Chuck Swindoll, once stated, “often we are faced with an amazing set of opportunities brilliantly disguised as a series of impossible situations.” In other words, you may not be able to go about your normal routine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace something new and be transformed by it.
For our Brethren Church Global Partners, this crisis has swept over many of them like a flood. Over 90% of our fellow pastors throughout the world are bi-vocational, working as taxi drivers, teachers, and laborers. Because of the quarantine, they have been unable to meet with their congregations and unable to provide other necessities for their families. Undeniably, their plight should seem hopeless. Yet, like so many in the U.S. they have adapted, not only finding ways to reach out to their congregations but discovering new ways to reach audiences, they might never have reached otherwise. People hungry to hear that there is still hope, even in these dark and difficult times. As difficult as life has been in many ways, our partners have discovered the opportunities hidden in the darkness, the roses among the thorns.
Prayer also has become an ever-present focus. Daily, coming before God with families and one another. Prayer for mercy certainly, but also a prayer of forgiveness for not seeing Christ in the chaos. Our partners around the globe have spent hours on their knees, alone, on radio shows, and in virtual worship services praying. Crying out to God, not just for relief, but for forgiveness, and revival in the church worldwide.
Because of this need, Rev. Sudhir Kumar, in India, and Global Partners Coordinator Scott Soden came together to call Brethren around the world, to a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday, May 17th. A focused time to seek forgiveness and sit in repentance, for doubting God’s ability to carry his people and forgetting the mission He has placed us on. To seek the restoration of the church as one body in spirit and each as individual pieces of that body. To celebrate all he has done through this chaos and to praise him for his faithfulness and love.
To kick this day off we gathered as many of our Global Partners together the day before in a virtual meeting to pray as the launching point. Prayer warriors from all reaches of the globe, South Africa, India, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, the Philippines, Peru, Canada, and the United States. Praying in the Spirit led them and in whatever language they felt most comfortable. Others joined the gathering as participants, using the virtual room's chat bar to not only greet one another but also add their prayers to the mix. The results were electrifying. The spirit moved in ways that even now is hard to describe.
The prayers that rose that day ignited something deep and abiding in all who attended. Many languages rang out, English, Spanish, and even Zulu, no translation was needed as the spirit provided the heart of what was said. Lasting close to two hours with over twenty individuals raising their voices to the heavens above, the hours flew by on wings of the cherubim themselves.
Afterword cameras snapped to take a picture or two, of this historic moment. Many of our partners stayed on for a time of greetings and sharing as such a gathering had not occurred since the 2008 conference in Richmond, Virginia. Joining in the fellowship Prasanth Kumar gave quiet greetings followed by our brothers and sisters in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.
The joy that was experienced that day still resounds in my heart. To see so many in prayer and fellowship. Many different languages, yet one heart beating, and one spirit covering the combined body of Christ. All of this proves one thing. God has not forgotten his people. He knows our plight and he knows our sorrows. He knows our weaknesses and yet he sends nourishment to our hearts. He is calling and we must answer. His words resound in our hearts and mind even now. Go ye and know I am with you forevermore. Across the boundless fields, mountains, and seas, hope is alive and I am sending you, my people, to spread that good news everywhere.
How did the day of prayer affect you and your congregation? Did God speak to you in his still, quiet voice? Let us know as we long to hear how you and your church are being transformed by prayer and discovering the opportunities Christ has given us, disguised as impossible situations.
This event was the highlight of my COVID-19 stay-at-home confinement, especially the nearly half hour of sharing, laughter, and prayers by the Global Partners after the two hours of heavenly prayers.