Before leaving Australia, we had been studying the prayers in the New Testament. We found that in almost every epistle, Paul actually includes prayer excerpts built around the doctrines he is expounding. Take Ephesians as an example. In the first section where Paul deals with our riches and blessings in Christ, he includes a prayer for enlightenment (Eph 1:15-21), that they may know the riches they have in Christ. Then, in the section on walking and warring in the power of the Spirit (ch.3-6) he prays for enablement (Eph 3:14-21), that they might receive the power to implement the truths taught in their daily lives.
I have continued these studies as we have gone through the upheaval of returning stateside and re-settling in Arizona. One striking personal example, not only of the power of prayer but also the timing of the answer, is the home that has been graciously provided for us. Here is the story of how we came to be where we are:
Thirty years ago this coming November we left Arizona, the one place in all the world that is most “home” to us. The week before we left Arizona I went hunting on Mingus mountain north-east of Prescott. On the last night I sat on a point facing the Bradshaw Mountains to the south and watched the sunset. I tried to etch the panorama below me into my mind to carry with me wherever I would go. I did not want to leave, but submitted to what I knew was the perfect will of God–to go and take the ministry of Harlan Park Bible Church in Conway, Arkansas. As I sat there in the glow of the mountain sunset, getting high on the juniper and pine scent, I uttered a short prayer. In essence it went like this, “Lord, you know that I don’t want to leave Arizona. But I know that Your will is perfect and best for us. But Father, if You ever see fit in Your wisdom, please let me return to this place.” The fact is that I can look out the window of where I am now writing and see the point on which I sat so long ago! The home that I write from has been graciously provided as a temporary refuge by faithful believers whose hearts God has moved to act in our behalf. Now, after all these years of travel and teaching around the globe, including ten years spent in Australia, God has proved once again the truth of His promises, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psa 37:4) Our greatest desire is for effective ministry in proclaiming the Gospel of the grace of God, and all its attendant doctrines. To exalt and magnify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the remote corners of this earth is our calling. But what a marvelous provision it is to have such a place to return to for rest and recovery.
Nan and I are committed to invest our lives for the greatest returns possible by scattering the riches deposited within us to the poor and isolated saints of the third world. We desire to be relentless in our pursuit of that for which we have been apprehended by Christ Jesus (Phi 3:12). But we are more and more convinced that, as Oswald Chambers stated long ago, “Prayer is not just preparation for the work of God, prayer is the work”. We stand amazed as we watch God fulfilling promise after promise in response to prayer. And as a result we are challenged to increased prayer discipline in behalf of the many workers and works we are part of around the world.
Recently we visited Tucson to spend time with my mother who is recovering from heart problems. We attended the Tucson Bible Church, (Pastor, John Hintz has recently suffered a serious motorcycle accident. We urge you all to remember him before the Throne of grace). In John’s absence, a missionary from Mexico brought the morning message. We had heard of the Bill Risely Family and how God was using this amazing family where each member is involved in the work. Bill’s text was the well-known passage of the so-called “Lords’ prayer” in Mat 6:9-15. He told how he had taken the prayer as an outline for prayer (Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray”). Bill and his family have developed the discipline of following that model each morning, praying in regards to 1) relation to God, 2) For the glory of God through Christ, 3) the return of Jesus Christ, 4) guidance into His will, 5) provision of needs, 6) forgiveness and a forgiving attitude, and 7) deliverance from temptation.
What struck me was not the format of what Bill taught, as it basically follows what many of us have taught on this section. What challenged and delighted us was the very obvious real and practical difference Bill and his family had experienced, not by knowing the doctrine, but by consistently implementing it in their daily lives. And so we ask that you will join us in prayer for the Risely family, who when asked “what do you need on the field?”, invariably respond, “More than anything, we need your faithful prayers”. We hope to team up with Bill’s son Grady in the future with a “Mexico Youth Camp”. Please add this to your prayer list.
While we take some time to rest and recover from 10 years of intense mission involvement, we will be serving at various youth camps, as well as visiting many groups across America. My studies on the prayers of Paul have led me to inquire into his own methodology for missions, and I am currently preparing for a series of classes on this topic. These will be available through the office in Arkansas, and hopefully also on MP3 on this website. We are so thankful for the technical experts that God has raised up to help us in the website and other areas. They have been a great blessing to us, and to all who benefit from this ministry. As we continue to serve, but also attempt to get much needed rest, please pray that we will find that perfect balance that is always so critical.
1) Please continue to pray for Cross Road Bible Church in Western Australia, and for Pastor Jared and Tiersa Donigian.
2) Pray for our teams who are serving now in Papua New Guinea (Ossie and Beth Amato) and in the Aboriginal Bible Conference, hosted by Jamie and Natasha Short in Looma.
3) Pray for youth camps in Pennsylvania (July 24-29) and Arizona (Aug 2-6) where we will be attending and teaching.
4) Pray for wisdom in scheduling Pastors conferences in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Peru, PNG, Kazakhstan, India and China.
5) Remember Matt and Debi Zook, missionaries with New Tribes Mission in Mozambique. They are expecting their first child later this year!
6) Pray for Scott and Dana Clement, missionaries to nomads in Mongolia.
7) Thanksgiving for the home and vehicles God has supplied through His saints. May He bless each one for their giving to the Lord.
Thank you for joining with us in the ministry through your prayers and financial support!
Stand Firm in the Faith
Gene and Nan Cunningham