By Philip Reilly, BC Director of Development & Mobilization
After finishing a chapter from a story book that we read with our boys, and after we navigate the final burst of energy before they fall asleep, we pray together as a family. Surrounded by Lego, teddy bears and a plethora of other items strewn across the bedroom floor, we enter into a sacred moment. It’s messy, informal, often filled with both laughter and tears. However, this moment remains a portion of our day that we make a point of doing together. An opportunity to be thankful, to reflect on the times during the day which were life-giving and those moments in our day that did not bring life, and converse with our Father.
Truth be told, I’ve always struggled with prayer. This is despite the fact that I pray each day with thankfulness for all that I am blessed with, and I have read many books on prayer and led prayer retreats. I suppose I struggle with prayer because, in this very beautiful sacrament, I am confronted with my own brokenness and the brokenness of this world. The weight can often be too much to carry… on my own.
Having recently returned from IJM’s Global Prayer Gathering (GPG) in Washington DC, my understanding of prayer, of who I am and who God is, was given a new paradigm. During my short flight from Toronto to DC, I quietly asked that God would show me His Kingdom. Nothing more. Nothing less. And Like many prayers throughout the weekend, this too was answered.
GPG is an opportunity for the IJM community to come together and converse with God. To worship together and to encourage one another. To laugh and cry together. To hear the miracles of God showing up in response to the faithfulness and prayers of His people.
We are an organization that commits to prayer as a daily, communal activity. In the midst of our busyness, at 11am across all IJM offices, we lock our computers, lay aside our administrative work, and pray. We pray for the needs of our work. We pray for our clients and casework. We pray for our advocacy work. We pray for each other. We give thanks for the lives rescued, restored and transformed and we ache, often in silence and grief for those who are still trapped, living outside of the protection of the law. More often than not, my silence is all that I have and the Kyrie eleison my comfort.
GPG is a gift. A gift to each of us who support the work of IJM. To stand alongside our wonderfully gifted field office staff and reach out a hand of support and encouragement. I was consistently reminded that without God being centrally located in all that we do, our work would simply not see the fruit that it has. Meandering through the prayer rooms of Bolivia, Rwanda and Guatemala (to name a few) I was quickly immersed into the reality of utter brokenness, knowing that it will never have the final word. God breaks-in, in ways and in circumstances that we least expect.
Prayer matters. Prayer is crucial. Prayer is necessary. Prayer is an invitation into the mystery and majesty of God’s Kingdom and we are all invited. Despite our fear and brokenness. Despite the fact that many of us still struggle with this sacred practice there is an open invitation, even now, to converse with our Father.
Might I encourage you, as you continue to support our work, consider joining with us at our next GPG in 2016. You will be inspired, encouraged and I assure you, be brought into a deeper relationship with the One who saves and rescues.