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Traveling Halfway Around the World Just to Pray?

“Why do I have to go all the way to Indonesia to pray?” “Why go over there when you can pray here?” “You’re spending a lot of money to go and pray. What difference will it really make?”

Our team, composed of volunteers, JFA staff, and missionaries, has been in Pangandaran, Indonesia, for almost a week. Our goal has been to get our “boots on the ground” and pray for the city and the people here. 

This trip was our first time taking a large group to prayer walk around a city. When we announced the trip, we didn’t think anyone would be interested. A prayer mission trip is unconventional; we aren’t doing construction, holding VBS, or pulling teeth. The plan was just to pray and see how God leads.

Some people were skeptical about the concept, including some trip participants and people they told about it. In the end, however, God brought together a team of 20 people, way more than we expected.

In the past, we have seen how God has used prayer walks to advance His work in Asia. Jesus for Asia has done prayer walks in four cities in Thailand. God has inspired families to serve in three of those cities so far.

We believe these prayer walks have been effective, not because we’re special, but because prayer puts God in charge. Instead of coming up with our plans and asking God to bless them, we are seeking Him for His plans, which will best suit the needs of the community and people we are praying for. 

Other methods work better in some places. In areas where there is a strong local church with believers available and willing to work for God, we can hire them to be Bible Workers. But in places where there are no believers, no resources–in places where no one has a plan or even a way to reach the people, the best, the ONLY method we can think of is to physically go there and pray, claiming Joshua 1:3 “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.” 

The Seventh-day Adventist church is in over 925 languages, praise God. There are nearly 6,000 to go. If we continue entering new languages at our current pace, Jesus won’t be able to come for another 600 years. So we’ve got to speed up the process, step into the unreached and unentered places (especially the places that have been resistant to traditional methods of evangelism) and ask God to do something there! And He does!!!

So why can’t we just do this from home? Why travel halfway around the world just to pray? 

Several of our team members have shared how their experiences with prayer walking have impacted them so far. 

“[Praying here in Indonesia is] more intentional as opposed to just spur of the moment, like I’m going out to pray, I’m not going to town and then praying as an afterthought.” - Roger

“It became more of a reality when we were here, and you could look at an individual and look in their eyes and what they were doing and pray not only intentionally but specifically for needs that God could help with or address…

“It became very personal, and I found the people were very friendly, just so friendly, so friendly to even come up and talk, and it was easy to wave and say hi and have interactions with them. So much different than what I expected. Sometimes praying out loud and sometimes in our heart.” - Susan

“I noticed that maybe I’m not as connected as I may have thought or concerned about people as I thought. There’s some type of disconnect…I would love to say…I just feel all this love for these people; no, I would be lying if I told you that…but I’d have to say that it’s actually shown more…of a need to love those who don’t know the Word, just in general. So I think it’s doing more of a work [in] me than me praying for them, so it’s actually a great thing. - Joannie“When you read a story, or you look at a picture, or whatever, it’s just like a moment of an experience, it’s not...something that leaves a really strong memory. But when you’re out there, actually walking and talking, shaking hands with the people, introducing yourself, just feeling the rain pouring down on your have this very strong memory. It’s not something that’s just going to go away the moment I get home; it’s going to be there from day to day to remind me to keep praying, whereas when I read a book or whatever, I [forget] what the book was about the next day. So this is something for me, I think, that I will remember for much longer and have it more in my heart, I guess, than just surface level in my brain.” - Roxanne“Some people say it’s a waste to ‘just pray’ but we think it’s a waste to do nothing. Others say you can pray from home. But would we? Would anybody? Maybe we would pray for a few minutes, but with nothing to fasten our eyes on, our prayers will be very general. Now that we’ve been here, we see faces, pray for people by name, and the burden of the place is heavy on our hearts. To be in a place and pray intentionally, claiming Bible promises, brings so much joy and satisfaction. And then to go out walking and meet the people we’re praying for and sense such openness and friendliness in a country with a religion that is so protective, gives such joy and adds fire to our prayers.” Jon Wood, JFA PresidentIn summary, going out of our way to pray specifically for people:

  • causes us to become more intentional with our prayers

  • makes our prayers more personal and specific

  • shows us the condition of our hearts and reveals to us God’s love for others

  • helps us remember to pray for the people we meet, even after we leave. 

Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country. Traditional methods of sharing the Gospel don’t work here, but God still loves these people. He still wants them to know Him and His character fully. He still wants them to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We don’t know the best way to reach these people, but God does, so we believe the best thing we can do is pray and live the light we have been given. The only way that can work to share Jesus with Muslim people is “Christ’s method alone.” This only “will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with people as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He invited them, ‘Follow Me.’” MHH 73.4God is already starting to answer our prayers for Pangandaran. One of the couples on this trip has decided to stay and continue what was started this week! We’ll share more about that in a future email. 

-Contributed by Jesus for Asia


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