"The Harvest is Plentiful but the Workers are Few… Pray to the Lord of the Harvest."
– Matthew 9:37-38
Call to Prayer for Listening & Discernment
I have called our global community to pray. We have entered an 18-month discernment process seeking the Lord’s direction for Asian Access as we look over the horizon of 2020 toward the middle of the next decade (toward 2025). As such, we have been collecting wisdom from across our community seeking the Lord’s wisdom for what He might have in store for us given all the changes happening in the world today.
This week we begin a pivotal honing process where we try to distill what God has been saying to us so far. This week of prayerful listening is so important that I’d like to invite you to join us in praying. Perhaps you’d be open to pleading before God as we gather together. We want to know how the Lord is leading Asian Access to serve with all that the world is facing in the coming half-decade.
Our process will continue through early 2020 and we’ll want to hear from many of you along the way. For now, would you pray for the hard work of this editorial team as we meet Tuesday – Friday to glean how God is speaking to us so far and capture the essence of what is being shared? The outcome of this pivotal week will be shared with our community in the coming months for further wisdom and refinement eventually leading to a new strategic plan that will help focus our energies in the coming years.
A generous friend of Asian Access offered their home in Maui so we’ll be able to rest, listen to God, and relax in Him as we do the grunt work necessary to refine what we sense God saying to us. We trust this generous gift will provide the perfect respite to listen to the Lord and sense his direction.
Three Important Prayers
To guide our time, we are using some of the ideas from Ruth Haley Barton’s work: Pursuing God’s Will Together –
The first is the prayer of quiet trust described in Psalm 131. In this silent prayer we acknowledge our utter dependence on God and trust in God when things are “too great and too marvelous for me.” This is the kind of quiet trust that we might observe in a young child who is content to just be with his or her mother after weaning. It is only as we learn the prayer of quiet trust in the face of our own personal questions and complexities that we can enter into this kind of prayer in a leadership setting.
Another kind of prayer that is associated specifically with discernment is the prayer for indifference. In this prayer we ask God to work in our hearts to make us indifferent to anything but the will of God. This kind of indifference and willingness was Mary’s response when the angel came to her and told her that she would give birth to the Messiah. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). It was Jesus’ prayer after he had struggled in the garden of Gethsemane: “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).
When we have come to a place of indifference, we are ready for the prayer for wisdom: “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you” (Jas 1:5). We often pray for wisdom while we are already attached to some outcome we think is best! Indifference is an important prerequisite to the prayer for wisdom precisely because the wisdom of God is the foolishness of the world. When we have become indifferent to our need to be seen as wise in the eyes of others, then we are ready to receive wisdom from God. It is essential that elders, staff and ministry leaders are personally on the journey to this kind of surrender to God as part of their spiritual preparation for leadership. Self-knowledge and self-examination. Parker Palmer makes this very sobering statement about leadership: “A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him/herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”
Perhaps during the week you might want to set aside time to pray for us in place of listening to a podcast or during a coffee break.
Prayer for the Harvest and Revival
You may have seen Silk's and my posts from social media this past week (see pics of the harvest in Japan) where we prayed for the harvest God has for Japan and Asia. We were challenged by our friends from South Asia to earnestly pray for revival.
I believe God is doing something special, even despite the ongoing divisions in our world and the rising tides of persecution. Perhaps they are even signs that God has something unique on the horizon!
Please Join Us as We Pray Together. Will you post a prayer for Asian Access on our Facebook page? https://facebook.com/AsianAccess
We NEED YOU! More importantly, We NEED GOD!!!
Joe Handley, President