Monday, August 27, 2012

My prayer for Nancy Alcorn

I am currently working on a piece for my other website about praying for one's enemies, and in the spirit of that piece, I wanted to share what I have been praying for Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries.

In that piece, I state that I do not consider any person to be my enemy.  But when heeding the commandment of Jesus to pray for my enemies, I take a very broad approach, and as such, Nancy Alcorn is among those whom I pray for regularly.

Some Christians consider enemies as those who do not agree with them, those who may have criticism (however valid) of their words or behaviour.  So when they reflect on say the Psalms of David, they apply the "righteous" category to themselves and the "wicked" category to any who oppose them.  But I don't believe this means that someone who is at odds with the actions of a person or ministry is an enemy of God. 

When we consider God being on our side, yes God is on our side in that He wants the best for us, just as He does for all of His children.  But this does not mean He necessarily takes "sides" in a disagreement.

With regard to God protecting us from our enemies, yes God does protect us from legitimate harm, and He does walk with us through difficult trials.  However, God loves all of us too much to leave us trapped in our sin.  If a person is in sin, His will is not to protect them from consequences or from their sin being pointed out.  God wants to deal with sin.  He wants to deal with my sin, Nancy's sin, and everyone else's sin, in a loving and gentle way (although not always pleasant), so that we may receive His grace, walk in freedom and be more like Jesus.

In short, God loves all of his creations, including those we have been hurt by the most, and He wants the best for all of us. 

Some believe that praying for your enemies means that you must ask God to grant them financial prosperity, broader influence, and "divine connections".  Whilst it can't hurt to pray in this way (and it is a helpful exercise to put to death anything in you that would wish the opposite upon them), I believe that praying for our enemies goes much deeper than these relatively unimportant things.

Before I launch into any type of prayer, I first take a moment to sense what the Holy Spirit wants me to pray.  If I am not being led by the Spirit, then I am probably not praying the prayer that God wants me to pray for that person.

So in general, my prayers for Nancy are along these lines:

* I pray that her eyes, ears and heart would be more open to the WHOLE truth
* I ask God to give her the ability and willingness to overcome areas of sin
* I ask God to heal her from the wounds that may still be causing her to speak and behave in ungodly ways towards others
* I ask God to give her the self-insight she needs to bring her to repentance of the hurts she has had any part in
* I ask God that she would also have insight into the impact her words and behaviour has had on those she has hurt.
* I ask that in her repentance, that she would know God's love and grace like never before
* I ask that if this was possible, that He would bring correction into her ministry and steer it in the direction that He originally intended it to go in
* I ask that no more young women would be traumatised and hurt by Nancy or her ministry
* I ask that those who have been hurt would find it in their hearts to forgive Nancy, and that God would gently work in their hearts to the point that some day, they would also be able to join me in prayer for her

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Learning to boil water at Mercy Ministries

There has been a situation on my mind that I would like to share.  It happened when I was in the Mercy Ministries Sydney home, and for whatever reason this story has not yet made it's way into my blogs on the subject of Mercy.

Hillsong Church annually hosts a women's conference called Colour Conference, and another big conference called Hillsong Conference.  The Mercy Ministries Sydney home and Hillsong Church were somewhat intertwined.  As far as I am aware, the financial relationship between Mercy Ministries Australia and Hillsong began and ended with Hillsong being a large financial partner, however on a personal level, most staff in both the program and corporate facets of Mercy Ministries in Sydney attended Hillsong Church, or were involved with Hillsong in some way, such as being a Hillsong Bible College student, or being in some way connected to a Hillsong "big wig".  For a long time, Mark and Darlene Zschech were involved with Mercy Ministries at a managerial level right from the early days.  Among the board members were some prominent leaders at Hillsong.  One was an elder and pastor at Hillsong.  There was another woman who was married to a Hillsong elder, and I think she may have been on the board as well.  One of the later "managerials" at Mercy Ministries, Peter Irvine, was a co-owner of Gloria Jeans Coffees, and was involved at Hillsong Church, although I am not sure in what capacity exactly.

Hillsong was hosting their Colour Conference in the beginning of 2006.  During Hillsong Conference and Colour Conference, our normally fiercely private homestead was opened up to hundreds of strangers who would tour the home, poking their heads into our bedrooms and gazing at us sympathetically.  We were the Mercy Girls.