Pray it Forward moves into next phase
Pray it Forward moves into next phase
26 June 2020
With the Australia Territory’s 21-day Pray it Forward initiative ending on Sunday 21 June, Salvation Army leaders from ground to board level are now entering a process of discernment about what God has been revealing around the key themes raised during the time of prayer and listening.
“We are aware that many people, across every division, joined with around 300 prayer warriors engaging in various forms of prayer throughout this time,” said Major Barry Casey, Secretary for Spiritual Life Development. “We even extended the invitation to all Australian officers serving overseas.” Many Corps prayed through the themes in socially distanced small groups or online together. Some social media videos of Salvationists taking part in ‘Pray it Forward’ were viewed up to 20,000 times.
“The appetite to hear from God at this moment in time in The Salvation Army is so encouraging,” said Major Ros Casey, Secretary for Spiritual Life Development. “There is something that God is doing; a movement of ‘coming back’ ... it’s about intimacy with him and really coming back to the need for repentance of our own pride.
“God’s got something for The Salvation Army,” she said. “As long as we are obedient to it, he’s got something that I’m excited about!”
In the lead-up to the ‘Pray it forward’ initiative, a survey was completed by all senior leaders that asked questions about what they believed God was saying to The Salvation Army, about lessons being learnt through COVID-19 and how those learnings could be applied into the future. The results of that survey have been collated and some of the key themes that emerged included spirituality, discipleship, social church and embracing technology.
The results of the survey were then discussed by a group of 20 millennials, who have made recommendations and suggestions about the way forward for The Salvation Army as it emerges from COVID-19 restrictions into the ‘new normal’. Those recommendations, along with feedback sought through a number of other processes and avenues, will be discussed further by the Executive Mission Council.
“People are saying to us, ‘We know we can’t go back to the way we used to do some things before COVID-19, and God is calling us to serve him in new ways and with renewed energy, but we do not yet know what ‘the new’ will look like,” said Barry. “Our response is to continue to seek the heart of God, be bold and courageous and encourage change from the grass-roots.
“See what new things God is doing in your neighbourhoods, and partner with him. Of course, this is to take place in consultation with your local leaders, area officers and divisional leadership.”
And if corps haven’t yet heard from God?
Some of the feedback that came from the ‘Spiritual Influencers/Prophetic Voices’ campaign within the Pray it Forward initiative is the strong call for The Salvation Army to be a movement that is saturated in prayer. “There is a strong sense that God, by his Spirit, is stirring us up and that he is about to do something new and powerful. We need to respond with repentance, obedience, courage and boldness,” said Barry.
Ros said she has been encouraged and excited by some of the changes she has already heard about: “I think there is a real appetite for change now. COVID-19 has brought that to the fore. It has opened people’s eyes to the fact that there are new ways of doing church. It’s not about coming to a building, we can be the people of God in our communities.
“There is a real appetite within The Salvation Army to see significant changes, and we need to be obedient to the voice of God,” she said.
Pray if Forward prayer resources are still available on the mySalvos website, for those still seeking after God’s heart for their local Salvation Army expression. The ‘Pray it Forward’ initiative was launched in tandem with ‘40 days of prayer’ by the NSW/ACT Division.
“With all this prayer we need to get on board ... or stand out of the way. God is going to do amazing things!” Barry said.