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Americans tend to be self-focused in their prayer life, asking God for personal desires more often than people in crisis or the unsaved, according to a recent survey from Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Research.

"Most people pray when they need the red phone for help," says Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. "But their prayer life isn't a habit rooted in a relationship with God."

John Maempa, director of the AG Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care, says, "While for many people praying tends to be a pragmatic means to an end, according to Scripture we are invited to ask for things we need and perhaps even want (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:33; 7:7; etc.). However, the key to effective prayer is relationship — drawing close to God so He can draw close to us."

In the online survey, Americans spend the most time focusing on friends and family (82 percent of all respondents) as well as their own problems (74 percent). Just over half (54 percent) pray for good things to happen in their life, while more than one third (36 percent) ask God to bless them with future prosperity.

"James Nicodem, in his book 'Prayer Coach,' states that Jesus readily responds to our prayers when we 'start to value our relationship more than our requests; until we want more of Him than we want from Him.'" Maempa observes. "When we're in proper alignment with God's relationally, we are more inclined to pray His will than focus on things we want."

But not all prayers are self-centered. Americans say they also spend time petitioning God about their own sin (42 percent), those in natural disasters (38 percent), people of other religions or no faith (20 percent), and government leaders (12 percent).

And as Jesus' taught, 41 percent say they have prayed for those who mistreat them while 37 percent acknowledge praying for enemies.

On the other hand, 21 percent admit to asking God to win a lottery, 13 percent have sought the Almighty's help for their favorite team to win a game, and 7 percent have wanted God's favor in finding a good parking space.

About half of Americans (48 percent) say they pray at least every day, while a third (31 percent) say they pray repeatedly during the day.

Authors: Pentecostal Evangel and AG News


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Dozens from Evangel serve during spring break

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 - 3:37 PM CST

Evangel

Dozens of Evangel University students, faculty, staff and alumni participated in international service trips during spring break, March 3-11, 2012. Seven groups traveled to seven countries on four continents to minister to others.

COSTA RICA
Dr. Jeff Fulks, professor and director of Evangel's graduate and professional studies, and Daniel Noah, junior management major, led a group of six students to San Jose, Costa Rica. The team partnered with Latin America Childcare to serve local schools in and around the San Jose area.

CROATIA
A team of seven, led by Michelle Grubaugh, senior elementary education major, traveled to Croatia. The team performed a children's play called "The Puzzle" throughout several Croatian cities. This group partnered with the organization Save Europe's Children.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Jeff Burnett, Evangel's director of admissions, and Christy Rowden, Evangel's student activities director, led a team of four students to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The group provided a message, special music, dramas, testimonies and service to the church and community. The team worked with AG missionaries Berly and Jamie Bello, who founded Ministerio de Adolescentes. "This trip was an amazing opportunity for us to see what God is doing through missionaries and local churches in the Dominican Republic," says Rowden. "We were blessed by every person that we met and were extremely proud to partner with them in their work for Christ."

ENGLAND
A team of nine students and two sponsors traveled to Birmingham, England, to work with Sheldon Community Church. The team spent seven days holding assemblies for elementary children from five schools. Jeremy Harris, assistant professor of computer science, Jesse Tucker, junior English education major, and Christa Smith, senior biology major, led the trip.

ETHIOPIA
A team of 10 traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to work with the Ethiopian Assemblies of God Missions Department and the Addis Ababa Bible College. The team cleaned and painted dorm rooms at the Bible college, ministered at schools, orphanages and chapel services and also participated in door-to-door evangelism. Josiah Pennington, senior art education major, Elisabeth Kilsdonk, senior government major, and Evangel '89 alumnus Kirk Spain led the trip. Spain is the administrator of Africa's Hope, an organization that facilitates training for churches in Africa. "The fellowship and ministry was greatly appreciated by the church in Ethiopia and the Evangel students were blessed in return as well," says Spain.

GREECE
Dr. Steve Smallwood, assistant professor of biblical studies, led a team of four students to Thessaloniki, Greece. They worked with missionaries Tony and Jamie Sebastian at their coffee shop, iHeart, which is located near Aristotle University. The team also worked with children at gypsy camps and served with a human trafficking awareness project. Alicia Doran, senior biblical languages and biblical studies double major, is the student leader of the trip.

JAMAICA
Heidi Bartels, a 2011 Evangel alumna, and Rebecca Clark, junior music major, led a team of five students to Kingston, Jamaica, to work at an orphanage in Content Gap. The team presented a vacation Bible school and a sports camp to local homeless children. They also presented devotionals in local schools, led music and worked on repair projects for the orphanage. The team worked with missionaries Steve and Kim Puffpaff.

For additional information regarding service trips, contact Allison Fontaine at 417-865-2815 ext. 8526.

For more information about Evangel, click here.

Authors: AG News

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