Arthur’s been blogging through some of the content from CMS Summer Encounter. (Victorians, that’s the SA equivalent of SUTS.) It’s an absolute highlight of the year for us and not just because we love CMS and are applying to be missionaries with them. One significant change for me from this year has been what I pray.
I’ve never been that good a pray-er but in the last few years I’ve found something that works reasonably well. I call it ‘Peter Adam prayers’ because it’s a model he showed us at SA’s CV conference a number of years ago. It’s a list of 1 sentence prayers that you say every day. I keep them on the sticky notes app on my computer so they’re easy to access. Here’s why I like it:
- It means when I commit to praying for something regularly, I remember to do it.
- The simplicity of the 1 sentence thing reminds me that God doesn’t need my flowery words to hear and answer my prayers.
- I can pray these prayers even when I’m not feeling particularly in the prayer zone (which is most of the time)
- I put things on there that are biblical prayers that I normally wouldn’t pray.
- I can easily add to it without feeling overwhelmed.
- I’m not limited to these – obviously I can pray other things if I want to. But these help me to pray at all.
Because you can colour code sticky notes, I do that too so I can see what categories I pray in e.g.
- Blue: for myself and my service to God e.g. “Give me the strength, clarity and courage to do the good works you have planned for me to do today”; “Please give me a special friend to share and talk with in Dodoma.”
- Pink: for others e.g. “Please heal Y and help them to patient in their recovery”; “Please provide X with a husband / wife”; “Please guide our church leaders”, etc.
- Green: for non-Christians. This includes family and friends as well as people I don’t know who are in ministries I support, like ES.
- Yellow: money. Up to Summer Encounter, this only had one prayer in it “Please provide the finances for CMS.”
Since Summer Encounter, I’ve added two new prayers: one to yellow and one to green.
The one I’ve added to yellow is “God, please don’t make me rich.” This was David Williams’ suggestion in his rich young ruler talk. It’s not because being rich is bad but because the desire to be rich can be so idolatrous. I didn’t think I had much of a problem with that until I had to pray this prayer every day. But I’ve discovered I do! I don’t want to be filthy rich, but I’d like to have a house and be able to buy name-brand foods and not stress when I need new clothes and be able to get a season pass to the State Theatre. Like maybe not now, but someday, maybe when (if) we get back from Tanzania. And it seems so final to pray “God, please don’t make me rich”! I think it scares me even more because I know that in global terms, I am ridiculously wealthy. And I’m frightened that if I pray this prayer, I’ll end up like the half of the world that lives on less than $2.50 a day. So I’m praying this prayer alongside the Lord’s Prayer, including “Give us today our daily bread.”
The second prayer I’ve added is in the green category: “Please open Saudi Arabia to the gospel.” That’s a challenge from David’s talk on the persistent widow. He talked about the great pray-ers of CMS in the past and how they saw God open Nepal to the gospel. I remember as a child reading ‘You Can Change the World‘ (it’s like a kids’ version of Operation World) and praying for Bhutan, a closed country. And I still remember that I was part of changing the world when the king of Bhutan made it legal to be a Christian. There are so many countries like this to pray for and Saudi Arabia seems like the hardest place of all. But I’ve seen God do it before so I’m excited for the day when this one gets answered and I replace it with a different country.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.