Why prayer is essential to ministry

Burma (MNN) — How often do we let prayer become our last resort before we remember it’s absolutely vital to our relationship with God?

Prayer is not only important for our personal walk with God, but it is also essential for outreach to other people. Partners Relief and Development knows this well.

On March 1, 250 people gathered to pray for Burma in the UK. This dedication was started by Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Partners has participated from the beginning. This was the first year that Partners organized the event. Steve Gumaer of Partners says, “It was an excellent day where really diverse people got together and centered around the ongoing conflicts and trouble in Burma just to pray.”CSW - Burma b210760b1880bdf6053a72435bc55258

The day helped remind the mission that God is able to perform supernatural acts that are otherwise impossible.

Steve’s wife was the keynote speaker. She focused on the physical changes in Burma and highlighted the systemic injustice of the country, particularly with the ethnic states.

One example is the recent massacre of 40 Rohingya people. There exists documentation of Burma’s president ordering that this group of people be denied basic human rights.

PRD - Mar 12, 2014 - 1461058_10152118586969078_1191852241_n“We’ve worked with the Rohingya people for a couple of years now,” Steve says, “and their situation is absolutely terrible, with the death and the suffering of almost a million people in Burma.”

Gumaer sums up the effect of the prayer meeting: “We use that and the other ethnic conflicts, like the one in the Kachin state that’s ongoing today, as fuel for the fire of prayer–fuel to help people understand that our job is far from over. Things are not better for the people in Burma; they’re actually worse in the ethnic states. And that added to the actions of our team and groups like us; we depend on this prayer support of the Body of Christ.”

Not only does Partners recognize this day of prayer, but they have joined their partner, David Eubanks, in designating the whole month of March to pray for Burma. Gumaer says, “From the beginning, we’ve been involved in getting the word out and participating in developing the prayerful initiatives and supporting a community effort to approach God and ask Him to do what we are not in our own strength capable of doing.”

If you follow this link, you can sign up for daily reminders of how you can be praying for Burma. It’s more than a reminder, however. Gumaer explains, “Our team has prepared daily prayer requests that are based on the stories that we’ve encountered as we’ve worked with the people so that there can be a deeper and more visceral connection with the people as we seek God and ask Him to bless this country and heal it.”

You can also check out their Facebook page for updates.

One example of a prayer request is for self-sufficiency projects. Not only does Partners help address emergencies, but they desire to enable long-term, self-sustaining projects.

“All of our work that is relief oriented is only because of the needs that are acute during crisis events; those needs in Burma have been ongoing since 1994. However, from the beginning, we’ve wanted to help the ethnic people in self-sufficiency and sustainability,” Gumaer explains.

He continues, speaking of why these projects are so helpful, and why they enable dignity and security for broken people. “All of our development projects are aimed at partnership with the local people, understanding what their core capacities are, what their hierarchy of needs is, and finding ways in partnership with them to help them provide for themselves.”

Why is prayer so necessary alongside action? Gumaer says it well: “Prayer has been an inseparable part of what we do from the beginning. Our hope is not in our actions: our hope is in the One who really can bring peace on earth, peace to people who have been afflicted by war. There’s so much that we can’t do, and in order to avoid the despair of hopelessness, working all these years in Burma, prayer has been our–well, we’ve just had to do it. Prayer is essential to our work.”

Please join Partners in Relief and Development in praying this month. Consider coming alongside them financially.