When Moses pleaded, “Please show me Your glory,” You only allowed him a glimpse of Your back, for no man could see Your face and live (Exodus 33:17-33, ESV). We come before You in awe, recognizing that the fullness of Your holiness, love, goodness, and beauty is beyond our finite comprehension. Yet in the miracle of the Incarnation, You revealed Yourself through Christ. Moses could only see Your back. Through Your Son and Your Word, “We have seen His glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV). As we love and serve our neighbors, give us joy and contentment in Your all-sufficient power. Fill us with confidence that Your presence goes with us when we pursue holiness and obedience. For we do not have to hide ourselves from You. Rather, our life is hidden in You (Colossians 3:3).
Specific Prayer Requests
- Please pray for ongoing wisdom as Chalmers plans for the future. Pray that God would grant our leadership, staff, and partners grace and discernment as we seek to equip the church to empower the poor in new ways.
- Please pray for our upcoming Helping Without Hurting Seminar in Baltimore, MD on May 18th. Pray that it would be a challenging and encouraging time for the attendees, and that God would use it to spur the local church toward increased involvement in effective poverty alleviation.
- Please pray for the church and ministry leaders training to be Faith & Finances facilitators. Pray that the upcoming live training in Chattanooga, TN on June 7th - 8th would be an encouraging time of learning and reflection. Pray that the facilitators would leave better equipped to walk with low-income people in humble relationships, fostering spiritual, social, and economic transformation in their own communities.
- Please pray for our partner church and ministry leaders in West Africa who are completing training to establish gospel-driven, church-centered savings group ministries. Over the next four weeks, Chalmers is hosting trainings in Sierra Leone, Togo, and Benin. Join us in asking God for safety, health, and wisdom for Chalmers’ trainers and the local leaders in attendance.
If we love You, we will obey Your commandments (John 14:15). You love and care for the oppressed, and You call Your people to do the same. God, show us the depth and breadth of obedience as we follow Your example of proclaiming “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). Keep us close to the sobering reality that our love for others reflects our love for You. Bring us back to repentance during the times when we let our hearts wander, valuing the priorities of the world over the treasures of obedience and faithfulness in Your Kingdom. We thank You that Your forgiveness abounds in these moments, and that You do not call us to follow Your commandments without providing Your Spirit to equip and comfort us (John 14:16-17). In all things, give us the patience and wisdom to both rest in Your grace and pursue obedience.
Specific Prayer Requests
- Please pray for our board of directors. Join us in thanking God for their faithful leadership at the Chalmers Center, and pray for our upcoming board meeting on April 29th. Pray that it would be a productive and encouraging time of planning for Chalmers’ future.
- Please pray for the upcoming April 13th Helping Without Hurting Seminar in Chalmers’ hometown of Chattanooga, TN. Pray that God would use this seminar to bless and challenge church and ministry leaders in our area, and that it would lead to ongoing dialogue about how to best love and serve our low-income neighbors.
- Please pray for the church and ministry leaders who recently completed training to facilitate Faith & Finances classes in their own communities. Pray that God would give them wisdom as they reach out to potential participants, and that He would encourage them as they form empowering relationships with the class members.
- Please continue to pray for the church and ministry leaders Chalmers recently trained in West Africa. Pray that God would grant them strength and perseverance as they start gospel-driven, church-centered savings group ministries.
- Join us in praising God for exciting opportunities to partner with denominations and ministries on a larger scale in West Africa. Pray that God would continue to give us wisdom as we equip churches to proclaim the good news of the God who is making all things new.
Reconciliation, restoration, and redemption. We constantly hear this family of words in our churches and ministries. I love words. I love how God gives us language to express truth in beautiful ways. I love how Christ, the Word and God incarnate, used the language of a particular culture and place to reveal Himself and His mission.
But I am acutely aware that language can become empty. When words like reconciliation become the way we “brand” our work, our churches, or our vision, we risk no longer marveling at the meaning they carry. Or even worse, we risk using them as labels to invoke ideas we don’t actually believe and embody in our daily lives.
When I drive home from work at the Chalmers Center, I pass through a low-income neighborhood. Last week, a high school student was murdered mere yards from where I drive each day. As I reflect on the web of personal sin and systemic oppression that has shaped this neighborhood, I am overwhelmed. God, beautiful words seem so hollow in the face of this much pain. We need you to do the miracle that the words describe.
All of us need the reconciling work of Christ in our lives and communities. And the miracles of reconciliation, redemption, and restoration flow from Christ’s perfect life, brutal sacrifice, and triumphant resurrection from the dead. As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection in the next few weeks, we need to stop and marvel at what resurrection even means. The Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead – the Spirit who reknit His veins, rebuilt His decomposing cells, and drew breath back into His lungs – that Spirit lives in us (Romans 8:11). Do we let that truth comfort us each morning? Further, we have been raised with Christ. Then why do we struggle to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is,” with joy and endurance? Do we believe that “when Christ who is [our] life appears, then [we] also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4. ESV)?
Poverty alleviation is about reconciling broken relationships. That definition can sound a bit trite after a while. But those words are actually saying something like this: “Poverty alleviation is about the Triune God bringing the forgiveness of the cross and the victory of the empty tomb to bear on our communities, our own hearts, and the ground itself. It is about God reversing the sickness of the fall and animating His children to reflect His love and glory.” It may be a mouthful, but sometimes we have to unpack our words, letting their full meaning comfort and convict us.
This Easter, let’s listen to the words coming out of our own mouths. Let’s feel the shivers up our spines and the goosebumps on our arms when we think of the resurrected Christ. The work of Christ isn’t a family of words. It is a miracle.
Marveling with You,
The Chalmers Center at Covenant College
Specific Prayer Requests:
- Please pray for wisdom as we explore new ways to equip the church to empower the poor, both in the Majority World and in the United States and Canada. Pray that God would open doors for us to impact interested churches and ministries on a larger scale.
- Pray for the church and ministry leaders who recently completed training to be Faith & Finances facilitators. Pray that God would grant them tangible reminders of His equipping power as they begin forming Faith & Finances classes in their own churches and ministries.
- Pray for the attendees of the March 9th Helping Without Hurting Seminar in Washington, DC. By God’s grace, over five hundred people from seventy-one churches attended the event. Pray that God would encourage them as they humbly and effectively walk with the materially poor.
- Pray for our partner church and ministry leaders in West Africa, particularly those who recently completed training to establish gospel-driven, church-centered development ministries. Pray that God would give them patience, endurance, and joy as they form these small groups in their local churches.