For five days at the end of September, a “Prayer and the Mission of God Consultation” was held at a retreat centre near Calgary. Forty participants–those involved with prayer in Wycliffe at various levels and presidents/executive directors–came from 17 countries.
The purpose of the meeting was to have a deep and meaningful missiological reflection around several themes and for that to be a platform for reflecting upon current strategies of prayer mobilization and launching new prayer initiatives. The participants looked at examples of prayer from Christ and the book of Acts, as well as two “movements” (Korean and Latin American). They also viewed what Wycliffe and SIL have done in the past at various major events and discussed what could happen in the future.
They experienced different kinds of prayer–Taize (an ecumenical sung and silent participatory prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song and silence), Korean, African worship, Examen (prayerful reflection) and welcoming prayer. As a group, they did a lot of praying.
“The work of prayer is bigger than our prayer information and requests,” said Valerie Salkeld, Wycliffe Canada’s director of spiritual enrichment. “The network we made there gave a greater sense of belonging to all of us, and connecting our work to the mission of God was humbling and exciting. The outcomes of this consultation are still unfolding. We walked away with a sense of awe of how God speaks and how we need to listen more intentionally.”
“This prayer consultation wasn’t the end, but the beginning,” said Roy Eyre, Wycliffe Canada president. “We’re only now sorting out what God did and what we learned. The impact of this event will be more far-reaching than we realized. I think this prayer consultation will impact our strategy, our learning initiatives and our organizational direction. The global conversation will continue up to and including the Global Gathering and International Conference in Thailand next May (held every three years for Wycliffe, SIL and partner organizations).
“We saw God at work in our midst in that consultation, and I believe as we recommit ourselves to prayer and the underlying values of dependence and faith, we’ll see God work in even more powerful ways around the world.”
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada 2016