Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Inner~View #63: Children X Prayer = Dicsipleship

Phil Miglioratti interviewed Debbie Salter Goodwin, author of The Praying Parent and Raising Kids To Extraordinary Faith.

Debbie Salter Goodwin

Phil ~ Debbie, The Praying Parent reminds me of a multi-purpose book: Clear teaching points, biblical references, practical ideas and examples, along with questions and activities a study group could discuss together. Did you write this book for a father/mother to read or for a group to study?

Debbie ~I wrote it for both. It makes a great personal study as well as a good group study. Rather than just place questions at the end of the chapter, there are opportunities to write personal responses throughout the chapters. I suggest using a journal so that you can come back to the book during different parenting stages with children, adolescents, or adults. The principles are helpful at every stage of parenting, whether your children still live at home or have their own families and prayer projects.

Phil ~ Prayer seems to be in your DNA - How did prayer develop into such a central-to-everything discipline for you as a woman and as a mother?

Debbie ~ I had a praying mother who always communicated she prayed for me. Early, I simply took that model and the information that children’s and youth leaders gave me about talking to God about everything. As a young adult I was deeply influenced by a woman who taught me to trust God implicitly. Anyone who trusts God, prays. The two are inseparable. When I became a wife and mother, I realized how world-changing the stakes were. I needed more than my best idea; I needed God’s wisdom. Searching His Word and learning to understand His confirming impressions has anchored my prayer processes. I continue to see myself as a beginner in learning about prayer. But the lessons have transformed my life more than anything else has.

Phil ~ Explain what you mean by "praying for first times."

Debbie ~ This is a concept that evolved as I looked at the different times we need to pray for our children. I have long been encouraged and convicted by the Genesis 1:1 verse, “In the beginning God created.” Unfortunately, we don’t always give our parenting issues to God at the beginning. We go to Him after we’ve tried everything we can try. If God does His best creative work at the beginning of a concern; then, I need to learn to faithfully bring those issues to Him at the beginning. Young parents seem to do this more quickly. They pray for first days at school, first babysitter, first separation, etc. In the chapter about praying for first things, I encourage all of us to take every first to God so that He can do His most creative work. Life continues to give us first time experiences. We need our children to understand how God walks with them through firsts as well as how He wants to create His good and perfect gifts in them. Prayer for first things helps us as parents to cooperate with God’s desires and outcomes.

Phil ~ You devote an entire chapter to praying for the salvation of children. Do you sense most parents have not thought about this topic; theologically and practically?

Debbie ~ I don’t think enough parents think about the salvation of their children until they sense a problem. Too many times, that’s too late. We need to be reminded that God’s Word tells us that “all have sinned” and need to personally repent to join God’s family. While there are a lot of parents who can tell you when their child made this decision, there are too many who only assume it. I tell parents to make sure they have shared their salvation story in age appropriate ways. I encourage parents to take advantage of Easter to review the meaning of personally accepting Jesus as Savior. Prayer leaders can make prayers for the salvation of our children a priority from time to time. This prayer is not just for wayward or rebellious children. This is for all of our children. If we start our parenting journey by praying for the salvation of our children; then, it becomes a prayer of expectancy instead of concern. We offer ourselves to God to raise our children’s awareness of their need for God and His answer to that need. We look forward to the time when a child acknowledges Jesus as his or her personal Savior and forever Friend. Then, we share the journey with them. Nothing is more exciting for a parent.

Phil ~ Parents pray for their child throughout the day. Do you recommend praying for your child by praying WITH your child?

Debbie ~ Absolutely. When we pray with our children, face to face, we help them understand how God, Himself, meets with us, encourages us, and helps us know what to pray. I remind young parents to make their prayers with their children fit the attention span of the youngest child. Another idea that works with young children is to light a candle during prayer time. Something about a candle helps young children focus and know that something special is happening. For children who need to move, take prayer walks. These can be inside or outside. Let children draw pictures of their prayers. When a child shares a concern, you can stop and pray a sentence prayer. When children become adolescents, it is more and more important to be authentic about your need for prayer and ask your teenager to pray for you. Also, be consistent about sharing answers to prayer. Make sure prayer times are positive times that help family members to bond with each other as well as God. Make prayer fun and completely authentic.

Phil ~Raising Kids to Extraordinary Faith is a book on discipleship. The subtitle is: Helping Parents & Teachers Disciple the Next Generation. I was impressed to see an entire chapter on prayer because so few books on discipling believers includes or gives much space to prayer and praying ...

Debbie ~ That surprises me that few books address prayer as a part of discipleship. I can’t imagine learning to follow Jesus as a disciple without learning about prayer. As I have studied prayer and children, both through resources and my own experiences, I have come to believe that the most important thing we can help young disciples know is that God wants to communicate with them personally. Maybe our information based culture gets in the way here. Discipleship is not about pushing information into children. It is about introducing them to a relationship where Jesus, Himself, takes over the instruction. Our goal in raising disciples is that they become independent spiritual learners. That doesn’t mean they don’t need anybody else. It simply means that they know how to talk to God for themselves and understand how He communicates with them. I believe that prayer is what makes discipleship an adventure!

Phil ~ What do parents and teachers/leaders need to know and do to make prayer a life skill for children and teenagers?

Debbie ~ Modeling a personal belief in the power and relational nature of prayer is irreplaceable. We need to talk about when we pray, what we pray for, and how we understand that God answers. We need to incorporate prayer into the natural rhythms of our days. Mealtime, bedtime, and other family prayer times are important to anchor this rhythm. However, we need our children to understand that anytime is a good time to pray. We do that by stopping to pray for a concern instead of promising to pray about it. We invite our children to pray with us about family matters and expect them to share how God is directing them about a family concern. Other influencers must make sure to connect prayer to real life, too. We start simple and keep it authentic.

Phil ~ Adults must take responsibility to model and train the children in their family or sphere of ministry. Where does someone start, especially if their own prayer life is less than red hot?

Debbie ~ You might be surprised at the way I answer this. The starting place to a rich prayer life is believing in the trustworthy character of God. When I believe that God is who He says He is, I will wait, ask, or obey because I realize that no one else can share truth or help me like God can. This is what we share with children. They have less problems believing that God is who He says He is than most adults. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with admitting to our children that we want to learn how prayer accomplishes a deeper and more securing relationship. We take the journey together, not to teach them how to pray, but to learn with them.

Phil ~ What additional insight or encouragement would you like to share?

Debbie ~ I wrote Raising Kids to Extraordinary Faith to establish the partnership between parents and the larger community of faith. God makes it clear that He wants children to learn about Him at home first. However, He has also given a supportive role to the family of faith. I call them our second family. We all have a role in supporting, praying for, and discipling children. To cooperate with God’s plan, we need to be on first name basis with some children, teenagers, and young adults we aren’t otherwise related to. We need to build conversation bridges that allow us to have spiritual conversations with these young believers. We need to help them understand that following Jesus is an adventure like no other. But we can only share what we have experienced. The most convicting question I live with is this: If I reproduce my prayer life, my obedience record, my trust in God in the children God allows me to influence, is it enough to send them into the next generation with world-changing faith?

Phil ~ Debbie, please write a prayer you hope every reader prays as they read it here; a prayer that transforms the adult who then can be used to transform the prayer life of a future Christian servant leader . . .

Debbie ~ God, you have called us to follow you but you never intended that we come alone. As we enjoy following you, help us to share the joy with our families in authentic and magnetic ways. May we never substitute knowledge for relationship. May we never treat as private what you need us to share. Lead us to widen the circle we call our Jerusalem so that when someone knows us, they are one step away from knowing You. The stakes are high, but You already know that. Take us deeper and farther into our world with the news that life is never better than when we follow You and bring others with us. In the name of the One who wants to take us all the way Home! Amen.

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50 Ways To Become the Answer to Our Prayers

Call to Action: 50 Ways To Become the Answer to Our Prayers


“Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove have slipped the bonds of the ordinary and leapt the chasm of the customary. They have stood at brightly burning bushes that for most of us just won’t catch fire. This book is a small invocation which, once prayed, calls for those who thought they knew the far country to see it for the first time.”—Calvin Miller, Beeson Divinity School, author of The Singer


  1. Fast for the 2 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day.
  2. Contact your local crisis pregnancy center and invite a pregnant woman to live with your family.
  3. Ask your pastor if someone on your church’s sick list would like a visit.
  4. Join an open AA meeting and befriend someone there.
  5. Adopt a child.
  6. Mow your neighbor’s grass.
  7. Volunteer to tutor a kid at your local elementary school. (Try to get to know the kid’s family.)
  8. Grow your own tomatoes–and share them.
  9. Ask a small group in your community to meet regularly for intercessory prayer.
  10. Build a wheel chair ramp for someone who is homebound.
  11. Read the newspaper to someone at your local nursing home.
  12. Plant a tree.
  13. Look up the closest registered sex offender in your neighborhood and try to befriend him.
  14. Throw a birthday party for a prostitute.
  15. When you pay your water bill, pay your neighbor’s too (they’ll let you… really).
  16. Invest money in a micro-lending bank.
  17. Ask the next person who asks you to spare some change to join you for dinner.
  18. Leave a random tip for someone who’s cleaning the streets or a public restroom.
  19. Write one CEO a month this year. Affirm or critique the ethics of their company (you may need to do a little research first).
  20. Start tithing (giving 10%) of all your income directly to the poor.
  21. Connect with a group of migrant workers or farmers who grow your food and visit their farm. Maybe even pick some veggies with them. Ask what they get paid.
  22. Give your winter coat away to someone who is colder than you and go to a thrift store to get a new one.
  23. Write only paper letters (by hand) for a month. Try writing someone who needs encouragement or who you should say “I’m sorry” to.
  24. Go TV free for a year. Or turn your TV into a pot where flowers grow.
  25. Laugh at advertisements, especially ones that teach you that you can buy happiness.
  26. Organize a prayer vigil for peace outside a weapons manufacturer such as Lockheed Martin. Read the Sermon on the Mount out loud. For extra credit, do it every week for a year.
  27. Go down a line of parked cars and pay for the meters that are expired. Leave a little note of niceness.
  28. Write to one social justice organizer or leader each month just to encourage them.
  29. Go through a local thrift store and drop $1 bills in random pockets of the clothing being sold.
  30. Experiment with creation-care by going fuel free for a week–ride a bike, carpool, or walk.
  31. Try only reading books written by females or people of color for a year.
  32. Go to an elderly home and get a list of folks who don´t get any visitors. Visit them each week and tell stories, read the bible together, or play board games.
  33. Track to its source one item of food you eat regularly. Then, each time you eat that food, pray for those folks who helped make it possible for you to eat it.
  34. Create a Jubilee fund in your Church congregation, matching dollar for dollar every dollar you spend internally with a dollar externally. If you have a building fund, create a fund to match it to give away and by mosquito nets or dig wells for folks dying in poverty.
  35. Become a pen-pal with someone in prison.
  36. Give your car away to a stranger.
  37. Convert your car to run off waste vegetable oil.
  38. Try recycling your water from the washer or sink to flush your toilet. Remember the 1.2 billion folks who don´t have clean water.
  39. Wash your clothes by hand, or dry them by hanging to remember those without electricity or running water. Remember the 1.6 billion people who do not have electricity.
  40. Buy only used clothes for a year.
  41. Cover up all brand names, or at least the ones that do not reflect the upside-down economics of God’s Kingdom. Commit to only being branded by the cross.
  42. Learn to sew or start making your own clothes to remember the invisible faces behind what we wear. Take your kids to pick cotton so they can see what that is like (and then read James).
  43. Eat only a bowl of rice a day for a week to remember those who do that for most of their life (take a multivitamin). Remember the 30,000 people who die each day of poverty and malnutrition.
  44. Begin creating a scholarship fund so that for every one of your own children you send to college you can create a scholarship for an at-risk youth. Get to know their family and learn from each other.
  45. Visit a worship service where you will be a minority. Invite someone to dinner at your house or have dinner with someone there if they invite you.
  46. Help your church congregation create a Peacemaker Scholarship and give it away to a young person trying to avoid the economic draft, who would like to go to college but sees no other way than the military.
  47. Eat with someone who does not look like you. Learn from them.
  48. Confess something you have done wrong to someone and ask them to pray for you.
  49. Serve in a homeless shelter. For extra credit, go back and eat or sleep in the shelter and allow yourself to be served.
  50. Join a Yokefellows ministry at a prison close to you. Remember that Jesus said he would meet you there (Matt. 25).

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Global Day of Prayer

I’m not alone in sensing that God is moving in tremendous power in these days and He is calling us to be part
of this journey. This journey is not really about what God is doing for His church, but about what He is doing for a world so desperate for His love and glory. He is calling us to humble ourselves, to pray, and to seek His face (2 Chronicles 7:14) so that He will fill our communities, and all the earth, with His glory (Habakkuk 2:14).

Always keep in mind that we are gathering locally but praying globally. This vision of a changed world is so difficult for us to fathom. The truth is, every word that God has promised will come to pass “on earth as it is in heaven.”

As we learn to work together, keeping our focus on Jesus, many new relationships will be forged and our city will be changed forever. New life will come from the new relationships. Pastors will pray together. Neighbors will meet each other. Churches will work together. And Christians will find ways to serve their communities in Christ’s love.

This is a wonderful season of prayer to help your co
mmunity or even your church focus on the broader vision of what God is doing around the world. This is not just another church service. It is a time for Christians to unite together for extraordinary prayer.

I want to encourage you to do just two things:

1. If you have not yet decided to plan a gathering on Pentecost, May 31, there is still time. A small, well-organized gathering can be the catalyst to propel your community forward in the coming months and years.

2. Please register your event here . Registration is a simple and free way to encourage others in your community to join with you. This will also help people around the world see how God is stirring up the nations toward prayer and repentance.

You will be part of the largest prayer gathering in history. The latest report from the international team is that 209 nations are participating in GDOP. The prayer guide has been translated into 40 different languages. All of them are available here.

We have prepared a DVD with short promo videos and dozens of documents that will guide you through every facet of your GDOP. The DVD includes items such as bulletin inserts, a press release, youth and children's prayer guides, and the Organizer Guide from which you can glean helpful instruction for every aspect of you event. Also included are models to help organize the ten days of prayer, May 21-30, as well as practical help with outreach ideas during the Ninety Days of Blessing. Visit here to purchase prayer guides, posters and DVDs and to download helpful resources.

For His glory,

Stephanie Tucker
Global Day of Prayer


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Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Prayer Leader's Question



I am thinking our leadership team needs to do a one or two day prayer retreat as way for us to grow closer as a team and to seek the Lord's face as we think about new initiatives in ministry. However, I am not sure what that would look like as I have never been a part of that kind of thing.  I was wondering what, if any information or help you may be able to give in this area?



An idea: Once you determine the focus of each session (morning session, afternoon session, evening session), ask participants to sign-up (or assign) to present a devotional from scripture that will launch the praying.  For example (using the P-R-A-Y acrostic):

  • First Session: Praise (affirming who God is; attributes) & Thanksgiving (acknowledging what God has done; blessings)
    • Welcome, Introductions, Housekeeping etc
    • Songs of praise (song leader or play a CD t sing along to)
    • Devotional thought on praising and thanking our Lord (scripture passage)
    • Prayers & Songs (a capella; as group members lead from their seat)  of praise launched from that scripture passage
    • Small groups sharing how God has blessed the individual and their family and their ministry
    • ...followed by prayers and songs of thanks
  • Second Session: Repentance & Confession (Greek: "to say the same thing," ie, to agree with God over our weaknesses and sins)
    • Facilitator begins with a debrief: Reflect on our first session: Your experience, unexpected results, how God spoke ...
    • Devotional thought on recognizing and confessing sin (scripture passage)
    • Songs that help us be still, see our sin, and agree with God
    • Send everyone out on a personal prayerwalk (1 hour) to reflect further on the passage, to journal, to be still and listen
    • Return ... Prayers & Songs (a capella)  that result from time spent alone with the Lord
    • Then transition to a time of corporate confession (identifying with sins we may not have personally committed but are burdened to rpay about): Our sins as a team, as an organization, a a national Church ...
    • ...followed by prayers and songs of thanks for forgiveness
    • Consider placing this time of forgiveness into a celebration of the Lord's Table
  • Third Session: Asking (seeking the mind f Christ by the filling of the Holy Spirit in order to know and do the will of the Father)
    • Debrief
    • Devotional thought on how we often make our plans then ask God to bless them rather than seeking God for his plans: his will & his word
    • Listening prayers: asking questions of the Lord ... times of silence ... Facilitator inserts brief dialog: "Are we hearing or sensing anything that might be a specific leading of the Spirit?
    • Facilitator concludes this segment by asking the members to identify possible ideas or answers from the Lord, then,
    • Transition to intercession; praying for the purpose and goals of team and organization as they are currently stated
  • Fourth Session: Yielding to the Lord's plans
    • Debrief
    • Devotional thought to motivate active obedience as individuals and as a team
    • Prayers and songs (a capell) declaring our intention to obey, to walk and not faint, run and not grow weary (ask pray-ers to base their declarations on a scripture verse or passage), then,
    • Transition to pray for one naother: Pairs pray Ephesians 1:15-22 over each other (one-at-a-time), then,
    • Conclude by praying for the team and the organization using Ephesians 3:10 as the foundation.
    • Debrief - What has God taught us? Said to us? Expects from us?

An article that might help:



Thanks for all your help on the day of prayer. 

Going into it, I really didn’t know how people would respond. But we had about 9 of us (some had to come and go through the day) and it went really, really well. I followed your outline and people responded accordingly. We went about 6 hours (at least) and I don’t think we were really finished even then. But it was an excellent time in praying, sharing from the word (others shared relevant passages as we went through the outline), singing and talking with each other and with God. We talked through some of our “business” items, but did so in way that really had a sense we were talking with God about it. That helped a lot when it came to our business sessions and we all felt we had prayed thoroughly about the decisions we had made. It was a good group bonding or team building time. We prayed for each other and some of our burdens came out quite naturally during the day. That brought us to pray for one another and know each other better.

So, all in all, I count it a rousing success! I am so glad we did that and so much appreciate your input. I would have been totally stressed out trying to plan this on my own. I am sure we will do it again some time. The main problem I saw was that we started too late in the morning (we aimed for 9:00 but didn’t get rolling till 10:00). It would have been better to start early and then finish mid-afternoon. As it was we had to wrap up because people were fading in the late afternoon.

Again I think it was a sweet time with God and each other and I thank you for your help.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Praying. Day and Night.

Spreading 24/7 Prayer Worldwide

“If Christians prayed as Christians ought - with strong commanding faith, with earnestness and sincerity - men, God-called men, God-empowered men everywhere, would be burning to go and spread the Gospel worldwide. The Word of the Lord would run and be glorified as never known heretofore. The God-influenced men, the God-inspired men, the God-commissioned men, would go and kindle the flame of sacred fire for Christ, salvation, and heaven, everywhere in all nations. Soon all men would hear the glad tidings of salvation and have an opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.” E. M. Bounds

There is no doubt about it. Day and night prayer ignites the power of God to release the fire of the Gospel throughout the earth. Every nation, every city, every people group, every neighborhood cannot miss the tremendous influence of the atmosphere of prayer released from the 24/7 prayer room. There is something deep and far-reaching that happens when God’s people give themselves to 24/7 prayer and intercession in a given location. It cannot be measured by human means, but its’ dynamic power can set the fire of God loose in a nation in a way that is beyond comprehension.

I have heard of evangelists going to a region, locking themselves in a hotel room, praying unceasingly for days, and then going out and sharing the Gospel with incredible results. If one man can see that happen, imagine the effect when the Church worldwide gives itself to prayer and actually makes prayer its primary business. Then we shall surely see things happen! None of us have gotten there yet, but it certainly should be our highest ambition and shall take a primary role as we see the end-time scenario unfold before us.

Perhaps one of the greatest prayer warriors in all of history was Praying Hyde of northern India who lived from 1865-1912. He would miss meals and would bow down or lie on the ground because of intense travail, and cry out to the Lord daily for souls. He was burning within for the salvation of the lost. Finally with an agonizing passion for those without Christ, he began to pray that God would let him win a soul to Jesus every day that year. At the end of the year, four hundred souls had been won through his daily witness. The next year Hyde cried out to the Lord for two souls a day! That year about eight hundred had responded to Christ through Hyde. But his heart grew in intense desperation, and he began to plead to God for four souls a day. That year he led four souls a day to Christ. He would first travail for the lost, and then go out and speak to men and women about how to find eternal life through Christ. He first prayed, and then he witnessed. After praying, the Holy Spirit would lead him to the right individuals. Multitudes came to Christ through this praying man. What a fantastic method of evangelism! ===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

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Prayer Room Ideas

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Prayer Room Ideas

By Kathy Bruins

The National Day of Prayer is in May, but praying for our countries is so important we should be doing it all the time. As people visit your prayer room at church, you can encourage them to pray for this focus in several ways.

  • Make up a diagram of your community. It doesn't need to be anything elaborate. Draw the streets and name them. It may be fun to use stickers to symbolize houses or businesses. Encourage people to pray around the community while they are using the prayer room.
  • Are there country or community headlines in the paper that need prayer? Post those on a bulletin board, or lay them in a basket so that visitors to the prayer room can draw a slip.
  • Display suggested Bible verses that talk about God's concern for communities. Praying Scripture honors God and brings the intercessor into alignment with God's will.
  • Have a map of the world on the wall. You may want to cut it into pieces before to symbolize the world's brokenness and need for prayer. Each time someone prays for a country or community, have that person put a thumbtack or pushpin into the map.
  • Perhaps you can ask your local authorities if they have prayer requests. If so, place them in a basket in the prayer room for intercessors to pray over.
  • Pray for local schools, uplifting the teachers, staff, and students. Draw a symbol of a school house on a whiteboard or newsprint, and encourage intercessors to draw in the kids, swings, or whatever would be applicable while praying. Have lots of colors available to make it fun.
  • Post pictures of leaders of the country and pray for them and their families.
  • Leave a journal in which intercessors can share what they feel God saying as they pray.

For more ideas, check out the website of the National Day of Prayer Task Force at, or the website of the Global Day of Prayer,

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Uncommon Prayer ~ Gather God's People for a CHRISTfest


Celebrating the Supremacy Of God's Glorious Son For ALL That He Is, With ALL That We Are

Unlike anything you've ever experienced before!

“CHRISTFest is a celebration gathering of God’s people
to awaken them to more of the supremacy of God’s Son,
to call them to adore Him as the King He is,
and to inspire them to arise to proclaim Him anew
to one another and to this generation.”

CHRISTFest offers a ninety (90) minute version, full of the Paradise DNA (though not officially linked to it in any way). CHRISTFest consists of twelve stand-alone segments, like chapters in a book. Step by step, it unfolds the reign of God's Son - His majesty, ministry, triumphs and the destiny of His Kingdom. One might call it a biography of the King of the Universe, from eternity past to eternity future.

Tools and Resources for Free Download


[CLICK HERE] This link allows you to download the script with all the Scripture texts used for each of the 12 segments of a CHRISTFest - both for the team of readers as well as those passages reproduced in the Power Point for audience participation. The LEADER'S MANUAL explains more precisely how to interpret the various graphics as well as how to produce the readings.


[CLICK HERE] Based on multiple field-tests from coast to coast, this guide will equip you with all you need to know to facilitate a CHRISTFest in your church, Christian organization, pastors gathering, campus fellowship or Bible study group. The notebook runs 24 pages, filled with detailed, step-by-step guidelines as well as many practical hints.


[CLICK HERE] Titled CHRISTFest 2.0, this PDF provides participants two benefits: (1) a program outline to help them navigate the event itself; and (2) a record of the Scriptures used in each of the 12 segments, so they can return home to study more fully on their own the "high Christology" presented by the event.


[CLICK HERE] Because no up-front leadership is ever visible during a CHRISTFest (including the MC, the readers and the worship team) the 350-slide PowerPoint package serves as the main "facilitator" of the event. It provides segment titles, Scripture texts (those read by the audience) as well as glorious scenes from nature that portray the supremacy of God's Son (which are viewed while the audience listens to the reading team). Local worship leaders are welcomed to insert at the proper places the words to songs they have chosen (see guidelines in the Leader's Manual). See full size image

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