Where two or three gather…
Posted on: 23rd August 2023
It is good to pray for mission ‘solo’. But it can be particularly stimulating and effective to join with others for prayer. Meet two small CMS prayer groups that may just give you inspiration to follow their examples.
Praying in Katoomba, NSW
Emma Dowden writes: In early 2021, my church advertised for someone to help coordinate a prayer group for CMS missionaries David and Cathie Sandifer in the Netherlands, bringing together three of their link churches here in the beautiful Blue Mountains. I thought, ‘Why not?’ Since July 2021, we’ve been meeting every two months for fellowship, afternoon tea—often Dutch-themed!—and fervent prayer. What a great way to deepen my connection with the Sandifers (who often tell us things they don’t share publicly) and with my Mountains church family: on one occasion, three of us in the group had such a great conversation it was almost dark by the time we left! The Sandifers really appreciate our care for them, and the group’s deep love and heartfelt prayers have so encouraged me.
They’ve even inspired me to become a CMS Advocate at my church, St Hilda’s Katoomba. We’re all so busy these days that we often focus on what’s right in front of us, not on missionaries across the world, whom we may never have met. Advocacy is about keeping missionaries’ needs on people’s minds.
Our Senior Minister Murray Colville and I have been chatting about ways to do this, like asking each of our small groups to pray for a missionary regularly. Recently the Sandifers had a significant prayer need, so that week our group focused on world mission, including a great time of prayer.
A Dutch-themed afternoon tea at David and Cathie Sandifer’s prayer group in Katoomba.
Praying in Boonah, QLD
Prayer group members Judy, Sue and Barbara describe their meetings: Our group of four women meets once a month on a Sunday afternoon, led by Judy Spetch. Judy allocates missionaries (and CMS Prayer Diary days) to us before we meet. When we gather we pray one or two prayers each, going around our circle. We keep going until all have been prayed for. We say the introductory prayer from the ‘CMS Monthly Prayer Points’ at the beginning of our time, and the CMS Prayer (found in the 2023 Prayer Diary on p.90) at the conclusion.
Following each prayer time, we try to send an email to all the individuals we have prayed for. Each member of our group contributes to a group letter. Judy edits the contributions into an email and sends it to each missionary (or missionary family), with the subject line ‘Remembering you today’. Judy writes: “To this end I always try to get this email out as soon as possible after our prayer meeting… I believe in the power of prayer and even if one missionary receives the email and reflects ‘they were praying for us when this was happening,’ that would, to me, be what prayer is about: our partnership with their work.”
Group member Barbara writes: “From time to time we have met at my home over lunch. Sometimes missionaries we pray for come and share with us over lunch. Judy is a key person in our group, and I am very thankful for her skill in getting us together to pray. It is also uplifting when we receive missionaries’ responses to our letters.”
As these examples show, prayer groups can not only pray but also offer support in other ways, both to missionaries and to the churches and individuals who care for them. Why not ask your CMS branch for ways to help missionaries through advocacy at church, letter-writing, contact during Home Assignment or other practical means?