“Sometimes we talk more about prayer than we actually pray,” said Daniel Ketchum, director of Nazarene Missions International (NMI). This conviction led Ketchum and NMI to place prayer at the center of the 2009 Global Mission Conference.
NMI delegates from around the world convened June 24-26 the 21st General NMI Convention. Participants joined with Nazarene Youth International, Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, and thousands of visitors in Orlando, Florida, USA, to conduct business and to be inspired by the stories of God moving across the nations.
Two years ago, Ketchum envisioned expanding the General NMI Convention into a Global Mission Conference, to motivate mission movements globally that pursue mission passion and church development in the Book of Acts.
“Prayer is at the center of Book of Acts movements,” said Ketchum.
Through small prayer groups, a Global Symphony of Prayer, interactive prayer rooms, and a three-day global track on prayer, NMI aimed to engage people in prayer.
During NMI corporate gatherings, participants were asked to form prayer circles of five people and pray for specific needs for regional prayer requests.
People gathered in small circles to pray for each region, and various
other mission-related requests. Photo courtesy NCN News.
Lori Anderson, a Chicago Central District delegate, said it was intimidating at first to pray in groups of people you do not know well.
“You never know how that is going to work,” she said. “But we touched the heart and everyone felt open to really pray.”
Wednesday evening, June 24th, NMI invited all General Assembly attendees to participate in a Global Symphony of Prayer. Prayer leaders and a special worship team created an atmosphere of intercession.
Global NMI President Eunice Brubaker (left) led prayer circles with
Louie Bustle (center), director of World Mission, and Glen Argabright
(right). Photo courtesy of NCN News.
Anbessu Tolla of Ethiopia, Liliana Radi of Argentina, Sunil Dandge of India, and Margaret Mugang of Papua New Guinea led the prayer symphony, prompting participants to intercede around several key themes related to global mission.
Carol Ketchum, wife of Daniel Ketchum and former missionary and regional NMI coordinator in Eurasia, organized interactive prayer rooms that were open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. throughout the Conventions and Assembly. Carol described the rooms as a “sacred space to pray-pare” for the events of the week.
Interactive stations and visual stimuli prompted people to pray for specific needs. These included hands-on stations specific to needs of children and youth, like the silence station which asks teenagers living in a world of media and noise, “Are you safe with your own silence?”
“I was very impressed with the main prayer room,” said Steve Gregory, a visitor to the convention from Indiana. “You saw these requests and could pray for them, and then you could leave requests. The atmosphere was really good and bringing us back to the importance of prayer.”
Participants often walked into the prayer room to find people with their faces to the ground, caught up in prayer.
“There were many things in the pray rooms to inspire, but the greatest was the presence of the Holy Spirit” said Carol.
A global track titled “Global Prayer: How are we moving each local church to become a house of prayer for all nations?” met for one hour each day of the conference. Sylvia Cortez, the director for Discipleship Ministries at Point Loma Nazarene University, facilitated the track’s conversation around global prayer.
Cortez led the group of 30 to 40 people through forms of prayer, learning about prayer movements and discussing issues of prayer.
“People really connected with the topic,” said Cortez, “especially participating in praying the Scriptures.”
Daniel Ketchum’s hope was to model for districts and local churches a way to engage more actively in praying. Instead of inviting people to lead in prayer from the platform while the congregation listened, he wanted to “invite everyone to participate in prayer.”
The Michigan District caught this vision. After returning from the Global Mission Conference, the Michigan delegates were inspired by the forms of prayer they had experienced in Orlando.
In July, at its district convention, the Michigan District NMI president, Carol Baker, invited several pastors to lead in prayer for each region. This prompted the delegates to pray in small groups.
Judy Owens, a delegate from Michigan, said she expected a very quiet time in silent prayer, but the delegation broke out in uninhibited spoken prayer for every region.
“It was much more participatory than anyone expected,” Owens said.
Not only in Orlando, but now in districts across the globe, people are engaged in praying for the mission of God.
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