Thursday, March 12, 2009

Consider the Lilies

By Deanna Matzen

My prayer theme for the last week was confessing sins seen in the local and world-wide environmental news. I confessed on behalf of humanity the sins that we have committed against God and all of creation from the Exxon Valdez oil spill to Chernobyl to dying water resources to how we treat animals, to name a few.

The most challenging aspects of prayer this last week were making time and not becoming overwhelmed by the state of the world (environmental news can be such a downer). Yet there were times when, by the end of confessing, I found myself thanking God. This surprised me, yet it is the exact place where hope is found. I thanked God for the renewal of animal life in the Chernobyl "exclusion zone" and the creativity of people seeking to solve our environmental problems. It is a reminder that when all seems bleak and hopeless, God is creating life. Sometimes we just have to look and wait patiently for that life.

For the coming week, I've decided to change my prayer schedule because of some bleak news at Earth Ministry. The economic downturn has hit close to home for our organization. Last year's donations were down at a time when our work is expanding and thriving. Even though we anticipated a tough fundraising year in 2009, we were hopeful until this week. Over the course of the last two days, we learned that we lost a grant from a trusted foundation and failed to procure a new foundation grant that we were counting on to fund Washington Interfaith Power & Light, our newest project. Combined with falling donations from our members, this is very disheartening and the staff are worried. So I am calling our friends and supporters to pray for us this week that hope may be restored and God may bring life to our places of fear and concern.

The phrase that kept coming to mind yesterday was, "Consider the lilies". In Luke 12:27, Jesus says:

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."

The staff and board of Earth Ministry need to trust God and to seek the Father's kingdom. But we need your prayer support to help us do just that. Here is how I will be praying this week, I hope you will join your voice with mine:
  • Pray for the peace that passes all understanding for the staff and board, espeically LeeAnne who bears the burden of our operating budget and the tough choices that have to be made.

  • Pray that the staff would have discernment on where to focus our work in the midst of more requests than we can honor.

  • Pray that the staff would find balance between work and the rest of our lives.

  • Pray for God's financial provision - for the storehouses of heaven to be opened.

  • Pray that God would remove the barriers from the foundations who are wowed by our work but keep turning us down for grants.

  • Ask God what you can do to support Earth Ministry this year. If you're not a member, please pray about making a financial contribution to support this important work that speaks to your heart, soul, and passions. If you are a member, pray about increasing your gift or about how you could raise funds for Earth Ministry. It could be as simple as a bake sale or if you're good at crafts, sell some at a bazaar and donate a portion of the proceeds, or give a gift membership for someone who loves the environment or climb a mountain and get people to sponsor you. With God creativity is endless! The staff and board can not do this work alone, we need you.

The demand for Earth Ministry's presence and resources increases every year, but our budget doesn't. Please, pray for us. It's going to be a tough year.

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