By Scott Smith
Scott Smith is director of mobilization for Pioneers Canada and is a leader in the SVM2 Canada network.
Everyone wants to be part of a movement. Who doesn’t want to be part of something that is growing and gaining momentum? There is excitement when lives are being changed, people are making commitments, and friends are being inspired to take action.
In SVM2 circles we pray for 100,000 new Message Bearers and 50,000 Global Prayer Teams to be established. This is exciting stuff and it’s easy to be inspired when you’re with a group of people who share the same passion. It’s easy to pray when there are large groups of people praying with you.
But then reality hits. The conference is over, the hype has died down, and you are alone in your dorm room or apartment. The prayer group that you wanted to start never really got off the ground, and your friends are busy with tests and relationships. What happened?
The idea of a “movement” is still invigorating, but it seems so far away. The idea of 100,000 may actually be discouraging, because you are having trouble pulling together even 2-3 friends to pray with you for the nations on a regular basis. Is there anyone who even cares about this?
In your moment of discouragement, you might be wondering “so what’s next?”. You’re not willing to give up yet, but you’re also at a loss for the next step. You ask, “What should I do today?”
Reality is that we all want to be part of a movement, but few of us are willing to do that hard work that it takes to get there. In fact, few of us even know what it takes to get there (including myself). But this is good, because a movement is initiated by the Spirit of God, moving in the hearts of His people.
There is no set strategy, or method that will see a God-sized vision become reality. Let us not ever forget that it is God who calls and God who initiates mission passion in the hearts of His people. Our role is simply to respond.
What does that response look like? For those of you who may be discouraged, let me offer three very simple suggestions to help you move forward. As I have interacted with students across Canada, these are the three that have come to the forefront as the most critical:
Pray Alone: The Movement Starts with You.
If you have a burden on your heart for the nations of the world, this is the prompting of the Spirit in your heart and life. It was God who initiated this passion, and He did it for a reason.
That same Spirit who first stirred in your heart is also calling you to pray. He is calling you to pray with perseverance, regardless of who is standing beside you. God is calling you to pray and God will hear your prayers.
I was a student myself when I attended the very first SVM2 Abandoned devotion prayer gathering, which was held in Deerfield, IL. This was a pivotal event in my life for a variety of reasons. But the speaker I remember most was Richard Owen Roberts who is a revival preacher from Wheaton, IL.
He spoke on James 1:6-8 and encouraged us to understand this passage as not only applying to our need for wisdom, but a general passage teaching us how to pray. He pleaded with us to pray with faith, and warned us to keep from being “double minded” (v.8).
Roberts said, “Decide what you want and ask God for it. Don’t give up and don’t quit asking. Costly prayers are ones that don’t stop when the going gets tough.” Prayer is hard work. One of the reasons it is so difficult, is because it is so effective, and the enemy knows this.
He will do everything in his power to keep us talking, and doing, and worrying – anything to keep us from praying. The enemy knows that the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of the life changing power of God (1 Cor. 4:20). Prayer is our means to access that power (James 5:16).
A couple of years ago I was challenged to pray every day to the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers (Luke 10:2). I would encourage you to do the same. There are only a few places in Scripture where Jesus gives us specific instructions on what we should pray.
We will do well to listen to these instructions, knowing that God loves to answer these prayers. Let us pray with perseverance for the nations, and for God to raise up more workers from our campuses and churches! It is this prayer that will serve as a catalyst to propel the movement that God has already started.
Invite your Friends: Passion is Contagious
You must be willing and committed to pray alone, but you should not be content to stay alone as you pray. This means that you must be willing to share your burden and passion with others. Do your friends know about your passion for God and your burden for unreached peoples?
Do you talk about your passion with those you meet? Consider the demon possessed man who was healed by Jesus, and so overjoyed that he spread the news through 10 cities! (Mark 5:20).
You can’t expect your passion to spread unless you are willing to take even a small risk, to share your burden with a friend or acquaintance, and invite them to pray with your for the nations on a regular basis.
Posting flyers and making chapel announcements isn’t likely to make a significant impact! But life on life interaction will, as you invite your peers to engage with what God has initiated.
Connect to Others: This Thing is Bigger Than You
Fortunately, God is not only working in your heart, but he is working in the hearts of students across the world. The Body of Christ is broad and diverse, and can serve as a great source of encouragement.
He is also bringing together networks to help serve this movement, and bring connections between students globally. SVM2 is one of these networks and is available to encourage you. Here are some ideas and resources that will help you connect to those who share your passion:
- Register your group of praying friends as a Global Prayer Team and see when others are praying around the world: http://www.svm2.citymaker.com/globalprayerteamsdaysandtimes.html
- Use the Global Prayer Guide as a tool for your prayer group: http://www.svm2.citymaker.com/page/page/1931236.htm
- Sign the Message Bearer Creed. Join the movement with hundreds of other students around the world who have made this commitment: http://www.svm2.citymaker.com/signthemessagebearercreed.html
I am encouraged by what God is doing around the world, including what is happening here in Canada. I have observed and heard many encouraging testimonies of God’s work. There are stories of greater intentionality toward global awareness.
Prayer is increasing and more students are committing to long-term mission. The general “attitude” toward mission is improving, and the students who have a passion for mission and outreach are influencing the spiritual climate on their campuses.
Adam, a student at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, BC said, “People are realizing that being missions minded is a part of being a whole person in Christ….Missions is causing the emerging generation to take a second look at what it means to be a Christian.”
God is working among pockets of people in our nation. These are small, yet very exciting steps forward, and the beginnings of the movement we are praying for.
Be encouraged because the God who initiated this work in you, will also carry it on to completion. (Phil. 1:3) He will use your prayers and initiative to have an eternal impact on your campus, your church, and the world.
Let us keep praying, alone and with our friends, for a movement of Message Bearers and God’s name to be declared among every nation.