Voice of the Martyrs Interview with Todd Nettleton

ID-100131433For over 40 years, Voice of the Martyrs has worked tirelessly to help the cause of persecuted Christians around the world. Sunday, November 3, is recognized as IDOP, the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. While it is important to pray everyday for those suffering for their faith, VOM is hoping to unite many churches and people to pray in unity.

In this videocast, Jane VanOsdol of OnlyByPrayer.com and Todd Nettleton, director of media development at Voice of the Martyrs (Persecution.com), discuss how VOM’s resources can help you pray for the persecuted church on IDOP as well as all through the year.  This short, 20-minute discussion is available in both video and as an MP3 so that you can download and listen to it at your convenience. Todd outlines several resources that will help you pray effectively and take action on behalf of those who are suffering for their faith.

Prayer and Action Resources:

Here is the videocast of the interview:


Here is the podcast of the IDOP interview:


“Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

12 Ways to Live a Life of Purpose in 2012, Part 1

“That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10

Happy New Year!

The start of a new year is always exciting, because I feel like I’ve got a clean slate ahead of me with lots of possibilities. One theme that has been running through my mind is that I want to live a life of purpose in 2012. Mary and I have jotted down some ways we’re going to try to do that this year, and we wanted to share those with you.

So, here’s the first four items on our list:

1. Get involved in something bigger than yourself. It’s easy to get so caught up in our own lives so that all we think about is ourselves and our situations. When we are going though a difficult time, we tend to think the world revolves around us and our situation because we are so inner focused. Having a cause that is outside of yourself is one of the best ways to maintain your stability and a healthy spiritual and mental outlook. It’s a wonderful antidote to depression.

Even if you are physically incapacitated, you can still be involved in world matters simply by praying. I know two women who are just about housebound because of health problems. One of them is actively involved in placing at-risk children in temporary housing, and the other one has a vibrant prayer ministry for people all around the world. Both of them do these activities from their homes.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started on finding a cause to be involved with:

  •  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
  • Extend a micro-loan to a struggling entrepreneur through Kiva and then pray for that person.
  • Become a tutor for adults or children.
  • Prepare a meal for shut-ins.
  • Volunteer at your church.
  • Mentor a person younger than you.
  • Join something God may be calling you to like the choir, drama group or teen ministry at church.
  • If you are housebound, ask some of your favorite ministries at your church if there are ways you can volunteer for them from your home. Maybe you could put together their monthly newsletter. Many ministries are also in desperate need of someone to handle grant writing for them. This is a skill that you can easily learn from your home through an online class. Here is a class that you pay for that teaches you the grant-writing process (http://www.ed2go.com/online-courses/grant-writing-a-to-z.html), but I’ve also seen free tutorials;  also often times the ministry itself will train you to do this if you volunteer for them.

2. Pray faithfully for your family. Sometimes we forget to pray for our families because we are busy praying for other people. Or, we may get discouraged if we don’t quickly see the changes we want to see. Make it a priority to pray for your family. Write down in a safe place detailed requests and perhaps some scripture that relates to the situation and then pray for them several times a week. Remember to record any changes you see in your family–and you– so that you have a record of God working in your lives.

3. Pick a Bible study and see it through to the end. I know I often start a new Bible study with enthusiasm, but half way through it, it can become hard to maintain that motivation. I’ve found that if I stick with it and finish the study, God always does a work in my life. Check out some studies from Beth Moore and Kay Arthur (Precepts) just to name a few to get you started.

4. Take a few minutes each day to connect with God through His creation. Have you ever tried keeping a nature journal? I’m not particularly artistic, but I really enjoyed this activity when I tried it a few years ago. It forces you to slow down and really see things. Study a snow flake. Set up a bird feeder and watch the birds for a few minutes each day. In the warmer months, grow some flower and vegetables. Learn the names of the different trees in your area.

You can keep a traditional nature journal by purchasing a blank artist’s notebook and colored pencils. Sketch as best you can what you see. Or maybe you want to try an online version. Take pictures with your digital camera and upload your pictures to an online gallery, such as Picasa Web Albums or Flickr. You can also use Mixbook, Walmart, Meijer, or any of the other myriad photo applications to make an actual printable book with your photos.

As you begin to observe the world around you, God’s hand prints become so much more noticeable, as does the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

I’ll continue this series in the next blog post. If you have any of your own ideas to add, please leave us a message. Until then, pray on!

Image: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pray Your Way Through 2011

Perhaps one of your New Year’s goals is to pray more. Well, January is a good time to pray and ask God what major issues or topics He wants you to zero in on for the year. Of course, as the year goes along, you’ll find plenty of things, people and situations to pray for. But right now we can all take some time to seek God on what ongoing requests He wants you to focus on for 2011. Mary and I were just talking about this the other day and decided to share our Top 6 Prayer List of what we’re focusing on this year.

Top 6 Prayer List for 2011

1.     Pray that we can love God with all our hearts. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

2.     Pray that we can believe God to do big things in our lives. (Ephesians 3:20,21)

3.     Pray for perseverance. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

4.     Pray for persecuted Christians. (2Thessalonians 3:1-2)

5.     Pray for justice for the oppressed. (Psalm 103:6)

6.     Pray that we would be developing and using our God-given gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

You may be led to similar prayer goals, or God may reveal to you totally different goals. One of the challenges with goals is actually doing them or keeping them. What I decided to do to help keep these fresh before me for the whole year is to write each goal on its own index card and keep it in my prayer card file. I’ll use a larger 4 x 6 size card. (See Ready, Set, Pray if you need suggestions to help you establish a prayer time.) As I go through the year, I’m going to record any specific requests or how I see God working in these areas on the appropriate cards.

Set aside some time tonight or over the weekend to ask God what your prayer priorities should be this year. If you want to share any of your prayer goals for the year, just leave a comment. We’d love to hear them.

Click to listen to the Pray Your Way Through 2011 podcast.

Pray on!