Dear Friends

Thank you for your prayerful support for the work of Langham Preaching around the world. This week Ruth Slater, our Associate International Programme Director, shares some thoughts leading to a focus for prayer in the week ahead.

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. (Isaiah 40:4, NIV)

Those who know me, know that I love to climb mountains and swim in lakes. Most of the lakes in which I swim are in valleys surrounded by mountains. A highlight of my life has been swimming in Lake Babogaya in Ethiopia during the lunch breaks of the Langham Preaching Facilitators Workshop I was attending. The climb to the top of a mountain is often uneven, rugged and rough. Sometimes there are boulders to climb up and over.

In these words, to the Israelites, God gives the promise of himself as the great equalizer and leveller. Covid-19 also is described as an equalizer and leveller — a disease that does not discriminate against wealthy or poor, old or young, country or nationality. The effects may be different but not the possibility of it being contracted. But God’s words of equalizing and levelling are words of hope.

Are we in the low places of the valley with a sense of worthlessness or has our confidence in ourselves given us the status of a self-made mountain top and stopped us recognising our position before God? There are times when we need the promises of God to lift us up, and there are times when we need his rebuke to remind us of our place before Him. And what of the ground of our hearts? Is the ground uneven and rough? Is it ready to be productive and fertile for his work? What rocks need to be removed to make the ground of our hearts level and usable?

What about our ministry in Langham Preaching? Can we find ways to lift up those in the valleys and warn those who are walking away from God in the self-confident high places? What obstacles need to be removed in our ministries so that the preaching of God’s word can flourish on level ground? Let’s ask God to show us where we need Him to be our equalizer and our leveller in the days to come as we bring ourselves and our ministries before Him.

Let’s remember to give thanks

This week we give thanks for three significant events in the life of Langham Preaching. Firstly, last Saturday over 180 Preaching Club Coordinators from Latin America participated in a virtual gathering to practice different models of ‘praying the word’. The atmosphere and participation of those attending was very encouraging. Some coordinators have been leading Preaching Clubs for over 20 years and others are just starting their journey. Let’s continue to pray for them.

Secondly, two weeks ago, the virtual training of IFES and Langham Preaching in North West Asia successfully completed. IFES staff, students and representatives from church groups from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan attended. Our Regional Coordinator for the region reports that after 9 hours of Zoom sessions, engagement with 10 different Bible passages and work in small groups, 11 participants received certificates of completion! Their desire to learn and grow humbled and motivated the facilitators to do our best to serve them on this journey. One pastor wrote ‘This training has enriched my sermons enabling me to preach from different genres and look at passages from new perspectives. I feel as if I finally know how to preach God’s Word and not my own thoughts and ideas.’ Please pray for the participants who often work in very difficult contexts and for the future development of this training in the region.

And thirdly, Sunday, January 27, a virtual gathering took place for our Langham Preaching Africa Sunday. Over 190 pastors from across Africa attended this time of testimony, prayer and the hearing of God’s Word. Joseph Morenammele, our Preaching Movement Coordinator from Lesotho, writes that early that morning ‘the National Radio called upon all Churches in the land to pray for the Langham Preaching Movement…. Radio Lesotho covers the whole country and parts of South Africa. So, that day we enjoyed the support of prayer from many Churches, clergy and individuals.’ The date is set for next year’s Langham Preaching Africa Sunday. Pray that by then this focused day can be held in local churches rather than online.

Please pray for the work in other places around the world

Colombia: The second annual gathering of the Preachers Seedbed meets virtually through July with 17 preachers to be mentored in the art of preaching by eight facilitators and four model expositors. Dionisio Orjuela (coordinator) asks us to pray that the Lord transforms lives with this encounter and makes each one grow as a preacher in love with the Word and the Lord of the Word — a preacher able to be faithful, relevant and clear for the glory of God. Pray the facilitators remain humble and in need of the Lord, entrusting what they have been given to a new generation.

Diaspora: Our world is filled with people who no longer live in their place of origin. Langham Preaching is beginning to engage with some of these communities. Please pray for Alex Chiang and Jorge Atiencia as they initiate escuelitas, or preaching clubs, in both the US and the UK in the coming weeks.

Thanks for your prayers!

The Langham Preaching team