Men and Prayer – NOT an Oxymoron



This post originally printed in the Prayer Connect magazine dated September/October 2012.

It is based on the things I learned about getting men to pray when I led the Men’s Prayer Ministry for Dr. Charles Stanley at First Baptist Atlanta from March 2006 until September 2010.

The actual article is here at this link.

Enjoy, and, if you would, share with me your thoughts. Plus, feel free to call me if you have any questions.


Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker: Common Thread Ministries

Kenya, The Ministry Expands

Kenya Video History of Common Thread Ministries
October 2016 Video of our History in Kenya

I recently posted the following. I decided to follow it up with a video, above. It’s only 5 minutes long. Please watch it and give me your feedback.

In this article, you will see my current burden for these folks. It may surprise you. It sure did me!

CLICK HERE for the original article, which is below in it’s full format:


kenyaministryteam-2015-webresFrom my first visit I became burdened for the elderly, retired pastors. I’ll never forget the retired pastor who came up to me, NOT to ask me for money, but to ask me to remember him, for as with nearly all retired pastors, they have no money.

Well, we plan to engage them, the retired pastors, to marshal other elderly individuals in their towns and villages.

I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night and recorded some thoughts that have been reverberating in my heart for awhile. Let me share my late night writing with you below:

My Kenyan Burden

God is opening doors in Kenya where we are rebuilding the foundations of prayer in men and women EVERYWHERE we go. We are now working to disciple retired pastors who in turn will marshal the elderly into prayer cells:

  • It is interesting that the dictionary defines “marshal” as, “to gather or organize people or things, especially in order to achieve a particular aim“

And what is that aim? To rebuild the foundations of prayer in the ones who, with their life experiences, SHOULD BE our prayer warriors, the elderly.

This next paragraph is so far out of my comfort zone that I am struggling to write it, but I am, because I really believe the Lord laid this on my heart.

We would be honored if some of you would commit to supporting Kenya monthly. If you do, we’d like to do the following:

  1. Send you a personally signed copy of Mark’s novel, “The Pray-ers”
  2. Keep you actively involved in Kenya by introducing to you, every month, to individual team members that live and serve there
  3. If 100 people gave $25.00 per month we could
    1. Raise one of our part-time staff to a full-time position.
    2. We could schedule 3 – 4 visits per year; and
    3. Our “Retired Pastors” ministry could reach into all 47 counties in Kenya.

The burden of my heart is big, for them in Kenya, and has been since my very first trip. After my last trip I returned home and told Naida, “I could return as a full time missionary, if God called me to do so.” The spiritual need is so great. Doctrines of demons runs rampant.

Nearly every-time I speak, and especially the last two visits pastors would stand up and say, in front of their congregations, “We have got to rethink the way we pray,” or “I have been convicted about the way I have been praying.” And then the words of Bishop Zachariah still ring in my ears, ‘Oh Bro. Mark, I am so ashamed of the way we order God around.’

If you believe the Lord is leading you, please join us in our ministry.

You can donate here




A Short Note from Mark S Mirza

Turlock High School, Class of 1976

My Dear Pray-ers,

I just went to my 40th High School Class Reunion and there was a lot of music from the 70’s. I don’t recall if this one, For The Love of Money, from the O’Jays was played but it fits with something I need to say about money:

Review from Day By Day In Our World



review-daybyday This post, Learning the Importance of Prayer via The Pray-ers, was made possible with a digital copy of The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles  by Mark S. Mirza and available through CTM Publishing Atlanta for review as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

There is a long history now of authors creating a work of fiction to teach an important truth or set of truths. I’ll admit that typically the fictional allegorical works tend to capture my interest more than some of the dry nonfiction works. The Pray-ers is a title that seeks to educate in a more entertaining manner.


Enjoy Christian historical fiction? The Pray-ers takes that approach by highlighting 3 men of prayer through the ages.The Pray-ers can be placed into the genre of Christian Historical Fiction. Through the pages, you are introduced to 3 key figures across time: Alexander Rich, Dr. Dale, and Epaphras. Each man is from a different era with 2 from the United States.

Epaphras is from the early Church. He was a colleague of the Apostle Paul and is mentioned a few times in Scripture. Many believe him to be the founder of the church at Colosse. Most importantly, he is known for his fervent prayer life and fighting against heresies in his local church. His prayers often sought God to help the Colossians be made perfect in the perfection of Christ.

Alexander Rich is an itinerant preacher in Georgia. Born in Massachusetts, he is called to minister to the people of Georgia. When the Civil War begins, he is compelled to remain with his flock and enlists as a preacher in the southern army. Captured by the north, he elects to remain with the men he is ministering to.

Beyond learning about these individuals, you also see a glimpse into the nastier side of life.

In a realm we cannot see with human eyes, angels and demons are active through time. Though this work of fiction, they are shown to be working towards their own goals. The angels are there to glorify God and when sent on a mission, protect humans. The demons are constantly finding ways to drive a wedge between us and God, bringing more souls to Satan’s control.

For this story, there is a guardian angel, Hael, assigned to Dr. Dale. And there are demons doing their best to drive that wedge between the prayerful Christian men and God. Something unique for this novel is that Mr. Mirza has chosen to put demon names (e.g. katepa and joln) lowercase only. While it takes some getting used to reading this alternative formatting, I like how it removes a level of importance from them.


So far, I am the only person in the house who has been reading this title. While I am an avid reader, I have to admit that getting through the pages of The Pray-ers has been a struggle. I’m just not entirely sure of the reason.  The writing is decent. The book is long, but not outrageously so.

My best guess is that this book is not one to rush through and my spirit senses that through the words God is speaking to me. Prayer life is important and I know that my personal prayer life has suffered in the last few years. So, I am persevering to complete this particular novel and see how the reading of others with a strong prayer life will help my own. And, that, I believe is a large part of why Mark S. Mirza authored it.

THANK YOU for this review!




Almost Like I Was Living Your Book

I won’t give you all of the email, just enough of it to get a feel for it.

But we recently did a Book Festival, The Decatur Book Festival (#DBF2016). Here is an email I received from, well, you just read it and see his comments.

#DF2016 Booth
#DF2016 Booth

I bought your book in Decatur Saturday afternoon. I started reading it and could not put it down. My mother died in May 2015 and since that time my prayer life has sunk to hardly any. You knew when you started talking to me that I needed to read your book. God led me to your booth. . . .

It was almost like I was living your book by being led to the only 2 booths I saw selling totally Christian books. I noticed several Muslim sellers and all sorts of New Age literature but very little Christian.

You asked which character I liked most in your book. It had to be the Angels since I was obviously led by an angel Saturday.

Thank you for this great blessing. I will pray for you

G. C.

This is why we do what God lays on our heart to do!

Amen, and Amen!




Decatur Book Festival, 2016


The Decatur Book Festival was the Labor Day weekend – September 2-4, 2016. Were you one of the 85,000 attendees?

We were selling a number of Christian books very inexpensively on our $5.00 table. We also sold our novel, The Pray-ers, and give away one of three books, when you buy, The Pray-ers.

One of the things I love the most about these book festivals are the opportunities that I have to pray with people, right there at my booth.

If you came by and visited with us at Booth No. 703, we would love to hear from you.

I look forward to seeing you in 2017 and to pray with you.



Mature in the Faith


I so love going to Kenya and serving these folks, helping them mature in the faith. This photo is from Kisii during my last trip, in May of this year.

I find myself burdened though, about their maturity in the faith. Below is an excerpt from Epaphras as he deals with the same issues in my book:

Epaphras, still quiet, then heard the sounds of the city coming to life and thinking of his people who had to live in that world every day he exclaimed, “Oh Lord, how I long to see them mature in the faith.[1] I trust You Father to fill me with the knowledge of Your will, giving me all wisdom and spiritual understanding so that I walk worthy of You, especially as I correct my people, and grow in the knowledge of You.”[2]

Continue reading “Mature in the Faith”

Epaphras Struggles with Thanksgiving

Epaphras, Thanking God for EverythingIn The Pray-ers, on page 97, Epaphras

“. . . recalled his challenging learning experience with Paul three years earlier, about being thankful. . .”

As you read this short post, it came about from the need to check our motivation in our current politically charged world. And yet, as I was praying through this issue, I began to realize that the issues we face here, and that we truly desire to handle with prayer, require us to consider SO MUCH MORE, namely, we MUST look at how being thankful FOR everything, not just IN everything is a paramount prayer principle.

I so enjoy these character’s and the way they model prayer for us.

Continue reading “Epaphras Struggles with Thanksgiving”