Each of our countries is facing change. As God’s people, this is not a time to stand down or drop our guard. Our leaders need wisdom, strength, and guidance from Almighty God. The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NASB). For our respective nations and their future, that admonition never had more urgency. Our faith and hope is in God, not human leaders.
In the Bible we read of a pattern that repeated itself over and over in Israel’s history. The nation would lose its focus on God and became accommodating toward sin. That led to God’s judgment and troubled times. When the people humbled themselves, repented, and cried out fervently to God in prayer for help, He responded by giving them a fresh opportunity. But before long, the people of Israel would relax and once again lose their focus on obedience to God.
Let’s not allow that cycle to develop on our watch. We must keep praying not only for our leaders, but also for our churches, for spiritual awakening, and for people who need Jesus Christ. And we must make sure our own hearts and lives are fully committed and obedient to God.
Ask God to continue stirring a spirit of repentance, along with prayer, throughout the land.
I recently returned from Iraq, where Christians have suffered greatly. The brutal murder of believers has become commonplace, and hundreds of thousands of Christians in Iraq have been forced to flee their homes in the last few years because of the actions of fundamentalist Islam. A sobering new study reports that around the world, in just the last 12 months, 90,000 believers have been killed because of their commitment to Jesus Christ — that’s one person every six minutes. Vastly more believers are being persecuted in ways that seldom or never get much news coverage.
That’s why I’ll be in Washington, D.C., in May to host the World Summit in Defence of Persecuted Christians. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is sponsoring this critical international event to put a spotlight on the persecution of our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe, and to stir up prayer and action to help alleviate their plight. We are expecting 600 delegates from at least 130 countries including victims of persecution, advocates for religious liberty, and men and women experienced in ministering to the oppressed and persecuted. This is an unprecedented gathering.
We need your prayers for the summit, including delegates from the UK. Many are from places where Christians live in poverty. We want to show these faithful fellow believers that we stand with them and are praying for them, and we want the worldwide church to hear and know what is happening.
We greatly value your prayers—in fact, we depend on them. We also rely on your financial gifts to continue spreading the Gospel message in the UK and around the world, just as we have done for many decades. Every gift is important and makes a difference.
May God richly bless you,
I met Jesus on the internet
Rachel is one of thousands of people in the UK who have had a liberating meeting with Jesus through internet evangelism.
In October Rachel signed up to the online Know Jesus course with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). She began a conversation with Maria, her Discipleship Coach, and immediately asked:
“Please help me to get rid of the anger and the depression so that I can be a better mother and daughter.”
“Would you like me to pray for you, Rachel?” asked Maria.
“Yes, why not if you think it will work?” replied Rachel. “I feel like I am at a point in my life I really want to believe because life for me really, really sucks right now. And I can’t live like this anymore.”
Maria believes in the power of prayer, and she asked God to give Rachel peace in her heart, and to fill her with hope. She declared that depression and anger would have no authority over Rachel’s life and rebuked them in name of Jesus.
On the Monday they picked up the conversation again and Rachel wrote:
“Wow, Maria, thank you! Something amazing happened to me over the weekend I can’t explain it other than an immense sense of overwhelming love and my loneliness lifted. I’ve been praying and I have been happy and not depressed. When I start to think horrible feelings I just say: ‘Go away devil, you’re not able to hurt me no more. I’ve listened to your lies and deceit all my life. Well, no more.’ I’ve been reading my Bible. I don’t understand a lot but am learning and I certainly feel like I am being changed.
“This time last week I was contemplating not wanting to live anymore and now the demons I was fighting in my mind have gone. I can’t believe how good I feel. The troubles in my life feel like they’re not troubling anymore, like the Lord has taken them off my shoulders and is correcting my mistakes. Thank you, and God bless you and everyone else. I can’t believe how easy it is just to believe and you achieve his presence.”
Every day thousands of people like Rachel are searching online for answers to their questions, and looking for something to fill the emptiness within. They type in questions like “Does God love me?” or “What happens when I die?”
British people are now active on the internet for an average of nearly three hours a day. It has become like the marketplaces of the ancient world, where the first apostles shared the Gospel.
BGEA’s internet evangelism ministry directs seekers to our website called PeacewithGod.org.uk, where they have an opportunity to understand the Gospel and pray a salvation prayer. So far, since the autumn of 2014, some 36,000 people in the UK have indicated that they have prayed the prayer, and 6,500 have contacted us via email.
BGEA in the UK has 30 Email Responders, and Discipleship Coaches like Maria, who befriend these seekers and help them on their journey towards freedom. They also encourage people to join local churches where they can be built up in their new faith.
The harvest is great but the labourers are few. We would love more churches and individuals to join us in this internet mission. You can find out more on our website www.searchforjesus.org.uk or contact us on 020 8559 0342, SearchforJesus@bgea.org.uk
(Names have been changed to protect privacy.)
The film which gave Adrian a second chance
Second Chance is the film which helped to bring Adrian Whitelock up from the pit of prison and drug addiction. “The film is definitely inspiring ,” he said. “It makes you realise that anything is possible.”
In many ways, life for Adrian is now good. He has a caring family, and goes to Elim Community Church in Carlisle. A couple of years ago, however, his world was anything but peaceful.
“I have quite a troubled background,” he admits. “I used to be a drug addict, and it landed me in prison.”
His father is a Christian, and after Adrian’s release, the church reached out to him, and he agreed to go on a discipleship course. As a follow-up the church put on an evening meal and showed Second Chance, a collection of testimonies from the UK. These include the story of Brian Sumner, a world-class skateboarder who divorced his wife, and then remarried her after a life-changing encounter with Christ. The stories are woven through with a Gospel message from Billy Graham.
“The film came at just the right time,” said Adrian. “There was a lot I didn’t understand at first, but I took a copy home and watched it a second time.”
The film enabled him to take a huge step forward in faith, and eight weeks later he was baptised.
“Coming to faith is an amazing thing,” he said. “It’s the best gift you could ever give anybody.”
At the same time he emphasises that the journey has not been easy. After coming to faith he spent several weeks in hospital with septicaemia from a leg ulcer.
“The hardest thing was to understand the Bible,” he said. “I hadn’t read it before; in fact, I didn’t really read books at all.”
Adrian found the Living in Christ booklet that goes with the My Hope films really beneficial. “There were times,” he said, “when I would ask: ‘What’s the point?’ But then I would open Living in Christ and it was fantastic. Something inside filled me up with power.” The booklet has also showed him the best way to read the Bible; he says he is ‘concentrating on Jesus’.
He is now going on strong in his faith: reading a daily devotional and attending a mid-week Bible study group as well as church on Sunday. He has even been to apologise to a neighbour whom he upset earlier on.
“We are building the relationship with him,” said his pastor, Peter Wright. “Adrian is now beginning to ask what he is going to do with the rest of his life.”
• That the Lord would release the finances we need to continue to encourage more churches to proclaim the Gospel
• That the Lord would continue to bless people in crisis through the work and ministry of BGEA’s Rapid Response Team
• That the Lord would provide for the needs of the Emerging Evangelist Institute to equip and support young evangelists
Help many more to hear the good news of Jesus!
BGEA proclaims the Gospel by every effective means and equips others to do the same, through prayer, evangelism and outreach programmes, discipleship and training (find out more at www.billygraham.org.uk).
Our ministry depends entirely on the incredible generosity of supporters like you. Would you prayerfully consider giving a gift today? You can give through the link here.