“There is lockdown and physical distancing, but even so, we can meet in prayer. From different countries, we can come together and pray together in this way. As we are united in prayer, we trust God will hear our prayers and intervene.” Hanna Soren, member of the Deacons Commission, offered this prayer at the close of Mennonite World Conference’s first online prayer meeting 31 May 2020.
From Bolivia to Indonesia, almost 50 devices, some with two participants on screen, logged on for MWC’s Online Prayer Hour sponsored by the Deacons Commission.
Participants entered breakout rooms on the Zoom online meeting platform to pray in smaller groups in English, Spanish and French.
From a list of prepared requests, they prayed for governments and church leaders to seek wisdom in their decisions and solidarity with others across partisan lines. They prayed for the safety of workers in health and essential services. They prayed for the economy because downturns affect the poorest people the most.
In the rooms, participants volunteered prayers: for thousands displaced by the cyclone in West Bengal; for the rising case count in Brazil, and for people who are persecuted or discriminated against and how those situations may be exacerbated during lockdown.
The prayers included thanks: gratitude to God for protection from harm in this difficult time.
Others prayed to recognize signs of hope at this time, and that people would hear the call to turn back to God.
“Praying together brings a wonderful feeling of being part of the global Mennonite family,” says Hans Gerhard Peters, MWC General Council member for Aliança Evangélica Menonita, Brazil, who joined the call.
“Praying together over Zoom was strange, multilingual and new – just like the first Pentecost, a foretaste of the full gathering of the whole people of God yet to come,” says Benjamin Isaak-Krauß, a Mennonite church member from Germany.
“Though we truly live out our Christian faith in local communities, it is when we meet as a global church we begin to grasp the vastness of God’s grace,” says Elisabeth Kunjam, a Mennonite church member from India.
“I am confident that when we come together for praying, God listens and answers us,” says Deacons Commission chair Siaka Traoré of Burkina Faso.
—Mennonite World Conference release