Brandon & Sarah are a British couple who recently joined a team in the Middle East. Jess asked them about the importance of prayer in their ministry.
Jess: What is your team’s focus, and how did it come about?
Brandon: From the beginning prayer has been our main focus. We try to make everything we do flow from a place of prayer. We pray about the people groups we want to reach, the regions they live in and about the trips we make to visit them. We pray about our team, what our meetings should look like and how we interact with each other.
Sarah: We have three emphases of how we pray for the unreached peoples here. One is intercession, interceding for them and their needs which we know about.
The second, using a farming analogy, is ‘preparing the ground’. We pray for things like, strongholds to be weakened, the local church to be mobilised, and hearts to be softened.
The third is praying in line with God’s will. We say to God ‘You know these people groups. You want them to be reached. How do you want us to go about that?’ We listen and he reveals things we can incorporate into our work here.
Brandon: I think prayer is also a humbling exercise because we know that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. We’re a new team, so a lot of us don't speak the language well. There's a lot we want to do but are not yet able to do. We have to pray because we need God to intervene for us. As a result we’re seeking him to give us opportunities to do things we never imagined.
Sarah: It’s also important to pray together as a team. We learn so much from one another as we hear from God in different ways. Our emphasis on prayer brings unity because when we're hearing from God we're discerning together what he says.
Jess: How do you incorporate your prayer emphasis into the practical side of making disciples amongst Muslims?
Sarah: We see this when we do our trips to the unreached people groups we’re focusing on. Our prayer informs our activities. When we’re visiting we sit together as a team and say to God ‘What do you want us to do?’ Then we wait and see what he says. We also pray for specific things like opportunities to visit homes. As our team develops, the goal is to see team members moving out from the big city and living amongst those people groups.
In our city we also each have different local ministries using our passions and giftings to benefit the community around us.
Brandon: Our team uses prayer in lots of ways: in worship, in groups, listening, drawing, writing, even hide and seek! We’ve done all kinds of things! It’s funny, if I wasn't on this team, I’d say this all sounds super-spiritual and heavy on prayer. But it's not as crazy as it sounds to ask God what he thinks about something before you do it.
Jess: I’m really inspired, thank you. We’d love to know, have the prayers of your supporters impacted you?
Brandon: There’s nothing more fulfilling than sending a prayer message out and getting a response, even if it’s just a prayer emoji. We trust that our supporters are praying for us because they said they would, but when someone sends a reply it’s so encouraging to know the body of Christ is standing with us. We also appreciate it when a supporter senses God is speaking to them and they pass it on. It feels like another handhold that we can grasp on to.
Sarah: We also have an online support chat group. I asked them one day to pray for me and a local friend, which resulted in my friend’s mum having a vision of Jesus. It was amazing to be able to come back and share that testimony with them, because they were a part of that. There were 40 people praying, instead of just two of us.