We ended the OLD YEAR of 2023 with our annual Christmas staff dinner. We took some time to reflect on the goodness of God upon our development efforts throughout the year as well as with many other blessings.
We began the NEW YEAR of 2024 with a late night prayer meeting with those from our Daily United Prayer where over 40 saints from around the world gathered together to pray in the new year. We focused our prayer efforts around three areas:
Enjoy the prayer meditation that was brought that evening below. Strength and courage is the need of the hour as we face the good land of God's promises in 2024.
- Revival. Specifically, we were praying for personal revival, revival in our churches, and revival for our nations. The next generation is looking for life, but they are finding a "counterfeit life" in all the wrong places.
- The List. We have started to compile a personal, hand-written list of names of loved ones that we are specifically praying for, corporately and privately.
- Global Sermons. We want to see 2024 as the year of global sermons, where sermons that are preached in English are "re-preached" in multiple foreign languages. It is our desire that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the seas (Hab 2:14).
As I sit here thinking about this passing year of 2023, there is a lot that could be said. This is the year that Artificial Intelligence took center stage. It is the year that we utilized some of these AI tools to launch the Audiobook Initiative, giving voice to Christian classics, as well as to transcribe every sermon uploaded. With your generous support, this is the year that we made some giant advances with The Vault infrastructure, protecting our ability to broadcast sound preaching. This is the year that we formed an exclusive partnership with Samaritan Ministries in providing wonderful benefits to our growing family of broadcasters worldwide. It is also the year that we returned to NYC to host our sixth Foundations Conference and launched our beautiful Foundations Psalter.
This all happened in 2023, and so much more.
But I want to focus some thoughts on just three things that stand out in my mind, especially as it relates to our efforts in united prayer.
DEATH OF CLARENCE SEXTON
This continues to be a great grief to me. In fact, with each passing day, I can hardly believe he is no longer with us. Dr. Sexton passed away quite unexpectedly on Dec 12, 2023 -- the first day of our conference in NYC. Almost exactly 2 years prior, he spoke at our conference and delivered an insightful and somewhat prophetic talk at a dinner with all the speakers. He was one of the few preachers that I knew that preached often about revival and the importance of prayer. In fact, his last published book was titled, "Lord, Teach Us to Pray!" He left a tremendous impression upon me, was a constant encouragement to me, and I hope you will take the time to watch the 30-minute tribute that I produced in his memory.
STATUE OF JEREMIAH LANPHIER
One of the most remarkable things that occurred in 2023 was the unexpected call we received from the owner of a very famous statue of Jeremiah Lanphier that sat for many years in front of the headquarters of the American Bible Society in NYC, and after that, King's College on Wall Street. Seeing that these organizations were no longer present in NYC, the owner was looking for a new home. Just weeks before our conference, this statue was moved to the Manor Church and served as a striking reminder of the importance of persevering in united prayer, just as Lanphier did in his day.
1,000 DAYS OF UNITED PRAYER
Not quite 1,000 days yet, but close enough. United Prayer was officially launched in December of 2019 when we put forward a proposal to gather together to pray for revival. We were simply following in the footsteps of Jeremiah Lanphier, and Jonathan Edwards before him. It is something of a small miracle that 4 years later, we are still praying together. But the Lord is teaching us so much day by day in this veritable school of prayer and we are asking the Lord to enlarge our borders in the upcoming year of 2024.
2024 is before us.
"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" Joshua 1:9.