United with ChristRomans 6:5PreachingTheological studiesLincoln Road Bible ChapelNorth BeachThe EmbassyDeathOBH Camp ProjectStewards TrustStaff ConferenceEAUKSTestimonyWaitangiJoyTom McIvorPaul SamuelsGraduationIan PaynePapatoetoe Bible ChapelSalvationMatthew 1:21UnitedTītahi Bay Community ChurchEphesians 2:14KidsChristmas outreachMission Without BordersTōtara Springs Christian CentreManawarū Bible ChapelBearing fruitColossians 1:6Sefton MarshallFarewellStuart BayOnekawa Bible ChurchGod's willCalendarGlentunnel ChapelNick GoodwinKoinoniaGratitudeFellowship1 Corinthians 10:16 DunedinNew buildingCornerstone International Bible ChurchDoctrinePastoral Theologians FellowshipExamine ourselves1 Corinthians 11:28Children and FamiliesKaitaia Bible ChapelNextGen Summit1 Corinthians 11:27CommunionBethany TrustDoug BennFamily FiestaFinlay ParkNarrows ParkTotara SpringsRaleigh Street Christian CentreLight PartyRedemption ChurchMark DramaFenton Park Bible ChurchOctober 7IsraelHeretaunga Christian CentreLazarusLifeJohn 11:43Peter AllenGovernanceIan Elliott ScholarshipWhite SundayBaptismsWeepingJohn 11:33Holiday ProgrammeChurch-centric campingAuckland Leaders DinnerThe Street ChurchPathway Christian CentreBroderick Road ChapelVivian Street Gospel HallInternational ServiceChurch on IngestreGriefJohn 11:35Joel BirkinHolidays ProgrammeSouth IslandComfortedConfrontedJohn 12:5Growing leadersServing the communityInvercargillCelebrationThanksgivingFranklin Bible ChurchKing JesusHosanna!John 12:13Prayer breakfastWorking beeCrossGod's powerColossians 2:15North Beach Christian FellowshipTe Awamutu Bible ChapelCity to CityMoirs Point Christian CentreMangonui Bible ChapelCoopers Beach Christian Youth CampKaitaia Bible ChapeTōtara North Bible ChapelRaumati Crescent ChapelFar NorthJesus is LordCaptivated by ChristColossians 2:6Tim HodgeCCCNZ Board75th AnniversaryMissionaryMovement of the WordKaipaki Bible ChurchAlpha CourseDave FirthLast WordsHopeDavidPsalm 139:23Jesus knows usPathways CollegeLichfield LandsScholarshipsLiz HodgeSuffering ChristiansElisabeth ElliotRevelation 6:10CampsitesEl RanchoRoss BayMiCamp TaupōExodus 29:42Church-Camp PartnershipHousing ProjectOrwell Street ChurchEden Community ChurchPakuranga Christian FellowshipAnniversaryRukumoana MaraeKids programmeKelston Community ChurchPapakuraLive the gospelEmergency housingKarakarikiWhitioraNew ZealandActs 17:24FearIdolsActs 17:16Gospel MinistryChurch Camp PartnershipMararikiJob 9:9Ruth 1:20God's purposesMaraNaomiRuthHorsemenLambRevelation 6:1Rally NZTauwhare MaraeAGMRevelation 1:12-13HM RageJesus' salvationJohn 18:10Community connectionsYouth groupServing SundaysInvercargill Combined Bible SchoolFurnaceMatthew 26:46Matthew 26:42Police chaplainsHumilityPhilippians 2:7Known unto GodJohn 15:13Willow Park Christian CampKids CampLifeSwitchChurch @ CedarwoodKingston Community ChurchRomans 1:14-15Ambassador's WrapRomans 1:18God's wrathLakeland Park CampNorm and Liz SilcockRegional summitNorthgate Community Church1 Corinthians 1:18Sarah ChalmersStewardsDoors openColossians 4:4Genesis 1:12-13Ian RoweThird-Day GardensMatthew 5:16Natural disastersFamily campLighthouse ChurchChurches working togetherOrdinary peopleJohn 1:43John 1:29The LionThe LambWho are you?Who is He?John 1:21-221 Peter 1:13Psalm 13:11 Peter 1:1-2God's realitySober-mindedFrustrationPastorCampsCycloneCampsiteHowick Community ChurchHaggai 1:3-4Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strengthLuke 2:10Good NewsIn the beginningJohn 1:1-5Luke 1:27Titus 1:9MarkLuke 1:28Psalm 31:1-5Romans 12:15Matthew 1:1Road to EmmausLuke 24:29John 20:16Mark 10:45Queen Elizabeth IIHorizon of HopeThe Mark DramaLamentationsGraceSecond windSwedish Method1-2-1 Bible ReadingPreach the WordRiccarton Community ChurchInternshipsPsalmsCreativityHoliday CampRiverbend Bible ChurchPaengaroa Bible ChapelPalmerston NorthChurch on VogelThe House Next DoorSchoolLaunchpadLifewalkAmos 5:8MatarikiBad GuysTitus 3:1-2Auckland Bible ChurchDarrell BockLeanne BrownCrossroads ChurchKaipara Bible ChapelDargaville Gospel ChurchMarsden Bay Christian Camp2 Timothy 2:21 Corinthians 1:18-31James 1:2-42 Timothy 2The Orchard Church Te PukeEvangelismChurchesSupport MinistriesEasterThe cross-shaped life2 Corinthians 1:8-9IsolationLast SupperWestChurchGeoff StarkUkraineRobert MitchellTasman ChurchChurch LeadersRevelation 2-4Psalm 31Ezra 31 Timothy 6:11-21Galatians 2:10The gospelThessaloniansAotearoa, NZEphesians 2Waitangi Day 2022Working TogetherCCCNZ AucklandAmatakiloa Bible ChurchTongan TsunamiLeslie ScottRebekah ReeveConnectionsSummitTop of the SouthEaster CampRegional ConnectionsCCCNZ Children and Family MinistriesRutland Street ChurchManawaru Bible ChapelYouth Reachout RoadtripWord of LifeConnectionPartnershipRichard DavisLawson ScottRegionalChristchurchEphesians 12 Timothy 2:1-131 Peter 12 Peter 1HarvestActs 8Psalm 24:1-2Acts 27:23–26Resurrection1 Corinthians 15:14Ezra-NehemiahPsalm 231 Corinthians 15:8-111 Corinthians 15:3-81 Corinthians 15:3-5CCCNZ PrayerHillcrest ChapelPeaceConflictWearyEldershipCOVID-19 Protection FrameworkWoven TogetherAnnual Report 2020-21FaithfulnessAPARichard FountainIndianChristian radioJeewan DhaaraPsalm 146Ambassador's BlogHeavy ladenEmily TylerBaptismWhitiora Bible ChurchLifeChurch ManurewaQSMNational CCCNZ Youth TeamRob MortonWhat Comes Next?BoardAbortion Legislation BillPandemicMark GraceResponsePhilippiansChurch response to COVID-19Church response to coronavirusCoronavirusCOVID-19Worship EnablerYvonne HengNorthcross ChurchGC3AppealBushfiresSophia McCrindleCCCAustAustralian BushfiresPacific CommunityAne PonifasioLui PonifasioQueen's Service MedalNew Year's HonoursPasifikaTāmaki Community ChurchThe Riverside ClubIdeasIntergenerational ministryMassey Community ChurchBirkenhead Community ChurchBitternessThe Greatest SaviourPrayer GatheringCCNZChristian Camping NZTeapot Valley Christian CampNancy Jean Forbes Training CentreWoodend Christian CampCanterburyChurch PlantingJackie MillarPrayingDanielle DiproseAdministrationFinance60 yearsCamp ministryChristian CampingLakeland Park Christian CampPreparationChristchurch Mosque AttacksHealingTraumaWhat's Next?Julie McKinnonUnityHospitalityCultural diversityOrosiusImmigrationTeenagersGiftsYoung leadersSummer SchoolChildrenParentsChildren and Family Ministries75 JubileeGirlsBoysNZ RallyRestCCCNZ PastorLinkGrowthOrewa Community Church2019God StoriesChapel Hill Community ChurchEncouragementFriendshipEldersSuccessionGod's faithfulnessGospelFireHope Community ChurchNelsonTogether Works BetterFIRST TrainingYouth SummitCampingCommunity MinistryChildren's MinistryRallyAuthenticityMillenialsMinistryYoung AdultsLeaving HomeStudentsCampusStudent ministry at OtagoUniversity of OtagoO WeekJesus ChristStudent LifeTSCFStudent ministryTreaty of WaitangiPākehāMāoriTreatySpiritChristianityWaitangi Day 2019ColombiaRosedale Bible ChapelSouthlandInternational StudentsTimaruChurch Street ChapelIan ElliottTeensCalledTauwhare Gospel ChapelCompassionWaikatoRefugee MinistryCambell ForlongCity Bible ChurchInternationalLiving GodGlobalisationDr Merv CoatesEngagingRongopaiMulticultural ministryHaggaiPlanningPrayerJeremy SuistedInconvenienceJosephMaryLoveSaviourO Holy Night LyricsLyricsChristmas CarolO Holy NightDiscipleshipClark Road ChapelVolunteerEducationCitizens Advice BureauTe Ao NgākauCommunity CentreJames 1:26-27OutreachMaungarei Christian Community TrustMt Wellington Community ChurchMurray BrownChrist-centredHealthy youth ministryYouth leadershipHukanui Bible ChurchBible readingFreshLearningDevotionsFamilyCommitmentBible in a yearCarolsLightsOnslow Community ChurchMusicTheologyPathwaysWorship leadingWorshipPathways School of Worship LeadingSOWLChristmas messageJesusEventsAucklandGlow in the ParkAdventChristmasSupportRespiteCareRetreatLeadersPastorsPastorLinkKerry RickardSpiritual formationCross-culturalChristianGap YearHeadspaceKiwi24-7 YouthWorkCommunityFaithYouthTrainingCCCNZ YouthYoung peopleChurchChristYouth ministryCCCNZScriptureLeadershipChristian CoachingCoachingBiblePaulFaithfulOrdinary ChristianExtraordinary GodComfort ZoneGodHadfieldMissionNZWellingtonRegional Enablers
TAGS

A Hunger for More

Jackie Millar doesn’t often hear the words “joyful” and “prayer” together. But when joy is associated with times of communion with God, she says it signals to her that he is bringing people to life spiritually.  And even though this year has been marked by periods of social isolation, CCCNZ’s Prayer Coordinator says she has seen surprising signs of a culture of prayer in New Zealand’s church communities.

“COVID has been a hard thing for many people,” she says, “but honestly, in the space of prayer, I marvel at how the Lord has used it to raise the banner of prayer across our churches.”

When the pandemic struck, regional prayer gatherings were already planned in Auckland Canterbury. These morphed into Zoom sessions, which allowed people across the country to participate.

Now, at the other end of a turbulent year, seven or eight people continue to log in every Tuesday morning to pray together. The number isn’t near what it was at the height of lockdown, but the meeting has survived the return-to-normal workdays. Participants pray for requests that have come via email or Facebook, for churches and their leaders, and for broader matters such as this year’s elections.

“COVID was that jolt that we all needed to remind us that we’re all desperate for God to move and have his way,” Jackie says. “I know of many other denominations and churches—not just ours—who are still continuing in prayer together.”

In her experience, virtual meetings sparked real-life engagement.

“When we went out of lockdown, the conversation was a lot easier for me to say, ‘Okay, how about an in-person prayer gathering?’” Jackie says. In the second half of the year, Waikato and Auckland returned to hosting in-person prayer gatherings and, for the first time, Canterbury and Otago/Southland organised ones.

Another spin-off of the virtual prayer times has been a group of people who discovered they have the same questions, thoughts and concerns. Jackie says that the discussion group continues to address matters of prayer and how to mobilise others to pray.

Steve Murray is the Senior Pastor of Lifezone in Tauranga. He helped spearhead a 12-hour, inter-church prayer and worship session in Tauranga in August. These have flowed from the calling he’s had for the past year to make prayer a more central part of his faith.

Steve says that attending a 24-7 Prayer conference in the UK in 2019 was a catalyst for this.

“I realised, boy, we can do a whole lot of things really well, but it’s the Lord who does the work,” he says. “We should be praying to the Lord of the harvest.”

The teaching he sat under prompted him to plan a solo, four-day prayer retreat when he came back to New Zealand. He wanted to leave cell coverage and anything that might distract him behind and focus on spending time with God. He prayed some specific prayers in preparation for the retreat.

“I asked the Lord that I would enjoy him and this time,” he says. “I got detailed. I asked for guidance about the location of the retreat.”

 And over two consecutive weeks, he invited his congregation to write out their prayer requests during the Sunday service.

“The thing that really moved people,” Steve recalled, “was when their senior pastor stood in front of them and said that I felt called by God to stand before God on behalf of the people.”

He collected 90 prayer cards from those services, packed up his tent and went off to an isolated place.

Between gathering firewood, preparing food, reading and writing, Steve worked his way through the prayer cards.

“It was very moving, because I felt like I knew what the people were feeling,” he says.

He wore a path around his campsite as he read the messages and interceded for members of Lifezone. “There were tears, especially in the beginning when I was reading what families were facing.”

God answered Steve’s request to enjoy the time in his presence and did a work in his heart; he says he left in a very different place than where he began. A year on, he still has the prayer cards and still rereads them. He says it humbles him to see the ways God has intervened in people’s lives.

Steve’s focus on prayer has begun to spread in the community he leads. He initiated 21 days of fasting and prayer, which was effectively 11 days because the first lockdown in March arrived halfway through.

Now that people can meet again, the church has made a space available for people to run a prayer room. People gather on weekdays from 9am to noon and on Wednesday evenings to sing and pray.

Steve also helped organise a one-day gathering to pray and worship called Before Thy Face, referencing a line in our national anthem. It involved nine churches from around Tauranga, far more than he anticipated. Each church took a turn leading the gathering through the 12 hours, and they plan to repeat the event.

“These things all stacked up together and put us on this journey,” Steve says. “Man—we need to be a praying church.”

Jackie hopes that this kind of passion for prayer will spread in Lifezone and through other churches in New Zealand.

“When I find a church and say, talk to me about prayer at your church, and I don’t just get told about when the prayer meetings are or aren’t happening—when they talk to me about the praying culture within the church—there’s a difference,” she says. Prayer teams and prayer meetings are by-products of a praying culture; she wants prayer to be woven into the essence of each church, and for them to be known as “houses of prayer.”

“Prayer is this beautiful privilege and responsibility that we have,” she says. “It’s a beautiful gift to commune with the sovereign, holy, just God. It still blows my mind that we actually get to talk to him through prayer, and we get to hear him through prayer.”

The gap, of course, is between a theoretical understanding that prayer is necessary and good and a heart desire to spend that time in prayer. Steve has a helpful model that maps this connection between the theoretical and the practical: desire, discipline and delight.

“You can stop at any one of those places,” he says. The desire to pray must be supported by the discipline to spend time praying, or it will remain just a desire. And disciplined time must carry on to the point of delight in God’s presence to fuel our desire for more prayer.

And at each point, God is the one who does the work in the one praying; as St Augustine wrote, “Thou hast put salt on our lips, that we might thirst for Thee.”

“That’s something I was saying a bit,” Steve says. “God had made me thirsty for him.”

This desire has altered Steve’s perspective on priorities in the church. He says that church leaders are quick to resource various church ministries—music, for example—with staff and money for equipment. “Do we do the same for prayer? I would challenge people to answer that question.”

It’s a culture in our churches, and one that needs to be prayerfully sought, says Jackie: “that’s why I felt led, before elections, to spend our prayer hour to focus on the fear of the Lord. I’m absolutely convinced that it’s the fear of the Lord that not only shapes us but shapes our prayers. Our reverence for who he is causes our ‘yes’ to be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ to be ‘no’; not fear of man or fear of offending.”

How do we nurture fear of the Lord? “Fear of the Lord is nurtured in the quiet place of intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Fear of the Lord is expressed as we gather together as the Church to hear the Word shared, to worship and pray. Fear of the Lord is evident to a lost and broken world when we live in radical, faith-filled, all-glory-to-God obedience, in the everyday places he calls us to.”

Ultimately, God is at work in us, and through us in prayer, says Jackie: “Only God is going to stir us to pray for the nations and pray for our neighbours. He does the work in us.”

CCCNZ loves to support and encourage prayer.

For more visit www.cccnz.nz/prayer

  • Sign up for the prayer newsletter
  • Find out about regional prayer gatherings
  • Enquire about being a regional prayer enabler
  • Find ideas to help your church engage with prayer
  • Find training events
  • Send the team prayer requests

There is also a Facebook prayer group and a weekly, virtual prayer hour at 9:30am on Tuesdays. Email jackiemillar@cccnz.nz if you’d like to join or find out more information about any prayer initiatives.



 

This product has been added to your cart

CHECKOUT