On 1 October we sent out a short email to our supporters, with the subject line: ‘How can we pray for you?’ We’d expected a large response. However, we really were caught off guard...
Tearfund asks a lot from its supporters – there are emergency appeals, requests for prayer and campaigns to sign up to and publicise. And, well, we don’t want to take your incredible generosity for granted.
Also, 2018 has been our 50th anniversary – our Jubilee year. We were determined that, however else we marked it, prayer would be at the centre.
We plotted out every hour of the year to be covered by prayer. And we dedicated five full days to prayer and reflection across the organisation. It was a collective pause, to let God into our work more fully.
However, for all our best endeavours, it’s the prayers of our supporters that are the true lifeblood of Tearfund’s work. So October’s email was a way to say thank you, and to give back in a small but meaningful way…
Tearfund, we have a (brilliant) problem!
In the end, more than 2,500 people sent their requests. They ranged from those with serious health problems and urgent family struggles, right through to someone whose washing machine had broken down.
‘As I started to read your last email it was just as if the Lord was in the room with me, saying “I have heard your prayer and I am with you"'
The response was truly humbling, but also a logistical challenge and a half! The Supporter Care Team had set aside a few hours to pray – it was nowhere near enough.
The rest of Tearfund was called in. Wherever two or more were gathered to pray, a sheet of requests was placed before them.
We said our final ‘amen’ and sent an email out to thank everyone. And we asked supporters for any stories of how God had been at work. Back came another hundred-or-so replies:
‘We really appreciated your prayers and saw a difference in our marriage. We had an honest and loving conversation and have reached a new understanding.’
‘We got the long awaited results of Sarah’s* biopsy on Wednesday. All clear! No cancer! Praise God!’
For some, being prayed for seemed almost enough in itself:
‘As I started to read your last email it was just as if the Lord was in the room with me, saying “I have heard your prayer and I am with you and I will help you”. As the tears flowed I was able to give the whole situation over to him.’
The last year has been a reminder for everyone at Tearfund: we aren’t just a charity, we are a Christian charity and, ‘unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.’ (Psalm 127:1;
It’s also a reminder that one of the kindest offers we can make to somebody is to ask them, ‘how can I pray for you?’
As always, thank you for your faithful prayers this year. And Happy New Year.
*Not her real name.