By prayer: declaring our dependence on God
By Rev. Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko
I am happy to serve a mission that has held the motto “By Prayer” since 1935. This is not just a slogan printed on the outside of our literature; it is a conviction bound on the inside of our hearts. This is not a religious decoration; it is a deeply held core value.
Because of prayer, thousands have stepped out as cross-cultural workers, learning new languages, crossing barriers to the gospel and making Christ known where He was yet to be known. Through prayer we praise God, seek his direction, request resources, and call upon the Holy Spirit to empower our ministries. Prayer is foundational to every missionary’s life and ministry.
Prayer is not compartmentalized as one duty of ministry; it shapes every aspect of every ministry. Mission depends upon prayer. By prayer we view our calling. By prayer we respond to new and existing open doors to proclaim the crucified and risen Christ in communities where He is least known. Prayer reveals barriers and, by prayer alone, we cross them. Prayer is not an empty ritual; it is an activity that in itself expresses love and compassion for others. No other single practice should characterize a missionary as the practice of prayer.
We know from Scripture that God answers prayer. Sometimes it happens instantly, as in the many miracles recorded in the Old and New Testaments.
Other times it takes years for answers to come, such as when Abraham had to wait about 25 years before God honoured his promise of a son. Regardless of how and when God answers, we are commanded to pray. When we make prayer central to our life and ministry, we are declaring our utter dependence on Him.
In this, our first 12-page issue of AfriGO, we place the focus on prayer. We know that no missionary endeavour will be successful if it is not soaked in prayer. We take a look at the different kinds of prayer, all of which are important. Author JFK Mensah of Ghana provides us with a helpful article about spiritual warfare prayer, something every missionary should be well versed in. Mme. Cosette Kashalé of Côte d’Ivoire, who has contributed our regular Perspective feature, talks about what can be accomplished when we prepare the ground by praying, and describes one of her own experiences of spiritual warfare.
This issue also includes articles about “prayer mountains” (in Ethiopia and Nigeria) and introduces Rhizha, a beautiful retreat centre in Nigeria established by prayer to provide Christian workers with a quiet place to get away and pray. You will also find missions news, helpful resources and a people group who need your prayers.
Prayer is not an assertion of superior spirituality; it is a declaration of utter dependence on God. As you read this issue of AfriGO, may your personal prayer life become revived, and may your prayers for world missions flood the throne room of heaven on behalf of missionary workers.
Rev. Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko, SIM International Director