by Brandon Pickett, Associate Executive Director of the SBC of Virginia
“Pray for me. I’m a Christian.”
Most of us wouldn’t think twice if we heard that request in our day-to-day lives. And we are probably never afraid to ask someone to pray for us either in person or even on Facebook. But the woman who whispered that urgent request to Dr. Brian Autry at a refugee center in Greece was taking a huge risk. After weeks on the “refugee road” from the Middle East, she asked for prayer and stated her belief in Jesus to a stranger in the midst of hundreds of Muslim refugees. She could have asked for many things—clothing, food, or money—but she asked for prayer.
I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer and passion. Should we have one without the other? Can we really make a difference in the world without both? The answer is an emphatic no! We need both.
Passion without prayer is of no value. I remember Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. telling us as Liberty University students that we would never do anything of eternal significance without prayer. But we also need passion for a world that is lost and literally searching in the dark for hope. My mind goes back to those thousands of refugees who—if they get through the checkpoint at the Greece-Macedonian border—have more than a mile to walk in the blackness of night. Talk about searching in the dark for hope of a new life! Where is our passion to reach them? Where is our passion to reach those around us every day who are just as lost and without hope?
We all need encouragement in this area, and I’m so thankful that the SBC of Virginia is emphasizing both the how-to’s and the resources for an effective prayer ministry. One such resource is the Prayer Summit coming up at River Oak Church in Chesapeake on February 23. Both Bill Elliff and Byron Paulus will challenge us in personal, regular prayer and in developing a prayer strategy.
The other resource that can help your entire church is 52 Sundays. This one little book allows you to share both an engaging story from the mission field and a timely devotion to any size group. Each week lists a different person and mission field for which to pray.
At the very end of a short interview with a refugee, I asked if there was anything else he wanted to add. He asked me to relay this very simple message to you, the churches of the SBC of Virginia: “Pray for us.” I am. I pray you will.