What would it look like for you?
It is good to be fully in this new role. To be in a space where I can stop, take a deep breath, and reflect on my transition time into the role as SIM New Zealand Director.
Late last year Nigel Webb and I travelled over 12,000 km, had 65 meetings and eight opportunities to preach as we travelled through New Zealand. It was a great way to start and allowed me to meet and join long-standing SIM relationships with churches, missionaries and supporters. I had heard heaps about the wider SIM family, and as we moved around I saw how vibrant the support and involvement of this family really is. I find myself praising God that I’ve been able to join what God is already doing through SIM relationships!
As we travelled, it was awesome to see SIM’s value for prayer evidenced in churches, prayer groups and homes throughout the country. But one thing has me a bit concerned — the value of corporate prayer. As we visited a number of prayer groups, I think the average age of participants would have been 75. It’s amazing that some in these groups have been gathering for up to 50 years!
However, I find myself wondering why other generations of Kiwis weren’t more reflected in these groups. I don’t think we’re losing our heart for prayer because we found people prayerfully supporting our mission partners everywhere we went. But I am wondering if we’re at risk of undervaluing corporate prayer. Of missing out on journeying together as a community as we join our missionaries before God. I also don’t think it’s an age thing as I’ve seen intergenerational communities thrive.
I think it’s something that could slip away if we are not intentionally aware, and that would be a significant loss, both to SIM and to the NZ church community. I recently read a quote from Cyprian of Carthage in my devotions. Almost 1700 years ago he said, “The Lord Christ did not want us to pray by ourselves in private or for ourselves alone. We do not say ‘My Father, who art in heaven,’ nor ‘give me this day my bread.’ It is not for oneself alone that each person asks to be forgiven, not to be lead into temptation or to be delivered from evil. Rather, we pray in public as a community, and not for one individual but for all.” Timely words to reflect on.
So, can I leave you with this? As you look to this new year, would you consider what a corporate prayer commitment would look like for you? It could be joining one of our existing groups or maybe it’s starting one of your own. Maybe it’s intentionally inviting someone from another generation into your group. Maybe it’s accepting the invite and inviting a friend to join you as well. Whatever it looks like for you, let us know here in the office and we’ll sort out how we can support you.