life isn’t easy being faithful and being who you need to be is important. You may be in the midst of a challenging time right now. If not, can you think of a season that was heavy with difficulty? Can you feel the depth of despair that comes with the collapse? Pastor Michael Cook began a new sermon series, True, showing us that there is hope even in difficulty. (Listen here.)

In 1 Samuel 1, we learn the story of Hannah. She was a woman with a deep ache in her heart. Her husband’s second wife, Penninah, had children, but Hannah had none. If that weren’t difficult enough, Penninah provoked Hannah year after year until Hannah was in a place of collapse.

Despite the intensity of her pain, Hannah moved toward God. She had complete trust in Him and poured out her heart in fervent prayer. Hannah begged for a son. She pleaded for a son that she vowed to return to the Lord. God heard her and gave her a son that she named Samuel. True to her word, she gave him back to the Lord when he was young and he lived in the House of the Lord.

What can we learn from Hannah? We can learn to trust God, even in bleak circumstances. Hannah remained true and faithful, even when her pain seemed unbearable.

God often delivers a brilliant outcome from something that is unspeakably wrong. – Pastor Michael Cook

We can learn to trust God with the big things and the little things. Every challenge we face is an opportunity to lean in and grow closer to God. We will all face challenges. It is inevitable. How we choose to live within those challenges defines who we are.

What situation in your life gives you an opportunity to trust God more deeply?

Overwhelming Abundance

By Karen Polich

Malawi brings me thoughts of abundance. While lacking needed resources, there is an abundance of many things; smiles, joy, voices singing, hospitality, passion, and friends. Malawi is a place of simple abundance surrounding things that touch hearts.

It’s the rainy season in Africa. It is a time to watch crops grow after the labors of preparing fields and planting. It is a time of planning for the harvest that will provide food in the coming months. But this rainy season is different. Malawi has seen record flooding in recent days. The abundance of rain is overwhelming. Lives have been lost in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar, while there are those still missing. Thousands and thousands are displaced from their homes. Crops are ruined. Now and in the coming months, where will the needed food come from? How will lives be restored after such devastation?

This abundance is not welcome. It brings with it destruction and pain. It brings the abundance of difficulties now and in the time to come.

What is there to do to help from so far away? Please join me in becoming a prayer partner for the people of Malawi and the mission work that Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church is a part of. Together we can do something with great abundance. We can pray. We can pray for:

  • safe water and food
  • restoration of homes and schools.
  • for immediate relief and for God to heal and restore lives
  • for events such as the upcoming Valentine’s banquet that will raise funds to send laborers into the mission field
  • the work our Malawi mission team will be doing when they arrive there in May

We can do something regardless of our location. We can pray!

Will you join me? Click here for information on becoming a Malawi Prayer Partner.

 

 

 

The Power of Paul’s Prayers

By Kristin Overman

A few years ago I was doing a study on Colossians and came across this prayer that Paul prayed for the believers,

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12

Paul’s prayer was so powerful. It really seemed like he was fighting a battle with his prayer. Suddenly I felt that my prayers were missing that power. So many times I prayed for wisdom, health, safety, money, etc. My prayers were more about earthly needs than the needs for spiritual battle.

Don’t misunderstand me; I know God cares for our every need no matter how small. We pray for lost toys, for kids to sleep and use the potty in our house. I know God truly cares about those things. He wants us to rely on Him for our earthly needs but also for our spiritual battles. Many times I forget that we are in a constant spiritual battle.

I decided to look not only at Colossians but all of Paul’s letters and see what he prayed for. In doing so, I noticed three things in Paul’s prayers. He prayed for the believer’s walk, for their witness, and for God’s work in them. He did not pray that they would change. Here are just a few of the things I found.

Paul prayed that they would…

Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
Please Him in all respects
Bear fruit in every good work
Increase in the knowledge of God
Attain all steadfastness and patience
Joyously give thanks to the Father for their inheritance
Speak forth the mystery of Christ

He prayed that God would…

Make it clear how they ought to speak
Give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him
Count them worthy of their calling
Fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power in order that the name of Jesus may be glorified in them and them in Him

I also noticed how he prayed. He used words like always, constantly, devoted, not ceasing, keeping alert, thankful and joyful. In other words, prayer should be a consistent discipline, done with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving.

I pray you can use this list of prayers for yourself, your children and other believers, etc. Fighting our spiritual battle could be so much more effective if we prayed like this for one another.

 

A Perspective on Victory

By Kristi Sullins

One of my favorite parts of being a pastor’s wife has been the opportunity to build friendships with people from all over. 15 years of ministry has given us scattered “family” that we stay connected to through email and social media.

It was one of these connections that God used to take me on a journey of understanding.  At the beginning of the year I was introduced to a blog about a little boy named Ben.  His mom Mindy had started a blog to journal their journey through Ben’s battle with cancer, specifically, a brain tumor.  As a mom, my soul became caught up in their journey, and I found myself praying for this little boy often.

In the beginning, the prayers came as a claim of the healing I knew that God could bring.

Surely, He would bring victory and healing to this four- year old boy.  I would watch for her blogpost with confidence that there would be signs of healing.  Month after month, post after post, this is not the story she shared.  Each post revealed a reality much different than what I had claimed.  As thousands around the country joined in prayer, I held onto the fact that God’s power would be clearly revealed if He would just heal Ben.  His grace and sufficiency was on full display in the life of this sweet family, but we did not see the power and healing we were all praying for.

The reality of God’s plan came into full view recently when God brought Ben home.  Local papers in Buffalo, NY, posted that Ben had lost his battle with cancer. My mind agreed.

It was while in the shower, I questioned God.  I laid out what I thought would have been best and pointed out all the times He had worked miracles.  It was then that God had what my dad always called “a come to Jesus meeting” with me.  What did I define as a victory?  Had my human heart lost perspective on what a God victory really was?  He walked me through the realities in my life.

Were the struggles of the church that I love failures?  Could I see victory in a church that had walked hard roads for so long that they would not dare move without God? Could I see it in a job loss and unplanned move that dropped us right in the will of God?  Could I see victory in the death of a beloved saint of our church as evidence that there are still those who live their lives serving God?

Was I willing to hand over the black and white definition of my world to see that in the death of a four- year old boy an entire city was impacted by the life of this boy and his family who constantly pointed to God?

Our human hearts tend to take on the world’s definition of wins and losses, victories and failures.

We hold God to that tainted standard and then suffer defeat when His perfect plan does not match up with our sightless one.  The clearest example of failure and victory is in the death of our Christ.  On the day of His death the Jews were clear that this Messiah was a failure.  Three days later it became clear for those who knew Him that by His death and resurrection there was VICTORY.

Oh, that my heart will be softened to God’s definition of victory, and that my eyes will search for His victories in all parts of this journey.

 

 

 

 

What is Prayer Worth?

By: Kevin Linthicum

I still remember sitting in the airport in Shreveport, Louisiana, waiting on a flight that would begin my first journey to Malawi, Africa. I had many questions and to be honest I was a little fearful of what the journey would include.

I recall praying and specifically asking God to protect our group. The only person I knew in the group was Dr. Ben Rogers. Dr. Ben had a wealth of experience in Malawi; I knew his experience was valuable. Therefore, I stayed close to him. I had also been praying for peace and direction for this trip. There were many unknowns and I was anxious about the unknown.

My first day on the ground in Malawi, I learned the value of prayer.

We were sitting in a small village and a family brought out a small child. The family asked if I would be willing to pray for the child. The little boy, no older than five, was being abused by the witch doctor. This single event brought my prayer life to a new place. For the first time in my life, I realized the significance of praying on behalf of others.

This lesson will continue to have tremendous impact on my life. Each time someone asks me to intercede on their behalf, I am reminded of that little boy in Malawi and the value that family placed on prayer. The lesson for us today is to never underestimate the value of praying for others.

John 16:23-24

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

He’s The One

He’s the One

By: Susan Rasinski

“I can’t pray out loud.”

“I don’t like to pray in a group because I don’t sound as good as others.”

There are many reasons people give for not wanting to pray and we can understand each one. Who are we trying to impress?

Is it for the awe of those around us that we want to sound eloquent?

Why do we feel a need to say the right things?

It is not always easy to speak in front of others, but we need to realize we are talking to the One who created all things, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. He loves us more than we can possibly know. God says we are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). 1 John 3:1 (NIV) says that God lavishes His love on us.

So the next time you are asked to pray, take a moment to realize how amazing that truth is.

Close your eyes and talk to the One who cherishes you.

You are ushering your group into the presence of God.

Pray for our Malawi Mission Team

On Monday May 26th, Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church Outreach Pastor, Kevin Linthicum, will be leading a mission team to Malawi. The team will return to the US on Friday June 6th. This team consists of:

Gai Gai Anderson, Dalton Battle, Matthew Gonzales, Raymundo Gonzales, Arlene Lewis, David Leatherman, Kevin Linthicum, Stewart Linthicum, Robert Thomas, Amber Walker, and Randy Walker

While not all of us can travel to Africa, we can participate in this mission opportunity by praying for our “missionaries.” As a congregation we want to be intentional about how we pray. Please pray specifically for:

  • Safe travels
  • Safety while in the mission field
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Good health
  • God’s protection and provision
  • Many open doors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love
  • Lives to be changed
  • Families of our “missionaries”

We invite you to join with us as we pray for this team and how God will use them to change the world!

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14

I’ll Be Praying for You

I’ll Be Praying for You

By: LuAnn Edwards

“I’ll be praying for you.” How often have we tried to show comfort or concern by repeating these few words? Do we often forget to follow through with our promise to pray. When we do remember to pray, are we spending quality time with God or are we in a hurry to get to the next name on our list?

Prayer is a conversation with our Lord.

We should pray earnestly, Luke 22:44 (intently); fervently, Col. 4:12 (zealously); and pray in faith, James 5:15 (with belief, trust and confidence).

Several years ago, while reading a devotional during my lunch hour at work, I sensed the Lord trying to impress something upon me. The devotional included additional scriptures to compliment the reading each day. I pulled out my Bible and read 1 Samuel 15. I was overcome with the presence of God and the Holy Spirit speaking to me.

I wept as I read aloud this chapter about King Saul and his disobedience to God. I was moved as I realized that I, too, had been walking in disobedience. As I began to confess my disobedience, I asked the Lord to show me how I had specifically disobeyed. I asked Him to reveal my sin to me.

Later that afternoon, a business associate stopped in to see me. I asked Peggy about her nephew, a little baby named Jeremy that I had been praying for. She had asked me to pray for him a few months earlier when he had lost his vision in one eye. It was possible that he might lose sight in his other eye. With many others, I had prayed that the Lord would restore sight to Jeremy’s blinded eye and would heal his good eye as well. Peggy shared with me that the doctors believed Jeremy would now be able to see from the eye that was previously thought to be blind. After several surgeries, he was doing very well. We both thanked the Lord for His goodness and healing.

After Peggy left, I realized my sin and disobedience. Although I had been praying for Jeremy as I said I would, I wasn’t praying as I had been called to pray, to intercede on Jeremy’s behalf. I was not praying as earnestly or fervently as I should have been. I believed God was able to perform a miracle but fell short in my commitment to pray as I should. I asked Him to speak to me and lead me in this calling to prayer. He reminded me of a song, and I sang it to Him quietly and sincerely from my heart, right there at my desk, I thanked Him for speaking to me through His holy Word even though He spoke to me about my disobedience and sin.

I wish to honor Him through obedience and pray earnestly, fervently and in faith believing He will answer.

Please join me in committing to pray for those to whom we say, “I’ll be praying for you.”

 

 

Giving God Every Crevice of My Heart

Prayer: Giving God Every Crevice of My Heart

Romans 12, Colossians 3

By: Karen Polich

Like you, I pray, but I don’t always pray the way that I should.  I am great at praying for what I think I need, but that may not be what God knows that I need.  Sometimes I am focused, obedient, willing.  I listen well, have patience and put the needs of others before myself.  But sometimes I can’t get past myself; my worries, my needs, my hurts, my desires.  I am usually not such a good listener during those times. Thankfully God knows my heart and knows what is best for me. I am so grateful for His patience.

When things go awry, I pray. When things are great, I pray.

Praise, thanksgiving and the wonder of His mighty power and amazing grace consume me.  Blessings abound in all things.  I need only but look.  When I do, prayers become deeper. The prayers “in all things” are where I really grow as a Christ follower.  Praying Scripture and praying with pure honesty transforms. It is amazing what God will do!

 But do I give Him every crevice of my heart?

Do I give Him my pride and my shame; my mistakes and disappointments? Do I think too highly of myself? (Romans 12) Do I think eternally? (Colossians 3) Am I truly obedient? If I am obedient, I am doing what God is asking me to do when He is asking me to do it.

My rawest prayers come when I am in a place of sorrow or despair. I always find Him there, waiting for me.  He is patient, gentle and kind.  He holds my heart while I pour out my hurt.  There are seasons where I pray about the same hurt again and again. He always listens. His healing brings me closer to having an eternal perspective and a genuine testimony through the necessity of the hurt in developing my maturity as a Christ follower.

There are times when praying involves a tough situation.  People are involved and that can be tricky.  Am I bringing God the areas of the ripple effect?  The stuff that falls into the consequences of the decisions I make. Is the tendency to only bring God what most concerns and affects me?  What is the big picture? Do I stop and ask God to help me consider everything?  Will my decisions affect others? I know both sides of this. I have caused pain when my focus was on my own needs as the number one priority. I rushed to a decision instead of being patient and listening for God’s voice, making sure I considered every area while giving God the final say. I have also been the receiver of the pain when decisions were made without considering the fallout of relationships.

God truly uses all situations to work His good for His glory. His grace abounds even when I do things my way instead of checking with Him. Are there consequences? Yes, and they can be painful, but God can restore and renew a heart that has been broken or has caused the breaking. Genuine faith shines when God sees me praise Him even in difficulty.

Prayer is a gift. It deepens my relationship with our Heavenly Father. It reminds me that I am never alone. Prayer brings me into His divine presence where worship, confession, thanksgiving, and action can occur. There is beauty in prayer. God can move mountains when I pray. He desires every crevice of my heart.

What about you? Have you given Him every crevice of your heart?