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Finding your role in the kingdom for 2023

Prayer activities to help you reflect on how you can make a difference through prayer and action in 2023.

Rachael Adams | 30 Dec 2022

A cross silhouetted against a blue sky

A cross, in France, is illuminated by the sunrise | Image credit: Jametlene Reskp/Unsplash

As 2022 draws to a close and we enter into a new year, you may feel a swirl of both excitement and anxiety about what comes next. The new year is a good time to ponder what you want for the season ahead and how you can join with God to make it happen.

Wherever you are, the world is alive around you and calling for you to join in. We are created to be in community with each other and to connect with nature. Join our global staff team below as they invite you to reflect and pray about how you can make a difference in 2023.

Building the kingdom – right where you are

‘As human beings, we have a tendency to admire the big and powerful and disregard the importance of small things,’ says Rosa Camargo de Bravo, who leads Tearfund’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean.

‘I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that when I have to look up at something towering over me, I tend to be awed by it and say something like, “Wow, look how big and tall that is!” But when I look down at something, I tend to feel superior in some way.

‘These days I am trying to understand the importance of small things when it comes to building the kingdom of God. Indeed, if you think about it, all that is grand and majestic is actually made up of millions of small pieces.

‘I am constantly surprised at how God values the small and humble things that seem insignificant to us and uses them to build his kingdom.’
Rosa Camargo de Bravo, Tearfund Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

Your contribution is significant

‘To those of you who feel that your work, or your contribution to changing the world, is small or insignificant in any way, I want to say to you that what each one of us is doing is important – the things you do in your offices and in your communities, or even in your homes.

‘For example, the Tearfund Latin America and Caribbean regional team is not huge, but by coming alongside the church of Christ in its task of being salt and light, we are helping transform the lives of thousands of people.

‘The kingdom of God is like a batch of yeast which, when it is mixed with flour, leavens the whole dough (Matthew 13:33). And let’s not forget, leavened dough makes bread, which feeds and nourishes.

‘I like to think that Tearfund is like that batch of yeast, causing people to take notice of the work of the church and causing its fragrant smell to rise to the heavens. How wonderful that by our work and by our message many people, in the many countries where Tearfund works, are fed with Jesus, the bread of life!’

Giving life to others

‘Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’ (Matthew 13:32)

‘A small seed grows, gives life and creates a safe place where others can come and create more life,’ continues Rosa.

‘I am constantly surprised at how God values the small and humble things that seem insignificant to us and uses them to build his kingdom.

‘So, next time you are tempted to think that what you are doing is insignificant, small and incapable of bringing transformation to this world, remember that, in God’s hands, your contribution is helping to expand his kingdom here on Earth.’

A prayer for partnering with God in 2023

Loving God,

In your hands, I trust that my contribution will help expand your kingdom here on Earth. Where I feel doubt, remind me of your power, faith and previous answers to prayer. Where I feel insignificant, remind me of your great love for me. Where I feel incapable, remind me what is possible with you. Show me how, in 2023, I can use whatever I have, wherever I am, to build your kingdom and bring life to others.

Amen.

A woman sitting the shade of some trees with single story school buildings in the background

Ganga, a schoolteacher from Nepal, took part in training by Tearfund’s local partner and is now a trained first-responder as well. This means she can keep her schoolchildren and community safe from disasters, such as earthquakes, which are common in Nepal | Image credit: Chris Hoskins/Tearfund

Everyone has a role to play – what’s yours?

In Acts 6 1-7, the disciples encountered a problem: widows were being neglected in the daily food distributions. Rather than the disciples adding to their workload to take on this need, they unanimously decided to choose seven people to carry out this essential work.

The disciples were able to make this call because they knew the role they had to play. They knew how their skills could be best utilised for the kingdom. And by opening up this new opportunity, others were able to use their God-given skills to advance the kingdom in a different way.

It certainly paid off: ‘So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.’ (Acts 1:7)

Be an agent of hope

‘When it comes to how I reflect on my faith, how I see it in the context of where I work and how I serve others, I just go to Acts 6,’ shares Farah Bou Kheir, from our Lebanon Team.

‘What’s cheerful in Lebanon is the role of the church. It has been present in the country despite the crisis and people are able to live their faith despite these tough situations.

‘You have people in need, this is where your faith shines. You see God in action and you have a call to do – a message to share: to be an agent of hope and an agent of change.’

Questions for reflection

‘God's path for your life is a collision course. The intersection where your gift crashes into the world's need is where you will truly begin to live.’ – Anon.

Before you begin, invite the Holy Spirit to be with you. This can be as simple as saying: ‘Holy Spirit, please guide me as I reflect on the questions below.’ If you are unsure about anything, ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you.

  1. Reflect on the needs around you – your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Then your local community, including the environment, and then the world.
  2. What skills, talents or knowledge do you have that will enable you to be an agent of hope for others?

A prayer for making the world a better place for others

God of creation,

Thank you that I get to join you in making this world a better place for others. Thank you that you have designed me to have skills and talents that can be put to use in serving you and helping others. Show me how I can be a light to others using the skills and talents you have blessed me with. And let everything I do be a beacon that shines back to you and your glory.

Amen.

A man standing outside a church building
A group of people sitting and standing by a truck with supplies in the back

Top: After encountering Christ, Pastor Freddy from Nicaragua went from a life of drugs to leading his community out of disaster. The church building is not only used for worship, but has become a safe haven for families when floods and hurricanes have hit | Image credit: PRODAD/Tearfund Bottom: Pastor Freddy works with Tearfund’s local partner, PRODAD, to distribute essential supplies to communities in need during the Covid-19 pandemic | Image credit: PRODAD/Tearfund

Where can you share the load?

‘There is a saying in Haitian Creole, men anpil chay pa lou, which means, “with many hands the load isn't heavy,”’ shares Marc Antoine, who leads Tearfund’s work in Haiti.

‘It speaks to the importance of working together – journeying as a team towards a united vision.

‘One of the many examples of men anpil chay pa lou that we have in scripture is the story of Nehemiah. After Nehemiah inspects the walls of Jerusalem, he pleads to the leaders to rebuild. He confirms that this is the Lord's work and that together they can do it, and the leaders reply unanimously, “Yes, let's rebuild the wall” (Nehemiah 2:18).

‘The author of Nehemiah dedicates the entire third chapter to detailing the responsibilities of each family and the parts of the wall they were to rebuild. Individually they may have never been able to rebuild it, but together – in just 52 days – not only were they able to rebuild the physical structure, but their working together led to spiritual revival.

‘When people come together to work, not only does the work get done more efficiently, but something happens beyond the work itself. Relationships form, people are reconciled, voices are diversified, capacity is developed, and resilience is built.’

Questions for reflection:

Maybe the load is heavy because it isn’t meant to be carried alone. Is there anything that you are doing alone right now that would be better if you worked together with others? Is there individual space that you have created that should actually be communal space? Are you burdened by weight that could be shared?

Reflect again on the needs you listed above and how you can help others and care for the environment. Are there others you could partner with in order to do this well?

A prayer for sharing the load

God of togetherness and community,

Help me untangle myself from where I am in the throes of individualism and self. Show me what I can lay at your feet, and who I can ask to partner with me to share the load and help advance your kingdom.

Amen.

A woman and a man sitting on a hill with rolling green hills in the background

Clarita and Cássio, from Brazil, are transforming the way the church sees creation. One of the ways they do this is by inviting people to their organic farm and showing them the importance of the environment, how food ends up on people’s plates and how they can care for creation – no matter where they live | Image credit: Pedacinho Ecológico Disclosure

Next steps: an invitation for 2023

You can come back to these questions and prayers as much as you want or need to. It may help you to write down how God has been speaking to you throughout this and to look over this every month. You can also add in answers to prayers and how you have seen God move in the time between, which can be a real encouragement to you over the year.

Prayer underpins all we do at Tearfund. Our vision is far bigger than what we can achieve alone. Poverty is not God’s plan. You are. We all have a part to play in building God’s kingdom, and one vital way we can do this is through prayer and interceding where the need is greatest.

For weekly prayer activities and resources to help you pray for people living in poverty, sign up to One Voice in Prayer, Tearfund’s prayer email. Why not share with a friend or your church small group and go through the email together each week?

One Voice in Prayer

Join us in prayer for people living in poverty with One Voice in Prayer weekly email updates

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  Rachael Adams


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