MAF Devotions

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MAF Devotions

Welcome to our prayer devotions

Psalm 100 encourages us to ‘enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise’, and this is foundational to everything we do at MAF.

Every flight begins with prayer before take-off because God is, and always will be, at the centre of all we do.

As we begin this series of monthly prayer devotionals, it seems fitting to ‘enter in’ with thanksgiving and praise, to focus on who God is and what He has done – expectant of all He promises to do.

We hope you find the monthly prayer devotionals both inspiring and challenging. It is our prayer that you will increase your knowledge of God’s power, His love and His plans for the world we live in.

As we partner together, let’s do so expecting God to hear our prayers and answer them and that His power and glory will be known here on earth as they are in heaven.

Thank you for journeying with us to see help, hope and healing across the nations. Remember, your prayers go even further than our planes do!

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The power of praise and worship

19 May 2017

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-3 we read of the reaction of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, when he received word that an alliance of three vast armies were coming to attack. Understandably, he was terrified.

A faithful man of God

King Jehoshaphat was a faithful man of God, devoted to the ways of the Lord. He had strengthened Judah to stand against attacks from Israel.

He had sent out teachers and priests to declare the word of the Lord.

He had appointed Judges, telling them to ‘always act in the fear of the Lord, with faithfulness and an undivided heart’ (19:9 NLT).

He was a good man. He didn’t deserve this. Yet he found himself under attack.

When we find ourselves facing undeserved opposition, we can become overwhelmed and adopt a ‘Why me?’ attitude. We can even get angry and blame God.

A call to pray

King Jehoshaphat, however, chose a different response. He called a national prayer meeting, asking his people to fast.

Flame International and MAF Uganda staff come together to pray

As the people gathered, he prayed, ‘O LORD, God of our ancestors, You alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against You!’

He fixed his eyes on who God is, rather than focusing on the impending attack.

He remembered what God had done before: ‘Did You not drive out those who lived in this land when Your people Israel arrived? And did You not give this land forever to the descendants of Your friend Abraham?’

And he brought his problem to God – admitting his own weaknesses and vulnerability.

Do we do this?

Dependency on God

Often our great dependency on God is revealed in times of opposition; in those times when we’re unable to keep fighting alone.

The story continues with the Spirit of the Lord coming upon a man called Jahaziel. He spoke the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s... stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.’

When we come together to seek God, He encourages us and guides us.

What they did next was incredible. They worshipped!

A man lifting his arms in worship.

We don’t worship in response to His presence – His loving presence responds when we come before Him in worship

King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah knew the secret of lifting their hearts above their troubles and entering into God’s presence. Their response provided a channel for God’s power to operate.

Psalm 22:3 reminds us God inhabits the praises of His people. We don’t worship in response to His presence – His loving presence responds when we come before Him in worship.

Verse 22 of 2 Chronicles 20 tells us that at the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies to turn against each other, and all were killed.

Sweet fragrance of affection

The fragrance of our affections, our praises to the most high King, repels the darkness of the enemy – bringing God’s light, love and redemption in its place.

  • There is power in our praise and worship.
  • There is power in our responding.
  • There is power in our standing.

Paul and Silas knew this power as they sat chained and beaten in a dark, dingy cell. Their choice to pray and worship, despite their circumstances, saw the earthquake come, the doors fling open, the shackles fall off and – more poignantly – through choosing to remain where they were, salvation come to the prison guard and his family.

  • There is power when we join together to pray for the work and people of MAF.
  • There is power when we share stories of God’s provision and breakthrough.
  • There is power when we declare the promises of God to restore the land.
  • There is power when we admit our weakness and dependence on the Lord.

Power of praise

For further encouragement on the power of praise, check out this short testimony from MAF Pilot Israel Neale.

As you ponder the power of praise and worship, ask the Lord to direct your prayers to one of the countries in which we serve.

Seek His heart for the people of that country, our partners and for the MAF staff serving there. Let’s stand together for the things that are yet unseen, giving glory to our King!

Share what the Lord has spoken to you with our Prayer Communications Leader, Victoria Fagg by emailing her so we can join you in praying for those God lays on your heart – praising Him for all He intends to do.

 

Let faith arise

16 June 2017

‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

False Sanguma’s belief in witchcraft was countered by the Word of God and the concern of Christian believers in Fiyawena, Papua New Guinea in 2015

The tragic events over the last few weeks will forever be etched on our minds.

The senseless bombing of a packed arena in Manchester and the vicious attack in London resulting in the death and injury of so many innocent people, reminds us of the vulnerability of human life and the devastating effects of someone’s choices.

Why?

A Papua New Guinean man sits in thoughtAt such times, many question the existence of a loving and powerful God as they search for reasons and answers; the poignant question ‘why?’ hangs heavy in the air.

‘Where is your God in all this?’ is something we’ve all heard at times – a question we don’t always know how to answer.

Was the same question asked when Jesus, nailed to the cross, took His last breath?

The King of Kings who was coming to save the world was dead. Confusion, heartbreak and despair consumed His followers. Doubt and fear crept in. Self-preservation overtook Peter as he denied Christ.

The story wasn’t over

Yet that was not the end.

The death and resurrection of Jesus is an illustration of triumph over tragedy, light out of darkness, life from death. It challenges our understanding of what power and authority look like; rooting us in the truth that Love always wins.

Love wins little by little with every act of kindness, each selfless choice, every bold decision to serve.

In the midst of loss and bewilderment, as the stark reality of what happened in both Manchester and London gradually unfolded, we witnessed the unity of people standing together to support the community.

In all the heartbreak, we experienced something of God’s presence.

In many of the developing countries in which MAF serves, tribal conflict, false beliefs and superstition result in loss of life.

Changing a culture is possible, but it takes time

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), a measles outbreak has led to innocent women and children being accused of witchcraft. But God is at work.

With MAF’s help, missionary Anton Lutz and a young woman called Nes Mark have been confronting accusations of sorcery head on. Through the work of an intervention team including missionaries, pastors, a police commander and public servants, communities have been renouncing their tradition of attacking those believed to be harbouring evil spirits. Unfortunately, despite the churches efforts to combat false allegations, lives are still being lost in PNG.

When Dr Rosie Crowter attempted to teach the women of PNG about TB and malaria, she found that everyone believed the diseases were caused by witchcraft and evil spirits.

So, to combat these beliefs, Rosie adapted her workshops to bring God’s Word. She is helping to change people’s mindsets by teaching them who God is and what He says about sorcery and death.

In Papua, it was the Word of God, alongside missionaries placed ‘for such a time as this’, that helped save the life of little Emma Grace who, because of false beliefs, was left to die shortly after being born.

The only book to be translated into the native Moi language was Exodus 1, but this was enough for missionaries to share with Emma Grace’s father the story of the Hebrew midwives who, despite Pharaoh’s orders, saved the Israelite boys from being killed. God softened the man’s heart and the family now follow Christ.

Let faith arise

God is at work in this broken world. His ways are not our ways, but His Word brings revelation and renewal. Let faith arise as we ask the Lord to reveal His hand at work in the little things – giving us eyes to see, ears to hear and the courage to be His hands and feet in a world that desperately needs us.

Please pray

  • Romans 12:2 reminds us not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As we find ourselves with questions we cannot answer and despair in our hearts, let’s ask the Lord to renew people’s minds throughout this troubled world; setting them free for fear and superstition.
  • Pray for Anton Lutz, Nes Mark, Dr Rosie and others doing the Lord’s work, asking for protection as they continue to challenge false beliefs in Jesus’ name.
  • Pray specifically for Pastors and Christians in remote communities who are the first line of defence for those accused of acts of sorcery.
  • Give thanks for MAF’s ability to reach remote and isolated communities – enabling emergency medevacs, missionaries and the Word of God to reach those most in need.

A prayer session

 

Discipleship for mission

21 July 2017

‘Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I AM with you every day, even to the completion of this age.’ Matthew 28:19-20 (TPT)

Rev Jonas Lenganda counsels and prays with a woman who has come to the Kilimatinde Safari clinic in Chidudu, Tanzania

As believers in Christ, being on mission is our commission. Whether paid, unpaid, overseas or at home — in school, working or retired — we are all called to tell others about Jesus.

Acts 1:8 tells us that, when we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. For some, this means serving people overseas. For others, the mission field may be closer to home. (The use of Jerusalem in the verse above refers to a local area.)

Mission, at its simplest, is sharing God’s love with others. It can be as modest as stopping to chat with someone who needs a listening ear, or sharing the burdens of those in our neighbourhood, churches and workplaces — shining God’s love. It is about discerning where God is already at work and seeking to join Him in building His Kingdom.

When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He was calling every Christian to step out in faith and spread the Good News. It is an invitation to obedience, adventure, divine destiny and purpose. We are called to ‘make disciples’ and should see discipleship and mission not as separate callings, but as one and the same thing. Rather than being about activities or certain people serving in distant countries, the call to mission originates in the very nature of God. After all, the God of the Bible is a sending God.

Rev Christopher Njiliho prays with individuals who have come to the Kilimatinde Safari clinic in Chidudu, Tanzania, held under a large acacia tree.

Throughout history, God has been sending people. He sent Abraham into the unknown to experience the presence and power of faith. He sent Moses to the oppressive dictator Pharaoh to let the bells of freedom ring through the corridors of history. He sent the prophets to God’s people with a message of judgment and forgiveness.

And He sent His Son, Jesus. And Jesus sent His disciples.

As Christians, our mission is an extension of the nature of God, who cares enough to seek, search and save people, meeting them where they are.

Miriam Swaffield, Fusion UK’s Student Mission Leader, says:

‘Mission is really about relationship. Relationship with God and others. Loving Him and so loving others with that love of God that is arrestingly different to the love of the world, covered in the aroma of Christ. Mission isn’t an event, it’s a person.

‘Discipleship is really about relationship. Relationship with God and others. Loving Him and so loving others as we all walk in His ways and help each other keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Including those who are yet to live in obedience to the Holy Spirit themselves. That’s where we can bring life, and life in all its fullness, because that is where it is needed. Discipleship isn’t an event, it’s people.

‘If discipleship and mission are all about relationship between God, His people and all of humanity, then the whole thing is inseparable. Both discipleship and mission are about sharing and knowing more of Jesus with each other in community with God.’

MAF is a family of missionaries. Some are based overseas, serving people in isolated communities. Others work in MAF support offices and resourcing groups all over the world, partnering with our supporters, volunteers and prayer partners to see God’s love and power reach those in need of help, hope and healing.

As disciples of Christ, when we step into our ‘missionary shoes’ — being the hands and feet of Jesus and sharing Him as a natural overflow of our relationship with Him — we find ourselves more aware of His presence in our lives.

We start to mature in mission, being discipled by the Holy Spirit as we search for the right words and responses to those in need.

Under the MAF plane wing, Mama Ruth Kambenga and 17-year-old Peter Daniel sing with and teach the local children from nearby villages while on the Kilimatinde Medical Safari taking place at Chidudu, Tanzania.

Response

Ask the Lord to show you what your mission field is for this season in your life, seeking Him for boldness, direction and open doors.

Think about people you could disciple, whether helping them grow deeper in Christ, or perhaps teaching those who do not yet know about Jesus’ redeeming love.

Continue to pray for MAF’s family of missionaries as they serve Jesus. May they continue to draw close to the source of all life — being led by His Spirit in all they do.

Finally, please pray for more people to hear God’s call to serve with MAF throughout the developing world.

 

Trusting God in the unknown

18 August 2017

Sometimes we can find ourselves going in a different direction to the one we felt God call us, which can lead us wondering if we misunderstood God’s leading. This month’s Prayer Devotion, written by MAF Senior Technician Joey Redhead, who, in 2016 moved to the other side of the world to follow God’s call to serve with MAF in Papua New Guinea. Joey shares his own personal experience of such a challenge.

Joey climbs the antenna to install an HF radio for a primary school in the small mountain village of Guasa

There was once a guy called Paul. You’ve probably heard of him.

He brought Christianity to Europe and wrote much of the New Testament. But, sometime before all that, he felt called by God to tell the Good News about Jesus Christ to what is now modern-day Turkey.

Turkey and the surrounding area was the socio-economic hub of the world at that time, so making an influence there would be a way of influencing the world.

It was a big job and one that Paul was no doubt excited about. However, only a short way into his journey, he found that he was unable to share God’s Word there.

Called

In some ways, I can relate. At the beginning of 2015, I felt God call me to go to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to serve the people there with my engineering skills.

It wasn’t that I thought this would be a good thing to do, or that it was something of which God would approve.

No, God made it irrevocably clear that this was what He wanted me to do. It happened with a clarity I couldn’t doubt and a certainty that I knew I’d need to hold on to in the future — although I didn’t know why at the time.

In the summer of 2016, I moved to PNG and began to work with MAF there. I very much enjoyed myself, settled in well, and like to think that I made an impact for God’s glory there too.

But after six months, I became ill and had to come back to England to be treated. Much about my illness still remains a mystery. The prognosis for my recovery in the future is good, but when this will occur is totally unclear. I am very much in a time of uncertainty.

Lost

It is easy to question whether I misunderstood what God was telling me when I felt called, but I know this is not the case. It’s easy to feel that I failed in some way, that I wasn’t strong enough, but I know this was always God’s work and it was only because of His strength that I’d be able to achieve this task – a strength that I know never fails.

It’s easy to feel lost because, well, I am. But that’s okay, because I’m travelling with God and He doesn’t just have the map, He made it!

Interrupted

The Bible doesn’t tell us how Paul felt when he was unable to carry out his plans. It’s also unclear as to why Paul wasn’t able to share the Good News about Jesus.

It does however tell us that God was the author of this interruption.

It also tells us what Paul did next. He carried on! He tried to preach throughout the whole region and, when he wasn’t able to, he moved on to the next.

He carried on and on until he found himself at the very tip of Turkey.

From there, God led him to bring the Gospel to Europe, which would remain the social and economic hub of the world for the next 2,000 years. It was something Paul could never have known at the time, but was something God had planned all along.

Please pray for Joey

  • That he will always find his hope and his rest in God.
  • That God will use this time of uncertainty however He pleases.
  • That God will bring him healing in His perfect timing.
  • That God will bless and encourage our team in PNG

 

Every valley has a story

15 September 2017

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23 (NKJV)

A Kenyan tribal women looking into the distance

A funeral psalm?

Psalm 23 is commonly used at funerals. The words are used to help personalise the listener’s relationship with God, and paint Him as comforting and nurturing.

‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me’ gives mourners a sense of hope in a time of darkness and loss.

For Christians, the words ‘I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever’ remind us of the promise of eternal life after death.

The evangelist Luis Palau, however, believes Psalm 23 is better suited to dealing with present, worldly matters rather than with death.

As Christians, we are not exempt from trials and tribulations – we all go through different seasons in life.

Sometimes life is great and everything is going well. Then there are other times when life is hard and we struggle to see beyond our dispiriting situation. We have mountaintop moments and we have valley moments.

The reality is that there is always a valley between two mountains. We reach a mountaintop experience and live there for a while, but when a wind of defeat or discouragement comes, it blows us right down to the bottom of the mountain again.

A charmed life?

King David didn’t have a quiet life. He became a soldier in his adolescence, spent much of his life on the run and, as king, struggled both politically and spiritually.

He failed in his relationships with his wife Michal, sons and contemporaries. His personal life was fraught – full of pain and difficulty. One son died at birth, another grew up to rape his sister, which led to yet another son killing him for it.

David knew what the valley was like. But, as we see from Psalm 23, he recognised that God was in the valley with him.

The truth is that every valley moment has a story that God will use to bring life and revelation. If we let Him, God will use our situations to advance His Kingdom.

They build our character and equip us to help others.

Romans 8:28 (NLT) reminds us that ‘God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

An MAF aircraft flies over Kenya

A life of defeat?

There are so many things that can knock us down. Health issues, financial worries, marriage breakdown, bereavement, family problems, loss, loneliness, busyness, past hurts, unforgiveness, the unknown...

In many of the countries in which MAF serves, the terrain and isolation can be overwhelming. The poverty and conflict people experience there cry out a desperate song that echoes through the land.

But one of the things we need to understand about valley seasons is that they are unavoidable — bad things happen. They are unpredictable — you can’t choose when you experience them. They’re impartial — no one is immune.

Yet they are also temporary. They won’t last forever. Remember, we are just walking through. And they have a purpose.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (Message) tells us:

‘I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.’

God is using these moments to refine us as evidence of His victory! Hallelujah!

Please pray

The green pastures this psalm speaks about were not belly-deep alfalfa but small tufts of grass growing where there was moisture by the rocks.

The shepherds led their sheep to the sustenance they required, then led them on to the next mouthful whenever it was needed. Today, however, we often find ourselves dealing with tomorrow’s problems on today’s pasture.

Take a moment to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about this, and lay down tomorrow’s problems at His feet. Ask the Lord to help you to trust Him for His provision right now.

Remember those MAF serves in isolated communities – seeking the Lord to meet all their needs in Jesus’ name. Pray that those who don’t yet know Him will find God in the valley and choose Him as their Shepherd.

Lift up the MAF family as they live their lives as a witness to God’s goodness for His glory.

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