What do you think a missionary in a foreign land desires most from fellow believers?
What would you want if you were a missionary in a densely populated city of 38 million people like Tokyo, Japan? What would help youif God called you to an area south of the Sahara Desert, the part of Africa least responsive to the gospel of Jesus? What would bless you if you were trying to evangelize the people of Estonia, a country with 86% of the population professing their atheism?
You probably would most crave knowing people in the United States and around the world are praying for you.
What happens when God’s people come together and pray? God moves, lives change and the gospel advances.
Joining other believers, no matter the distance
Converge International Ministries has been growing an exciting prayer ministry that is making a difference around the world. Its goal is to support global workers (missionaries) alongside Converge churches.
Converge International Ministries consortia developed and lead the prayer ministry. A consortium is a network of Converge churches working together, even if they are not physically together. They come together virtually to pray for global workers and the people they minister to.
Converge consortia catalyst Chuck Lewis coordinates these prayer networks that connect churches to pray alongside global workers. Lewis is passionate about helping churches live out the Great Commission, reaching every person in every land with the gospel.
When the prayer ministry was in its beginning stages, the goal was for churches to pray two times a year for global workers. “But God had much bigger ideas,” said Lewis.
Soon, a consortia team was assembled to act as a facilitator between global workers in the field and churches who wanted to pray for them.
Empowering global workers through prayer support
Lewis explains that a global worker’s goal is to stay focused on the harvest field where God has placed them. To empower global workers, each consortium has a prayer coordinator acting as a liaison between praying churches and the global teams they support.
Prayer coordinators assist their consortium in developing an intercessory prayer ministry. They create an information network to keep everyone informed of prayer concerns. They also train, equip, and mentor prayer partners. Finally, they act as a resource to the consortium for facilitating prayer, training, and resources, especially as it relates to spiritual warfare.
Obeying God’s command to take it to the next level
One such prayer coordinator is Maureen Albers. She and her husband, Gary, are co-prayer coordinators for a consortium that supports global worker JJ Alderman. Alderman leads the 6 Degree Initiative, planting churches just north of the equator in Togo, Africa. Voodoo and the slave trade have marred Togo’s history and impacted its present-day culture, placing the 6 Degree Initiative squarely in the center of a spiritual battlefield in which prayer is the ultimate weapon.
Albers is a full-time public school teacher. Both she and her husband are heavily involved in global missions. Their daughter is a missionary in the Philippines, married to a Filipino pastor. Over the years, the Albers have hosted many global workers in their home, been involved in several prayer teams and led Bible studies.
At one point during her faith walk, she heard God tell her, “Maureen, it’s time to up your game.” Shortly after, she and her husband were approached to join Converge International Ministry Consortia in a volunteer role as co-prayer coordinators.
“My desire is to be submitted to the Holy Spirit and pray to ask him to lead me step-by-step, whether it’s my marriage or my career or anything else,” said Albers. “So, we took the same strategy (regarding this ministry). We didn’t sit down and make a plan. We just prayed and asked God to lead us.”
Being willing to be used by God in such an honest way led the consortia praying for the 6 Degree Initiative to begin gathering prayer teams via Zoom calls every Tuesday night.
“It started with a couple of people on the calls and receiving prayer updates via email,” said Albers, noting that the number of participants continues to grow.
A virtual prayer walk results in God moving
During the spring of 2021, spiritual attacks were heavy in an area where the 6 Degree Initiative ministers. So, the consortia came together to pray over 10 specific key ministry locations. Calling it a virtual prayer walk, they prayed with Alderman and his team in real-time.
“We had 90 people join a Zoom call, praying for specific areas in Togo,” said Lewis. “We had several of the global leaders in Togo ― JJ, Josh Freeman and others ― on their cell phones. They walked around, showing us the areas in Togo we would then pray for on the call ― the soccer field where they played with children, the church and various places around the village.”
It was a powerful time, coming together in prayer, fighting against the darkness.
Shortly after that well-attended Zoom prayer meeting, breakthroughs began to happen in Togo. An hour later, a teenager accepted Christ. The next day that teen brought some friends, and they were saved as well. Soon, adults began to come to previously low-attended church services.
Since that virtual prayer walk, about 500 people have given their life to Christ. Now, there is no room left in the tiny church. People from the village stand outside, at the windows, listening to the gospel preached.
“God is moving with authority, and all he asks us to do is pray,” said Lewis.
Other prayer groups have begun to follow the virtual prayer walk model, which can happen anywhere, thanks to technology.
“Prayer affects so many,” said Lewis. “It affects the people praying, the global workers, the mission field, the churches who are part of a prayer network and Converge staff.”
A growing momentum, but more are needed to pray
The Converge International Ministry Consortia began in 2019, with three prayer networks. Now there are more than 20, and the number continues to grow. However, Converge International Ministries always needs more prayer team members. So many global workers desire American churches to cover them in intercessory prayer.
Currently, the consortia support 15 global workers and initiatives in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean, Latin America and North America. There is always a need for more prayer.
“Prayer is the key to the Christian life,” said Albers. “Missionaries need prayer support. Whether it’s trying to get the gospel to a tribe that’s never heard it, or it’s trying to get out of the jungle and survive, we all need people to pray.”
“We advance the gospel on our knees,” said Lewis. “Nothing happens unless there’s prayer.”
People with a heart for missions, evangelism or prayer can make a powerful impact for missionaries carrying out the Great Commission across the globe.