A call to be praying together for one another, our churches, our neighbourhood, our families, our world.
The Common Grace Series highlights the parable of the “Good Shepherd” in John 10:1-21. Jesus is portrayed as both the “gate” and the “good shepherd” and interestingly he “leads” the sheep as they “follow” him “because they know his voice”. Jesus the prophetic voice of protection, compassion, comfort, commitment, servant-heartedness, sacrifice, courage, humility and bravery leads the people with his staff and rod. His staff brings comfort and his rod protection. In these anxious, challenging and dangerous times we need to hear again the voice of Jesus and to experience first, his comfort and compassion and secondly, his voice as he leads us through these times. We need to be “listening” – spending time with Him in mutual conversation, that is, prayer, in order to navigate faith, hope and love. It is only as we come aside and pray that we can follow the voice of the one who leads.
Why do this? Why pray? Because in these anxious and chaotic times, we too have a call to be the same prophetic voice of the Shepherd, leading those who are anxious, fearful and lost towards life abundant despite the challenges (John 10:10). We need more than ever to develop a sense of purpose and vision in order to undertake the present mission God has for us, that is, to be His light, His presence, His protection in a world in darkness. How do we do this? The parable talks about the sheep following the good shepherd, and as such, they are united together. “They are one flock, who hears his voice” (John 10:16). Together as the church we can be the true prophetic voice that is desperately needed at this time. Instead of retreating, or imagining that there is little we can do, on the contrary, there is so much to do. And the first thing is PRAYER.
Following Jesus isn’t always comfortable nor easy; it can be dangerous and risky. But we have the assurance of that the good shepherd is with us as He leads us, and we follow. And don’t you think Jesus might just want us to hear again His voice through the stream of myriad voices clouding our hearts, minds and bodies right now?
Here at the Baptist Union Support Hub we are committed to journeying with all of you and with our Good Shepherd. We need to have a committed sense of being again His united flock, following the Shepherd into new and perhaps even uncomfortable situations. So, we are establishing a Prayer Initiative we would love you to join. We believe that together, in prayer, and listening to His voice, we can be the voice others need to hear at this time.
Five ways to Pray
1. Current organised days of Prayer – The Australian Prayer Network is calling for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting this coming Sunday 29th March. You can join in with your church community for this day by following the website. The Baptist World Alliance are also calling for Global Prayer in a Prayer Marathon, commencing Monday 30th April.
2. BUV Prayer Week – Dangerous Prayer for Dangerous Times
Here at the Baptist Union of Victoria Hub we are calling on all our churches to gather for a week of Prayer and Fasting commencing Monday 13th April (Easter Monday) and concluding Sunday 19th April. We are people of prayer and this is such an exceptional time to be praying together. Scroll down further on this page for more information.
3. BUV Prayer Calendar – The BUV Support Hub has a monthly prayer calendar where we join together with one another and pray not only for our churches. April’s prayer calendar will include specific prayers in relation to the virus and the situation of our world as well as requests from you.Click here to download Prayer Calander
4. Other helpful prayer links – We will also be posting links to helpful prayer networks for inspiration, such as the 24/7 Prayer Rooms. Please also let us know via email firstname.lastname@example.org how best the Baptist Union Support Hub can pray for you, your leaders, your people and your neighbours in this time.
5. Theological Reflection from Mark Brett – Click here for a theological reflection from Prof Mark Brett, FAHA, Professor of Hebrew Bible, General Editor, Journal of Biblical Literature, Whitley College, recalling the experiences of the Jews through the Babylonian exile and their responses from Lamentations to Isaiah 40. This is indeed a time when biblical reflection is crucial.
BUV Prayer Week
(Monday 13th April – Sunday 19th April)
Here at the Baptist Union of Victoria Hub we are calling on all our churches to gather for a week of Prayer and Fasting commencing Monday 13th April (Easter Monday) and concluding Sunday 19th April. We are people of prayer and this is such an exceptional time to be praying together.
The format of the week is as follows:
- small groups within your church of up to six people come together for this week (digitally*) and pray daily prayers – *What’s App, Text or Facetime groups can be used
- daily devotions, prayers and a song link have been developed and will be distriubted to churches the week prior. These are based on the latest Craig Groeschel book, Dangerous Prayer – they are listed below
- one member of the group should fast each day during the week (omitting the 7th day)
- each member prays for 3 people who are not yet walking with Jesus
Good Shepherd, during Your ministry on Earth You showed Your power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses. Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Rev Gayle Hill
Head of Mission Catalyst Team