I count it a privilege to be able to attend IJM’s Global Prayer Gathering (GPG)
on a regular basis. At the GPG, IJM staff, field office directors, prayer partners and supporters gather in Washington, DC as a community of justice seekers to pray to the God of Justice about the needs of the oppressed. This year we were constantly reminded that prayer matters; that praying is doing the hard work of justice.
Many of the stories shared, prayers lifted and praises given were inspiring, but here are five things that stuck with me from this year’s GPG. I pray (yes, I really do pray this for everyone who reads this blog) that it will inspire you to pray for justice:
1. "Most of us love the idea of justice until there is a cost to doing the work of justice.” (Eugene Cho)
In the last few years justice has become somewhat of a trendy topic to align oneself with. But doing the work of justice (including prayer) is hard, messy and complicated; it requires sacrifice and perseverance if we want to see injustice, in all of its forms, eradicated.
2. "Justice is not a political issue or personal agenda but a core part of the character of God.” (Eugene Cho)
If we separate justice from God’s character, we lose the urgency in the command to seek justice. We would never think of removing love or grace from God’s character because that would diminish the redemptive work of God on earth. So why would we remove justice as a legitimate expression of God’s very nature
being expressed in the redemption of the world?
3. When faced with the ugliness of injustice, don’t forget to look for the incorruptible beauty of the Image of God.
A mother who stands up to slave owner
when he is beating her 2-year-old child is a reminder that even when evil and injustice is at its most extreme, we see glimpses of God’s image through the people he has created. And in some small way, the incorruptible beauty of that mother’s bravery dispels the darkness of the inhumanity of the brutal slave owner and we catch a glimpse of the image of God.
4. God is in the business of transforming, redeeming and restoring the lives of people who were once oppressed.
At GPG 2016 we heard from a former slave who was rescued from a brick kiln and now serves as a lawyer in an IJM field office in India. We also heard from a young woman who survived the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
in Northern Uganda and grew up an orphan looking after her eight younger siblings. She went on to graduate from university as a social worker who now serves IJM clients in our office in Uganda
. The stories of God’s transforming power are countless and a testimony to his faithfulness and goodness!
5. We are challenged to pray with confidence for what seems to be impossible knowing that God hears and answers our cries for justice.
This year we boldly prayed for the complete abolition of slavery in a generation and that slavery would be forever removed from the earth. And yet, this "impossible” prayer seems possible after hearing countless stories of how God has miraculously responded to what seemed like impossible situations
. Praying is simply asking God for that which he has already told us he wants to do. And so we pray – we pray boldly and with confidence!
Prayer matters. It matters to those who are waiting for rescue and it matters to the God who has created them in his image. Prayer also matters for us; for in praying, we too are transformed and changed as we catch a glimpse of the pain, suffering and joy of others. And so we invite you to join us in the hard work of prayer.
is a call to consistently unify in prayer at 10:17am each day and join in the prayer of Psalm 10:17: that the God of Justice would hear and encourage the afflicted, listen to their cry and defend the fatherless and oppressed.
For the month of June we encourage all IJM supporters across Canada to simply pause and pray for justice for one minute each day. As we unite in prayer, we wait with eager anticipation to see God move.