Praying for Christ Health Center

Christ Health Center is located in the heart of Woodlawn. More than just taking care of the sick, this non-profit is committed to physical, mental, and spiritual health and well-being of each patient. They don’t work just to make the sick well, but to make the well whole and to see each patient living life abundantly. The clients at Christ Health Center have access to primary care, dental services, professional counseling, and medication therapy through their on-site pharmacy. They accept all forms of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, as well as offering a generous sliding scale fee-for-service for self-pay patients. In addition to the work they do in their clinic, this organization is also involved outside their clinic, such as hosting the Woodlawn High School football team at a back-to-school event, supporting the team through the year, being involved in community outreach events, and by serving international orphans. In 2015, they served around 10,000 clients! Dr. Robert Record is the CEO for Christ Health Center.

They have numerous volunteer opportunities for those who are interested in getting involved. There are countless hands-on volunteer opportunities at the clinic. They also ask for prayer for their patients, their health-care providers, and for the communities they serve. Like any non-profit organization, they could also use financial support. Some of the immediate needs they have are hiring a chaplain and grant writer, purchasing new dental equipment to meet the growing volume of clients, and the development of a new benevolence program so that when there are patients who need services at costs well below what they are able to offer, they can offer an organized benevolence program that helps the patient receive the care they need in a way that preserves their dignity.

Psalm 145:8-16 – 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
9 The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14 The LORD sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Heavenly Father, You are good, loving, and merciful toward all You have made. We praise You and bless Your name because You are the Lord of all mankind and because You are a good Father. Your promises and Your character never fail. Hallelujah!

Thank You for Christ Health Center, which is being Your hands and heart to the community they serve. Through their ministry, You are raising up those who have been struck down by illness, disease, and poverty. Your mighty acts of compassion and healing are being revealed through this ministry. Hallelujah! We pray that every patient who is treated at Christ Health Center would know that it is by Your hand and Your provision that they are receiving the help they need. Let it cause them to recognize their need not only for physical health and healing, but also for spiritual wholeness, which can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. Father, we know many patients come in that are in desperate situations. We pray that You would sustain them and raise them up. Open Your hand and satisfy their needs. We pray that they would know who it is who heals them, and that their hearts would be turned to You in saving faith.

Every person is created in Your image, and therefore are intended to carry some of the majesty and glory. Yet poverty, abuse, illness, and sin can rob people of that majesty. Give Dr. Record and the leadership team at Christ Health Center the wisdom and grace to know how to most help their clients while protecting and even restoring the dignity they may have lost through their circumstances.

We lift up the health-care professionals who serve at Christ Health Center. Use them to make Your name famous in the community they serve. Let them bless You in all that they do, as they speak of Your kingdom and strive to advance Your kingdom in our city as it is in Heaven. Use them to reveal Your power and might to the people they serve. Strengthen them and encourage them, especially on the hard days. Allow them to see Your salvation at work on behalf of their patients. Amaze them with Your love and compassion at work in them and through them.

Finally, we also pray for the Woodlawn community. We pray that the spiritual forces of wickedness would be destroyed by the power of the Gospel. May Your Holy Spirit bring light, healing, deliverance, and salvation to that community. We know it has happened before, and so we pray You would do it again. Empower and equip the churches in the Woodlawn community to be Your light and to reach out to their neighbors, and to advance Your kingdom in Woodlawn against the kingdom of darkness.

We pray all these things to our merciful, gracious, perfect Father. Amen.

 

 

Praying for the Homeless – and Us

By now you have probably heard about, and maybe even experienced, the outrage regarding the homeless being left out in the cold because the Boutwell Auditorium, which is used as a warming station on cold nights, was being used for the Bernie Sanders rally. Don Lupo, the director for the Mayor’s Office for Citizens Assistance in the City of Birmingham, and the one who has managed the warming station at Boutwell for years, took to his Facebook page to challenge everyone to get involved in being part of the solution instead of just getting upset and looking for someone to blame. As a result of all of this, several churches, shelters, and some city leaders will be attending a meeting on Monday to develop plans for additional warming stations to use when the Boutwell is not available. You can read more about that meeting here. Don Lupo also mentioned on his Facebook page that the Boutwell warming station always needs personal hygiene items for their guests – toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, etc.

Matthew 25:34-40 – 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Lord Jesus, forgive us for becoming passive and unengaged from the profound needs that exist in our city. Thank You that over the recent years, more of Your Church are being awakened to the needs and are stepping in with sleeves rolled up to help and serve the least of these. Thank You for the many non-profit organizations in our city who have labored tirelessly to address the problems that often cause homelessness, from substance abuse, to mental illness, to abuse at home, to illiteracy and everything in between. But I know I’m guilty of sitting in my pew, listening to people from these organizations talk about what they do, and then walking away feeling good about the two minutes we took praying for them in the service – and leaving it at that. Forgive us, Lord, for leaving it at that. Forgive us for celebrating the amazing cultural opportunities that have come to Birmingham while doing nothing to address the needs of those who are in such desperate places. It cannot be one or the other to fix our city. It must be both. Thank You for using this incident with the political rally this week to open our eyes to the need. I pray that You would not let us drift back off to sleep on this issue again as it fades from our Facebook timelines.

We pray for the men, women, and children who don’t have a roof over their heads, who don’t know from where the next meal will come, who don’t own a coat or shoes or any of the things we take for granted. We pray especially as it’s supposed to snow this weekend that You would provide them warm, safe places to stay. Provide them with opportunities to feel the dignity that most of us take for granted just because we’re human. Give them opportunities to hear the clear message of the Gospel, without being tied to politics or religion. Lord Jesus, You know their need for a Savior is just as profound as it is for any of us. We pray that they would receive Your gift of salvation and that the power of the Gospel would set them free from the prison of addiction and poverty. For those who are mentally ill, we pray that You would equip us to know how to respond to their needs in a way that restores their dignity. Raise them up through the power of the Gospel to be seated with You in the heavenly places.

Forgive us for dismissing them out of our judgmental pride, thinking that they just need to pull themselves together, or get off the drugs/alcohol, or whatever reason we use to absolve ourselves of any responsibility we might feel to help. These are people created in Your image, who are precious to You, and so they should be just as precious to Your followers. Change our perspective, Lord. Compel us with supernatural compassion to get involved. How hard is it to collect new toothbrushes?? Bottled water? How can it be that easy and it still be a need? I think because we’re afraid that if we get involved a little bit, You might call us to get involved in the hard part of minister to the least of these. We pray that Your love would cast out every fear that keeps us from getting involved.

So Father, thank You for Bernie Sanders – well, his rally, anyway. Thank You for using it to highlight a problem so many of us tend to overlook. Out of Your mercy and grace, don’t let us miss the opportunity to be different, to be better ambassadors for the kingdom of God in our city. Let these men, women, and children out there feel the love of Christ – and let it be done through us. Amen.

 

Praying for Campus Outreach

Campus Outreach began in 1978 at Briarwood Presbyterian Church primarily as a means to have an influence on the college-age students in their church. Today, their vision is “Multiplying Christ-like leaders”, and their mission is “Glorifying God by building laborers on the college campus for the lost world”. There are CO ministries all over America and around the world now.

Each Campus Outreach sits under the authority and supervision of a regional church. Briarwood continues to provide that supervision for the Birmingham-based CO, which serves 7 different college campuses: Berry College, Jacksonville State University, Samford University, Troy University, University of North Alabama, University of South Alabama, and the University of West Georgia. Through regular discipleship, working with colleges, churches, and families, and through their three big annual events – Beach Project, New Year’s Conference, and Cross Cultural Project – Campus Outreach is raising up leaders for the Kingdom of God for every possible sphere of influence.

Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

I Timothy 4:11-16 – 11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

“Our God is so big and so mighty, there’s nothing our God cannot do!” You reign forever and Your glory fills the earth. We were children of wrath, and You purchased us with the blood of Christ, adopting us as sons and daughters, seating us in the heavenly places with Christ. As such, You allow us to join You in the work You are doing in the world. We are but dust, yet You give us the privilege of walking with You, of bearing Your name and carrying Your light into a dark world.

Our world seems to grow darker all around us these days, Lord, and we see that very clearly on college campuses. Thank You for raising up a ministry like Campus Outreach to be a light and a refuge in the midst of the encroaching darkness. We pray for protection around this ministry, their staff, and every volunteer. Keep Your Word in the center of all that they do, and keep their eyes focused on Christ. There are a lot of “every wind of doctrine, trickery of men, and craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14) in the college world today, so we pray that the power and purity of the Sword of the Spirit would cut through all of that for both the leaders of Campus Outreach and the students to whom they are ministering. We pray that You would continue to protect them from those who would seek to silence them and take away their right to declare the Gospel. Protect them from wolves in sheep’s clothing who are there to malign the Gospel through their behavior. Let Campus Outreach continue to be used by You as a strong tower on the battlefield for hearts and minds.

We pray for the students to whom they are ministering as well, Lord. In our world of political correctness, we pray that You would equip them and empower them to practice Your justice with kindness and humility, speaking truth in love no matter how reviled it is, or how reviled they are because they speak it. God, we pray that You would supernaturally equip these students by Your Spirit to walk in Your ways, so that in their speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity they would be a demonstration of Your love, grace, and truth. Cause Your Word to be planted in their hearts so that it is the foundation of everything they do and say. We pray that You would protect them spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally from every attack of the enemy. Give them the grace to persevere in these things so that as they do, it would bring the light of salvation to them and to all those who around them.

Lord, I’m so grateful that no matter how dark and evil things can appear to be, Your light is always shining through Your people, and that it cannot be extinguished. We pray that more and more students would be set free from the chains of darkness to walk into Your marvelous light, and that as they enter the workplace in all capacities, they would carry Your light with them. We pray these things for Your honor and glory. Amen.

Thank you for taking the time to pray with me for these cities and non-profits. If you want to share your own passage of Scripture, prayer, or anything to do with what we’ve prayed for, I would love to hear from you in the comments section!

 

Whom Shall I Fear?

Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Yeah, I kinda missed all of those here on the blog, but I’m hoping you were much too busy enjoying the holidays with your loved ones to have noticed. Now that we’re all caught up, I wanted to take this post to encourage anyone who needs to be reminded of some truth.

With just a casual perusal of news events in recent months and weeks, it’s easy to feel a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s tempting to lose hope for the situations we see around the world, across the nation, and in our own cities. Terrorism is on the rise and coming ever closer to home. Politics are more divisive than ever. Once-trusted leaders, once-beloved celebrities, and community servants are being exposed as men with dark, horrible secrets. The media, meanwhile, seems to just add fuel to the fire.

Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” No matter how much the foundations of our society shake and crumble, as Christians, we can stand secure. We must fix our eyes on the Lord, who is still sitting on His throne, as the very next verse reminds us. We do that by spending time seeking Him in His Word and in prayer. The Bible is rich with His promises of His goodness, His compassion, and His protection for His people. It doesn’t mean we stay uninformed and ignorant of how difficult things are around us. It doesn’t mean we walk around staying “too blessed to be stressed” or thinking our “favor” is going to spare us from hard things. All of those are tactics from the enemy to keep us from walking in the true authority and grace that can be ours during hardship and trials.

One of my children was pretty upset Christmas night after a rather scary ride home from Pinson to Pelham through flooded roads and crazy intense lightning. He asked why God allowed such bad weather on such a special day. I told him that God is always good, and His promises are always true. However, sometimes His goodness allows us to experience hard things or scary things because we learn to draw near to Him and trust Him more, which is far better than just always being safe and happy. We prayed through that scary drive home, and we saw God directly answer those prayers that night. We wouldn’t have experienced those answers to prayer, or even recognized our need for God’s provision and protection like we did without that storm.

Read Psalm 91 slowly and meditatively, asking the Holy Spirit to let it soak in deep to your spirit. Read Psalm 56, or Psalm 27, and there are so many other passages throughout the Bible where our good and loving Heavenly Father assures us of His protection. No matter what we face, we can know that He is for us, and that He works ALL things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28), and nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom. 8:35). We have an anchor for our souls. I believe that as we learn to trust God’s promises, walking in humility before His Sovereign power and grace, we can be a light and a beacon of hope that will draw the lost and hurting to our Savior, our Rock, our Firm Foundation, Jesus Christ.

If you’ve already endured significant hardship or loss, please do not think God’s truths have failed you. I know that’s tempting when you’re hurting so badly, because I’ve been there. Choose to trust Him even when nothing makes sense. It is very possible to grieve – which I think involves processing all the “whys” that come with grief – and to trust at the same time. God is faithful and you will see His goodness even in places of deep pain and loss.

Well, this is an unusual blog post with which to start off the new year. These are just some thoughts I’ve had through the holiday season, and I felt led to share them with you. Next week, we will pick back up with praying through some of the great nonprofit organizations in the metro-Birmingham area.