Wasting Time Article

This year has seen many changes and uncertainties across the territory as we battle Covid-19. The call for a Year of Prayer that was intentional, consistent and collective was given by leadership of the Army. The ways that different corps have engaged with this call have been an anchor for many over this time. In line with the encouragement to make room, come aside and come together, here are some stories from across our territory that celebrate the ways collective prayer has been incorporated into daily life.

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Nausori Plant responded to the call to pray the theme ‘The World Needs You’. It was a praise and prayer one-and-a-half-hour concert. Though few in numbers, the songs of praise and prayer from God’s humble children were so heartfelt. The members who couldn’t make it to the church took the initiative of praying in their various homes. God bless Nausori Plant!

‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14).

By Major Lititiana Cola, Nausori Corps Plant, Fiji Division

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Tatalo 2021—Prayer 2021—the Year of Prayer in Samoa has been a special time of gathering with intention before the Lord, seeking his will and his way for us here in Autau O le Fa'aolataga (The Salvation Army Samoa). We have had weekly Tuesday prayer meetings, weekly Sunday morning prayer meetings and bi-monthly prayer events (usually on a Sunday evening).

We LOVE to pray in Samoa! Our junior soldiers have begun attending Tuesday prayer meetings and we are so blessed with their faithful hearts lifted to God in prayer each week.

By Captain Julie Turner, Apia Corps, Samoa Region

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Last year during the first Covid-19 lockdown, God gave Sarah MacGibbon from Nelson Tasman Bays Corps a picture. It was of our worship centre with a number of different stations set up. So, on Friday 16 April this year, we had our first prayer and praise night, and this has continued to be a regular feature in our corps.

Right through the night there was a continuous playlist of various worship songs. People came and spent the night in God’s presence worshipping, while others moved around the various stations that were set up. At any time of the night, if people wanted prayer, there was a place to sit and someone to pray with them.

One of the stations had a church directory with cards to encourage our church family. There was also a prayer journal where you could write your thoughts and prayers as God spoke. These thoughts were shared in our journal.

Something happens when we pray, we may not see behind the scenes. We may not even live to see the fruits of our prayers come but, whatever the timing, God is in control. His timing is always the best timing. Even unanswered prayers can years later seem like blessings. We don’t always understand the way God works, but God still works.As the temperature rises in this place, we are excited to see what God might do as we continue to make room, come aside and come together.’

By Major Denise Smith, Nelson Tasman Bays Corps, Southern Division

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As part of the Year of Prayer engagement, Tonga decided to include quarterly Prayer Celebration events where the region would come together to celebrate the answers to prayer, share testimony, worship and acknowledge the goodness of God.

These have become times of much rejoicing and renewed commitment to a life of prayer. Those who have gathered have come away encouraged and strengthened in their faith.

Also this year, the officers of the region have participated in the 24/7 Prayer Course and many are using this in their corps setting to expand the prayer horizons of individual and corporate prayer.

Most recently, a regional Prayer Sunday engaged people in creative ways to pray for TSA and in particular, the Kingdom of Tonga.

We look forward to our last regional prayer celebration in November where we will once again recount the faithfulness of God in joyful celebration.

By Captain Kenneth Walker, Regional Commander, Tonga Region

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From late February to mid-March this year, corps in Fiji launched their Year of Prayer. Officers, soldiers and friends gathered together in their own settings to commence this programme. Most launched their initiatives before sunrise and I can confirm this was a wonderful experience of encounter with God.

Sometimes we concentrate more on corps programmes and activities and we often neglect our prayer life, but this prayer programme redeemed and infused our prayer lives as individuals, as families and as corps. In addition, even though we prayed from our respective homes due to this pandemic, this has brought out the concept of connecting with one another and consolidation in spirit.

November will be the month of the rounding-off of our Year of Prayer 2021. Each corps will celebrate in their own settings. Still, I hope that this won’t be the end, but I pray that this idea of praying together will continue on. God is calling us today as a church, as individuals, as families and as nations to come together and stand in the gap to intercede for our people and for our land, especially for such a time as this as we face uncertainties, fear and chaos.

By Captain Vakatoko Wawa, Fiji Division

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In collaboration with Australia Territory, our territory has released a Prayer Guide to encourage and inspire us as we complete the Year of Prayer. This can be used over November either individually or in life groups. The Prayer Guide is available for download at salvationarmy.org.nz/yearofprayer

For more resources and ideas for engaging in the Year of Prayer, check out our article here: Year of Prayer 2021