A small seed of prayer grows into an international initiative that has been adopted by 56 nations around the world.
C0ntributed By Amanda Jayne Lee
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
The sense of God was among the people gathered in the cozy church of Wesley Uniting Church in the heart of Perth’s Central Business District on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The event was part of the Commonwealth Prayer Initiative—a biennial event that was spearheaded by Wendy Yapp in 2009.
CPI aims to unite the churches in Perth to pray for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Western Australia. It is a time where believers from different denominations gather as one body of Christ to intercede for their government leaders as well as the heads of state of the Commonwealth nations.
This year’s CPI, called SHINE, Converge, took place from Oct. 24 to 30 and involved a prayer chain that lasted 24 hours the entire week. The movement was the brainchild of Yapp, who after hearing that CHOGM was coming to Perth, was struck by the vision to gather 54 churches in Perth to adopt each of the 54 Commonwealth nations and to pray for them.
Yapp, who is originally from Scotland and who now lives in Perth with her husband, felt led to bring the local churches together, despite the different denominations, to pray for all the heads of countries. Charismatics, Catholics, Presbyterians, Coptic Christians, Pentecostal and Mainstream Christians were just some of the denominations involved in this prayer initiative.
“I was already working across the city, collaborating with some pastors through my ministry, so we decided to get 54 churches and that spilled out to getting schools involved, and then that spilled out into getting other nations involved,” shared Yapp who runs her own ministry called Daughters of Destiny. To her surprise it snowballed into not just 54 churches but 56 countries adopting the prayer movement.
In India alone, there are currently over 4,000 churches involved with this prayer movement and there are 435,634 people registered online at the group’s website (www.commonwealthprayer.org) as of today. “The level of excitement in Perth is quite palpable,” said Yapp about the response to the prayer initiative. Her initiative to start a prayer movement was not just supported locally and overseas, but was also greatly appreciated by the head of CHOGM, Terry Crane.
On Tuesday, as part of the 24-hour schedule of prayer, Wesley Uniting Church was filled with people gathering to pray for Asian countries in the Commonwealth.
That excitement was seen on Tuesday night where Christians of all denominations gathered to pray for Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives, India, China and the other Asian nations in the Commonwealth. Hands held high, voices raised and hearts opened, the people in the church began to pray after a spirit-led worship by a team from Zion Praise Harvest.
Thereafter, a pastor or church leader, who each represented a nation, led the congregation in prayer accordingly. Prayers were also made for other Asian nations, which were not part of the Commonwealth, such as North Korea. It was an unforgettable moment in that church: voices echoed in prayer as more than 200 people interceded for the favor of God to come upon the countries, for poverty to be eradicated, and for strength on the people of the nations.
Heng Weijing, 20, a student at the University of Western Australia, served as an usher for the event. He said of the atmosphere of the room, “You could feel how joyful everyone was, like they really loved being there just to pray for one another and for the nations.”
Joyce Chen, the associate pastor in Zion Praise Harvest, which was involved with the preparation for the event, added, “She [Yapp] may not be a pastor, but she’s been given so much favor from God.”
It only took two years for this seed of prayer to grow into an initiative that has now developed into a worldwide event. With the recent success of the Asia Night, it is no doubt that this movement will continue to impact more lives in the years to come.
Visit http://www.commonwealthprayer.org/ for more information.