roadOlivia is part of a group at Park Avenue Bible Church in Melfort, SK that has connected with a family overseas. She was asked if she would write something about that experience to share with our AGC churches. Thank-you, Olivia, for your submission.

"So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." Galatians 6:9-10

I sat down to write up a piece about how we got to this place of praying for the persecuted church and about our heart for the plight of our brothers and sisters that are being persecuted for the sake of the gospel. As time moved along, my own heart was drawn toward refugees and the possibility of sponsoring someone. Yet as I put these thoughts down, I ended up with something entirely different.

I could tell you all those things. I could also speak to you about Christian responsibility, about the power of prayer, about so many different subjects. But I believe I have been led to write something much different... So, here it is:

The Difference in Prayer! What does being personally connected with a refugee in prayer mean to me?

pray womanWe expect to bless but find ourselves blessed instead.
The good in praying for others is not just for them, there is an equal and dual purpose for the believer in this. The faith of both is nourished, strengthened and increased. You will likely find that you feel inadequate: that you receive more blessing and encouragement than you give.

Your own heart will be revealed. That said, it will also grow!

We care when we pray.
This is true. We also care more when we have a name and situation, as we feel slightly more connected. Our care is even greater though when we know and have a relationship with someone. Their needs become personal to us. They are not a vague individual, but someone that we speak with and know.

We are able to pray more effectively and more frequently.
You will likely find that they come to mind regularly, that they are sometimes heavy on your heart and so you think of them and pray for them on a more regular basis.

We consider how we can practically and physically aid them because we personally know and care for them.
You may find yourself longing to “bear one another’s burdens” and begin to ask and look for ways of being “God’s hands and feet.”

How we pray changes.
How much we pray, in what manner and even with whom. You may find yourself praying with other Christians, your congregation or an individual as needs or concerns arise.

Earthly events hold a greater level of significance.
Global situations become personal to us and not just “what’s going on over there.” You may find that you listen and pay attention more to what is going on because it affects those members of the body of Christ that you are praying for. Subsequently, the spiritual realm may hold more weight in your consideration and prayer as well. “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Our hearts are moved to greater compassion.
Likely, not just to those around the world, but to those around you as well. You may find that you are more sensitive to see and respond to those in your own community and congregation.
And lastly,

It is easier to consider others above ourselves.
Our own struggles come into a whole new focus. The pull to our own selves may be disrupted and our heart toward others is changed. You may find you are more compassionate, more understanding and more apt to be aware of others and how you might come alongside them in the love that Christ says is to define us.

Please consider how you can pray for others. Ask yourself if there is a way that you or your prayer group can commit to the responsibility of regularly praying for a specific individual or family. 

- Olivia M., Melfort, SK

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