The ‘40 Days of Prayer’ initiative was a sure highlight of the year! Together as a Baptist family of Churches throughout NSW & ACT, we spent 40 days committed to intentional prayer. We’ve heard incredible stories from the churches who joined; Narara Valley Baptist had a creative way to get kids involved, Chester Hill Baptist learned how to pray alongside the pastor’s prayer sermons, and Dubbo Baptist formed groups that could encourage each other. Central Baptist Church (CBC) also got involved, and have the following to report:
The committee, pastoral team, translation team, church office and other leaders and members contributed in providing prayer points, translating, hosting in Zoom, and putting things together. Despite the difficult timing of lockdown (people’s attention taken up by health issues, people under pressure to meet the demands of work, school and family in unusual circumstances, etc.), there were usually 60-65 people attending prayer sessions each day, with over 100 attending at least one of the prayer meetings, around 30 participating for more than 35 days, and a few even attending both morning and evening.
CBC is an intercultural church and the prayer breakout rooms were held in four different languages. At times, some people joined in breakout rooms with different language groups with each praying in their own language. In the Thai breakout rooms they would all pray together at the same time.
The prayer initiative revealed a number of areas where improvement is needed; some people may not feel comfortable praying/sharing with someone they don’t know well, church safety is still needed in the online environment, and fasting was not introduced to a limitation of time. As a result, special considerations will be made for more reserved people, the Church Safety Team will establish regulations for online meetings, and more detailed information about fasting (through sermons and bible studies) will be given next time.
But the campaign also resulted in many highlights, including the fact that:
● A virtual prayer room allowed members to stay connected, have fellowship time, and provide encouragement and support in lockdown.
● A ten-year-old boy, without the participation of his peers, came to pray with others almost every night.
● In a very small group, brothers and sisters from different congregations pray to God in different languages. For us are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28).
● One brother, who did not know how to pray before this campaign, learned to pray and developed the habit of praying through these 40 days.
● A young child can recognise different people she is unfamiliar with or has never met face to face just by their voices. It really helps to integrate the next generation into church and becoming a CBC child.
- The less visible brothers and sisters who committed themselves to support others and the entire church with faithful prayers, play the same important role in the church as the leaders.
● We truly put our goal of “One Church, One Family” in practice, and the whole church has become more united.
● We are gradually seeing God’s heart for CBC through prayers, and have a clearer understanding of the core values and future direction of the church.
● Our ongoing prayers for the community and the nations have given us a broader perspective as Christians, shifting us from self-centred prayer to include prayer for others.
● Zoom showed that we have a way to overcome our distance and spread-out problems. We will now consider making good use of technology more often in order to carry out God’s work in different areas.
“In church history, all of the outbursts of revival-type events were preceded by small groups of people fervently and faithfully praying over a period of time. It is hoped that our church will continuously seek God’s help through prayer as we move into the next era.”