Non-Profits’ Summer Prayer Journey – Lifeline Children’s Services

It continues to be such a joy to learn about so many great non-profit organizations around our city, and to be able to pray for them here and on location Friday mornings. I also love meeting some of the people who work or volunteer at the different ministries we’ve visited and seeing the heart God has given them to do what they’re doing. We only have a few weeks left in our journey, so if you’ve wanted to join us on Friday mornings and haven’t had a chance to, come soon! You’ll be glad you did.

Today we are praying for Lifeline Children’s Services, which was founded in 1981 by John Carr, a retired social worker, and Wales Goebel. (If you recall from last week, Wales Goebel founded Sav-a-Life.) Their vision was to provide an outreach ministry to mothers in crisis, to children needing loving care, and to families craving the blessings of a child.

In 1984, Lifeline Village was founded to meet a young lady’s spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and intellectual needs. It gives birthmothers who are facing crisis pregnancies a stable and nurturing environment where consistent love, discipline, and direction is given by a married Christian couple. Lifeline Village currently has 2 houses, which can house up to 8 young ladies each.

In 2000, Lifeline started doing international adoptions in China. In 2003, they added Ukraine and in 2004, Guatemala. Presently, they serve 15 countries. Hundreds of children from around the world are being placed into Christian homes.

Overall, since 1981, almost 2,500 children have been adopted, and almost 3,000 women ministered to. Their mission today is to seek to make an investment in the lives of children, mothers in the wake of crisis, families wanting the blessing of a child, and orphans around the world.

Psalm 68:4-6 – 4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. 5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.
6 God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Lord God, we lift up a song of praise to You. You are the One who provides for us in barren places. You are great in compassion and provision. You are holy and just, merciful and gracious. You are YAHWEH, there is no god like You.

Thank you, God, for raising up ministries like Lifeline to carry out Your plan of placing the lonely in families, and giving fathers to the fatherless. Thank You for also being a father to the fatherless, because You are the best father. Thank You for hearing the cry of the one who longs for children of her own, and providing a child through the miracle of adoption. Thank You for providing scared ladies/couples with crisis pregnancies compassion and life-affirming options that are best for their babies. Thank You for Your mercy on the children here and all over the world who are born into extreme hardship, whom You rescue and lead out of the prison of poverty and into the prosperity of a family. Oh God, thank You for Your great compassion, faithfulness, and grace in all of these circumstances.

We pray for Herbert Newell and his staff as they serve you in this ministry. May they seek You for every decision they make. Give them wisdom, discernment, and understanding as they work with birthparents, adoptive families, and orphans. We pray for protection for Lifeline from any ungodly demands this culture may put on them, and give them favor with all the government agencies they have to work with, whatever country they’re in. We also pray for Your protection from every effort of the enemy to hinder or harass this ministry and anyone who serves in it. May Your heartbeat be what drives all of the staff and volunteers to do what You’ve called them to do, even on the days when it’s hard and heartbreaking. Cause them to keep their eyes on You. Provide them with the resources they need to answer Your call to provide homes for the lonely.

Father, we pray that You would raise up more and more Christian homes who answer the call to adopt. We pray for financial provision for them and that wait times for families to be united with their children would be minimal. We pray that churches would do the job You’ve called them to by coming along-side these families and covering them in prayer, shepherding, and support. We pray for smooth integration for the children into their new homes and new families, and that You would be very near those families and children during the various stages of that process. Sometimes, those early days, weeks, and even months can feel like a desert of sorts. Lord, let them know You are there even in the desert. Provide them refreshing streams and protection from the onslaught of doubts and fears during the hard times.

Sometimes, these children are prisoners of the trauma they’ve experienced, unable to trust or bond with anyone. We pray that You would heal their broken hearts, open the doors of their mental and emotional prisons, and let them experience the prosperity that comes from parents who love them with all their hearts. Let them experience the richness of a relationship with You as well. We ask not only for earthly “forever families” for them, but also for the spiritual, truly forever family that can be theirs in Christ. We pray for all of this in Jesus’ great name, Amen.

Non-profits Summer Prayer Journey – Sav-a-Life Vestavia

Today we are praying for probably one of the best-known ministries in our community, and once again the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. In light of the unwanted extra attention the abortion industry is suddenly getting across the nation, we must be interceding for the ministries and individuals who have committed their lives to speaking up for and defending the unborn, and join our voices with theirs in truth and compassion to see that justice is accomplished not only for the babies, but also for the women who have been manipulated and deceived into making tragic choices.

Sav-a-Life was founded in 1980 by Wales Goebel, as he began to recognize women and men facing unplanned pregnancies needed help and support instead of condemnation. Sav-a-Life is a life-affirming pregnancy care center offering positive alternatives to women, men, and families facing an unplanned pregnancy. Thousands of babies and families have been saved physically and spiritually since 1980. They offer free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, abortion information, classes, and material assistance as just some of the services to empower men and women to choose life. Something I didn’t know until visiting their website was all the different classes they offer. In addition to childbirth and parenting classes, they how-to-read-to-your-child classes, fatherhood classes, grief recovery for those who have experienced a miscarriage, and abortion recovery. Lisa Hogan is the executive director.

Hebrews 13:20-21 – “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Lord God, we praise You as the God of peace, for by Your Sovereign plan You took us while we were yet enemies and reconciled us to You through Your Son. You are good and gracious, holy and just. We stand in awe of You, God. You are the One who creates life. Psalm 139 says that you formed our inward parts and had all our days written in Your book before there was one of them. Thank You, Father, for the amazing gift of life.

We pray that Your peace would surround Lisa Hogan (executive director) and the administrative staff, the nursing staff and the mentor-educate-support staff, and all of their volunteers. They truly are standing in the gap between life and death for the most vulnerable among us, and even for entire families and generations. I can only imagine some of the heartache they see on a regular basis. We also pray that You would equip them in every good thing to minister to the men, women, and families who come to them for help. Let Your Spirit be in them and flowing out of them, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Is. 11:2) We ask that You would continue to provide the financial and material resources they need to serve their clients. We pray that the Church would rise up and boldly stand for LIFE by partnering with ministries like Sav-a-Life. Father, even as the staff and volunteers work and serve in this extremely important ministry, we pray that You would also be working in them that which is pleasing in Your sight.

Good and gracious heavenly Father, we also lift up all of those who Sav-a-Life serves from all sorts of circumstances and all walks of life. May the peace of God rule in their hearts and minds. Protect them from the lies, fear, and manipulation that bombard them from the culture of death we live in, as well as those from the enemy of their soul, who has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Lord, John 10:10 also says, that You came that we may have life, and to have life abundantly. We pray that every unborn baby carried into this ministry in their mothers’ wombs would experience the abundant life You have ordained for them – physically, but most of all spiritually. We pray that You would equip the moms and dads to do your will as it concerns their children and themselves.

Equip churches to be places of unconditional love and grace toward these individuals who are hurting and scared, instead of places that shame them. I loved what one of the blogs I read said about pregnancy out of wedlock. (I’m sorry I can’t link to it, but I can’t remember where I found it at.) It said, “Premarital sex is a sin. The baby it may produce is not. The baby is a gift that proves God’s grace is greater than all my sin.” Lord, forgive us for being judgmental and unloving toward those who need our love and compassion the most. God of peace, “equip us in every good thing to do Your will, working in us that which is pleasing in Your sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (the verse we started with, Hebrews 13:21)

How is the Lord leading you to pray for this vital ministry and its clients? Please share in the comments below!

Non-Profits Summer Prayer Journey: Young Business Leaders

This week we are visiting and praying for an organization called Young Business Leaders, also known as simply YBL. It began in 1981 by a group of young business leaders who desired to establish and maintain Christian relationships in the market place for continued growth through personal Bible study and accountability. Out of a desire to reach other businessmen in the Birmingham community, they held their first outreach in the Spring of 1981, which launched a couple of small groups who met regularly together.

In 1983, the organization was formalized. Young Business Leaders became known as an organization focused on and committed to reaching business leaders for Christ. In 1984, Phil Reddick was chosen to be the director and first staff member. Phil is still the executive director today. The YBL is now a national organization with offices in Birmingham and Huntsville, AL; Jackson, MS; and Cincinatti, OH. They are also working with key churches to open branches in other states at this time.

YBL’s purpose is to reach young business men and professionals to offer the tools and environment that facilitate holistic growth. They provide venues such as banquets, small groups, and one-on-one contacts with proven and established leaders. They help men find balance between family, work, and friends by emphasizing the importance of priorities, decisions, and personal faith. Their mission is to help lead men to be leaders at work, home, and at play by living lives of priority, integrity, and faith.

(If you are wondering what’s available for women business leaders, there is also a WBL, or Women Business Leaders organization.)

Before we get started praying, can I just say that this is one I feel totally unqualified to pray for? As a not-so-young, stay-at-home mom, I am pretty much the exact opposite of a “young business leader”. I do not pretend to know at all what kinds of temptations, stresses, pressure, or other issues Christian businessmen face on a regular basis. I am desperately depending on the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer today even more than usual.

II Timothy 2:15, 19 – 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

Lord God, You are sovereign King of the universe. As Daniel 4:35 says, You do according to Your will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off Your hand or say to You, ‘What have You done?'” We praise You because it is by Your hand that kingdoms, nations, churches, families, businesses, etc. have been established. We are grateful that You choose mighty men of God often as Your workmen to establish these institutions in order to advance Your kingdom on earth.

What little bit I do know about the business world tells me that it can be a cutthroat place, where leaders are expected to cut corners, bend rules, and do whatever it takes in order to beat out the competition. I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it is for Christian business leaders to resist those expectations and instead to rely on godly principles to grow their businesses. We are so grateful for the godly men we have in business leadership in and around Birmingham. We pray for their protection. Help them stand on the firm foundation of Your Word and Your way. Help them to know whose they are, and give them courage to be known in the workplace as one who names and bears the name of the Lord. Keep them from temptation.

We also pray that You would clothe each of them with a spirit of humility. Spare them from being like King Nebuchadnezzar, who looked over his kingdom thinking he had built it all with his own hands. (Dan. 4:30-34) Give them wisdom to recognize that their success is because You have blessed them with it. Yes, they have worked hard to be where they are, but You gave them the ability, the resources and ultimately the successes. Not because You owed it to them (because You owe none of us anything, O God), but because You purposed them to be leaders of business in order to advance Your kingdom in the marketplace and through their gifts and offerings. Lord, let these men be known in the business world as men of integrity and humility, by Your great grace and power.

Lord, thank You for raising up an organization like Young Business Leaders to help encourage business leaders to be all that You are calling them to be in the workplace and in their families. We pray that You would bless this organization as they seek to expand into other states. Give them strong leadership in each chapter, and raise up the churches in each community who recognize the importance of ministering to business leaders. I think sometimes we are so focused on ministering to the poor and the outcast (which are so important and necessary, of course) that we don’t realize there are lots of successful business leaders in our community who are just as lost as the homeless addict. We pray for a revival to blow through the businesses and organizations in Birmingham. Let these men be awakened to the truth that You love them and have a purpose for them that is far more than just being successful in business. Use YBL and the men who are a part of it to be the salt and light to men who may not realize they are lost. Advance Your kingdom in and through the workplace, for Your honor and glory, and for their good.  Amen.

Okay, that was more fun than I thought it would be! Letting the Holy Spirit lead you through Scripture to pray is always an adventure! What passage did the Lord bring to your mind as we prayed together?

Nonprofits Summer Prayer Journey – WorkFaith Birmingham

Before we launch into learning about and praying for this week’s nonprofit, I wanted to share with you all what a tremendous blessing each of these visits have been for me. I have come away each week profoundly impacted by the heart of the staff and employees of those ministries to do what God has called them to do and by the work of grace that God is doing through them. Two weeks ago, when we visited The Lovelady Center, our prayer time ended just as their Friday morning devotion time was beginning. They started off by singing along to a recording of “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. Most of us from the prayer time were on a sort of balcony, looking down into the main meeting area, and so we could see all of these ladies who have come from very hard places singing their hearts out to that song. It was an incredible moment I won’t soon forget. That, my friends, is the power of the Gospel on display!

Today we will be praying for WorkFaith Birmingham, founded by Keith Stanley in September of 2013. WorkFaith Birmingham is a Christ-centered initiative designed to help churches join together to address urgent physical and spiritual poverty in the urban areas of Birmingham.

Vision: To create a city where all people can utilize their God-given capabilities to provide for themselves, their families, and others in need while living a life of integrity.

Mission: Helping adults in transition develop confidence and life skills to become employable.

Specialty: They specialize in helping adults in transition develop confidence and life skills to become employable – essentially helping them build a new life of work and faith. There are 4 basic keys to their process:

  • Equip the unemployed to get/keep a job.
  • Develop a biblical work ethic/worldview.
  • Connect them with potential employers.
  • Develop support systems for long-term growth and health.

In 2014, WorkFaith Birmingham graduated 67 students. 58 of those graduated are now employed, which is an 87% success rate!

Eph. 2:8-10 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

Dear Heavenly Father, we are so grateful that You have a plan for each one of us. You created us for a purpose, and Job 42:2 says that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. We praise You because You are the Sovereign Lord who has ordained all of our steps. Thank You for the gift of salvation, for creating us in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Lord, for also gifting us talents and spiritual gifts to enable us to fulfill the calling You have for each of us.

Lord, this generation and this culture has largely been deceived into thinking that work is a bad thing. We have all sorts of things we’re encouraged to pursue in order to escape work. Yet, even before the Fall, when Creation was unblemished by sin, You gave Adam and Eve work to do. So work isn’t a burden, it’s a privilege. That truth, however, is getting lost. Lord God, we pray that You would open the eyes of the hearts of people to the truth that work is a privilege and a blessing to be enjoyed. Others want a job, but lack skills, knowledge, education, and other hindrances, and so we thank You, Lord, for raising up an organization like WorkFaith Birmingham to not only address those hindrances, but also to teach them the truth about Your design for work.

We pray for each person who comes into their program to have a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ – to know the One who rescued them while they were yet His enemies. We pray that You would use this ministry to instill in them a biblical view of work, and to overcome the challenges that have been holding them back. We pray, Lord God, that You would break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness off of individuals and families, and even off of whole neighborhoods and communities. Establish these men and women on the path You have ordained for them.

We also pray for Keith Stanley and the leadership team and staff for WorkFaith Birmingham. Help them continue to walk in humility and grace towards every individual and situation they face. We pray for wisdom and discernment for them as they walk with their clients and make decisions on behalf of the ministry. We pray that You would also equip them with more finances, more volunteers. Lord, it was such an encouragement to me the first time Eph. 2:10 clicked for me, and to realize that I don’t have to scramble to figure out what I’m supposed to do for the Lord, because You had already chosen the works You wanted me to do. I pray that the staff and volunteers would be reminded that You have already ordained not only their “good works”, but also the good works of each person who comes into their program. Give them creative ideas, solutions, and resources to fulfill all that You have planned for this organization. Meet their every need as only You can, Lord. Amen.

Thank you for joining us for our prayer journey for the non-profits in our city and surrounding areas. Feel free to leave a comment with your own prayers, Scripture passage, or ideas/questions. God promises to hear and answer us when we pray together! Praise the Lord!

Praying for Grace House Ministries

Mission Birmingham’s Summer Prayer Journey for Nonprofits is taking a break this week in light of the Independence Day weekend. I thought it would be good to use the “week off” to pray for one of the nonprofits we won’t be able to visit in person this summer. Grace House Ministries made an impression on me when they participated in my church’s Missions’ Conference this past February. Their mission is to provide stable Christian homes for girls from crisis backgrounds with the commitment to developing mature, godly women.

Grace House Ministries was first formed in 1989 by “Mama Lois” Coleman. (Her story is inspiring, and you can read about it here.) After a couple of years of campaigning and building, the first Grace House was opened in 1992. Ten years, later, 2 more houses were added, and then a third house was added in 2007, bringing the number of girls they could house up to 24. In 2011, the ministry transitioned to live-in parents instead of shift workers to give the girls a more stable, home-like experience. An education department was also developed at this time for girls who struggled with traditional classroom settings or who needed to get caught up to their grade-level. For the rest of their girls, they partner with three private, Christian schools: Restoration Academy, Central Park Christian School, Holy Family Cristo Rey. In 2014, Grace House Ministries opened up a fourth home to house girls who are over 18 years old and have aged-out of the foster care system. This house helps these older girls transition into college and successful adult lives.

If you love reading blogs, I suggest following their blog, The Suitcase Diaries. A couple of the posts brought tears to my eyes, and all of them provide a fun, inside-look at what their organization is all about.

Ephesians 3:14-19 – “14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Lord God, thank You for being our perfect, loving, gracious Father. You place us in families by Your sovereign will. Yet, sometimes, those family structures fail us. We praise You today for being constant and loving. Thank You for the family of God that You have adopted us into through the blood of Your Son. You promise to never disown us once we become Your children. Thank You for being our faithful Father.

We lift up Grace House Ministries to You, Father. Thank You for Mama Lois’ vision of ministering to girls from crisis backgrounds, and for fulfilling that vision for over 200 girls since 1992. We pray for executive director Pamela Reed Phipps and the staff to continue to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit. Grant them courage to love these girls with the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. Give them the wisdom and discernment they need to serve these young ladies, and to continue to build this ministry into everything that You have ordained it to be. Continue to reveal the vastness of Your love to them and through them. If the love of Christ surpasses knowledge, then it must be something we can know deeper only through experience, so we pray these leaders and staff would experience the love of Christ in their personal lives and through the ministry You’ve called them to.

Father, reveal Yourself as Father to every girl who comes to Grace House Ministries. We pray each one would experience the riches of Your glory, and would know the breadth, length, height and depth of Your love for them. Rescue them from the cycle of abuse and the domain of darkness, and seat them in the heavenly places in Your Son, Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). Give them grace to walk in Your light and truth, even when it means standing against generations, and a culture, of darkness. We pray that Your good and perfect plan for each life would be made evident to them, and that You would give them favor and provision. Thank You, Lord, that You go before them to make their paths straight, and You stand behind them as their rear guard. (Is. 58:8) We pray that no plan of the enemy against them would prosper, in Jesus’ name.

We ask for Your provision for this ministry. Thank You that Your storehouses do not run out. Raise up more supporters for Grace House Ministries. Thank You that You will supply their every need according to Your riches in glory. (Phil. 4:19) Amen.

I would love to hear how the Lord is prompting you to pray for any of the non-profits we have been praying for here. I have always believed that one cannot pray for a person, ministry, church, city, etc., without one’s heart becoming knit to them, and I find it to be true once more as we have been praying for non-profits this summer. Next week, we will be at WorkFaith Birmingham. Join us in person there at 7am next Friday, or here on the blog!