“It was a privilege to pray with these women whom I did not really know, for other women far away, also whom we did not know, but understanding that the Lord who does know and love all of us is present and at work in all our lives,” says Carol Bland, a member of Val Royal Baptist Church in Montreal. Val Royal hosted the Quebec Baptist Women BWA-WD Day of Prayer on November 1, 2014. Bland was one of several prayer group leaders and one of many women who expressed excitement after the event. “I learned that our church community experiences God’s love and creativity in so many ways,” she says.
I’ve participated in these Day of Prayer events for the last several years but this was the first time I felt like our women had been able to truly unite our hearts in focused prayer. This was mainly because our planning committee decided to take a different approach to a long-standing format that was no longer working for us. Rather than read through the prayer requests of all seven continental unions as one large group, which felt rushed in the past, we split the women into seven groups, allowing every woman to participate in the prayer time and giving much more time to focus on each prayer request.
To create the prayer groups, we used the program’s suggestion of coloured flowers: We cut out one circle and six petals from each colour representing a union (purple, red, green, blue, pink, orange and yellow). We labelled the centre circles with the name of the corresponding continental union and placed one circle on each table. Then, as women came in, we handed them a random petal, which they had to match to a circle and, thus, find their table.
Attendance was modest (we had 26 women plus a baby girl), which meant only four or five were in each group, but that made the fellowship more intimate and we were able to get to know some of the newer women who participated. Also, those 26 women represented six churches (Val Royal, Westmount, First, Temple, New Canadian and Lakeside Heights)! Each church had at least one woman participate in the program, whether leading worship, teaching the Bible study, leading a small prayer group, presenting the DOP projects or reading a testimony.
Bland led the group praying for Africa and came prepared with some research she had done. “I was so saddened by the constant state of uncertainty and danger that many of these women face every day,” she says. “Some countries have been at war for years. I also learned that education is sometimes available in the cities, but is not accessible to many in the rural areas because parents cannot afford to pay for supplies and uniforms. Families consider household chores such as fetching water to be necessary for the family to live, so girls in particular must do these chores, often during school hours. There are many orphans, their parents dying in war or succumbing to AIDS and now Ebola. There is also much tension among groups of differing religions. There are so many challenges in Africa!”
Christiana Glover of First Baptist led the group praying for the Southwest Pacific Union and says, “I learned about a woman who had to indulge in prostitution in the presence of her young son, because of poverty. The story ended well because the Lord touched the boy through a Christian group and the grace of God was extended to the mother too . . . I was reassured of the Lord’s faithfulness to us and reminded of the need for me to be completely faithful to God—no partial faithfulness.”
After the program, we continued the fellowship with a potluck lunch. We have found this works well for our events: We ask each church group to bring along cold dishes, such as sandwiches or salads, and a dessert.
“I would like to praise God for the spirit of love and caring that was at our meeting,” says Bland. “To think that other groups all over the world would be meeting to do the same thing is awesome and speaks of the way the Holy Spirit works and moves to build His kingdom. I know that prayer is powerful and necessary, and I am glad and thankful that we gathered to pray for our sisters and women all over the world. I pray that the Lord would strengthen the women in all the organizations to keep trusting in Him.”
When asked what she would like to share with live readers, Glover offered the words of the chorus Find Us Faithful (Jon Mohr, 1987):
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way,
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.