Sometime in March this year I received a call from a passionate Richard Jumbe from PAIS (find the podcast ‘Stories that Shape Us’ that interviewed Richard and Leearron here) talking non-stop about the idea of a collaborative prayer effort focused on schools during the month of May.
a) Why schools? There are many sectors of challenge, but for Scripture Union this is the place where we find young people. Besides the usual challenges, COVID just exacerbated the trauma within their context as schools were suddenly dealing with rotation, protocols, and young people dealing with deep psychological and emotional challenges. It was important for SU to be involved.
b) Why collaboration? The idea of working together with other organizations appealed very much to me. This was an opportunity to look beyond silo’s and to build Kingdom together, pooling our resources in a combined fashion.
c) Why prayer? I truly believe in the power found in corporate prayer and the opportunity to seek God together.
A part of my role these days is to represent Scripture Union at a National monthly Leaders prayer meeting. Together with 30 other similar organizations, we gather to share our joys and challenges. This group formed the basis of the prayer initiative with the goal to galvanize prayer both in schools as well as for schools. I had no idea of the incredible impact this would have across our various sectors.
The approach to the task we faced was that of simplicity. We wanted to put some resources into the hands of young people themselves as well as educators. A key to the success of the month was a long- term perspective desiring to honour the relationships held already in schools. Resources included a prayer guide of creative ideas and options to exercise during the course of the month that could be easily adapted culturally into the South African contexts. Letters to schools and churches were crafted to enable the local church to connect as well.
Amidst the many highlights of the month was the daily social media posts which created awareness and got many more students and stakeholders praying. The build-up over the month of May culminated in the joy of a number of events, including an SU Zoom prayer meeting led by current principals, teachers and Keith Riddles, the current Chair of the SU Western Cape Regional Executive and Principal himself for 28 years of his 41-year career in education. What a joy to break into smaller groups and pray for our teachers.
We joined together as a group of organisations with a day of prayer and fasting on the 28th of May. All over the country various schools ran their own times of prayer and joined to participate and watch a live-stream time of prayer on Facebook. The South African multi-cultural flavor was in full force as we worshipped together, read together, encouraged one another and brought each school to the Lord.
One has no idea of the real fruit of this month of prayer but the signs are there as schools are now requesting prayer. This experience is shaping the way our very own SU prayer team is designing its prayer guides and getting more people to pray--especially young people.
S.U. National Ambassador/Prayer Chaplain