“Bethlehem Bible College is the only institution of its kind in the Holy Land that trains Palestinians in Arabic for a BA in Biblical Studies and Christian Education, and MA in Christian Leadership and Ministry, Mass Media, Tour Guiding, and Hebrew Language. These programs enable students in this distressed area to have rigorous theological training within the Holy Land, helping to decrease “brain drain,” which diminishes future Christian leadership in the church and broader society.”
On behalf of the World Evangelical Alliance, Secretary General Bishop Efraim Tendero offers the following prayer amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Our Almighty Father God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, as Your children living in every corner of the world we come before You today to intercede for our nations, almost all of which are currently affected or under threat of the COVID-19. We praise You that You neither slumber nor sleep and You are watching over our lands and our peoples, especially in perilous times such as these.
Our help comes from You. We cry out for Your mercy and protection against this virus. We declare that You alone are our refuge—our place of safety. We pray that You protect our peoples from this deadly disease and rescue our lands from this dangerous trap.
Grant our governments and the various national and local leaders wisdom and understanding as they establish and implement guidelines, measures, and strategies in fighting against COVID-19.
Enable our health officials and medical personnel with Your strength and power as they attend to the sick and vulnerable, and allow this pandemic to pass quickly. Lead the medical scientists around the world who are working double-time to find the antidote to COVID-19.
In these dangerous times, grant us Your grace and peace to stay calm and to overcome fear, because the spirit of fear does not come from You. Instead You have given us faith, hope, and love. You have given us power and a sound mind. Your Word says that You will keep in perfect peace those whose eyes are fixed on You.
Help us to reflect the image of Jesus Christ in caring for the less affluent who could hardly afford to buy for their daily need and are left vulnerable as more affluent people buy stores empty. Move us to selflessly extend comfort and help to the isolated and lonely, just as we receive comfort from You in times of difficulty.
Finally, we pray that in the midst of this pandemic, You would unite us in love, bind our nations in peace, and bring hope and healing to our lands with Your grace and Your power. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we pray, AMEN.
Bishop Efraim Tendero
Bishop Efraim Tendero, General Secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance and one of the founding fathers of the Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network, has offered this prayer on behalf of the world evangelical community and indeed all of human society.
I once heard someone say, that daily prayer and scripture is as important for a new mother, as milk is to a baby. I knew it would bring much-needed life and nourishment to my tired being. Life with two little ones has been quite a shock to the system, to say the least. No antenatal course quite prepares you for the requirement of such a total sacrifice of your body and self. The vulnerability, pressure to avoid mistakes and harassment of expectations is often overwhelming as I would fret over my attempts to “sort my life out”, portray an appearance of success, pursue professional dreams, grapple endless to-do lists, toddler-going-teen tantrums and navigate commitments to my family. In a season where I didn’t have the time for many words, I longed for a tangible assurance of God’s presence. But carving out time for myself to shower or eat, let alone have quiet times has felt quite impossible. Daily brain fog becomes the norm on better days or sleeps deprived migraines on others. At times I even struggled to string thoughts together talking to friends.
How do we nurture our souls in a secular world? Historically, Christians have responded in two very contrasting ways:
Nurturing the Soul Through Asceticism The first approach, popular among some early Christians, was to retreat to the desert thinking they could escape temptation and find holiness through asceticism. By the fourth century CE many Christians were living as hermits and monks in monasteries out in the desert. A fifth century monk, Simeon, took this to extremes. To get away from the hordes of disciples and onlookers who came to visit him, attracted by his already extreme self-denying lifestyle, he climbed a pillar and lived there. He once survived 40 days without eating or drinking anything, which made him even more popular. He spent the rest of his life on a succession of ever higher pillars, to try and get away from the crowds who continued to visit him. Food and water were delivered by village boys climbing up his pillar. After he died, scores of others tried to imitate Simeon, and became known as Stylites from the Greek word for pillar, “style”. The problem is that we can never escape from temptation and sin, least of all retreating from the world into the desert. Jesus was himself tempted by Satan in the desert.