Please join us in prayer. As we stand at a pivotal point in time, between the passing of an old year and the beginning of a new one, we are reminded of the attitude of the Apostle Paul, who with a singularity of focus wrote, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). “I press on” Paul said—forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
Lord God, as we leave an old year, help us to leave that which would drag us down behind—whether those be failures and disappointments or accomplishments that could make us complacent. As we face a new year help us to be expecting good things to come from you—to strain toward what is ahead. At all times, help us to live in the present, where you meet us and where futures are decided. The past is done. The future is uncertain, and these days, we sometimes can’t see very far, but we have the present, and we have You as Lord and Saviour. Help us to keep pressing on, in our individual callings, toward you.
As we come to you in prayer, Lord Jesus, we think specifically of Bolivia. We would love to forget about COVID and all the economic hardship and grief that previous waves have already created but we see another wave coming. Daily cases are already rising sharply. We pray that this time, the effects will not be as severe. We pray that churches and leaders, having learned from earlier waves, will be able to act quickly and wisely. We pray for those, who for economic or humanitarian reasons, have to expose themselves to the virus, that you will protect them, Lord Jesus. We pray that vaccines will be available for the 62% of people who have not yet been doubly vaccinated, and that they will be willing to be vaccinated. We pray for pastors who are tired—tired of working around COVID restrictions, tired of worrying about health, finances, vulnerable members of their congregations, tired of extra Zoom meetings. Give strength to keep pressing on, with vision for a better future.
We pray for our colleagues Bruno and Kathleen Soucy and Byron Vélasquez in Guatemala. Keep them safe as they introduce our partners to new initiatives related to marketplace ministries, pastoral support groups, micro-enterprise, and more. We pray for our colleagues in Bolivia, Tim and Kallie Hutton, Goretty Jora, Patty Nacho, as they grieve losses due to COVID but press on with ministry to vulnerable children and economic projects that help women to cope with the pandemic. We pray especially for children who plan to attend school, in person, this coming term. That it will be possible and that they will be kept safe.
This week we pray not only for Bolivia, but for CBM’s work around the world. We pray for countries like Cuba, Myanmar, and Lebanon facing a combination of political instability, economic collapse, and COVID spikes. We pray for peace in the face of political tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, between China and the West over human rights abuses, and Taiwan. We pray for world leaders as we face another wave of COVID. We pray that solutions would come from a global perspective as we face global problems. We pray for peace, provision, and good leadership, Lord Jesus.
Personally, we are thankful that we are fully vaccinated, even as we pray for all to have the same privilege. We thank you Lord for the ability to work remotely with leaders in Bolivia and now in Central America as well. We pray for healing for our daughter, Marigan, who continues to struggle with long COVID symptoms. We are thankful that she could be home for Christmas.
We are thankful for all our faithful prayer and financial supporters. We are thankful for health.
As we pass a milestone in chronological time, help us not to be as conscious of our own plans and agendas as yours. Step into our agendas with your divine opportunities—your kairos times. In 2022, we expect you to break into our world in new and unexpected ways, as you broke into the lives of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Samuel and indeed Mary the mother of Jesus and Jesus himself. When your opportunities arise in the coming year, help us to step into them with courage and faith, knowing that you worked all things for the good for ancient Israel, for heroes of the faith who have gone before us, and will keep doing so for us, in the coming year.