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Every night I put God’s name on my son. And every night he puts God’s name on me. Such a beautiful blessing.

April 6, 2017 2 2 comments
Q&A

How can I take not sinning seriously and not end up legalistic? How can I take not sinning seriously while still embracing God's grace?

April 2, 2017 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

I need serious prayer for the condition of my soul. I know that I’ve turned from God time and time again.

March 27, 2017 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

The 2017 Prayer Summit is taking place March 27-29 in Los Angeles, CA. How can we pray for you? Please comment below.

March 16, 2017 1 8 comments
Resource, Article

Personally, praying the Psalms for the “whole Christ" enriches my prayer life. It increases my appreciation for the global church. It weakens the grip of individualism. It brings to life Psalms I might otherwise overlook.  

March 8, 2017 1 0 comments
Blog

It doesn't matter if we're young, or just think we are young, but man oh man life holds on by an awfully thin thread. Every day is a gift worth treasuring. Every day. 

March 2, 2017 2 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Please pray for my deliverance from the demonic.

February 23, 2017 0 5 comments
Blog

A simple sheet of paper filled with prayer requests has created a sense of vulnerability and openness to the Spirit’s leading, and through this, the church has become more of a family.

February 6, 2017 6 4 comments
Blog

Consider being a part of Inspire 2017 through prayer, even if you can’t attend. Amazing things happen when we prayerfully and humbly surrender to God’s will and leading.

January 16, 2017 1 0 comments
Blog

Anyone who has a heart from prayer and a vision to see God at work in their churches will want to check out the Praying for Renewal in the Christian Reformed Church Facebook page.

December 15, 2016 1 1 comments
Resource, Prayer

Are you looking for resources on prayer? Don’t forget to check out what’s available to you through the CRC’s Digital Library.

November 10, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

I am normally not one to present lists but I believe there is a deepening of appreciation and understanding by reading the 34 countries of origin and 22 countries of citizenship represented at the Seminary this fall.

November 3, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

Are you looking for resources on prayer? Check out these recorded webinars on The Network for some great teaching. 

October 24, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Prayer

I wrote this congregational prayer called "Do Not Worry" based on Matthew 6:25-27 for today's church service. This prayer affirms that God has a plan for creation (and for us) in both the sadness and the joy. 

October 3, 2016 1 1 comments
Blog

As I draw this flower, it really does feel like I’m seeing it for the first time. In this way, drawing is like prayer. Prayer is the practice of learning to wake up to the world, having our eyes opened. 

May 4, 2016 2 1 comments
Resource, Newsletter or Periodical

How do we pray for upcoming elections and seek God's face for our country? Eldean Kamp, Prayer Coordinator for Classis British Columbia South East, found and shared this timely resource. 

April 25, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

I never realized prayer can tucker a person out. Like when people hit the gym, they have a good workout and they’re tired yet they come back feeling good as well, almost energized. It’s being tired in a good way.

February 1, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

We’ve been through times both of us hope never, ever to experience again. When God doesn’t pick up the phone, believers feel unspeakably alone. Then there are no words, only groaning.

January 13, 2016 2 0 comments
Blog

Silence is hard. The "chatty monkey" will pop up. Yet I've been working at it like I would lifting weights or trying to learn guitar. This morning during prayer time, I set my alarm and was quiet. 

January 11, 2016 2 0 comments
Blog

There’s something powerful behind saying things out loud. Sometimes I prefer to pray with my mind and heart but it's less impactful. Praying audibly worked a strange magic over me.

January 8, 2016 3 1 comments
Q&A

It's Ministry Question Monday! Do you have ideas for helping people develop prayer lives that go beyond Sundays? 

December 21, 2015 2 1 comments
Blog

We don’t hear many prayers these days for a fresh season of spiritual renewal. Speaking for myself, I tend to equate such prayers with fundamentalists. Shame on me. 

December 18, 2015 1 1 comments
Blog

The shootings in San Bernardino happened about 5 miles from The River (the CRC where I pastor). Join our church in petitioning God for peace and an end to the violence. 

December 7, 2015 4 2 comments
Q&A

How do we train and equip people to pray for worship? And how do we prepare those who pray with—and for—others after the service? 

December 1, 2015 1 25 comments
Blog

When we end our prayers with the phrase "not my will, but yours be done", is it an act of surrendering to God or is it more of a testament to our lack of faith?

October 19, 2015 3 4 comments

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When our daughter Nicole, who has multiple disabilities, still lived with my wife and me, I would sing this blessing to her each evening using Michael Card's Barocha. After I finished, since she cannot use words, she would usually touch my face gently. So thinking about what your wrote about the Lord's name being put on you and Edward, Nicole's touch was her way to put the blessing (and the Lord's name) back on me. Thanks for making these blessed memories even better!

Beautiful! Thanks John for this message which is especially appropriate for this holy week. 

Dirk, thank you for your honesty and transparency in your prayer request. It was an honor and a  privilege to come together as the body of Christ to pray last week at the Prayer Summit. 

Joshua, thank you so much for sharing this prayer request. It was a privilege to come together as the body of Christ to pray last week at the Prayer Summit. 

Barbara, thank you for sharing this prayer request with us. It was an honor to come together as the body of Christ and pray last week at the Prayer Summit. 

Scott, thank you for your trusting us with these prayer requests. It was a privilege to come together as the body of Christ in prayer last week at the Prayer Summit. 

Hello Dirk,

In addition to the wise and helpful words that Bonnie and Eric shared - I also feel some of your pain that you share as we continue to struggle in this fallen world, which still belongs to God.

One thing that has helped give me some perspective is a simple saying by Rev. Ron Nydam - former professor of Pastoral Care at Calvin Seminary: "You can't give what you never got." We as people are dependent on the common & special grace that God gives to people - and people receive this - sometimes supernaturally, but more often through a remnant (often called His church) that God is preserving through which he continues to give people his grace. Unfortunately, there are many people who have gone through a wide range of circumstances in life that inhibit their capacity to love and be loved. In this case, often people cannot love others because they have not been given a rooted and persistent love. However, God often intervenes and breaks the chains and cycles - and I think your questioning is one means of breaking these chains. 

As Bonnie and Eric mentioned - I too encourage you to do this kind of self-reflection that is present in your post. In addition, finding some key people who you can trust and will continue to give you the things you need to be a person of peace and grace - so that you continue to "get what you want to give."

Keep on keeping on brother!

Eric Kas

posted in: Prayer for Wisdom

Hi Dirk,

Clearly you have a lot of pain and a lot of complex matters that you are grappling with.  I am sympathetic to your pain and struggle.  Particularly in light of the complexities of your concerns and uncertainty, I would urge you to take these matters up with your pastor and a trusted elder or two.  If you are not currently attending a Bible-believing, gospel preaching church, make that a priority so that you can be ministered to by God's Spirit through the preaching of the word in the fellowship of believers.  It is in the context of this fellowship that you will be able to receive much more specific and  personal attention to your concerns and struggles than anyone in this forum will be able to provide.  

A couple words of encouragement along the way: God's grace is sufficient for you, both unto salvation, and to bring you through life's (often cruel) challenges.  At times this may feel like a distant reality or hard to actually take hold of, but I encourage you to place your trust wholly in Jesus Christ, and he will indeed faithfully shepherd you.   May God bless you and encourage you, even as he uses His Word, His Spirit, and His Body (the church) to heal you.

posted in: Prayer for Wisdom

Dirk, I'm so sorry to hear about the abuse that you've experienced, it's not the way life is supposed to be, certainly not what we were designed for as people created in God's very image. We are constantly reminded that we live in a very broken world; and there are not easy answers to the questions that you ask - theologians have been debating them for generations. It is important to take "not sinning" seriously - and yet realize that none of us are able to do that. We are completely dependent on God's grace not only for our salvation, but for our life every day as we fulfill our desire to honor God in all that we do. And we are called to extend grace to others as well. In love, we understand that no one is able to live a life holy and pleasing to God, therefore we extend to others the grace that we also have received. All that said, the question of how to navigate through this broken world, which includes abusive relationships, still remains. I believe that God calls us to personal self-reflection. We can't change other people, only God can do that. What we can change is ourselves, with God's help, and also our response to others. Where to draw the line in a relationship that is abusive can be a painful and difficult process of discovery and discernment. We are called to speak the truth in love - Jesus was filled with both grace and truth - we struggle in between justice and mercy - there is a tension that must be maintained, or we don't have the whole picture. I think it's a mistake to resolve that tension in search of a quick fix - better to embrace it and live into it. A Christian in an abusive relationship is not called to maintain that relationship at all costs. The costs may simply become to high. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to leave the relationship, creating safer separation; this can be what's most loving to self and others, and can be most honoring to God's created purposes. We are created to be loved and to thrive in a safe environment. Creating a safer separation can be live-giving to the person who has been experiencing abuse. And it can also be life-giving to the one who must now face up to the truth of the abusive behavior and the truth about the damage that has been caused.

It's sad when congregations, and other Christian communities sometimes support those who perpetrate abuse, rather than those who are being hurt by it. This can often happen unintentionally, due to a lack of understanding about the dynamics and impacts of abuse. It can also happen because there is often great pressure to maintain the status quo than to enter into the hard work of bringing these hidden issues out into the open and dealing with them honestly. Safe Church Ministry seeks to help congregations respond more effectively by offering resources that can help. Spiritual abuse, or any abuse within a Christian context is especially damaging, because ideas about God are impacted. My prayer is that you will find others who can understand and support you in your journey with God toward healing and wholeness. The important thing is to be on the right path, going the right direction - we'll all get there in the end. Until then, it's good to have those who can walk with us on this journey as we navigate through this broken world.

posted in: Prayer for Wisdom

Just said a prayer for you, Dirk. May God give you peace! 

posted in: Prayer Request

Hello,

 

I need serious prayer for the condition of my soul. I know that I’ve turned from God time and time again.  I prayed for salvation as a child and grew up in the church.. but not knowing my bible having obsessive compulsive disorder young (which literally everyone in my mothers family had) and the fear of man let me into heavy heavy sin.  I’m devoting myself to the truths of scripture.  My long time abusers convinced me that God had rejected me and that I was awful. Please pray I have the faith and ability to repent and turn from sin. My most serious condition is having pet sins while feeling calloused with them.  Please please pray for my standing before God.  For God to hear my prayers and change my heart. 

 

-Dirk Kolk

Pray for LEMA Institute,  a post GED level school for training pastors in Africa, for God's financial provision to fully renovate its site in Mbaitoli of Eastern Nigeria.

Pray for Ideal Park CRC in Wyoming, Mi.  Our pastor will be retiring in September, and we will be searching to find someone appropriate to lead our small congregation.  Pray that God will present the right person, and that we will follow His will.  

Pray for the funding needed to complete our Adoption from China.

Pray for our church as we are in the process of revitalizing and seeking God's direction for the steps he has next for us as a congregation.  Pray that we hear his voice clearly and discern appropriately the next steps. Pray that we not fear where God leads.  

Pray for me as the pastor of the body to grow in my ability to pray and intercede for the body I shepherd.

Hi Dirk

I am praying that God will give you the help that you need.
In my healing journey I have been helped by friends, family, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and pastors.
God has used a combination of listening prayer, talk therapy, deliverance ministry, food, books,  music and some meds.
Ask Him for the help you need.
Blessings to you.

posted in: Deliverance

Hi Dirk, I too pray that God will give you grace, strength, and peace, and that he will send people into your life who can help you move toward healing and increasing levels of mental health. Like you, I firmly believe that the Deceiver and his hosts are active in this world, and that they can wreak havoc in our world and in individual's lives. There are times that people need the kind of deliverance you write about. I also firmly believe that mental illnesses have a variety of causes including brain chemistry imbalances, prior trauma, stress and trial in life, and more. God uses many instruments to help people move toward recovery including professional counselors, social workers, and medical doctors including psychiatrists, as well as medication, support groups, hospital psychiatric units, spiritual direction and the encouragement and support of people who love and care for the person dealing with mental illness. Although some people have had to hide their mental illness from fellow church members, others have found their church to be a supportive and encouraging community that helps them move toward healing.  I pray that God will help you find the help you are looking for, and that God will give you hope and healing. 

posted in: Deliverance

 Fine, but you should also seek the help of a psychiatrist.  There is no guarantee that prayers alone will make the mental illness go away.  To be sure, God CAN work miracles, but He doesn't cure all cases of mental illness.  He NEVER took mine away.  So don't put ALL your eggs in the same basket and seek treatment.  God may have other ideas about your illness.

posted in: Deliverance

Praying here too!

Paula Wigboldy

posted in: Deliverance

Hi Dirk, 

I just lifted you up in prayer after reading this.

Blessings, 
Staci

posted in: Deliverance

I am so thrilled to hear this! I grew up in this church, and 45 years ago it would have changed my life to be in church where they were praying with "eyes open". (In other words, I would have gotten away with a lot less as a 2 year old!)

Now as a church member--still CRC but in another state--I am encouraged by these words and hope to see this kind of prayer fellowship in my church as well!

 

Love it that the church family is willing to be vulnerable and therefore realize the power of prayer.  

 

I love this, thank you for sharing.  So much power in prayer.

So simple, easily done, and so profound.

I wonder if a name change for the site might be in order? Assuming the Holy Spirit is working by answering the prayers offered over 6 years....could we call the site "Praying for continued renewal in the CRC"?

It would also have the benefit of leaving a more positive than negative impression....

This is beautiful. Thank you for summoning the courage to post this.  May God continue to use your gifts in your church and to bless others!

I love this! For me, to take pictures is to pray. I live in the city and often wish I had nature trails to walk. However, when I take my camera and really start to notice the colors in my yard, my eyes are opened to the beauty around me! 

Katy, 

Are you working for the CRCNA?  Where are you located?

In our classis there is a monthly meeting with the prayer coordinators for mutual support and encouragement. These are people praying for the pastors and the church leaders and they encourage the church to prayer via many creative ways, etc. 

Grace, Daniel 

I prefer to write out my prayers.  I find it easier to keep track of what I've already "said" that way and avoid repeating the same petitions over and over again in the same prayer.  But then, I've always been a writer.  It's my preferred mode of communication.

posted in: A Heart-Tree

I am sure you used the phrase for literary affect, brother but there is no shame on you in Christ.  Jesus Christ has taken away all shame and we can be glad for it :-)

posted in: Time for Revival?

Nicely spoken/written my friend, Scott. Be well. Grace and Peace. Darren

I would consider being a part of such a group!

I am relieved and deeply grateful that my Redlands, Calif. kids and grandkids have come through last week unscathed, at least physically. (That includes the author of this excellent post.)

I pray for the widening circles of tragic impact of last week's San Bernardino, Calif, violence, for the family members and friends of all those who did not come through safely. I also remember, the immense footprint of violence left in our country by 350 incidents in the U.S. that have claimed more than four lives, including the perpetrator, so far THIS YEAR.

Pastor John Rozeboom, Oakdale Park Church, Grand Rapids, MI

Praise Jesus!  I love that He has us on similar journeys even though they were not overlapped.

We did a once a month healing prayer time for anyone that would like to come at Discovery CRC Church (in Cutlerville) for a couple of years while we were all learning.  I am thinking of starting something like that up again.  So I guess I will just throw it out there.  I would be open to anyone to come, those who have been through the Embers to Flames prayer training, those who want to come and receive prayer, those who want to come and learn, those who want to come to be together with the body of Christ in the Presence of Jesus....

Anyone interested?

That sounds like a good response Mary. Thanks. I like the image of after church prayer being more like triage, but also recognizing that God is not limited, and he can do significant work in a very short time frame. 

One image that sticks in my mind from my prayer ministry days is that of the paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus by his friends who had to break through the roof to get to him. Sometimes there is work to do to get people to Jesus - but that is always the posture in prayer ministry, bringing folks into the presence of Jesus and letting Jesus do what he will. Often it's not what we would expect or can even imagine. The passage says that Jesus saw the faith of the man's friends, and healed him. Sometimes we need to have faith for one another. It's a great image for me of healing prayer.

As a prayer ministry group we also met regularly to practice praying with and for one another. We also went through a Theophostic video training course (Ed Smith) and we read a book by Leanne Payne together. Regular time as a community, practicing with one another and learning together was wonderful for all of us and built a lot of trust in the group as well. (It was an ecumenical group, so we didn't all go to the same church). We didn't stick to one process or procedure, but felt our learning together gave us several "tools" that we could use, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The main thing is bringing someone into the presence of Jesus so that Jesus can do his healing work, whatever that may be. Learning to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and Listen to the voice of Jesus is important.

Sam,

Just very quickly in a nutshell, after church prayer team prayers are going to be fairly quick, but that does not mean necessarily "light".  I have seen persons healed in this time frame and I believe that God is delighted when persons come to church and walk out healed and transformed.  That is church!  That is the gospel!  That is the Kingdom at work!  I pray that would happen every week at every church.

A deeper healing prayer appointment, that would be set up for a couple of hours or more, digs way down to spiritual roots that may be causing the trouble or dysfunction. Sometimes things are systematically confessed, forgiven, delivered.  Some times deep inner wounds from childhood are healed in these sessions.  Your after church prayer ministry time is kind of like Triage, and some of those persons ought be referred to someone for more intensified healing prayer by those who are trained in such.

Mary

yes of course Katy, and others, that is why I typed it all out.  Use it!

Thanks Mary! Good stuff here. May I copy and use some of your words? I may come to you specifically and ask some more questions too, if I may?

 

 

It would be interesting and helpful to outline the differences between healing prayer after a service and a healing prayer appointment. 

I understand that time is one factor. What are other differences?

Mary is right that this is designed for a deeper inner healing kind of prayer - not after the service on Sunday. In our ministry people signed up for prayer appointments with a 2-3 person prayer team. We scheduled 2 hours for a prayer appointment.

Hi Sam,  Actually, Terry Wardle has written at least ten books, but the one specific to this discussion is "Healing Care - Healing Prayer."

It's called "Healing Care, Healing Prayer". 

 

What is the name of Terry Wardle's book?

I used to be a part of a prayer ministry before taking my current position in Grand Rapids. Several people from our prayer team went to Terry Wardle's training at Ashland Theological Seminary and found it very valuable in our work of prayer ministry. I've used information from his book and website.

Joel,

that is so exciting that you and a group are going to the Formational Prayer Training.  I have had that on my to-do list for several years. Pastor Bob Boersma and a group from Providence CRC in Cutlerville also went to that training this year.  It is good training for those who will be involved in deeper level of healing prayer than the "after church" altar ministry.  Mary.

If you want to equip people for prayer for deep healing, you can look at Terry Wardles website, Healing Care: a ministry of formational prayer.  Actually, I will be going to a three and a half day training, from Jan 13-16, at Ashland Theological Seminary, where Terry teaches, on Prayer Formation.  Several other people (mostly shepherding elders and prayer ministry volunteers) from my church are also going.

While we are waiting for what others have to say, I remembered a couple of very important and accessible resources that will address this very question.  Pastor Dave Huizenga has prayer resources that can be accessed on the web through Empowerment Institute, www.empowermentinstitute.org.

Harvest Prayer Ministries has a brochure called "Praying Through The Worship Service" - Training for Intercessors - The Praying Church Series 2000.  It can be downloaded from www.harvestprayer.com.  Topics are Preparation for Prayer, The Place of Prayer, How to Pray through the Worship Service, Additional Suggestions.

Hope this all helps!

Thanks Mary! I can't wait to hear what others have to say.

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