An Army on its knees
An Army on its knees
1 June 2016
As the newly appointed national leaders for Australia, we count it a "privilege to be partners together in the gospel" (Philippians 1:3-5), and anticipate all that God has in mind for Australia through The Salvation Army.
“Australia One” – the formal journey to one territory in Australia, officially commences on 1 June 2016. As The Salvation Army Australia embraces a new and exciting chapter, we believe that seeking God, recognising his voice and responding in obedience is of upmost importance. We firmly believe that The Salvation Army is most effective when we are listening to, responsive to, and fully reliant on Jesus. Prayer and holiness are the cornerstone of our DNA.
As a way to seek God and respond in obedience to his voice, we invite Salvationists across Australia to participate in 100 Days of Ceaseless Prayer. “100 Days” is an opportunity for Salvos all over the country to come together in persistent and responsive prayer to seek first The Kingdom of God. The heartbeat of 100 Days is to ask, "What is God doing?" And "How can I be obedient to it?"
100 Days will provide a range of resources including daily prayer topics, social media updates, ideas and activities for prayer rooms, and email subscriptions. I invite all corps, centres, headquarters and expressions of mission around Australia to commit to hosting a prayer space for the duration of 100 Days. Through ceaseless prayer, we can come together as one Army obedient to God's unfolding mission in Australia.
Thank you for joining in this “100 Days” laying a firm foundation for the future together.
Commissioners Floyd and Tracy Tidd
‘Prayer is a privilege’
When I was in my early teens, my corps officer asked if I would be willing to participate in an hour of 24/7 prayer. Being a newly enrolled soldier, I enthusiastically accepted the challenge and signed up to pray from 3am–4am that weekend.
I am not a morning person – it takes me a good hour before I am able to function. So when my alarm went off at 2.55am that Saturday morning, my enthusiasm was somewhat diminished. The next hour or so was a rough cycle of five-minute naps; jolting awake and remembering that I was supposed to be praying; and murmuring a vague, “God, help the world” prayer. I remember the relief when 4am arrived, but it was mixed with a sense of guilt that I had “broken” the 24/7 prayer chain. In my semi-conscious state, I was more concerned with seeing the hour out than the quality of prayer I was offering. On this particular occasion, prayer had become a burden.
Prayer is important to Christians. While we’ve all had moments where we feel like God is silent, or we struggle to connect, ultimately prayer is life giving. It’s the way in which we relate with God and hear his voice; it is how we seek direction for our lives. We pray on behalf of others – sometimes they are strangers, and sometimes they are those closest to us. While it is our responsibility to engage with God in prayer, for ourselves, for others, and for our communities prayer should not be seen as a chore or a burden. Prayer is a privilege.
At my corps, I lead a small group for teenage girls, most of who do not come from a Christian background. The first year of running the group was chaotic! However, there was a noticeable shift in the culture of the group when we spent an evening engaged in prayer stations. There was no direction from me and they were simply able to move between the stations. The girls felt like they had been able to connect with God and their worlds were slowly transformed by the realisation that they had a direct line to him. Now we run prayer stations every term and it’s one of the highlights of the group. Providing an hour of unstructured prayer was one of the best things we could have done.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (KJV) tells us to, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The statement "pray without ceasing" can seem like an overwhelming task – a burden perhaps – but the point of this command is not that we should be walking around literally uttering prayers 24/7. Commentaries indicate that the Greek is, "Pray without intermission"; that is, we are to pray without prayer-less voids. We don’t turn to God just when there is a crisis, or just where we have a small moment of silence – interacting with God is a part of our everyday life. To pray without ceasing is to go about our everyday life, with a sense of God’s presence in all our activities.
This sentiment is repeated in Romans 12:1-2 (The Message): “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” To pray without ceasing is an opportunity to seek God regularly in those moments of our lives that we consider mundane and boring, as well as the enthralling and exciting highs. To pray without ceasing is to seek God in every part of our lives.
100 Days, which launches on 1 June, is an invitation to enter into ceaseless prayer. Social centres, corps, headquarters and individuals will be invited to host a 24/7 prayer space through this campaign. At the foundation of 100 Days is a desire to recognise and engage in the ways in which God is working to restore the Kingdom of God in Australia, and the invitation for The Salvation Army to participate in this. It is an opportunity for Salvationists and Salvation Army communities to identify and embrace God’s will for Australia through persistent and responsive prayer.
Each day of 100 Days will feature a devotional based on one of seven themes. Additionally, each day people will be encouraged to interact with a daily rhythm of prayer - seek: Come before God; Listen: What is God saying? What is God doing; Act: How do I respond; Imagine: What are the possibilities of a flourishing Kingdom? 100 Days is an opportunity to seek God, hear his voice and respond to what he is asking of us – both as individuals and as an organisation. It is an opportunity to restore the Kingdom of God in your community, your church and in your life.
How can I participate?
- Sign up to pray for a period of time during 100 Days. Groups and individuals may commit to 24 hours, an hour each week, or 10 minutes each day. You can sign up through our website, or via your corps officer.
- Download the monthly devotionals, or speak to your corps officer for a hard copy.
- Set up a prayer room – 100 Days will be providing prayer stations and activities.
- Consider the ways in which your existing programs and sections can make 100 Days a part of their regular routine? For example, can your youth group pray for an hour once a month?
- Set an alarm for the same time each day and spend 10 minutes praying through the prayer topic for that day.
- Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
- Get creative! Have you always wanted to paint or draw? Use 100 Days as an opportunity to creatively express your prayer requests.