We are in a season when the world is being shaken. A global pandemic, a renewed cry for racial justice, the yoke of poverty, awareness of the state of the environment and the threat of natural disasters. What is our response to all this? Please join with us this month as we pray and hear from God about Seeking God During the Coronavirus…
We may become fearful and self-protecting. Perhaps we are confused. We may be looking for ways to add our voice to those petitioning government for change.
Yet first and foremost, will we seek God? Will we bring to Him our fear and confusion, our longing for things to be different, our desire to act wisely and lovingly toward a broken world. Could we make some space in our lives to sit with Him, to encounter and be encountered by Him?
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29 (ESV)
Please join YWAM’s prayer day this month, called The Invitation, as we seek God in anticipation of changes that will come out of this unique time in the world’s history, and as we bring to God our pain and confusion. You can pray with us on our prayer day, April 9, or feel free to pray at a time that works best for you.
If you have only a few moments to pray, please take some time to seek God yourself and pray that YWAMers will seek God in new ways as a result of the new realities of our world. Thank you for being part of The Invitation. We would love to receive stories from you regarding how you prayed. If you get involved in evangelistic digital media, please send us links. You can email us at [email protected].
Prepare to Pray (by Tonya Stanfield):
A friend has a mildly autistic son. He will try, but he can’t quite put himself into another’s shoes. He’s very good at telling you how you should feel, and not so good at accepting that you have a differing perspective or feelings. The psychological term for this is mindblindness. We’re all mind-blind until we’re about four, but it’s a forever battle for those on the autistic spectrum. This young boy has accepted the fact that another’s brain is filled with differing content, reactions, emotions, but for him to live into that reality is another thing.
We’re not so different from this boy when we approach God in prayer. Theologically, we know God is “other” from us; we know He’s got his own personality, ideas and feelings, but living into that reality of God takes practice. Like you, perhaps, too often I pray to my idea of God, my image of God, or even experience God as an extension of myself… having my same thoughts, opinions, emotions. And, then I wonder why I walk out of a prayer time untouched, unchanged, with no more clarity or peace–or worse, with little desire to return.
Take a moment to reflect by asking yourself: when you pray, are you talking to yourself or to your idea of God? Is your God a living person with thoughts and feelings of God’s own, or just an extension of your own thinking and feeling?
As you prepare to pray, ask God to help you overcome your mind-blind prayer and engage with God’s holy, unpredictable love.
How To Pray – Seeking God During Coronavirus
If you are praying in a group, set aside some unstructured time for seeking God, and ask each person to pick one of the ways noted below to seek God. Then when you come back together give opportunity for people to share if they want. If you are praying alone, ask God to guide you into one of the following ways of seeking Him.
- Seeking God means to LISTEN
When we are listening well, by implication we are talking less. To seek God is to be willing to listen to the cries and complaints of others. It means I adopt a posture of leaning into God’s perspective, pressing into what His word has to say about the issues we face. And when it comes to the question of justice for the oppressed, there is no shortage of things God has to say.
To seek God is also to listen to those ways in which he may want to prune us – our individual lives, our ministries, or even more broadly. In what ways might God want to direct (or redirect) our energy into particular areas of growth, and what might that mean for our other activities?
First, as you pray, take time in silence to listen.
- Seeking God means to LONG FOR
In order to seek God, we are to be in touch with the longing within us. To what extent am I aware of a deep desire for God’s redemption to be worked out in our world and our communities, and in my own heart? To seek God means to allow ourselves to deeply feel this longing, not to be afraid of it but to lean in. This is a longing that will lead us to God.
As you pray, take time to attend to your own longing for God. What shared longings are you aware of, among your family, teammates, community members and nation?
- Seeking God means to LAMENT
At times, our longing is so deep we cannot find words to express it. The losses mount around us: people sickened, lives lost, jobs or careers never to return. Inequalities and injustices in societies only seem to increase. There is so much to cry out in prayer and intercession. As we seek God, we bring our groaning, our supplication, and our sorrowing. We add our words and our wordless groans to those of the world around us and yes, even to that of creation (as we read about in Romans chapter 8). We seek God through lament.
How long, O Lord? Where are you, Lord? We cry to you for help, O Lord!
Take time to pray with lament, leaning even more deeply into God’s loving-kindness. Pray for yourself, and for our world.
- Seeking God means to WATCH
To what extent will we pay attention? Are we willing to look for what God might be about in the current situation, to ‘keep our eyes peeled’ and our spirits alert? To seek God is to remain wakeful and watchful. What do you see happening in the world around you? What have you noticed? What has surprised you? How might God bring His vision to us in a fresh way for this unique time in history?
Take time to ask God to help you to see things the way he does. Ask him to help you notice the ways he is at work in the world. What do you see?
- Seeking God means to WAIT in ANTICIPATION
Finally, seeking God requires us to wait on God, who is the chief mover and shaker. In our waiting, we submit to His timing which causes us to relinquish our own need for control. We do not wait out of a lack of desire to act, but out of trust in His agency and His absolute commitment to redemptive change.
As we attune to that place within us that longs for God and His ways, we enter into a place of seeking. We find ourselves joining with the psalmist, who said: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
May God encounter us in our places of heartfelt seeking, and in such a way that we are prepared, becoming ready for whatever lies ahead of us.
- In this season that contains so much desolation, what does seeking God look like for you individually? What about for your family, your team, or your community? Maybe you want to wail and weep, maybe you find yourself keeping silent vigil. Perhaps as you walk the streets of your neighbourhood, you find yourself seeking the ways God might be at work in the homes and businesses around you. It could be that your seeking finds expression in art, or song, or writing. Follow through as the Lord leads.
- While there is indeed a time for action, may we not rush into activity for the sake of making ourselves feel better. Rather, may we truly spend time in the unseen and often uncomfortable place of seeking God himself – for His perspective, His timing, His agenda and His infilling. In these ways, we will be readied by his Spirit for the season ahead.
- Lament was also part of the prayer lives of the Psalmists: David, Asaph, Ethan, Henan and others. In fact, Eugene Peterson, beloved pastor-teacher who passed away last year, wrote that perhaps up to 70% of the Psalms has some degree of lament included. To lament is to pray in ways that relate honestly to the pain and suffering around us: sometimes within, sometimes external to us in our world. It is to bring into the presence of God in worship our deepest cries, believing that we are heard. There are Psalms of lament for communities. Check out Psalm 12, 80 and 123. There are Psalms of lament for individuals. Check out 3, 53 and 142. Regularly add lament into your corporate or individual time with God.
- But we do not lament as without hope. Lament is a bridge that brings us to the reality of God’s character quality of Hesed, the Old Testament Hebrew word for loving-kindness. Some have said that loving-kindness, or loyal covenantal love, is the defining characteristic of God. When we lament, as Jeremiah did in the book of Lamentations, we are brought to a place of abandonment to the steadfast love (loving-kindness) of God, whose mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23). The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25 ESV)
Read the five chapters in the book of Lamentations noting verses that stir the Spirit within you.
- Do a study on Matthew 6:33 focused on these components: first, kingdom of God, His righteousness and these things. Use this in a teaching or writing.
- How is God directing you to get ready for ministry? What action do you need to take? Make plans to move forward according to His timing.
- Reach out to others. Chances are that they will be in a different state of moving forward than you are. They may face new issues for ministry such as childcare, finances and others. Engage in conversations about this. How can you support one another?
- Share on facebook.com; search for #praywithywam and tweet about your prayer time/post a picture. You can also post a photo on Instagram and use the same hashtag, #praywithywam.
- Send an email to [email protected] letting us know how you prayed and what God revealed to you.
How We Prayed:
June 2020 – Using Technology for Online Evangelism
- YWAM Richmond USA and YWAM Media Village Nigeria prayed and shared the post on Facebook.
- August 13: Series: Spiritual Principles from YWAM’s Early Days
Fear of God (Ramona Musch) – 4 of 4 in the series
- September 10: YWAM’s 60th Anniversary
- October 8: Care For Creation
Don’t Miss The Invitation:
- Sign up for prayer updates. Go to ywam.org, find the “Stay Connected” box on the home page, put in your email address and click “Sign Up.”
- Download prayer updates in a specific language. Go to https://ywam.org/theinvitation/. (Currently available in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Indonesian, French, Thai, Hindi or request other languages.)
- Join the conversation about how God is leading in these prayer times. Comment on the Facebook page on the second Thursday at facebook.com/youthwithamission or on Twitter @ywam, hashtag #praywithywam. You can also post a photo on Instagram and use the same hashtag, #praywithywam.
- You can now listen to The Invitation as a podcast. To sign up or listen to past episodes, go to: ywampodcast.net/prayer.
- If you sense God giving you a word or a direction for YWAM’s prayer, please contact us: [email protected].