Churches that pray
Posted on: 26th August 2023
Prayerful supporting and sending churches are at the heart of CMS. Here we give a snapshot of four churches from around Australia, each with a deep and unique commitment to prayer for gospel mission. Are there ideas here that could help your church pray for mission more effectively?
Hunter Bible Church
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, NSW
Church member Stu Harrison writes: Our big prayer at Hunter Bible Church (HBC) is that God will bring thousands to know Jesus across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. We know, however, that God’s desire is not only for those within our ‘reach’, but his plans are to see the name of Jesus proclaimed to every person in the world.
We are humbly grateful to have formal partnerships with CMS missionaries Mike and Katie Taylor in Tanzania, Chris and Karen Webb in Broome, Dene and Rachel Hughes in Japan, and Matt and Ellen Tyler (doing specialist translation training before heading to Vanuatu).
Support for our missionaries happens primarily through Growth Groups. Each group is assigned at least one mission partner to pray and care for throughout the year and members are encouraged to sign up to their mission partner’s newsletter. The ‘Mission Beyond HBC’ Team also collates prayer letters, photos and details in a shared folder to resource Growth Groups, Sunday Services, Youth and Kids ministries, special church events and church family news updates.
Last year we erected a four metre by three metre world map at our church ‘hub’ building with missionary profiles next to each location to start conversations and encourage prayer for God’s world, people and cultures, and our missionaries.
Anne promotes prayer for HBC missionaries at the HBC Lake Macquarie congregation. She writes:
“We want to inspire those who are unable to go to be a part of this great work of the church by praying, supporting and giving. We are instructed to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers into the harvest field.
I actually prayed for more labourers to be raised up at HBC after praying for the Tyler family recently and two young ladies came straight up to me afterwards and were thrilled to have heard that prayer being prayed in church.”
St Barnabas Church
Croydon, South Australia
CMS SANT staff worker Caitlin Ellery interviewed St Barnabas church member Kate Hamer. Caitlin writes: St Barnabas has been a faithful mission partner to CMS missionary K in South Asia, since the beginning of her cross-cultural mission journey. The church has cared for K and seen the power of prayer working in her life and mission, as well as experienced the joy of global fellowship with a sister in Christ.
Video updates and dedicated times of prayer are regularly rostered into the Sunday services, and quarterly prayer nights include time to pray specifically and purposefully for K. When it’s K’s birthday, members of the church send cards and messages, and she is celebrated and prayed for as part of the church family. The new members course involves watching a video from K introducing herself and explaining her work. New members are then given the opportunity to sign up to K’s prayer updates so they too can be involved.
One fellow church member said, “I’m encouraged by what God is doing in and through K. It points me to opportunities for mission ‘here’. I can walk alongside her in prayer for the everyday challenges she faces.”
Dedicated staffing hours are given to mission partnership as an expression of the church’s heart for global mission and a love for K as a valued member of the St Barnabas congregation. The whole church, including the kids, know who K is and actively take part in upholding her in prayer. Kate Hamer says, “St Barnabas has been blessed to be co-labourers in the gospel with K. We love to pray with her and for her.”
St Marys in the Valley Church
Kelmscott, Western Australia
Church member Meredith van de Klip writes: Our church is privileged to be the sending church for a beloved family serving in a secure location, and we take very seriously the responsibility of keeping this CMS family in our prayers.
Given our love for this family and the risky nature of their assignment, we wanted to ensure that they were prayed for every day. So we asked those willing to nominate a specific day of the week to pray. We then provided those who committed to pray with a bookmark to keep in their Bibles. On the front is a photo and the message ‘Praying for S & P on Monday’ (or whichever day—we made them for each day of the week) and on the back is a list of prayer points including:
- the specific ministries S and P are engaged in
- for S and P to work in God’s strength and prioritise their time well
- for the children to grow and thrive at school, to make good friends and to know that God is their Father in heaven and Jesus is their friend, Lord and Saviour
- for each family member to grow in their faith, for good patterns of family life and for good health
- for S and P’s family back home in Australia
- for ourselves to pray diligently and support practically as we are able.
It seems to me that the key to praying well for missionaries is to get to know them, keep in touch with them, know what’s going on for them and grow to love them. When you love the Lord and his mission and hold dear those whose feet bring the message of the good news to unreached people and communities, praying becomes the obvious, easy and joyous extension of that love.
St Marys in the Valley Church prayer group.
St Lucia Bible Church
St Lucia, Queensland
CMS QNNSW staff worker Samuel Merigala writes: St Lucia Bible Church is deeply committed to mission through CMS. They are a link church for CMS missionaries Keith and Marion Birchley (PNG), R (Eurasia), and Bruce and Libby Hayes (Nepal). There is a culture of being mission-minded at St Lucia Bible Church, even among the youth. One of the new Mentac trainees, Daniel, is from St Lucia Bible Church (Mentac is a CMS organisation that trains people for cross-cultural ministry, especially to Muslims).
Every third Sunday, St Lucia Bible Church prays for CMS missionaries as a congregation. CMS missionaries are also listed in the church’s prayer diary. A group meets weekly before church to pray for missionaries and other church matters.
Senior Pastor Roy Davidson draws attention to Luke 12:48—“…from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Roy comments that since “much has been given, much is required of St Lucia Bible Church”—emphasising that spreading the gospel is their focus. “CMS is a key partner in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.”
As well as praying, many churches have wonderful ideas on how to care well for CMS missionaries and others. How could you help your whole church provide meaningful care for workers in God’s mission? Contact your CMS branch for ideas.