I want to sincerely thank the “333 Prayer Partners” who prayed during the past year. These are people who committed to praying for a particular request 3 times a day, 33 seconds each time, for a full year.
The prayer request for 2002 was: “Pray that Pastor Chai may feel the pain of those who are suffering and that each House Church may bear fruit in winning souls.” It’s clear that our prayers for the House Churches have been answered. The 163 people we baptized last year are proof of that. It’s a little more difficult to assess the prayers for myself, but I do believe they have been answered also. I made some personal decisions this year which I believe were a result of the 333 Prayers. Some were direct answers to prayer while others were more based on the burden of knowing that you were praying for me. Most of these decisions are related to the ministry and their nature is such that they should be carried out in secret, just as Jesus commanded. So I should not disclose any further details.
Unfortunately, with the rapid increase of members at our church, there have also been more problems among church members; health problems, marital discord, delinquency among the youth, business hardship, immigration issues, and more. And since there are now over 100 House Churches, even if each House Church has only one problem every two years, there is on average a problem each week for me as a senior pastor. Perhaps due to the 333 Prayers, I’ve been burdened in my heart by all these issues. I have prayed about it myself, trying to make them God’s burden instead of mine, but I often felt emotionally drained.
Whenever possible I try to take Thursdays off, but recently I’ve still had to work at least a half-day. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to catch up with my work. My ministry is no longer limited to our church. I counsel other pastors and write articles for several publications, so there is always much to do. I was able to take a four day vacation with my wife in early December, however, and that helped relieve a lot of the fatigue that I had accumulated during the year. As I stated during the New Years Eve service, recently I’ve found myself preaching to the church without trying to apply the truth in my own life. Needless to say, I am not so like Christ that I don’t need more application myself.
So for me, I’d like to ask the 333 Prayer Partners to pray the following during 2003: “Help Pastor Chai apply his sermons to his own life.”
The other part of the 333 Prayer is for the church. I think the request for the church this year is obvious. The church needs more space for education, worship and parking. So I ask that you pray: “Please help solve our church’s space problems so that God’s work of salvation will not be hindered.” I hope that many of you will volunteer to be 333 Prayer Partners for this year.
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